Thursday, July 26, 2012

Etsy CEO on the Three-Armed Sweater Award for Spectacular Mistakes

From Nick Bilton's interview of Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson on the New York Times Bits blog:

Q. Do you see your employees as hackers?
A. Absolutely. The internals of the company really embody the hacker spirit. The empowerment of the company is really on the edges. For example, we have 100 engineers, and any single engineer can deploy code to the live site at any time. It happens about 30 times a day.

Q. Wait, anyone can upload code? At anytime? Has this ever gone awry?
A. Of course! We do blameless postmortems about it all the time — which is incredibly important. We believe that if you have a blameless process, you actually get to the root of the problem quicker and people don’t feel like they have to hide information. We don’t enjoy making mistakes, but we give an award to the person who makes the most spectacular mistake.

Q. What kind of awards?
A. We had a three-armed sweater made for one of our engineers who committed the most spectacular mistake of the year. He essentially disabled any Etsy employee from accessing the site.

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