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Inside Etsy’s product, growth, and marketplace evolution | Tim Holley (VP of Product)

Inside Etsy’s product, growth, and marketplace evolution | Tim Holley (VP of Product)

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Tim Holley is VP of Product at Etsy where he leads the Etsy buyer experience. With a tenure spanning more than a decade, Tim has seen the company through many transitions (both in culture, in leadership, and in growth), and his team’s product changes have had a significant impact on buyer retention, conversion, and global expansion. In this episode, we discuss:

• Lessons from navigating corporate culture shifts

• How Etsy capitalized on the explosive growth of e-commerce during the pandemic

• Marketplace learnings: when to focus on supply vs. demand, optimizing conversion, and more

• How Etsy solves the “graduation problem”

• Tips for hiring product managers

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/inside-etsys-product-growth-and-marketplace-evolution-tim-holley-vp-of-product/#transcript

Where to find Tim Holley:

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/timholley/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Tim’s background

(04:23) Tim’s time away at SoulCycle and what led him back to Etsy

(06:34) Lessons from the 2017 culture shift at Etsy

(12:15) Etsy’s guiding principles 

(13:32) How Etsy adapted to increased demand during the early days of mask mandates

(16:38) What Tim learned about managing stress with his team during the pandemic

(18:46) Lessons from building a thriving marketplace

(21:47) Prioritization at Etsy

(24:37) Supply constraint vs. demand constraint 

(28:43) Conversion wins

(33:27) Experimentation at Etsy

(37:58) Acquisition and top-of-funnel tactics

(39:44) The seller referral program

(40:33) Etsy’s habit loop framework

(44:11) How they set themselves apart from other marketplaces

(51:23) Retaining sellers 

(53:23) The defunct Etsy studio

(55:18) Running the product team

(57:20) Who the decision maker is 

(1:01:20) What Tim looks for when hiring PMs 

(1:03:03) A reflection exercise Tim does with his teams

(1:05:08) Lightning round


• Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/

• SoulCycle: https://www.soul-cycle.com/

• Inside the Revolution at Etsy: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/25/business/etsy-josh-silverman.html

• Ronny Kohavi on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-ab-testing-ronny-kohavi-airbnb-microsoft-amazon/

• How to Kickstart and Scale a Marketplace Business – Part 3: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-kickstart-and-scale-a-marketplace-911

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World: https://www.amazon.com/Team-Teams-Rules-Engagement-Complex/dp/1591847486

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman: https://www.amazon.com/Let-People-Surfing-Education-Businessman-Including/dp/0143109677

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Broker-Robert-Moses-Fall/dp/0394720245

Yellowstone on Paramount+: https://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone

• Nara Baby app: https://naraorganics.com/nara-baby-tracker

• Huckleberry app: https://huckleberrycare.com/

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.