Unicorns and down rounds

Fairly (because I’m his mom), I was criticized by my son for the use of the word “rape” to describe how I felt about Etsy’s stunts, bedroom alliances with China & India and abandonment of their base of sellers.

Back to Mr. Webster I went.  As I’ve said all along, there is another definition of rape:  “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: as in the rape of the countryside.”  Yep – it’s a violent word.  But apparently even a countryside can be raped.

He suggested that I used the word “fucked”, as in “How Etsy Fucked America”.  

I politely agree that the title is open for criticism.  But so is Etsy.  And as someone who watched their sales plummet over 80% in the past year, I still feel “plundered and violated” by Chad’s antics.  Because of course you cut your marketing budget when you’re about to launch a “get rich quick” IPO round.  Which Etsy did, in spades.

Peeps, stats don’t lie.

I wish I could copy/paste the graph from Etsy showing my performance (I seem to be computer illiterate where it comes to copy/paste commands…so visually if the reader can imagine a person climbing, climbing, climbing up a mountain, and falling headfirst over a cliff, that’s what the stats look like.

This January, which ends very soon records a dismal $110 of revenue.
Last January was a totally different story.  $ 873 of revenue.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that my sales have decreased over 85% from 2015 to 2016.  Tell me that doesn’t feel like a plunder or violation.  I’m just glad I didn’t make it worse by BUYING stock in Etsy, a company I used to believe in.

From a recent article:

GoPro Inc, Twitter Inc, Etsy Inc, Fitbit Inc, Box Inc: The Death Of The Tech Darlings

    dollar money bubbleMike Larson:  Remember all the hype over Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) when it went public in the fall of 2013? The stock IPO’d at $26, then soared to almost $75 by the end of the year. But it’s been one long, sickening slide ever since – with the stock hitting an all-time low of $15-and-change earlier this week.

    How about the Square Inc. (NYSE:SQ) IPO back in the fall of 2015? The payment processing technology firm is headed up by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and it got a ton of adoring press. But after going public at $9 … then rising as high as $14.78 the next day … the stock has gone into freefall. On Wednesday, it slumped below its IPO price and kept on going.

    Then there’s the crafts and personalized gift site Etsy Inc. (NASDAQ:ETSY). It’s down 83% from its IPO day peak. And water and drop-resistant camera company GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO). It’s down 90% from its 2014 post-IPO peak.

    Well, well, well Etsy.  It seems as though misery loves company.  83% drop since your NASDAQ debut.  Coincidentally, those numbers mirror exactly what’s going on in my shop.

    The article had a few ideas as to why this had happened:

    “Many tech companies got swept up in the mania, particularly in the private, pre-IPO-stage market. A whopping 100 startups were valued by private equity investors at more than $1 billion each as of early 2015, earning the sobriquet “unicorns.” Huge, expensive office parties … massive bidding wars and signing bonuses for tech-sector employees … sky-high Silicon Valley real estate prices and rents: They all came with the boom, just like we saw in the late 1990s.

    But things were getting so out of hand by this past fall that I couldn’t help but call a spade a spade — and label it a potential “Tech Bubble II.” I also suggested that we’d see a wave of deflation in private sector valuations and that this would spill over before long into public tech sector valuations.

    Sure enough, many unicorns are now raising money in “down rounds” — transactions that value their companies for less than the previous funding rounds did. Mutual fund firms that eagerly bought into hot pre-IPO companies are also writing down the value of those private shares. BlackRock slashed its valuation on Snapchat by 24% this past summer, while Fidelity cut its valuations on Dropbox and Zenefits by 31% and 48% respectively this fall.

    I’ve never seen a unicorn’s horn deflate, but I imagine it’d be kinda depressing.

    There was an article from Chad Dickerson in June 2015.  Such a rah-rah article.  When I read it now, it’s almost funny.  Imagine a unicorn reading from a scroll:

    “Ten years ago, Etsy was born out of the simple idea that a marketplace should exist to connect creative entrepreneurs with buyers in search of unique goods. Over time, Etsy has come to represent something even more powerful: an alternative to traditional commerce and a different, people-centered model for doing business.

    Today we celebrate Etsy’s first decade as a company. Our success story spans not just ten years, but also millions of entrepreneurs and thoughtful customers all over the globe who make up the growing Etsy Economy. More than 1.4 million sellers are helping us realize our mission of reimagining commerce every day.

    In an age when drones, self-driving cars, and virtual reality headsets are threatening to erase every opportunity to interact with another person, we’re celebrating the personal bonds forged by our community. Over the last ten years, we’ve built an authentic, community-centric global and local marketplace. It’s a collaborative endeavor that is nourished by the connections between everyone in ourecosystem. We are building for the long term and measure the impact Etsy can have in years and decades. Ten years — one decade! — after we began this journey, we can truly see the Etsy Economy taking shape around us.”


    China and India have invaded and ruined Etsy, there is no “alternative to traditional commerce and a people-centered model for doing business.”  Unless little children and women in 3rd world countries are “people-centered” businesses.

    Where is Chad now?  His press releases and rah-rah statements seem to have cut off in the fall of 2015.  He was probably busy chasing down the unicorn with the deflated horn.