GOOD & IBM present
Welcome to Figures of Progress

Big Data is empowering and driving 21st Century leaders, whether in business, city government, or even sports. This year, we’re expanding Figures of Progress and inviting you to take part in learning and doing. Join us as we continue the dialogue and explore how big data is being harnessed to change our world.

GOOD & IBM present

Matthew Stinchcomb

Vice President, Values & Impact, Etsy

Matthew Stinchcomb oversees the company's strategic brand stewardship and social responsibility programs. He firmly believes that business can be a powerful and positive force for social, ecological, and cultural transformation. He has worked in digital media since 1997, and has been at Etsy since its earliest days. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Benedikta and toddler son, Francis.

Founded in 2005, Etsy provides a platform for creators and curators to easily market and sell their products globally. More than 800,000 shops offer millions of unique handmade and vintage goods and supplies to more than 40 million people each month. Etsy is based in Brooklyn, NY.
As an industry leader, what most influenced you on the road to your current position?

In 2007, Linda Ligon, founder of Interweave magazine, gave me Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher. About the same time, Rob Kalin, Etsy's founder, gave me Deep Economy by Bill McKibben. Both books made me realize that Etsy had the potential to help millions of small companies build a more fulfilling and lasting world. They also instilled in me an urgent and ardent belief that corporations must become a force for addressing the many social and ecological challenges facing the world today.

What type of data and technology would you consider the most valuable to your company?

Last year Etsy became a Certified B Corporation. The evaluation process gave us a quantifiable way to evaluate our values and impact work. Stemming from that we developed a system to assess the overall well-being of our employees, and have also done a great deal of work to calculate the overall ecological footprint of our company. We now have quantifiable ways to measure all these efforts, and prioritize company decisions against non-financial metrics.

How has data changed and informed the way you can interact with customers and improve your customer service?

Data affects almost every aspect of the way that people interact with Etsy, in ways that they can see and behind the scenes. Broadly speaking, we experiment, measure and make changes to the site based on trends or patterns that we observe. To maintain the integrity of the marketplace we use scores of data to create algorithms that help our Marketplace Integrity and Trust and Safety teams identify, block, or remove items that may not be simpatico with our policies. This helps our business stay true to our values even while growing big.

What are the qualities and/or skill sets that you believe future successful leaders will need to have?

To meet the ecological, economic, and social challenges of the future will require equanimity, diligence, and an unflagging belief that a more connected, joyful, and healthy world is achievable.

What is your greatest hope for how your work can influence positive change in our world?

My hope is that we will be an inspiration to and provide a blueprint for other companies and individuals who believe that success need not come at the expense of people or the planet, nor be measured solely in dollars and cents.

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Response Box

Etsy follows users’ habits and behaviors to monitor its marketplace integrity and experience. What are other sites that should use user data to ensure users are staying in line with the site’s mission?

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