Chad Dickerson of Etsy - Business is Personal: Putting people and planet before profit

Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, spoke at the RSA about placing people and planet at the center of the business. He speaks to the shift in mindset that's occurring due to the information revolution, he quotes E.F. Schumacher, "The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds.If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life will appear insipid, uninteresting, petty, and chaotic." The internet allows us to read anyone's ideas from anywhere in the world. These ideas include the stories of people's living and working conditions. We empathize with these stories and we feel our interdependence. We've realized the harm human commercial activity has caused around the world.

Dickerson argues for building a better mindset in order to build a more human world, specifically from "the conscious utilisation of our enormous technological and scientific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation – a fight in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions" (E.F. Schumacher). I think he means leveraging our new mindset, due to new technologies, to place human work-life activities at the center of business. The examples he provides are about leveraging technologies like the internet and new corporate structures like the B-corp to create an inclusive, socially aware, and sustainable society. This shift in mindset should improve the quality of life while also creating sustainable businesses.

Profiling the Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards

In a meeting a while ago, we were describing our company's early adopters. I realized this should have been an exercise performed earlier when we first began developing our product. From the design perspective, I'll create user profiles of the end user, but sometimes this does not capture the early adopter. The terminology 'early adopter' communicates a go to market strategy. And so far in my short experience in the startup world, the way I've noticed entrepreneurs describing target audience is usually too broad, and it doesn't convey how they're going to reach these first few users or customers - the innovators.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore comes to mind, where it discusses early adopters. Moore places innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards in a sequence of groups over the course of the business's lifetime.

As a designer, I think doing user profiles is not enough. We should also be doing profiles of each of these user groups. The reason is because the scenarios describing how, when, and why they'll use a product changes based each group. The purpose of profiling each of these user groups is to generate business insights from a design perspective.