Avi Bryant, a well-known developer who most recently worked at Twitter, just announced he’s joining Etsy to head up a mysterious new project that will help Etsy’s shops become “more economically viable despite being tiny.”
But while Mr. Bryant will be moving out of San Francisco, he won’t be settling down in Fort Greene or Astoria. Instead, he’s moving to the gorgeous Galiano Island in British Columbia. The freedom to work remotely was a major factor in his decision to join Etsy, he said.
“My wife and I have the incredible luck to have the right to live and work in any of the US, Canada, and the EU; it would be a shame not to take advantage of that,” Mr. Bryant wrote on his personal blog. “That Etsy is letting me do this, not just as an individual contributor, but as a manager, and not just for myself, but for my entire team, is exceptional and, in my opinion, far-sighted.”
Mr. Bryant’s home in Galiano is a hefty drive away from the nearest city, Vancouver, and attracts creative types “who can do their work in relative solitude, but still plug into the larger economy around them.” Mr. Bryant hints that, “It’s a fitting place from which to start this project.”
Hey, Etsy is based in Dumbo, which is also on the water and attracts filmmakers, artists and technologists–although it’s not quite as isolated as this pretty Canadian isle sounds.
But what Mr. Bryant really wants is freedom:
San Francisco is an amazing place, as is New York, but these are not the only amazing places in the world. Should we decide to spend half the year in Canada, half the year in Hawaii, and then a year in France to start my kids on a second language, I want to be able to do that without feeling like I’m compromising my work or my career by doing so.
Look at Etsy, where CEO Chad Dickerson is a famous proponent of 20 percent time, being all progressive. It’s likely a function of Mr. Bryant’s extraordinary resume that he’s able to ask for such flexibility. Etsy needs some employees in the office so they can have lunch together, after all. Like a real family.