1. Are you a DIY person and your medium of work is hardware?
2. You are looking for some nice DIYs ideas?
3. You want to sell a gadget that you have made?
If your answer to the above questions is yes! then there's tINDIE just for you. tINDIE is an online store to buy, sell and find different gadgets and parts. tINDIE is the brain child of Emile Petrone, who is an urban Airship engineer by profession. It was launched on 26th June, 2012. Unlike others Emile had a different approach though inspired a bit by Kickstarter. Emile wanted to build a place where sellers could sell their gadgets and simultaneously grow their business, he introduced his idea on Reddit and it was all because of the support that Emile received, he decided to built the site using Django, Python, & S3.
tINDIE is a simple and a user-friendly website. Once you sign up for an account on tINDIE, you can easily List your gadget there for free, add a paypal account and your product information, the moment someone buys your product you'll recieve a notification and as soon as the payment is done, you just have to ship your the product to the buyer's address. As a buyer you have a wide list of options to choose from. There are already a variety of products that are up for sale on tINDIE. Read on to know more about tINDIE in our exclusive interview with Emile.
1. Emile, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us something about tINDIE.
I'm a web engineer that has worked on startups the last 7 years or so. All of the startups I have worked for have either IPO'ed or were acquired (except Urban Airship which is doing extremely well). However as of Sept 1, I left Urban Airship to work on tindie full-time. tindie is a site for people to buy & sell homemade electronics- parts, kits, or even finished gadgets.
2. How did you come about creating tINDIE? What was the objective of creating it? How long did it take you to create the site? Just curious about the specific name “tINDIE”.
Hardware hacking is exploding right now. I started the site as a way to just get better exposed to what people were working on, and to support projects that I liked. There wasn't a place for people to support hardware makers, and that is all I was looking to do. Apparently I wasn't the only one also looking for this site!
The process of making the site is an interesting one. I had a post on reddit gauging the interest in the idea. With an overwhelming about of support, I think I had the first landing page & project submission page up over a weekend. That let people sign up & early makers to submit items for sale once the website went live. The larger site took a few weeks and publicly launched on June 26, 2012.
The name tindie came from the idea - 'independent tech' or 'indie tech'. Fortunately the url was available!
3. Within a period of just about 2 months you have been able to channel almost $2.5K to creative DIY folk. How does that make you feel? What is the biggest compliment that you have received so far, for creating tINDIE?
The growth of the site has been incredible! For July, $646 went to makers, and August was over $1,800 - and that was with me working on the site in my spare time. It will be interesting to see what happens now that I'm working on it full time.
The biggest compliment I've had was from a company in England - "From today @electriclab's store is being turned off, we are moving to selling only on @tindie !" That is when I knew I was onto something.
|Robot that plays Angry Birds|
4. How are you promoting the site? I am sure that for a concept like tINDIE word-of-mouth promotion would be very valuable. Your views on that?
It has entirely been word-of-mouth. Some press, and occasionally I'll make a post to reddit which is where the site started. I owe the reddit community a bunch of credit for the site's success so far. Because of that, I like to keep them informed on whats happening as much as possible.
5. Is tINDIE a pure non profit website? If not please explain your monetization model to us.
tindie is now an LLC, and so far the model has been based on taking 5% of transactions through the site. This covers the credit card processing and basic hosting costs. However I am currently tweaking that and there will be changes in the weeks to come.
6. Is there a mechanism in place on the site to ensure that the products listed on here are as claimed by the Seller? I noticed that Sellers can freely add products to the listings without any moderation. Have you noticed any superficial listings? Also is there a way to address the grievance of unsatisfied buyers?
There hasn't been a need for moderation up until quite recently. The only issue that has come up is seller's working on Raspberry Pi products and using their trademark without approval from Raspberry Pi. I'm currently talking to Raspberry Pi so we can figure out a process moving forward to address those cases. If a grievance were to come up, my email is publicly listed on the site, along with a phone number for questions.
|Arc Reactor from Iron Man|
7. When you are not working on stuff related to tINDIE, what other activities do you like to indulge in? What is your favourite way of de-stressing?
Living in Portland, there a lot of outdoor activities you can do which is fantastic. I like hiking through Forest Park and exploring the city. I'm also a big ping pong fanatic. If anyone ever in Portland and wants to play, just let me know!
8. What is it personally that keeps you going? What other people do you look up to? Your favourite entrepreneurs? Any one person you would onboard on tINDIE and why?
I enjoy building things. Taking an idea from a concept into a living site / project is exciting. I guess that is why I have worked with many early startups (Yelp, Redbeacon, SimpleGeo, and Urban Airship). My favorite entrepreneurs are: Elon Musk, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Steve Jobs.
If there was one person I would want on tindie it would be Woz. I'd love to see what he is hacking on these days!
9. I saw that the forums are rife with requests for additional/modified functionality. What are the top new features that you are working on? Where do you see tINDIE an year down the line?
There are definitely a ton of features on my todo list. This weekend I'll be working on overhauling the shipping system, and building in a pre-order system. I thought the pre-order would have been live last month, but the site hit scaling issues so my attention got focused quickly on the backend infrastructure. In a year, the new pricing structure I hinted at above will be live. That will really push the site in a new direction that will be very exciting. Unfortunately that is all I can say about that at this moment, but stay tuned!
|Programmable lighting installations|
10. Top advice that you would like to share with fellow developers and entrepreneurs? Your advice to aspiring and budding start-ups?
I've worked for a bunch of successful startups, and started a few sites of my own. I think the secret is to seed your success. Build demand before you act. Once you launch, or unveil a new feature, people will already know about it and want to use it from day 1. If you repeat that cycle over and over, then you are setting yourself up very well.
Thank you Emile for taking out the time and doing this interview with us. We wish you and tINDIE the very best for the future.