For this seller interview, I got to catch up to Jasper Sikken, who sells his programmable electronic load via his aptly-named Jasper Sikken Store.
Like many Tindarians, Jasper has a bachelors degree in Electronic Engineering, as well as a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. Things got interesting after his education, however, when he followed his wife’s work and moved from the Netherlands to the USA, specifically Silicon Valley, for two years.
Jasper moved without immediate employment, which meant he was free to explore the area and design electronics for the first 6 months of their stay. After this time, he started work at an IoT startup called Petasense, which uses tiny sensors to collect vibration data on industrial equipment for predictive maintenance. He now works full-time at a company called SODAQ, which is involved in solar powered data acquisition.
His job at Petasense meant that he needed a way to test power supplies with a dummy load, and found changing out large resistors for tests was cumbersome. While programmable dummy loads are available, they can cost over $500, so he instead found a simple circuit that would do this job, and realized that he could make a programmable Arduino version on the cheap. After revising the design, he wanted to make it available to others.
Sikken currently has no immediate plans to design other devices for his Tindie store, but given his creativity, who knows when inspiration for another niche product will strike?
While he and his wife (along with a daughter that they recently added) are now back in the Netherlands, he notes that most of his customers are from the USA, specifically Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. Sikken also notes that Tindie’s close integration with Hackaday is a really excellent arrangement, as it gives the site exposure to a vast community of like-minded electronic hackers.
While he’s quite happy selling on Tindie, and even purchased a fire engine learn to solder kit for his daughter, he does have one suggestion for sellers:
To avoid damage claims I suggest that sellers add the intended use of the product to the manual or product page and add warning how not to use the product.
An excellent idea that helps to align custom expectations with your product’s features.
It was a pleasure to find out more about Sikken, and if you’d be interested in being featured yourself, ping us on Twitter @Tindie or me personally @JeremySCook. Finally, if you’d like to hear him describe his programmable load, check out Jasper’s demo video below: