Emile learned how to code using Python. Many universities now agree it is a great starting point too!
For learning Python, also checkout ‘Learn Python the Hard Way.’
Github seems to be gaining in popularity amongst the hardware community – and that is a great thing. Github started as a software collaboration site, but is branching out into new disciplines all of the time. Last year they added STL support for 3D files. More recently, PSD support was added. As Github continues to grow, it is inevitable they will add support for almost every major file type (like Gerber files). Recently I’ve talked to more than one Tindarian that just getting started with Github. So what is Git and why should you use Github for your Tindie project?
Before learning about Github, we should start with Git.
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
The layman’s answer would be – a way to keep track of file changes over time. You work on a file, make a change, and then are able to quickly see the differences.
2 Reasons You Should Use Git
Git will let you easily keep track of the history of files. On more than one occasion, I’ve made a change to a file, and weeks later wanted to bring it back. I can quickly go back to restore that work. There are other ways to handle this, but Git is a highly efficient tool for keeping track of my changes (or ‘version control’ as it is called).
Collaboration. If you are working with other people, you’ll want a sane way to keep track of the changes you each make and ensure you are both working on the most recent version of a project. Git has a few clever solutions for this (forking/branches) which make this process incredibly simple.
Git vs Github
This is something that can easily be confused so to just set the record straight:
Github is free for public file hosting. As most projects are open on Tindie, then this is a free solution for all of these projects.
Second, the community. Github has millions of members (probably including your friends). This is only growing as they support more and more file formats.
Finally, Github is also very easy to use, full featured, and constantly getting better. For 3D designers, I believe they have the largest STL library on the web (yes bigger than Thingiverse). As they add schematic support, it will be interesting to see how that changes hardware design.
3 ways to use Github for your Tindie projects (like Arachnid Labs)
2. Source Code – The vast majority of projects on Tindie are open source. Sharing the source files & code are incredibly easy on Github (and FREE). Here are the source files for the highly successful, Re:load Pro.
3. Support – Github includes Issues for users to be able to report bugs or features they might like. On the Minishift, customers have been able to report and collaborate on an issue. Other customers are able to easily find others that have the bug, and work towards a solution.
But wait, there’s more!
There is plenty of more to mention about Github and Git, but hopefully this is an introduction. We honestly think they are beneficial for every Tindarian – from hardware engineers to 3D designers. As they release more and more supported file formats, you will only see more and more value.
If there is interest, we can add more tutorials on Git/Github. We also know some of the fine folks at Github and might be able to get a Q&A between Tindarians and Github. If you have any questions, feel free to add them in the comments below.
This audio card is designed to deliver the best audio performance from the Raspberry Pi, fit within the Pi’s form factor and provide sufficient IO capabilities without the need to modify.
Use raw Linux, Volumio, Raspbmc, RuneAudio, MDP or similar and listen to internet radio, your own digital music library, or streaming music services – all in magnificent audio quality. The IQaudIO Pi-DAC easily supports 24-bit / 192kHz file formats but is equally at home with lower quality MP3s bringing your music alive sonically.
June has been a game changer for Tindie. Not only were we invited to participate in the White House’s first ever Maker Faire, we also turned 2!
Tindie founder Emile at the White House
This month, we launched one of our most exciting features to date: Markets. With Tindie Markets, we’ve given full control of categories to you, the community. From now on, you will be able to create any category you want, and add any product to that category.
You can explore our new marketplace here.
In June, 295 unique products sold. 273 were made by the seller. Only 22 were mass produced, generic supplies.
Sales by Category
Top 10 by sales:
14 Makers Who are Changing the DIY World
In Forbes: Tindie Helps You Solve Hardware Problems
In Fast Co: Sound Advice On Making and Selling Hardware
A lot of mistakes can happen during prototyping: Misplacing components, creating random shorts or simply making things wrong. BFuse can help saving precious components that would otherwise be damaged by such mistakes.
Hover is a development kit that lets you control your Arduino projects in a whole new way. It allows you to detect hand movements in the air for touch-less interaction. It also features five touch-sensitive capacitive regions so you can get rid of those pesky push buttons in all your projects.
Next week will be Tindie’s two year anniversary. What started as a hobby has changed the lives of tens of thousands. It is the reason I was invited to the White House today.
Me with a 3D printed bust of President Obama & Pres. Obama addressing the Makers
Getting the invitation as an Honored Maker to the first White House Maker Faire has been a huge whirl wind the last few days. It made me reflect on the journey Team Tindie has been on, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. I’ve been sharing these with many young companies the last few weeks, so this was an excuse to put them in writing and hopefully help even more that are just getting going.
In the Beginning
Stay Lean – your runway depends upon it.
When going after a new market, do not prematurely scale or prematurely optimize your team. As they say ‘Cash is king,’ and until you reach breakout velocity, watch your burn like a hawk. We’ve had several competitors come and go (yes in only 2 years!) because they burned through all of their cash. I’ve been the lowest paid employee since day 1, and that isn’t because I have a nest egg. I’m betting on the long term success of the business.
Focus on doing one thing well.
As a new company, you’re always thinking of ways to grow quicker – I believe the hip term is “growth hacks.” Growth hacks don’t work. A growth hack is anything that you think will cleverly convince people to use your service – when they wouldn’t naturally. The truth is they can spiral into huge mistakes that distract you from your core purpose.
The best example I can give was adding crowd funding to Tindie. We started as a marketplace and thought if we added this functionality, we’d pull a few projects from Kickstarter or Indiegogo that would help seed the marketplace. We’d get projects that were super early and they’d stay after crowd funding to grow in our marketplace. That did happen a couple of times, but at the detriment of the greater community. When people would describe Tindie it would be Etsy meets Kickstarter – a marketplace with crowd funding. To say it confused people was an understatement. When I was fundraising, I pitched over 50 investors. It confused over 40 of them; they never invested. Focus on one job, and do it really well.
Where will you get your first 1000 customers?
Theres a point where you need to get going – ‘your first 1k customers.’ How will you will get them? We had a very simple process through Reddit.
I believe we opened when a few hundred had signed up and had 20 products on the site.
Launch too soon because you are wrong
You’ll never have a perfect product market fit when you launch or launch new features. Launch too soon because you’re customers will teach you things you didn’t think about. You can guess what people will like, guess what features you should build, but in the end of the day, your customers will decide for you. You don’t have to have all of the decisions on day 1 – just enough to get through day 2. Fix the most important features which extend your runway.
As You Grow
Don’t worry about Day to Day. Focus on doing a good job to the best of your abilities.
If you focus on your numbers day to day, you’ll go crazy. So stop.
Focus on improving, getting better, fixing the things which will change your numbers and making those to the best of your abilities. If you do that well, your numbers will reflect those changes.
Hire someone who can do it better and cheaper.
Your time is worth something (regardless of how lean you are running). There reaches a point where your time is better spent focusing on what you do well, and find someone else who can you pass off your weaknesses.
The best example of this I have is our design. I’m not a designer and don’t try to be. It took us almost a year and half before we found a designer for what we need. Best decision ever. It has freed my time to focus on other tasks while pushing off our design challenges to someone more knowledgeable that can do what we need quicker and ultimately cheaper. Why cheaper? The cost of my time to produce comparable work would be multiples greater than what we pay our designer. I see that as a huge win.
You are never open enough.
Late last year we started a conversation with our sellers in our forums about upping our fees (from 5% to 9%). While this dialogue went on for over 2 months, when we flipped the switch on the new fee, many sellers didn’t know there had been this discussion in our forums, and were totally blindsided. We had tried to be open and transparent, but in the end weren’t open enough. We reverted the change a few days later and made our fee 0% for the month of January to apologize. As anyone who has tried to change their business model can tell you, it was a very stressful time and definitely the least pleasant period in Tindie’s history.
Don’t listen to the press.
Some writers are great and will try to accurately present a story. Some will listen to a company’s marketing department and write whatever they tell them. Without getting into specifics – just know every press piece written about you or your competition will not win the war. Most likely the article won’t drive any traffic (there are TONS of twitter bots). When an article does drive traffic, it only causes a blip on your traffic for a day or two and then back to normal. Therefore ignore it and don’t look to the press for adulation or validity.
Investors read the press.
I got into a discussion about this with a friend that writes for TechCrunch. Yes, the press won’t make or break your company – however the people who read them can. On more than one occasion, I’ve had top tier investors set up meetings after reading a Tindie feature on a tech blog. That can make or break a company. I wish the press would take their job more seriously because they don’t realize that is really their audience.
You don’t have any competition. Seriously.
People will ask, “Who is your competition?” Sure you’ll have an answer, but the truth is your fighting yourself to create the best possible product you can. It’s a question of whether you succeed or not. Can you rise to your potential?
Your competitors have different customers than you and will make changes which aren’t applicable directly to you or your customers. One change you make won’t work for them and vice versa. So stop worrying about them. Their problems are different than yours. You need to make the best decisions for your community.
See you next year!
We’re only 2 years old so I think we are still squarely in the early growth phase. It will be exciting to see where we end up at the end of next year. We’ll make sure to share the tips we learn then too.
Founder of Tindie
PS one more photo from the White House Maker Faire of Arduboy & Will.i.am!
You produce one of a kind wonders and mechanical marvels, and we want to share them.
What are we looking for?
1. Clear product photos from multiple angles. Show your products in context when possible. Don’t use text overlays to share details that belong in the description.
2. Detailed product descriptions. Give dimensions, share possible use ideas, even links to projects your customers have used your products in.
3. Sellers who are responsive. We want to be able to get in touch with you, because if we can it lets us know that your customers can as well.
If you have a story you’d like to share or a product you’d like us to consider featuring, email us. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Some examples of what we’d like to hear:
How did you get started in electronics? What gets you excited about the space? What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever built, or seen someone build with one of your products? Show us your workspace, and while you’re at it, throw in a picture of yourself.
Email email@example.com with your submissions!
Running out of battery is the worst. The 3d printed Voidstar Tactical Cell will keep that from happening, with its added 2600mAh of power. That’s enough to run the Google Glass for an entire extra day once built in battery runs out!
The Voidstar was designed with Google Glass in mind, but it will charge or power anything which connects to USB.
Voidstar Lab describes itself as The Mercenary Hardware Hacker Agency, is based near NYC and specializes in rapidly developing cutting-edge hardware and Glassware.
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