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Meet tindie, Marketplace Place for Open Hardware Makers

You might have heard about tindie if you’re familiar with reddit.com/r/arduino, the subreddit dedicated to Arduino discussions. When Emile Petrone posted his idea of an online marketplace for hardware hobbyists, he got great feedback and decided to spend two weeks locked in his apartment in Portland, Oregon to develop the website and build the project.

It was four months ago, it’s now called tindie and $1,741 have been earn by the makers since the launching on June, 26th 2012. It’s not that much (as you will see it’s mostly explained by the fact that makers are regularly selling-out), but tindie’s vision and market are promising. And UI rocks.

Most popular items sold on tindie at the moment

On tindie, you’ll find open hardware kits, electronic parts and finished products. Some are open, some are not. If you’re a maker, you may be interested to sell your creations on it.

Emile Petrone, founder of tindie, accepted to answer a few questions for MakingSociety.

MakingSociety: Can you present yourself in a few words and what’s your interest for open hardware?

I’m a Web Engineer and have always been interested in working on hardware. I made tindie as a way to support people doing interesting projects while also learning myself. And fortunately, that has been what happened. Right now I have a Stella Amp Kit that I can’t wait to build.

Tindie is a marketplace for open hardware projects. Is it a requirement? (for example, can I sell an item made with Arduino but not sharing any source code or documentation?) How do you verify?

Tindie is a totally open marketplace for anyone to buy & sell their own gadgets, kits and parts.  You could sell a gadget without releasing the source code & docs, however there are gadgets with the source code included. Over time, this will become a more prominent part of the site.

Since the opening, how many makers sold their items? What are the best-sellers so far? Any trend that you would like to share?

Since launching on June 26, 2012, over $1,400 has been spent & sent to makers around the world. The best selling item so far has been PiSinks, a copper heat sink kit for Raspberry Pis. That was something that has shocked me. Interest in anything Raspberry Pi has been tremendous.

PiSinks, the copper heat sink kit for Rasberry Pi, best-seller on tindie.com. Credit: Ellisgl

Is tindie focusing mostly on electronics hobbyists or do you plan on open it also to industrial designers for example?

Industrial designers will be very important for tindie. Over time, I expect more and more finished gadgets will appear on the site with industrial designers behind them.  We are really at the beginning of a new era for electronics. Parts are cheap enough for anyone to build almost anything. tindie will be a place for makers to sell their gadgets, but industrial design will play a big role in making the best projects successful. We are already seeing this in Kickstarter projects. The successful ones are an innovative piece of technology paired with a beautiful, functional design.

ExpeditInvaders DIY Kit, an IKEA hack playing with Arduino and LEDs, sold by Neophob on tindie.com.

You developed tindie in 2 weeks after getting feedbacks from sub-Reddit Arduino. How do you keep working with the commnunity now that the website is online?

The tindie community has been fantastic. Every day I get emails, tweets or posts to the feedback forum with ideas for the site. I post my email publicly on the site. If you have an idea or feedback, just let me know! emile(at)tindie(dot)com

What kind of help do you need now? What are your next steps/projects with tindie?

Right now, tindie really just needs more gadgets, kits & parts. Projects are selling out each week – sometimes multiple times over! So my focus right now, is talking to makers and helping them list their projects.

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