Comments: 658 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Willmus202 karma

The good ole' Reddit DDOS. I'll check back later

pomel95 karma

A bear hug that kills you with a smile.

RiukBlackblade2 karma

And that is why we cant have nice things around here =[

emilepetrone2 karma

Its ok.. fail and learn.. we now know what to do for next time :)

emilepetrone46 karma

Sorry about that! It's coming back up now

[deleted]5 karma


emilepetrone2 karma

4 XL's on EC2

twistedcain1 karma

On a startup, seems insane to try to setup your own servers when you could setup on an Amazon EC2 for practically nothing. Your M1 Medium not cutting it, take your server image and set it up on a M3 Double Extra Large Instance with 30 GiB of memory and 26 EC2 Compute Units in 10-15 minutes. Better yet, start it on a M3 Double and then scale back as needed. Why am I slaving away at a 9 to 5 and this guy gets 500k to do a startup :(

emilepetrone4 karma

Good question, we are hiring and are on AWS. Sounds like you're what we need.. emile(at)tindie(dot)com

WhyAmINotStudying17 karma

I wonder how many of us won't. It's kind of poor planning making a big marketing move like this and not notifying your web host that you're expecting a big surge of traffic.

skadamat32 karma

Lol he is the web host. They're probably using Amazon Web Services or some other cloud setup. The OP himself would be responsible for putting in load balancers & ensuring that the site scales with traffic. At the same time, it's a great lesson learned, occasional failure is a good thing :)

Griffun10 karma

Occasional failure is fine and all, but not during the site's biggest potential day of traffic. For every minute that the site is down, dollars are being lost, and this could be a key difference in the success of the company.

With that being said, I hope the site comes back up soon so I can nerd out.

emilepetrone10 karma

Good points. The two mistakes I made were not planning for this to succeed (at this scale), and not acting on that plan. Lessons were learned so we'll be ready next time. We have some things coming out next month- so round #2 in a few weeks.

emilepetrone3 karma

Yep AWS, and lesson was definitely learned.

ToiletNinjas25 karma

Well you can never tell if an AMA is going to actually take off or not. Also have to figure at least some of the people who post AMAs are fully aware of the possible traffic surge, warn their host, and get crashed ANYWAY. An AMA could attract anywhere from dozens to hundreds of thousands of visitors and there's really no way to predict it in advance. How much money do you spend renting extra server space and beefing up your infrastructure for an AMA that might generate 250 hits and 36 upvotes over 8 hours? There's no need to sneer at how people handle these, it's not exactly simple.

emilepetrone11 karma

Exactly - this was done on a whim, and well we got caught because of it. Thanks for your support!

Willmus7 karma

That exact thought goes through my head each time a site gets nuked. I'll be a good and bookmark it, maybe Santa will swap me out of the naughty list. Fuck coal.

emilepetrone2 karma

Thanks Willmus! We are live now, also do not want you to get coal

emilepetrone3 karma

In hindsight, you are right. I wasn't expecting it to actually get much traffic. But lesson learned - and we won't make this mistake next time.

compoundsyntax6 karma

Looks like 502 of their gateways are bad. Might take a while to replace them all.

emilepetrone3 karma

Yeah it did, but we are back up!

CelloVerp2 karma

Glad we could help beta test your servers. :-) I'd love to see the site though - sounds interesting.

emilepetrone2 karma

Thanks Cello, we are back up!

FortesFortunaJuvat108 karma

I've never understood why funded start-ups get so much money -- what do you need it for, and how (roughly) do you plan to use it? Thanks.

emilepetrone175 karma

First and foremost salaries, health insurance, basic business expenses (servers, designers, travel etc). Having worked at 4 funded startups before this, most have to raise other rounds to hire more people as the business scales and you have to hire more.

EDIT: Some think this was a "sneer" sorry if it came across that way! Realistically this lasts a year at most - 18 months. Seed round should let you fully test the concept and if the business actually can grow to a much larger scale. I'm sorry if that answer sounds like it was anything but a sincere answer.

WhyAmINotStudying124 karma

Don't answer questions. Get on the phone and get your damned site up. You're missing a huge marketing opportunity here.

emilepetrone125 karma

Oh I'm working the phones like i'm in Glengarry Glen Ross...working on bringing it back up

shortchangehero55 karma

the leads are weak, man.

Zombie_Cop51 karma

The leads are weak? You're weak.

sithknight117 karma

You fuckin child. Who told you you could work with men? You are here......... to HELP US... does that seem clear to you? That's your job... To help us, not to fuck us up... to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living... You fairy! You company man!

travisthefairy9 karma

As a fairy, I know how he feels. The Speech

emilepetrone3 karma


WhyAmINotStudying22 karma

Good man and good luck. I suppose I'm just annoyed because I really want to check out what you've done and I really want this to succeed.

emilepetrone15 karma

It's coming back up now sorry about the down time!

cheungster16 karma

please hurry. my attention span is very short!

emilepetrone2 karma

Ahhh back up! Did we make it in time?

Italian_Barrel_Roll8 karma

I think the downtime on your site is the best response to why start-ups need money.

emilepetrone7 karma


scenerio6 karma

It's called free advertising

*OHHHH You meant the site is ACTUALLY down.... nevermind then.

I'll still go back, not really that big of a deal, sites go down all the time

subtle_mistakes20 karma

Free advertising for what? If the site doesn't work now, chances are I won't remember to come back

emilepetrone12 karma

Tindie is coming back up. hopefully you'll give us a second chance! Sorry about the down time!

dzubz6 karma

Great, now he's gone.

emilepetrone10 karma

Nope I'm here. Edited my answer to add more context.

Splike67 karma

Looks like you need to invest a little more in servers

emilepetrone58 karma

You got that right!

rudolfs_padded_cell13 karma

Am I to understand this that the website is down due to reddit traffic?

Because I see no

Reutan27 karma

The friendliest ddos.

retinarow29 karma


BucketsMcGaughey10 karma

$500k won't last you very long at all. Staff costs alone will burn through that in a matter of a few months, and there's all manner of setup costs and overheads on top of that.

emilepetrone34 karma

$500k isn't supposed to last years - realistically one year to 18 months.

Salacious-50 karma

How did you find funding? I've always been curious about how that process works. Do you just call up random venture capitalist firms, or what?

emilepetrone55 karma

Good question. My experience may have been a bit atypical, but it was all through meeting people who introduced me to more people until I met my investors. I wouldn't say 'networking' because I wasn't trying to find investors. I was just meeting people, and then it would become - "You should talk to..." I didn't have a formal pitch or slide presentation. It was all through casual conversation.

To hear what my investors thought, they both wrote blog posts on the investment.

Solomaxwell682 karma

I was just meeting people, and then it would become - "You should talk to..." I didn't have a formal pitch or slide presentation. It was all through casual conversation.

That is exactly what networking is.

emilepetrone28 karma

I wasn't actively trying to connect with person X & Y. Yes it was casual networking but there wasn't a motive. I think of 'networking' as people hunting for another person with an agenda..but I could be wrong..

minauteur37 karma

Firstly, Congrats! CONTEXT: I currently work in corporate sales from 9am-6pm every day, and then come home and work on my web/media start-up pipe dream from 7pm-3am or so every night. It's tiring, but I'm also excited, because I feel like I am at least moving in the right direction. QUESTION: Was there a time during the process that you led two lives? When did you know that your original job wasn't just supporting some "habit"?

emilepetrone47 karma

Thanks! I used to do sales at another startup/web company, so I know how you feel very well. The short answer is yes, definitely from June to Sept when sales were doubling month over month. I was also burning the candle at both ends.

The longer answer is that I've been working on startups for 6+ years- sales, support, developer outreach, and most recently engineering. Throughout that time frame I was picking up bits and pieces along the way. Throughout that period, I felt like I was living two lives. Working the day job, tinkering on the side, but really learning. I had ideas throughout that stretch I was working on which ultimately failed or never even got far enough to get off the ground.

The one piece of advice I'd give you or anyone interested in starting a web company, learn to code. I took a year off and taught myself. I'm no where near a great engineer but now we are two years later, I was at the point to be an engineer during the day, and build Tindie in the mornings and nights.

The benefits are vast from having a better understanding of the technology that goes into a website, the thought process around building a feature, and the fact you can build your idea, throw it out there and if people like it, great! If not, you didn't lose $x,000 hiring someone else. Twice before I've paid other people to build my ideas- both failed miserably. Learn from my mistake.

Circling back to your second question, you never know if you'll take off or not. I think if you have the bug, you keep trying. In that way it is a habit. Try, fail, learn and try again. Once you've made a mistake once, hopefully you won't repeat it and therefore you are further along for your next idea.

wangotango2215 karma

What's your favorite product on the site?

shumire14 karma

How many people run your website on a daily basis?

emilepetrone17 karma

It was just me up until October. Thats when I brought on 2 contractor friends, and last month the first hire - so max 4, most days 2 or 3 of us are hacking away.

atechnicnate14 karma

How long do you think it will be before your site is back up? Apparently reddit has once again broke a site.

atechnicnate8 karma

Ah yeah, love me some strongbad.

emilepetrone2 karma

My high school chemistry teacher introduced me to strongbad. best class in high school

emilepetrone2 karma

Back up!

nootropic12 karma

Doesn't it bother you being owned by your investors? People need to remember that when you get funding, it's not free money. Your investors are looking for their (profitable) exit. How do you feel about all that?

[deleted]4 karma


emilepetrone2 karma


generated10 karma


emilepetrone17 karma

Yep bringing it back up now

cornponious9 karma

How are you paying yourself and others who work for you? Quitting a job for something like this seems a bit scary.

emilepetrone15 karma

Yes, with the funding, we have salaries and are hiring for a Python/django dev! PM me if you are interested!

devinclark6 karma

It appears we've crashed the site...

emilepetrone11 karma

Yes yes you did. Bringing it back up

bebop13376 karma

Great concept idea, congratulations on the funding! Have you done any type of market research/ niche market expansionary issues that you might run into or was this an idea that you just dived right into?

emilepetrone8 karma

Thanks! and nope, I didn't do any market research. I was interested in learning about hardware hacking, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc and I felt like other people were also interested. At a high level, I just figured there are more and more people getting jazzed about making electronics, and that's why I just posted the question. I had no idea, so I asked the community and went from there. I didn't expect it to become a business at all. I just saw it as a learning experience and something to have fun with.

RenaissanceEngineer5 karma

As a seller on the site, I have to say - tindie is great! Emile also did an interview with my friends The Tymkrs on their podcast Zombie Tech.

emilepetrone2 karma


mavensbot4 karma

Have you looked into using bitcoins as a payment method?

emilepetrone2 karma

Yes. Because of we process payments and distribute funds to sellers it would be a bit tricky right now. Trying to not add more complexity than we need to right now..

dustin19704 karma

[Confirmed OP is who he says he is.] Marketing my own products seems to be my biggest challenge right now. Do you have any plans for marketing beyond just trying to be awesome and get in the press?

emilepetrone2 karma

Thanks Dustin! Short answer yes. Longer answer, check back in a few weeks.. :)

cptbownz3 karma

Why would anyone need a robot that plays angry birds?

emilepetrone2 karma

The other thing is you can use it for mobile app testing. Program it to run through a suite of tests..

statsisi3 karma

Are you going to offer "how-to" guides?

What is your price structure going to be like? Are you going to skim off the top from sales or charge the people that post their goods?

emilepetrone4 karma

It's a good idea. Have any more ideas on what you'd like to see?

5% of each transaction (with a minimum of $1). We only make money when a seller makes money.

mastigia3 karma

Well, this was one way to test your servers.

emilepetrone4 karma

You got that right!

Zhandaly2 karma

No question, I just wanted to say that I used the Arduino when (re)learning to program in my introductory level engineering course. I think it's a really neat device, and I'm glad to see that it's being used outside of classrooms to do really innovative things. Great job with tindie, and I wish you the best of luck with the site!

emilepetrone3 karma

Thanks! Good luck to you too!

teslator2 karma

note to self: walk over to his house (almost across the street) and bang on the door, tell him to get his servers up. :D

emilepetrone2 karma

really?! in NW?

rebmem2 karma

Sorry if you've answered this already or don't want to for privacy reasons, but what's your background? What college (if any), degree, or job did you have before working in startups? I ask as a college student interested in working with startups after graduation.

emilepetrone2 karma

Political Science degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Account Executive at Yelp
  • All around sales at Redbeacon
  • (took year off to learn to code)
  • Developer Advocate at SimpleGeo
  • Engineer at Urban Airship

michaeld02 karma

While I understand its nice for privacy and security why does the entire site redirect to https? Wouldn't it be less load on the servers to only use it when needed.

emilepetrone2 karma

Yes, you are right

wiredw0lf2 karma

Why can't I get on your website from my phone?

emilepetrone2 karma

Good question, the site was down for a bit, but should be running fine now

tt_frog2 karma

I have a legitimate idea for a start-up. Do you have a good resource for helping me figure out where to start? The process? How to go about getting funding? Thanks...and congrats!

emilepetrone2 karma

Cool! Without knowing the idea/audience/your background, ultimately it will depend upon getting it built, out in the wild and iterate as people give you feedback. If you are growing and in a growing market, the investors will find you.

bigocaprice2 karma

Saw someone asked this above but it wasn't answered. What resources did you use to learn to code? Thanks!

emilepetrone3 karma

Started with "learn python the hard way" progressed to Google App Engine and Django. Basically learn the basics and start building. You'll learn the gaps as you go.

anonymeowz2 karma

Are you hiring for any positions? I'm currently living in NYC, but I'm in desperate need of a job. It would be awesome to work with a tech startup.

emilepetrone2 karma

I am - do you know python/django?

rigelsrevenge2 karma

Is there any obligation to spend the funding on certain stuff? Or can you more or less do whatever you want with it?

emilepetrone2 karma

Nope I can spend it on whatever I want. It's money in the company bank account.

Carnephex2 karma

Off topic, I think your site is getting hosed. Can't connect.

I fear for the slag that used to be your network switch. lol

On topic:

What type of categories are you offering on there?

emilepetrone2 karma

Back up! As far as categories, anything from Audio (synths) to plant monitors. Really a wide range

Pibborn2 karma

Did you start this AMA knowing that we would have friendly-DDOSed your site?

emilepetrone2 karma

Nope, had I known we'd have planned a bit more :)

Qkix2 karma

Congratulations! Is $500k going to be enough?

Where did you come up with the name?

emilepetrone3 karma

Thanks! Not forever.. should last 12 -18 months. Tindie came from 'indie tech' - tech indie..tindie

JohnS_AZ2 karma

@tindie just tweeted: "Still working on bringing the site back up. Will answer every question on Reddit once this is fixed."

emilepetrone2 karma

Yep still answering..

AndrewTindall2 karma

Tindie is what some people call me when they're drunk and being overly friendly.

emilepetrone2 karma

You sound like a legend.

Aiken_Drumn1 karma

Link to the original question on /r/Arduino?

putbunnybackinbox1 karma

Did you have previous start-up knowledge before going into Tindie and in this case how did you work out ownership/equity with your investors?

Also as a long punt question - do you have any experience or advice about how you divide up a company and give shares/control if there are a number of people working for free until it has a value?

emilepetrone3 karma

Yes I did -

  • Account Executive at Yelp
  • All around sales at Redbeacon
  • (took year off to learn to code)
  • Developer Advocate at SimpleGeo
  • Engineer at Urban Airship

Equity depends on how you structure the funding. You'll want to look up startup funding on quora or some info site that can tell you more about the overall landscape.

I don't. Since I started Tindie by myself, that was easy. Once you have other employees you can find breakdowns on equity by position & what stage the company is at also on Quora. Do some digging on there. You'll be blown away with the info you find (its a gold mind).

LadyJiggles1 karma

Looked through all the posts and couldn't find it, but what exactly is Tindie? Of course the site is down so I can't look at it myself and find out.

On another note, AMAs always bother me when they don't explicitly state what they do or who they are. I rarely recognize big names, but I will usually recognize a role they played or something they did/wrote. I've probably missed out on a lot of awesome AMAs. :(

emilepetrone3 karma

Good question - we are a marketplace for maker products that are tech related (the flip side to Etsy). Homemade chips, boards, robots, tech gear, etc.

And I don't have a big name - something about this AMA struck a cord and I'm just trying to keep up!

Googlepreneur1 karma

What other types of startups did you work for? Would you recomend working for a start up for young/new entrepreneurs?

emilepetrone3 karma

  • Account Executive at Yelp (IPO)
  • All around sales at Redbeacon (Acquired by Home Depot)
  • (took year off to learn to code)
  • Developer Advocate at SimpleGeo (Acquired by Urban Airship)
  • Engineer at Urban Airship

If you want to learn how to build a startup, pack up your things and move to Silicon Valley. Make it work. In the long run, it will pay off.

thetopthrow1 karma

What are your biggest challenges with supporting your platform? How do you envision your company in 5 years?

emilepetrone2 karma

Answering in order:

Your first question is the toughest. I translate that to growth. How do you grow a website? You don't know until you've done it...I'm in the middle of doing it.

I have ideas but you never know. I take it one week at a time. Literally checking data multiple times a day, and looking at trends on a weekly level.

Beta_UserName1 karma

I would love to check out your service but the facebook requirement is keeping me back. Please let us all know if you decide to drop that (required) authentication method.

emilepetrone3 karma

Hmm we actually don't have a facebook requirement- or any integration with the FB api..