How The Best Things Happen When Crazy People Believe In Crazy Things
Ever wonder if your hundreds of Facebook friends or Twitter followers might be interested in buying a copy of that short story you just wrote, the iOS game you’re working on, or the album you recorded on your laptop? Sahil Lavingia certainly believes so and his company Gumroad makes it as simple as sending your social media contacts a short URL in order that they make that purchase. Your personal online store is here thanks to Sahil. Done.
We previously covered Gumroad, here, but we thought it was time to check back in and get the story about the man behind the success.
“Kids build great things”
After living in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New York, Lavingia decided it was time to head to Silicon Valley to make things happen. Lavingnia dropped out of The University of Southern California at the age of 19 to become the principle designer on the founding team of Pinterest. He then went on to work on the Turntable.fm app as well as co-founding the file sharing site Crate. Then, it occurred to him one weekend that it would be cool to be able to send his friends a link that had a payment system built into it. That simple idea lead him to creating Gumroad.
Sounds straightforward enough, right? Reflecting on Gumroad, he says “Kids build great things. You almost need to be inexperienced and ignorant to be successful.” Words of wisdom from someone who at the age of 14 bought a video streaming website for $400.00 USD and after generating sufficient traffic, turned around and sold it for $10,000 USD.
“Crazy people believe in crazy things”
As the principle designer at Pinterest, he already had made enough investor contacts so when his idea for Gumroad occurred to him, it was a matter of gauging his contacts’ interests. They were very interested and in fact he says it was his young age that helped him garner interest. About his idea he says, “The best things happen when crazy people believe in crazy things and slightly less crazy, more experienced people try to guide them.”
One such believer and guide is Josh Elman of venture capital fund Greylock. A principal investor, he sees in Lavingia a creative mind who is solving the issue of selling digital goods in a much more efficient manner.
Link it, Send it
Although Lavingia had been successful in technology he’s quick to point out that it’s not money that he wants. Neither is he obsessed with being the founder of the next hot company. Rather, he’s more interested in authenticity and having fun. Reflecting on his experience before founding Gumroad he says, “I soon got bored of it because I do not think it was world-changing. And, I want to change the world.”
Lavingia has been involved in many companies in his short and successful career but it looks like Gumroad is his passion. He’s happy knowing that he’s provided a way for selling goods and that it’s as easy as making them. As the founder of Gumroad, he believes it’s important to want to build “cool stuff.” That’s an attitude that I think we can all support. Whether you’re coding the next hit mobile game, writing a historical fiction novel, or recording your head nod inducing album in Garageband, Lavingia wants you to know that selling it has now become as easy as clicking it and sending it.