We covered social networking site Yuniti back in 2007, and the team has since launched Vendalism, a new online classifieds and auction site that’s completely free, allows you to cross-post with craigslist, and is integrated with PayPal and Google Wallet. We caught up with Marcos Boyington, co-founder, to get the scoop on the new venture.
How’d you come up with the name Vendalism?
We were throwing names around, and my mom actually is the one that brought up Vendalism, a play on the word “vandalism” using a combination of the word “vend” and the word “capitalism.” It sounded catchy and was easy to remember, so we went with it.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started Vendalism in 2008, after leaving Electronic Arts to work on Yuniti full-time. When I saw that social networking was a tough field to compete in and with Facebook catching speed, I decided to try something else.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
It’s the same struggle we’ve always gone through, and are still going through: getting noticed. There’s a lot of junk on the web, a lot of scams, a lot of not-so-well-written software. Setting yourself apart from all the noise is very difficult.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
To just keep trying. I don’t think there’s ever been a moment working on yuniti/vendalism which I didn’t deal with frustration – every passing day of our site not taking off quite as quickly as we hoped can be quite frustrating, but we just keep trying.
What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumpin’ away to house music or is it more traditional?
It’s definitely not traditional – you could say we had a moving office for a large majority of the time. Much of the work I did on vendalism was while in Canada with my then-girlfriend (now my wife), and then in Brazil (where I’m originally from), before coming back to California (after running out of funds) and doing more work on it here.
My brother also did some moving around, though somewhat in reverse – while I was in Canada and Brazil he was here in California, and these days he’s in Brazil. As far as each of our environments go, it’s mostly just us in our room staring at code on a computer screen, with google talk windows so we can communicate.
How do you picture the company in 5 years?
We see ourselves as the next craigslist. So, in 5 years, we hope our vision becomes a reality – in terms of active users as well as employees and infrastructure.
Who or what inspires YOU?
This is going to sound really weird – but these days the main things that inspire me are freedom, helping others, and code. Let me explain all 3:
I don’t mean the “American freedom” type of freedom – I mean just the freedom to do the things I love when I want to. I don’t think my personality works very well “taking orders from the man”, and I am much happier when I have the freedom to make my own choices. I don’t like ordering people around, either – I like cooperating and working with others, just not being told what to do.
Also the freedom to just take time for myself – I have an 18-month old, and it’d be great to spend as much time with him as humanly possible.
Helping others: it seems like a lot of people who “make it” simply forget where they came from, and how difficult it was. I vow to never do the same. There’s a lot of people with great ideas and a lot of talent, who simply never get it to take off because they haven’t had the right circumstances (poor family, bad neighborhood, etc.) – I’ve met a few of them on my path, and if I ever made it big enough to where I don’t have to worry about myself anymore, I’d like to help those people to take their abilities and talents to the next level.
Lastly, code. I love coding, and few inanimate things make me happy like coding (especially C# – I really love the language). That was one of my primary inspirations at the start – I’d just sit down and start coding, and in no time at all components were written and the day had flown by.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Mostly self-funding. To be honest, it has had very little funding. I’ve thought about going after VC funding, but I suppose I just wanted to try it out on my own first.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I’d get a place in my hometown of Florianopolis (in Brazil), a couple of blocks from one of the beautiful beaches there (there are many). I’d spend the entire time hanging out with my family, on the beach – it would be awesome (and honestly, if vendalism were to take off, this would be the first thing I’d do heh). That’s in the summer – in the winter, it gets chilly, so no beaches – I’d instead spend my time playing card games with my family and a couple of video games with my brother (nostalgia – we’ve always played star wars & squaresoft RPG’s together).
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
I don’t consider myself successful – but I do consider myself having taken a good swing at it. If one of my ideas were to take off to the point where I could pay mine and my brother’s wage (it doesn’t have to be lavish living, either – just enough to pay the bills and not go in the hole), I would consider myself successful.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Contacts & Calendar on Android – it’s great having a single list of all my contacts no matter where I go, and without calendar I think I’d forget just about everything.
What’s the greatest thing about venadlism?
There’s 2 main ones: it has a lot of the features you find on eBay (auctions, user feedback, etc.) except it’s free. And cross-posting to craigslist
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Google+ is probably the easiest way to get in touch with me.
Thanks Marcus! Check out Vendalism to get a new kind of online shopping and auction fix.