If you’re looking for a cool gift ideas, Dude! I Want That! may be what you need, especially if you just sold your company and are rolling in the dollars, Steve Jobs style. If that’s case, 1) congrats! and 2) you have some serious shopping to do.
I’m being a little facetious, but founder Ryan Carstens admits that the products that make it to his site aren’t necessarily things that he thinks you’re going to by: they earn their spot by being awesome. The site aims to be the go-to spot for “everything from the slick to the sick.” Products range from underground parking for your driveway to glow stones that you can mix into concrete to create an awesome glow in the dark pathway.
(That one, by the way, I totally sent to my dad as soon as I saw it. He’s a little… how should I say this… obsessed with things that glow in the dark. Needless to say, he was pleased.)
Fouder Ryan Carstens is a huge fan of Howard Stern and his answers to our interview questions definitely reflect that. Warning: I got more than one funny look when I burst out laughing in my office while reading this.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Generally, I suck at naming things. It’s not that I can’t think of ironic, fantasy football hall of fame names (see: Kyle Orton Hears a Who) it’s that I can’t think of them when I’m getting ready to sign the papers, or buy the domain name, so I just go with something relatively mundane. Though, I feel Dude I Want That, is somewhat apropos, and I’m pretty happy with it.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Something completely unrelated to work. This theme seems to continue throughout the day. I work from home, more specifically, from my couch, so it’s essentially a battle of me vs. distractions most of the time.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started the company as the Lone Ranger, and have since hired a Tonto, also referred to as my little sister.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
My very first startup, which I won’t mention here, actually became an incredibly popular social network and one of the precursors to Myspace and Facebook. Back then, circa 2001, the challenges were largely from a technical standpoint and figuring out a way to actually make money. Online display advertising hadn’t really “popped” yet so I had to start charging for memberships. This of course ultimately led to the downfall of the website.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
I let it bottle up inside like any normal heterosexual male until I explode at some lady on her cell phone who drifts into my lane without a hint of acknowledgement to what she’s done.
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?
Uh… Picture a sectional couch from The Pottery Barn, a coffee table and a 60-inch flat screen TV just sitting in the middle of the room. I don’t even know what house music is. That always seemed confusing to me. Literally, it seems like any music I play would be house music, though still, I rarely listen to music while working, so, no, I’m not “bumpin’ away” to house music. I usually have Stern streaming on my computer and Sportscenter on the TV.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I could see this particular site going in any number of directions. I think the natural progression is to move from the middle man and start selling unique products of our own. That’s where I’d like to be
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food? Give us the deets, dude!
I think inspirational quotes are ridiculous. Role models… I think Howard Stern fits the bill, but I wouldn’t really describe anyone as someone I’ve modeled my life after. I think I pick and choose qualities I admire from different people and add them to my repertoire.
As for hobbies… I’m into keeping myself in good shape and eating very healthy unless I’m hungover, in which case that completely goes out the window. I’d say I eat healthy 2 days out of the week.
How’d you fund this venture?
It didn’t really cost anything to start. I’ve had the basic infrastructure in place to build and run websites for the last 10 years. It was just a matter of coding a robust backend system and designing the actual website. I hate using canned 3rd party solutions like WordPress to make sites. It’s kind of cheating isn’t it? I like being able to say I designed and coded every aspect of my sites. From scratch. Plus, I have the ultimate flexibility to do whatever I want creatively this way.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your current startup / projects)?
I would definitely gamble it. I mean that’s the conservative answer. Drugs and hookers come to mind as well, but I think that’s a bit irresponsible. Gambling at least yields a 99% return on every dollar if you’re playing blackjack strictly by the book.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Successful? No. I’ve screwed up almost every successful project in one way or another. I’ve done ok, but bad decisions, complacency or women always end up sabotaging things. It’s usually women.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
TMZ.com. I need the deetz on what these celebrities are doing. I need to know where they are going, what they are wearing, what they are saying. I need to know this stuff.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
I don’t use my phone for anything except sending people text messages and not dropping.
Dogs or cats?
In a fight? Dogs.
iOS or Android?
Android. Buy Google stock now. It’s not too late. Disclosure: Ryan has Google stock in his portfolio. <– Ryan wrote this.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
I want to visit Japan because I feel like I would be a giant in that country.
Personal blog? Any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
I’m currently working on a new travel site that will launch very soon. You can check it out at Oh The Places To Go.
Courtesy of the startup founder | DudeIWantThat