“The best things happen when crazy people believe in crazy things and slightly less crazy, but more experienced people try to guide them,” says Sahil Lavingia. And this would have been just another quotable sentence if not for Lavingia being the latest buzz generating person in the tech world. He could be the next Zuckerberg, Karp or Wong, all of whom were young college dropouts making money and history by designing new technology. At age 19, after quitting USC to make money instead of paying tuition, Lavingia went to work for Pinterest then left to work on his own venture, Gumroad. The point behind Gumroad is to make selling as easy as sharing. “The selling model is prime for disruption,” said he, noting that the in the current Internet marketplace, sharing is easy but selling is hard. Meanwhile, investors are flocking to put money into this new venture.
Sahil Lavingia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to Lavingia, who has been building “cool things” since he was 13, he never aimed to own a company but rather to build stuff. As a result, he was in the middle of building something when Gumroad came along. One Friday night just over a year ago, Lavingia spent hours designing a photo-realistic pencil icon. Then he wanted to sell the icon and that’s where the path to Gumroad began. Selling wasn’t easy. There was the marketplace model or the personal website model. There had to be a better way, he thought. But that better way didn’t exist, so he built it and now he hopes everyone will come around to thinking that selling online should be as easy as sharing online. Gumroad’s model is to convert social networks into marketplaces. And he still believes that every successful product is a solution to a problem.