1. Hello Ryan, Thank you so much for accepting this interview with us! Tell us about Gumroad, what is it, how does it work?
Absolutely, Sarina — great to chat with you. Gumroad is a platform that makes it really simple to buy and sell things online. We want to make it as easy to sell content as it is to share content.
2. Who are Gumroad’s potential users? What is the minimum requirements to start using it?
Potential Gumroad users are really anyone who’s creating content. Everyone from independent authors and filmmakers to superstars. Authors like Nathan Barry, to software developers like CSSHat, to Grammy-nominated artists like Wiz Khalifa have all used Gumroad. We make it really simple to dive in — it takes less than 90 seconds to start selling, so there’s really no minimum requirements to get started (besides something to sell!).
3. I read in your website “If you can share it, you can sell it”, tell me more about this connection between Social Media and sales.
Great question. Social media has given us a super powerful channel to connect with our audience — it’s changed the game for communication on the web. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have totally democratized our ability to communicate with people online. Now, we can literally communicate with anyone we want, and influencers — artists, filmmakers, authors, designers, programmers, etc. — can communicate directly with us, their fans and followers. It’s clear that the next step here is the ability to sell directly to this audience, and that’s what we’re building.
4. Does Gumroad promotes its user’s products to people outside the user’s Social Networks?
We do a little bit of this — we have a @BestofGumroad Twitter feed, and we feature some of the best products being sold on our home page at Gumroad.com — but we don’t want to become a destination site. We want you to feel like you’re buying directly from the seller, not from Gumroad. That being said, we’re working on some really creative stuff that’ll help give sellers exposure beyond their existing channels and networks — stuff that I’m really excited about.
5. I know you just launched your Gumroad, but do you have any success story you would like to share with us?
Absolutely! Last week we worked with Coldplay’s team on a really cool project — they’re selling artwork from their Mylo Xyloto album, with all the proceed going to charity. They’re one of my favorite bands, so that was exciting. As far as other major artists, we’ve done stuff with Ellie Goulding, Girl Talk, Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, David Banner, and several others.
One of my favorite use cases, actually, is from Nathan Barry — an author that I mentioned earlier. He had a relatively small following — I think around 800 Twitter followers — when he released his App Design Handbook on Gumroad, but he did an incredible job with the launch and made $12k+ in the first day and has made tens of thousands since then. These are the stories that get me really excited — seeing independent content creators being super successful and making lots of money off their work.
6. Is their any specific niche or industry for which you see Gumroad being a great platform to use?
The four biggest verticals for us are eBooks, music, film, and software. I honestly think each of these will huge, but they’ll grow at different paces — some more organic than others. Most of my time is spent in the entertainment industry right now — mostly music and film — but we’re making an even bigger push into the eBooks/publishing space, and will be focusing on that a lot in the coming months. The most organic vertical is definitely software — Photoshop plugins, WordPress themes, fonts, etc. are some of the best-selling items on Gumroad.
7. What has been the most awkward product someone has uploaded to Gumroad?
8. Tell us about how the users receive the payments, I’m sure this is the main concern and question you get from potential users.
Right now, we payout to sellers at the end of each month via their PayPal accounts. Soon, we’ll add other payout options + quicker payouts — we’re always thinking about ways we can make the experience even better for sellers, and a huge part of that is how we handle payouts.
9. What do you enjoy the most about your job? What’s the least fun part of it?
I love talking to our users. Hearing success stories from sellers who’ve made thousands of dollars, or buyers who were blown away by the experience of buying through Gumroad — it’s amazing to have a product that consistently wows people.
As far as what I like least, there’s lots of parts of working at a startup that can be challenging — we all work long hours, wear lots of hats, etc. — but when you’re building something that you think will be huge, it’s all part of what makes it amazing.
10. What’s next on how business advertise and talk to their potential customers?
We’re seeing a shift among brands towards more personal communication — and I think that’s the future. Advertising will become more and more personal, more and more tailored, and more and more effective.
Because of that, I think overall ad spending will increase, but I think ads will stop feeling like ads. Promoted trending topics on Twitter are a great example of this — they don’t feel like ads, but they’re one of the most valuable ad units on the web right now.
11. What is your vision of Gumroad’s future?
Our vision for Gumroad is to empower anyone who’s creating content — from Grammy-winnning artists to indie authors — to sell what they make directly to their audience in a way that’s simple, beautiful, and profitable for them.
We want content creators to focus on creating amazing content, and not have to worry about figuring out how to sell it. We want buyers to feel like they’re buying straight from the artist, filmmaker, or author — not from some third party intermediary. Ultimately, we want to change the way people buy and sell things across the Internet.
12. Gumroad team is made out of young entrepreneur guys like you. Do you have one particular golden rule that you follow for everything and would advise others to do likewise?
We only care about what our users care about. If there’s a toss up between which new features to work on, we always work on whichever will add the most value for our users.
If something’s confusing to our users, but we think it’s perfectly clear, we change it. It’s hard sometimes, because there’s cool features you can work on and fancy ways to build UI’s — but if it doesn’t make it easier to buy or sell on Gumroad, it doesn’t really matter. No matter what you’re building, my advice is always to focus on your users and build for them — not your team, your investors, or the press. It’s hard sometimes, but ultimately it’s your users what will make you successful, not anyone else.
Thank you Ryan so much for your time and patience. it has been very interesting learning about Gumroad.
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