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Robert Scoble

Rackspace's Futurist helps small teams have a huge impact with cloud computing technology.

Former designer of Pinterest now lets you sell stuff on a link

February 23, 2012 100 comments 311 shares 425 plus ones
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Every once in a while I meet an entrepreneur who just hits you as brilliant. Yesterday that happened to me when +Sahil Lavingia walked into my office. He was one of the first employees at Pinterest (was a designer there) and now has started

I had no idea who had invested in him, but remembered the words of Ron Conway (investor in Google) that once in a while you'll meet a born entrepreneur. Funny enough that Ron and other great investors like +Chris Sacca (investor in Twitter) have invested in his company.

What does it do? Let's you sell virtual things with just a link. Sounds simple, huh? But it's not and listening to Sahil I'm getting that feeling. The feeling that he'll change the world.

Hope you enjoy this conversation.


Join the discussion
tammy jones February 28, 2012

wired but ok

Szabolcs Feczak February 27, 2012

+Robert Scoble I do not see why is this so fantastic. The difference between and the later one even created the preview for me, and integrates with google as well, not just twitter and FB ... Paypal charges 2.4% + $0.30 AUD gumroad takes 5% + $0.30 in the video there was an idea about aligning interests, well my interest is a lower fee. Im not sure what is the business model of checkthis, the have to make money somehow as well eventually though ...

Tricia Heriz-Smith February 27, 2012

I love this guy's thinking. Thanks for the interview. Gumroad sounds like a good way to donate to charity too .... I wonder if any of the charities have thought of it?

Luigi Centenaro February 26, 2012

I am sure Sahil is ok and supercool, but I wonder how people could trust entering their credit card numbers on such a payment form..

Josh Philips February 25, 2012

This is silly. Paypal and amazon.webstore and and everyone has done this forever.. The only difference here is that this guy had a casual involvement in a current corp fad (pinterest) and that he bothered to make some web 2.0 stylesheets for his button. Please don't give this more credit than is due.

Tung Ten Yong February 24, 2012
Not bad...

David Jacobs February 24, 2012

I'm halfway through the video and very excited about this, just got Scobleized!

edit: It's back up.

Evan Aagaard February 23, 2012

This has been a fascinating thread to follow good arguments on both sides but what I took from it was simply this guy's alt take on how to communicate your vision to attract other believers. He may flop but he knows how to transcend his own hype. thanks for the video +Robert Scoble

Gary Libero February 23, 2012

+Jack Holt Your post just made me laugh for a good five minutes! This gumroad thing doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If I bought that pic of your dog (which I couldn't just says "a cool black and white image of a great dane) and I make that dog the logo for "the next big company", and that company goes HUGE, where does that leave you, the seller? No royalties? No recognition? No contracts? It's an online garage sale essentially. Take stuff I never use anymore "as is" and if you do something great with it, hats off to you. And bands may record 100 songs and only put 13 on an album, but those unused almost ALWAYS will be released at a later date as a "bonus edition" or "rare B-side recordings" to suck more money out of the band's fan (if they're not savvy enough to find a bit torrent for it first).

Brad Acker February 23, 2012

Jack, what a deal! I wonder if we'll make more than $1 each. Hahahahaha.

Jack Holt February 23, 2012

50-50, +Brad Acker !!

Brad Acker February 23, 2012

+Jack Holt, thanks for that link to tinypay. Tinypay seems to be implementing some of the features that Sahil was talking about wanting to do, and it may be ahead of the game because it offers charge card and PayPal processing as well as the ability to broadcast comments via Facebook seamless sharing as well as integration with google maps.

BTW, the first time i clicked on your gumroad link, it did not work. I was about to report the problem here but tried again and it worked. I purchased for $2 a beautiful photo of a great dane. Haha. Immediately after i entered my credit card number and 3 digit code and expiration date, i got a new page with a link to the photo. On that page was a tweet button, so I also shared the fact of my purchase with 14,000 twitter followers, 5500 MySpace friends, 5400 Facebook contacts, and 500+ LinkedIn contacts. Just saying, in case you make $$$hundreds of thousands$$$, please remember that i helped out with the marketing. Hahahahahahahaha. :D

Daniël Crompton February 23, 2012

+Sahil Lavingia I'm seeing the possibility of using this for escrow too.

Jack Holt February 23, 2012

+Gregory Waxman It will be interesting to see how most people end up using it. I think I like the idea of just throwing it out there and seeing what sticks

Shaina VanWagner February 23, 2012

it is to long of a videoo

Gregory Waxman February 23, 2012

+Jack Holt Yes, this might be for the lazy, but what happens when scamming becomes common and there is no way to rate people, report people, and protect people? Although to be fair it seems this would be a trivial thing to add into the system. If anything I'd think this will be an eBay on the "micro" or local level. You use it with people locally, where you are generally hand delivering it or someone is picking it up, and you want to be able to have someone pay for it without requiring cash. The alternative use is for low priced items where the risk is fairly negligible and the reward for scamming rather low too.

Jack Holt February 23, 2012

I put up a link. Anyone want to buy it and see how it works? It's a pic of my dog (couldn't think of anything else). $2 is the minimum price:

Jack Holt February 23, 2012

+Gregory Waxman The "lazy internet" comes into play here. eBay takes forever to get started to sell something. The guy is designing for his generation, who carry little about privacy, porn, malware, etc. They just want to get something done very, very fast. At least that's my take on it.

There's a similar startup at Rocket Space with us - . But I'm not sure of their traction. +Robert Scoble have you covered them?

John Tupper February 23, 2012

Thanks for the info I'll have to see if I can use this to sell some photography.

Debbie Kardash February 23, 2012

right.on mrpresident1111111

Dean Collins February 23, 2012

I setup a sale at

Does anyone see a problem with the high transaction fees? is it time to bring back BeenZ?

Its still a little beta, eg they need to offer analytics but still an interesting idea, wonder if they are going to suffer on chargebacks.

jaipal chakradhari February 23, 2012

buti doog night to

rose casanova February 23, 2012

This is awesome! This is a great interview and great product, or virtual product. Nice job.

Chad Lubrecht February 23, 2012

What's so special about the "on a link" part? Don't most online stores have links to their products? There's amazon selling stuff "on a link"

Charles Jeong February 23, 2012

I really like this idea. I think this can be a photographer's dream. Selling pictures online porn or otherwise, I definitely see a market for this company. If I could, I'd invest money to this company.
From what i see, this company will do pretty well eventually, but live only to be bought off by Google; because it will be YouTube's competitor. If not, Google will adopt this technology and start some sort of YouTube + and charge for videos; like the gag reels, or behind the scene commentaries, unpublished songs and such that Gumroad was going to be selling.
Hmm.... I wonder how this company will survive. The concept is very unique, and I had several thoughts of how I and others could use this company.
This would facilitate anyone who wants to build a porn site. Click on the movie file, and all the payment is taken care of + no hosting fee.. !
I could see colleges professors making extra money in selling their lectures via Gumroad; for those who couldn't make it to class, or by creating a second lecture of the subject in deeper depth.
And... there are people selling their awesome pictures... But aside from that, I do not see how else this site will be used.
I'm sure time will tell....

.. I wouldn't have bought that pencil for a dollar....

Harmen Hemminga February 23, 2012

Great vid +Robert Scoble! I have a lot of respect for the way +Sahil Lavingia thinks about stuff

Gio Khvitaria February 23, 2012


Heidi Anne Morris February 23, 2012

+Robert Scoble +Sahil Lavingia have you/could you integrate a G+ share button? :)

ratheesh black February 23, 2012


Johnny Milkovich February 23, 2012

Great interview smart questions engaging conversation and great answers.

Nathan Stanley February 23, 2012

what do you mean, "soon"?

Hakan ÜÇOK February 23, 2012

Sold Dark Matter for $1.-

Juan Mackie February 23, 2012

soon nothing will be free

Yoshiko Oka Wright February 23, 2012

+Sambodhi Prem One Japanese guy copied Gumroad and created Ameroad. He couldn't access to Gumroad which was too busy when it was launched. So he collected its specs from Twitter and made the test site. He already sold Ameroad for $18000 to a company in 5 days. It was kinda huge there.

Barry Stewart February 23, 2012

Refreshing to listen to an entrepreneur's mind from time to time. Hope Gumroad gets huge and their business model is embraced online more into the future. Great questions to get to the meat there +Robert Scoble

Haseeb khan February 23, 2012

good i like gmail and good enjoymint for these gmail acount thanx my all friend and best of luck gmail friend

Muhammad Ali February 23, 2012

hey bro, i have checked out the site. that great. but kindly add Google plus as well in your singup modes. there are people who dont use fb or tweeter. and also google plus is no more a negligble entity. :)

Michael Le Clech February 23, 2012

You've always been able to sell things with just a link. Hello? Amazon affiliate?

Brad Acker February 23, 2012

Fantastic interview, +Robert Scoble, with an amazing young man. Look out world if this humble and honest entrepreneur is representative of the Millennials (or whatever generation he is from). He's the type of person i want to "friend and follow forever" (and so are you, Robert).

BTW, isn't it equally as amazing to see individual "meteorites," who obviously have not done one hundredth of 1% of the work you do (based on their lack of subscribers or willingness to post or fill out their profiles), but who are so quick to criticize or to ask you to do more free work?

If individuals do not have the time to watch such wonderfully educational material like this "unedited," yet so revealing, video, maybe they intend on being stuck in their jobs, depressed, negative, and whiny forever. And I suppose the trolling critics are jealous of the hundreds of thousands of subscribers you have earned. I'm sure i speak for at least a half million people, haha, who can't thank you enough for what you do in such an unselfish way to help so many people gain more knowledge. (And i'm not trying to get anything from you — just enjoying the knowledge flow you provide and practicing being a Scoble fanboy, hahahaha!)

Jagjit Johal February 23, 2012

Yay for Honesty!

Mitz P February 23, 2012

I can see this becoming popular like Great interview Robert!

Sambodhi Prem February 23, 2012

Interesting, Google Trends says Gumroad is big in Japan.

Gregory Waxman February 23, 2012

So how is this truly better than eBay? Buyer protection, seller ratings, etc..

ansel k February 23, 2012

Brilliant! I love it.

David Quinn Carder February 23, 2012

This is the best interview I've seen, online or anywhere else, in a long time. Thanks Robert!

+mani S, pricing is 5%+30¢ per sale. Not unclear at all.

jellie jam February 23, 2012

+Joshua Bliss - good question?!

mani S February 23, 2012

its a good Idea but how much they gonna charge and other stuff unclear.

Mimi Mathieu February 23, 2012

I sure wish people would start using smart card logins. The password thing is about as secure as a 1965 coke machine... Why set yourself up to fail?

Joshua Bliss February 23, 2012

Any ideas on how to handle people selling "products" that are actually malware, etc?

Greg Miernicki February 23, 2012

Tell em to add G+ integration ;)

Praveena Sarathchandra February 23, 2012

I fear, in the future there won't be any "freebies"? But I like this idea as it sounds :)

Judih Haggai February 23, 2012

fantastic idea.

Shyam Subramanyan February 23, 2012

Pretty cool idea - the challenge, like others have already mentioned, is managing fraud and plagiarism.

Dennis D. McDonald February 23, 2012

+Aditya B I agree with you about the videos - keeping them longer is more convenient and less time consuming for the producer but much less convenient for the user which is one reason I find the increasing use of online video to be so counterproductive for me.

tammy jones February 23, 2012

i kinda like it i want it to be more colorful

Thomas West February 23, 2012

+Chris West I like the background behind this guy...

Dai Sharkey February 23, 2012

Excellent and informative ideas from a very switched on young guy. If he thinks he can do it he can have all my links to everything and make me a million bucks. I'm with you +Sahil

L. Noelle Cyree February 23, 2012

This process never explains where the money goes if you purchase it linked to paypal, or google??

Agnes Datz February 23, 2012

the devil's in the beginning just look weird. while the interveiw...... YAWN

Ernest Weke Maina February 23, 2012

Distruption 3.0. This will make Amazon out of twitter. Thanks +Robert Scoble.

Gabe Merkel February 23, 2012

eew nerds

Viktor Hesselbom February 23, 2012

Oh, and what about phony "products"? Like the descriptions says one thing and you get a .txt file saying "haha, sucker!"? Is there anyway to get your money back? Report sellers?

Greg Knieriemen February 23, 2012

+Robert Scoble This was really great - thanks for sharing. Good insight from a kid not from the valley.

Marita M February 23, 2012

I think this is a great idea with potential But some gum road links I found have no preview and it's not clear how the product is being delivered to the buyer. There isn't enough information on the site Btw the video shows a length of over 40 minutes but when I watched it it was only around 25 and the rest was a black screen. Did I get the whole interview?

Viktor Hesselbom February 23, 2012

I could only watch about 20 minutes in due to time constraint so the following issue may have been answered already but what about illegal content? I'm sure people will upload copyrighted content. I'd hate to see the same thing that happened to MegaUpload happen to this company.

I really like the idea and am most likely going to use it!

Simon Choy February 23, 2012

This is very smart, thanks for sharing. I wonder how they deal with intellectual property and plagiarism. What prevents someone from copying a recipe and selling it on Craigslist, or someone from photocopying a digital of a text book and selling it to college students., nonetheless, I'm inspired, thanks

Justin Vokey February 23, 2012

+Ketobbey Waters I didn't know +Robert Scoble was involved in the medical profession. Learn something every day.

Brenda Luterbach February 23, 2012

This is pretty awesome!

Kevin Mark February 23, 2012

I've seen this idea somewhere before.

Ketobbey Waters February 23, 2012

you took out my comment! I am blocking your arse +Robert Scoble your a freaking Hippocratic iVomit loser!!!

Georg Mir February 23, 2012

+Robert Scoble isn't every good product a way to express yourself? and by that margin, porn is probably one of the most visceral desires… but I bet there are a lot of other opportunities for this one.

Veljko Sekelj February 23, 2012

great interview - like the way he thinks :)

I like the idea too (since I'm a big fan) - there is definitely something there - however since its so simple, what would worry me as an investor is that its very easy to replicate. what would stop paypal from launching this next week? then your business is pretty much toast...

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+Demitris Memos yeah, I don't know why FinalCut Pro X did that to me. Hmmm.

Dan Harbison February 23, 2012

I'll have to check that out +Chris Teso thanks for the heads up! One of the huge frustrations we face is the archaic nature of ticketing companies. All of them have invested in infrastructure that goes out of date and have a hard time scrapping their legacy work and going back to the drawing board. Hopefully in the future they adopt more agile development plans.

Chris Teso February 23, 2012

+Dan Harbison, If you're interested in selling Blazer's tickets without a storefront, totally frictionless, and on the same platform you spread the #ripcity word, you should look in your own backyard. We're a Portland Company! I'd love to hop on a call and discuss how we can help you sell Tickets on Twitter with a single reply "buy" Tweet.

We offer social, device agnostic, frictionless, in-stream, one step payments. We do this in real time at scale.

stephen black February 23, 2012

Wow... the opportunity of creating content from the interviews is amazing....I am strong on the video end( and a few others). Kindly skim through the first part of this...
As far as hosting and optimization and all of that stuff..any ideas? Anyone see the potential for collaborating?

Demitris Memos February 23, 2012

btw, very insightful indeed +Robert Scoble! thank you

Demitris Memos February 23, 2012

talking about long videos: the interview ends at 25mins and the video goes for 20 more with a very black yet inspiring screen... maybe that's what put +Aditya B off

Thomas Mims February 23, 2012

This is completely annoying!

Greg Hendershott February 23, 2012

Like +Aditya B I don't often have time to watch the videos. I'm glad I had time for this one. That was a great interview. Really refreshing to hear someone who is smart and also well-grounded. Great observation about aligned interests.

Jason Kiwaluk February 23, 2012

Selling digital things with just a link, what a unique & revolutionary idea that's been around for more than a decade : )
Why not layer some tracking on that link & we'll call it Affiliate Marketing & split the payments.....

Dan Harbison February 23, 2012

This will be an amazing step in selling tickets digitally to our sporting events. To be able to sell without having to go through a storefront would lower the barrier of entry. I'll be following them, for sure. Thanks Robert.

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+PJ Rosenberg sorry, I'm sarcasm impaired. :-)

Jake Ludington February 23, 2012

+Aditya B All +Robert Scoble videos are released with a CC license, so anyone could mash them up or make them shorter.

PJ Rosenberg February 23, 2012

You make these free informative videos and you share them and it amazes me that there are people who are telling you how they want it.. so my line was sarcasm that obviously was missed!

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+Aditya B actually I put all my videos into Creative Commons and would love if someone did that.

Aditya B February 23, 2012

+Robert Scoble Just an idea: Maybe some aspiring free lance video enthusiast / entrepreneur / video editor could pick on the idea of producing short versions of long, interesting videos and sharing them on YouTube.

Might be dicey on the copyrights front, but could be an opportunity for some one to explore.

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+PJ Rosenberg huh?

PJ Rosenberg February 23, 2012

Interesting +Robert Scoble at this moment I don't Believe you should work for us anymore.. please pack up your stuff..

Aditya B February 23, 2012

I can understand the time constraint. More importantly, I really appreciate your reluctance to shorten a gem of a conversation.

Still, those times when I'm really short on time and some really interesting interview comes along - it pains me to pass on it.

Have read about Sahil before, and that was all the more reason to view this video (added it to YouTube's watch later list).

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+Aditya B this video has lots of insights into how a born entrepreneur thinks. It's hard to shorten it to a blog post. It's like shortening a bar conversation with someone interesting to a blog post. That all is above my pay grade.

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+Aditya B I don't have the time to do short videos. Sorry. Seriously. My interviews are conversations with entrepreneurs. Like Charlie Rose. He doesn't do shorts either. But the TL;DR version? Gumroad is interesting (read Louis' link) and this 19-year-old is gonna have a long and interesting career (already has).

Aditya B February 23, 2012

Off Topic - Would it be possible for you to share shorter, tldr versions of your videos? A lot of times I really want to see the video and discover more, but don't have the time on hand. A summary / highlights video under 10 mins would be great.

A 'Scobleizer Shorts' channel on YouTube would be great! :)

Louis Gray February 23, 2012

+Robert Scoble it doesn't happen very regularly any more, so when I get the chance, I have to share!

Saksham Kapoor February 23, 2012

Rule 34, ofc

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

+Louis Gray you're always a year ahead of me. Let me know what else I should catch up to! :-)

PJ Rosenberg February 23, 2012

as much as i love his idea.. this shit will hurt the free internet as we see it..

Mary Rysdale February 23, 2012


Louis Gray February 23, 2012

I covered Gumroad way back in April, +Robert Scoble. :) Gumroad Launches To Sell Digital Goods With a Simple Link

Robert Scoble February 23, 2012

"Any good product leads to porn," he says, in response to whether his product will be used by porn sites. Of course it will!