October 24th, 2012
photo credit: Dustin Kerstein
I spent about a month last spring working on a hardware concept with a few friends. There was this energy around hardware that was becoming so palpable – pg called it “The Hardware Renaissance” in a recent essay.
After talking to many friends going through the same process we realized that for all the opportunity and excitement around hardware, there’s a lot of pain too. But when you work in startups, you begin to see pain as real opportunity.
For all the excitement around new connected devices that remind us all that we live in the future, why are we still buying this stuff at Best Buy (slowly imploding), and Amazon (the best, but too much of a general store)?
Surely our generation, filled with tinkerers and device-makers and digital natives, could do better.
And so we changed things up. Got back to work. This time on a store, built from scratch, that would sell these devices in a way that was just as awesome as the devices themselves. Something that was constructed to be digital first, screen-agnostic, and mobile, that would tell the stories of these devices in a way that the existing retailers aren’t doing.
What we realized as we started talking to hardware producers is that the incentive structure around retail agreements isn’t great — it’s a brick wall on both sides. Customers get almost no information about how, where and who made this product they are buying and why it’s great. And producers get hardly any data on who is buying their products, where they live, who they are, etc. Coming from the data-obsessed world of software, this made very little sense.
In an attempt to crowdsource some feedback: I’d like to know, internet peeps, what you would like to see in a new kind of electronics store? Is it really still about price and specs? I feel like we’ve moved on from that.
We are doing a pretty small closed beta and we’d love some rando testers who aren’t our moms (who we <3) to tell us what they love and hate. Be way harsh, we can handle it. Sign up at GrandSt Dot Com, please enjoy our snake game, and we’ll email you.
If there really is a hardware/connected devices/electronics renaissance that’s coming, there has to be a place to tell its story and, you know, sell THE THINGS. Excited.