Hi, my name is Todd and I’m a serial entrepreneur. Just for completeness sake, let’s run through some of my history:
2001 – degreehunter.com – a website devoted to helping people with advanced degrees find a job.
2003 – collierbing.com – a website selling unlocked cell phones. SOLD
2005 – 2011 – Uptown magazine a lifestyle publication based in downtown Charlotte, NC. You can see some of our old issues here: https://issuu.com/uptown_magazine
2012 – 2016 – sold over $1 million worth of stuff on Amazon as a professional seller. SOLD
2017 – realized that Amazon is a benevolent dictator and I was selling on amazon.com at their pleasure, which could change without notice. I needed to diversify with my own brand and website.
This is where the story of ByteStand begins. At that time I was selling about 1,500 skus on Amazon. Tiny by retail standards, but a massive effort to try and re-create on my own site. Where would I get pictures, prices, descriptions? How would I maintain this site with new inventory coming and going like the tides.
I KNEW there HAD to be a solution. I found Shopify and their extensive app inventory. I tried one app after another inside the app store with no luck. I even tried going outside the app store, no luck there either. I couldn’t believe it, but there were NO apps to move inventory from Amazon to Shopify. None.
I guess I had to create one myself, it couldn’t be that hard, right? Amazon has an API and Shopify has an API. Therefore my first step, figure out what an API is. Once I got that down, I realized I had to code this in some language other than English. I researched Shopify and discovered it was written in Ruby. My language search was over, I decided to learn Ruby.
Fast forward some number of months later, I’ve learned Ruby, and I’ve coded up a very basic version of ByteStand. I then realized it was worse than bad, it was horrible. I needed help and, after a couple false starts, I tracked down my new Ruby expert, Nafaa from Algeria.
Nafaa could not be more different from me, a devout Muslim living in North Africa vs me, a devout agnostic living in the Bible belt. It was a match made in heaven. We not only made it work, we made it thrive and released ByteStand to the world in May of 2016, almost 2 years ago as of the writing of this post.
Fast forward to today, and we are thriving. Now with a quiver of three apps in the app store and over 1,800 shops using our software, I can afford to keep the lights on for more than a day at a time.
We have a truly international crew: Nafaa from Algeria, Jack from St. Petersburg, Russia, Diego from Buenos Aires, Agustin down in Montevideo, Paraguay and me and Gennifer in Charlotte. It took some time but everyone can now understand my southern accent. Thankfully we all speak Ruby, and that’s good enough to make it work.
We take a lot of pride in the software we’ve created and have tried to make it as powerfully simple as possible. We hope you agree.
~ Todd Trimakas
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