I recently connected with a young entrepreneur named Sachin Agarwal who’s got a pretty cool website. His brainchild, Dawdle.com, is an online market place to buy and sell used games. It’s also a bit more than that. It allows mom and pop game stores who do not or cannot afford to have an e-presence to sell their used games online. He can tell you all about it a lot better than I can. With Ebay increasing their fees to ridiculous amounts, this is a good alternative to the giant auction place. The other thing about Dawdle is that it’s not an auction house. Personally, that was the one thing I didn’t care about Ebay – the whole auction thing. I just want to buy the damn thing. For websites owners and bloggers, Dawdle also has an affiliate program which pays out 4%. I just signed up for the affiliate network and am awaiting approval so I can help get him some traffic through my blog. I think Dawdle is off to a good start so it’s definitely a website to keep an eye on in the following months.
Without further ado, here’s the interview:
Who are you? Tell us a bit about your background.
I’m originally from Carbondale, Illinois, and root for the Salukis as well as both the Cubs and the Sox. Downstate, everyone got (this was before Interleague) an NL and an AL team. I chose Cubs over Cardinals and Sox over Royals. Before Dawdle, I worked at Ascension Health Ventures and Jefferies Broadview.
Tell us a bit about Dawdle.
Dawdle’s a dedicated online marketplace for video games, systems, and accessories. We try to apply the 37signals’ “Getting Real” philosophy to online marketplaces, so our goal is to make it “moronically easy” for gamers and independent stores to buy and sell on Dawdle.
What gave you the idea of Dawdle?
I tried to sell a PSP online since I wasn’t playing it any more. I tried selling it on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and it was just incredibly painful. I ran up against scam artists and non paying bidders and PayPal problems and thought that there had to be a better way. You can read the whole story here: http://www.dawdle.com/press/index.php/origin . Interestingly, I was actually working on a totally different startup idea at the time, but this experience made me change course.
What are some of the pain points that you have faced in creating Dawdle and how did you deal with them?
The biggest pain point was integrating with all the third-party providers. We had to integrate with data providers, payment gateways, merchant accounts, and pass VeriSign and TRUSTe validation in a short period of time, as we wanted to launch our beta with plenty of time in the 2007 holiday season. We managed to get all that done, but we had to leave some cool functionality for later as we worked on those integrations.
And finally, What advice would you give entrepreneurs going into business for themselves or starting their own website?
One – it’s easier than it looks. With Amazon Web Services and so many open source packages and well-developed frameworks out there, it’s very easy to build a robust web application with little cost and in a short period of time. Two – you really should have at least one, and preferably two, co-founders. Sooner rather than later, one of the co-founders is going to spend more time on business stuff than coding, so it’s very hard for a sole founder to develop new features and do press, customer service, business development, blogging, accounting, and all the other stuff to support the site.
If you wish to connect with Sachin, here are his links:
http://tinyurl.com/dawdledotcom (Facebook page)
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