is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Grand St. + Etsy

To everyone in the Grand St. Community –

Today we are announcing that Grand St. has agreed to be acquired by Etsy, subject to closing conditions.

As you may know, Etsy is an amazing company for handmade goods and a true pioneer in both marketplace development and the maker movement. We have always admired them from afar, especially their dedication to craft and their commitment to their B Corp certification.

While this is a big step for us as a company, we plan to change very little about the site and your experience of Grand St. in the near term. We exist to bring you the best in indie electronics from designers and makers all over the world, and we’ll continue to do that at grandst.com. We will continue to launch new features and have a few coming out soon that we think you’ll love.

Simply put: the rise of the individual, small-batch maker is changing product development, production and commerce. The process of making physical goods is shifting as consumers are more interested in unique and personalized products. This leads to a greater variety of products, and a fulfilling path to growth for creators. Etsy knows this and everything they do is designed to welcome this shift and embrace it.

We are very excited to be part of a company with such overlapping values, where we’ll have a chance to accelerate our mission of helping independent makers grow and scale. Thank you for your continued support, we really appreciate it.

XOXO

Amanda, Aaron, and Joe

PS — Questions? Email us at hi@grandst.com, we always love hearing from you

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Introducing the Grand St. Marketplace

Screenshot 2014-02-19 09.09.34Today we are really excited to announce the Grand St. Marketplace.

Our goal has always been to create a better way for hardware creators to find an audience and get their products to market. For this new version of Grand St. we wanted to create a flexible solution that addressed indie hardware makers at different stages in the development cycle. We are launching a self-serve platform today that offers three ways to discover and distribute new hardware:

1.  Pre-Orders: These are products that are not yet widely available, but will be in 1-6 months. If you are listing a Pre-Order, note that Grand St. takes 0% commission on these sales. This is possible because of the percentage we take on other types of products — our goal is to grow the entire ecosystem. We know that as a consumer, pre-orders are risky, so we are doing things a bit differently. We hold onto the funds until the product is shipping, so if the product fails to ship you will be refunded.

2.  Beta: With Beta products, you can help contribute to the product development process. Beta products are evolving based on user feedback. When you purchase a Beta product, you’ll have access to a special discussion section with the testing group. For makers, the goal is to use Beta as a way to build a better product and to gather momentum, whether the next stop is crowdfunding or straight to retail. Grand St. takes an 8% commission on sales for Beta products.

3.  Shop: This is for consumer-ready products that are 100% functional, offer guaranteed customer satisfaction and are currently shipping. It’s the gadget shop of your dreams, but for real. Grand St. takes an 8% commission on sales for Shop products.

In addition, you’ll notice we completely re-designed the site to make room for these new products, and today we are launching with hundreds of new products…more than we have sold in the past year.

Hope you love it.

Please email hi@grandst.com with feedback!

 

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Happy 2014 from Grand St.

When we started Grand St. we wanted to build the best way to bring creative technology to the world. Over the past year, the community that has come together around Grand St. has been amazing, and fuels the work that we do every day. Thank you for your support, we <3 you.

As we look forward to the year ahead, I wanted to glance back at a few of our favorite moments from 2013.

1.  We released our Android app in June. Our team is extremely passionate about mobile and our goal was to make a mobile Grand St. experience that was beautiful and easy to use. We were selected as one of 11 “Most Beautiful Apps” by the Android Design Team for both their summer and winter lists. Go download it here if you haven’t already.

2.  We launched Grand St. to the public in July. After a few months of closed beta, we opened Grand St. to the world. The most exciting moment for us was seeing orders come in from all over the country and the world. Grand St.’s community grew a lot in the second half of 2013.

3.  We worked with hundreds of creators. The core belief that informs everything we do at Grand St. is that anyone with an idea should be able to make and sell a product, and our goal is to make that easy. What excites us most is the amazing lineup of products we have for 2014.

4. Released some super cool hacks. We sell creative technology, emphasis on creative. And we have fun doing it. Check out these posts on jsTar and Mindwave Mobile. Our #impcube twitter contest was a worldwide trending topic in October.

5.  Put together an awesome holiday box for our very first holiday season. The tweets, photos and emails that we have seen from all the Grand St. gifting has made us smile.

Keep an eye out for us in 2014….we are looking forward to introducing you to more awesome products and creators this year.

merchandises Grand St. and spends most of his spare time tweeting and thinking about puppies.

The 10 Best Holiday Gift Guides

As a merchandiser at Grand St., I spend most of my day finding what’s cool and thinking about what people want, so come the holidays my friends are fond of asking me what to buy their loved ones. Fortunately (unfortunately?) these days there are nearly as many gift guides as there are gifts to give, so I decided to share with you the best ones I know – a guide of guides, if you will. From gifts that help others, to DIY computers, to puppies (seriously). If you don’t find what you need in these guides, I will give you your money back.

 

  Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.43.31
Essential to a good gift guide is a great design that makes it easy and pleasurable to shop. While most media websites take the slideshow approach (to feed you an ad with every product you view) the Grey Lady made an entirely custom design to show you their picks in an organized, easy-to-browse way. Their effort paid off big time.

 

2) Sugru Gift List

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.46.15
We unabashedly love Sugru, and their “alternative gift list” has some really great ideas that fall under three categories: things you’ll buy one and use for a lifetime, things that help you make and create, and things that help reduce your dependency on companies. It’s pretty rad.

 

3) Mouth

Screenshot 2013-12-04 16.06.12
Selling food online is hard – look no further than the late Gilt Taste and Fab Foodie shops. Fortunately a new startup – Mouth.com – seems to be up to the challenge, focusing on independent and artisan foods, and they’re doing a damn good job. Their gift guide is pretty sweet (see what I did there?), and who doesn’t like getting food as a gift?

 

4) Christmas.am

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.50.19
When they’re not talking about drones on 60 Minutes, Amazon occasionally sells stuff. Fortunately the utilitarian (read: ugly) design of Amazon proper didn’t affect Fictive Kin’s ability to make a beautiful, well-selelcted gift guide in the form of Christmas.am. More like this, please!

 

5) Toms Marketplace

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.57.21
It’s hard not to like Tom’s shoes, one of the first companies at the forefront of the “buy-one give-one” charity business model, and they’ve outdone themselves with the unveiling of their marketplace of other socially-concious goods. If you like to feel good about your purchases (or just gloat about how selfless you are when you buy things), you should check it out.

 

6) Bonobos

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.59.09
Cool Hunting always has a great gift guide, and this year they teamed up with Bonobos to create this beautifully presented, color-coordinated guide that includes plenty of non-Bonobos products from the likes of Jawbone, Best Made Co., Tom Dixon, and Jack Spade.

 

7) Maker Shed

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.45.29
The 8-year-old in me wishes I had a store like Maker Shed when I was actually 8 years old. Full of amazing DIY products for kids and families, Maker Shed’s guide is a one-stop-shop for the little maker in your family.

 

8) The Wirecutter

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.55.29
While normally they’re the go-to place to know what’s best in electronics, Wirecutter’s gift guide this year is full of great ideas both electron-powered and not. Just plain great.

 

9) Bureau of Trade

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.17.35
 
Basically eBay for hipsters, Bureau of Trade is a great place to find one-of-a-kind products (and puppies!). While they don’t have a gift-guide per-se, they’re chock-full of unique stuff ripe for the giving – I recommend the art section (and the puppies).

 

10) Grand St.

Screenshot 2013-12-04 18.01.07
 
You clearly have never met me if you didn’t think I’d end with the shameless plug. Seriously though, we at Grand St. spend a lot of time sifting through a lot of crap to bring you the best in independent electronics, and I hope you enjoy what we found for you this year. We even built some cool filters to help you narrow your search!
is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Today Only: Grand St. Comes to You

Screenshot 2013-12-02 14.46.37

It’s our first Cyber Monday at Grand St., and we are excited to feature a great selection of indie electronics this year. If you haven’t already, check out the site for some amazing gift ideas.

This year, we are also trying something new. Grand St. is all about introducing you to new technology products, and for our friends and fans in Manhattan, we put together an On-Demand Pop-Up Shop, powered by the fine folks at WunWun.

Download the WunWun app and hit “Request Pop-Up” and a WunWun Helper will come to your location with a selection of Grand St. products that you can test, play with, and purchase.

We like to think of it as bringing the store to you.

After all, the best part of experiencing a new product is to see it in person and play with it yourself. Try it out! Supplies are limited for now but our enthusiasm certainly isn’t.

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

jsTar: A Hack for the gTar and Other MIDI Controllers

gtarnick

Some words about audiovisuals and stuff

 While I was in college back in 2010, I attended an event put on by Robert Henke, one of the developers of Ableton Live, and Tarik Barri, creator of the powerful Versum audiovisual composition software, to view their collaborative piece called Monolake. The exhibition (or I guess you could call it a concert) involved spacial sound design (think surround sound audio) paired with visual representation of the soundscape Henke created, projected on all sides of the studio we were in. The environment created made it feel as if one was drifting through an environment governed by sound. I had seen visualizers before, but it definitely did make me recognize and admire the almost jazz-like freeform factor of audio visualization in live concert.

While you definitely can’t play with your visuals as fast and loose as Coltrane on a trumpet, it does allow for considerable improvisation, making each experience unique and different from the next. Most large concerts rely on lights and interesting visuals that have for the most part been pre-rendered (Deadmau5 comes to mind), but no one I’ve seen (aside from Robert Henke) is touring or has toured with someone who visualizes their audio on-the-fly (feel free to point some out, though!). I feel like a lot of people think the buck stops at programs like XBMC or iTunes, where you can “visualize” your music library, but it’s actually fairly easy to stream audio or MIDI into a visualizer using the right programs or language.

The first visualizers were made for DOS, so the idea is neither new nor difficult on early PCs, but these basic visualizers like MilkDrop or Cthugha didn’t allow for the human element or entropy that made the visualization of music as orchestrated as it was in Monolake. More recently artists have been using programs like MaxMSP with Processing and Ableton (Which are the tools Barri and Henke incorporated) to produce both sound and audio together, and other end of the spectrum you have guys like Dr. Bleep creating hardware dedicated to audiovisual synthesis. Seeing it in everyday concerts, though? I still believe it’s a ways off from being labeled anything other than “experimental”.

Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Five Emergency Preparedness Products for Any Sticky Situation

wakapower

As we approach the end of October, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City stirs some scary memories. Power outages for weeks, dead phones, commutes home in the pitch black, and even an apartment fire, to name a few. Below are five products that are perfect for preparing for any emergency situation. Whether you’re on the coast or in the heartland, these helpful tools will better equip you to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Continue reading

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

The Long Tail of Hardware

electronics

I often think about that Forbes piece “Why Best Buy is Going out of Business…Gradually” that was published nearly two years ago. You probably read it too; as of today it has around 3 million views. The emotion that author Larry Downes generated with that prescient article was overwhelming — like a collective “we can do better” echoing through the internet.

Two years later, and Downes is more right than ever. Through Grand St. I’ve had a front-row seat to the emerging hardware movement, and the big realization I’ve come to is that it’s not just Best Buy that’s going to fade away, it’s our entire notion of “Consumer Electronics”. It will be gradual, but there are already signals that indicate a shift is happening.

It’s a tailwind that’s supporting a growing long-tail of hardware and a new kind of creator. Continue reading

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

The Imp Cube Hack

Earlier last week, Dustin and I put together a neat little Twitter contest and gave away some Electric Imps and Rainbow Cubes. When a few lucky people hit certain multiples (64, 128, 256, and 512) with tweets including the hashtag ‘#ImpCube’. Whenever someone tweeted this, we would use the Imp to tell a Rainbow Cube in our office to light up a single LED in the cube – after 64 tweets, it would put on a little light show and then reset itself. The contest was fun (and distracting) to watch here at the office and was surprisingly easy to strap together using the Imp (which is programmed using Squirrel) and the RainbowCube (which runs on on Arduino – specifically the Rainbowduino). Continue reading