My First Integration Was a Marketplace

Online, or in person, marketplaces are a great place to build relationships.  It doesn’t have to be a ginormous Mercado Libertad, in Guadalajara or a small freelance platform built to serve a niche community of professionals. Marketplaces often have their own framework and conventions for how most things should be done and that makes it easier to focus on the big picture – working with your client.   

eBay, around 1997 was the first online marketplace I became acquainted with.  I learned a lot. 

Two retired ladies I know liked to go out twice a week to garage sales for collectibles.  They’d chat and hit garage sales. Go to lunch and talk about their ‘loot’.  

They each had a very similar process once an item had been acquired. They would look up the item. “Research it” to make sure they didn’t ask too high, or too low a price, search for an image, as well as come up with zone estimates for shipping ‘just in case’.  

Their biggest challenge was making sure to describe everything in detail because they didn’t have a process to manage uploading coordinated images, descriptions, etc. They were having fun, but managing customer expectations without images was difficult and took time. 

I heard about their issue, and found a tutorial online.  Ended up buying two Sony Mavica cameras for the project.  Pricey at $900 each if you think about it on a dollar per byte basis, (Single mega pixel images).  The FTP process only took an afternoon to set up and test. 

Over the months after the integration I heard bits and pieces of how they were doing. Once my new clients saw how it worked, each set up a photo studio in spare bedrooms and were off to the races, scaling their hobby to over $15K/month each for several years.    

It’s not an enterprise deal, but those two ladies were able to hang out, have fun and make some cash. While I get some credit for helping their bottom line, it was the marketplace that brought everyone together (Cheesy wrap-up).  I have been more interested in the value of integrations and marketplaces as business tools ever since.

Jim C

Author Since: May 9, 2022