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Jun 23, 2019 22:36:09

He sells onions on the internet

by @jasonleow | 387 words | 437🔥 | 476💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 437🔥
Total posts: 476💌
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I chanced upon this story on the Indie Hackers forum, about how a guy stumbled upon this opportunity to sell this very special variety of onions to a very niche crowd of fans. His name is Peter Askew, and he would sometimes buy interesting domain names to build businesses off them. What started out as a random bid for the domain of VidaliaOnions.com became a nagging idea that keep coming back to him. Eventually, he reached out to a farmer, got a deal going, started small, then saw demand for online orders for the onions sky-rocket. And the rest is, as they say, history.

It's a typical tale of an indie hacker making it - we read so much of that on the Indie Hackers forum. But what's cool is the unusual serendipity of tech and agriculture, of how a business is built around something modern intersecting with something traditional. And I love love looove it. 

These days it feels like everyone is making products for other developers, makers, entrepreneurs. Makers making things for other makers, indie hackers building businesses serving other indie hackers. So this story was so refreshing, and inspiring. I too wish to sell onions off the internet. OK, not onions exactly. But something traditional. I love the idea of bringing something valued for it's history and legacy, into the present day. I love the modern interpretations of beloved traditions - interpretations that stick to the values and principles of that tradition, but delivered in a medium that's new yet appropriate. Interpretations that amplify this tradition than dilute it. There's something comforting about knowing where something comes from, the rich history, the colourful culture, the generations that passed through keeping the flame alive.

If not onions, what would it be? I'm coincidentally on the lookout for opportunities now, as I'm wanting to code my own product, but I don't want to make another to-do app or curated list for other makers. Maybe there's traditions in my home Singapore that I treasure, that can benefit from such modern interpretations. Or maybe, I can look further afield, to other cultures and traditions that I love, like kintsugi in Kyoto? Following my curiosity sounds like a fun way to approach this.

If not onions, what would it be, for you? What traditional goods could benefit from something like this?

  • 1

    @jasonleow that story is so cool! I really like the idea of merging tech and traditional businesses like this. I think there's a lot of room for new products in that intersection but the people in each field rarely intersect.

    What stands out to me about the Vidalia onions is that it's a very niche item with a passionate cult following. What other traditional items also fits that criteria and can be made more accessible?

    Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 24, 2019 10:38:32
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      @keenencharles oooh thanks for breaking it down that way! Very helpful indeed. Makes looking for that item much much easier now... maybe it could even be something that's not exactly traditional, just a super niche thing with passionate cult following! Hmmm hmmmm....

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 25, 2019 20:21:54
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    @jasonleow Such a cool story! I agree, we need to share more "farm to table" concepts and get consumers excited about sustainable agriculture - plus it's trendy to know where things come from, how they are made and who is actually behind them. That's where tech can come into play.

    Jack Lyons avatar Jack Lyons | Jun 23, 2019 10:50:34
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      @jacklyons yes sustainable farming is a cool idea...Also keen to look beyond farm produce to anything traditional

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 24, 2019 13:52:12
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    @jasonleow .. You got the point, Jason! best about this idea is probably the must to go offline not just sitting in front of the computer ..... It could be a lot of things .. for example right now I eat a lot of portobello mushrooms hehe .. I would say some recipes site dedicated just to specific ingredient with an option to buy ...

    Efran avatar Efran | Jun 23, 2019 16:56:49
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      @efran yes exactly. The offline part is what I love about it. Portobello mushrooms sounds like an idea! Unfortunately it's not produced here in Singapore. Maybe some obscure but in demand tropical fruit... Also keen to look beyond farm produce to anything traditional

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 24, 2019 13:51:30
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