Interview with Luke Connolly (Whimventory)
Whimventory allows you to create wishlists while you shop online.
I interviewed Luke Connolly, Whimventory co-founder to find out more. This interview is the eighty sixth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Luke for the interview!
Describe Whimventory in under 50 words.
Whimventory lets you organize and share your online shopping. Add items to your lists while you browse using our bookmarklet or extensions. Then, share your lists with friends and family.
How did you come up with the name?
Since we wanted people to be able to add items from any online source, and we wanted to focus on usable, organized lists that would keep track of lots of items, we combined the word “whim” (as in, “on a whim”) and the word “inventory”. We thought of it as an inventory for anything and everything.
What technologies have you used to build Whimventory?
PHP (built on CodeIgniter) and jQuery / AJAX where appropriate. We also are constantly trying to improve our bookmarklet and browser extensions, since the real power of Whimventory is being able to add items to your lists while you shop, without getting in your way.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Whimventory?
One big challenge was working out how to perform authentication right in the bookmarklet, while running on other websites (most similar bookmarklets redirect you to their homepage to authenticate users). It’s also been really tough deciding what features are essential and which we can cut, since we want it to be useful for as many shoppers as possible, but we also want an amazing, clear user experience.
Who do you see as your target audience?
We think anyone who enjoys shopping online will find Whimventory useful. Typically, though, people who spend a lot of time browsing online stores and collecting items will get the most use out of our service.
It’s also very useful in certain niche audiences, like those who need a wedding registry of items from across the web, product testers, and professionals who like to keep track of their gear and what they’re saving up for.
What’s the most extravagant item on your Whimventory right now?!
I just added my dream house in La Finca, Spain to my “Home & Office” list. I don’t know the price, but it’s certainly extravagant.
While in Beta has Whimventory got the feedback and growth you expected?
We’ve been thrilled about the number of people we’ve had sign up so far, but we know it’s only the tip of the iceberg. For now, we’re OK with that, since we really wanted to get some honest feedback about what’s useful and what’s not. We think we have that now, so we’re excited to take things to the next level.
Where do you see Whimventory in 5 years time?
We want to make Whimventory an amazing place to *share* online shopping. We think we’ve got a really good personal tool for organizing things you find online, but now we want people to connect and learn from each other about what is worth their money.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
We’re working on completely redesigning the Whimventory experience. We’ve had a lot of really useful feedback from people using our service, and we’ve got some really amazing things in the works. We’re trying to stay focused on listening to people and giving them something they’re going to love.
Can you convince the reader to start using Whimventory in under 50 words?
Whimventory is easy to use, and others can see your lists (if you let them) without signing up. There is no advertising (and we’re going to keep it that way) and it’s free. Plus, you’re going to want to be around for the next version.
Finished reading? Check out Whimventory!