I discovered Adafruit fairly early in my maker hobby. In looking at my order history, it appears my first order with them was in 2011, when I ordered an Arduino starter kit. And I made those LEDs blink! Since then, I’ve ordered all sorts of things – in fact, they are the company I order the most from, followed by Mouser for small components (like I just ordered a few voltage regulators and heat sinks I need for the laptop project, because Adafruit didn’t have the ones I needed), and MCM and Sparkfun for odds and ends, but those are at a very, very distant 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place comparitively. (I do also occasionally buy stuff from eBay I can’t find elsewhere, like the LCD controller, and the small cylindrical cell phone vibration motors.)
As I’ve been getting deeper into projects, I’ve been taking great advantage of the incredible resources that they provide, from learn.adafruit.com to Adafruit IO, to their great videos. Even though I generally understand about 1 word in 6 that comes out of Lady Ada’s mouth, I’ve learned a ton by osmosis. (I think it was 1 in 20 about a year ago.)
There are two things that make me love Adafruit. First is the very visible presence of women makers. Not just Lady Ada herself, but a bunch of others. There is just this assumption everywhere that women do this stuff, that it’s normal and natural. Yay!!
Second, they have a biz model I love (and have for our own biz) – give a sh*t ton of stuff away, and by doing that, sell stuff. The instructions & resources they give away makes one want to do more projects, and, thus buy more stuff. Virtuous cycle, that. But it’s a biz model I can respect, and get behind, because it benefits everyone, not just them. And they are avid open source enthusiasts, as I have been for a very long time.
Anyway, kudos to Lady Ada and Adafruit, thanks for existing, and thanks for making some of my spare time hella fun. If I were a lot younger (and didn’t hate NYC,) I’d try to get a job there. 🙂