Limor Fried

Learn how Limor Fried turned her tinkering hobby into a multi-million dollar company!

If you’ve ever been making something by yourself, whether you’re coding away or tinkering with electronics, you may not feel as if you’re doing anything particularly huge or important. Did you know, however, that a lot of the big names in technology started off with humble beginnings?

It’s easy to imagine that companies like Google or Microsoft just appeared one day as huge businesses, but the opposite is true. These companies started off as one or a few people working away in a room or garage, then slowly grew to how they are today.

This is how Limor Fried managed to become the owner of Adafruit. Despite Adafruit becoming a multi-million dollar company, it all began in Fried’s MIT dorm room. She would tinker around with little projects and then sell them online to anyone who was interested. At the time, she said the little venture was nothing more than a way to kill time until she secured a “real job.”

However, it turns out that what she was doing was soon to become her real job. People were interested in her gadgets and flocked to her online store to buy one for themselves. In fact, she received so many orders, she decided to set up her own business just to keep track of everything.

That was the beginning of Adafruit Industries. Now, it’s a multi-million dollar company with employees and a huge presence online. Limor Fried went on to become the first female engineer to appear on WIRED’s cover, part of the top 50 women in tech in 2018 by Forbes, and was one of the White House’s Champions of Change in 2015 — and it all started in her room at University!

She attributes her success to designing quality products. She says that, if she produced products that broke easily or was faulty in some way, she’d have to handle people sending back their gadgets for repair. By producing top-quality products, she could spend more time building and selling new products and less time fixing old ones.

Of course, Limor Fried is a rare case in the technology world. It’s very rare that someone goes from a bedroom tinkerer to a multi-million business owner. However, it does show the power that experimentation and hobbies have, no matter how small it may seem.

When Limor Fried started making her gadgets, she didn’t think it’d become her career later on. It was something she did until she got a “real job” in the technology field. However, it eventually led her to what she’s doing today; running a business.

As such, whenever you’re coding or creating something, it’s important not to think of it as a “waste of time” or something that won’t really amount to anything. Even if you don’t become the CEO of a huge company, your hobbies and interests may lead you to a future career which you really enjoy. Just experiment and have fun with the process and see where your hobbies take you!

Learn More

Profile of Limor Fried

About Adafruit

Adafruit start-up

Limor Fried video

How Limor Fried built a tech empire

How Adafruit grew

Female Tech Entrepreneurs


  • Simon Batt

    Simon Batt is a UK-based tech enthusiast and all-around geek. His favourite things are cups of tea, cats, and new gadgets, even though they never mix well.

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