One of the biggest stressors of putting together a protoype (in my  eyes) is finding all the parts you need, getting the datasheets, etc,  etc, and building that first draft of the BOM. If it's at least easy to  find the parts you're looking for, with information on multiple  distributors, it makes the job a bit easier.


To that end, I want to share a new tool I have caught wind of, as part of my work at Arena Solutions. It's called Octopart,and essentially it's a search engine for electronic parts. It has a Google-like interface, and is really easy to use.


Andres  and Sam, who studied physics together at Brown, then pursued PhDs in  astroparticle physics and plasma physics respectively, are the founders  of Octopart—and  I was lucky enough to talk to them about how they came up with the  idea. I also got some great advice about scaling, the startup mentality,  and - - if you're looking for work - - some ideas for getting a job at  Octopart.


I  think the success of Octopart shows that electronic component  distributors are realizing that distribution is no longer the problem - -  it's finding the parts that you want, and being able to compare parts  across a variety of distributors. In some ways, it seems like the market  is demanding consolidation, and the ability to find/get what they want  in one place, and with less hassle. I think Octopart is actually on the  right track to solving this problem. What do you think? Will we ever  have one-stop-shopping for electrical components?


To learn more about Octopart