SparkToro Startups Team

SparkToro’s Year 2 Retrospective: Can Chill Work, Alternative Funding, and an Indie Approach Scale?

Two years ago today, at the nerve-wracking start of a global pandemic, we launched SparkToro. Since then, we’ve learned a lot, and uncovered plenty of unanswered questions, too. As is tradition, I’ll try to share the good, the bad, and the interesting in the hopes it can help other entrepreneurs, especially those considering an alternative to standard, venture-backed funding. First,…
Personal Psychology Startups Team

Hustle Culture vs. Chill Work

A few weeks ago, Wil Reynolds and I were on a video call together. I think I joined in a couple minutes after him, and the discussion was already starting: Someone on the call: “… just hustling”Rand: “Ugh, I hate hustle culture.” Wil: “Yo, Fish*, can you define hustle?”Rand: “Easy one. Hustling is working hard to work hard. It’s valuing…

NEW in SparkToro: Content and Profile Text Insights

What does your audience talk about online? How do they describe themselves? What hashtags do they use? Prior to social media aggregation software, answering these questions was a maddeningly manual, lengthy process. Unfortunately, most of those products are exorbitantly expensive, enterprise tools. After SparkToro’s launch last year, we were somewhat shocked to find: A) How valuable these text insights were…

One Customer Feedback Email Changed Our Startup’s Trajectory

Building a new company means constantly managing one’s emotions. The high highs of days when everything’s golden inevitably give way to the low lows when you’re certain it’s all doomed. At the end of February, Casey (my cofounder) and I were in that latter boat, nervous about how signups for our 10-month old startup had slowed to a trickle. Here’s…

Why You Should Hire Agencies & Consultants (for everything you can)

In my first decade as a tech CEO, I consistently got advice about how building a great team was essential to building a great business. Agencies and consultants were never part of this conversation. It was always: hire full-time employees in areas where you need a competitive advantage; only hire agencies for functions you want to put on autopilot or…
Marketing Product SparkToro Team

SparkToro’s Finally Here

Almost two years ago, Casey Henry and I joined forces on SparkToro in the hopes of solving a thorny, expensive, long-standing problem in the market research world: How to discover the publications & people that influence any group of people online. Though we’re launching at a very scary time in the world, we’re excited to finally share that product with…