Building and scaling a tech platform is no easy task even for someone with a background and years of experience in software development, let alone a recent college grad with no formal tech education. But that’s exactly what Sarah Adler did when she co-founded Spoon University with her good friend and business partner.

Setting out to build an online media platform featuring food and cooking-related content created by and for college students, Adler taught herself to code and created the first several versions of the website out of her tiny New York City apartment. The tech continued to evolve as Spoon University grew, and the platform now includes content from nearly 250 universities across the country. Scripps Network Interactive acquired the company in May, and it’s now part of the Food Network media family.

As the CTO of Spoon University, Adler has become an expert on scaling online tech platforms and managing content creators. I met with her at the Spoon University offices in New York to learn all about her experiences launching and growing the company, and our conversation covered topics like how to evolve a platform consistent with user needs and how to help users create compelling, high-performing content. We even touched on the importance of meditating and making time for yourself to maintain your sanity while leading a high-growth company.

In this episode with Sarah Adler, you’ll learn: 

  • How meditation and taking time for yourself can help you be a better entrepreneur (8:54)
  • How to scale your tech product by delivering what your customers want (21:32)
  • Spoon University’s secret strategy for helping users generate great content (27:49)
  • Ideas for making video content less intimidating for content producers (34:19)
  • Reasons why you might want to stick to a niche audience rather than broaden it (40:15)
  • The resources and community New York City can offer entrepreneurs and startups (44:33)

Please enjoy this conversation with Sarah Adler!

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Sarah Adler Quotes from This Episode of Powderkeg:

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Companies and Organizations:

Spoon University

Scripps Networks Interactive

Food Network


Knight Foundation

Startup Incubators:



Northwestern University

Northwestern’s Knight Lab Program






Sarah Adler (@saraheadler)

Mackenzie Barth (@mackenziebarth)

Jeremy Gilbert (LinkedIn)

Miranda Mulligan (LinkedIn)

Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank Sarah Adler on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have few seconds to spare, let Sarah Adler know via Twitter by clicking on the links below:

Click here to say hi and thank Sarah Adler on twitter!


What stood out most to you about what Sarah Adler share in this podcast?

For me, it’s how to scale your tech product by delivering what your customers want.

You? Leave a comment below.


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