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Tech Platform Scaling and User-Generated Content Secrets with Sarah Adler, CTO of Spoon University

Posted September 26, 2017

Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder, Powderkeg

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!

If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

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

Techstars

Knight Foundation

Startup Incubators:

1871

Universities:

Northwestern University

Northwestern’s Knight Lab Program

Websites:

Codecademy

WordPress

Medium

People:

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!

COMMENTS?

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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Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder, Powderkeg

Matt is the founder and CEO of Powderkeg, a network of local communities with global reach for tech entrepreneurs, investors, and top talent. Powderkeg entrepreneurs have collectively raised more than $500 million in capital and are disrupting industries, creating wealth, and changing the world from areas beyond Silicon Valley. Hunckler has led successful teams with his own ventures, as well as Inc. 500 companies and venture-funded tech startups. He's been named an Under 30 CEO Entrepreneur to Watch and an IBJ Forty Under 40 Honoree for his entrepreneurial endeavors. @hunckler