In Market vs. For Company

The New Millennial Tradition of Non-Traditional Jobs

When I was growing up, ‘the workforce’ seemed like a great machine, an infinite collection of gears, springs and balance-wheels, working in sync to keep the pace of the world. It was a nice image, and still is, if you think about it, but it’s a picture where the whole is beautiful, but the roles of the small, individual parts aren’t glamorous or exciting, merely procedural. When I was a kid, entering the workforce meant becoming a cog, an important functionary of a larger machine, but not as an individual – a cog can always be replaced, manufactured and engineered. Continue reading In Market vs. For Company

The 561 Most Vibrant Pictures on the Internet

The picture is the more immediate headline. Visuals hit the audience right away, before they even have time to process the who, when, why and meaning of any words. Repeatedly, in marketing consulting meetings I emphasize the role of imaginary in our social feeds. In a ‘failed app’ of a past life (MapShot!), I curated a list of pictures to showcase the value of categorizing remarkable pictures by location. For everything has a time and a place.  And so, from archives of failures, I now present to you, The 563 Most Vibrant Pictures on the Internet (and their less enticing headlines by yours truly).  Just browse or hit ‘control+F’ to search for a keyword of the picture you are looking for.
Continue reading The 561 Most Vibrant Pictures on the Internet

Equity Hours

For those who are not already wealthy, time is the business asset that can create ownership.  The ability to own is the #1 differentiator of a capitalist system. How can time create ownership?

In the Harvard Business Review’s Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact, it is encouraged for employees to have end dates baked into their work contracts. It reads, “A tour of duty also establishes a realistic zone of trust. Lifelong employment and loyalty are simply not part of today’s world; pretending that they are decreases trust by forcing both sides to lie.”

Every employment relationship should be set up with an end date in the contract. If things go well, it creates an expected time to re-negotiate terms or move on. Without an end date to a business relationship: you do not own, you are owned.

Traditionally, if you worked with a Silicon Valley tech company, you’re either an investor, a founder, an employee or a contractor. Investors have a lot of ownership for little use of their time, founders have have a lot of ownership in exchange for a lot of their time, all employees split about 10-15% of the company (even though they provide +95% of the aggregate time spent on company) and the time exercised by contractors varies greatly by business model but either way, they rarely have ownership.

In a time when Zuckerburg’s taking a $1 salary and the CEO compensation in America is 331X the average worker (for reference, the ratio is 50X in Venezula and 11X in Japan…), how can the middle class not look for fairer ownership distribution as a potential solution in order to rise into the upper class?

In terms of equity, I believe that successful early hires at startups get the short end of the stick. My logic: If you’re a sole founder, your first hire is half the business, your second hire is a third of the business, your third hire is a fourth of the business, your fourth hire is a fifth of the business, and so on. But equity is not distributed this way.

Rent has risen astronomically (current median = $4,225!) in the 4 and a half years I’ve lived in San Francisco. Want to stay in the startup game? Want to get out of the startup game with a chunk of change for your people? You Need Equity To Live In Silicon Valley.

With my time, I plan to blur the line between investor, employee and contractor. ArtMap will not work for you, but ArtMap will work with you. When summarizing it as “with” vs. “for,” Reid Hoffman favorited my tweet… maybe this is the crest of the employment wave?

The ArtMap Inc. business model accelerates the startup employment relationship. It starts with an hourly rate. Much like law firms who work with startups, a portion of the compensation is expected to be paid in equity. I believe at least 25% of time should go toward earning stock. ArtMap Inc. structures relationships to vest stock at the price of the previous round of funding, for example, 20 equity hours at $150 / hour is equivalent to purchasing $3,000 worth of stock.

Why is this good business? Our incentives are aligned. I’m taking risk with the companies, the companies are taking risk with me. The most common denominator of successful people is the ability to delay gratification. Let’s set our goals high, execute, and reap the rewards of betting on our own abilities. And if we fail, we will have failed together.

If you work “with” companies and not “for,” how do your assumptions change? It’s talent acquisition vs. employment partnerships. If you are a business, accepting a traditional full-time job is the equivalent of being acquired. To make equity hour partnerships, business relationships need to have prices and quantities in writing.  If you don’t have ownership stake in what you’re working on, you do not believe it’s future value is greater than the short term compensation.

Old school business leaders who brag about the volume of reports who work “for” them will never attract the best people because they prefer obedient followers over creators.  Duration of employment is lower than ever before, currently resting at 18 months for a full-time employee in Silicon Valley. More talented people are taking on more part-time roles as advisors because time with person who has the right experience and skill goes a long way.

My background is as an early startup hire. If your company is going to really grow, every early hire must pour heart and soul into the business. In my opinion, startups often make the same mistakes when getting their business of the ground. Would you rather hire a less talented person full time or a more talented person part time ?I’m looking for top-notch tech teams, underserved marketing, and validation via respected funding and customers.


To learn more, read “Tech Marketing: ArtMap Inc Spring Class 2015.” Photo Credit S-Media. Connect at LinkedIn & Twitter.

Tech Marketing Recap: ArtMap Inc.’s Spring Companies

A look back on an inbound marketing agency’s first quarter (Spring 2015)

Excited to share ArtMap Inc’s. first quarter recap, and more insight about the companies we worked with this spring 2015. ArtMap Inc. aspires to find the most talented, driven and teamable entrepreneurs in our networks… and beyond! I want to spend my time with people who get “it.”

How are the 5 questions I, as a marketer, evaluate in each prospective tech company, and consider these questions in the company details below:

  1. what’s the product quality?
  2. what’s the team quality and distribution?
  3. who ‘believes’ in the team, i.e. funding, advisors, customers, advocates?
  4. how does the company help which specific people?
  5. and, why does their market opportunity excite me?

Here are the companies ArtMap Inc. worked with this past spring: Knowtify, Teamable, Zoomforth, Aspired Steps &


Knowtify Header

What’s Knowtify? The Engagement Marketing Platform.

The Knowtify People:

Knowtify has 2 founders, one is tech facing (former Lead Developer at Saygent & Sr. Developer at Kosmix) and one is business facing (former Traackr Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer). Plus, they hired an up and coming designer who can also play bass (Lenny Hu):


Seed Round + TechStars Program (experience here)

Notable Advisors:

Who Knowtify Helps:

Software businesses looking to market to their existing customers. Engagement is the lifeblood of any software business; engage your users, and the long-term customer lifetime value will follow.

Common job titles: product marketer, growth marketer, product manager, emotionally intelligent marketer, VP marketing, or CMO.

Why I’m Excited About Market Opportunity:

Customer communication is increasing moving from quantity to quality. By uniting in app activity with customer communication Knowtify can lead the engagement marketing movement.

How to Knowtify:

Knowtify is a freemium model with pricing based on contacts entered and messages sent. You can request a demo.

Engagement marketing goes beyond email communication. For web applications looking to offer an notification inbox for their users, join the betalist of their new feature to plug into your app, Inbox by Knowtify.



Teamable header

What’s Teamable? The Employee Referral Solution

The Teamable People:

I took a more hands on role with Teamable as their Head of Marketing. Teamable has a 4 person founding team and has hired their first 8 employees, who all have technical skillsets. They have one of the up and coming tech teams in Armenia. The founding team:

Funding: Large Private ‘Seed’ Round

Notable Advisors:

  • Chris Fry, former Salesforce & Twitter VP of Engineering
  •  Raffi Kirkorian, Former Twitter VP of Engineering and current Uber Engineering Lead

Who Teamable Helps:

The employee network is the most valuable tool for anyone who hires consistently, and everyone else in the organization can benefit from Teamable by referring (and collecting referral fees) for the people in your network that the company actually wants to meet.

Job titles of buyers: Directors of Talent Acquisition, VPs of HR, Recruiters, Talent-centric Companies, & Department Heads.

Why I’m Excited About Market Opportunity:

Employee referrals are the best source of hire and the social graph provides more information than ever before to increase quantity and quality of employee referrals.

Teamable has the technical chops and intuitive workflow to make a dent in the recruitment technology market. Plus, I’m really enjoying supporting the rising tide of Armenian tech startups.

How to be Teamable:

Request Demo. Philosophically, you can be Teamable by working with the people who maximize your talents.



Zoomforth Header

What’s Zoomforth? Recruitment Marketing for the Visual Era

Founders + Team:

Zoomforth has 2 founders, one is tech facing (former top engineer for Radius Intelligence) and one is business facing (former Associate at Total Impact Capital):

The team totals 9 people, having made its first sales, customer success and marketing hires this past spring.

Funding: $1,400,000 led by Crosslink Capital, and previously 500Startups.

Notable customers:

Who Zoomforth Helps:

Zoomforth helps talent acquisition professionals, with no tech or design skills, quickly gather photos and recruitment videos and build beautiful, on-brand web pages that immediately show what makes you different: your people, the visual stories of why your work matters, how your workplace culture shine and what makes your environment thrive.

Common job titles: Employment Brand Managers, Head of TA, VP HR, Recruiter, Department Heads, and Recruiting Managers.

Why I’m Excited About Market Opportunity:

There is so much to quality recruitment marketing between a job ad and a career page. When you think of talent acquisition like marketing, it’s very clear that medium and large companies demand more recruitment marketing landing pages and better recruitment email nurturing.

How to Zoomforth:

Demo Zoomforth. They’re an awesome team to meet!


Aspired Steps

Aspired Steps Header

What’s Aspired Steps? DIY Almanac App

Founders + Team:

Zen Cachola was formerly Yelp’s top salesperson from 2008-2012.  Now an investor in Lyft and Zenefits, her vision is to empower users to earn through collective learning.  Technical Cofounder, Sahil Miglani was formerly Yahoo & Brit+Co’s top iOS developer.  Currently working on Pinterest’s iOS app, Sahil’s mission is to one day build a mobile-first app that allows users to learn compressed knowledge efficiently.  In charge of content and social media is Alex Auch, who is a retired Air Force veteran that worked on military electronics.  He is Aspired Steps resident growth hacker.

Funding:  Bootstrapped + Kickstarter Campaign

Notable Advisors:

Who Aspired Steps Helps:

Aspired Steps empowers DIY experts, makers, students and life hackers to earn through collective learning. The app offers the ability to crowdfund small pieces of instructional content.

The community consists of teachers, students and ‘do-it-yourselfers,’ who contribute and consumer instructional guides in relevant categories. Aspired Steps helps 3 types of users:

  1. Teachers and other experts in their field or hobby, who need help with digital word of mouth.
  2. A community of do-it-yourself students looking to learn new skills.
  3. Aspiring individuals, who are looking to change careers or expand their trade of experience.

Why I’m Excited About this Market Opportunity:

Content! At a high level, It’s a budding marketplace for “practical education,” which is divided into easily consumable steps. It’s exciting to give nontraditional educators the ability to crowd fund their quick-to-achieve guides .

How to Aspired Steps:

Join the beta list today! Philosophically, you take aspired steps by learning something new everyday.

Chow Header

What’s The Corporate Social Responsibility Platform


Engineer Jay Zalowitz & myself (David Smooke). For awhile, Jay’s been one of my favorite life hack companions. Over Anchor Steams at Columbus Cafe, we agreed we could be doing more to give back.


  • Bootstrapped

Notable Advisors:

Who Helps:

The secret sauce to compounded social good is integration with business routine. is a B-Corp that integrates corporate social responsibility into existing corporate purchasing behavior.

For-profit companies do not prioritize building technology that gives back to the local community. The strength of nonprofit companies is not building technology. We want to bridge the gap, and our first tech tool in our journey is a search engine to find 2.3 million nonprofit businesses.

How to

Order lunch through and we’ll donate the the catering profit margin to fight local food insecurity. Email David@C.How to join our beta list.

You can also make a submission to our upcoming C.S.R. blog about how to augment the line between social good and profitability.

Why I’m Excited About Market Opportunity:

It’s tech for good, where success is measured in lives improved and not dollars made.


My goal is to accelerate great teams. If you have great tech, people believing you, and are looking to move your opportunistic startup marketing into sustainable tech marketing, I want to work with you. In Equity Hours you can learn about terms to work together, and the future of strong employment relationships in general.

For the summer and into the fall, I have more exciting upcoming initiatives. To scale my marketing efforts, I’ve partnered a stealth mode marketing startup, in order to take on a growing list of partners that now includes CoinTent and more. In the hiring department, I’ve continued leveraging my preferred list of outsourcers, and more importantly, I have brought on one of favorite bar storytellers, John Marshall, to expand the reach and variety of my companies’ stories.  Also to stay sane, creative, and balanced, I started a poetry album with Haberdasher‘s lead singer (“Dogs of War” Poetry Album Preview).

Lastly for you creative readers out there, we launched a medium publication: “ART + Marketing.” In a month, we achieved 2,400+ subscribers and 40+ contributors, including Investor Jason Lemkin, Tech Journalist / Consultant Simon Owens, and Fedora CEO Ankur Nagpal. More to come. Always be producing. Talk soon.


Interested in putting your cool story on the map?

Interested in joining ArtMap Inc.?


Kind Regards,


David Smooke

Founder & Partner, ArtMap Inc.


P.S. Photo Credit. Like, Tweet, Walk, Talk Inbound Marketing, or share a comment below.

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