Congrats to Sprouter.com

Its always good to see some local people make it. Today sprouter.com officially launched, and it looks like they’re getting a lot of media attention, including the National Post. For those who haven’t heard of them, they started off as redwire.ca, and have been steadily pounding away at things for the past year or so, which shows great tenacity.

8 responses on “Congrats to Sprouter.com

  1. Elie

    Great news seeing local succeed. Perhaps if Toronto had a startup incubator like some other cities, we would see this happen more often.

  2. TheCritic

    Props to them. Getting a big site up is hard work but…
    the ever-present voice of the critic must be heard!

    1) The site is kinda chunky. Why are they using IMAGES for text?

    2) There is nothing to really indicate WHAT sprouter.com is, without signing up first. Seriously, I’m not going to even bother signing up if they can’t at least give me a better clue of WHAT I’m signing up for, other than a buzzword string of “collaboration entrepreneur, network buzz buzz buzz paradigms of harmonious synergy”!

    3) Oh wait, there it is a tiny little “tour” link way down in size 8 font at the bottom of the page: a YouTube video. It’s kinda grainy looking. I mean, c’mon a VIDEO tour of a WEBsite? WTF?? It’s just a website! Why not just DESCRIBE it rather than make me watch a blurry video narrated by someone who is speaking WAAAY too fast. I got bored after about 30 seconds because I just didn’t feel it was answering the crucial questions: “WHY??? What’s the point???”

    4) They use those godawful float-over divs that slow my browser down, take several SECONDS to load (that was ok on my 14.4 kbps modem but certainly not anymore). I hate those things so very very much!

    Ok, I’ve lost interest. Bring on the next contender!

    …And yes, I WILL be submitting this as feedback to them. Maybe they can see the error of their ways.

    …and now I just realize their feedback widget is completely useless for the feedback I’m trying to give. Also, they demand real-person credentials for submitting feedback. Well, you know them so maybe they can read this critique here.

    1. Jeremy Lichtman Post author

      Don’t complain to me! Complain to them! 🙂

      The feedback widget is using GetSatisfaction, fyi.

      I’m assuming this is Sol…

  3. Erin Bury

    Hey Jeremy – thanks for the kind words!! Really excited to debut to the world and facilitate connections between entrepreneurs around the world.

    Cheers,
    Erin

    1. Jeremy Lichtman Post author

      Hi Erin,

      I just emailed Sarah on LinkedIn. Ping.fm doesn’t support Sprouter yet. Same for Knowem.com, DandyId etc.

      I figure they may be able to drive you some traffic.

      Always happy to see somebody local achieve success. Its been a long road for you folks, and its really something to stick to it like that.

      J.

  4. Erin Bury

    Hi The Critic,

    I’d be happy to have you e-mail us the critiques – and yes, we do read it. Not sure if you’re familiar with Get Satisfaction but it is actually a great tool for the community to send feedback and questions – and of course we always have the support@sprouter.com e-mail address available, which I monitor daily.

    Just wanted to address a few of your complaints:
    1. Wondering what you mean by using images for text? Everyone has a profile picture, but other than that the site is based on text conversation.
    2. We can certainly look at putting a link to an About Us page – great idea.
    3. I actually find I see more video tours of web pages since most people are visual learners, and describing it in text doesn’t get the same point across. Sorry you feel it’s too fast and grainy – it’s made using ScreenFlow, so perhaps that’s a reflection on that program.

    I don’t think we see the “error of our ways” – we see that we are an early-stage startup with a lot of work to do and features to add. We are a 3-person team, so it’s difficult to address every complaint right away – but we’re certainly working on it, and working on functionality.

    If the site isn’t for you, that’s fine – thanks for sending your feedback, and hopefully you find your next contender.

    Cheers,
    Erin
    Community Manager
    Sprouter

  5. TheCritic

    @Jeremy: Who is this “Sol” of which you speak?

    Hi Erin,
    Wow… I’m not used to getting responses to those sort of rants! :O
    Rereading that, I realize I was a little more belligerent than usual. Sorry if it came across as rather harsh, it was not intended to be.

    Get Satisfaction: Frankly, I’m paranoid about sign-on widgets that require cross-site credential validation to totally unaffiliated sites. Maybe I’m just overly paranoid, but, whatever 😉 It just seems to be too much information sharing – of the sort which I don’t think should be shared.

    1) I was referring to the main text on the main page: “Sprouter enables…globally”. It looks SO MUCH like text that I tried to select it. Same with the “sign-up now” button. On closer inspection, the page source indicates that it IS text, but non-selectable. Ok, that was weird (viewing in Opera 10, if you’re interested)… Truth be told, I think these are pretty minor points in the grand scheme of things. Nothing to lose sleep over. 😉

    2) 🙂

    3) I have noticed that too, and it vexes me. My personal preference is some headings, maybe a screenshot beside each one and some text. Detailed text can follow later. It’s more “random-access” than a video (and is also much more indexable by search engines;)), so I can just scroll around and look for what I want. Videos tend not to have “bookmarks” or cross-referencing hyperlinks (at least not yet), so if the answer to your question is at the very end of the video, you’d have to wait O(n) just to find that out. And the user can’t bookmark a part of the video that’s interesting to them in particular (at least not until someone develops that technology as a browser plug-in).
    But the worst sin is photo galleries powered by fancy, slow-loading viewers that are Flash/AJAX hybrids. I have seen some that don’t even have a “prev/next” button so you have to close each window and then open a new one for each image. And I’m pretty sure one of them even had a delay so people could enjoy the very cool “loading…” animation for 3 or 4 seconds (and it WAS cool – but only the first time). Now those things REALLY annoy me, but it’s kinda off-topic (since they’re not even on your site), and becoming even more so, so uh, never mind.

    Anyway, it looks like you guys have pulled off a pretty major accomplishment. Good job! Don’t try to answer all of my points because I’m the sort of person that always finds something else to nitpick, and most of these points are pretty minor.
    You’re probably right, if I didn’t “click” with it right away, it might not be for me (but I’ll decide that for sure once the “About Us” page is up;)), but there are probably plenty of other people that will click just fine with it.

    Best of luck!!!

  6. Elie

    @Erin Bury
    Wow, I wasn’t expecting to see an answer to @TheCritic at all, let alone here.

    Given that you’re reading this, Erin, I would add that I find the loading speed of Sprouter to be quite slow (I’ve signed up as @ekochman), although I’ve noticed this with a few other sites as well recently. Also, there’s something a little confusing about the feed, when you put it in threaded mode. It seems to show you the feed in threaded mode, but some messages get repeated despite the fact that they were supposed to be threaded, and the threading doesn’t seem to work beyond 2 or 3 levels deep.