MEET OUR TEAM

We’re a team that works together and believes in having fun in both business and life. We have to work for a living, but it’s the living that defines us, not the work. There are companies that are changing this world for the better. Every day, we strive to be one of them — from the way we operate our business, to our work environment, and most importantly, in the way we interact with those we have the pleasure of calling our clients.
PAUL JANOWITZ, CEO & Founder

Paul Janowitz specializes in quantitative and qualitative market research, user experience, innovation, and marketing strategy. Prior to founding icanmakeitbetter (2011), Paul founded Sentient Services, our parent company in 2003. Sentient Services provides global primary market research, usability and innovation services. Paul’s experience includes: Research Director for The Gallup Organization, founding employee of Doxus (a leading technology research consultancy acquired by Market Strategies International), Branding and Research Director at Tocquigny, and Founder of wantANDfound.com. Paul holds a MA in Government (human behavior and research methodology) and a dual BA in Economics and Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Paul is actively involved in the Austin community as the founder of AustinProBono.org and through his work with LifeWorks, The Trail Foundation and other local charities. Paul frequently guest lectures and writes about research, start-ups, emerging technology, branding and usability. Paul’s most notable trait is interrupting every other person you see on this site throughout the day with some new research technique or business idea. Many of them work out great… but we would all get our work done a bit quicker if we got him to focus.

BRUCE TATE, CTO

Bruce Tate has been with icanmakeitbetter since we were a napkin sketch. Bruce heads up all technology development and implementation for the icanmakeitbetter platform. Bruce is a best-selling author (including the Jolt award winning Seven Languages in Seven Weeks and From Java to Ruby) and in-demand international speaker (Ruby World Japan, The Server Side Symposium and many others). Prior to joining icanmakeitbetter, Bruce founded and ran RapidRed which worked with high growth start-ups to rapidly build genre-leading web applications such as DigtheDirt. Bruce spent 13 years at IBM, including co-authoring several IBM patents and serving on IBM’s prestigious certification board for application development. Bruce is an accomplished kayaker, climber, and mountain biker. When not coding, you can find him riding the bike trails by his home on Lake Travis or icing his most recent injury.

MATT THURSTON, COO

Flawless execution. As COO, Matt ensures this happens with each and every client and he’s spent more than 10 years doing just that. His experience spans across various disciplines including: interactive agency account management, media campaign planning and execution, market research, online marketing strategy, and of course, software startups. Matt’s been with us for more than six years. He left to spend a brief stint dabbling in political outreach consulting for the State of California, but we won’t hold that against him. In California, Matt helped state representatives to better communicate with their constituents and trained their local offices to better sync with the Capitol and navigate state tools to help those in need. When he came back to us, he was energized, married and well versed in training stakeholders, onboarding teams and ready to get organizations started off on the right foot with icanmakeitbetter. Matt holds a B.S. in Advertising from UT Austin with a minor in Business and Advertising Media.

SHERI STARK, Research Director

Sheri Stark is actively involved in all phases of research and feedback communities. You can find Sheri leading the charge on research and sample design, questionnaire/discussion guide development, data collection management, data processing, analysis and report writing. Prior to joining icanmakeitbetter, Sheri was a Project Manager at Cambia Information Group, where she specialized in research focused on brand reputation, strategy and positioning, marketing communication development/testing/tracking and customer satisfaction. Sheri was also a key player in the development and implementation of customized technology applications. So – research, marketing and technology – all in one person? You can see why we had to have Sheri on the team! Keeping true to her Austin roots, Sheri enjoys listening to live music, eating snow cones at Barton Springs, and taking her new baby boy to Zilker Park. Sheri holds a B.S. in Communications Studies from The University of Texas at Austin (Major in Corporate Communication and Concentration in Business).

KAREN SPRUILL, Research Director

Karen Spruill leads up our qualitative practice in addition to managing client communities and full-service primary market research. Karen is a highly trained and skilled focus group, depth-interview and in-situation moderator. Karen’s experience spans focus groups, digital diaries, home visits, niche customer communities, advisory boards and more. When your projects call for something qualitative (online or offline), give Karen a call. Prior to joining the band of rebels at icanmakeitbetter, Karen was a Senior Market Research Manager specializing in consumer packaged goods, grocery, retail, and technology. In addition to conducting traditional qualitative and quantitative research, Karen led the development and management of online insights communities as part of a holistic market intelligence function for clients. Prior experience also includes serving as Senior Account Manager at Powered where she worked with leading technology and pharmaceutical companies to deliver engaging content and online communities. Karen holds a BS (Marketing) from Texas A&M and an MBA from St. Edwards University. Karen enjoys spending time with her two children, a cold margarita and a mean match of tennis.

COLBY BLAISDELL, Interactive Director

Colby is our secret weapon – front-end developer, coder, and early Saturday morning tinkerer and optimizer. The “Colbster” as he is known, helped build the initial icanmakeitbetter.com platform (while spending the year traveling through New Zealand – we really are a great place to work!). Since then he has been cranking out industry firsts and making the icanmakeitbetter.com platform simply the most amazing feedback community tool on the planet. Colby holds a degree from Harding University in Interactive Media. He thinks he has a Masters in gaming. He enjoys traveling, playing ultimate Frisbee, being married and his two cats, not in that order.

ERIC MEADOWS-JÖNSSON, Senior Developer

Eric is our Senior Developer specializing in Elixir and agile, real-time applications. Eric resides in Sweden…so we get up very early to talk to him! Eric is a featured speaker on Elixir and open source technology and is part of the Elixir core team and frequently speaks on the platform and open source technology. His contributions to the field include Hex, Ecto, ShouldI and many more groundbreaking code libraries and bases. Eric has his MSc in Computer Science from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Fun Friday

If it is a Friday, call first – it may be a “Fun Friday” and, if so, we can give you directions to the golf course, Alamo Draft House, river or other place that we may be finding inspiration at and building a company like no other. Or we may just be drinking beer and watching a movie – still a great reason to come catch up with us.

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