Adam Robinson

Keep throwing spaghetti against the wall. Eventually, something will stick.


Adam Robinson (39) was born in Houston, Texas and graduated from Rice University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

After graduation, Robinson moved to NYC to work for Lehman Brothers (and Barclays Capital, post-bankruptcy) where he traded credit default swaps. In 2009, Robinson decided to leave Wall Street to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

In 2014, he launched Robly Email Marketing. The business grew to $5 million in revenue in the first two years and by 2017 was awarded #1 in Customer Satisfaction across the entire email marketing space. After proving Robly’s viability, Adam worked to scale the business. After testing and scrapping a few ideas, he and his team launched GetEmails in 2019.

Adam is now based in Austin, Texas where he lives with his girlfriend Helen and their two pet chickens.

Where did the idea for GetEmails come from?

It actually evolved out of a feature that we built for our Email Marketing application called Robly.

People were signing up for Robly and not even using it for Email Marketing – they were just using the GetEmails (then called RoblyID) technology to identify 35% of their anonymous traffic, then manually uploading the contacts into their own Email Marketing app.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Well, we’re remote, so right now I’m in Aspen for three months with my girlfriend Helen.

I wake up at around 6 without an alarm, work until 9, ski from 9-12, have lunch, take 20min power nap, work from around 130-6, and go out to dinner somewhere.

I make my day productive by crushing checklists.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I talk to as many people as possible who are experts in the field for months on end before attempting anything myself.

Lots and lots of digging.

When we’re finally ready to proceed, I mock up UI in an app called Snagit, which is basically photoshop for dummies, then get a designer – if our team is too busy I go to upwork – to make the actual pretty pages, get the HTML coded by someone on our team, then hand it off to our CTO who will make sure everything works as we believe it should for the MVP.

We then listen to customers and iterate.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Data, identification, etc. I have no idea where the laws are going to end up, but we can do some amazing things for marketers right now.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I don’t easily get distracted when I’m working. I read 4-hour work week like 7 years ago when I quit my job, turned the noise off (social media, news, tv, etc) and never turned it back on.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Become a product guy NOW, over-invest in product and product experience rather than sales and marketing.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Email marketing in the USA isn’t actually opt-in. It’s opt-out. Meaning, you don’t have to have an opt-in to send a blast email (legally speaking).

That’s a fact.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep throwing spaghetti at the wall. Something will stick someday.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Somehow Facebook ads are working for our B2B company this time around. We made a short video and it’s crushing. Tons of comments, reasonably priced signups that are paying back in under a week … Check the ad out.

Never before has this happened to me.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I tried three things three years in a row to grow our ESP that had flatlined. None of them worked, I spent a million dollars, and got sued by a large competitor.

It was miserable.

I just kept throwing spaghetti against the wall.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This is a tough one – I traded CDS at Lehman Brothers for 10 years and the entire corporate bond market is still voice.

Create an AI product that captures missed trade data from voice then presents the total picture of an accounts activity to the trader every time that account comes in.

That won’t make sense to most people reading this … But maybe a couple.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

They are $370 — but it’s still Bose noise-canceling headphones. They turn anywhere you have a laptop and table into an office.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Trello. Checklists.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

American Pastoral by Phillip Roth. It’s an absolutely riveting novel that contains deep and painful truths about the unfairness of life.

What is your favorite quote?

Anything Warren Buffet has ever said.

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

And more.

Key Learnings:

  • Make checklists and crush them.
  • Turn off the noise.
  • Focus on product FIRST.
  • Keep throwing spaghetti against the wall. Eventually, something will stick.