After working at Citysearch for nearly 4 years Kerry Finsand caught the start-up bug and left to try something new. Over a 3 year span he worked as a marketing consultant with a variety of start up companies in the technology and hospitality industries. Along the way Kerry combined his passion for craft beer, technology and marketing into various beer related projects including Taplister.com, the worlds first live search engine based off of Twitter. All of these projects and experiences recently lead him to work for Groupon, the fastest growing company in U.S. history. Working for Groupon, he helps local and national businesses come up with creative offers to drive new business. In his free time he works on developing Taplister.com, which is a resource to help craft beer fans find what’s on tap at local brewpubs and restaurants. When he is not working for Groupon or on Taplister than you can find Kerry checking out some of the best craft beers in the world in Beervana aka Portland, Oregon.
What are you working on right now?
Between Groupon and Taplister I have a lot of projects going on. A lot of the projects we are working on are top secret, but we are in the process of redesigning Taplister and adding new functionality that craft beer fans are really going to enjoy. We recently launched a new iPhone app with descriptions of beers from one of the largest beer databases in the world, Ratebeer.com. The Ratebeer integration allows users to see the description of the beers, abv and the Ratebeer rating.
3 trends that excite you?
Mobile, local/social and of course the craft beer movement. I’m excited to see the fusion of mobile (smart phones and touch screens) with local and social. All of these things fit so well together. I’m interested in Google vs Yelp vs Facebook and who will win. As far as craft beer, the number of craft breweries will continue to rise. With a down economy and the growing popularity of craft beer we will see more breweries and brewpubs opening.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have always been a person who has a notebook full of ideas. When I come up with an idea I usually sketch it out on a piece of paper. Over the years I have found that after I come up with an idea I need to take some time away from it and then come back to it to see if it is an idea that is worth pursuing. If it is, then I talk to my wife or a colleague and they will usually tell me if I crazy or not. If passes muster, then I start researching the concept on Google followed by phases of development and then a checklist of what needs to be done.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of things. My family, friends, people in general, books, beer, websites and life. I enjoy hearing about people’s success stories, side projects and helping others out because it drives me to be creative and to succeed in my endeavors.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Choose your business partners and colleagues wisely. Just because they seem like a good business partner does not mean that they really are or will be. Work on a small project first and really get to know the person and always put everything in writing.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Paying people in beer will only get you so far and will not always result in the the desired outcome.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
One book, that is a tough question. Does Google count? I’m all about Google Docs or Microsoft office. These tools help me organize my many projects. Since I don’t have any graphic skills I always use powerpoint to prototype web projects and business concepts.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
MacGyver of course.
What has been the most rewarding part of Taplister?
Well it definitely is not the pay, so maybe the free beer. Actually it would be meeting great people, getting to travel and speak at conferences and seeing craft beer fans, breweries and bar owners thanking me for helping promote them and the industry. We get requests from all around the world to add Taplister to people’s town. We have gotten requests from towns in Australia to small towns all over the US.
How did you get into craft beer?
About 5 years ago I was training for sporting event called the pump and run where you bench press 90% of your body weight as many times and you can and run a 5k. I ended up over training and hurt my shoulder. I started to go to a lot of beer events, which in Portland is not hard to do. At these events I met a lot of great people and got enveloped into the culture. While at one of the events Brian Butenschoen, the director of the Oregon Brewers Guild said why don’t you start writing about beer. Next thing you know, I was a contributing writing to a column called Guest On Tap. From there I went on to blog and write for several publications. Today I do some blogging and do a monthly radio show called Beer O’Clock hosted by Lisa Morrison. Since I like to talk about beer and technology we named my segment BeerGyver and for the past year I have been having a blast doing this segment as part of Lisa’s show. Today my focus is more about creating technology to help promote craft beer and that is what I’m doing with Taplister.com.