Torrey Tayenaka – CEO of Sparkhouse

Networking, every good thing that has happened to my businesses has come from a personal connection. Its amazing how much business and good fortune comes from the people you went to school with, played sports with, or even your neighbors.

As CEO of Sparkhouse, Torrey Tayenaka uses groundbreaking media approaches that combine bold storytelling with high cinematic value, earning several ADDY and TELLY awards since its inception in 2009.

Recognized with the Orange County Business Journal’s Nominated Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for 2013/2014 and 2015 Torrey devotes a lot of his time to developing innovative projects like Forge 54, an intensive 54-hour weekend that unites 50 professionals and students who work together to donate $300,000 worth of marketing, advertising, and media services to a different nonprofit organization each year.

In 2013, Torrey served as designer and creative lead for the Kite Patch project, a cooperative effort to develop and market a breakthrough mosquito-fighting technology. Using crowdfunding, Torrey was able to raise $500,000 in just 45 days, allowing the team to produce and test Kite Patch in Uganda and ultimately evaluate its effectiveness in preventing mosquito-borne diseases.

As president for the young networking group Ad 2 OC, a nonprofit group of young advertising professionals, Torrey Tayenaka continues to create and produce unique networking events that foster education, professional growth, and collaboration instead of competition.

Where did the idea for Eva Smart Shower come from?

Eva Smart shower came from an observation about just how much water we waste every day in the shower. I turned on the shower and noticed how much water was going down the drain, and then once I was in the shower and was soaping my hair I noticed I stepped out of the flow of water but the water kept flowing- it seemed like something smart could be done about that.

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

It hurts me to wake up every morning but when I finally do, I normally clear my emails from my phone as much as I can to make sure I don have urgent needs. Work starts at 10 (im creative!) It starts with a cup of black coffee, a bottle of water and a protein shake. I try to stay away for emails at this point and get cranking on my 6 big goals for the day (planned the night before) Obviously things happen and I get distracted from my tasks but I try to accomplish 6 big things a day. I go straight from work to Yoga or the gym, then home to for dinner/ relax or out to the bars depending on the night. Then it starts over again 🙂

How do you bring ideas to life?

Set goals and deadlines. Without deadlines nothing gets done. I also am big on creating road maps or checklists to success so I know just what needs to get done to make ideas happen.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I love that people are starting to really believe that anything is possible. If you have a big idea there are people and technology that can make it happen.

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

Stay organized. I love tech that helps keep my organized I live on google docs, asana and wunderlist.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I have only had one other job other than running my own businesses and it was life guarding – it taught me that I want to work for myself.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Move faster, spend more money.

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

Review your failures, figure out what went wrong and learn from it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Networking, every good thing that has happened to my businesses has come from a personal connection. Its amazing how much business and good fortune comes from the people you went to school with, played sports with, or even your neighbors.

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

Overstaffed. I thought we needed more people than we did, when our customers changed strategies we were stuck with huge overhead and a lot of waste. It took some time but we optimized and slimmed the team.

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

Delivery gas… Think Uber for filling up your car with gas. Everyone hates filing up gas, you always drive home on empty and are so over filling up and then when you wake up in the morning to go to work you are so pissed you didnt fill up the night before. There is never a good time to fill up gas. Imagine an app where you could order gas to your car. A small gas truck pulls up in the night and fills your car up right in your driveway (you dont even have to be there!) I would use it every week.

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

A bottle of Macallan 18.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google drive: Stores and shares everything I do
Asana: organize and task manage my team
Wunderlist: tracks my todos for today, tomorrow as well as lists of books and movies i need to see.
Slack: internal company chatting and conversations brings down email huge
Doodle: helps set up meetings quickly without back and forth emails
Zirtual: Virtual assistant – self explanatory
Boomerang: Gmail plugin that loops emails backs and allows for scheduled emails to go out.
Mailchimp: Email marketing and email automation
Salesforce: Keeping reminders and follows for all contacts

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

The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferris

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?


Torrey Tayenaka on Linkedin:
Torrey Tayenaka on Twitter: @tayenaka
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