How a connected light led to an internet of things operating system – with CEO Zach Supalla

A stroke of genius. We all want it to happen while we take a shower or run or meditate don’t we? But we all know deep down inside that it takes hard work and hustle to be exposed to the opportunity to have a stroke of genius – and for many of us it will never happen or will pass us by unnoticed.

For Zach Supalla, CEO of – an open-source, cloud-connected operating system for the Internet of Things – it wasn’t a single stroke of genius but many steps towards it as you’ll see in this episode. This is a classic story of using technology to solve a specific problem and then iterating and iterating and iterating. Zach has built hardware, done two Kickstarter campaigns, shifted to software, runs an open-source community, targets makers and sells to enterprise – all within the life of this one company.

Yup, hustle.



Key takeaways from this episode. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is Spark? 2:55
2. What is your background? 4:50
3. Where did the idea come from? 6:30
4. From Kickstarter failure to Kickstarter success 7:30
5. Why were you in China? 13:00
6. What was the biggest challenge after being successful with Kickstart? 15:30
7. What do you do after you ship 30,000 Spark Cores? 19:30
8. Why not scale the chip development? 23:00
9. Why is Spark OS relevant? 28:00
10. What was the climate for raising money for Spark? 35:30
11. How do you balance the maker community with your target customer – enterprise 38:20
12. How did you find your first enterprise customer? 41:20
13. How do you position Spark to enterprises? 45:50
14. How competitive is the internet of things industry right now? 48:50
15. What is the best thing that could happen for the industry right now? 51:50
16. Where is the real value of the Internet of things? 54:45


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About Zach Suppala
Zach Suppala Spark.ioFounder and CEO of Spark. Business + dev + design. Worked at McKinsey and Groupon. Alumnus of Kellogg School of Management (MBA and MEM 2012) and Dartmouth College (BA 2007).

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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