“Sometimes, we have to step back to take a giant leap forward.” – Suzanne Martin.
Years ago, following a personal, painful experience, Suzanne Martin pulled the plug on social media, believing it was detracting from, not adding to, her life. In doing so, and after some time, she ultimately arrived at the best version of herself. Without the negative and hollow vibes synonymous with many legacy platforms, there was serenity, but also a disconnect between her and the happenings of the community surrounding her.
RealSpot, a mobile app, was envisioned following what Suzanne calls a “rock bottom and an affirmation.” “I went from social butterfly to the proverbial nose bleeds of life,” she explains. “I felt healing in music and just started painting everything. My bathroom walls, my doors—layering thousands of lyrics into abstract art that spoke the words I needed to say. Soon these huge murals became a mix of both lyrics and the polaroid images I was taking daily. I wanted my children to understand that this was their lives, not the typical staircase gallery of matted and framed shots. Simultaneously, however, my oldest son’s preoccupation with social media started to grow and so did my quest for a platform that would protect mental health, with community and business involvement. A mission with the kind of manic diligence only to be believed if I wore a GoPro.” The social dilemma, (appropriately identified in the Netflix documentary of the same name), shines a light on the many ills of legacy social media, is one of our world’s biggest problems and Suzanne has delivered what the masses have been craving—a social media experience where positivity and authenticity reign. And it might just change the world. “When the only narrative in your head is positive, so are you,” she says. Based on the concept that locals have the best recommendations, people have become the new written advertisement, music speaks every language and to most, cash is king, RealSpot will change the world.
So, who is this upstart tech leader who dares to take on the social media behemoths and transform the experience as they’ve defined it? Who is this woman, who quietly emerged from obscurity to capture the attention of world-class leaders in tech and finance, backed by major players who have mentored and funded her to bring RealSpot to life? She hails not from Silicon Valley titans of industry or a legacy of Stanford alums, she’s a single mother of three, the volunteer head coach of all of youth cheerleading, an artist, and a dreamer, who was fiercely determined to change what she saw as the destructive status quo—and let nothing stand in her way. “I may be the most unlikely tech founder in history but when it comes to my children, my cheerleaders, I will smile in my mug shot. Our self-esteem needs to be built off the merits of our character, not the amount of ‘likes’ we have,” Suzanne says. “It was up to someone to change it. Why not me?”
RealSpot is a democratizing influencer, marketing for small businesses on a socially responsible, three-sided marketplace, that has disabled comments, likes, filters, photoshopping, judgements, and deceit—making the new wave of influencers true everyday people. A new genre of picture documentation and preservation. Social media, interrupted. Where authenticity is not the default, it is the only setting. By the community, for the community, in the community.
RealSpot operates like a disposable camera, but digitally. Marrying that throwback mentality with the new age tech relying on geotagging, RealSpot reaps the best of both old and new world. Believing that we must stop hiding behind our computers and live life, RealSpot has been designed for the documentation of a user’s life in the community. Tap the map of businesses that surround you to pull up RealSpot’s core camera feature, confirm the business or venue of origin, and snap an image; each “real” will seemingly disappear back into the spots map, only to be re-lived upon notification the following day—a system with digital duplicates of images taken in real-time for utilization on a real-time feed, called our Vibes page—a real-time feed of all the good vibes and potentially undiscovered businesses that surround you, aiming to drive real experience with real influence. Lastly, a copy of the image taken will immediately go onto the business of origin’s profile only for a few days. No stale shots of what once was.
As Suzanne helms her fast-growing RealSpot community, this self-proclaimed Elle Woods of the tech world is the host of the Technically Blonde podcast with influencers and friends, Sydney and Julia Boel. Here, she engages with other leaders who share their own experiences that inspire, uplift, and promote the aspirations of us all—and often has listeners rolling with laughter. Suzanne met with us to share more about RealSpot, her podcast, and the simple yet profound mission that continues to drive her.
You’ve completely redefined social media with the RealSpot App, an undertaking that could be viewed as an act of courage. What drives you?
I just like to solve problems in creative ways, period. And the idea of a younger version of myself out there that will perhaps live with a little less judgment and little more joy because of RealSpot, that’s what drives me. I need it! Is that not the best judge of a product’s validity?
RealSpot is leveling the playing field for everyday people and small businesses. How are they coming together to benefit each other, and their communities?
Businesses are given another affordable, democratized way to reach their community and drive real experience. By two-fold democratizing influencer marketing for small businesses, RealSpot puts the fiscal fate of one’s beloved community into the hands of those that reside there—on a platform that cannot be gamed or photoshopped. Together, they’re truly building back better, but also providing the community with a way to supplement their income just by documenting their local lives. Incentive on every end. Everyone needs a carrot dangled.
Users can also become RealSpot community ambassadors and make money while having fun. How does this work?
We call these users “Spotters.” Spotters take images in the community and for those participating businesses who pay $25 a month for visibility and incentive reveal, the images will go onto the Vibes page, captioned by the businesses name only. Each user, or spotter, and business has a unique QR code. This QR code also serves as a virtual fingerprint, allowing for accurate AI reporting of an influencer’s daily activity in the community. Each day a spotter steps into a partnering venue and takes a picture, their balance, only visible to them on their profile, will grow, upon notification of their real being ready. The bigger the app gets, defined by downloads and business sign ups, the greater the democratized influencer rate will be for spotters.
Tell us about your video podcast, Technically Blonde.
Imagine Andy Cohen’s Clubhouse, met Ridiculousness, met Legally Blonde! What was a podcast, and then a video podcast, has become a reality video podcast of this whole journey. We have a great story to tell, but moreover, we want to hear the great stories of the influencers and businesses who have lived through this revolutionary period. Social media and its pioneers truly changed the world. Instead of focusing on the negative, Technically Blonde has a little fun with it. It is random and so fun to do (six degrees to Oprah). The three E’s of social media are to engage, educate and entertain, so that is our goal! And, as major influencers come on and share their funny and sometimes crazy stories of living life during this time period of becoming famous overnight, Tech Blonde gives donations to the charity of their choosing in exchange for their playing along, booking the next influencer, and endorsement of download across their platforms. Instead of spending our marketing money on a 30-second commercial that only benefits RealSpot, with that same money, we get quadruple the eyeballs and give every cent to charity.
Founder and CEO