Meet the Staff: Holly Minshull

holly-2Name: Holly Minshull (minshkins)

Position: Associate Product Manager

Originally from: Seattle, Washington

Worked at Sporcle since: November 2012

About:  After studying Middle English at Western Washington University, Holly moved back to Seattle and joined the team at Sporcle. When she’s not Sporcling, Holly works with special needs kids, spends time with her friends, and plays in a rec soccer league. When SporcleHQ cast employees as Disney characters, Holly was chosen to be Belle.

Interests: Holly’s an avid fan of Seattle sports. (We recommend not asking her about the Sonics or the most recent Super Bowl.) She likes Indie Rock music, but she’s known around the office for being an enthusiastic Sam Smith fan. Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are two of her favorite series – both the books and on-screen. She also regularly attends Sporcle Live trivia nights.

Her favorite Sporcle quiz is Oldest to Youngest Minefield. But she holds a special place in her heart for quiz that introduced her to Sporcle–Countries of the World.

Strange Fact: When Holly was young, she had a large Tasmanian Devil collection. It included stuffed animals, an eraser, piggy bank, and other knick-knacks. She proudly shared them at her 3rd grade show-and-tell. 

Here at Sporcle: Holly is passionate about creating and promoting fun quizzes. She schedules content for the homepage, Facebook and other social media platforms. She works with our engineers to develop new products and improve the site. And she’s helping develop Sporcle’s newest quiz platform: Octoquiz.

Favorite thing(s) about working at Sporcle: Holly likes that every day is different at Sporcle. She likes the people and the community. And she loves the opportunity to be creative–whether coming up with a new product idea or creating a new quiz.

New Badges: That’s No Moon, The First Folio and Jam Session

We’ve got a good feeling about these badges…

UseTheForce_4That’s No Moon: You know you’ve always wanted to be a Jedi Master. We can’t transport you to a galaxy far, far away, but we can promise you an afternoon full of lightsabers and The Force. Play 50 Star Wars games and earn this badge to show off your knowledge of all things Star Wars.


The First Folio: How well do you think you know The Bard of Avon? Prove your knowledge of Shakespeare by getting 100% on Shakespeare Plays, then display this badge. We promise you won’t even have to say “hath” a single time.

badges_jamsessionJam Session: Get those earbuds in, and warm up your fingers. It’s time for a Sporcle music jam like never before. Play 25 Music quizzes in one day, and this badge will be an everlasting sign of your musical achievement.

As always, check the badge page for the latest updates.

Meet the Staff: Eric Hill

EricName: Eric Hill (walrusboy)

Position: UI/UX Designer – a.k.a Head of all things design for Sporcle & Sporcle Live

Originally from: Dallas, Texas

Worked at Sporcle since: May 2011

About: Eric describes himself as a goofy guy who likes to laugh. He likes spending time with his kids and their new family dog. Other places he’s lived include Singapore and southern California. He’s known around the office as the resident Star Trek fan and the voice of Slackbot.

Interests: Eric has a wide variety of hobbies and interests. He spends a lot of time with old computer hardware, collecting retro games to play and share with his kids. He has a 1986 VW Wesfalia Camper van which he’s steadily restoring to pristine condition. And he keeps up on trends in the music industry, with electronic music being his current genre of choice.

For a long time, Eric’s go-to Sporcle quiz was 3 Letter Body Parts. As he tells it, it’s a quiz that covers basic knowledge, but if you’ve been away from it for a few months, it can be a challenge to remember every last answer.

Strange Fact: Most people wouldn’t know that Eric used to be in the military.

Here at Sporcle: Eric is the guy we go to for all design-related questions (he also has good restaurant recommendations.)  Eric loves designing for mobile–one of his first projects at Sporcle involved redesigning the main Sporcle mobile app. On the web, some of his favorite pages to design are the games pages. Eric has an exceptional eye for detail, and he works to make our products appear polished and eye-catching.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: Eric likes Sporcle for the “fantastic” team vibe. As he puts it, “Egos are left at the door…everyone is focused on producing a great product.” Though there’s a lot of work to be done, he says, there’s an attitude that we’re here to have fun. And it’s pretty awesome to get paid for that.

Meet the Staff: Mark Adams

Mark being a Pacific Northwesterner

Mark being a Pacific Northwesterner

Name: Mark Adams (markadams543)

Position: VP of Operations – Live Trivia

Originally from: Canton, Michigan

Worked at Sporcle since: January 2013*

About: Mark describes himself as creative and never satisfied.

Interests: Mark is an avid baseball fan (read: Detroit Tigers fan) and likes to attend live concerts. His claim-to-fame is that he’s seen the Dave Matthews Band perform 70 times. (Read that sentence once more. Hard to believe, we know.) He recently moved to Seattle and enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Mark’s favorite Sporcle quiz is WWE Wrestlers by ’80s Action Figure. He says he doesn’t have a favorite movie, but he’ll see any movie with Tom Hanks in it.

Strange Fact:  In 3rd grade, Mark got to ride in the fire truck for the Westland, Michigan 4th of July parade. The occasion? He’d written the best essay on fire prevention.

Here at Sporcle:  Here at Sporcle, Mark oversees all areas of Sporcle Live. This includes managing the Sporcle Live team and hosts, as well as providing leadership in sales, marketing and staffing.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: Mark likes working at Sporcle because every day presents a new challenge. As he puts it, “When you’re working with 200+ bars and 100+ hosts, you never know what you’re going to get.” 

Special Message from Mark: “If you haven’t already, you should play Sporcle Live. It’s completely different than what you play on the website. It’s a great way to spend a night out with friends.” And he adds, “We need more good hosts…apply today!” (Quite the salesman, this Mark fellow.)

* The date that Great Lakes Trivia became Sporcle Live. Mark put on the first live trivia show of then-named Motor City Trivia on March 29, 2009.

Back to Sporcle 2014: Summer Badges

We’ve been swimming in great new badges all summer long. Scan through this list – placed in alphabetical order for your convenience – and look at the fun to be had.

1000Entertainment3All That Jazz: If all of your friends consult you for all of their pop culture questions – on everything from celebrity selfies to cereal mascots – then this badge is for you. Just play 1000 total games in Entertainment.

BakersDozen_1Baker’s Dozen: To earn this badge, simply play at least one game for thirteen consecutive days. Not quite as demanding as the Century Club, but still satisfying. Victory never tasted so good.

BorderBandit_1Border Bandit: Want to travel the world? You can from the comfort of your desktop. Earn this badge by getting 100% on African Border BashAmerican Border BashAsian Border Bash and European Border Bash. It’s not quite the same as crossing all those borders on your own, but we’d like to think it’s still inspiring.

TheBoyWhoLived_2The Boy Who Lived: Harry Potter’s birthday is a holiday in its own right. We decided to celebrate it by releasing this badge, which can be earned by playing  Harry Potter: Close-Up!Hogwarts Wizard Training and Harry Potter Minefield on Harry Potter’s birthday (July 31st).

EverythingsComingUpMilhouse_3Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse: You’re a Simpsons fan and you know it. Crack open a Duff, grab a donut, and play 50 Simpsons quizzes for the honor and glory of Springfield, USA.
Read more

Back to Sporcle 2014: Haiku Contest

Welcome to Day 3 of Back to Sporcle Week! 

Summer-is-overSad to say goodbye to summer? Drown your sorrows in Sporcle quizzes. They’re sure to cheer you up, and the self-esteem boost from memorizing the Countries of Africa is a joy known by few.

During Back to Sporcle Week, we fill you in on what transpired at Sporcle over the summer. (If you’re just joining us, check out the posts from Day 1 and 2: New Features & Sporcle’s Top Summer Games.)

But Back to Sporcle Week isn’t just about us. It’s also about YOU, our users!

sporcle haikuSporcle Haiku Contest

Last year’s haiku contest was such a success, we’re goin’ for round 2. Show off your creative chops by submitting a Sporcle-themed haiku.

What is haiku?

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables (also known as on or morae). There are three lines, consisting of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.  Haiku is known for juxtaposing–or placing next to each other–two  contrasting images.

There are numerous tutorials on how to write haiku, for example this one. There are no tutorials on writing a Sporcle haiku. But we’re quite friendly and accepting.

pen-and-paper-writing-9349790-2048-1536The not-so-fine print:

- Write an original haiku related in some way to Sporcle.

- Post your username and haiku in the comments section of this post

- The winning poems will be posted on the Sporcle Facebook page

Need inspiration? Check out the comments section from last year’s haiku contest.

Meet the Staff: Rachel Nanning

rachelName: Rachel Nanning (nanners)

Position: Content Moderator & Customer Service Representative

Originally from: Round Top, Texas

Worked at Sporcle since: March 2011

About:  Rachel describes herself as independent, goofy and curious. She’s an avid reader with a love for history. She also loves music, trivia and traveling.

Interests: Rachel spends a lot of time curating Spotify playlists. She’s on a constant quest to find new music, particularly international. On Sporcle, she gravitates toward History games. Her favorite Sporcle quiz is Forty Famous Women, and pretty much any quiz about Russia.

Strange Fact: This fall,  Rachel will be living in Kyrgyzstan!  A linguistics and Russian major, Rachel is making the trip to complete her degree.  When plans to go to Russia fell through, Rachel was offered the option to go to Kyrgyzstan instead. Only a Sporcler could be this excited. Rumor is she’ll be learning how to build a yurt. She’ll also be blogging about her experience here on the Sporcle blog.

Here at Sporcle:  Rachel is the face of feedback at Sporcle. If you’ve ever written in using the Sporcle feedback form, there’s a good chance you emailed with Rachel. She also monitors our Twitter feed, reading your tweets and responding with wit and an occasional meme. And through it all she helps moderate quizzes and other content on the site.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: Rachel likes working at Sporcle because she can let her curiosity run wild. As she put it, ‘I’m constantly learning–but in a way that requires few exams.’ For a person who’s been a full-time student throughout her tenure at Sporcle, that’s saying something!

Meet the Staff: John O’Brien

johnName: John O’Brien (John)

Position: Software engineer

Originally from: Born in Connecticut, but grew up outside of Philadelphia

Worked at Sporcle since: July 2011

About: John is described by one co-worker as ‘unfailingly thorough, fun to work with, and largely responsible for the infrastructure and design of badges on Sporcle.’  His favorite Sporcle quiz is Countries of the World. He claims it was the first quiz he really tried to beat by memorization (he got 100% after only a few months on the job – October 6, 2011 to be exact.)

Interests: John’s big hobby is skiing, and in the wintertime you can find him on the slopes just about every weekend. In the summertime, he enjoys mountain biking. And any time of year he likes drinking beer.

Strange Fact:  John couldn’t come up with any strange facts about himself, so we went to Twitter. We learned, for example, that John did not know what a cow was until the age of 8. Check out #strangefactsaboutJohn and help us tell the story of his strange life.

Here at Sporcle:  Here at Sporcle, John’s work falls into two categories: keeping the website running and adding new features to the site. Recent projects he’s worked on include new game types, Trivia Bingo, and improving our badge creation tools.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: John describes the Sporcle team as ‘a fun group of people that like to get stuff done.’ Because it’s a small group, he says, there’s a variety of projects that come your way. You could be working on anything when you walk in the door for the day.

Meet the Staff: Matt Selby

SelbyName: Matt Selby (mselby)

Position: Product Manager

Originally from: Arlington, WA

Worked at Sporcle since: October 2010

About: Matt describes himself as an expressive person who is interested in many things. He likes cartoons – most notably, Adventure Time and The Venture Bros. His favorite movie is Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, and he has a healthy fear of horses.

Interests: Matt is an avid home brewer, film snob and vinyl collector. He has an old Volkswagen that he likes to work on (a 1970 Karmann Ghia). And as those who know him will tell you, he loves sandwiches. His favorite Sporcle quiz, in fact, is Sandwich Time. Made on a whim, the quiz has now become a Sporcle classic.

Strange Fact:  For many years, Matt has been attempting to make a shot-for-shot remake of Journey’s Separate Ways (World’s Apart). You can view it here. (And for reference, the original looks like this.)

Here at Sporcle:  Here at Sporcle, Matt schedules quizzes, writes quiz text, and interacts with users on a daily basis. He also writes blog posts, writes product specs, and manages our internal team of content moderators.

His current goal is to be a positive influence at the office, and he’s started a trend of saying a cheery good morning when he walks in the door each day. Early results show that it’s working.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: ”The main thing I like about Sporcle is every day there is something new and weird that surprises me. That can be hard to find in a job, except maybe if you’re a homicide detective. But there’s less dead bodies at Sporcle.” The other great thing about working at Sporcle? There’s a coffee maker.

Meet the Staff: Amy Van Groningen

amyName: Amy Van Groningen (amyevg)

Position: Content Moderator

Originally from: Auburn, CA

Worked at Sporcle since: October 2011

About: Amy describes herself as energetic and efficient – and we agree! Amy is about to graduate as an Accounting major from Seattle Pacific University. She also loves being around people and would “do anything legal for a good story.”

Interests: When Amy’s not studying or Sporcling, she likes to visit Seattle-area restaurants and try new food. Her favorite band is The Killers, and she’s an avid fan of the TV show Friends. (No surprise, her favorite Sporcle quiz is The Ultimate Friends Quiz.)

Strange Fact:  As a 10-year-old, Amy got magnets stuck up her nose. As she tells the story, her babysitter bought her magnetic earrings and she put one in her nostril. She liked it so much she thought she should have TWO nose piercings! The two magnets were clearly attracted to one another and “met in the bridge.” (Reminds us of this quiz.)

Here at Sporcle:  When Amy’s in the office, she meticulously reviews upcoming quizzes that are scheduled for the homepage. She also works Photoshop magic to create and edit Image and Slideshow quizzes, among other projects.

Favorite thing about working at Sporcle: “I really like the discussions we have in the office…there are so many ridiculous conversations. Everyone who works at Sporcle has a good sense of humor.”