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Tools of the Trade: Clarity helps entrepreneurs “get unstuck”

Tools of the Trade is a series showcasing an app, gadget or service that entrepreneurs may find useful.

After speaking with Dan Martell about his latest startup, Clarity, I see why people say that many startups reflect the DNA of their founder or founders. Martell, a former Big Omaha speaker, is a walking startup school of knowledge willing to give advice, opinions and feedback at a moment’s notice, which is essentially what his company is attempting to do. Clarity aims to connect entrepreneurs with experts, over the phone, for advice on their business challenges.

“Being an entrepreneur is hard,” Martell said in an interview last week. “Clarity is here to help you get unstuck.”

The Clarity file

  • Description: Clarity is a service that allows business owners to get advice from experts over the phone.
  • Launched: May 2012
  • Audience: Clarity is for first-time entrepreneurs or seasoned business owners that seek to have a phone conversation around an issue.
  • Competition: GLG Research and Ether
  • Cost: 90 percent of experts are free; 10 percent charge (entrepreneur Sahil Lavingia charges $1/hour and Mark Cuban charges $10,000/hour, for example). Clarity also allows its experts to prompt for a donation post call or donate their fee to charities.

On the surface, Clarity is a pretty simple idea, a service that connects people for advice. Nothing special about that, right? But layer that on top of a deep set of features allowing a user to filter and identify the perfect person that fits their advice needs, and you have a pretty compelling product.

What makes Clarity unique for me is the connection over the phone. We live in such a wired world that it isn’t hard to find someone’s email, LinkedIn profile or Twitter account. But with Clarity, a phone number and voice conversation changes the dynamic of the relationship and the quality of the advice.

A good portion of the entrepreneurs we feature on Silicon Prairie News are those building products. Whether an entrepreneur is designing a product, working on acquiring users or building a team, there are hurdles along the way. Clarity has hundreds of entrepreneurs, including Martell, who are ready to help. A number of familiar faces from the Silicon Prairie are there, as well, including Hudl co-founder David Graff, community builder Andy Stoll, Hello Holiday co-founder Megan Hunt and SPN’s Jeff Slobotski.

Martel (below) recently participated in a brief email interview to share more about his new startup.

Silicon Prairie News: Where did the idea for Clarity come from and what made you decide to build this product?

Dan Martell: We’ll, I’ve always been fascinated with communication networks and entrepreneurship. The phone especially. Over the years I’ve gotten some of the best advice for my companies from folks I had never met, but got introduced through a mutual connection. So after my last company got acquired, Flowtown, I decided to sit down and really think about a problem, that if solved, would have a huge impact on the world. Clarity slowly came to life from that thinking. I realized that if I could connect someone who’s about to attempt something for the first time, with someone who’s been successful in that are before, that it would really change their outcome.

SPN: What makes Clarity unique from other communication platforms?

DM: The area that Clarity is completely different then other communication platforms is our ability to connect you with the right person. We’ve opened up our search, and even have manually curated categories, but what you’ll see in the near future is the ability to post an issue and have Clarity recommend 3-5 experts that we think can help you best. That’s the hard part that we think and work on everyday.

SPN: Any pro tips or advice you would give to Clarity users to best use the product?

Martell: The best tip is how to post a call request. We allow the ability to post a “Call reason.” The best reasons are ones that include: 1) Who you are / what have you done?, 2) The specific issue you’d like to discuss and 3) specify why you think that person can help. Since most of our experts are free, they need to know that the person is legit, and are the type that will take action on the advice.


Credits: Screenshot from clarity.fm. Martell photo from Twitter.

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