2022 Solespire Founders’ Letter

2022 Solespire Founders’ Letter

Solespire is a digital media technology company that fosters a workplace culture of creative individuals, each of whom is entrusted to confidently lead oneself as a self-starter, with insanely great passion, persistence, and purpose to transpire our company of brands, sites, products, services, and content to the forefront of a globally connected world, all the while intuitively inspiring the desires of people, so they too can aspire next-level design thinking, ideation, innovation, and success.

Today, Solespire celebrates 5 years, since it was incorporated in 2017 by me and my father, Kris Cyganiak. As co-founders of Solespire, our story as startup entrepreneurs dates back decades, collectively.

In 1995, Kris created CompuSource Technology, which distributed computers on a wholesale and retail level, with import sources across North America. CompuSource also provided technical consulting and onsite maintenance of computer systems. Ten years later, during the summer of 2005, Kris and I were renovating our family’s rental properties, when we together envisioned an online real estate magazine and directory that could serve as a portal for local discovery. We even sketched the wireframe of the website we envisioned, on a piece of drywall. At the time, I was in high school, while working remotely as a web developer and content creator for a sports entertainment company in the United States. Four years later, after I turned 20 in 2009, my father and I launched BuyRIC.

The idea of BuyRIC was to focus on the three sectors of real estate – residential, industrial, commercial – with the expertise of proven print media marketing and advertising strategies, transcending the world wide web on a hyper-local level. This was supported by the latest understandings of SEO, powered by WordPress, a CMS that was an emerging Web 2.0 platform for the intended purpose of self-publishing blog posts. We stretched WordPress to be more than just a blog with an RSS feed, as we created a directory with profiles for industry professionals. This positioned BuyRIC at the cutting-edge of technology, giving local real estate agents an effective way to differentiate their marketing in the competitive market of Vancouver – our initial area of focus in Canada – but we later learned that Canadian professionals were not yet ready for hyper-local internet solutions. Thus, in thinking differently with big ideas and imagining what might be possible with an ambitious pivot, Kris and I turned to an international audience, when we created The Pinnacle List in 2011.

Right from the inception of The Pinnacle List, our efforts to promote luxury real estate were embraced and celebrated by industry professionals. Our team, which now also included my brother Derek Alexander, was invited to visit mega luxury homes across the United States, such as The Razor Residence and The Bradbury Estate in California, and Shelter Island Estate in Montana, as well as having received invites to attend and cover supercar launch events by Aston Martin in La Jolla and Rolls-Royce in Beverly Hills, alongside Hollywood celebrities in attendance. We applied what we learned from BuyRIC to The Pinnacle List, with an amped-up aim to produce original content that we could own and publish on an unparalleled cross-platform web app that I developed – positioning The Pinnacle List on the leading-edge, at the intersection of the digital, media, and technology evolution that the web was experiencing. In 2014, we were even invited to meet Mark Zuckerberg at a Facebook town hall event, as The Pinnacle List was recognized for being a leading brand that was achieving significant organic growth on the social network.

For that Facebook event, Kris and I decided to drive 15 hours from Vancouver to the San Francisco Bay Area. During that drive, I recall us talking about creating more websites to further fuel our passion for creating and publishing world-class multimedia content. We even spoke about incorporating a company to better organize ourselves professionally, but would we incorporate using The Pinnacle List name? We knew we later wanted to relaunch BuyRIC, so would that be the corporate name? Well, neither would later become the name, as we put the idea of incorporation on the backburner for a few years.

Rewinding just a bit, Kris and I did experience a miss with another website we launched in 2012. We called it CYGY, which was described as featuring a wide variety of interesting, informative, and entertaining topics that largely focussed on pop culture, science, technology, and history. After six months, we pulled the plug on it.

During this period in time, we learned a lot about focus – such as when to say no to an idea, and whether or not an idea could have the potential to become something great in the future, versus its prospects today. For example, we believe that relaunching a revamped BuyRIC will garner tremendous success, now more than ever in 2022 – so we will be doing that. This kind of foresight is attainable after feeling the frustration of saying yes to too many ideas, which oscillates focus, to the detriment of properly growing a brand with rewarding revenue channels. Entrepreneurs gain this kind of wisdom, insight, and analytical sense of reason, after bearing the scar tissue from experimenting with multiple startup projects at once, which can falter foundations with false-hope highs and turbulent lows.

By 2016, we were cleverly ready to experiment with another new site, when we introduced TRAVOH to the world. Clever because this was a natural fit for us, as we were already travelling around the world, visiting luxury properties for The Pinnacle List. TRAVOH gave us a similar outlet to showcase and monetize exclusive travel-based content from points of interest like Monument Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Haleakalā National Park, and beautiful destination locations like British Columbia, Hawaii, Mexico, Bora Bora, New Zealand, Bali, and Italy – all places we would have otherwise just explored as wanderlust tourists.

As The Pinnacle List and TRAVOH began reaching millions of users from every accessible country in the world, with impressive revenue growth margins, the moment finally came to unify under one corporate structure. On the morning of March 27, 2017, Solespire was incorporated as Solespire Media Inc., with the immediate acquisitions of BuyRIC, The Pinnacle List, and TRAVOH, as wholly-owned subsidiaries, operating as the first Solespire Media Brands and Sites.

The Solespire name was conceptualized in 2013, during one of the spontaneous discussions of free-flowing ideas that my mother Cristina and I often have. These chats usually end with domain registrations, such as the case was with Solespire.com in 2013 – four years before the company was founded. Likewise, my brainstorming session 8 years prior with Kris, also resulted in registering the BuyRIC.com domain in 2005, before it was launched as a website in 2009. Ideas can spring to mind at any moment, while the progress of realizing the true essence of its purpose can require a lot of patience before it flourishes, but that’s the journey we love as entrepreneurs.

After Solespire was incorporated, we utilized The Pinnacle List’s unparalleled cross-platform digital architecture to develop Multiplex, a completely new innovative modern media stack built on top of WordPress, to empower dynamically responsive content and advanced technologies. Multiplex is a multiverse environment, used by all Solespire Media Sites, that tightly integrates publishing with our internal software, boosted by built-in SEO algorithms that I developed to successfully attain first-page search engine results.

Today, The Pinnacle List is a multifaceted media brand with millions of website page views, millions of video views on YouTube, and millions of social media followers – with nearly 11 years of trust, as an industry-leading marketing platform for luxury real estate listings worldwide. Additionally, TRAVOH is also appreciating growth in the millions, across its website, YouTube channel, and social media accounts.

Many companies in the online media industry tend to play it safe, introducing incremental changes, perhaps only when necessary. That is a very limited approach, which does not suffice well with our constant curiosity and aptitude to achieve beyond the norms of ordinary expectations. It’s with that credo that Solespire continually strives to innovate and evolve through extraordinary vision, revolutionary ideas, and exceptional leadership that elevates our team’s abilities to deliver the very best quality of work that we can all be proud of.

With that in mind, today we are growing the Solespire leadership team. Effective immediately, I am now the Chief Executive Officer of Solespire, with Kris Cyganiak succeeding me as the next President of Solespire, as we both retain co-ownership of Solespire. This makes way for Derek Alexander, who I am proud to announce is the new Vice President of Solespire.

It goes without saying that Solespire is a family business. The spirit of entrepreneurship has always been at the heart of my family’s success, going back generations. At Solespire, my mother Cristina Cyganiak is also a part of the team, working as a content editor. Furthermore, I am happy to report that my wife Leila Anthony is also now working at Solespire. She will be proactive with expanding our global localization programme, with the inclusion of Russian and Ukrainian language sites for several Solespire Media Brands – including The Pinnacle List, which already has La Liste Pinacle in French, with plans to also become available in the Italian language.

For the purpose of this first annual Solespire Founders’ Letter, Kris and I thought it would be important to take readers on a trip down memory lane, to fully understand the journey that has influenced our ideals, upon shaping our core values and establishing our crazy mission to reach every connected user in the world. Thus, our past serves us with valuable lessons that springboard us towards designing a future that looks more and more like we imagined it could be.

That future includes The Pinnacle List, a premier luxury real estate website that is on course to become the world’s most recognized luxury real estate brand. The future also includes TRAVOH, a top-tier travel brand, plus BuyRIC, which we believe will revolutionize the real estate industry with the simplistic sophisticated solutions that we have planned.

The future also harbours MD5 Gaming, a video game brand that has remained exclusive to YouTube since 2019. Growing in popularity, MD5 Gaming will soon become a media brand equal to our others at Solespire, when we launch its website later this year.

Then there is ReelLuxe, a luxury media brand that Solespire launched in 2020 with experimental content. This year, ReelLuxe will be relaunched with a content strategy that we believe will eventually position ReelLuxe as one of our top global brands.

Lastly, Nexbet Dolls became a recent addition to the Solespire family. Started by Leila in 2017, Nexbet Dolls sells a collection of custom-made dolls from the popular lines of Blythe, Pullip, Dal, Icy, and BJD. Each model is fully customized and sold as a single-edition doll. We will launch a website for Nexbet Dolls this year.

Finally, the conjoining of nouns that make up Sole-spire can best be described as representing individuals who think differently, upon aspiring to create something with a desire to inspire people, so they too can change the world. Solespire unifies digital media technology at the intersection of humanity, with design thinking, ideation, and innovation being core tenants of Solespire’s methodical process to deliver a network of reputable brands, sites, products, services, and content that provides value for our users, clients, and customers.

That is Solespire.

Marcus Anthony
Co-Founder & CEO

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Solespiring since 2017
Co-Founder & CEO

As Chief Executive Officer, Marcus Anthony is responsible for setting the overall direction of Solespire by leading corporate growth strategies and overseeing the development of the company's digital media and technology infrastructure, including media brands, web operations, content publishing, marketing, advertising, and worldwide sales with end-to-end service and support. Before founding Solespire together in 2017 with Kris Cyganiak, a father-and-son partnership, they established BuyRIC in 2009, The Pinnacle List in 2011, and TRAVOH in 2016, all of which later became wholly owned and operated by Solespire. Marcus draws on his extensive experience launching startup companies as an online entrepreneur, digital creator, and full-stack web developer, with expertise in coding PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML with advanced SEO knowledge and applied skills.

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