I am the founder of Sporcle, AMA!
My short bio: Howdy. My name is Matt Ramme, and I created Sporcle back in 2007 to help me do better at crosswords and Jeopardy. The games on the site have been played now over a billion times and we also run nearly 200 live trivia shows in a few U.S. cities.
Edited to add: We do have a small presence here on reddit: r/sporcle
As far as we can tell, it spawned from the difficulty in spelling, so people cursed their screen after getting that answer wrong. Mike Krzyzewski could have been our inside joke, but he's too U.S. centric.
How much do you estimate you've cost the global economy in terms of lost productivity?
I like to think we've helped the global economy because we're secretly making people learn something while they are procrastinating.
How did the site blow up? How did it feel?
Actually, the very first quiz I did, name the U.S. Presidents got to the front page of Digg (remember that site?) on the 4th of July. I was floored as the quiz quickly got over 100k plays in a matter of hours.
As I built more quizzes over the next year, sharing on sites such as Reddit really helped propel awareness of the site. Once people started to play in their college lectures, we really started to grow. It's incredibly rewarding and humbling to see people who've credited Sporcle with helping them learn about the world.
Long-time Sporcle user here, it's one of a handful of sites I still visit ever since I got on Reddit :)
I love the relatively recent clickable category, especially in language and etymology puzzles. What's your favourite kind of quiz to complete? Do you have any quizzes you periodically return to?
I'm actually floored at the diverse range of quizzes people have created on the site. While I definitely have my favorites,such as the Periodic Table Elements, I'm always excited to see the new crazy ideas people come up with, such as this one.
What is your favorite random fact you found by playing Sporcle quizzes?
Also, when do the live trivia shows come to Kyrgyzstan?
Before Sporcle, I didn't know there were 3 countries that were completely surrounded by another country. Like Incepti-countries.
We're in discussions with the Bishkek Bar and Grill, but they want us to translate all the questions, so it's slow going.
I've played 7500+ quizzes and can now name every member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Just wanted to say thanks for helping me waste tons of time in a semi-productive way at lousy jobs for the past few years.
Fist bump. I bet you can even spell the last name of that outfielder from the Red Sox. Carl something.
No question, just wanted to say thank you!
Well thank you, cause questions are hard!
Who would you want to act as you in a film?
Since everybody wants Tom Hanks to play them, I'll go with Nicolas Cage. I hear that guy can really act.
How much time per day/week do you spend just playing the quizzes for fun? Do you have a favorite quiz, or one that continues to stump you?
I often go on spurts trying to learn a specific piece of knowledge. Recently this involved learning the capitals of all the countries of world. It's now my go to conversation starter....and ender.
As a child educated by the united states public school system, I can say thank you to you and sporcle for providing 95% of my knowledge about world geography
Sporcle School System - coming to a city near you in 2025.
Was there a particular kind of puzzle or a show (besides Jeopardy) that got you initially interested in trivia? And how old were you?
I was a huge fan of GAMES magazine as a kid. They had so many different kinds of puzzles and games. I started reading that magazine at around 8 or 9.
Did you expect Sporcle to be as popular now as you thought it would be back in 2007?
Definitely not. I built the original quizzes just for myself, but put them online figuring...what the hell. The response was overwhelming, especially for quizzes on every subject matter, which led me to build the User Created tools so everybody could create games themselves.
Matt, I love the site. I'm a proud owner of the Century Club badge and slowly working my way toward the 10k Tycoon one. I mostly enjoy playing the quizzes that come up on the homepage and completing challenges against other users.
Has there been any discussion in changing how the challenges work?
It's frustrating that a vast majority of my challenges are never played. I'd rather see a system where you say you're ready for a challenge and you then challenge the next person that says the same. This way, you're bound to find someone that wants to play.
Also, the system allows someone to skip a challenge without any penalty, essentially allowing someone to only pick a challenge game they can do well in. I'd like to see a penalty of some sort to the person who wants to skip.
Congrats on the Century Club! I myself have only gotten to 68 (I missed a week day even...).
The challenge system is always open for discussion. The majority of challenges completed are the ones against the Sporcle Bot. I understand the frustration of not having your challenge completed, and I will pass on your idea about shared matchup...that may help with that if both people are forced to say 'Yes' to a challenge before it is created.
The penalty is tricky, because you also have the reverse problem. If someone is say randomly challenged to a quiz on HIMYM, but had never seen the show, they may be not be interested in playing challenges if they were penalized for having no hope. Always good to hear feedback though, thanks for the suggestions!
Hi, I am a big fan of trivia, but I noticed that after doing Sporcle a few times, it feels a little stale. The long timers and getting all the lists down gets quite annoying after a while. Personally, I get way too impatient and prefer something more real-time (cough QuizUp cough).
How do you plan to improve your service in the future? Or do you have a Sporcle's twin-sister in mind that is a reach-for-the-top/Quizbowl style trivia goodness?
When I created Sporcle back in 2007, most other trivia sites/products were just bad multiple choice web forms, so the concept of having to know the answer was neat and different. Also, most people had access to a keyboard because they are in front of their computer.
As time has progressed, more people are spending their time in front of their phones and ipods, where the use of a keyboard doesn't work as well. This has led to a place where something like QuizUp is fun, because you don't have to invest as much time and effort for your trivia fun. We are constantly investigating new ideas and game types that might appeal to a quicker play style.
Also, playing Sporcle has mostly been a solo experience (other than gathering your friends around your computer). We have dabbled with a multiplayer experience with our Google+ Hangout app, and hope at some point to bring that type of experience to the website and mobile.
Absolutely love the site Matt, have been going on it since 2009.
I was just wondering if you realise how many schools have had to ban your website across the world because of intense procrastination amongst students. I know nothing about 19th century literature, but tell me to name all 151 original Pokémon and I'll list them in a heartbeat!
I have seen as many schools ban our website as those that have embraced it. Too often IMO 'games' are frowned upon by schools even if they are a better teaching tool than tests. Many smart teachers have learned this fact and use Sporcle as an in class reward for their students.
I've loved Sporcle for years! How many people does it take working in your offices to keep things kosher on that site, especially with users being able to make their own puzzles?
We have a staff of 4-8 people who do everything from update old quizzes to pick and new games. Accuracy is really important for us. There's nothing more frustrating than getting an answer wrong when you typed in the right answer.
I just want to say thanks. Because of your site, I have learned all the countries and way more about geography than I ever thought possible, plus some other stuff. Sporcle's one of my favorite sites on the internet and you have single handedly caused me to procrastinate more than anyone else. You are amazing
Ya know what? You're amzang too, montezumaTHEsquid!
What are some new badges you're planning?
Upcoming concepts: St Patrick's Day, March Madness, Hello My Name Is Baby, and the Joe DiMaggio.
Do you have any plans to make a workable system for mobile? From what I've seen, the app available now is a pain and has only a few quizzes.
We have invested a lot in the mobile app in the last year to make it work with a much greater amount of the quizzes on the site, but, you are correct, there is always more to do. One of the problems is that quizzes that require the keyboard don't translate wonderfully to the small screen of mobile, and because of this our focus for our very small team will be on apps that don't use the keyboard.
I think there's something in the water.
Hey Matt, I love Sporcle, every day I play the games on your website. My question is: Have you ever considered versions of Sporcle in other languages? For example, if you were to do a Dutch (my first language) version of Sporcle, some quizzes that would be fun for Dutch people could be made and be in the spotlight more. For example Dutch PM's, Dutch kings and queens, etc.
We have definitely thought about it. The real trick would be for us to be able to accurately check the content. Even now, people can use the tools to create language specific quizzes. The question is whether we have different 'front' pages for different languages. I can hear the cries of 'Too Dutch Centric' already.
Hey Matt - have been playing Sporcle for a very long time and as a result learned a lot of random trivia - still keep the random geography quiz link on my bookmark... A few questions for ya:
- Would you ever consider a Sporcle channel on IFTTT?
- Have you thought about expanding the trivia shows to the UK?
- How has the company grown since the office in Seattle?
- Would country leaderboards be possible?
- Definitely. We've recently discovered it and hopefully will have something before too long.
- We have definitely thought about expanding trivia shows to the UK, especially as the UK is a very large part of the traffic to Sporcle. I don't have a time frame for you as there are a variety of hurdles for us to overcome, but have a pint for us in the meantime.
- Country leaderboards are interesting, I'll send the idea back to the team. Something tells me a lot of users would suddenly 'live' in Kyrgyzstan though.
Hi Matt. Just wanted to let you know that I use your website daily when at work. Need to keep my mind fresh and kill the boredom. Keep up the good work!
A Sporcle a day keeps the brain cobwebs away.
Hey Matt! I've been using the site for about 5 years. Do you know what the origin of the "Kyrgyzstan" joke is?
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