CEO 101 is a limited series from Radio Cade featuring stories about startup founders. In our first episode, we talk to Rick Carlson. When he founded SharpSpring in 2012, Carllson didn't think of himself as a CEO. “My co-founder and I were doing whatever it took to survive,” he says, and they were responsible for everything from software development to buying office supplies. In the early days of the automated marketing software company, “there were so many failures it was hard to name them all,” according to Carlson. “There was an immense amount of wasted effort in figuring out what customers wanted. Over the years we think we’ve gotten smarter about how we make those decisions.” The company went public in 2019 and is currently listed on the NASDAQ.