John Egan

John is editor of The SpareFoot Blog. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today. John's loves include pizza, University of Kansas basketball and puns.

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Here are my most recent posts

The 7 Top Tech Hubs Among America’s Small College Towns

By John Egan   April 16, 2014

college graduation

In the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” one of the characters refers to the famed tech hub as “the cradle of innovation.” To be sure, Silicon Valley has given us the home computer, the iPhone and many other tech innovations.

Yet even some small college towns in the U.S. can lay claim to being cradles of innovation, although on a much smaller scale than Silicon Valley. Without a doubt, the built-in brainpower and resources of a university can be a catalyst for tech startups in small college towns. Not every college town graduates to the level of a mini-Silicon Valley, though.

“College towns are no longer just sleepy hamlets where learning, sports, conversation and partying prevail,” social and economic theorist Richard Florida wrote in 2011 on The Atlantic Cities website. “The rise of the idea-driven, human capital-powered knowledge economy has transformed many of them into economic powerhouses.”

So, which small college towns in the U.S. make the grade as standout tech hubs?

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Unhappy Customer Service Reps? Not at SpareFoot!

By John Egan   April 14, 2014

pharrell williams

We were disheartened to learn that customer service representative appears at No. 4 on CareerBliss’ new list of the unhappiest jobs in the U.S. Why were we disheartened? Because we hate to see SpareFoot’s customer service representatives shoved under the “unhappiest” umbrella.

By and large, the 45 members (and growing) of the Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) Team at SpareFoot are a happy lot, and they’re pretty happy to take phone calls from storage customers across the country. The happiness of the ACE Team yields serious dividends. For example, the team recently won the bronze award from the 2014 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Unhappy employees don’t win awards like that.

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New York vs. LA vs. Chicago: Which One Is America’s Best Big City? [Infographic]

By John Egan   April 10, 2014

city skyline

The Big Apple seems to have everything you’d ever want, from bagels to Broadway to the Bronx Zoo. In the City of Angels, you’ll find beaches and sunshine and stars. The Windy City offers deep dish pizza and Michigan Avenue and Wrigley Field.

Of course, the best qualities of each city go beyond these. But if you were considering a move to either New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, how would you choose which of America’s three biggest cities to call home? This infographic may help answer that question.

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Cellphone Storage Thriving Near New York City Schools

By John Egan   

cellphone storage truck

You can store furniture. You can store business records. You can store wine. You can store cars. Now, there’s a new high-tech wrinkle in the business of stashing stuff: cellphone storage.

A recent New York Times story points out that several shops near public schools in New York City’s borough of Queens are ringing up extra money by charging students to store their cellphones during the school day. In New York City, students aren’t allowed to carry cellphones in public schools.

These stores aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the cellphone ban, which took effect in 2005. The Associated Press reported in 2012 that thousands of New York City students are paying a $1 a day to leave their cellphones at gadget-storage trucks parked near schools—namely those campuses equipped with metal detectors, which can be set off by cellphones.

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Top 5 Big-City Startup Hubs for Women Entrepreneurs

By John Egan   April 9, 2014

Natalie Saldana and Allana D'Antonio

The brutal Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio marked a turning point in the Texas Revolution, pitting Texas troops against Mexican troops in a clash over independence. Nearly 180 years later, San Antonio is the site of another, much more civil revolution.

For two years in a row, the San Antonio metro area has been ranked as the major U.S. metro area wielding the most “economic clout” for women-owned businesses.

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How to Avoid 10 Common Decluttering Mistakes

By John Egan   April 8, 2014

clutter

Here’s a startling statistic: The U.S. has an estimated 40 million clutterers, according to Beverly Keyes Taylor, author of “Clutter to Clarity: The Easy Key to Organizing.”

Can’t wrap your brain around that figure? Then consider this: That’s about the same number of people who live in the New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas—combined.

While cluttering may not be an epidemic in the U.S., it certainly qualifies as a major headache. Of course, decluttering is the remedy, but it’s obvious that a lot of us aren’t taking the medicine.

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Are You Guilty of Making These 10 Home-Selling Mistakes?

By John Egan   April 4, 2014

home for sale

While it might be more of a seller’s market than a buyer’s market for homes in the U.S., that doesn’t mean a home seller can just kick back and wait for the offers to flood in.

For one thing, there’s heightened concern over lending. Home sellers are fretting more about the ability of home sellers to qualify for mortgages, according to a recent survey of homeowners by real estate brokerage Redfin. In addition, more homes are being sold. Sales of existing homes went up 9 percent in 2013 compared with the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors, and hit their highest mark since 2006.

To be sure, a tight lending environment and an abundance of for-sale signs should give home sellers something to wring their hands over. But even if those concerns weren’t a factor, a home seller still must avoid slip-ups that could cost thousands of dollars—or could kill a deal altogether.

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9 Tips From the Pros on How to Get Apartment Deals

By John Egan   April 3, 2014

apartment for rent

About one-third of Americans are renters. And that means about one-third of Americans, at one point or another, have practically pulled their hair out when hunting for an apartment or another rental property. Searching for an apartment is about as much fun as getting a cavity filled.

Still, the quest for an apartment doesn’t have to be nearly as anxiety-filled as sitting in the dentist’s chair. One way to ease the apartment-hunting anxiety is to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. And according to an Apartments.com survey, deals are important to many renters. In the survey, one-fourth of the renters who said they’re moving this year are doing so to find a cheaper apartment.

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Divorce Drama: Olympic Figure Skater Johnny Weir Divvies Up Stored Belongings

By John Egan   March 31, 2014

Johnny Weir egg

A storage unit is now a central character in the divorce drama between Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir and his husband.

On March 30, Weir met with husband Victor Voronov’s attorney at the New Jersey storage unit where the now-split-up couple had stashed a $20,000 Fabergé egg (pictured above), Louis Vuitton luggage, wedding rings and other pricey possessions, according to TMZ.com.

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The Dog Barker and the Stalker: Entertaining Tales of Weird Job Applicants

By John Egan   March 27, 2014

weird job applicants

The recruiters here at SpareFoot will review more than 7,000 résumés this year. This means they’ll come into contact, in some form or fashion, with more than 7,000 job applicants. And that translates into more than 7,000 different personalities.

Any recruiter or hiring manager will tell you that if you’re sorting through that many job applicants (and personalities), you’re bound to come across a few, uh, interesting ones.

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