The Spontuneous Story
In 2009, Rob’s step-sister mentioned taking a trip to the mountains, and a friend spontaneously burst into the tune, “Ain’t no mountain high enough!” Everyone laughed at how often people hear a word and a song pops into their head. Rob exclaimed, “That would make an awesome board game!” Spontuneous was born.
The journey began then and led to the opening of a mall kiosk in Billings, MT for Christmas of 2010, and again the following year in Orem, UT. Within 3 years, Spontuneous was in over 800 retail stores nationwide, but Rob will tell you, it wasn’t all fun and games.
He found himself in several hundred thousand dollars in debt, tapped out on credit, and had exhausted all options for additional financing. With over $4,000 in monthly interest payments due, he had 2 options:
- 1) quit and file for bankruptcy, or
- 2) pull himself up by the bootstraps.
Rob had an unwavering belief in his idea, and a burning desire to succeed, so he chose the 2nd option. Rob took to the streets of Austin, TX and started pedicabbing as a side gig, with an MBA, to keep his business afloat.
Things were looking decent toward the end of his first year of pedicabbing as he headed into the 2014 Christmas season. Then, unexpectedly, union truck drivers at the Port of L.A. went on strike, leaving new inventory stranded on ships, as the little left from the previous year sold out on Black Friday. Rob missed the entire Christmas season, which accounted for 85% of his sales. It crushed him.
There was no option left but to pedicab another year until the next Christmas season. At that time, Rob started developing some odd symptoms, and was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor. On March 10th, 2015, doctors removed a golf ball sized tumor. Fortunately, it was benign. Unfortunately, despite approval for the surgery, his insurance company denied it once removed, based on “lack of medical necessity.” It left him with over $70,000 in medical bills.
Rob started dog sitting to make ends meet, until he was given the green light to pedicab again for the 2nd half of 2015. That Christmas, Spontuneous became the 19th bestselling board game on Amazon! In 2016, he was fortunate enough to tour with the rock band, Blue October, and with Justin Furstenfeld’s kind endorsement, Spontuneous shot to the #2 bestseller on Amazon.
Touring with Blue October inspired Rob to go on his own tour, so he bought a truck and RV, wrapped it with Spontuneous branding, and embraced the RV life. He traveled around the country full time for a year with his dog, Dottie, to promote the game at concerts, music festivals, and give inspirational speeches along the way. In 2017, Spontuneous became the #1 bestselling board game on Amazon.
When he started this Journey in 2009, Rob’s own father said that it was the dumbest idea he’d ever heard of, that nobody played board games anymore, and that it would never work. He named his tour the #MicDropTour.
Today, Rob lives in Nashville, TN, where he proudly sponsors and supports numerous music related organizations around Music City. After all, if it weren’t for musicians, there would be no Spontuneous. Rob also does weekly giveaways at Nashville’s only daytime hit singer/songwriter show, Backstage Nashville. Next time you’re in Nashville, come say “hi”, and listen to the songs we all know and love, performed by the songwriters who wrote them!