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Word of mouth has been a leading form of local marketing for more than a century. But in a digital age, the name of the game is harnessing it by combining “IRL” chatter with the power of software and network effect. This is the bread and butter of Broadly, whose CEO and founder Josh Melick is our latest guest on Heard on the Street.

“Software is eating the world, and that’s true even in construction and auto services and all of these local services, so we’re trying to capitalize on that,” Melick told us. “There’s opportunity for even this in-real-life and offline stuff to be transformed.”

Another notable thing about Broadly is its culture. Situated in the newest hipster enclave that is Oakland, CA, the company gets top marks on sites like Glassdoor, including a 92% approval rating for Melick himself. This requires a deliberate cultural strategy, which Melick calls “Engineered Casual.”

“You can establish culture around going drinking together, or people who look like me. I don’t think those are the best ones,” said Melick. “For us, obviously there’s passion and affinity around serving small businesses. It’s definitely a powerful thing, and if you’re going to build a company, and you’re going to fight to get ahead and win, you have to tap into those emotions.”

Check out the full episode above, which also includes Melick’s lessons in working construction, walking the walk of local SMB lifestyle, early-stage startup challenges, venture funding strategies, and several other nuggets.

This episode is also sponsored by Brandify Summit. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, find out more about Heard on the Street here, and stay tuned for episodes every two weeks.

Mike Boland is Street Fight’s lead analyst, author of the Road Map column, and producer of the Heard on the Street podcast. He covers AR & VR as chief analyst of ARtillry Intelligence and SF President of the VR/AR Association. He has been an analyst in the local space since 2005, covering mobile, social, and emerging tech.

Mike Boland has been a tech & media analyst for the past two decades, specifically covering mobile, local, and emerging technologies. He has written for Street Fight since 2011. More can be seen at