Appstem Co-Founder/CEO Robert Armstrong: On Relationship with Tesla, Virtual and Augmented Reality, the Future of Technology in Healthcare

June 6, 2019

Robert Armstrong is a co-founder and the CEO of Appstem, a leading digital product agency based in San Francisco. Appstem is all about creating informed, human-centered innovations that transform complex business problems into elegant digital solutions.

But Appstem hasn’t always been at the top of the digital food chain, so to speak — Robert and the team come from humble beginnings. Appstem’s first big client came when Robert cold-called the CEO of Gold’s Gym in 2010…and since then, the firm has landed some impressive clients, such as Tesla, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, JetSuiteX, DUFL, Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson and more.

Appstem’s success thus far can be attributed to Robert’s core belief that you should only ever build a company that you enjoy. And while he loves growth more than just about anyone else on the planet, he will never sacrifice growth for building a company that he hates — or that anyone hates for that matter. Join us as Robert talks about the perks of heading a boutique firm, the benefits of Appstem’s “mellow” culture and why constantly spending on marketing may not be the best plan of action.

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:51 — In-N-Out Burger or bust  

2:39 — From salesman to co-founder/CEO

4:51 — Cross-country, track-and-field-star-turned-printer guy: A man of many talents

9:33 — In a world full of “no,” the few wins kept Robert trucking  

12:59 — McDonald’s, cold-calling, enterprise sales: Sometimes the least glamorous jobs teach the most valuable lessons

14:51 — “That’s a solid burger!”: In-N-Out the only fast food Robert and Brian will eat

18:21 — Technology, entertainment and healthcare: The Armstrong family does it all

21:50 — Appstem turns 9, fatherhood begins: Robert’s current status in life

25:49 — Mobile apps, web apps, augmented reality, virtual reality, you name it — any technology is fair game for Appstem

27:50 — “Punch it!”: The time Robert drive a Tesla — and loved it

30:06 — Leave the Bay Area? Here’s what Robert would change if he had one magic wish

33:29 — “It’s pretty mellow”: Appstem believes a solid work-life balance is key to success

37:38 — As a boutique firm, Appstem can pick and choose which projects it takes on — and that’s the beauty of it

43:13 — Appstem’s clients lean on them to stay ahead of the curve

45:39 — Leaning into your team members and their specific skillsets is extremely valuable to building a successful business

50:09 — Letting someone go is never easy — but taking a very human approach eases the pain a bit  

52:13 — Constantly spending more on marketing isn’t always the answer, especially in such a noisy world

55:16 — Electronic medical records will be primarily owned by the patients: Robert predicts the future  

59:27 — Apple to compete with ride-sharing platforms in the future? Robert doesn’t think it’s farfetched

1:02:27 — Want to connect with Robert or Appstem? Head to


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