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Erik Torenberg: Hustle and Flow

Mario Gabriele
The Generalist
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Erik Torenberg is one of the hardest-working people in tech, which might come as a surprise considering he maintains such a calm, cool, and collected disposition and work ethic.


  • Torenberg watched his parents follow their ambition and sought to replicate their mindset.
  • He learned to “Earn your way, every day,” from New Jersey Nets coach, Lawrence Frank.
  • Freestyle rapping allowed him to become more extroverted.

In the Arena

  • Torenberg started Rapt, a service which connects rappers and audiences with each other.
  • After speaking with Marc Ecko (founder of Complex), Torenberg realized that Rapt might not be his life’s passion, but it did allow him to explore similar (yet more lucrative) opportunities.

Product Hunt

  • Torenberg worked with a peer (Ryan Hoover) on Product Hunt, which developed into a successful project.
  • From his time at Product Hunt, he learned how to build a community and company.

On Deck and Village Global

  • Torenberg founded On Deck, with aspirations of it becoming “Stanford for the digital age.”
  • He co-founded Village Global to connect with “network leaders” that could help him and his peers build their companies.


  • Missed opportunities are part of life; Torenberg has learned to always follow up and never give up.


  • Key lessons he has learned from On Deck and Village Global: build in public, elevate your early advocates, and enable ownership.
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