Awesome People I Know - Chris Todd

Since joining MIMA, I've met some incredible people. All driven, smart, and friendly. My friend, Chris Todd, is a perfect example. He has an incredibly intriguing back-story, has an awesome career and can make you belly-laugh at the drop of a hat. 

So please - indulge in the awesomeness that is Chris Todd. Oh - and be sure to follow him, and Comedy Bang Bang! on Twitter.

If you could give five books to everyone you meet, what would they be?  

1. Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

2. Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Louis Sachar

3. The Bible

4. The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To, DC Pierson

5. Anything else by Steve Martin (Cruel Shoes, An Object of Beauty: A Novel, etc)

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Lancaster, PA before going off to college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After graduation, I stuck around the DC/Maryland area for about five years until Minneapolis called my name...I followed a girl here. 

What do you do for a profession, and how did you get into this profession?

I am a marketing strategist for Spyder Trap & a social media community manager for the IFC television network—specifically for the TV show, Comedy Bang! Bang! The first five years of my career were spent working for three-letter agencies in the federal government—which I can’t talk about.

As a way to feed my creative side, I tweeted a lot about TV and comedy, eventually catching the eye of IFC. I started to work for them on the side of the government gig, while also going to grad school for my MBA. I focused my schoolwork on strategy & digital marketing which allowed me to look for work in the digital space - Spyder Trap - after quitting my job in DC and moving to Minneapolis. So to sum it all up: it’s all been luck. 

What do you love about what you do?

I love coming up with creative ways to reach goals. For IFC, my goal is often “how do I make people laugh on social and then get them to watch the show?” So it’s a lot of being silly in a strategic way. Short of actually writing for TV, I can’t think of anything better. 

For Spyder Trap, it’s “what’s something new we can do to reach more potential clients?” The job allows me to come up with big, cool ideas, and supports them as long as they’re grounded in business sense. It’s less silly, but there’s still a sense of trying things out. It doesn’t have to be right the first time, as long as you learn from it, and knock it out of the park the next time.

What are some of your professional achievements you are most proud of?

I could go with something boring like, my team completed a two-year project for the government early, and at a cost-savings of $10 million. Or, I could mention the time I got Anna Kendrick to go along with a bit on Twitter that she was in love with Ben Schwartz—after they both appeared on a Comedy Bang! Bang! episode.  OR that time I started a Twitter conversation between William Shatner, Josh Groban, and Pee-Wee Herman. WHAT?! A day in the life. 

What are some of your hunches about the future of digital/social/SEO?

It’s tough to say, because it’s literally changing while I’m typing this. One thing that I’m worried about is that we’ll hit a point where the only things in our social feeds are promoted posts and memes.

It’s just so easy to share memes—and most visual content—that it’s going to keep getting more and more prevalent. It’s interesting because I feel like with SEO we’re going to be seeing more and more long-form, quality content taking center stage. Click-bait will die someday, right? I can’t wait to find out what happens next! 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m a mocha and beer drinking, comedy and television lover. I also enjoy a good walk or bike ride to clear my head. If there’s any spare time left, I try to write for my blog or write screenplays nobody will ever see. 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?  Why?

I’ve answered this same way before, and I am sticking to it: I want super taste. Not “super” as in I taste every flavor better, but “super” in a way that everything tastes GREAT. That way I can eat healthily, but still love it like I was eating cake.

What are three items you bring with you to a deserted island?

Avoiding snarky answers like “a boat”…I’d go with a solar panel, a fully-loaded iPhone or iPod (music & videos), and whatever connector I need to use that solar panel to charge the iPhone. 

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be and where would you go?

Jesus, Steve Martin, and my buddy Chip. I think we’d go to a diner. Diner’s always have something for everyone [read breakfast food] and we can stay late if the conversation is good. 

Give us three of your favorite quotes.  What do you find so powerful about these quotes?

I’m not really somebody who responds to quotes in a way that I’d consider them powerful. Pass. Can I pass? Pass. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to your 18-year-old self?

Same piece of advice I’d give myself now: just be confident. Confidence makes everything so much easier. It lets you be silly, it lets you be smart, and it lets you form real relationships. 

Give some advice to those up-and-coming professionals out there

Don’t quit things quickly; you don’t have to start off doing what you love. Get really good at doing things that you don’t love…because chances are you can use those skills for something you’re passionate about later on. Also, don’t be afraid to just start doing stuff on your own, with no focus on trying to earn money at it. Blog, tweet, start your own open mic night if that’s what you’re into. Eventually somebody will either start paying you for it, or you’ll realize you don’t need them to.