21 Questions with Tommy Walker, Host of Inside The Mind
Tommy Walker is is the host of two Youtube shows - Inside The Mind & The Mindfire Chats - both designed to mainstream the concepts of online marketing and raise the bar on online marketing education. Tommy is an online marketing strategist who trained as a career actor before reinventing his career around his passion of creating online entertainment. Follow him on Twitter, G+ and Facebook and visit his site to learn more about Inside The Mind.
1. What would the headline of your biography be?
"Work Hard & Make It Work"
2. What is your mission / goal in life?
My mission is to mainstream the concepts of online marketing and raise the public education in this space. I believe wholeheartedly that the internet is the future of human interaction, and once the mainstream understands how to really use it for marketing purposes (or at least how it's used), there will be 1.) fewer scam artists 2.) more people able to do what they're passionate about. The prospect of that happening is amazing to me, and I want to be one of the people who help see that happen.
3. What do you love to do?
I love to create new things, mash up concepts, and communicate those in a way that make people go, "Wow!" I also have starting really enjoying reading statistical research to help refine wild ideas. It's becoming a sort of meditative practice.
4. What were your “aha” moments - when you realized you were exceptional at something?
From age 10 on, I trained extensively to be a career actor. I'd usually have rehearsal 3-4 days a week, vocal lessons twice a week, and was learning training in two different dance styles twice a week as well. I was also accepted into an acting conservatory that has a more competitive acceptance than NYU.
I've always felt like I was exceptional, so there's no real "realization" point, however it's not until recently that I've actually started taking that seriously. It wasn't until I read Julien Smith's "The Flinch" that I decided to combine my passion for marketing with my passion for entertainment and create something that only I could create.
The "Aha" moment for me wasn't so much realizing I was exceptional, but rather that talent and execution are two very different disciplines It wasn't until I started executing, using my natural (and trained) talents that things really started coming together.
5. What keeps you up at night?
Ideas. Tons of ideas on how to move things forward, and then other ideas on what it would take to make those happen. Then what am I going to do to pay the bills, then how am I going to turn that phrase, and make things better for myself and my family.
I wonder if I'll accomplish what I set out to by the time I'm 30, or if I'll be one of those people who always had a ton of great ideas, but never see them come to life. It's not for lack of passion, but resources. So I stay away trying to figure out how to make it all work.
6. What historical / business figure do you most identify with?
Probably Steve Jobs. For better or worse. When I hear about his uncompromising attitude to see his vision through, and how he sometimes could be a jerk for the sake of quality, I identify with that.
For me, I know I can be strong willed when seeing a vision through, but I also know that when it's done exactly the way I've envisioned it (even it was a hard road to get there) those who experience it are impressed. That's why someone who attended my very first webinar many years ago is still in contact and remains to be an advocate of what I do.
7. What is the trait you most want to improve in yourself?
The ability to let go, or delegate more. Because I've built everything from the ground up, with a very specific set of principles, it's been difficult to find others who share that vision. However, as I've been grinding it a little longer, I'm finding more people with corresponding ethos, so I imagine this is more of an evolutionary process vs something that needs to be trained.
8. What are your unique talents?
Above all else, understanding what will keep a market engaged. Coming from an entertainment background, it's all about keeping your audience hooked, and the best way to do that is to make sure first in front of the right people. So finding the right people, then creating an experience they want to remember.
9. What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably my computer set-up. I work with three monitors, Gunnar optics for eye wear, and a high quality microphone.
My next goal is to wall mount the monitors and get a standing desk. I'll likely also convert the machine to voice command and use the leap motion controller for air touch control. It's not for the sake of looking like I live in the future, though, it's so I can keep the energy going while protecting my wrists, spine and eyes from prolonged exposure to digital content.
10. Which brands / businesses do you admire the most?
Unbounce.com, Diesel & Mac all come to mind.
Unbounce for their ability to create a useful tool. Diesel for their attention to detail, design & experience. Mac because of their ability to take someone else's ideas and refine them.
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Online marketing, work, "I have a tendency to ramble." & "You know what I mean?" Though I'm hearing more and more "no, please, ramble away" so... maybe that's one I can lose?
12. What is your greatest career regret?
Not taking myself more seriously sooner.
13. When or where were you happiest in life?
My life story is very different from my career story, and is layered in ways that I'm not yet comfortable talking about publicly yet. With that being said, I make a point to seek happiness and appreciating the details every day. I'm happiest when I'm able to let go of everything and spend time appreciating and loving my wife and son.
14. Which talent would you most like to have?
Balance of workload.
15. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Living off of $750/month with a $600 rent just to start saying "I work for myself" then building a career & life I'm very happy with after that.
16. What is your most treasured business memento?
The Flip cam my wife bought for my birthday, that would eventually become what we shot the whole first season of Inside The Mind on.
17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I'd rather not say just yet. After I've made more significant achievements in my career, I will be putting it all down in the auto-biography. There are lots of options to choose from though.
18. Do you care about money?
Only in the sense that it feeds the family, pays the bills, and grow the business at certain points. Other than that, money is the means to an end, and very rarely, if ever should be an endgame. From what I've seen, any time the focus is on money for money's sake, it leads to corruption of both the spirit and mind.
19. What is your defining characteristic?
20. Who are your favorite business writers / bloggers / people?
Julien Smith, Seth Godin, Scott Stratten, Leo Widrich.
21. Who is your hero in real life?
My wife. She pulled me out of a really dark period, and helped me rebuild the confidence necessary to be the man I am today, She's an amazing Mother, inspiring creative, and has an incredible talent for helping people who need it most.