The Self-Made Man: Chris Hardwick
One of the nice things about the Internet’s effect on media is that it’s possible for a small group of people to create entire networks of blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, YouTube channels, and various other toes in what can be a rather large social media footprint.
Chris Hardwick, the host of the Nerdist podcast and the founder/chief creative officer of Nerdist Industries, is one of the best examples of someone who has done this. A nerd since childhood, Hardwick has turned his weird interests and obsessive cataloging of them into a 30-person company whose creative output—which covers comics, video games, and every other nerd culture thing in between—reaches millions of fanboys (and the occasional fangirl) a day.
Nerdist is driven by Hardwick’s work ethic and energy, and he definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit that TSB respects, so he’s this week’s Self Made Man.
Chris Hardwick started out in radio, and tried to use that as a back road into the entertainment industry. Oddly enough, it worked, and he got plucked from KROQ to cohost MTV’s Singled Out alongside former Playboy Playmate/current anti-vaccination kook Jenny McCarthy. Hardwick was also making the rounds as a stand-up comedian, doing voice-over work, and taking on as many jobs as he could to keep the lights on.
Of course, even as an independent contractor, you’re still ultimately working for other people.
In 2008, Hardwich launched The Nerdist, a website where he would comment on nerdy stuff and advertise stand-up dates, and started a podcast two years later, using his paychecks to keep the site going. His residual fame from hosting Wired Science and G4’s Attack of the Show led his target demographic to him, and before long, Nerdist had taken off.
At this point, Hardwick didn’t even have a business plan for what would become his ticket out of working for other people. He brought on GeekChicDaily’s Peter Levin to help him turn Nerdist into a legit business enterprise, which is now owned, but not operated or controlled, by Legendary Enterprises.
Like many of TSB’s other Self Made Men, Chris Hardwick made a career out of what he loved, and surrounded himself with people whose skills complimented his own. While his network of blogs and podcasts (which has moved into television shows) isn’t exactly a disruptive technology, it is making the absolute most of existing infrastructure. More than anyone else we’ve profiled so far, Chris is living the dream.
I’ll leave you with a clip from one of Chris Hardwick’s stand-up specials where he talks about the difference between hipsters and nerds.
About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.