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{lunch with} + Chris Reimer

November 8, 2011

What’s for lunch?

Torta Cubana and a  Mexican Coke. This thing has 10 different ingredients….Is that your only question?

No, I’ve got some questions written down…

Really? I was pretty sure you hadn’t prepared.

Tell us who you are.

Come on. Really? Just Google me.

I’m Chris Reimer, a St. Louis Native. Father of two daughters, husband of one. I have a degree in accounting that I used for 15 years, then I started helping companies with social media and strategizing.

I can’t really see you ever being an accountant.

That’s what people say a lot of times, and I tell them that I was never really that good at it.

As a freshman in college, I was never confused or conflicted. I was always really good at math. I was always interested in business. What do you major in when you want to work in business? For me, the numbers thing led to business. I was comfortable I guess. Sometimes I didn’t feel like I fit in well with my other classmates. There were a couple guys in the class that were really dorky – they were actually my friends. They were way smarter than me and naturally better at it.

How did you move from being the CFO of a non-for-profit to being the VP of Social Media at Falk Harrison?

I did that work [accounting] for 20 years, but eventually my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. Part of it, I guess, was that an alternative route was presented to me. And that happened because I started Rizzo Tees out of my basement. A funny t-shirt company that I started in 2007. So I’d been selling shirts for a few years. And I started it because I wanted it to grow really big. Like the company that I started that would get so big I’d be able to leave my job.

As I was building it, I was using social media. I found it very enjoyable. Part of that was probably, you want what you can’t have coupled with the grass is greener on the other side. So I was really enjoying this thing because it was so pure and awesome compared to the job that I had that I wasn’t enjoying anymore.

When you start really enjoying this and you want it, the other stuff just gets less enjoyable sort of by default almost.

It doesn’t mean you can’t do two things you love. I just didn’t looove the accounting part. Then I started kinda hating it.

So you hated accounting, but how did that land you a job in social media?

I had skills I guess I had developed that I didn’t even really know. If you go to college and you get a degree, you are clearly trying to build skills. It reaches as crescendo and it hands you a diploma. When I was developing these social media skills, there is not diploma. No one is telling you, ‘Oh yeah, you just learned enough to go get a job’. So it just wasn’t clicking with me until a few people told me after I sat down with them for an hour and basically just lectured them on Facebook or Twitter or why writing a blog was important. I would stop talking after an hour and people would say, ‘Well, you should do this for a living.’ I needed a few people to tell me that and I just thought okay, maybe I could.

And all the time I was trying to keep this other job, you know. I needed a job to keep a roof over our heads and feed the family.

One of the books I read was the Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, which is a very, very good book. There are things in there that I’m not doing – like working four hours a week. He wrote about a lot of people saying ‘I couldn’t just go and do this, I couldn’t quit my job.’ Ferris asks a question,  ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ You just go back and get the same kind of job you had before.

That’s kinda how I got to where I am today. Just living that unhappiness and doing something about it.

I’m a social media nerd now. I work for Falk Harrison, here in St. Louis. I’ve brought social media as a competency to the organization and we’re starting to offer it to our clients and prospects that have never worked with us.

It’s fun because I really strongly believe in the usage of being social to achieve a companies or organizations goals. I believe in it so strongly that I probably come across as a little crazy at meetings. I’ve seen it succeed. It’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy what I do now.

Let’s get un-serious. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Huh. That’s a tough one. I’ve often thought I’d want to manipulate metal like magneto from X-men, but I think…well…superpower….Terminator is not really a super hero. I’m going to have to include him in this question perhaps. I think invincibility would be cool. It would give a person incredible confidence to realize that no one could hurt you at all. So you could be a jerk in a bar and it would just be funny.

If invincibility happened to the wrong people, it would be awful because people would be awful.

Right. I could handle it well. Until it went to my head. I think ultimately I would like to have Jedi powers……

How much bacon do you consume in a week?

Not much. It’s a very interesting lesson in…personal branding, I guess? I sell some shirts. I think sometimes I tweet about bacon. Sometimes. And all the sudden everyone sends me everything about bacon all the time. I really feel like I should start a bacon food truck. It just makes sense. But I have a job and I can’t really leave it. What’s interesting is that I didn’t really try to do it. For some people that is a goal – to be known for something. Let’s turn it into ‘you’re the guy I want for social media’, instead everyone is like ‘have you seen these bacon mints?’ It’s great.

Bacon is not some internet meme that is going to go away. It is one of the tastiest foods. Ever. And it comes from a magical animal from which we extract so many different kinds of meat. The popularity of bacon is really high right now, and may even recede a little bit, but it is not some internet joke. It’s the real deal holy-field, understand what I’m sayin’?

What is one food you really love to eat?

It’s gotta be pizza. I absolutely love pizza. I ate one last night. Almost a whole one. What’s great about pizza is that there are so many different kinds. There is no variety of pizza that I don’t like. I’ll eat Chicago deep dish or St. Louis thin crust. Provel, just hook it up to my veins.

I like hamburgers too though. And I really like Italian food. You asked for my favorite thing and I’m giving you my whole diet.

What are three of your favorite things about St. Louis?

Going down on The Hill. Having a Saturday afternoon at Antanino’s or Adrianna’s or Guido’s. We go there with my friend and our daughters, who are best friends. They run around the hill and pick weeds that looks like flowers. We go to Shaw’s Coffee. I like being lazy on a Saturday watching my daughter have a good time with her best friend. And watching my younger daughter insert herself into their good time.

I like brick. We have so many brick buildings in this town. When you drive to a different town, you notice that it just looks different. As St. Louisans we are so used to looking at them. When someone from out of town comes in and comes to a place like Soulard, they’re like ‘this place is magical!’ We don’t even see it that way, we see is as the place where you go to celebrate Mardi Gras.

This is an obvious one. And it’s on my mind today. I’m not even a huge baseball fan, but I want our sports teams to do well. It makes sad people happy, and normal people ecstatic, and it’s good for our economy. I’m very proud of the cardinals in that we’re not like LA or Chicago or New York and we have a team that has the second most World Series championships as anybody. We just have this long history and tradition of being awesome at baseball and I just love that. We can’t compete with the Yankee’s who have 26. We have ten [now 11!] – that’s pretty awesome. It’s so much fun to watch the Cubs not be able to win one.

Everyone is trying to compare us to Chicago. But we never will be. We used to be a top tier American city. And we’re not anymore. But that doesn’t mean we’re not still an awesome city. There is only one Chicago, one LA, one New York. The problem that people have with St. Louis is that we have really cool attractions, you just have to get in a car to get to them.

You can follow more of Chris’ ramblings on his blog or on Twitter, @rizzotees.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2011 9:49 am

    Dude, that is a hot dog on that sandwich. A big wiener! lol

    But seriously, it’s a crazy sandwich, go get one. I’ve never seen steak, ham, hot dogs, jalapenos, egg, guac, lettuce, mayo, tomatoes and bread combined into one food conveyance.

  2. November 8, 2011 10:16 am

    This was a great interview!! Thanks to you both for sharing! However, now I’m singularly obsessed with the idea of a Rizzo Bacon Truck………..

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