Sure, I could post my official, corporate resume…

And if you want to see the logical, professional progression, why don’t you head over to:
LinkedIn.com/in/jimhopkinson

But probably what you really want to know is…

What are you really good at?

Consistent with the fact that I got the same exact score on my math and verbal SATs (Um, NOT 800), I have a unique combination of the analytical (hence the geek tendencies, computer degree, and love for organized spreadsheets) and the creative (blogger, author, speaker).

In a nutshell, what I’m really good at is taking a deep-dive research approach to a topic or problem, organizing it in an informative and entertaining way, and then sharing that information with others.

In other words, I teach. This takes the form of speaking to groups in person, conveying my thoughts via writing, and excitedly telling stories via podcast or video.

RESUME

What have I learned in my career? Find out here.

Entrepreneur
First job: Spinnaker Software
The startup: VIS Development
The Dream Job: ESPN
Publishing: Conde Nast / Wired
Paperboy/Dishwasher/Janitor
Warehouse Worker

Current Gig

Entrepreneur

Lesson Learned: I launched my own business in November 2011 and the best part of it is that I am learning new lessons every single day.

The Big Four

The first job: Spinnaker Software (1.5 years)

Lesson Learned: My first job out of college exposed me to everything in the traditional working world… life in a cubicle, layers of management, office politics, how to get ahead, and what it was like to get laid off. I got lucky and hit the trifecta: fantastic co-workers (a raucous, friendly group of 20-somethings in their first job), great managers (3 smart, fair, team leaders that stood up for their staff and ran the ship), and an amazing department head (who gave the group full autonomy and later mentored me and connected me to my second job). The most valuable skill learned? Improvisational problem solving. As a technical support rep, I answered more than 10,000 calls from customers, each one different than the last.

The startup: VIS Development (4 years)

Lesson Learned: As the third employee at this startup, I learned, well, just about everything. As an Application Developer and Project Leader, that included growing a company from the ground up, wearing many hats, how to rip apart the guts of an IBM PC (and putting it back together again), how to manage employees (and how not to), and when it’s time to leave. But the most important lesson was that achieving great things only comes with taking great risks.

The Dream Job: ESPN (8 years)

ESPN logoLesson Learned: If you want something bad enough, set a goal and don’t let anything stop you. And so it was that I went on a run on New Years Day 1998, and came home with three goals: move to another part of the country, do something I was passionate about, and get my foot into the emerging internet industry.

jim-hopkinson-espn-superbowlFlash forward to that August, as I was deposited 3,000 miles away from my hometown of Boston into the erupting hotbed of the internet boom, taking in Seattle’s glorious view of Mt. Rainier and the Space Needle at my new job at ESPN.com. Seriously? As a Technical Producer and Product Marketing Manager I was going to be paid to talk about sports and build fantasy football games?

Three years in Seattle led to a life-changing transfer to New York City (and fortunately not Bristol, CT). Along the way I learned just about everything there is to know about an internet-based property: how to write for the web (with my own column), how to build community (producing a “gameified” experience 10 years before there was Farmville), how to be ranked in the 99.99th percentile of all fantasy gamers (OK, it was my job), how to monetize the web (and respect the salespeople that sold it), and how to have fun along the way (ultimate frisbee games at lunch each week, Super Bowl parties, and overseeing TV commercials come to mind).

The Digital/Publishing World: Conde Nast Digital and Wired.com (5 years)

Jim-Hopkinson-Brad-PittLesson Learned: All the lessons learned while at Conde Nast can be framed in the context of two trends: the evolution of the publishing industry into the digital age, and the rise of social media. As the Associate Director of Marketing, I was fortunate to play a major role in the launch of Wired’s first iPhone app in 2007, spearheaded their Twitter presence when it had just 8,000 fans (now over 1 million), run their Facebook page, and manage a social media program for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, and Glamour. The key decision here was launching a Wired podcast called The Hopkinson Report, keeping up the consistency for 3 1/2 years while finding my voice, interviewing amazing people, and constantly exploring digital media trends.

The Teenage Years:

Paperboy, Dishwasher, Janitor

Lessons Learned: As a paperboy I developed skills in customer service and accounting, but mostly learned to stay away from large German Shepherds. As a dishwasher I discovered I never, ever want to be a dishwasher. And as a janitor cleaning the campus pub while a college freshman, I learned a little greasy, dirty, hard work never killed anyone.

Warehouse worker

Lesson Learned, Job 1: There was an industrial park near my house growing up, and I had jobs packing orders. The first was for four time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers. I learned that sometimes even fame isn’t enough (creditors showed up one day and bolted the headquarters shut), and that GoreTex was a cool invention.

Lesson Learned, Job 2:
At “The Gatepost,” all the items we shipped were women’s clothes and every employee was a woman. Except one: The owner Mike. He took me under his wing and taught me two important life lessons: autonomy and trust. Noticing that I was surrounded by mountains of pink t-shirts, Guess jeans, and ESPIRIT bags, he reached into his wallet, took $20 of his own money, and told me to go to the mall and buy any posters I wanted to put up in the warehouse. While I can’t remember the specifics (I’m guessing Van Halen, Larry Bird, and a Porsche 944), the freedom of controlling my workspace was exhilarating.

The second thing he taught me was even more valuable: How to drive a 5-speed. We started out in the warehouse parking lot in his giant Isuzu Trooper II.  I’d get going as quickly as I could through first, second, and third gear, slamming on the brakes as the guardrail at the end of the industrial park approached rapidly. Next, he sat calmly in the passenger seat (no doubt suppressing his terror), uttering confidence-building tips as this green 17-year-old revved his engine and darted out into traffic. One day he just said “you’re ready” and tossed me the keys, kicking me out of the nest and onto the southeast expressway at rush hour.

Lesson Learned, Job 3:
Working at a warehouse near my college campus, I learned three valuable lessons from three people. First there was Don, a warehouse lifer who was always amazingly upbeat and positive. Every single day he had a new joke for me. Every. Single. Day. They weren’t always funny. They were quite often distasteful. But every company needs a Don.

The second was Al. Also a warehouse lifer, he was the complete opposite of Don. As an energetic 19 year old, I burst into the warehouse each afternoon for my 3 hours of part time work before heading back to campus to study or catch the end of happy hour. One day Al pulled me aside and told me, in so many words, that I was “working too fast.” In other words, I was pulling the orders faster than he could pack them, which made the shipments pile up and Al look bad. It was an awkward position to be put in, but I slowed down my productivity a bit. Eventually, I couldn’t keep up the charade. Being slow and unhappy was his problem. All I could control was myself. I learned awhile later that Al had been fired for “accidentally” running over his foot with a forklift and then filing a bogus workman’s comp claim. You can’t control the “Al” in your company.

Lastly was the warehouse manager Mike. One winter break I showed up to work, excited to stay on campus for the week and work there full-time. But Mike was surprised to see me, and said he never actually promised me any work. While sweating it out, he paused and said, “Well, I guess since you’re an Eagle Scout, I can find some stuff for you to do.” I had forgotten that I had listed Eagle Scout on my resume, and that he told me his sons were in scouting and working their way toward the highest award. Lesson? You never know what kind of connection will help you in your career.

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