Name: Christy Ferer
Job and Description: Founder and CEO of Vidicom
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Christy Ferer: Right now I am the founder of CEO of Vidicom, so that means I try at all costs to resist micromanaging! I’m still very much involved in the content we turn out here and a little bit in sales and ideas. Every day I come in and I talk to the heads of my [sales and production] teams and see what they need from me. Then I’m also networking within the business community and the media community to see how we can create new plans and platforms for our content.
So overall I’m checking in with my team, meeting new people and finding new ways to distribute our content.
What is the best part of your job?
CF: The best part of my job is dealing with “young predators” as we call them—they produce, they edit, they write, they shoot. When I was a reporter, I didn’t have most of those skills because I could tell the story but I couldn’t edit and I couldn’t shoot, and those are two-thirds of the battle.
So my greatest joy is seeing these kids really getting to go full circle and to get the story and shoot it, edit it, report it and write it.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
CF: The media industry has changed so much that there’s nothing I know now that would’ve helped me then! There are two other things though. One thing is if I really knew the importance of having a beat, I would’ve tried harder to carve out a niche (like politics or lifestyle). Eventually that came for me, but not so much when I started.
Second, I was always afraid of self-promotion. But when you’re storytelling in a unique way, especially with your face on it, you should allow yourself some time to take credit for the stories you report. You should never be the story ever, but you shouldn’t shy away from publicity from the stories and the reporting and the breaks that you made. I never pursued that and I wish I had.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
CF: “It’s not so much the story; it’s how you tell it.” Life is more interesting than fiction, and you just have to dig it out. I also feel in telling stories in video, you do everything you can to make something that’ll make someone smile, cry or laugh. You want to tell people something they don’t know, and you want to affect them in some way.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
CF: When you report, you cover everything from popes to presidents to other crazy, crazy things, but one of the most interesting things I did was actually for a client. I got to report from the Great Wall of China during the first fashion show there. To be in China in the late 1980s was very adventuresome. It wasn’t just about telling the story; it was about delivering the story, especially because we had to go through censors, and we had to deal with them so that we could get the live video out in a timely way. It was almost like being a war correspondent in civilized territory!
I ended up having to send my videotapes down the Great Wall of China to a messenger, who then motored them to Beijing for uplink on a satellite. It was pretty funny since it was only fashion, too!
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
CF: Somebody who’s very entrepreneurial and proactive. For example, we were just looking for a “predator” (the person who’s trained in everything). I personally vet everyone since I’m stringent with my news standards. I just interviewed someone I ended up hiring because she not only wrote the story, but she also voiced it and edited it, so it showed me she was proactive, entrepreneurial and [willing to go] beyond the call of duty. She also had a passion for what she was doing.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
CF: Don’t be afraid to fail. I can’t tell you how jobs I wasn’t offered, how many jobs I failed at. You just try different directions and different niches. You don’t give up.
And fail upward! Failure is the best kind of inspirational fuel ever.