In each installment of The 4-1-1, we interview a different member of the House Party Team, asking the big questions that are on everyone's minds. This time around we're talking with Chris Maher, our very own Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Chris works in all aspects of our organization at a strategic level, from making operational decisions with the heads of departments to working on strategic financial planning with the Board of Executives, to even dressing up at our own Halloween and holiday parties. Brian, our Social Media Strategist, recently sat down with Chris to get the inside scoop on his role, his thoughts on the marketing industry and personal insight that only reading on can truly illustrate.
1. You've had some incredible industry experience in sales at Jupiter Media Metrix, executive management at Hitwise and, in your most recent position prior to coming to House Party, as CEO of eBureau. What common thread or recurring skill do you find yourself tapping into in these organizations? The common theme is people skills. It's all about trying to help all the members of the team understand what their roles are and how they contribute to the overall vision and objectives of the business. If I think about my management style, I'm definitely more of a "people person" first and then the process and the data come a close second and third. But, it really starts with the people.
2. So, after both our Halloween and Holiday parties, we've come to recognize you for some pretty outstanding articles of clothing - from a full 70's get-up (bell-bottoms and all) to multicolored holiday corduroy pants. Inquiring minds want to know: Consignment shops or your very own closet - what's your costuming secret? I'll admit that my wife and I have a selection of Halloween "get-ups" that we've accumulated over the years and they're a combination of going to party stores, as well as a little bit of consignment shop and grabbing of some vintage clothing from some older relatives that we've come across. The holiday pants (which I've got a couple pairs of) honestly have been a little bit driven by my young daughters, who like to see Daddy dress up in things with snowmen and snowflakes and things like that for holiday times...I'm happy to embarrass myself for the benefit of my children.
3. If you could trade places with any person, famous/not famous, living/not-living, real/fictional, with whom would it be? I would've loved to have walked in my grandfather's shoes for a period of time back when he was my age. He was born before TV and radio - I think we was born around 1899. He was the patriarch of our family and it would've been neat to walk in his shoes to see what that was like.
4. If there was only one book you could take with you to an island, what would it be? I would take a book that my daughter made, which is her telling the story about her family. So, it has pictures of her Mommy, Daddy, sister and dog, along with stories all about our favorite things to do.
5. What're you most excited for at House Party in 2012? There's a lot to be excited about. I'm excited that there's been so much hard work over the last 12-18 months to improve the internal structure and processes, to improve the product offering and value proposition of what we actually deliver to our clients and now it's just about let's just go execute. We can simply focus on delivering for our clients who are some of the best-loved brands in the world. We've put ourselves in a position where we can really reach our potential as an organization.
6. Do you have any locks or sweetheart teams in mind yet for March Madness? Because the people outside of our staff reading this won't have the context of my college hoops background, while I love to watch college basketball, I'm so out-of-the-loop on that...but, I would say, I think you will continue to see a non-power conference team that'll have a shot at making the Final Four. There's just so much parity in college basketball. If I had to say I had a sweet-spot for a team it'd have to be the North Carolina Tar Heels.
7. Are there any quotes by which you like to live? I guess there's two that come to mind. One is something that my father always used to say, which is "Be good." And, I think he meant that as 'be good' on several levels: Be good in terms of how you go conduct yourself; be good to your family; be good to your friends; be good to your colleagues and, ultimately, as well - be good to yourself. His approach to life was very much a "The world doesn't have to be a 'zero-sum' game with winners and losers in everything you do." He felt for the most part that it was more of a win/win situation where you didn't have to have winners and losers. Don't get me wrong, he was a competitive guy, especially in a game situation, but in life in general he felt that you didn't have to have the haves and the have-nots. The other thing that comes to mind for me is something that I've been a big believer in: "the journey is as important and usually more exciting and enjoyable than the destination."