These days, Christopher Gorman’s job could almost literally bring him anything his ample imagination can conjure up. As senior vice president for Hurrdat Media, his inbox could contain a movie script for review, the next podcasting sensation and an other-worldly idea for a pop-up event during football season.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s all in a day’s work for the starry-eyed kid from western Nebraska. And it all began with a desire to make North Platte and Kearney cool when Gorman started booking bands into local venues in high school and college, respectively.
Rock ‘N’ Roll
“Any success in problem-solving I have all started when we started throwing those shows in North Platte and Kearney,” he said. “Just by the nature of the business, you’re surrounded by people who have to solve problems in very creative and cheap ways. Just being around these people, I owe a lot of my success to them.
“Drinking from a firehose teaches you a lot about how to solve what you need to solve when there isn’t time. You have to make quick decisions. You hope they’re right.”
Gorman’s experience with bands during high school and college made him enough connections to land as tour manager for three New York-based rock bands. Among his tasks was social media manager before there was a name for it.
“This was 2005, well before Instagram was around,” he said. “Hurricane Katrina hit the south, so gas prices were astronomical. We really had to be savvy on Myspace to make sure kids would come out to the shows and still be able to put food in the van and put gas in our vehicles to make it to the next city.
“This was before smartphones. We either had to find some computer lab at a college or some parent who’d let us upload photos and write blog posts because it’s not like you could do everything from your iPhone or you could tether your laptop. Everything was a lot harder back then.”
The Ultimate Creative
After finishing the tour manager experience, Gorman settled into a “regular” job for a period. When that ended, he started looking around and discovered Hurrdat, a marketing firm known for no-holds-barred creativity and unique projects.
“With Hurrdat, there wasn’t anything that was off the table. There were no bad ideas,” he said. “There was room to create and I was surrounded by the most creative people that I had ever met. If you just started a couple weeks ago, your ideas will still be heard and they’ll be considered. I thought that was really special.”
Today, Hurrdat Media includes its entertainment division, film production and Hail Varsity magazine, covering Cornhusker athletics, all of which falls under Gorman’s supervision. Most recently the company opened its own sports bar, Hail Varsity Club, in Omaha. It seems haphazard, but there’s a deft touch that ties everything together.
“Especially as we’ve grown, we have to be very intentional about the projects we pursue,” he said. “Projects have to make sense on a bunch of different levels and one of those is definitely financial. One of the challenges sometimes is making the tough calls of who we’re going to make that investment in and what projects deserve to have our time and money involved.
“On the other hand, as we continue to grow, one of the advantages is we work on really cool things, things a lot of people dream about, like opening a bar, making a movie and doing podcasts with huge talent. Things happen very quickly, and we need to be ready for those things.”