TOP 50 STL Person of the Week: Kevin Harvell
Brian: Kevin Harvell is both a podcast creator and a video producer who is dedicated to helping share his love of St. Louis and technology through the audio podcast medium on such shows as Who’s Who in St. Lou and the Tech Informist Show. He also continues to build a quality portfolio of video work through his STL Tech Media brand to show why potential clients should consider booking him for their video needs. Kevin, I believe we are on a parallel journey by sharing our love for St. Louis through audio, which is one of the primary reasons I wanted to talk to you today. But, first can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kevin: Well, I spent fourteen and a half years at Chrysler. I used to be an assembly worker at the, now, I guess you would just say, the parking lot out in Fenton at 44 and 270. Then I transitioned into computer technology. Growing up I always loved computers and technology and just all those sorts of things, video games. I started doing a little IT work at a local private school, then I just gradually transitioned into starting my own website, because again I love consumer technology. I wanted to start writing about those things: applications and smartphones and things like that. Then it just gradually led into starting podcasting. In September of 2013, I launched STL Tech Talk, which is now, we’ll just say, on indefinite hiatus, so if anybody would be interested in helping me take that over, reach out to me. Overall I’ve done over 300 podcast episodes split between that Code Cast by STL Tech Talk, Tech Informist, as you previously mentioned. MS Mobile Show is another show I produce. Of course, the Who’s Who in St. Lou Show, which I know is one of the major things that I’m really focusing a lot of time and energy on.
Brian: I’ve listened to several of the shows and I really love the podcast. Can you tell us a little about some of the guests you’ve interviewed?
Kevin: I’ve had Thomas Schlafly from the St Louis brewing company. Tim Mckernan from Inside STL and 920AM Sports Talk Radio, a long time radio host. Frank Opinion who’s been in the radio business for over 30 years. He’s just a fantastic guy.
Brian: As a side note, I used to have Frank Opinion’s joke book growing up. It was one of those items we were kind of forbidden from because it had a little language in it. But, it was a great little joke book that we would play around with and I still remember about a dozen jokes from that book.
Kevin: He’s just a very humble guy. I love Large Morning Show in the afternoon and just having a chance to talk with him. I think we went almost an hour and a half. It was a fantastic discussion. I think that was Episode 2. One of my most recent, well-known guests would be Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear and the Clark Fox Family Foundation.
Brian: So, about how many podcasts have you had for the Who’s Who?
Kevin: We are up to about 25. I think I’m recording Episode 26 this afternoon.
Brian: Now, one of the things that I like to talk about on the Top 50 platform is really how St. Louis is having a bit of a Renaissance right now with the attention on the start-up community and the entrepreneurial community and development in places like Cortex and Tech Artista in the Central West End and T-Rex downtown. What are your thoughts on the startup community that’s emerging in St. Louis?
Kevin: It’s great to see that a lot of people are able to go out there and do their own individual businesses and be able to be self-sufficient, because I think in this day and age relying on big companies to start working there and stay somewhere thirty years and retire, I’m proof that that’s not going to happen. That’s my dad’s generation. Those days are kind of not necessarily coming to a complete end but it’s not something that I would advise for people that are coming out of high school or in college. I’d say, ya know, don’t rely on a big company. Just look at Monsanto. They’re possibly looking to be sold to Bayer Group, but who knows what’s going to happen with that.
Brian: I thought that was a bit of a surprise, especially with the anchor that they have in town.
Kevin: Yeah, I think it’s great that St. Louis is doing that, the way that all this innovation and revitalization especially in the Cortex area. I mean so much new construction, let’s say from between Forest Park and we’ll just say Boyle. It’s amazing the stuff that’s going on just there.
Brian: I often say that I think the entrepreneurial vibe, the energy that’s coming out of that district is really the biggest draw that we’ve had in the city for a long time. We’ve been on, when you look at the population of St. Louis it’s really been on a downward trajectory for a number of years and this is something that is getting a lot of attention and bringing in some big names and some companies to, instead of moving out of St. Louis, they’re finally coming back or establishing some headquarters here. So, it’s really nice to see. I know one of the institutions that we go to, one of the groups that we go to is the Missouri Venture Forum, which is another great institution in town to help the ecosystem.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s a fantastic organization.
Brian: So along with focusing on where St. Louis is currently I also like to project on where we think St. Louis can be. What do you think we need to focus on to make St. Louis a truly great city in the world?
Kevin: I think people just need to look out for each other and just kind of go back to simpler times and just doing the right thing. The way I always close the Who’s Who in St Lou Show is “Pay It Forward.” The communities are not going to get any better unless we take care of each other and just do the right thing. If you see some trash on the street, just pick it up or better yet, don’t throw the trash out there in the first place. It’s one of those things that’s just kind of amazing that people still like to dirty the areas that they live in or work in. No. But, I think about things like that and just getting more people to be aware that there are ways to make a lot of money whether it’s on the Internet or starting your own business and really you don’t need a lot more than just your own computer and a great idea. If you’re somebody that can get other people to gravitate towards you so you can become an influencer, you can get people’s attention. The only bad idea is one that you just let die off in your mind.
Brian: That’s awesome insight. I love the idea of combining the positivity of taking care of your city with an entrepreneurial spirit, which blends a lot of the things that we’re talking about. Paul Singh was in town last week of 500 startups and he was talking about how polite everybody is and how we don’t talk about ourselves enough and boast about how great our companies or businesses are or things we’re doing. It’s an interesting perspective to think that the coasts are so much more accustom to talking about themselves. But, he was saying it as more of a detriment to the area and I think, even with the spirit of what we’re talking about, it’s kind of a benefit. If we learn to harness the entrepreneurial energy and deliver it in a way that has the Midwestern value and that kind of positive touch to it, I think we’re on to something really special.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s never a bad idea to be humble because people can always knock you down quickly; it’s just kind of how society works, those East Coast vibes, the high aggression and me, me, me. That’s one of things I love about St. Louis is our humbleness.
Brian: I like the accessibility too. I mean, you think about going and doing something in New York or in LA or even Chicago and I think the possibilities are a lot more limited because the size and the accessibility to people that can really move things forward. We’ve really harnessed this close-knit community, especially in the entrepreneurial world, to make things accessible and possible. So, I can only imagine that podcasts will continue to gain in popularity. What is the best way for people to get ahold of you if they’re interested in starting their own podcast or need production or editing skills or are just in need of some advice?
Kevin: One of the ways that I would recommend doing that would be to go to stltechmedia.com. You can fill out the contact form if you want to learn more about podcasting or if you need video services or photography services. We’ve got a studio at Tech Artista so if anybody wants to start their own show, I am more than willing to help you launch your own show. Podcasting is just a great thing for individuals. Even businesses right now are finding out that it’s pretty valuable to have a podcast in your stable of ways to reach new audiences.
Brian: Kevin, thank you very much for coming on the show today. I know we both share a love for St. Louis and the purpose of our platforms have very similar missions. I would encourage everyone out there to listen to all of Kevin’s podcasts especially Who’s Who in the Lou and please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kevin if you’re interested in starting your own podcast