Alumni Spotlight: James Creech

Name: James Creech
Graduation Year: 2012
Majors: 
Business Administration and Political Science
Minor: Film & TV Production
Hometown: 
Bakersfield, CA
LinkedIn
Website

What roles/positions did you hold at Trojan Vision?
I started out as a producer for the debate show Platforum my Freshman year. It was my first taste of live TV, and I was instantly hooked! Sophomore year I joined Trojan Vision staff as the co-EP of Platforum with my friend and producing partner Olivia Bonin. We created entirely new sets and graphics, auditioned and trained hosts, and put together production teams to cover the most exciting issues impacting USC students. 
I served as General Manager during my Junior year, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the business of running a TV station. I worked with Executive Director Don Tillman to manage the budget, coordinated our programming slate, and hired the team that kept all of our shows (and the station) running smoothly. 

How was the process of transitioning out of USC and into the workplace?
During my senior year, I made the difficult decision not to return to Trojan Vision so that I could get other professional experience before graduating. I started interning at an adtech startup called Channel Factory and got hooked on the adrenaline rush of early stage companies. I ultimately received an offer from a prestigious tech company, but I turned it down to stay at Channel Factory and pursue the startup life.

What has your journey and experience in the industry been like?
After 2.5 years at Channel Factory, I joined a new startup that was focused on helping social media influencers grow their online audience and develop their careers. At the time, the “Creator Economy” was still nascent, so we were doing many things manually — from finding influencers to managing branded sponsorship campaigns and creating reports. Out of necessity, my colleagues and I started developing some tools to make the process easier, which ultimately inspired us to start a business of our own. In early 2016, my two co-founders and I launched a technology company called Paladin to create influencer marketing software for brands and agencies. Based on our experience, we knew firsthand how difficult it was to manage influencer campaigns and just how quickly the industry was growing. It was incredibly difficult that first year as we figured out how to build and refine our product, find customers, and run a business, but it was an amazing experience. Today, Paladin serves customers in 30+ countries across 5 continents, and it’s been remarkable to see how much our software and the company have evolved.

What are you up to now?
In addition to continuing to grow Paladin, I spend a lot of time advising other media and technology startups and coaching entrepreneurs. I find it really rewarding to support other startup founders on their journey, and advisory work provides a great opportunity for me to improve my skills and learn about other industries. I also host a podcast called All Things Video that features interviews with entrepreneurs and leaders in the digital media space. I’m now in the midst of launching another startup with one of my business partners to help brands, publishers, and personalities figure out how to make even better content for their social media profiles. Our new company Measure Studio is still early, but we recently closed our Seed funding and have signed a number of initial customers, including the BBC, IGN, and Group Nine Media. But what I’m most proud of so far is the work we did to power the social media strategy for Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign during the 2020 election cycle!

How has Trojan Vision helped or influenced your career?
Even though I didn’t end up pursuing a career in film and TV, my experience at Trojan Vision helped prepare me to work in fast-paced environments, take initiative, and think entrepreneurially. Much of the work I do today revolves around new models of media, entertainment, and technology, so having a strong foundation in traditional entertainment models was extremely useful. I’m really grateful for my time at Trojan Vision, not just for the skills I learned but for the friendships I made and the fun experiences we shared.

Any advice to current students?
Enjoy your time at USC because it will fly by! The most useful advice I can offer is to prioritize getting good jobs and internship experience because more than anything that’s what helped me land a job after graduation. Have an open mind to different experiences so you can figure out what you like and what you don’t like — experimentation can be a great teacher. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help — find a mentor or coach, ask your peers, and leverage your network to uncover new opportunities.

Please reach out to our Industry Relations Manager, Phoebe Lai (pelai@usc.edu) to get in touch with our Notable Alumni or be featured in our next newsletter!