The Social Media Maestro
By Maureen Nolan
In college, Eric Kuhn ’09 wanted to be a journalist, but the industry was nosediving. “I was sort of moaning to my dad about it, and he said something really simple that has become the mantra of my career,” Kuhn recalls. “He said, ‘If you do what is next, if you stay ahead of the curve, then you’ll always have a job.’”
That’s been his guiding principle. While still at Hamilton, Kuhn started a new media consulting practice that created groundbreaking strategies. Now he’s chief marketing officer for Layer3 TV, which he co-founded. The first new cable company to launch in a decade, it’s looking to disrupt the industry by providing better quality and customer service and being easier to use.
In any industry, when you are involved in innovation in some capacity, it requires a lot of hard work and a lot of explaining, and a lot of people saying what you’re doing is crazy. It’s your job to create an argument and explain it in a way that’s understandable and to slowly turn the ship.
Now that Layer3 has been purchased by T-Mobile, Kuhn is interested in applying an entrepreneurial approach within a big company. As for the longer term, his dad’s advice still plays in his head. “You know,” Kuhn says, “I’ve never had a job that anyone else has ever had before me, and I have to maybe continue that trend.”
Eric’s Career Path
Layer3 TV, Denver
Helped found and grow Layer3 TV (sold to T-Mobile for $350 million); named to Wired’s 2016 list of “Global Influencers” and Hollywood Reporter’s 2016 “Next Gen Execs 35 Under 35”
United Talent Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Joined United Talent Agency as the first Hollywood talent agent to focus on social media; built partnerships among the talent, media executives, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and venture capitalists; helped represent celebrities like Seth Rogen, Don Cheadle, and the Coen Brothers; named to Forbes’ 2012 “30 Under 30,” Variety’s 2011 “Hollywood’s New Leaders,” and Vanity Fair’s 2011 “Next Establishment”
CNN, Washington, D.C.
As the first social media person hired at CNN (his title: audience interaction producer), oversaw social media, created and produced shows that integrated social media, reported on politics and technology, won a Peabody Award as part of CNN’s coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, built and created the social foundation for CNN/US TV still used today
Helped create the social media strategy for the NBA; worked for CBS News with Katie Couric, creating and running the first viral marketing team to promote the broadcast online; launched @CBSNews, one of the first news Twitter account