Senior Associate, Commercial Strategy
This week, we present our final Voices of Fahrenheit 2016. We interview Matt Bruno, Senior Associate on the Commercial Strategy team at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I’m a Senior Associate, which means it’s my job to solve for the commercial aspects of our projects. Firstly, to figure out what the right strategy is that will lead to the right ideas that will help the business, and secondly, to make sure that any ideas we come up with have strong commercial support behind them.
When did you first get into the field of innovation?
I got into the field of innovation almost four years ago, when I joined Fahrenheit.
Where do you feel most creative?
Honestly, I like working in an office. Even on the weekends, if I have to do work, I come here. I think I need to be in an environment focused around work without distractions. The people, noise, and, energy of the office help me work more effectively.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
A process I find myself doing on every project is when I research, I like to go wide and find a bunch of different articles. I open 20-30 tabs, and then copy and paste the best points into Evernote. I then print them and reread in order to dissect the themes I see emerging. I start collecting my thoughts around that. Usually, I bullet point a few versions on how I am seeing things.
Sometimes, I need to wait between a few days. Taking time away and sleeping on something can lead to me coming back to the office, looking at the same problem, but suddenly it all clicks.
Where do you call home?
Even though I’ve lived in New York for five years, I still consider Los Angeles, California, where I grew up, home. Perhaps one day when I replace my California ID to a New York one that will change.
What do you never leave home without?
My phone. I’ve always been a huge gadget person and the phone is the best gadget there is. I get a new phone every year, no matter what. I’ve been through Android, Windows Phone, and iPhone. Currently I have the iPhone 6S, but I’m looking forward to getting the 7 soon.
What are your go-to apps?
I have three:
Instagram – it has become such a habit to scroll through when I have a moment of down time, even if it’s just a few seconds in the elevator or a line.
Reddit – I’m a big Redditer, so it is always fun to check it out.
Feedly – it keeps track of all of my different tech news.
What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?
Recently, it would have to be kegs of cold brew coffee. They taste better than regular iced coffee, allow businesses to serve coffee quickly, and bring their product to more locations. We just got a cold brew keg at our office and I visit it at least once a day. One time we added some cold brew to a Wendy’s Frosty – it was amazing.
Being on the commercial strategy team, I’m particularly interested in business model innovations.
To me, the most genius business model of all time is the “table at a club.” The more you charge, the happier people are – a $2000 table feels way cooler than $200.
Chips for gambling is another interesting business innovation. It’s easier for consumers to handle and helps businesses by making it a lot easier to spend more.
And this obviously.
Do you have any side projects, hobbies, or a previous life you would like to share?
I’ve taken a bunch of photography and sketch comedy writing classes. Recently, I’ve been learning more about web design. I’m a big fan of Udemy for things like that.
I also like registering domains for random ideas I have. I currently own bulkcook.com, blackbarbrew.com, tailorswyft.com, techcredible.com, and trendsetr.com. I’m hoping to turn one of them into a real side project in the near future.
Which podcasts do you listen to?
I think my favorite one is Exponent. It’s the podcast for Stratechery.com, a blog focused on the intersection of business strategy and technology – which is right up my alley. I like to listen to it in the mornings when I’m getting ready for work, I find it’s a great way to get me into the work mindset.
I also like the Tim Ferris podcast, Mixergy, and Start Up.
What are your greatest life hacks?
First, cramming as much tech inside my apartment as possible. I have three personal assistants – Siri, Alexa, and OK Google. Combining them with hue smart lights has led to some really cool solutions. I can turn off the lights with my voice, and have arranged the lights to automatically turn on when my alarm sounds (slowly getting brighter, starting from the furthest lamp, all the way to the closest one to my bed).
Second, using the oven to cook in bulk. I now bring lunch to work 60-70% of the time – chicken, vegetables, and rice all cooked in one batch.
What is your favorite book?
Ender’s Game. It was the first fiction I read for fun, and it blew my mind. I also loved the spin off Ender’s Shadow. I used to just read business books, since I figured if I was going to take the time to read something then I might as well be learning, but now I can say my favorite books tend to be fiction.
What’s your favorite place to spend time in New York?
I like hanging out in the Greenwich Village (where I live), particularly Washington Square Park. I feel like it is sort of my duty to know all of the new restaurants and spots that open up.
What is your favorite movie?
“Billy Madison,” “Wedding Crashers,” and “Step Brothers” are the movies I probably re-watched the most. I acknowledge that these are not the best movies… but I find impactful critically acclaimed movies are movies I tend to only watch once or twice.
Recently I saw the new Lonely Island movie “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” and I can easily see it entering the group of movies I’d want to watch whenever I see it on.
If you could go on a trip tomorrow, anywhere, for free, where would you go?
Tokyo. I think Asia would be so cool to explore at length, because I haven’t spent much time there. And if it is free, it is one of the most expensive in Asia!
What is your favorite part of summer in New York City?
Who has inspired you most throughout your career?
A lot of people mention famous leaders like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. While I love reading about these figures, I think the people who had the most impact on my career are two of my friends. I run all of my career decisions by them, so they’ve been guiding and influencing me from day one.