Nov 252015
Khristopher Brooks

Khristopher Brooks (photo: D&C provided)

Do you own a business?  Are you considering starting one?  Are you a serial entrepreneur?  If so, then you need to know about Khristopher J. Brooks.  Even more so, you need to talk to him.

I don’t know enough people who are actually doing the work.

In August, the Democrat and Chronicle hired Brooks as the new innovation and entrepreneurship reporter, something that never existed before at the D&C.  With a background that includes an internship at the Associated Press, recipient of the prestigious Chips Quinn Scholarship for Diversity in Journalism, and earning a Masters in Journalism at New York University, Brooks came to the D&C with a pedigree of great journalism.  Now, it’s time to channel that experience into achieving his stated goal of “being the gold standard for innovation reporting.”

I had a chance to talk with Brooks about his exciting new career at the D&C, and he opened up to me about his past, present, and future.  Brooks says that he especially wants to write about companies that are solving problems, not just trying to make a profit.  “A lot of time in business journalism, the focus is on how profitable the business has been, regardless of the impact on workers or supply chain.  I care about the general public and society as a whole.  There are tons of deficiencies in our everyday life that [an entrepreneur] who thinks out of the box [could] solve.  If you have a company that gets at something we’ve fallen down on as a society, that’s where I’m most interested.  Do you understand what deficiencies we have today and how can your service or product help?”

Brooks says that there are a lot of well-known people at the top levels of the local business community that he can talk to.  What he really wants is to talk with “individual entrepreneurs, particularly serial entrepreneurs, inventors, and startup CEOs.  I know the people at the top level, I don’t know enough people who are actually doing the work.”  You heard it here first: Brooks wants to hear from you.

Business owners can learn a lot from Brooks.  Every Friday, he sits down with his editor and goes through his notebook of story ideas.  “Which ones are good that I should pursue and which ones are garbage that I should throw away.”  Triaging what’s worth pursuing and what’s not is a valuable skill, for reporters and business owners alike.  It’s easy to get involved in something we’re excited by.  Having someone to bounce those ideas off of (an editor or a colleague) helps to provide a laser focus to keep on the critical path.  He also has a moral guide that our conversation kept circling around, “I want to focus my stories on what the impact is on how to help society.”  As any business owner knows, if you’re not providing a solution to your customer’s problems, then you won’t have any customers.

So if you’re a business owner, serial entrepreneur, or solving society’s problems through innovation and invention, Brooks wants to hear from you.  You can read his work and find contact information at the D&C:  Who knows, you just might make his day: “my brain is always rejuvenated when I hear someone come up with a smart idea.”