Tom Churm abandoned his career as an advertising copywriter to seek truth and punk rock… But instead, he ended up moving to Berlin, Germany where he invented the world’s original online alarm clock website.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m scanning the web for interesting clocks to post on OnlineClock.net’s Facebook Page. I’m also in the process of converting the entire site to HTML 5 so that it no longer uses Flash technology for the alarm sound.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m an early riser, getting up at about 6:00 a.m. I do work on my laptop in my kitchen before going to my day job at the internet marketing agency in Berlin where I’ve been working for the last five years.
3 trends that excite you?
- HTML 5
- Cloud Computing
- Software as a Service
How do you bring ideas to life?
Stop thinking about it and do it! There’s a great E.P. by the Rollins Band where Henry Rollins sings the song, “Do It”. Put that song on your stereo and listen to it loud while drinking an energy drink. That will get you started.
What inspires you?
Great underground American culture, as in: comics, punk rock music and low budget films. I feel like I’m a part of this tradition with the creation of OnlineClock.net. If it’s art to me, it’s art. I don’t worry about what most people like, and I don’t pander to anyone else’s tastes.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I created a very useful site called RSS 2 PDF at . Some jerk came along a couple days after my site was online and duplicated my site, basically, at the same domain name, ending in dot org. I can’t do anything about it, because what he did is legal. So: if you have a great idea for a website, spend the extra twenty bucks a year and register the dot net, the dot org and any other relevant domain names for it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Social media works. It costs nothing except your time, and it enables you to build up your brand and your fan base online…so, to me, it’s essential. Become active immediately on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc…
What do you read every day, and why?
I’m an unrepentant fan of graphic novels…otherwise known as comics. There are a lot of similarities, in my opinion, between comics and websites. Like comics, websites are a combination of short text and images. Well-written, well-drawn comics are a source of joy for me.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
Read this: Post Office by Charles Bukowski. Not because of the content, but because of the style. It’s short, sharp and to the point, stripped away of the artifice and excessive fat. Websites should be the same way.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
I love NowDoThis.com by one of the guys who invented Vimeo, Jake Lodwick. This app is extremely minimal and useful and I have no idea why no one else seems to think it’s great other than myself. Jake is a genius.
Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
I don’t use Twitter to follow others, sorry. Everyone should instead just follow @OnlineClock (I myself don’t think of myself as a follower.)
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Greg Ginn, the creator of SST Records (Black Flag’s independent record label).
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.
Just a couple of days ago. I saw the film version of Stephen King’s horror film, “IT”, and the scene with the fortune cookies had me laughing out loud.
Do you miss living in the USA?
No, not at all. I love the USA and I go there about once a year on vacation, but I don’t miss living there at all. The reason why is that the people are too fat and the advertising is too loud. Somehow it all strikes me as a bit tacky. I love kitsch and I love American culture and, when it comes to originality and inventiveness, no country outdoes the USA. But I can’t imagine actually living there anymore. The only possible exception to this would be to live in Manhattan, but the living costs are so high that I don’t see this as being a possibility.
What is the last record album you purchased?
I just ordered the vinyl LP of the classic L.A. punk compilation Hell Comes To Your House. This entire album is full of classic tracks by bands like Social Distortion and 45 Grave and is one of my most frequently played albums.