Tom McLeod – President and Co-Founder of Imaginary Feet

[quote style=”boxed”]Personal Pans. A Chipotle style pizza restaurant that only does small gourmet pizzas, made to order. High end toppings could cost extra.[/quote]

Tom McLeod is President and Co-Founder of Imaginary Feet, a web and mobile app idea factory. At Imaginary Feet, Tom oversees the direction of the company and its 7 successful applications and services for work and play. He is particularly focused on the company’s latest development, Crosswalk, the new website bringing social to the mobile app experience.

Prior to Imaginary Feet, Tom started media production companies MTerrace Inc. and Heavy Syndication. At these companies, he served as Founder and CEO and was responsible for the daily operations, client relations and much of the functional creative and technical work.  Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Audio Technology and a minor in Computer Science from American University. His many interests include classic films, building computers, basketball and making mixtapes for his daily commute.

What are you working on right now?

We’ve been very busy preparing for the launch of our newest web service,, a social online app discovery platform for iOS devices. is the only app discovery platform to use the iCloud. Because of this, iPhone, iPad and iPod apps are instantly populated into your online profile where you can begin to discover, recommend and comment on apps with friends and influencers.

What does your typical day look like?

I get up around 6:30 or 7:00 AM and immediately hop on my emails. I just recently made the switch from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco and with the time change, I feel slightly behind the rest of the world. After I get through some initial triage, I make a bowl of Kix and watch the Today Show. From there I usually take a solid hour to catch up on what’s going on in the world, pop culture, politics, music and the general landscape. If this goes quickly, I head to the office. If I end up on a crazy Wikipedia scavenger hunt, I go the no-pants route and work from home. Work consists of a bunch of phone calls, a lot of writing, hopefully a Nerf gun war and usually a decent conversation. It is like the most awesomely bad first date repeated daily.

3 trends that excite you?

  1. Near field communications: basically my toaster telling my fridge “Tom burned this, remind his phone to get him more bread.”
  2. More efficient solar power: I recently drove across the country and noticed that we have a ton of sun. Let’s do stuff with it.
  3. Even more powerful mobile devices: I want my phone to do everything my laptop can do. We’re getting there, but the experience still isn’t perfect yet. I’m looking forward to traveling with just a phone and still feeling adequately plugged in.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I try and daydream about my ideas for awhile–thinking about all the angles of the idea and then select which path to go down first. Depending on the idea, this could require picking up a hammer or picking up my keyboard. Either way, I like to have a solid mental map of where I’m going before my hands get to work.

What inspires you?

Listening to strangers and sleep. I always try to keep an eye and an ear open to what people are doing and saying around me. It helps me to know what the world is reacting to and how they are reacting. I think it’s important to try to understand people and have empathy in all that you do.

I keep a little notebook next to my bed to write down ideas that come to me at night. Sometimes I wake up and have a bunch of random scribbles that I wrote at 3:00 AM. Part of my process is reviewing what I thought was important enough to write down.

What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

Never put a basketball hoop near desks in an office. This sounds obvious and trivial, but it’s not. I ran a previous startup out of a massive carpeted warehouse. We had extra space and lots of random drop-ins, so I thought, “let’s put a hoop in here!”  A basketball hoop in a work environment is an immediate sign that you’ve lost your focus. If you put it right next to you and your vice president’s desk, it’s a sinking ship. Don’t do it unless you sell basketballs or basketball hoops. If you do, then carry on.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Personal Pans. A Chipotle style pizza restaurant that only does small gourmet pizzas, made to order. High end toppings could cost extra.

What do you read every day? Why?

I read It’s a great tumblr for current events, news, opinion and humor. I think it’s a great example of how media is changing and how a single individual can have a great news site developed solely around aggregating what they see and think is interesting and newsworthy.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Silmarillion is, for all intents and purposes, a prequel to the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogy. I know this is ultra-nerdy but my reasons are solid. My guess is the majority of your readers have read the main series but very few have read The Silmarillion. My reason for suggesting it is because it shows how complete an idea Tolkien’s idea was. He created an entire universe with its own mythology, religions and dreams. This kind of scope is something we all need to recognize and understand in our daily lives: how a simple story or idea can quickly turn into an epic when in the right hands.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

My Playstation 3 is the center of my world, providing me with nearly endless joy. It has the Internet, games and streaming everything. It’s a fantastically well thought out machine and a great example of where I want things to go. Everything just out in the ether, piped into my brain in a nicely designed black box.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

  • Nancy Conrad, Chairman, The Conrad Foundation
  • Jack Daggitt, President, XOL Ventures
  • Brandon Hance, President, Good Threads/Inhance Media

What upcoming tech event do you think will shake things up?

I actually think having custom TLDs (like .tom) will do a lot for creativity on the Internet. We’ve been caught up with .com and .net for a long time. When the free for all on TLDs goes live in 2012, it is going to open up the way we explore the Internet and possibly lead to lots and lots of funny single-serving website themes.

In no particular order, what are your favorite movies?

Over time I’ve learned I like movies in which one protagonist is fundamentally against the world:

  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Gladiator
  • Unforgiven
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Princess Mononoke


Tom McLeod on LinkedIn –