Wiretap, no surprise, has a great founder behind it. We think it’s time you meet Gary Stuart. He’s the man with the vision, who keeps all of the Wiretap team inspired, focused, and well taken care of.
We had a Q&A with Gary.
What’s your favorite show of all time?
“The Wire”. It has great characters and subplots. There is so much to enjoy.
But the next show that’s a very close second (and on Netflix.com and Wiretap) is “Stranger Things”. It takes me back to the 80’s. And it takes me there by using mystery and horror in ways that are very sentimental to me. Also the kids play D&D. I did too. So, it’s the fantasy element. And the 80’s. “Stranger Things” ticks a lot of boxes for me.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I’m a digital strategist by trade. And I’m always interested in doing stuff that I love. The last thing I did was a digital agency called Blast Radius. I moved from NYC to Vancouver to take advantage of the digital age. At Vancouver Film School, I took a course in digital design—of that time—and met the friends whom I started Blast Radius with.
A core team of four of us built Blast into an agency of 400+ people who delivered solutions for Fortune 500 companies. It was a tremendous success for two decades. Then we sold to the largest marketing company in the world.
But I wasn’t ready to retire at 40-something. I became an entrepreneur.
What’s Wiretap’s origin story?
I came about it through brainstorming. What am I going to do next? I looked at the death of DVDs and audio commentary when I was watching “Aliens” in my free time. I wondered how I was going to get audio comments because I couldn’t get DVDs anymore.
Then I stumbled upon live tweeting. Studios were involved. “Scandal” was saved in Season 1 because of tweets. I talked to producers and learned that live tweeting was one of the most important tactics they have. Also, millennials aren’t consuming like my generation did. Everyone is streaming. But how do viewers convene? How do they connect? They don’t. That was the birth of Wiretap.
Tell us more about the why behind Wiretap.
I love TV shows. With the start of streaming, I felt connections and conversations around fandom were lost. Sure there are GIFs to share, and posts on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. But there was no immediacy except for live tweeting. And the new norm is Netflix. I wanted to help foster conversations with other fans. Build community.
TV shows are key connectors. When you’ve had an experience that someone else has had, there’s this great bonding that takes place by reliving it together. That can be one of the great moments of relationships…with friends, at a party. I was finding it exceedingly and increasingly hard to have those conversations. I needed to find my tribe.
I started Wiretap to find my tribe. And so others could share my interest and find their tribes. The immediacy that Wiretap gives by being right there as you watch, makes it uniquely able to support fans connecting with one another.
What about the name?
Wiretap is what happens around the production of a show. About tapping into conversations that are happening about things you like. Finding other people that like what you like. Being a fan. The name may sound kind of subversive, but this use of it is a takeover of the original meaning. Wiretap is about tapping into conversations and intel about a show. That’s relevant for today.
When you’re not working on Wiretap what do you do?
I’m a dad. I’m an activist for causes that I care about. I have two near-and-dear causes that I volunteer for. I work in Pelican Bay State Prison with entrepreneurial inmates that want to improve and create opportunities for when they get released. I also run a National chapter of a charity that supports over 6,000 children in Mozambique, ASEM. Those two charities motivate me to be successful to support them and, of course, support my family.