Shalom Life | May 10, 2014

Top 20 Under 40: Corey Herscu

Herscu is a tech expert dubbed ‘the cellular guru’, regular contributor to Global TV and CP24, and founder of the techno-focused PR agency HerscuPR

By: Daniel Koren

Published: February 26th, 2014 in Business » World

Shalom Life is proud to present our 4th annual Top 20 Under 40 list. Over the next 20 days, we will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to doctors, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Toronto home.

Top 20 Under 40: Corey Herscu

Age: 29

If you're ever up early enough, and are a fan of Global TV, chances are you've seen tech expert Corey Herscu chatting with Liza Fromer, Leslie Roberts, Kris Reyes and Rosey Edeh on the latest apps, what's trending in the high-tech industry, and most importantly, what smartphone you should buy for your technologically-inclined friend.

Or even if it's an early birthday gift for yourself.

But Herscu wasn't always a television celebrity, breaking bread on CP24, writing reviews for Rogers Connected and Future Shop, or advising clients with his recently launched HerscuPR. A self-made man, he began as an aficionado of cell phones and gadgets - operating under the moniker 'TheCellularGuru' - and eventually, people started to notice.

I caught up with Herscu at Aroma in the Annex - the last time I saw him was to find out what Father's Day gifts were trending - to discuss how he's been able to find success in such a highly competitive market, how he started out in the industry, and of course, what smartphone I should buy once I lay my iPhone 4S to rest.

Herscu, living up to his name, managed to answer all my tech-related questions with grace and aplomb.

Corey Herscu began his plight in the high-tech industry through working with one of the big three phone communications companies. Eventually, getting tired with working for a conglomerate, he packed his bags and quit, aiming to focus on a new venture, a now defunct blog called TheCellularGuru. Because he had garnered a few reputable contacts on the inside of a few notable phone makers, fans of the thriving smartphone industry began leaking information to him.

"I became a WikiLeaks of sorts," he laughs, "and my profile just exploded." He was able to bring a few writers onto the site and began blogging fulltime, while worked vigorously with many companies. One success story in particular, helping launch ContactMonkey, garnered him a lot of exposure, which lead him to his next passion project: public relations. Realizing that PR was what he wanted to do, he enrolled in a post-grad program at Ryerson (which he is now almost finished), joined forces with Canadian Reviewer, and stopped posting on TheCellularGuru, thus advancing himself as a tech expert and public relations specialist.

Herscu's next venture was into radio, appearing regularly on Toronto's Flow 93.5 as a tech expert, before he decided he wanted to do television. "I had the chutzpah that I decided, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right." He saw that Global TV did not have a tech expert, so pitched himself to the producer. The next week, he was live on the air, no previous training or experience, curating his own segments.

Since then, he's appeared regularly on Global TV and CP24, landing himself writing gigs with the former, which lead him to yet another gig: contributing to Rogers Connected Magazine.

He also contributes regularly to Future Shop.

In May of 2012, Herscu launched HerscuPR, though it officially launched in August 2013. Operating as a boutique agency, HerscuPR thrives on gaining awareness around techno-focused apps, products and services.

"The reception for HerscuPR so far has been unbelievable," he tells me over coffee. "People have taken to it, I’m enjoying it and developing a reputable name for myself. There hasn’t been a dull moment. I love the day-to-day challenges associated with building a business."

Herscu acknowledges that, though he started with cellular phones, he'd be 'pigeon holding' himself if he focused on one area only. "Tech is constantly expanding," he says, "so we [HerscuPR] cover every aspect of technology, including wearable". The 29-year-old tech aficionado was recently in Hong Kong, for Blackberry Jam Asia, where, he claims, technology is far more advanced than we are used to in Toronto. "There’s little to compare," he notes, "there is cellular surface everywhere, there’s WiFi in subways, in the streets, and there’s little things you take for granted there that we haven’t begun to realize here."

Of course, for all you reading looking for suggestions re: tech devices and trending smartphones, I had to ask what are the newest gadgets and devices he is most excited about. "Android as an ecosystem, simply seeing where Google has come from and what they’re doing with it, is astounding," he marvels. "Wearable technology, such as Google glass, Pebble Steel, the MYO [an arm band that connects to the sensors in your arm, allows you to control things with your arm] are very impressive. With the MYO, you can be on your computer, touching and controlling remote controls with your arm."

As for smartphones, Herscu currently uses a combination of the LG Nexus 5 and BlackBerry Z30, but has different phones for different functions. To our coffeeshop meeting, Herscu was armed with three phones (which apparently he walks around with regularly): the Nexus 5, the iPhone 5S, and the BlackBerry Z30.

Of course, no interview with a humble Toronto-born Jew would be complete without the obligatory reference to family and parents. It's just good breeding. "I have really, really understanding parents, and a supportive family that has helped me get where I am today. Even though this industry was lacking security at first, they've always backed me. Never offered a negative sentiment towards what I wanted."

"It's not about money," he continues, "but about having a common goal in mind, and to do something because you love it. The riches will come, but more importantly, be aware of the people around you, be a good judge of character, and maintain a positive attitude. That's the only way you'll ever get anywhere in life."

And of course, after asking what he's looking forward to this year [mind you, I was speaking from a professional standpoint] he replied, "On July 6th, I marry the love of my life. What else could I really need?"

Sweet.

Tune in tomorrow as we continue with our Top 20 Under 40 series.

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