To paraphrase either Samuel Coleridge or Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts, because it’s time for another installment of “Meet the Geeks.” This week, we’re catching up with Derek Knight, our Colorado-based Senior A/V Producer. Keep reading, to learn about how he made the jump from Quizmaster to full-timer; about which member of the Editorial Team occasionally sings during meetings; and about that assortment of microphones lined up behind him in every Zoom meeting.
How did you originally learn about Geeks Who Drink? I used to work at various ad agencies and I had a friend who was really into trivia. He got a job in Las Vegas, and I went out to see him and played a quiz — not Geeks Who Drink – and then when I came back to Colorado Springs, I noticed “Oh Jack Quinn’s has a Geeks Who Drink quiz, that should be fun.” Before I could go play, I lost my job, and the entire time I was at the quiz, I kept thinking “I’d really like to host this.” When I got laid off, my brother-in-law sent me a Craigslist ad for Geeks, who were looking for hosts at the time. I actually auditioned for our current CEO, and was hired and trained by our Editor-in-Chief. This was back before any of us were doing anything cool.
And you still work as a Quizmaster, right? Yeah, I’ve hosted for almost 14 years now.
How did you make the jump from becoming a Quizmaster to making this your full-time job? For a couple of years when I was unemployed, I kept bugging Geeks Who Drink co-founder, John Dicker, like “Hey, do you have any full-time work?” He kept saying no, but then they were looking for a marketing director. I applied for that and didn’t get it. Eventually he contacted me and said “We could bring you on part-time and then full-time later.” I was actually DJ-ing a wedding when he texted and said he could bring me on full-time the next month. I was like “Can we wait two weeks?” because I had a big vacation planned at the job I’d decided to quit, and I didn’t want them to take the vacation away. So that was it, and I’ve been here since 2017.
What’s your current role here? I do and have done a lot of things. My job title on my email signature is Chevalier de Tous Les Métiers which translates to “Knight of All Trades.” My official title is Senior A/V Producer, so I create content, I quality-control all of the audio and visual content, and do other projects as assigned, which sometimes means going to different cities and recording video, or doing marketing videos. If it has something to do with design or video, I probably do it. I’ve also written over 1,000 [trivia] rounds over the course of my time with Geeks. It’s honestly hard for me to pin down what my job is when people ask “What do you do?” I just try not to get noticed.
In your opinion, what sets Geeks apart, or makes us different from the other trivia companies that are out there? It’s quality. The slogan “Always hare-brained, never half-assed” is true. We give a shit, and our content is better because of it: we try very hard not to go up Main Street or to do the obvious thing, and we get it right most of the time. I believe that our format is superior to most trivia formats. We also seem to attract the right kind of quizzers – it’s that stupid Goldilocks thing, where they find our stuff just right. It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s funny, it’s snarky, and it’s never boring.
What do you enjoy the most about working here? I grew up in a very competitive family where it was cool to know things. We’ve been playing trivia and creating our own trivia games since I was a small child, so to get to work for a trivia company… it sounds stupid, but it’s like the culmination of my life’s experience. But I think what I like most about it is the fact that no one is alone. We’re all part of a team, and I actually look forward to the morning [Editorial] meeting. Sometimes on Fridays [when we don’t meet], I think “Ahh, I don’t get to hear Lea sing ‘Fraggle Rock’ or listen to Diana get mad at us.” I enjoy the people I work with, which for somebody like me who has a long history of not enjoying the people I work with, that’s saying something.
So whether as a Quizmaster, a writer, or a participant in all of those morning read-throughs, what’s the fact or random bit of information that you’ve learned that you’ll never forget? I learn new stuff every day and it’s all kind of filed away. I think the thing I’ll carry with me is that if I hear the phrase “Inexorable space horror,” I’m going to shout “Black hole!” before that is finished.
Finally, I think a lot of people may know that you collect microphones. How did that collection get started? That’s funny, because the microphone collections are like three collections behind [what I’m currently collecting]! I get hyper-fixated on something and I’ll go bonkers for it. It’ll burn hot, I’ll get everything that I want, and then I’ll move on to something else. But the microphones are very visible, and I use them every day. I have about 50 of them, and my live quiz mic is a 73-year-old Electro-Voice. I’ve refurbished some and sold some, but I still have a pretty damn good vintage microphone collection.
You said the mics were three collections ago, so what’s the current thing that you’re into? I’m not going to say, because it’s not nearly as socially acceptable as microphones.