When you think of TikTok, what words come to mind? Memes? Dance moves? Jokes? Business News?
If that last option sounds surprising, perhaps it shouldn’t. 18-year-old MMS alum Campbell Baron has amassed more than 100,000 followers on his TikTok, where he primarily posts videos centered on unique stories about startups, entrepreneurs, and other tales of the business world.
“You don’t stand out by doing what everyone else is doing,” said Baron. “I just generally love business, talking about it, and sharing it. But [growing the audience] was not something that happened overnight. I just tried and took the Silicon Valley tech approach to build, launch, and iterate, and applied that to media. When you do that right, you can strike a chord. When you make it engaging, that’s what happened in this situation.”
Baron says he now gets DMs from kids that he inspired them to start a business, thus passing down a love of entrepreneurship that he has been nourishing for years. In addition to the TikToks, Baron has spent the past few years hosting an interview podcast, The Ones Who Succeed, where he has conversations with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. He cites his interview with Alex Blumberg, founder and CEO of Gimlet Media, as his favorite interview.
“He was the one that inspired me with his podcast, Start Up,” said Baron. “It Inspired me to think of business and media as one.”
Baron attended MMS from kindergarten through third grade before his parents moved back home to Toronto, where Baron attended various public and private schools. Ultimately, he wound up at an alternative high school, where he felt the more relaxed attitude towards scholastic achievement provided the time and space he needed to focus on his other interests.
“The alternative high school I attended was all project-based,” Baron explained. “We got what we needed to get done in class, and with time freed up because I wasn’t doing homework after school, I could double up on my course credits and graduate a year early.”
While Baron’s creative pursuits took off during high school, he says that he owes a lot to his early years at MMS for planting the seeds of that creativity.
“I really like the Montessori approach and independent learning approach,” he said. “When I came back to Toronto – we were doing field trips to the zoo or whatever. But I remember doing an MMS field trip to the United Nations. What kid gets to say that? I don’t have plans to work in government, but there’s no better field trip in the world than to go to the UN.”