From CoMo to CEO
Mizzou helps internet personality turn passion into career
According to industry studies, over 1.2 billion people play video games worldwide. But unlike most, who view video games, comic books and superhero movies as lighthearted entertainment, Mizzou alumnus Greg Miller gets to write about and review them online as his job. The internet personality and CEO of Kinda Funny, an online entertainment company, has more than 230,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and more than 1.3 million Twitter followers who are eager to hear his takes on the latest and greatest content in the gaming community. His followers are also likely to hear about Miller’s time at Mizzou, as he regularly talks about his love of all things Black and Gold.
Before the internet turned Miller into a gaming celebrity, he was a fourth-grader from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, who told his parents he wanted to write about video games when he grew up after reading an issue of GamePro magazine with a picture of Superman on the cover. Rather than laugh, his parents urged him to work toward his goal by encouraging him to focus on writing. Miller later became the editor-in-chief of both of his high school’s newspapers before coming to Mizzou to study journalism. The Missouri School of Journalism was the match that lit his fire for writing.
As part of the Missouri Method’s “trial by fire” philosophy, Miller covered local, regional and state stories for the Columbia Missourian newspaper. Tom Warhover, an associate professor in the journalism school and editor-in-chief of the Missourian at the time, saw a lot of potential in Miller and encouraged him to pursue his passions.
“I remember Greg as a smart, passionate and goofy kid,” Warhover said. “Like most students, he was still trying to figure out who he was and what his place was in the world, but he knew he wanted to be writing about video gaming.”
Miller took Warhover’s advice to heart and started to focus his time and energy on becoming the best writer possible. Miller quickly became known as the go-to guy around campus for both video game content and criticism.
“Being told I had something in me, that filled me with so much energy and pride and desire to do it again and again and again,” Miller said. “That’s what Mizzou is-it’s constantly refilling you and showing you, hey, this is the path you’re on for a reason.”
Miller graduated with a magazine journalism degree in 2005 before working as a reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Eventually, he convinced the newspaper staff to let him write a weekly video game column in addition to his general assignment duties. Miller got his big break when he was hired by IGN, a video game and entertainment media company in San Francisco, California, to review PlayStation video games. Now, as CEO of Kinda Funny, Miller produces podcasts and YouTube videos covering everything from video games and movies to TV shows and comic books.
Part of Miller’s success is due to his understanding of the power of digital communications. He has taken advantage of social media to connect with video game fanatics all over the world.
“The internet can help us find people who have similar interests as us. We never think to praise each other online, and that’s what the world needs right now,” Miller said. “Social media can be a force for good, and I’d like to think I empower an audience to use it that way each and every day.”
Despite living in San Francisco—one of the most beautiful cities in the world—Miller still enjoys returning to his alma mater, where he often has meet and greets with his fans and current Mizzou students at CJ’s Hot Wings in downtown Columbia.
“Mizzou is home, and I owe it everything,” Miller said. “I miss it every day. My kids are definitely going to be Tigers.”