Scott Warner has built a massive social media following on a foundational love for cereal, a passion for sports and talking to himself.
“If you follow me on Twitter, I do a lot of Dodgers, cereal, family life and so on but I also love inspiration and motivation,” Warner told me in his Orem, Utah, home. “And most everything that I talk about with regard to inspiration and motivation, it’s me talking to myself, so it’s like my positive affirmations during the day that come to me, like things that I’m thinking about in that very moment. So while it may sound like I’m talking to everyone out there that follows me, I’m talking to myself.”
Nearly 348,000 people follow the idiosyncratic entrepreneurial heavy hitter on Twitter. If you saw Little Big Town last year or plan to see OneRepublic this year at Stadium of Fire, Warner, in his capacity as the CEO of Gigg, is the man you have to thank for providing an opening act opportunity to audiences across the globe. Artists who have competed in this competition include Imagine Dragons, The Strike and Ryan Innes. A UVU dropout, Warner is also involved in a number of other business ventures, his most recent being an app called BEEamicable. The project has been a dream come true for Warner as he partnered with his childhood baseball hero, former Dodger Steve Sax, in hopes of ending sexual harrassment in the workplace.
It only takes a few minutes and a few one-liners upon meeting Warner to understand why people around the world, especially those on Twitter, have found him to be a fascinating character. In response to how he feels about BYU's football season? “Painful is an understatement.” When asked about his love for cereal? “Everyone’s a cereal lover. Someone might say that they’re not, they’re liars.”
Warner’s wife, Mickell, a former BYU Cougarette, welcomes me into their home despite confessing that she had no idea I was coming with a photographer. While some may have cringed at the prospect of being photographed for a newspaper without warning, the woman who Warner jokes “had to have him” couldn’t be cooler, rounding up their children and smiling comfortably with her hair in a ponytail.
“She’s amazing. Don’t know how I pulled her off,” Warner writes later in a text message. “Luckiest man alive. Truly.”
After the family has smiled for a few photos and his children return to their after-school bowls of cereal, Warner takes us down and shows us his home office, a dimly lit room in the family’s basement, which serves as home to many of his estimated 200,000 baseball cards. Warner has collected every ticket stub from events he has attended since college, as well as all credentials, many of which are casually found hanging or sitting in his office.
Who is Scott Warner?
Warner, who describes himself as “the diehardest of hardest BYU fans,” didn’t grow up in Utah. He was born in Long Beach, California, before moving to Mesa, Arizona, with his parents and siblings when was 13. His senior year of high school, his family relocated to Provo and with the exception of his LDS mission to Nashville, he has called Utah County home ever since.
However, thanks to social media, Warner often finds friends in the form of people he has connected with on Twitter.
“Normally, anytime someone follows me on social media, we have something in common so immediately we’re friends,” Warner said. “And we talk about whatever so social media has been really, really good for me to connect with a lot of great people.”
He guesses that the majority of people who follow him on social media have an affinity for the sports teams he loves: The L.A. Dodgers, the BYU Cougars (even if he does call their last football season “trash”) or just sports fans in general. But he adds that he thinks conscious positivity and a desire to show people that “life is great” has been crucial to his success.
“People that share light will always be needed so I try,” Warner said. “While I have my hard times and I’ll talk about them through my social channels at times, I think it’s so important to share goodness because the world needs it.”
Warner is a college dropout who says “the honest truth” is that he only enrolled because he knew when he asked for Mickell’s hand in marriage, her dad would ask, “What are you doing with your life?”
“I’m an entrepreneur and I really knew that I was wasting my time in class because I knew where my strengths were, and I knew that I could immediately start attacking where I needed to with my strengths,” Warner said, later recalling the day he dropped out, “I was sitting in astronomy class and I’m like ‘I’m done.’ I stood up, walked out of class and dropped everything, but he (Mickell's father) had already given me the approval so I was good.”
Warner has long relied on a work ethic developed as a young man. As a teenager, Warner’s parents, who were overcoming a poor business investment that left them with almost nothing, expected him to pay for his own clothes, his gas and his lunch. He got up with his dad at 2 a.m. to fold newspapers and deliver them to houses. Looking back, Warner says he learned the value of hard work as well as communication skills as he was knocking doors selling newspaper subscriptions at 12 years of age.
“I actually cherish those tough times,” Warner said of his family’s financial struggles. “My mom and dad always instilled confidence in us when we were young and I think that pushing our butts out the door to make money created confidence in all of us.”
His father now considers his loss a blessing for his family as all of his children are now entrepreneurs, Warner said.
“He and my mom believe truly that that was Heavenly Father’s way of saying, ‘Hey these kids need to put their butts to work and it’s terrible that you’re going to have to lose this but your boys and girl are going to learn how to work and that will play a big role in their lives later.’”
Warner served a mission for the LDS Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where those door-to-door communication skills came in handy, but that didn’t prevent Warner from, like many young missionaries, struggling during his first months as a missionary. He credits his mission president, Henry D. Taylor Jr., a former executive at Hewlett Packard, with helping him discover he “needed to be there for my Father in Heaven and not myself.”
“I really really figured life out on my mission, and I think a lot of young men do but it was hard. … It became the greatest experience I could’ve ever had as a kid,” Warner said. “It’s such a special thing for a young man or young woman. You learn so much about yourself and most importantly, you learn who God is and who you are.”
Little did Warner know as a young missionary that his door-knocking days were far from over as he became a pioneer in security sales as vice president of Pinnacle Security. He couldn’t have known that he would one day be quoted in The New York Times about why experience as a Mormon missionary translates well to a career in sales.
“They’re used to knocking on doors, and they’re used to rejection,” Warner told The New York Times in 2009.
Years removed from his days at Pinnacle Security, Warner still says he would take a sales force of returned missionaries against any other sales organization on the face of the earth.
“Sales is sales but then there’s really good sales and people that know how to listen,” Warner said, before elaborating on the strengths of returned missionaries, “We speak different languages, we have gone out there and learned how to communicate with people.”
But what exactly does he do now?
Warner is now an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. The man behind securing the opening act and marketing the Stadium of Fire each year is the CEO and founder of Gigg Inc., a company that seeks to help businesses, artists and individuals gain exposure via social media. However, it is clear in speaking with him that first and foremost, Warner is a family man who makes his family his top priority and that feeds in everything he does. He successfully opened a restaurant with his cousin, Bam Bam’s BBQ. He helped his aunt Jill Nystul build her blog, One Good Thing by Jillie and land a lucrative book deal.
“I think he really kind of had the vision,” Nystul said of her nephew’s help with her blog, describing Warner as confident, honest, composed and never greedy. “He saw what it could be, which I really have to give him credit for because blogging at that point really was not mainstream but he saw potential in it.”
But perhaps most importantly, Warner always seeks to give his followers a peek into his family life, something that for Warner is very intentional.
He is a man who believes that people seek family values, a belief that was recently confirmed when he went to see the movie “Wonder” with his family.1 comment on this story
“I’m sitting there in the theater and I’m watching everyone sobbing. … I’m watching this family on screen fight through tough times, loving each other, supporting each other, getting through hard times, being there at happy times. It’s a husband and wife who love each other. They’ve got kids that are struggling. They’re struggling but they’re fighting through tough times and you look at everyone in the audience and they want that. They’re seeking, they crave that,” Warner said.
Warner’s hope is that via social media he can satisfy that craving and make people feel that they belong.
“I think there is so much good that can come from letting people in, letting them see, be apart of, feel apart of a family,” he said.