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  • Writer's pictureChris Bloomquist

Our Story: Rock & Roll and a COVID Road Trip

So, you’ve taken an odd turn on the information superhighway, and found our origin story. This is for the 3% of you who are genuinely interested in our values and humble beginnings. (Note: roughly 93.7% all statistics are made up on the spot).

Afraid of Figs??

Before The Talent Mine was reality or a dream, Todd & Chris, and our bandmates in “Afraid of Figs” were delighting (and/or terrorizing) the Seattle music scene with our so-called brand of music, “Geek Rock.” Todd on vocals, Chris on sax and vocal harmonies. In fact, there’s evidence of our exploits here.

This 5-year rock and roll journey would lay the foundation for the most important aspect of The Talent Mine; our ability to enjoy (tolerate?) working with one another. Todd was always the brains of the operation (literally the ops guru/band manager/lyricist) and Chris, always Mr. Energy, was the hype man, working the crowd to make people smile and have fun. Todd refers to Chris as “aggressively friendly” (in all aspects of life). Afraid Of Figs played over 150 shows, including the top clubs in Seattle (Showbox, Crocodile, Neumos) and too many festivals to count (perhaps you stumbled upon us at one). This collaboration turned into a brotherly love/friendship where laughter, brutal honesty, a hard work ethic and mutual respect would lay the future plans of a mission driven, values and lifestyle based recruiting firm.

Afraid of Figs band photo
Obligatory Rock Star Photoshoot

Afraid of Figs band, two singers
Chris trying to steal the mic, as always.

Afraid of Figs band, singing
Are we singing or fighting? Who can tell.

Ongoing Friendship

After the band, Todd and Chris’ friendship remained strong as we continued our fairly successful recruiting and sales/marketing/promotions careers. Chris strove to redefine technical recruiting based on his values of melding engineering expertise with personalized care, and his genuineness and work ethic lead to larger roles in local recruiting firms (including leading a startup firm to the Inc500).

Inc 5000
Not awkward photo at the Inc. 5000

Todd worked his tail off to be a top sales/marketing professional, both in the sports and entertainment fields. He had the excitement of working with top athletes (Kobe Bryant, Gordie Howe, Joe Montana, Ken Griffey Jr., and hundreds more) and in his “off time” hosted a singer/songwriter podcast interviewing the likes of Alan Parsons, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), and Kate Pearson (B-52s).

Todd Goldenberg and Kobe Bryant
Todd with Kobe Bryant
Todd Goldenberg and Joe Montana
Todd with Joe Montana

Through vulnerable conversations, they found that neither were enjoying their journeys quite as much as running full speed towards imagined destinations.

..and then, COVID happened (The Road Trip)

Simultaneously, both Todd & Chris experienced abrupt halts to their careers. Companies stopped hiring, sports teams stopped playing, and businesses evaporated overnight.

Through our shared ambition (and shared stress) we made sure to check in on each other (and our families) via Zoom meetings, mostly. We shared our commonalities of feeling bored, a bit depressed and wondering “what's next?”.

Todd, ever the planner and instigator, floated the idea of taking a road trip, to shake things up and have a bit of fun. Chris’ wife supported the idea, watched the Bloomquist kids, and Boise was chosen, on a whim, as a good drive-to destination. The plan was liquid; see the city, explore some sights, and forget that a global pandemic was weighing down on us both. (We wore masks of course, and carried hand sanitizer by the gallon).

Two masked men in the street
Chris and Todd, masked and ready for a Boise adventure!

It's a road trip - we're freeee!

While reminiscing on our musician days, the questions arose:

  1. “Why haven’t we ever worked together?”

  2. “COULD we work together?”, and

  3. “Would we kill one another?”

After all, we shared the same values, work ethics, competitive spirits and desires to serve others and work hard if we could have fun doing whatever we chose (after all – work is 1/3 of our waking hours, so why not enjoy what you do?).

Todd asked questions about tech recruiting, Chris learned more about the nuances of creating a business from scratch. It became clear that Chris still had passion for his career, and Todd, feeling he’d done all he could in his and ever the supportive friend, agreed to help Chris start his business (and then bow out once it was rolling).

Chris had other hopes.

While Chris had great confidence that his network, expertise in the field and passion for delivering a uniquely candidate-centric recruiting experience were all feasible, he also knew that he didn’t want to do it alone. He’d need a wingman, someone who had his back, would call him on his crazy ideas, and make a business run operationally sound.

The moment was right to create a balanced partnership with friendship first, and business goals second. Fortunately, these values have remained intact, and have helped forge what is now The Talent Mine.

Present Day Mission and our “why”

For any disciples of Simon Sinek, knowing your “why” can be a great foundation, both professionally and personally. It’s a game plan, a mindset, a way to start the day and end the week with purpose and clarity.

For Todd and Chris, this is what drives TTM and our behaviors.

  • We lead with great lifestyle, offering each other breaks to explore the world, our hobbies, and be present to our friends and families.

  • We offer our team members flexible schedules, we embody our values to hold our clients, and ourselves accountable in building trusted relationships.

  • We center our work in community service, helping the unemployed find meaning and inspiration in their lives.

Our “why” shines through in every virtual happy hour, every team building escapade, every client conversation, every candidate check in, and in how we continue to check in on one another’s’ wellness and joy meters.

team bbq
The Talent Mine enjoying a team BBQ (the food was still cooking).

We feel grateful for what we’ve created and sustained. We feel confident that by leading with our values and passions, the right folks will find us here on this vast freeway of ideas. And, all kidding aside, if you’ve read this far, we don’t think you landed here accidentally, or by taking a wrong turn. We thank you for reading!

Here’s to continuing our rock & roll recruiting journey! You are now unofficially a Talent Miner. Make sure to keep us up to date on what YOU are up to.

All our love and respect,

Founding Partners of The Talent Mine


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