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Forget Tom Cruise! Englander CEO Mark Kinsley is the Real Maverick

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Each season of Just Stories has a different eight-episode theme. The show kicks off with “Recycled Dreams,” featuring eight CEOs who have woven giving back into their business strategies.

These episodes will give you a blueprint for doing the same in the most efficient way possible, which is making their learnings your reality.

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Solutions to problems tackled on this episode:

1. Hidden depression & anxiety in successful people, and how to overcome it!

2. How marketing failures can be your largest learning lessons

3. How to use social platforms to give back

Mark Kinsley is a CEO, and a Podcast Host, a successful one at that, so it was fun to be able to turn the tables and ask him some questions for once! What I loved about this episode is that although we highlighted giving back and why he dedicated 5 years of his life to give away free content to his competitors, the take away for me was how he overcame his crippling anxiety and depression. Just Stories is truly that, and while Mark talks about elephant dumps in one story he also pulls the curtain back to give us some amazing truths behind the struggles of many successful people have and how he overcame them! I was truly motivated after this episode and I know you will be too!

Season 1 of the podcast is titled “Recycled Dreams” because each episode focuses on CEO’s who have utilized giving back as part of their main business strategy.  The purpose is to use the art of story telling to motivate our business communities into giving back more because when you do, everybody wins!

Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and never miss an episode.

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Full Transcription:

Brett Thornton: All right. Well, welcome back to another episode of The just stories. BT podcast today is a very special episode, we’re continuing on with our recycled dream series where we talk to CEOs, entrepreneurs, businesses, who have done a lot of giving back as a way to, you know, a something that they love to do, but also be something that kind of catapulted them into ultimate success and so today’s guest is very special, because if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be doing this podcast. So today I have Mark Kinsley so thank you and welcome so much.

Mark Kinsley: Great to be here, BT on just stories. I am honored. I’m excited to be here. 

Brett Thornton: Yes, you’re really cool day. So before we get into it, obviously, this podcast is based around stories getting to know you the person behind the CEO of England or the person behind the best-selling amazon author of come back to bed and so we’ll get into some stories. We’ll get into talking about giving back. But first, a lot of people listening to this will know you somewhat, but they’re used to you asking questions, you know, so you are a host of a very successful podcast and you ask lots of questions. But the questions don’t normally come back at you. So that’ll be fun today. But I do know this you and your partner, Mark, we love to talk and so I couldn’t just let you introduce yourself because I was afraid. You may just start rambling and I don’t know how long you’re gonna introduce yourself. So, I’m going to do it for you. Sound good? So, thanks. 

Mark Kinsley: Sounds good, and the odds are really good. That’s what happened. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah, so think aseman Shira, when he goes looking for raping when he gets to his house, he walks up and opens the door and he’s like, I’m looking for rape vehicle and the guy points the gun at him, you know, and he’s like, kind of clean power pain and then he goes and says all stuff. That’s what I’m gonna do. So that way I can introduce you in a minute or so sound good. Here we go. So for everyone out there, this is Mark Kinsey. Okay, so you were born in Joplin, Missouri. But you didn’t grow up there. You grew up in Riverton, Kansas, which has one stoplight making a very small town so you’re probably maybe the most famous person from all time out of Riverton, Kansas, you have an older brother, you have two step siblings and older brother and an older sister. Your first job was baling hay, which I’ve never done, honestly. But your second job I have done which was picking up golf balls at a range. And you did admit that the awesome and the more important part of that job was ripping car and driving the golf cart. I’m assuming you put the governor out to go super-fast. That’s what I did. You grew up playing a ton of basketball. You were great. You went to Missouri Southern State University where you got your degree then you went to Pittsburg State University for your MBA that led you into a career of this amazing career path right in 2016 met Eric Kingsley, you’ve now been married for 15 years. Congrats. You got into marketing you weren’t just right into the sleep industry and so one of your big gigs in marketing was hooking up with Leggett and Platt, where you met Mark when maybe you met him before but you guys worked on a massive project there which was launching hybrid mattresses. It was an ad campaign, it was not just the like, watch this whole category that would be a billion-dollar category, which is unbelievable. But even better, you launched the greatest mattress industry hip hop video of all time, which I will put at the end of this for anyone who hasn’t heard. 2014 was a massive year for you because one you went to work for Leggett who you launch those Marcos podcasts. So we’ll talk about that in 2019 you left like in plot to become the president of human or mattress and later the president and CEO and then in 2021, you launched the fame, which is absolutely amazing. So how did I do?

Mark Kinsley: That was amazing. There was only one part I think that I left out that that would add a little bit of flavor to it, which was early in my career. When I was 19 one of my first jobs kind of out of college in between now in college was classic rock over and IDJ so classic rock big rock 97.9 your rock when the maverick in the am it is 32 and Alba looking at 64 and Joplin. Why the disparate temperatures who knows the world could be collapsing on us but more classic rock anegada DaVita coming up and that’s what I would play. I would play anegada defeated by iron butterfly cuz it was 17 minutes long and I can once again go out and rip six.

Brett Thornton: Did you hold on? let’s backtrack for one second because I thought I heard in there real quick that you said coming to you. Is this the maverick Was that your like name you say something about Maverick?

Mark Kinsley: When you’re the midnight to 5am guy, you do not use your real name. And the backstory to the maverick is when we were in fifth grade. There’s a place called the flip shop and we would go to the flip shop and it was tumbling and trampolines and all that. But me my friends decided to make wrestling videos and so you know, going off the top rubs, breaking tables, all kinds of fun wrestling moves and so everybody had to have a character name. I mean my buddies came up with I was the maverick and so the maverick extended from early days wrestling videos at the flip shop to overnight classic rock DJ where you don’t want to use your real name, because it gets pretty interesting people calling. Yeah, like really nice people, but also some that are really weird and I was basically broadcasting from the middle of a field outside of Joplin, Missouri with a giant tower with the red light and people like I’m pretty sure that’s where the radio station is. Well, the first the first night, though, here’s the little sidebar on it. The first night I come in to the radio station. The guy that was there is a crusty old DJ. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah.

Mark Kinsley: And he was the seven to midnight guy and he said, how’s your voice? and I’m like, I don’t know. He goes, we need to smooth it out a little bit. So he goes, do you drink coffee, I’m like, Well, I have, he goes here and he opens up his shirt pocket and he pulls out some cigarettes. So use here, smoke these in between your stop sets, and drink coffee all night and it’ll smooth out your voice. So I’m over there, rapid cigarettes and drinking coffee in between every stop set and you can imagine my health deteriorated pretty quickly after that.

Brett Thornton: You look like a nine-year-old person in like six months of working the night shift as a DBA. That is awesome. So I can pretty much guarantee you that I may only refer to you as an average from here on out. So just an FYI, that’s happening, for sure.

Mark Kinsley: But we’ll just be like we’re all best friend’s perfect.

 Brett Thornton: So let me ask you this. So I want to get into just learning a little bit more about you and like I said, I want to do it through stories. I love stories just only till now love it. My favorite part of talking to anybody just hearing their history through stories and experiences. So as you look back to your career, what is like one or two of the funniest things that have ever happened.

Mark Kinsley: One of the funniest things that ever happened was while I was at Leggett first I worked with Mark Quinn, who’s my co-host, and that’s where we started the DOS Marcos podcast and Mark Quinn eventually left and he started speaking co which is you know, the farm to bedroom brand he brought over from England. And so when Quinn less, I took over his role, heading up marketing for that division at Leggett. And we had a product called somni gel and anybody that’s in the Masters business knows exactly what this is. It’s purple, like the purple gel, we licensed from the founders of that company, Tony and Terry Pierce, and it was blue, because you could die at any color you wanted and it was called somni gel and we had the production capacity in this equipment in this cool component that nobody could figure out how to sell. And by the way, I’m gonna ruin the end of the story for you. Nobody figured out how to sell it until purple didn’t

Brett Thornton: Really because I never heard some 

Mark Kinsley: Somni gel. So by the way, if you got a somni gell.com, you can get proof of this story I’m about to tell so and IGEL. So we were trying to figure out how to sell this product somni gel. And I went out and I talked to retailers. And they were saying, you know, some people had Florida, they were actually it was in the market as a finished mattress. And they were saying we can’t quite figure out how to position this whenever the customer is we’re taking them around our sales presentation. And we’re showing them foam or we’re showing them hybrids, and we’re showing them an inner spring or whatever it might be. We just can’t quite figure out how to position I go well tell me about the product. Like what do you say about it? What’s different about it, and overwhelmingly they were focused on durability. I mean, you could stretch this stuff to like 20 times its resting state, and you can roll you know, rollators over the top of it and this stuff would not break down. And it’s really cool to because you talk in 22% contact surface. So the majority of this is open air. So I’m like durability. So this is echoing in my head for a long time. We’ll focus on durability, like let’s just add fuel to that messaging fire. And so I was like what is a universal symbol of heaviness? That’s also something that would play well on camera. Elephants, 

Brett Thornton: So personally.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, so I worked with an assistant named Vicki who was amazing. And I said, Vicki, I need you to help me find some elephants. And she’s like, this is the strangest request I’ve ever had. But she did it and there was a guy about an hour away that had these educational elephants they used to be part of the circus and circuses have shut down. And so they do like kids programming and things like this. I’m like perfect. Can he bring them down? So I go up and meet the guy and check it all out? He says Sure. Here’s how much it is to hire an elephant. We set it up and we’re going to do it at like an appliance testing lab. And the guy that was running it at the time was like, no, we’re not going to do that in case the elephants, you know, release what elephants release all over the floor. Yeah. And so I ran it up the flagpole even further. And I was like, Look, this is really important. Like, we need to have these elephants. And so I finally got it got the green light. So we get it all set up. And we have production crews, we’re gonna make this video, the elephants do all kinds of fun stuff with salmon and gel stepping on it. And, you know, just showing that it can be resilient, even with all of this weight on top of it. And so the guy shows up to the Leggett and Platt testing center with this giant semi with the elephant in it. And he pulls me aside. He says, Hey, I brought an extra elephant. I said, you can charge me anymore? He said no. And I’m like two for the price point he goes, Well, the reason I brought her is because the other one will behave if the other elephants here. I was like, so there’s a behavior issue. There’s only one elephant, but you give me two elephants and everything’s gonna go fine. Well, he unloads him and you’re talking like there’s not a horse for elephants, they just start walking into the building, trunk and tail, walking into the building, walking like hundreds of yards past all this machinery and innerspring making equipment and testing facilities up to this main area where we have the rollators and the Cornell machine and all the pressure mapping and testing and stuff like that. And here they are. And people are just lined up with cameras out and some people call their kids from school, I didn’t even know how many people actually work there until I saw them, just creating this like fan tunnel for the elephants that were coming in. And so they get in there, and they just they said, make sure you have some apples on hand. So I had somebody go to the store and get some apples at a time, you know, a big bag giant bag. So they plow through that bag of apples and about 10 minutes. Some like Susan, head of the store, we need more apples. So elephants are in there. And he had told me ahead of time, he’s like, yeah, once they start, you know, doing their educational stuff. They, you know, they they’re kind of like house trained. And I was like, okay, cool, this is gonna be fine. But they still brought in a giant bucket and shovels and all this like sawdust. It’s about 30 minutes in, we’re trying to get all these shots. And they were like standing on the side of the gel, and it was recovering. And it’s all just going beautifully. And then the elephants just started taking elephant sized dumps all over the place. And the guy that had the elephants, his girlfriend, she had these high heels on and she’s like, running around like jab, stepping up to the back of this elephant with giant shovels catching it as it’s falling out and trying to put in the bucket. I’ve got a mop bucket out and I’m cleaning it up to pee that’s everywhere. And that was pretty much the extent of the day. And luckily, the elephants I mean, there are people standing behind the elephants, and they would break wind and like it was the real deal. And then at one point, I remember you had us like standing around in front of the elephants. And they make a sound that’s almost like other worldly. And it sounds just like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park. And there’s a reason why. Because they sampled it from an elephant. And it’s this little eye blue. And they start doing that and I literally was running before my brain could say stop, you’re safe. So elephants gave us a day full of janitorial service practice and good times. And on the backside of a we made this amazing video and all kinds of content around it and created a campaign to promote somni gel and we definitely raised awareness but like I said, nobody figured out how to sell it until purple did because to get it to go from component supplier to manufacturer to retailer to consumer was a lot of game of telephone, and you lost the message and it just didn’t work. So when purple and Tony Terry Pearson, that whole group went direct to consumer they were able to communicate clearly and directly and obviously they created some of the most groundbreaking marketing this industry seen in a decade. And that’s my story.

Brett Thornton:  Purple is listening to this now bring back the oil. They know it works and proven to work. You know it’s going to recover. They should bring it back that would be on the that’s the degree get back   { IN AUDIBLE}[14:20}

 purple. Come on. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah, no, bring it back. Um, all right. So let’s shift gears a bit so that you know set the tempo a little bit. Let’s just get to know you a little bit but what I wanted you you’ve had this phenomenal career and a lot of success stories, a lot of highs. But I’m sure there’s also been a lot of lows right in. I’d love to hear about you know, a time when you know you really struggled or you fail or you had something that you really had to overcome? And how did you end up doing?

Mark Kinsley: I knew this question was coming. And so I thought a lot about it. And for me, there was an undercurrent that was sabotaging my life. And, and when I fixed that everything changed. Everything changed, changed my entire life, saved my life potentially. And that undercurrent was I faced, I didn’t even know I was pretty significantly depressed. And, but I thought I had like health issues. And so I was trying to fix all these health issues that didn’t exist. Because what I really had was anger issues. And that were creating this wet blanket, called anxiety, or depression or whatever you want to call it. That wet blanket was holding down my real emotions. And those real emotions of sadness and fear, don’t rise up to the surface, you can’t feel joy and happiness. And so I was just numb. And this really does kind of, you know, relate back to our industry. But you know, that the long story or the longer piece of the story is, you know, when I was eight years old, my father left, but my parents never got divorced. And he lived about four and a half hours away. He worked for the railroad, and he had to continue his job so he could get his pension and he didn’t have any until he was 40. And so he was an older dad, already, people growing up, always thought he was my grandpa. And so my parents almost put us into this purgatory. They weren’t married, but they weren’t divorced. You know, they loved each other, but they didn’t love each other. And from that time, all the way through into my 30s, I had so much anger toward them. And I always thought that it was something that they would have to come to me and admit they did something wrong, and then it will be fixed. And that wasn’t the case. And so I was in Chicago, and I was up at I was up visiting a lava, and sons. And anybody in industry might know Adam lava and Mason Hallett was there at the time and they have a big cut and sew operation zipper covers. They make you know, they do finish mattresses now and things like that. And I was up there in Chicago to visit them. And I just remember being in their office waiting on Adam to come out. And I just started having this panic attack for no reason, like no known reason. And it got worse and worse and worse throughout the day. So I go and try to, you know, drink it away. And wasn’t working until I just had this torturous night. And finally, I was able to go back to my hotel room, go to sleep, woke up the next day, Twitter had a notification. And the notification on Twitter was Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in France. And I remember thinking to myself, if Anthony Bourdain is going to kill himself, where am I gonna end up? Because he had this life that I saw is incredible and amazing. He had a great personality. He had seemingly lots of friends that loved him. He had this TV show where he travelled around the world, and got to interview people and have all these cultural experiences a dream job for some people.

 Brett Thornton: Yeah. 

Mark Kinsley: Socially. As you know, I was a young journalist, you know, after that classic rock DJ stent. I spent seven years in media where I was a weekend anchor, and on television, and then I did a daily talk radio show for four years. That was like my first real, those are my first real, real jobs. So I thought, if Bourdain, you know, has checked out in this fashion. Where’s that going to leave me because I saw myself as an adventurous person. And when I was pursuing adventures in a while, when I was living out that lifestyle, I felt great. I didn’t have all this junk, these barnacles holding down the ship. And so I’ve always used adventure and athletics and all these different things to kind of medicate myself in a way. And I was like, I’m, this is bad. This is really bad and I realized, I think for the first time that it wasn’t anything medical. So I flew home. My wife and I were talking about Bourdain, because we both loved Bourdain, and it shows and she confronted me with a question. She said, Have you ever thought about killing yourself? And I’m like, nope, that I sure want to die a lot of times. She’s like, that’s not normal. That’s, not normal, you need to go see somebody. And so finally, after all these years, year, decades, I’m like, I’m going to confront this, because what I’ve been doing isn’t working. And I don’t want to talk to somebody about anything I have going on, I just didn’t want to, but I’m like, I’m willing to do something different than what I’ve been doing. Because it is the definition of insanity if you keep doing the same things over and over, and it’s not changing anything. And I knew in my heart of hearts, I’m like, this is not an issue where I need to take pill It just wasn’t like I knew deep down like I was an effervescent, fun loving person. But I was just struggling with something that was an undercurrent that was always there, and would rear its ugly head, and he’s just demonic ways. And so I decided, you know, I had a friend who was a therapist, and said, follow me recommendation, I’m going all in so I did. And, you know, I’m the type of guy that wants to achieve, I want to solve problems. And so when I went all in, it was expensive. And I did it. Full Tilt. I’m not talking like I was going once a month or anything like that, I was going to three times a week to my therapist, and, you know, I would come back home and my wife would say, Well, how was it? I was like, it was awful. She’s like, oh, maybe it’s not working. I’m like, No, I’m pretty sure that whenever you open up Pandora’s box of your life, and confront those things, it’s not going to be fun times, it’s not, you know, you’re going out running 20 miles training for a marathon not you’re not gonna come back and be like, that was awesome. Let’s do that again, right now. But I can front of these things head on. And I had all these, you know, anger issues toward my family. And, you know, realizing that you have to confront those emotions and bring them to the surface. And here’s the deal, dude, I didn’t even really know how to feel. This was like, I was a toddler, learning how to be emotional again, for the first time in my life. And it was working really hard. And then when you’re not sitting in that room, talking to another man who’s asking you tough questions, and really trying to get you to have a breakthrough, you’re out in the real world having to say, Oh, my gosh, I feel an emotion, don’t stuff it down, go ahead and feel it cry, get sad, get scared, whatever it might be. And then the second half of it well, now you got to figure out what is real freedom. And whenever I got to a place where I was like, this is amazing, like, I’m a human being, again, I felt like a human being for the first time in decades. And then the real sense of freedom or the place of freedom is forgiveness. So I spent months and months and months, truly getting to a place of forgiveness. And it just, it’s all about empathy. And we can say that out loud. But when I sat there, and I had to walk through what was it like to be my parents? You know, both of them had been previously divorced in the 70s. When that wasn’t normal, what was it like for them to, have to navigate my dad having children, my mom not having children, her having had a divorce, and then splitting up, you know, when I was eight, but not getting divorced and losing all their friends, because everybody wanted couple friends, when you start walking in somebody else’s shoes and truly do that. Like, wow, this is this is this was tough for them. And so I share that story, because that changed my entire life. Because everything that’s happened since then, has just been filled with joy and happiness. And I and I held my breath for a couple of years. And I didn’t tell anybody what happened. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah, 

Mark Kinsley: Years, I held my breath for a couple of years because I’m like, surely this isn’t real. What if it comes back? But I trained I built up that muscle and I confronted those things I had to confront and I continue to work in on being an emotional person, because that makes us divinely human. It makes us so human. And then once that happened, I realized how many people are carrying around very similar issues, and I can see it in people now. It breaks my heart. And I just want to say to anyone, some of those fingers, you haven’t, they’re not normal. Otherwise, there’d be a line out the guy’s door that I want to see. They’re not normal, and you have to confront it. By confronting it with another human being, I tried it all, we are human, we are made to connect, and we are made to help each other. And sometimes your wife, or your husband, your boyfriend, girlfriend, they’re not your therapist. They’re not there to do that job. And we, I think, have over indexed a lot on, you know, people in those relationships being our everything. They’re not like, we need a community of people to help us with these things. And once that changed my whole life change, and my marriage changed my interactions with my friends and my family changed, I was able to, you know, eventually share that story with my folks, which was incredibly freeing, but without the expectation that they were going to do anything differently. Because I didn’t need that. So it’s been a, it was a long slog, it was a tough journey. And it’s, it’s even tough to talk about today. But I know, especially on the heels of COVID, and the pandemic and the shutdown, people are suffering, mentally, there’s a way to get out of this, and you got to confront it with another human being, and let them help you let a pro get in there and do the work. And it, there’s shame associated with that. And it’s scary. But it’s so worth it. And you could change your life if you had a similar situation. And also, you know, if you’re not in a spot where things have gotten really bad, just keeping that muscle built up by being emotional and being vulnerable, and just trying to be there for each other. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah. And that is, I think the timing of your story is, is really spot on right now. Because, I truly believe just in the interactions I have with friends and colleagues. And, you know, I think there’s more people than ever, you know, based on the last year, where we’ve been going through or who are feeling these types of feelings, you know, and it’s like, and I think people feel trapped in the fact that you can’t even get out and see a therapist in person right now makes it even harder, you know, and so, I really appreciate you being honest and transparent. And I hope that, you know, people listening, understand that, you know, like, Hey, you know, here’s somebody that, you know, on the outside, during all those years look like you probably had it all together, you know, and I think that’s one of the things that happens a lot, you know, you see these celebrities or these athletes, you know, that will go through struggles, it’s like, oh, my gosh, it looks amazing, or whatever. But at the end of the day, you know, you never know what’s going on inside of someone’s body, what they’re struggling with and what they’re doing. And so I think to normalize, you know, therapy is something that like, as a society, we just have to get beyond, you know.

Mark Kinsley; Yeah, it shouldn’t have a stigma associated with it. Because, man, I don’t care, because my life is amazing. Now, I mean, if I would have been in the state of mind, I was in having gone through this past year of, you know, being virtually isolated, you know, I would have been in a really, really bad place. And I know that, but truthfully, this past year has been fine, because I’m able to accept things for how they are when, I get pissed when I’m angry, and scared and sad, and all that other stuff. And then it just works. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing to process things and, and work through them. And I think you’re right, I think we do need to normalize that because yeah, okay, call it a business coach. And everything’s fine. You know, you suck at business. So you had to hire a business coach, we don’t say that. We say you hire a business, school shooting getting better, or a life coach so you can get better. And there are things that we all have to work on. But it really does take those moments of recognition to realize what are those things? And then that to have the bravery to go and to go and do it. Is it that part alone is that’s probably the hardest part.

Brett Thornton: Yeah.

Mark Kinsley: And look, I want to say like, your suffering is real. If you’re suffering at all, even if it’s minor. We I think a lot of times try to compare our suffering to other people’s. And you know, in Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl talked about this. I mean, he was seeing people dragged out of the room in which he was confined, and there was a step. And when they were dragged out early on, he would watch their heads bounce against each step. And it brought him great pain. And then over time, he ignored it. And he talks about our suffering being our own. His suffering was to a very high degree, you know, he was in this containment camp. The Nazis were holding him captive, he was seeing people dragged out in their heads bouncing steps. He was suffering. But he says, just because you’re suffering is minor doesn’t mean it’s not real. So don’t compare your suffering to somebody else’s. Because if it’s real, if it’s actually happening, you can’t just snap your fingers and take it away, because you compare it to somebody else’s suffering, who’s greater is really happening to you. And you got to admit that and take steps, you know, we always say action reveals the answers.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, absolutely. So I know that, you know, that. Overcoming that, in dealing with that, for all those years was obviously a personal and emotional you know, thing that you overcame? But can you think about one time like one incident in your career that you know, a story of a time or something that happened and you really were like, you know, what, like, this moment defined my future success, like this kind of made me look and go like, Oh, my gosh, like, things are starting to work for me.

Mark Kinsley: So back in 2011, a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, wiped out about a third of the town, instead of about 50,000 people killed 161 people, three times the amount of debris as what fell when the Twin Towers were hit, during 911 was hauled out of Joplin, it was a massive 27th worst tornado in human history. And after that, it changed, changed everybody’s lives, you know, we, we were on the peripheral of it, we didn’t lose our house, lots of friends did, and lots of friends that, you know, that we knew lost their lives. And, you know, we banded together and we realized that, you know, there were lots of resources coming into the community. But you know, FEMA calls donations, the second disaster, because a lot of times, people clean out their closets and give water bottles and all this different stuff. And they haul them into these communities. And the needs and the resources don’t get connected.

And so we we had a group of people, like young leaders in the community that got together and we started something called rebuild Jacqueline, which was technology and volunteer driven. And, and we were connecting needs or resources. And, you know, we ended up making national news, we end up getting funded by the United Way a bunch of money was raised in, you know, in parts of the state in any way.

You know, that, on the backside of that I went to, you know, I was one of the founding members of regal Joplin, then I left my job at an agency and went to work for retail jobs and full time. And on the backside of that it was pretty much a six month gig, and then I was going to be unemployed. But it was a it was a leap of faith. And that really did change the trajectory of my life. Because on the backside of that, I ended up going to work for another agency to handle a client in an account called Leggett and Platt, my client was Mark went okay, and had I not, you know, taken a very scary leap to go work for rebuild Joplin.

I would never be where I’m at today. And our goal for the whole time was real Joplin needs to shut down as soon as possible because we want to rebuild the community. We don’t want to be an enduring nonprofit. And we, we ended up rebuilding or repairing 180 homes. And I remember being the emcee for that and saying, it’s pretty, pretty cool that we did 180 homes because 180 is a turnaround is incredible. I love that. And it’s a perfect segue, right? Because you mentioned mark, when who’s you know, the other part of dos Marcos on your guys’s podcast, and, and so that launched in 2014. Right. So that launches, and you know, when you guys started, like, what, what was the dream? What was the vision? What was it just, let’s do this thing? Or was there like, actually, hey, we think we could make this into this huge thing one day?

Well, we did not think we would make it in anything huge at all. We thought I had a radio background. I knew how to produce a show. And we were trying to have a voice with retailers. We were trying to have a better connection to our industry. And you know, the only way to do that was through some of the old school trade media and things like that. We’re like, no, let’s form a community. And so we started something called sleep geek. And sleep geek was like this little kind of media platform for retail sales associates where they could do training and things like that, and we always needed content. And I told him when I go man, let’s do a podcast about the mattress industry. And he’s like, nobody’s gonna listen to

I was like, give it six episodes, let’s just do an experiment, let’s just try it out. As a podcasting is the medium of the modern age, people can do it while they’re doing other things like driving or working out or cleaning house. So it’s a great medium, and it’s very one on one and intimate. Like, we don’t listen to the radio or podcasts and groups, we listen one on one. So you develop a real relationship with people. And that’s what’s happened through our podcasts like people know me.

And they know about my life. And it makes meeting them in person just absolutely magnificent, because we already have some things in common. So we, we did it as a way to serve retailers, retail sales associates, and try to quarterback some of these ideas and curate cool things and talk about topics that were meaningful to them. And we did, and it it did pretty well out of the gates. And we were able to promote it through sleep geek and through kind of LinkedIn, and different things like that. And, you know, here we are more than 200 episodes later, I’m still doing it and still having a blast with it.

Brett Thornton: No, it’s it’s phenomenal. You know, I mean, if you think about all those 200 episodes, is there one that stands out as your favorite? And why is it Episode 69 when I was on?

Um, so let me ask you this, you know, one of the things that I love about, you know, meeting you guys, and obviously, I think I’m a perfect example of that, right? So we met through the podcast before I ever met you in person, I was on the podcast, and then we met all the markets after that, and hung out and all that. But, you know, leading up to that it was funny, because, you know, I would listen to you guys. And I would even think to myself, you know, like, you putting out so much content. You know, here’s ways to get traffic to your store, here’s, you know, tip to get better at selling, here’s all these things, it’s these cool products, it’s the new way to do your business. And yet, you guys, you and Mark both had these successful careers going. And this advice, hypothetically, right is helping your competitors.

And so I kind of really want to ask you and dig into that a bit is like, Why were you giving out all this free information and all this great content.

Mark Kinsley: We just had to do it, we had to do it. Because we would meet retailers. And we would meet these family owned businesses. And we would meet these entrepreneurs, and people just really try to give it a go. Or like we can help them, we really can’t help them. And we see parts of retail and parts of the country and parts of the industry that others don’t see. And we need to bring those stories back to this kingdom and tell the people of this kingdom, what’s going on out there. And so it was just almost like, we just had to tell the stories that are out there. And, and truthfully, it gave us a wonderful reason to go meet people we didn’t know like you. I mean, we will all of a sudden had this platform that let us say I want to call this person that I don’t know, because I think they’re really cool. And I like how they are navigating this industry and they seem to have just this vibrance about I want to talk to I want to know that person. And we like highlighting good behavior and good actors and cool stories. And we like creating this campfire. And that’s what really the podcast is it’s the campfire that you gather around and you share stories. And you trade some ideas, you probably have some tequila shots, and you walk away more connected and more fulfilled than you were before you got to the campfire. And I just love creating community. And I love being around people. And at the end of our lives. The only thing that really matters is our relationships with people. And this is our life. You know, it’s not just work. It’s our life. Like this is our so I want to fly my flag really high. And I want the right people to come and get on our ship. The analogy quick. I use it all the time. But you know if you’re standing at the harbor, and a tall ship sails in, and all of a sudden, you see the cannons sticking out of the side. And you see some guys on board hoisting up the skull and crossbones Jolly Roger flag and people are gathered up what are those people typically do when they see that flag go up? They run pirates. They’re here. Unless you’re a pirate. Then you go get on that ship because you know you’re in the right spot. And so the podcast has given us just a chance to fly our flag really high and say the suit

We are in the right people have just been magnetized to this little community. And now, I mean, it’s like you like you’re leading, you’re like you’re leading in your own way, and we get to follow you. And you know, Mike Magnuson and Jeff Cassidy are leading in their own way, and we get to follow them. And Matt man, Andrew Schlesser, and Jeff Shire. Like, we get to see this incredible growth of our industry that only happens, I think, when we come together anyway. And I think it’s only going to get better from here.

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