Mike Magnuson and Jeff Cassidy of GoodBed.com have been friends for nearly 30 years. The two were hired by the same management consulting firm immediately after college, and their job was to analyze large sets of data to provide key strategic insights to corporate clients.
Back then, they never could have imagined that this skill set would one day lead them to start a podcast in the mattress industry.
Upon leaving their consulting firm, they each went off to business school—Jeff at Harvard and Mike at Stanford. Following that, Magnuson went into finance as an investor and Cassidy helped start a software company called Core Security. Magnuson was working mostly in the media space, where he saw an opportunity to build online consumer information resources for under-served product categories, like mattresses.
After a harrowing experience buying his first “real” mattress with his wife, Magnuson realized no one on the internet was providing information to help him with picking the right mattress, so he decided to take it on himself. Shortly after, in 2008, Magnuson quietly launched GoodBed.com and worked hard over the ensuing years to build his content and audience, as well as to make industry connections.
Then in 2014, just as Cassidy was starting to think about his next move, Magnuson emailed him about helping with GoodBed and Cassidy gladly accepted.
“It was great timing,” says Cassidy. “Neither Mike nor I had any prior history in the mattress industry, it was just two great friends who were excited to work together.”
Over five years later, GoodBed.com has grown to be one of the largest sites in terms of traffic for the mattress category. The platform encompasses much more than consumer reviews—like new technology that enables people to search across brands and stores, as well as find products that will be a good match for their personal requirements. They’ve also added an editorial component where they evaluate the products, describing their characteristics and classifying them based on GoodBed’s criteria for consumers.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, the next move for the always-expanding brand is a podcast.
“One of the cool things about GoodBed is that we sit right at the crossroads between consumers, retailers, and manufacturers,” says Magnuson. “And we have daily interactions with a wide variety of representatives from all three of those constituencies. This gives us a truly unique view of this industry in a way no one else is positioned to do, and that spans the full cross-section of both the online and brick & mortar channels,” Magnuson continued. “In many cases it allows us to collect data and insights that people would never otherwise be able to access.”
And those insights are exactly what the Mike It Up podcast will focus on. Magnuson is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and expos, but he realized that GoodBed has so much data to offer, it can’t all be shared in the limited time he’s allotted to speak at such events.
“The idea for the podcast was born when we realized the need to have an outlet through which we can share these insights more widely and consistently, and in greater depth,” Magnuson explains. “An event may only have a few hundred attendees, so we’re inherently missing a lot of people. Plus, I don’t tend to have enough time at conferences to go into all the ‘why’ or ‘what’ of a data set. The podcast format naturally allows us to go deeper and get into these specifics, through which many more important insights can be shared.”
Broadly, the show will focus on the consumer journey, how it’s changing, and the implications for retailers and manufacturers in terms of what they can and should be doing about it. Season one will cover topics like how COVID-19 has impacted the shopping journey and whether brick-and-mortar retail is “walking dead” — all based on data and insights collected from their experience at GoodBed.
“We always start from the perspective of the consumer, that’s our mindset,” says Magnuson. “Their interests, problems, and priorities provide much of the data. But from there, not only can we explain what we’re seeing, what changes are happening, and what’s coming, but we can also then translate that data into best practices for retailers and manufacturers.”
The show will also offer thought leadership by taking on topics that have strategic implications across the industry, such as return policies. Magnuson aims to provide a forum for retailers and manufacturers to acquire a shared baseline of understanding about such issues and to hear real possible solutions to help get the conversation started. “This will be a way to facilitate collective discussion amongst industry leaders around key forward-looking issues that affect not just their company, but the industry as a whole,” Magnuson explained.
“Mike’s talks are loaded with important and actionable insights, so people are always following up with him afterward to get more information,” Cassidy says. “With this podcast, we want to give people more access to those insights in bite-sized chunks. I think our audience will appreciate it and get a lot of value out of it.”
Magnuson and Cassidy have come a long way since partnering up, and had they not worked together as data analysts, the Mike It Up Podcast may never have come to be. It’s the combination of the uniqueness of their data set, and their particular skill set for drawing insights from such data that makes it all work.