« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 180: Mike Rowe is Nothing but a Sellout

2020-12-15 | 🔗

After Mike shares chapter three of his book he gives a spirited defense of the critical art of salesmanship, during which Chuck accuses him of being a sellout, and the two navigate the precarious world of commercial television vs commercials.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey, guys grow and this is the way I heard it. The only podcast for the curious mind with a short Attention span recently spanish, to require slightly longer attention span because the We think that constant in this life is change, this episode number one, eighty and it's called Micro is nothing but a sell out. My RO as nothing but a sell out in this episode. I share chapter three from my book, which tells the true story of really great salesman who never got the credit. He deserved for changing the world, as we know it, that's followed by a brief rumination on my own relationship with the unsavory business, of selling things specific beyond the queue BC cable shopping. Channel years before I had the great good fortune of working my way up to the sort of chuck accuses me of selling out. I that I am more than a little familiar with, and I d
myself. As best, I can, with a few thoughts on the reality of working in commercial, tell Jim it's another riveting conversation between two old friends. I like to call the way I talked about the way I heard it or in this case micro is nothing but a sell out. Its episode number one. Eighty and it starts right now and by right now I mean right after I thank our sponsor, but friends over it net sweet nets. Wheat by Oracle, is the trees. Number one cloud based business system. Which is no doubt why twenty two thousand business owners now run their companies from this. Green of their favourite device from anywhere in the world. Any time it's it's them, which begs the obvious question: why aren't you doing that doesn't matter how big or small your businesses with net sweet by work, or you can see at a glance ever thing that matters to your best. In real time, matter where you are it's pretty incredible financial
hr inventory, I e commerce, all of it which means the time has come to ditch, oh you're, old software, the stuff you ve outgrown, quick books and upgrade to net sweet by Oracle. I could blather on indefinitely, but do me a favor? Let sweet, show you how veil benefit your business with a free product or at net sweet dotcom, Slash MIKE Schedule, your free, proud. Tor. You could do it right now. At nets we dont come slash MIKE won't cost you Betty NET, sweet dot, com. Flash MIKE. Having said all that, I hope will appreciate the any of this episode self deprecating. entitled Micro is nothing but a sellout chapter three on the importance of better driving.
Back in May nineteen. Thirty, two a sixty one year old, handyman named John Thompson, was tinkering his garage when he had himself. Oh Eureka moment a self centered idea, that would virtually eliminate bad driving in those days driving was commonplace and U S automakers weren't sure what to do about it. But Thomson believed the problem. Had less to do with bad drivers and more to do with the obstacles they encountered, specifically recessed, gullies, intricate curves and flat whores Otto planes. His idea would promote better driving by eliminating those obstacles. Six months he had a gleaming prototype in his garage ready for action six months after that, hadn't number one million. Eighty thousand and eighty arrived in the? U S: mail, making him the
all owner of the device that would virtually eliminate bad driving he needed now with someone to mass produce it John ambled all over the United States. Looking for a manufacturing partner, he visits dozens of factories and presented his prototype to come Liz engineers, the reaction was always the same great idea, Mr Thompson, but no thanks. After two years of no John grew discouraged, he never tried to sell anything. Before and the rejections were demoralising. He made his last pitch in the conference room, full of engineers at a manufacturing facility and Oregon good morning. Mr Thompson we're intrigue by your design, the crucial for the conical helix and the self same during aspect or most innovative, but please explain to us how such a thing can be mass produced.
John said with a nervous laugh. I was hoping that's what you fellows could tell me. The engineers said nothing so John plunged in he talked about the fundamental problem. The frequency with which drive hers wound up getting stuck in the inevitable damage that followed when they continued to accelerate. Then he explained his device would solve the problem by ejecting the driver before the moment of impact when it was done. The engineers all agreed this idea was brilliant, but simply too hard to mass produce. In other words, no thanks. Later that evening belly to the bar job.
Was staring at the diagrams on the wrinkled pages of his worthless patent when a man with white teeth and perfect hair struck up a conversation. Don't take it so hard friend a no it's just a yes to a different question. Spare me platitudes John said. I know what a no means I hear it every day the man's name was Henry: he grinned pulled up a stool and ordered a fresh round of drinks, What exactly are you trying to sell. John handed Henry his patent Henry did understand all the details, but he knew the importance of better driving. He offered to I want more round. Then he offered to buy Johns idea for a handful of cash, John agreed, and after that things happened fast. Henry returned to the company that had
rejected Johns idea and asked to see the president, a man named Eugene Clark. Oh no said the secretary, not without an appointment, but com Ex secretary didn't understand that a no wish just a yes to another question and smiles, is charming smile and showed her the patent he had bought this I dear is going to eliminate driver error. He said I can show it to a competitor. But wouldn't you rather show it to the boss yourself? The secretary looked at the patent like Henry. She didn't understand all the details, but She knew the importance of better driving. She showed the patent to her boss. Soon Henry was sitting across from the president of the company stretching the truth. A bit and pole. The additional questions that could be answered only in the affirmative. Mr Clark, I just heard from
General motors. They want millions of these. Things your engineers say it can't be done. Should I ask someone else to give it a try or, do you want to give it another shot? Clark picked up, phone and summoned his engineers back to the conference room once again, the engineers examined the prototype and said no, they blamed the practical limits of a cold deal forge and the many challenges of scaling a product of this size. But the engineers didn't realize Is that a no was just a yes to another question when Clark asked if they wanted to keep their jobs, They went back to the drawing board and did come up with a way to mass produce, Henry's prototype, at which point Henry,
who, to Detroit to persuade general motors to place a massive order for a million devices that did not yet exist, you can guess what happened next, Henry got a meeting with the President of General Motors and persuaded him to test the prototype driver performance, improved dramatically and general motors offered to buy Henry's idea, but this time it was Henry who said no because Henry had no intention of selling his driving system to just anybody. He wanted to license it to everybody. Ultimately, general motors ordered millions, then Chrysler than Ford. Then the department
Of Defence Henry's patented technology wound up inside every new car on America's highways Henry's bank account that wound up pact. sixty five million in today's dollars, as for John Thompson, well be got screwed. There is really no other way to put it. The aging handy and had been right all along. He knew the problem bad driving, had less to do with the drivers themselves and more to do with the obstacles they encountered. He was the one who replace those troublesome gullies with a unique tapered, crucify form he, Was the one who looked at those horizontal planes and saw what an ingenious conical helix could do his patented
Self centering DR system solved the chronic problem of over talking by automatically injecting drivers before they could cause any serious damage, not human drivers, mechanical drivers. That was the breakthrough that dramatically increased the speed and activity of american assembly lines, but the breakthrough was not named for the man. Who invented or designed it there was for the man who bought it and sold it over and over and over again the salesman, who knew that a no was just a yes to a different question. A guy named Henry. whose last name is still synonymous with the screw that made him rich and the screwdriver, but made him famous phillips
over the years. I have had the good fortune to speak on behalf of some pretty remarkable companies, Ford, Caterpillar discovery Le Packard and Motorola to brag ever so humbly about a few, but long before became. The Ford guy I was selling water purifiers door to door and magazine subscriptions over the phone and hosting infomercials. also hawking a variety of dubious products between the hours of three and six, a m on the Kubi see cable shopping, Channel Back in eighteen, ninety curiously was having difficulty recruiting, show host, experienced salespeople, weren't comfortable on tv, experienced tv people, weren't comfortable selling things, so pvc stopped high being experienced. People then started hiring people who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes. That was the audition.
and for reasons that would probably take a psychiatrist unpack. I was able to discuss the features and benefits of a Dick, in Ticonderoga number two ad nauseam by was hired and placed on the graveyard shift for the three month, nocturnal crucible called the probationary period. In hindsight, it was a fantasy Dick Way to learn three hours of live tv without a script with no prompter, no delay and almost no supervision. Just a producer named Marty, a former host who slumbered at his desk. While I worked for me, It was a true baptism by fire, partly because I've never been on tv before and partly because was no real training programme. Aspiring hosts were left to figure out for themselves. Best to discuss the bewildering array of products that they were charged with. Presenting on my first shift, I walked
to the set at precisely three? I am for robotic cameras faced me controlled by a crew of operators hidden behind the pain of smoked glass. Twenty yards away. I sat behind a desk on a pie, shape stage that rotated every hour to reveal a new setting from which the HAWK new categories of pabulum, that particular our was called. I he is for your home, what type of home hard to say. Given the products I'd been asked to sell every five minutes or so a stage hand would bring me some gadget. I'd never encountered before the am core, nay, It is ion generator, I hand painted hum figurine the first cordless phone I had ever seen the first karaoke machine, the supply of products was endless and the products themselves were profoundly unfamiliar. It began with some.
Called a cat sech a paper grocery bag lined with mylar guaranteed to make a crippling sound cats supposedly find irresistible yeah. It's a real thing. It's out their online, can actually watch me trying to sell this thing on you to talking about the Kazakh for a whole ten minutes. No one body then they brought me a lava lamp which I attempted to open on air too if there was lava inside there wasn't. No one bought any of those either. Then they brought me something called the health team. Infrared pain, reliever it looked like a miniature flashlight with hoard attached it cost twenty nine dollars and ninety nine cents and promised to relieve arthritic paying with here
link infrared light when applied directly to the troubled area, with eight minutes left on the clock and not on cogent thing. In my head, I looked into the key. and said. Folks, I'm gonna be honest with you: I have no idea what this thing is or how it works. Frankly, I am sceptical about. healing power of infrared light, but if you have one of these objects call the eight hundred number on the screen. Ask for Marty. He'll put you on the air. Maybe you can tell me if it actually works ten seconds later something extraordinary happened someone called in a nice lady named Carol, explain exactly what the product did and told me. She was very satisfied with hers. She also told me I had pretty eyes after that things got weird but more fun with each
new product, more viewers called in to explain what the gadget was and how it worked. These were not testimonials. These were tutorials. The viewers had taken pity on me. Had begun to do my job. For me, sales picked up. Marty woke up, like I said things got fun. years later, while narrating a nature documentary, I learned that young wolves when confronted with bigger step. hunger wolves will sometimes role onto their backs and expose their bellies according to the narrator the submissive posture they daubed is away for weaker wolves to show their not a threat according to A veterinarian- this is the same reason, my dog piece on me. When I come home, he respects my authority. I'm not sure I buy that in fact, I'm pretty sure Freddy's, just in case
but I do believe there's more than one way to sell something. For me, the secret was admit my vulnerability on camera and quit protein thing that I knew more than I did to adopt my own submissive posture If you have a home and a family, you wanna keep them safe. There are no exceptions to this rule, whether it safe from break in or a fire or a flood or a medical emergency we save home security, delivers award winning twenty four seven protection, you don't just get the normal arsenal of cameras and sensors would simply safe. You get the back professional monitors in the business real human beings, who have your back twenty four seven standing by ready to send the cops where the fire department or empties whatever you need whenever you need the most straight to your front door, terrific plan and it's simple: you can settle
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but that's because we're hundreds of miles apart today and and and that level of nuance doesn't come screaming through my zoom connection. That's true! That's true! Yes, sir This is the first time we're doing this, where we're not actually in the same room so far, I prefer it certainly certainly does for a more pleasant aroma. That's for sure, anyway, the first thing that that occur to me about this episode. The the tile as as we have said before, it's always the tile and then followed by the graph fail book set with chapter three and and the Phillips a screwdriver is that it's really the value of salesmanship. the value of being a good sales person. It's a hero story. The the the hero this story is, is not just Henry Philips. It's the. As you said, the idea, the art of
of the sale and it's also a cautionary tale, because you know John Thomson, you know he he did it all right. I mean he was the innovator. He had the vision hidden, he did all of it and in the end he took it in the neck. You know, and so You know they're, so many stories about great innovators in there many stories about great businesses than empower those in it, it is, but in the end I am always interested in the stories withers theirs. One guy, one woman, you know underneath it all who who somehow made the whole thing happened simply by selling it.
You know it's interesting. I years ago I read a book by art, listen who was a famous producer and, and he described pitching a movie and and they bought it on the spot, and this was the pitch a day in the life of a car wash set to Music Richard Prior CORE washroom, yeah yeah, yes and Mister T and Mr De Roo, MR take yeah, Our arguments and said that- and it just goes to show you that it's not enough to build the the best mousetrap. You need someone who knows how to self that that best, mousetrap lawyer, look it's a point. I made to a lot and dirty jobs where, where innovators get all the credit, you know it's an ad and every company today, especially up here, you know where I live: Northern, California and, of course silicon
Ellie. They all they all see themselves through the lens of their ability to innovate. But one of the things we try to do a dirty jobs was talk about the importance of imitation, nobody wants to brand themselves as the great imitator, but you know always there right I mean you can go all the credit in the world to apple for coming up with the with the phone? you know that we rely on, but it's the ability make the same the same day. I'm phone, you know a good Julian times over that made them profitable and it
has the ability to make the Philips Screw and the Philips Screwdriver a good Julian times over that made Henry Philips Rich or I so yeah. You know it's it's it's fun to look at people and companies in terms of how they see themselves and by and large, innovation is always good. An imitation or duplicative nesses, always bad. And of course, that's that's stupid because you don't have one without the other. An existing anti thing. He said with great This done. Well, I mean just due to what did you say to plug? It is due to places junk illicit s, liability, the Devil, Kate, that's right, I'd rather not well, not necessarily duplicative means the ability to imitate were duplicate. Duplicitous is a form of mendacity orb deception and up
perhaps that's why so much negativity is associated with with with dupe, because it sounds so close to a form of deception and weapons. Buddy off very go ripping somebody off which again is right at the guts of this stuff. well I'm sure, John Thompson. Looking back on. It lost a lot of sleep because Look he made a mistake. He wasn't really ripped off, but he got tired. He got worn down at a salesman, came out of nowhere and made it up, for he couldn't refuse a guy who knew that no was just another word for yes that hadn't been said yet or, however, I put it in the store yea, you put it.
Better in the story for the gun again and unfairness. It was written down at the time. So she marched us right of recall it out of thin air. So this brings me to the question that I believe you have been I've seen it on your Facebook page asked of you many many times, and I would like you to comment on it thoroughly and fully at this moment. In this question is something like this MIKE? Why? How did you become such a sell out? yeah. Well, I mean the the grout is really the began of the answer to that question. I I started my. My career, as you know, not really as an actor word or a hoster, whatever it as I do. I was a salesman, you know, that's the First, success I ever had at anything was was trying to sell something and the,
job I ever had on tv. The first steady gig was Cuvier sea and, of course, that's the it's not The epitome of assails job is in the eyes of They people the nay of a job initiated a twenty four hour, infomercial Kubi C is theirs. There is very little, at least at the time. You know nobody looked Kubi C and thought well, yeah. That's what I'm shooting or as a guy who wants to be on the tv, if only I could get there. But your point, you know, nobody knew who I was doing really back in nineteen, eighty, nine, ninety, ninety and after dirty jobs, a lot of people did call me a day and they do me as a guy on tv who is really very specific thing. He was shining a light on lots of different people are lots of different jobs that were too
glee, unsung and unloved and people really liked that mission and lie. I loved it myself, but when I started making commercials for Ford and Hewlett Packard and Motorola and Caterpillar and master fuck and homes serve me good on the list. I mean you know me forty two years of work for lots of different companies, and I made a lot of different commercials. But when people saw me doing that for the first time it just it just look like I grabbed the money and ran In fairness I did, but a long time ago provided events due to my whole life. I mean it's really, interesting shock, VM the the way actors and viewers to you know they. They draw the line between commercial tv.
Commercials and and they draw in a really clear way. So it's it's one thing to be on television, commercial, television, it's another thing to be in a commercial and so the value judgments that people make between the two are incredible. If you're in a commercial yoursel out, if you do anything to affirmatively or seemingly compromise the identity that people most associate. with you, then you are seen, as you know, either in or in or scenting or selling out, some people call people sell out today unite I think they do it primarily because you suddenly did something that didn't live up to their expectations were hence a thin interested folders.
closure, who I am has always been a guy who who who pay the bills by figuring out a way to sell something. I do remember William Petersen, famous actor. At the name is familiar Petersen was in, I think, was end see I s and he was a lot of movies was and will be called Man Hunter, and there was a big dust up back in physics, two thousand nine or two thousand ten, where he had of fit you write he was shooting. I think it was antsy eyes and it s you ve pulled into the frame, and it was a Chevy Suv and you could tell that's because he was a big chevy logo on the girl and dumb and Peters was like get this thing away from me, and the director was like well look at me. Obviously they are the sponsor of the show. You know when I try to be gross about it, but but William
realized he was in the shot with a shabby logo when he realized that shot was being put in the show in exchange for money that was coming to the network and that's how his show gets paid for its how dirty jobs gets its ally itself. Everything gets paid for, but he took umbrage. You know, and he wrote a big piece and and articles were written about this moment praising weighing Petersen for stepping away from the Chevy logo in order to protect the purity of crafts and the ethics of his of his chosen vocation and then twenty seven later, there's a commercial for Schaeffer lay on and see I s and it s just struck me You know why why in the world, is it different? You know for an actor to take such a high ground on a show. That's paid for
the exact same sponsor, which just a long way of saying I. I never saw much of a difference between being on commercial television and being in commercials that air on commercial television. I get that now. What I thought you were going to say was. I I sold out before where I had anything to sell out. I sold out more. I had anything a bargain, then so, That's, probably a better answer. I probably should have given you that, but looked with it, it's no less. Rude and what I just said In the moment, you have no idea what you're what your career is, like you know in the moment, look you're a guy. How many jobs, if you had in this industry, literally thousands right how many commercials You done how many voice overs! Have you done? I stopped counting over when I, after a thousand yeah I mean I have idea. But what I remember vividly is
sitting down. For the first time on the Kubi see cable shopping channel in the middle of the night I was twenty seven years old and suddenly those four robotic cameras turn in my direction and I pick up a widget and start talking about it and that for me was the moment where I realized. Okay, this is an opportunity, I'm on television, I'm in millions of homes, I have to figure out how to do the actual job, but the like the job, was a mystery riot, but the opportunity was- and I could see with absolute clarity this if I can figure this,
This is a way that will lead on to another way, and so it is only struck me as as good and interesting and and challenging in hindsight. Well, yeah, it looks like well you'll, do anything for money and and guess what at twenty seven working in this industry I would write, I would have done anything and after Cubey see I don't. I can't even think of you know the number of commercials that I did I appeared in, but also you know before Cuvier that number of things I did you over. There was selling magazines over the phone or any of the other things I mentioned in the story. I mean it, I never said no to any job that required some level of of salesmanship. Look you. There is one line in this that stood out to me in the very beginning where he said I
old water, purifiers out of my trunk, and I remembered this moment in your life, I was in New York at the time you were selling these things heard they were hotcakes and when people ask me you know about you in terms of your salesmanship there's two responses. If you can sell water and a rainstorm or ports to the Pope, that's like myself. Under the answer Well believe me, how many help TAT tell us about the the water purifiers out of your trunk? Well, ok, but but may I remind you of the last line of that chapter which, but it basically had to do with a submissive posture. Yes right at an end and realising that sometimes the best way look. If you can't be an expert, then you might as well embrace Europe, your ignorance, you know, and As you know, I I. I realized that less, like really realized it on the Erika PVC, for the first time on television,
but I learned it actually, for the first time with these water, pure fuckers, the company was called an essay believe it or not, not the National Security Administration, but the National Safety Associates and they were out of Tennessee and they offered these char cold charcoal. Water purifiers treated with silver, and it was the silver and the charcoal that that how'd. You two never have to change the filter itself. The silverware purify the charcoal- and you would have these now this this. This turn key easy to use water purifier. It would sit on your sink about the size of a thermos and dumb ass would allow As you know, and and the way the whole organization was structured in the one of these pyramid schemes right. So it's everybody in it who was making a bunch of money, making money by buying a whole lot of water purifiers and then
put him in the garage and selling a few and then signing somebody else up to sell water, purifiers and then selling them there would appear virus for slightly more money than they had purchased for right. So in the end you none of it works as the products any good and the consumer actually likes it, but the short cut for people was this. This pyramid multi level marketing opportunity, I didn't understand any that all I knew was that in Baltimore, where we grew up the water tasted like it came out of a swimming pool. There was all this chlorine in it, and so they are there They gave you something was called a reagent. There was like you would Testa p h in in your poor water with the same stuff. except here you gonna somebody's house. You would fill up a glass with their tap water and you would scored a couple of drops of this reagent. In it. And if there was chlorine and the water, it would turn it yellow and they look just like urine
There was so much chlorine and our water that everywhere I went you'd smell the chlorine in the water and then I'd. Then I'd hook up one of these water, purifiers and scrutiny of the false it and take what are out of the tap and then squirt the same drops into that glass of water and there no yellow, and you could spell you could smell. None of the chlorine so immediately You could see this thing was working on the water really tasted better. what sold me on it is. I I immediately bought one and put it on My sink and loved it and so then you know, I didn't ask my friends to get involved in this. I just thought, if I can put these on sinks everywhere, then I'm telling people who own those things will want to keep it right. So what did was I bought forty of these things from the company, for I think a hundred and twenty dollars apiece and the retail was a hundred and
eighty dollars, and so I would make sixty dollars on every sail aside forty of them, and so I gave them to forty people who I knew drank water. Wherever did. Fine- and I said I said, do me a favor and I'm involved in this company. I've got this product, I really like it. I don't want you to buy it. But I know you and I would love your opinion. So just put it on your sink and use it for a couple of weeks and then I'll come back and collect it. You know- and you can tell me what you think and everybody of course Adele right, so they hooked up to their Fawcett and forty people used forty of these things for about two weeks and then I went back to thank them and collect them all, and only two of them gave me the unit back. Thirty. Eight people bought it so, like I made thirty eight dollars times
Sixty pretty quick and I went back to the company and they sold me forty new ones, and this time though they they sold him for they sauntered for eighty dollars and seven hundred and twenty, because that's it it works the more you buy from the company, the the better price you get. And you keep selling them for a hundred eighty dollars and, of course, at an easy pay programme and convenience charge programme. So long story short, I didn't do anything that I was supposed to do in terms of multi level marketing I'd. I did get a few people involved because I wound up making twenty or thirty grand, which is pretty good for a twenty five year old in Baltimore trying to make ends meet, but I never made any money doing the multi level thing. I just ordered. Hundreds of these things and gave them to every single person, I do and then went back to collect them two weeks later,
and nobody wanted to give him up because they actually works and so yeah When I was doing that shock you are in New York City, I think of the American Academy yeah. And so I just I remember thinking at the time you know man, all my friends, you know Ricky had gone to allay to find his fortune. You were in New York. You know I was in Baltimore driving around in my heart to civic hook up water, purifiers strangers sinks, hoping they would buy it weeks later so yeah long way, saying when people say our man, you really sold out. Did you yeah it's a matter of fact. I did that thirty years before you met me as fantastic run up the submissive posture, and that is that sort of the that's the thing that you did it Kubi see your life. You know that's the thing you did with the water Purifiers
So, what's it it's the thing I did on dirty jobs idea, that's right, yeah! Look! I I had it ok, business, you know after Cuvier see I've had hundreds of jobs, and I did a pretty good impersonation of a host and write about this in the book you know, but but it does it until I realized it might and my hosting career that I was a better guest than I was a host and that you know that happened years later, because a dirty jobs but again the lessons and that the lessons happened with water Purifiers magazine sales over the phone. You knows it was the same kind of thing with those and, of course on Cuba see that that that was the big one, letting telling the viewer when you win Looking at the lens and honestly tell the viewer, I mean honestly, You don't know your ass from a hot rock and you could use some help. Then people will help. You
and have it it's the same lesson. Mark TWAIN learn: painting a fence right in these ventures. Huckleberry fan is the same lesson for me. You know if you, if you, if you're, not quite sure what you're doing ask for help and if you ask for help publicly then they pretty you. Well, yes, a little bit it it's all authentic, but it's it's it's being honest its being real. It's not trying to pretend it's! It's that's why you are a good salesman, because you don't try to be a salesman. You don't try to pretend you know more than you do. It only took me forty three years to figure that out I mean honestly Briefly that it's not it's not a new lesson, it's the it's!
its learning the same lesson over and over and over and over again, and it really wasn't until dirty jobs that it actually sunk in and that all the stuff that had happened before was kind of kind of preparing me. For that moment, when I just completely let go of being a host into said, look I'm I will I'll give all that up I'll give all that up in order to work next to somebody who actually knows what they're doing on camera, and if I can figure that out, then maybe you know, maybe people will forgive me for doing you know from Natalie making eggs on camera, not forgetting information wrong, but fridges being honest about so there's one more thing I wanna hit before we close this down, and that is when I just recently learned like earlier today that you
that the show your new home came after Cuvier see, and I mean I know what this is, but a pit the audience doesn't. So can you tell the story of how you got how you and the gig your new home, and when it was slow, your home is a showed its the longest running infomercial in the history of infomercials It still on the air and not in any more, but I I hope, started- and I was in it for fifteen years and not Not long You know- and I didn't write about this, because it is too damn weird, but but it is true not long after I started. Qvc tour started working there. real estate guy in Baltimore saw me in them. the night selling cubic Sir Ghonim he called any said MIKE. You know my name,
and a very and I've been watching your show on pvc, and if you can talk about a fake diamond, you know four eight minutes Then you can talk about a new home and now at Equally. The problem was that the real estate market, like the good the the consumer? Individual real estate mark is very, very different from from developments. you're developer and you put together a new community and you're gonna be selling those homes in that community for years, and so that means unit to be on the air, doing something to help support it, and that meant that there could potentially be a show about the homes.
these new communities and the idea for the show was, I would go to a model home which already decorated right, so it's kind of like a set, and I would sit in this home and I would talk to the person responsible for selling it and, as we talked about the various features of the home in the can read: the viewer would see footage, so it was just an unapologetically simplistic show that required me to wear the same basic khakis week after week and a blue button down shirt and I drive to these developments and I sit in these model homes, and I would talk to these reactors about why you should come out and take a look at this property and if it sounds, bore it's because it was. But what happened was these things it started to air after CBS this morning, every morning in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia at ten thirty, it came on and you know, we would shoot a whole bunch of them together so and then added them later every week.
I'm wearing the same shirt in the same khakis and drinking coffee out of the same mug wandering through a different development talking to a different reality, so it was a way for People cannot only shop for a home my like, but get decorated ideas and mostly just wake up. You know for big Saturday night, you're still lying in bed. At Sunday morning, there's Mikey seems friendly his walk through a house with a cup of coffee showing off places you might want to live. This crazy show was so popular. It was an infomercial. Remember, is paid for by the bye, bye, the builders and developers it was Popular, that it had a rating. Most infomercials, don't have rating stay, gets what they get a hash mark this Point zero is the audience, but this thing was that number one show in its time slot in Maryland, that'll be raising. We started. Selling commercials in the body of the infomercial.
I was in those commercials too, so there and we know, selling a house in eight years- town and then another when in Baltimore and then another went down a glint Bernie and then we pause for a commercial with hack, injures lumber and I'm in that commercial, and then we come out of a commercial and then I'm in another development somewhere Little South Gettysburg or may be outside of Richmond, and are we going to another commercial law A sell out you, but but but but you know, you're right I know you, you know what I did. You can't to really put go on this. The moral of the story is You're only a sell out, if you pretend you're not, I think- and you know what I get you- I still remember feeling like man, all my friends have gone off to New Yorker allay to pursue their their dreams, and I am
back in Baltimore selling water filters out of the trunk of my hand, selling real estate on Sunday mornings on an infomercial and just just doing things that for me, I looked back and I I I don't see any of it as a sell out and the same reason, I looked back at Ford and I look look, look look at show were working on right now: menu yeah. I was thinking about that. Yes, think about six degrees. This show, incidentally, is pop up early in January on discovery plus, which is a new streaming service. Chuck and I've been working on it for the last year and it is there's really blood last two years, yet little something we did during a pandemic. Well, it's finally done. and were really excited about it, and you know
I want to go too far down the rabbit whole, but in the context of a Philips screwdriver in the context of innovation, verses, imitation and the context of everything we ve talked about. What is most interesting about six degrees. It is paid for by a p. I, the American Petroleum Institute, is paid for by hundreds of comfort. These, who provide oil and natural gas to many many millions of homes right. It's this. This sponsor came to me before I went to a network and said: hey. We we'd like what you did on dirty jobs and We know that you're a friendly voice. We know that the energy industry is controversy. You, but we also know that you ve, you been very kind over the years. The way you ve portrayed, not just solar and wind, but
but oil and natural gas and and and fracturing your mind, is open and we would love to be a part of whatever your next project is so Am I a sell out, maybe but I'll tell ya. I took that meeting and after it I knew that I I know I had upon, now and then I talk to you and Mary and then I talk to you, know different people in the industry and we actually did something a form of imitation. If you will, we imitated the old Texaco model right Texaco Theatre. You know oil and natural gas paying for events at the Kennedy Centre. Right I mean that used to happen all of the time and it still does. Although most people don't talk about it, but we are about to premier a show on a brand new.
platform, a discovery platform. The leading provider of nonfiction in the world made possible in part by the generous support of a sponsor who signed on for that show before it even existed without even knowing where was gonna wind up or what it was right and so look. The moral of the story is whether your John Thomson, or whether your Henry Philips, or whether your guy hockin you no water filters or real estate or tv. Dirty jobs or whatever it is this idea that you, somehow arbitrage the importance of asking for the sail out of the art out of the equation out of the transaction. That's crazy! There is no such thing as selling out when you're in the world of commercial television, and I dont know what the world's gonna look like a few years from now, but-
Do you know that in the end jock- Anything you and I enjoy doing- is going to be paid for by somebody. It's gonna be a network or a producer or the talent or a sponsor, and if I have my druthers it'll, be the sponsor right great. While that is a good place to two real it in first of all, I would just let everybody know that if you would like to hear you just heard chapter three of my book. The way I heard it by Micro, which is based on this podcast, if you would like to hear it all in its entirety, without waiting every week for the next chapter Salaam, can the you can get the book sell out. Wherever you can get the book sell out. You know where to get the book so anyway, I am that was disgusting. Was it the really there? the way you just so shamelessly unapologetically in him physically turn.
What was otherwise a really interesting half our conversation into a shameless blug. For for the book that Poor people are already listening to. Many of them have already read it for crying out loud, and here we are sucking up their valuable time, telling them how to add a by another. Copy of it I mean. Is there no death to Have you no shame, sir? I'm just saying christmases right around the corner Maybe you don't want away. Water and a rainstorm porn to the Pope. That is right, It happens without you guys, you're, very kind to listen. Thank you for the feedback on well what I can only call a bold new format for this. For this Podcast, which somebody on Facebook recently described to me as to do the talking. That was great, pretty good look, there's no again
for taste, but if you like, if you like what you just suffered through Bobby back next week, to do it again, Chuck wasn't line the book is available and we are now officially over our allotted time actually hang on. We won't be back next week will be back in that in the new year is an ex weak the new year? No, Now now this. This is what what is this you up to what it is its pandemic time, it's Tuesday, three. Nothing else matters it's Tuesday at three, thirty hurry. I brother. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, buddy
Transcript generated on 2020-12-17.