Reinventing Mike Koenigs

Mike Koenigs’ philosophy is simple. “I’m here to help you become famous, get rich, grow your audience and matter. I believe the best way to change the world is to create millions of entrepreneurs.” Awesome, right?

A little background: Mike is a ten-time #1 bestselling author, interactive online TV producer and host of the “Mike Koenigs Show”, winner of the “Marketer of the Year” award, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, filmmaker, international speaker and patented inventor. He’s also the “Chief Disruptasaurus” of the MiXiV Media Network.

Mike built and sold his last two businesses to publicly-traded companies, his most recent exit was selling Traffic Geyser and Instant Customer in October, 2014. His first company, started in 1991, Digital Cafe Agency, was sold to the publicly-traded Interpublic Group in 1999.

A recent stage 3 cancer survivor, Mike completed 9 months of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments. His doctors say he’s healthy and cancer-free. Also a philanthropist, Mike has raised over $2.3M for the “Just Like My Child” foundation.

Listen to this Episode to hear Mike talk about his experiences creating multiple successful businesses and how cancer has been his greatest mentor and teacher.

In This Episode

1 – Basketball Hall of Fame and What’s Missing From The NBA All-Star Game; Tai Lopez Studied And Lurked For Years
2 – First Business At 16; Stage 3A Cancer; A Shift In Focus; Learn To Listen To Your Body
3 – We Are Mortal; Making The Shift Stick; Practicing Gratitude
4 – Building Brand, Credibility, and Visibility; Bestseller Still Carries Weight
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Steve: Alright, alright, alright. Welcome to another edition here of Reinvention Radio. We have a full house today. I love when we have a full house.

Mary: It’s nice.

Steve: You know why I like when we have a full house?

Mary: So, I don’t have to listen to you.

Steve: [Laugh] No, that’s why you like it. That’s why you like when we have a full house. I like when we have a full house because I feel loved. I just feel loved. It’s just a nice thing. I feel the love. So, wow! Mary Goulet, Rich Otey, even White Wade is hanging out with us. I don’t know… What are you doing down there, man?

Wade: Adjusting the microphone.

Steve: So, that’s what they’re calling it. The kids are calling it fixing the mic nowadays. I didn’t realize that’s what they call it nowadays. You’ve got to keep up with the youth, man. I’m not on Snapchat or Instagram or all that, but evidently fixing the mic is what they’re calling it now. Speaking of fixing the mic we’ve got Mike Koenigs in the house. Mike, what’s up man?

Mike: Good to see you.

Steve: And you brought along your better half.

Mike: …driver. I have no responsibility here whatsoever.

Ed: Ladies and gentlemen, he’s in the house, so yeah, we’re going all out so…

Steve: You actually give up your keys to your Tesla?

Ed: He did today. He totally did today. We had to have a conference call so I got into the HOV lane in the Tesla and just let it rip.

Steve: By the way I’ve got a question. So, I’ve seen Tesla’s go down to the 5, 405’s or whatever.

Ed: Right on.

Steve: In the HOV and they don’t have the sticker, is it just like assumed… Do the cops know – is it one of the things where the cops are like it’s a Tesla, it’s fine?

Ed: Yeah. It’s really interesting. They don’t appear to enforce it, so technically you’re supposed to get the…

Steve: Because you’ve got to register it, right?

Ed: You do have to register it. You do get the little sticker do-dad and I’ve actually got two sets of them because with my Roadster I’ve had one. So, I’ve had that for 8 years now and it’s the best when you’re going back and forth…

Steve: Yeah, but you’re one of the smart guys because you don’t actually put it on your car. I’m thinking like if I’ve got a $85,000 Tesla, I’m going to put this $3 sticker on it. It’s like – there’s just something wrong with that equation. And, so I see like these really nice black Teslas with the white…

Ed: It’s gross, yeah. Back in the old days I had a cop. I can remember, I’m just speeding along and this guy comes alongside me, it didn’t recognize – that’s when the Roadster was whatever the hell the body was based on – based on the name of the car right now that the roadster is built on. I remember he pulled up alongside me and he got it and he just gave me one of these…

Mary: Niiice!

Ed: Because I just had it pasted up in the window, but I’d never put a sticker on my car.

Steve: I actually have a problem with…

Ed: Besides the WS Radio sticker which is in the back…

[Talkover]

Steve: Well played, Ed. Very nice, man. So, interesting, interesting couple of days here. And by the way first and foremost, do you guys… Rich, I know you follow basketball. Are you guys into the basketball thing at all? Do you follow it?

Ed: Yeah.

Mike: Ed’s got a much better story than me, actually.

Ed: My dad was in professional basketball for like 32 years.

Steve: Wait, the coach?

Ed: Ed Rush, the Referee.

Steve: The Referee?

Ed: Yep.

Steve: That’s your Dad?

Ed: That’s Dad.

Steve: Get out of here.

Mary: You’re famous.

Steve: I actually know that name. Wait! Didn’t he actually retire like not too long ago?

Ed: Well, he retired from referring but he’s been leading the Referees in the NBA, he was there for five years, and he was working in college…

Steve: Wow. Very cool.

Ed: …for a while, so yeah.

Steve: Nice man. So, you were a complete disappointment when you couldn’t play ball.

Ed: Totally. Small. I stopped playing with… Actually, the other part of that story was my Mom’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a Coach.

Steve: Your Mom. Wow!

Ed: So, yeah. And so with both of those folks – the world changes in basketball, I stopped playing when I was a Freshman because I was 5’10” and couldn’t jump and…

Steve: And you’re white.

Mary: [Laughing]

Ed: Maybe could make a lay-up, maybe.

Steve: I wasn’t going to say it. So, here’s the thing. So, I don’t understand what the beef is in terms of like… When you look at the Allstar game, like this year Allstar game, what was the one thing that was missing from this year’s Allstar game in the NBA, do you remember?

Ed: Like, actual half decent basketball.

Steve: Well, that for sure. But…

Rich: I know what you would say.

Steve: What am I going to say, Rich?

Rich: White people.

Steve: White people. Because your Dad was smart. He saw the writing on the wall a long time ago. He was like we’ve got to get Ed doing something like for real here because like…

Rich: Well, he turned into a fire pilot. I mean, come on, it’s not like he went backwards.

Steve: So, Wade, so take us through this. What was the conversation? So, Dad, here I am. I’m thinking about playing basketball, I’m growing up, look at me now. I’m 5’8”, I’m 5’9”, I’m 5’10” and then you stopped and Dad’s like – you know, man, I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, you might want to go a different career path…

Ed: Yeah.

Steve: And you’re like, okay, that’s cool. I’m going to figure out… So, if I can’t play basketball I’m going to kill people. So, that was like you had these two paths. Okay, uh, basketball or fighter pilot. So, wait, you actually served.

Ed: I did. Yeah, I was in the Marines for 13 years actually as a pilot. I flew right out of Miramar, right here.

Steve: Oh, so it’s your buddies that are making all that noise…

Ed: That’s the reason you have all this sound proofing here, yeah.

Steve: That’s the reason we have it in here.

Mary: When we did our TV show we’d always say, cue the jets.

Ed: That was us.

Mary: It was all the time.

Ed: We would do it right when the show started, on purpose.

Steve: You knew when Mary’s show was.

Ed: Yes.

Mary: Between 9 and 1 in the morning, yeah.

Steve: So, Mike, obviously you’re obsessed. What are you doing? You’re Facebook living, you’re YouTube living, you’re Periscoping… What are we doing here exactly?

Mike: We’re… I’ll tell you what. So, I was telling you on the way here today I just came back. Ed and I were up with Ty Lopez, and this guy has built an unbelievable following on Social with Snap Chat, with Facebook mentions, he’s regularly and routinely getting 30 to 50,000 people watching him once a week right now. His conversions are off the hook. He’s filling up event centers, and it’s because he’s really figured out how to manufacture celebrity for himself. He’s had Mark Cubin at his house, he’s had – I’ve got to think of some of the others, a lot of sports’ heroes. Yesterday, we met these kids 18 years old who are app developers, making 200 grand a month each…

Mary: What?

Mike: At 18 years old.

Mary: Wow!

Mike: And we met them. And the level of access he’s getting… Larry David was at his house not long ago. So, I’ve known Ty for I think 7 years now. He was a customer for years, back when I had Traffic Geyser. And I’ve been doing streaming video in some way, shape or form now – livestreaming, since 2008 using it as a selling tool…

Steve: Sure.

Mike: …but then doing online video now since the ‘90s…

Steve: So, that’s got to piss you off just a little bit because you’ve been doing this like now for 8 years…

Mike: So, that’s an interesting frame. And I’ll tell you what…

[Overtalking]

Mary: …he put the phone down.

Ed: It makes me realize I should have shifted off of MySpace a long, long time ago. That’s a big thing.

Steve: Dude. Is there a problem still having an account? Oh, maybe that explains why my Social Media following is nil.

Ed: My 16 followers really having been converting recently so…

Mike: No. It doesn’t piss me off. Really, what I’m interested… And we go through these cycles, right? Because in the “guru” market, you can sit around and be sore because we’ve seen people come and go.

Steve: When you are at home and you have an argument with your kid, do you go – do you know who the f*ck I am? I’m a guru. Do you use that like at home?

Mary: [Laugh]

Mike: Never ever… But it’s actually funny because Zach gets to witness it. When people come up, he’s like Daddy it’s our time. He’s got the thing going on.

Steve: He’s like 18 and still holds your hand when you guys walk down the street.

Mike: 13. That’s cute.

Steve: That’s so cute. He loves you.

Mike: So, I really celebrate the success and right now I’m in a rapid state of learning and relearning and we all are, right? And when you see a Kardashian the rumor has it…

Steve: Which chick are we talking about specifically…

Mike: I think is it Kylie? She announced a lipstick line on her website and in a day it’s estimated at 27 million dollars in sales, right?

Steve: It’s insane!

Mary: What are we doing here? We are doing nothing!

Steve: [Laugh]

Mary: What are we doing here, Steve, Rich… What are we doing here, Steve?

Rich: Our Lay’s® potato chips didn’t show up.

Steve: Where’s our sponsor today? That is true. At some point, our sponsor will make and appearance here, but… So, Kylie Jenner…

Mary: We need Liquor.com...

Steve: Liquor.com, I mean – Ed, I don’t know if you know that or not…

Mary: …with this sad story.

Steve: …but I own Liquor.com, so just in case you get thirsty later and you get tired of your purple…

Ed: Sweet.

Mike: You didn’t even sponsor your own show? That’s how far…

Steve: You know what? I wouldn’t even sponsor this show. [Laugh] So, yeah, if you get tired of your green and purple and whatever… That actually looks healthy. What are you drinking? Is that – that’s like pure grass…

Ed: We stopped by the Whole Foods on our way down.

Rich: Oh, there’s the Lay’s®.

Mary: Yeah…

Steve: There’s our sponsor. Thank you, Wade. Alright.

Ed: So, yeah, stopped by the Whole Foods on the way because we just came back from LA, we’re driving back and we’re like hey let’s get a little lunch.

Steve: Is that the one in Irvine, the fancy… That’s a nice…

Ed: No. We went to the Whole Foods of beautiful people of Encinitas. I got to tell you…

Mary: That’s where I live.

Ed: …they are more beautiful people in Encinitas…

Steve: Speaking of beautiful people.

Ed: That’s what we are talking about. There are more unbelievably beautiful people in – it’s like Encinitas has a great vibe.

Steve: What do you think I do? This – I do this radio show and then I go to work and I work intentionally at the Whole Foods for those exact reasons. Something’s got to pay for the studio time.

Mary: Well, all the Yoga studios, all the kids walking around. My daughters go down on 101 to walk up and down the… eck…

Steve: And so, you go in the Whole Foods, you get your thing…

Mike: We got ourselves a little juice…

Steve: And we’re on a tangent. So, you’re talking about Ty Lopez, you’re talking about Livestreaming, you’re talking about the fact that you have no jealousy whatsoever. It’s like, I teach my students, I want them to be successful, and when they’re more successful than I am…

Mike: You little [sound effects]…

Steve: It’s true. You teach your – a guru, you want your students to do well, but at the same token you kind of want to put a ceiling on like how well they do. Because at some point when they go past you and they blow past you…

Mike: You’ve got to get past that sh*t, man.

Steve: And then they’re waving at you. They’re like damn! So, let me get this straight. So, the stuff that I teach, it actually works. [Laugh]

Mike: Right, right. And I was actually – this is part of the – I had a little lesson yesterday. I said, here’s the thing. You could have a horrible product and you’re always going to have an edge case that’s going to like pop out of nowhere and it’s like holy crap, where did you come from? It’s the least… Like, where in the hell – and people want to grow and they want to blow up, they’re going to blow up and if they’re hungry enough. And get back to Ty, he is an incredibly fascinating human being. He’s got a larger than life personality and he studied in LIRT for many, many years and he just hit the right – he had the right message at the right time and the way I’ve described him is he’s in the hope business…

Steve: Sure.

Mike: …so a lot of people are attracted…

Mary: Selling wrinkle cream.

Mike: No, no. That’s a version of…

Steve: Maybe he should partner with Kylie, do a wrinkle cream and there we go.

Mike: But it’s like he’s – people watch him. They’re like I’ve got to see – how could I possibly get, have, be, like him and he’s got a quirky enough personality that he could show up and look like, hey maybe I can do that too.

Steve: Yeah.

Mike: So he’s not like this unreachable, untouchable and that’s part of his appeal.

Steve: Yeah, he’s a good guy. I have to say that from an authentic marketing standpoint and maybe we can talk about that a little bit after the break, but from an authentic marketing standpoint he clearly is like an open book and there’s certainly something to be said for that. More of Reinvention Radio with Mike Koenigs right after this.

[Commercial]

Steve: Man, so cool, it sounds like I’m in a tin can, oh, that’s a little better. Alright, brand new microphone, I like it, I like it. I should wear actually the stud… If I’m going to use this microphone I got to use the girly studded headphone. That’s buzzing bad Wade but we’ll come back around to it. So Mike we gotta do some justice here though because first and foremost you gotta tell people a little bit more about who you are because I didn’t even give you a chance to tell the story and your story actually is not only pretty damn interesting but it’s pretty damn inspiring. So kinda take us back in the two minute Mike Koenigs’ version of who you are.

Mike: Alright, the boring version is I’m a serial entrepreneur, grew up in a little tiny town called Eagle Lake, Minnesota, dad’s a barber, lower middle class and I started businesses when I was about 16 years old. So, I’ve built and sold some businesses and sold them but along the way a little over, well now it’s almost four years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 3a cancer, went through that process of…

Steve: Well, you can’t just gloss over that. For those who don’t know, Mike, Stage 3a means basically, you go to the doctor’s office, you say I’m not feeling well, they run some tests, you sit back down in the doctor’s office and the doctor goes hey Mike you’re fucked. If that’s not Stage 3, it’s like bad, right?

Mike: Yeah, yeah, they basically said go in and get this stuff cut out of you this weekend because if you don’t, six months from now you’ll be dead and you got a couple of months until it goes terminal Stage 4 and I didn’t feel horrible but I was bleeding out of a certain part of my body on a regular basis.

Mary: Red flag.

Steve: Right. So that was the clue, like something’s going on there?

Mike: Yeah, that’s right. So I think looking back there was something definitely energetically wrong but I just wasn’t paying attention to my body and the truth was you know I was running a couple of businesses, really, really, going just working my rear end off literally.

Mary: Literally.

Mike: Yeah, there you go, thank you, Stage 3 colorectal cancer by the way.

Steve: So the moral of the story is get one of those stand up desks. [Laughs]

Mary: [laughs]

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: You’re sitting like way too much.

Mike: That’s an option. Really it came down to just like no stress management and I was going round the clock super crazy busy, travelling every weekend.

Steve: How does that affect the family, because you are married, you have just one?

Mike: Yeah, one son. That’s as my wife would say and 50,000 more, she just came back from her 21st trip to Africa and Uganda where she does a lot of work there. So yeah, so we had two miscarriages after Zach and that’s when she said, screw it, I’m gonna have hundreds of thousands of kids somewhere else but how would it affect the family? I mean the truth is, I can say this now, Vivian and I were definitely at a point where we were ready to hang it up, marriage wise. My son – I’ve maintain a good relationship but I wasn’t putting in I would say the quality time, the conscious time and what that did is it forces a total shift in focus and the way you manage time in your life and the way you perceive time. So the treatments were pretty drastic, major surgery, followed by four months of intravenous chemotherapy, so you can’t see this here but here’s my scar from the ports they install. The put a big port in you and hook you up and you’re walking around basically with a fanny pack that squirts poison in your body that’s designed to shut your immune system down effectively and almost kill you to get rid of the cancer.

Mary: You were functioning?

Mike: Um, yeah, so…

Steve: It’s a relative term, I’m sure.

Mike: Yeah, so what happens is you go in and when they inject you, there’s about two days where they also give you steroids. So you feel f’in great for about 24 hours and then all at once imagine like the most nauseous you’ve ever felt times two with no energy. That’s basically what it’s like for four months. But what happens is that so they’re injecting you every two weeks…

Steve: So you feel like you’re going to puke but you don’t even have the energy to go grab a pot.

Mike: Yeah, there’s nothing really to get rid of and you spend a lot of time in the bathroom that’s for sure. And what happens though…

Steve: So wait, so Rich, do have Stage 3a?

Rich: No, that’s too much chili. [Everyone laughs]

Mike: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Alright, we’re gonna have the beep just in case here, yes. In case you’re here, yes the cost switch we have here can be used for alternate. They could call it the fart switch too.

Mary: Yeah, I’m good with just podding people down.

Steve: Mary just pods me down.

Mike: There we go, hey!

Steve: I’ve had them on those STEVE, there we go!

Mike: On with the… Yes, that was a word from our chili sponsor there. But anyways, so yeah, what ended up happening in my case is after the intravenous chemo I ended up going and having 33 radiation treatments and then oral chemo at Duke which is in North Carolina.

Steve: Oh God, so you had to fly?

Mike: Yeah, it’s rough, it’s definitely rough.

Steve: That’s a 7 hour… I mean that’s a long…

Mike: It was a long time, yeah. And I was away for about two months and I had about an hour of strength a day and one of the bad things that happens is you start waking up in a pile of your own hair everyday which is a little disconcerting.

Mary: Oh, wow!

Mike: And you know it’s every day you wake up and you’re like uuuuhhhh! And I’d go to the doctor, I wore a pair of cowboy boots, always you’re buck naked, you shift your junk into a lead pan, you go into a machine and they zap you and then you do your best to eat something and then you feel miserable and you’ve gotta about an hour of strength to just do whatever you’re going to do. So I’d make a couple of phone calls, or I’d talk on my phone, most of the time you’re just lying in the fetal position.

Mary: Did you know or have a feeling that you were going to be okay or did they already give you the prognosis, you’re going to make it buddy…

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Mary: …but it’s going to suck.

Mike: The best answer I can give you is all the nurses and doctors said you’ve got the right kind of attitude because I never complained, never bitched and I always smiled. You know I always had a joke to tell and I just walked in, I was always happy and I’m figuring okay if I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna go out with a smile and make every moment count but I never doubted it. There were probably three times that I can remember distinctly I could have turned off my switch and that’s one thing that you realize you’ll meet someone who’s gone through let’s say gets cancer for the third time and they just say I’m just not gonna do it anymore. It’s because it is an endurance exercise to go through the treatments in order to get to the finish line and what does happen is there’s a certain amount of physical body compromise, like I still have a degree of neuropathy in my fingers and my toes. I don’t totally feel in the tips because that’s one of the things that chemo does to you and because of getting zapped, all my parts work so all my man parts work, for example just fine, the one thing is…

Rich: You just can’t feel the tips. [Everyone laughs]

Mike: I don’t have a sigmoid colon, so like gas for example is a mortal enemy of mine. I don’t eat anything that could possibly give me gas because I’m really uncomfortable. You have to change your diet. So really what it does is it forces you to really learn how to listen to your body. I’ll go back and say it so with regards to the switch, I know what it’s like to sit there and say right now I can choose to die. I could make a decision to shut off my body and now that I have a conversation with other people going through it I know when people, you know, they turn off their switch.

Steve: It’s gotta be pretty interesting from a mental standpoint. Like, I can do anything now, right? It’s like, you look at what’s in front of you and you go oh, I gotta do this show or I’ve got to build this studio or oh, my kid needs to learn how to do x, y or z… Like anything and everything would pale in comparison from that point forward. Like that ain’t sh*t, look at what I did over here and if I didn’t throw in the towel on that, then there’s no way on God’s green earth I’m going to throw in the towel on this because it’s like, it can’t even compare!

Mike: Yeah, so the two things I can tell you is number 1, I value time differently and things that used to matter, don’t matter at all anymore. So that’s the kind of thing, it’s like a lot of physical stuff, I’m like I don’t really care at all. So your ambition gets adjusted and focus on different things.

Steve: So how much do you want for the Tesla then right now?

Mike: Yeah, there you go!

Steve: So 10, 10 we’re good?

Mary: He’s just going to give you the keys.

Mike: Yeah.

Steve: Sweet! Nice.

Mike: Yeah, you were a little under on the list price of that son of the bitch by the way. I was about a buck thirty-five but yeah, when you start adding options, it’ll get you.

Steve: So the exit on some of the other company stuff that you were doing, you know obviously from an entrepreneurial perspective and you’ve had some of the biggest launches like in the history of online marketing so you’ve been able to… I know you’ve reinvested a lot of those winnings if you will into…

Ed: Spent.

Steve: There you go! [everyone laughs] Because you just built like literally a million dollar plus studio here so you’re all in as far as this live streaming.

Mike: Yeah, yeah, doing shows. We’re doing an audio show right now and this is fun doing a five people kind of an unstructured more or less where I’m kind of doing a version of TV right now which is a different format altogether where we’re focusing on doing like 24 minute shows, building something I could do full-on broadcast TV, insert ads, it’s a completely different mental exercise.

Steve: Yeah, and that’s my game show.

Mary: Fun.

Steve: So it’s like, um, almost like a talk show, variety kind of show, how would you describe the show in your own words?

Mike: Yeah, so we just finished our 12th, maybe 13th episode now, I’ve got to double check. We have an episode coming up today and we’re recording actually this afternoon, we’re recording our next episode and the first one for example was 100% live, so we had a live studio audience, live online audience and more or less unstructured where we performed, Ed and I in front of camera and we had a couple guests, we did like a funny bit, not a lot of pre-recorded stuff and it ended up being an hour and forty minutes long and which on one hand, fun for us but you know is that a manageable length? Like, if your Tim Ferriss for example doing a podcast and you’re doing what he’s doing and the way he’s doing it, it can work.

Steve: Sure.

Mike: But it’s nothing that we can repurpose and put on the air and our goal is to make something that can be watched live. A podcast, go to broadcast, etc., etc. repurposed in every format imaginable and to do segments that can be repurposed as well. So to answer the question is, our goal at first is to do something like kind of felt like a Saturday Night Live, have some funny bits, but it was way too ambitious.

Steve: Yeah and expensive, I mean because like the bit you did with Sean Stephenson, I mean, it’s cute as all get out but reality is that takes a ton of time and it’s expensive.

Mike: Right and it’s a long play. You know doing shows like that require a lot of planning so it’s like two to three days’ worth of work and then you’ve got to make a living too and so I was willing to throw a bunch of resources at it and it’s been a fun exercise, we’re still doing it.

Steve: Yeah, very cool, so unlike Reinvention Radio, you actually plan and like throw resources at what you’re doing there. We got to think about maybe…

Mary: What are we doing here again?

Steve: That’s a good question. Are we going to learn something from Mike?

Mike: Juggling.

Steve: And we will, right after this on Reinvention Radio.

[Commercial]

Steve: Alright, here I am, yay, welcome to another edition here of Reinvention Radio.

Mary: You’re on the sub.

Steve: We’ve got like 16 mics in the studio today which is pretty cool.

Mike: Hey, thank you very much.

Steve: And one Mike, alright, very cool because we’ve got a full house. Mary Goulet is here looking lovely as always.

Mary: Thank you.

Steve: Mary! Rich Otey, White Wade, actually Ed Rush, man.

Ed: Yo!

Steve: That’s very cool! What’s up Ed?

Ed: Yo, how you doing man?

Steve: Awesome, awesome. Mike Koenigs here and somebody. Alright, so before the break we were talking about how basically your life fell into peril and then you came out of this and you decided to look there because we… It’s hard for a lot of people to recognize that we are mortal. We just think we have nothing but time. I don’t know if you know this, I think he knows my wife is a funeral director.

Mike: Uh hmm, uh hmm.

Steve: This week alone she put three 40 somethings on the table. [response all around was Whoa!] So I’m 46 going on 47.

Mary: Hopefully. [laughs]

Steve: Well, yes exactly, right? And so literally before I left this morning, she was like don’t take your motorcycle.

Mary: So what did you do?

Steve: I took my motorcycle because I’m worth more dead to her than I am alive. There’s no doubt at all about that.

Mike: Oh man.

Steve: It’s true! So if I disappear…

Rich: Take it back, take it back.

Mike: That is a point of view.

Steve: Yeah, so if I disappear.

Mike: Stinky little boys.

Steve: Fortunately my wife knows how to get rid of me so if we need to bury a body somewhere, I have a solution for us.

Mary: [laughs] She’ll make sure that you have a nice smile.

Steve: [laughs]

Mike: Is this being recorded?

Steve: Yeah, right? Fortunately after about the 40th or 50th episode my wife stopped listening to Reinvention Radio. So it’s pretty much just like all of our listeners.

Mary: Dave Pounder did it. [laughs]

Steve: [laughs] Dave Pounder. That was our guy who reinvented pornography. We still got to figure out what you’re going to be reinventing, maybe we’re just reinventing Mike Koenigs I guess that will be the…

Mike: Yeah, yeah, no, we can do that.

Steve: Yeah, okay, so you figure out…

Mike: I’ll do the whole reinvention thing, we can do that, yeah, that’s easy. I can give you the… We’ve been all over the place today no doubt about it.

Steve: Welcome to Reinvention Radio.

Mike: Thank you.

Steve: So, you figure out you’re mortal. A lot of people think you just have nothing but time. There’s always going to be tomorrow. How do you make that shift in a way that is permanent?

Mike: Um hmm.

Steve: Because there are a lot of people who have those experiences in life and then for a little while, they’re on like what I call the “new car high”. It’s just like they get in their car and it smells so pretty and they love it and they wash and they wax it and they throw all the garbage out anytime there’s anything and one day they leave a bottle in the back seat. Then the next day they go a week without water. It’s like on and on and that new car becomes just like every other car within due time.

Mike: Yeah.

Steve: How do you make it stick?

Mike: Yeah, that’s a good question. So…

Steve: You can say actually it’s a great question, is that okay?

Mike: No, no, no, great question.

Steve: Thank you Mike, yeah, thank you!

Mary: Oh, we have a competition and you just gave him one!

Mike: Well you know what? He seeded it, so I don’t know if it counts.

Mary: So now he’s back down to good. [laughs]

Mike: Ed and I talk about this a lot because Ed just came off of a 21 day no food fast,

Mary: WHAT!

Mike: Water only.

Mary: Do you want a chip?

Steve: [laughing]

Mike: It’s supposed to be a secret too, I’m like Mike you’re the only person I tell and then we were at Tyler Lopez’s house last night and he’s like [clears throat] attention everyone, this is my friend and the next thing you know, Ty’s snap chatting me to half of the known universe.

Steve: Are you in the middle of the 21 days now?

Mike: No, I just finished last week.

Steve: Last week.

Mike: On Saturday.

Steve: I had a friend who went 21 days without sex and I’m just like I heard… Remember that…

Mike: Was that with other people?

[Laughing]

Steve: Well that’s true. You remember about two weeks ago there was like a small earthquake here in San…

Mike: Is it the same guy that reinvented pornography? Because it sounds like it would be a good match, I don’t know.

Steve: [laughing] Yeah, but that small earthquake that you felt about two weeks ago here in the San Diego area that was him, just as an FYI.

Mike: [laughs]

Mary: Oh geez!

Steve: Sorry, so how do you make it stick? [laughing]

Mike: Well, I think, what I’ve been learning… So my quick reinvention has been after cancer I walked out of there and I’m like I’ve got to sell my companies, so over the next year, really worked on packaging the businesses, being able to package them as software companies because I was selling information products as well and we found a publicly traded company that bought the companies and I got paid. Which is wonderful.

Steve: Wow, nice! And cash and stock or all cash?

Mike: Cash up front and then payout over a period of time.

Steve: Um hmm.

Mike: And no stock. I don’t like stock deals that I don’t control.

Steve: Smart man.

Mary: Very smart.

Mike: It’s the second time that I exited to a publicly traded company which in itself is a story.

Steve: You did it to IPG the first time, right?

Mike: Yeah, that’s exactly right, so that was my agency and the goal was and if you ask yourself, okay, if I could do anything and money were no object and I could not fail, what would it be? Which is a great exercise to put yourself through periodically. It’s like I want to do an online TV show that is fun and funny and intimate. I want to be able to bring in people I care about I love and interview them and spend time and also be able to help build their celebrity status, their brand and create visibility.

Steve: So you hit on two of the three, so that’s good!

Mike: Yeah, there you go! Nice, thank you. [laughs] And it’s turned out like anything while there’s a whole bunch of additional complexities that I didn’t anticipate.

Steve: Sure.

Mike: And there were a lot of ways that I knew it could make money and it can make money and some of the ways that it’s been helpful has been different than I had anticipated and I’ve learned a lot about… You know, like I’ve got an audience and a list and what they’re used to getting from me is, Mike, teach me something cool, let’s do a live cast and then sell me something. Okay? Doing a webcast, it’s not like, oh yeah, so you’ve got a show, well what’s the outcome? They’re not waiting for a weekly show from me. The hard core folks are of course, but they’d rather continue to consume from me the way they’ve been consuming.

Steve: That’s smart man! I mean you conditioned your people to know that hey, I’m going to educate you and then I’m going to ask you to buy something. Most people make the mistake of just educating, educating, educating and then oh by the way, buy something from me and it works for some but for most people it does not.

Mike: Right. If I just stuck to my knitting which is do events to sell things, that’s easy. Doing a show on the other hand I’ve learned, that’s a long play for a new audience. So it’s a different approach than I anticipated, so I’ll just say… But going back to answering your question, so that’s kind of the reinvention part. It’s just reinventing a new business and a new business model and playing around with some different stuff, but the making it stick part is something Ed and I talk about a lot which is I’ve been journaling a lot lately and I meditate daily, so I use a program called Headspace, it’s an app you can download and I believe the mechanism for making stuff stick, there we go, that was the beginning of a drumbeat, just one beat.

Steve: [laughs]

Mike: No, but it’s a matter of just getting super, super present with time and practicing gratitude. As stupid and ridiculously simple as that is, I think the nature of being a human is we focus on what we don’t have. And the other day, and believe me I can make a big long list of all the stuff I want to do and what isn’t done in order to make that happen, what I’m waiting for and how I need someone else’s help to do this. There’s just like a million loose ends. And if I stop for a second and think about okay what do I have, right?

Steve: Yep.

Mike: I’ve got cash in the bank, a remarkable family, an unbelievably you know – a studio, I’ve got a following, I’ve got an audience, the ability to make a lot of stuff.

Ed: Very attractive marketing partner.

Mike: Exactly, with a buttery voice.

Ed: You skipped that part of the list [inaudible 34:10]

Mike: No, I was just going to spend 10 minutes on it. I was just getting to Ed.

Steve: And most importantly the bank accounts that you have with cash in them, they are not frozen, correct? So you can actually access them. You are one step ahead of where I am right now.

Mike: [laughs] There you go.

Steve: Literally, all my accounts are frozen right now. So I have no sh*t, like literally! That’s a whole story for another different day.

Mike: We didn’t talk about merchant accounts before you did your launch.

Steve: Well no, it’s not even a merchant account thing, it’s a whole other story. We’ll catch up over Liquor.com later.

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: [laughs]

Mike: So I know what it’s like. Years ago, it wasn’t that long ago we’ve been a launch dependent business for a period of time and we had a big launch and our merchant account provider froze 1.2 million dollars of our cash.

Steve: Yikes.

Mike: I could make payroll a week and a half later. I invented a launch, got a new merchant account, invented a launch and managed to pull it off by asking people to hold off getting paid, etc., etc., and we turned it around and generated probably like four or six hundred thousand dollars. It ended up being a million and some dollar launch in 30 days.

Steve: Hmm. Wow!

Mike: Because I was f’d, completely f’d and guess what? It took 7 months to get the next four hundred thousand and eventually started releasing it several months later but like in 50 grand increments. We were so f’d but the whole point is…

Steve: You can say f*ck, it’s okay.

Mike: Okay. Nothing better than a little emergency to a…

Ed: Is that what the f was for?

Mike: Right.

Mary: Make you become very creative.

Steve: [laughing]

Mike: F truck, F truck that’s what we call it. Fire truck!

Steve: Yeah, necessity is truly the mother of invention, I mean it’s like…

Mike: Totally. So I know what it’s like to be in that spot and it just makes me crazy.

Steve: So you’re thinking Long Tail here, man. Literally, it’s like, the show thing, because 24 minutes I get that you’re setting it up, you want to get syndicated, you want to get picked up or maybe you just buy your time and then you sell the commercials, but the breakeven proposition on that is hard enough. There are people who are scratching their heads going damn Mike you did a 9 million dollar launch back then, you did a 3 million dollar launch here, you did this, that and the other why on earth would you…

Mike: Um hmm, I’m bored.

Steve: Well, there you go! Why would you be shopping for…

Mike: I don’t give a rat’s ass about the way things were. It doesn’t excite me and it doesn’t serve I don’t think, my greater purpose now. Does that mean I don’t want to do a couple million dollar launch?

Steve: Right.

Mike: We’re in the midst right now planning out our next 100 days. Now the days of the 10 million dollar launches are fairly limited for a variety of reasons, they’re harder to do right now.

Steve: Sure.

Mike: The mechanisms that made them work and also just some of the market mechanisms have changed up, but I will say I’d like to serve more people a slightly different way and also when we were doing those huge launches, there was a period of time when the company was – at our peak we did 13.2 13 point some million dollars in a year, I wasn’t taking home a lot of that because I was reinvesting most of it in the business.

Steve: Sure.

Mike: And we grew so fast and I had people who weren’t telling me the truth who I trusted about what was going on and I was producing, producing, selling, selling but on the back end there was money just being pulled through the company and I wasn’t aware of it. So it’s a matter of building an infrastructure you can trust and you know also I’ve had a couple of partners over the years who’ve I’d paid the…

Steve: Yeah, you’ve paid the price on, yeah like literally.

Mike: They left and I paid them. You know it was that kind of a thing so.

Steve: Alright, let’s do this, we’re going to talk a lot more with Mike Koenigs here on Reinvention Radio with Mary Goulet, Rich Otey and White Wade, the whole gang here. Alright we’ll be right back after this.

[Commercial]

Steve: Alright, welcome back to another edition here of Reinvention Radio. I’m your Host, Steve Olsher, Mary Goulet, Rich Otey, Mike Koenigs’ in the house…lazers. White Wade, Kelly Poelker somewhere holding it down production wise, thank you Kelly, our producer-extraordinaire. We love you. Alright, Mike before we run out of time because Lord only knows that if we keep going down the path that I take us down…

Mike: Lordy, Lordy, Lordy…

Steve: You will not have an opportunity to tell anybody whatsoever about like how do they find out more information about you, where do they go, where’s the best place for people to find out, like about the Mike Koenigs show and you in general.

Mike: Sure.

Ed: There’s a chat room on AOL that we’ve been hanging out a lot.

Mike: Been hanging out on Prodigy.

Steve: Other than the Russian bath house, where you and Ed obviously met and talk about making things stickier…

Mike: Don’t be worried about two naked dudes hanging out in a big tub you know there’s nothing to worry about that at all.

Ed: Jenny…

[Talkover]

Mary: Girl in the house.

Mike: So I’ll give you one place, so youeverywhere.com is where you can learn more about the businesses and you can get some of our books and articles and videos and then the show is on my website which is my name, but there’s a short cut link mrbz.com, mrbz.com, kind of like Mister Biz.

Steve: Kind of like Mr. Bold but not!

Mike: That is… I don’t know what to do with that one.

Mary: [laughs]

Steve: Alright, my DJ name, it’s been that way forever. Alright, let’s do this. I want to make sure that people have an understanding of exactly what they should be doing if you were their personal coach right now you obviously are a huge advocate of the online space, I mean you have been in this industry for probably longer than…

Mike: Since 1981, do you believe it or not that’s when I started getting online.

Steve: That is amazing! So you were one of the guys who had like the Morse Code thing and you were in the BBS rooms?

Mike: It was called an acoustic coupler modem where you actually took your phone off the ringer and put it in two cups that the modem ran at…

Ed: Like from war games.

Steve: [laughing]

Mike: 110 bauds, yeah, 300, 400 bauds. Like you can type faster than the data that was going through the line almost.

Steve: That’s super impressive. True story, I got on line in 1993. I feel like I’m late to the game here, but the internet…

Mike: That’s like toe AOL days.

Steve: CompuServ’s electronic mall, we actually launched on there. So the internet was so slow at that point that like if you wanted to see a picture of a pretty girl, like you know it would take like 16 minutes to get like one jpeg.

Mary: [Laughing]

Mike: And then your modem would cut off right when they’re getting to the n-i-p-p-l-e.

Steve: No, no, no! I got so good at it that literally by her eyebrows, I could tell if I wanted to see more.

Mike: Yeah, hit cancel, find a new one.

Steve: Yeah go to the next photo.

Mike: God!

Mary: Why am I here again?

Mike: Better compression.

Steve: …‘cause you love us. Alright so here’s the thing, you’ve been online for a long time.

Mike: Yeah.

Steve: You’ve obviously are betting big, big, big on the future here. You know what’s here to stay, you hang with people that are making really good money…. What do you tell folks who are in this world just getting started or those who’ve got a little bit of – maybe they’re moving down the path just a little bit. If they had to focus in one particular arena right now, where should they focus their efforts?

Mike: Well, I will first of all say building your credibility and building your brand, building your visibility is first and foremost the most important thing because that’s where you get genuine leverage. You want someone to see you as being more valuable than your competition.

Steve: So taking two steps backwards, like by going on Reinvention Radio to build your visibility and your credibility and that sort of thing.

Mike: Holy crap!

Steve: So you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get…

[Talkover]

Mike: I’m watching my bank account here. I’ve dialed in and things just keep on racking up the orders.

Steve: And it’s frozen! [laughing]

Mike: $3,000, $3,000, $3,000 just coming in every second. It’s like the old launch days.

Steve: Nice! Alright, so…

Mike: The answer to the question is: believe it or not, I tell people, write a book and become a bestselling author and the reason for that is it’s the most effective way to get leads online, it’s the best way to get speaking opportunities, to get like an interview, so we know each other, but if we didn’t know each other and I wanted to get interviewed on podcast or on television, on radio, traditional radio or television or online, being a bestselling author gets the host interested and you’re seen as being more valuable.

Steve: Do you think that still carries the same weight though in all honestly because we know we can game the system. I mean we can game iTunes, we can game Amazon, I mean hell, we can game The New York Times bestseller list and people that we know…

Mike: You can, yep.

Steve: …including one that is sitting in this room right now has actually done such a thing.

Mike: Sure.

Steve: So do you really think that it still carries as much weight?

Mike: I do. I’ll tell you why. It’s because I think if I’m in a room and I meet someone and my competitor hands a business card and I hand them a book or vice versa and I write down my contact information inside that book someone’s going to take notice. They’re not going to throw away the book, usually not, right? It still has value and what’s important about it is you can state who you are, what you do and who you do it for on a package that’s respected.

Steve: Um hmm. So it’s kind of like a business card nowadays, right?

Mary: Absolutely.

Mike: It can be and also I’ll tell you two stories that will make this relevant. One was with Kevin Harrington. I met him at an event. I knew his story and if you don’t know who he is he is the guy who was on Shark Tank the original and he also produced some of the most successful infomercials of all time. Including… who’s the guy who died a few years ago?

Mary: The OxyClean guy?

Steve: Yeah, we know who you’re talking about.

Ed: Ron Defield.

Mary: No.

Mike: No, not (Ron Defield 44:30) – not an old guy, a younger guy. Ron Jeremy. [Laugh]

Mary: Dang it. Now, it’s going to bother me.

Mike: Bob something or other. You just look up Bob. If someone’s online right now they can do it for us. But, here’s what happened. Walk up to him and he says I’m catching a flight, here walk with me for a second. I handed him my book and I wrote my phone number and my email address and I said, here’s the deal man. I’ve been following you forever, I’m friends with people you know, and I’d like to talk to you about my video stuff. And he goes, okay, and I hand him my book and it was like at the time maybe 100 pages long. So, 4 ½ hours later I get a call from (Kevin Ting 45:04), he says I read your whole book on the flight and let’s talk and let’s do something.

Steve: This was before takeoff by the way. [Laugh]

Mike: In this case he had flown, he had landed, but the whole thing is – a shorter book is a better book. It has a higher probability of being read, it turns out that 80 pages is actually an ideal length for your first book…

Steve: Really?

Mike: …and the reason for that is it has a 60 to 80% chance of being read. Something that’s 200 pages or more single digits. Okay.

Steve: Interesting.

Mike: Next thing is another flight I’m on and I overhear a couple of guys in front of me saying, hey, you know who that guy is up there? And they’re like – that’s Richard Dreyfus. I’m like – holy sh*t that’s friggin’ awesome.

Mary: He’s in Encinitas. Olivenhain.

Mike: He does he lives just up the street Olivenhain, that’s right. So, I’m like, God, Jaws, Mr. Hollands Opus, and I always love chatting with a celebrity and I’m like, okay, how can I connect with this guy? I want to turn this into an interesting exercise. So, it turns out I knew a little bit about something he had, which is he has a foundation. Well, my wife has a foundation. I’ve raised a lot of money for the foundation and I looked up what he was doing and he teaches – his foundation’s about teaching Civics…

Mary: Yes!

Mike: …bout civic mindedship. It’s really a great idea and a concept. So, on the way off the plane, I grabbed my book and I walked up to him and I said, Mr. Dreyfus, my name is Mike Koenigs. I have an idea about how you can raise more money for your foundation. He turned around and looked at me, grabbed my hand and he said, “I need you.”

Steve: Wow!

Mary: Nice.

Mike: He goes, walk with me.

Steve: In that voice too. Oooh.

Mike: In that voice. It was just like that. Nice little boom, boom, boom. So, he says walk with me. So, we’re walking down and he goes, now I’ve got to catch another flight heading down to Austin after this, and he goes as a matter of fact I’m probably on the same flight, I’m heading to Austin too. He says let’s walk to the next gate together, let’s see if we could sit together. So, along the way I do the same thing, I give him my book, I write in and put my phone number and my email address and he ended up convincing the hostess to move the guy who is supposed to be sitting next to him somewhere else.

Steve: Nice!

Mike: So, I sit next to him the whole way, grabbing pictures… By the time it’s done I had him scheduled to be in my studio exactly two weeks later.

Mary: Nice, very nice.

Steve: Very cool.

Mike: We had a two-hour interview and a bunch of other stuff, we stayed in touch. And, so, it’s like…

Steve: And all because of the book.

Mike: Because of the book. And so, I…

Steve: 60-80 page book, it’s still…

Mike: Totally. If you want to meet someone, walk up to them with your Sharpie and at an even or whatever it is you’re going to get someone’s attention, but it’s just – it’s like get past the velvet rope. So, I way, way over-answered that question, but I think it’s a gateway because then it’s easy to build a product based on what’s inside the book, the book becomes a lead generator, it’s a way to start a conversation. And if someone reads whether it’s one chapter or the whole book they know your story, they know your why, they know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for. I’ve also used it as a way – I got my foot in the door of a billionaire; same type of thing.

Steve: We’re going to have to save this for the next episode…

Mike: Oh, yeah, alright.

Steve: …with Mike Koenigs. Alright, so here’s what we’re going to do – you anywhere.com. What’s Vivian’s foundation? We’ll give you the…

Mike: JustLikeMyChild.org

Steve: JustLikeMyChild.org and you also have the MRBZ.com.

Mike: MRBZ.com. Thanks, man.

Steve: Mike’s been fun, Ed’s been fun, good quality fun here on Reinvention Radio. That’s Mary, thanks Rich, thanks Wade, thanks Kelly – alright, we’ll talk to you guys next time here on Reinvention Radio.

[Closing]

End of Transcript

Resources Mentioned

Previously On Reinvention Radio

Reinventing NLP – In this episode Matt explains what NLP really is and how it can profoundly impact your life, the way you view things and how he helps give people all around the world a competitive advantage to succeed – in business, health, relationships and more.