On the show with me today is Martin Rawls Meehan, founder of Reverie.com, a company that sells premium sleep systems. In Martin and I’s discussion, we talk about how he used an iterative approach to uncover the idea to start his company; the steps he took to create the products, find distributors, create effective digital marketing programs; and so much more.

If you love hearing a great bootstrap startup story, this interview is just what you are looking for!

Full Transcript

Trent:                  What’s up everybody welcome back to Ep261 of the Bright Ideas Podcast, I am Trent Dyrsmid your host, thank you so much for joining me today. I am here to help you discover what works in e-Commerce by shining a light on the tools, tactics and strategies that are in use by today’s leading entrepreneurs.

On the show with me today is an entrepreneur by the name of Martin Rawls Meehan, he’s the founder of a company by the name of Reverie and they sell Premium Sleep Systems, you know the kind that you pay $6-$7-$8000 for. And in Martin and I’s discussion, we talked about the Internet of approach that he used to coming up with the idea to start the company because he had a number of ideas in the beginning.

And then once they figured of the idea, we talked about the steps that they took to validate the idea to get traction, how they found distributors, how they started to take the company online and so much more. So, if you love hearing a great bootstrap startup story, this interview is going to be just what you’re looking for so please join me in welcoming Martin to the show; Martin welcome to the show.

Martin:      Nice Trent, it’s great to be here,

Trent:                  It’s great to have you on. So for the folks who may not be familiar with who you are, let’s start there who are you and what do you do?

Martin:               I’m the founder and CEO of a sleep technology company called ‘Reverie’ means I spend my days trying to figure out how to help people sleep better, pretty exciting.

Trent:                  Does that mean you get to have naps in the office and call it work?

Martin:               Sometimes I don’t have as much free time as I’d like but we do have a nap room and if you come to our offices you’ll see people lounging around on zero gravity quite a bit usually working but definitely relaxing.

Trent:                  Zero gravity? How does that work? What do they look like? How do they do that?

Martin:               So your gravity position we actually have a bed that has become a true zero gravity but there’s a position called Trend Belumber where simulates weightlessness, takes pressure off lumbar curve by elevating the added bed to a certain degree less than that but to a certain degree that our true zero G-Bed are just bad actually till she backwards to really get you in that weightless position; so takes pressure off of our lumbar curve, allows the blood to flow more, more evenly throughout the body, relax your central nervous system and just calm you down. So, your heart rate goes down and you really are sleeping or not it just feels for back issues, like it’s a miracle.

Trent:                  Pretty cool, for the folks who maybe haven’t heard of Reverie and don’t know what your business is or how successful it is, what would be one of your company’s big success metrics revenue or profits or number of orders or you know whatever so there’s someone who’s listening to this can kind of get an idea of what size your company is?

Martin:               It’s a great question you know we’re good size company but actually the metric that we use internally to measure ourselves is a number of people that are sleeping better with Reverie. So right now, I think that number’s approaching Five million.

And our goal over the next 10 years is to get to Twenty million so it gives you an idea of where we are where we want to go. Yes, we’ve got Five million people out there that are sleeping better with Reverie. Mostly our power based products but that’s pretty significant.

Trent:                  Okay, so the day to run outside of your garage are long over. Let’s go back a bit to childhood; so where did you– think you said you’re in Detroit now, is that where you grew up or did you grow up somewhere else?

Martin:               And so I was born in Boston and moved to Wisconsin when I was 5-6 years old lived there for a couple years in Madison and then moved to Detroit when I was 8. So, most of my formative years are in the Detroit area.

Trent:                  Okay and did in your childhood was there anything to indicate that you were going to be an entrepreneur or did you run a lemonade stand or have a lawn mow business or something like that?

Martin:               I don’t know, it’s interesting, I’d have to ask my parents that one; frankly you know look I was always very independent. You know I probably a little bit rebellious, I wanted to do things my way, I never really– the idea of work for somebody else that really excited me. I sold knives in high school so to make money, I thought it was kind of professional right I did whatever you know whatever it took. I was more about success, more about not being bored or anything else.

And so, I guess it was there but if you had asked me at the time it’s not something that I would have said like I want to be an entrepreneur or like that. My parents are both Professors, I didn’t really know what that meant.

Trent:         And the nice company, what’s the name of that one?

Martin:      CUTCO [inaudible 5:44] if you ever heard of them.

Trent:                  My Mum …. CUTCO when she was in college;  I asked her the other day and I said you know you don’t strike me as a sales person she said, “Oh I just want to be like my parent’s friends and then when I run out of that list”

Martin:               It’s a brilliant marketing strategy frankly, I got beyond you know the relatives said first degree unless it gets a lot harder but you know right you know I did it for about 2years really two summers.

Trent:                  So, before you started Reverie, you started in 2003 is that right?

Martin:      Yes, 2003 we started the company.

Trent:         Okay, so what were you doing just before that?

Martin:               Before that, I taught for a year at a University in China and then I got my Master’s degree at the London School of Economics.

Trent:                  Okay so you were kind of looking like you’re walking down the footsteps of being a Professor like your folks and then you decide you’re going to start a sleep company, how does that happen?

Martin:               Yeah a little bit, a little bit. You know I was doing some stuff on the side with the guy that I found a business within 2002 to help pay for school. So I guess you could say I was already starting to feel out that path, I think for me. I love being a student so you know I got my Master’s Degree, got my Law degree, did a business program way I’ve done a lot of different things over the years.

I think what I realized is I like to learn, but I don’t want to be a full time Professor, that doesn’t excite me, I like to apply it in real life and so yeah I mean you could I guess on paper it looks like that but I think really it was more you know just continuing what I’m really doing now which is just, I’m always about continuing education, I want to improve myself but the reality is I don’t I couldn’t see myself as like a Professor. Maybe you know an adjunct which I did for brief period I’ll pay the bills when I first started the company right but you know I don’t see myself as a full time Professor like my Parents were.

Trent:         So where did the idea come from then?

Martin:               Well, Reverie evolved so much in 2003 you know one of my best friends from high school and I– you know we talked about doing something together after college and he had a project for his Master’s degree Parsons and he had a project associated with dreams in a multimedia environment and we were rushing on that and frankly we had a bunch of different ideas said just like look when you first get started especially things are set fall under a lot of other stuff.

And one of them is related to sleep and beds and stuff like and that one we really sort of tried are really, really stuck and that’s kind of the origin of Reverie. A lot of different ideas right I’m understand if you just figured that one out but there’s a lack of one

Trent:                  I want to dive into that a little deeper we could because I think it’s a big area or it’s an area that is really common for new entrepreneurs to get stuck as in I don’t have any ideas or I’m not sure which idea I should pursue or what have you and so what I’ve heard you say just now is that you have a lot of ideas and then I’m going to guess that you probably read some experiments, ran some tests, you try different things so can you expand on that how you iterate is that I know that this is the one which you do.

Martin:               Yeah it’s interesting with hindsight I can reflect pretty well on what we did I think at the time it was a little bit less planned, it just kind of happened and probably happened more because of the personalities involved but we tried stuff and we were not afraid to fail.

We failed, we learnt from it and we moved on and you know the things that were working we kind of down those pathways and things that clearly weren’t working, we would just stop. And interestingly enough, the adjustable bed really’s what got the most traction relatively early on and that’s really where within that you know all the different things we talked about you know sleep kind of gotten traction and then within that, the adjustable bed really got the most traction.

And so that’s really where I am focusing but lots of different trial and error pieces and failing quickly which is something that I’ve learned now is a great thing to teach and a value that we talk about at Reverie but at the time, it was just you know us kind of being unafraid to try new things and not worry about failing.

Trent:                  So back in 03 which was pretty early in the world of the Internet, were you guys online from day one because when you say got traction, I want to know what does that mean does that mean that brick and mortar stores where you stock these beds or were you selling them online, like what did it look like?

Martin:               Yes early days it was really trade shows, talking to buyers for brick and mortar, yeah even some e-Commerce; so we were an e-Commerce ourselves right it was really me just going out and talking to people I’d met a trade shows, making cold calls, whoever would talk to me were listen to me and you know I had you know all these different things that you know I had in my suitcase products when it came to sleep right and that was the one that just seemed to resonate the most with people simply because there weren’t that many people that were providing that technology. And so you know as we talk about the different things we can do people’s you know their eyes kind of perked up good timing I think overall.

You know that the specialty that a market if you a think about temper predicts to convert those guys they were really just starting to make a name for themselves, so the idea of technology in a bed system was just starting to make its way into the marketplace and so I think we are timeless pretty good there also.

And so, how did you because there’s a bit of chicken and egg thing that goes on, so you’re testing this idea but I don’t imagine you have manufacturing skills figured out like you maybe have a prototype like what would you actually even have for a product so that you could show, whatever it is was?

Martin:               So we had some suppliers that we had talked to, we said, “Yes, we’ll make this for you at roughly this price if you can get us orders” and I just kind of rolled with it; you know and went out in I remember [inaudible 12:25] one of our first major customers, leave the name out right one of our first major customers. The bed that I used to sell the entire program [inaudible 12:34] program my uncle and I had the Jerry Reagan in my grandmother’s garage. I mean he literally Gerri good thing we’re cutting we’re spending it with electronics that don’t really go on it right, we’re just trying to make this thing work for the presentation like things go up and down you know move right so I’ve got I’ve got something to show.

And then you know we basically, you know we had people who most of the time it’s not really that technical issue right now trying to say all right but that’s a different you know what’s the size of the scope of this. It’s about the functions and your promise to deliver quality product and really what it comes down to is you know even if somebody says, “Okay, I’m going to trust you” you’ve got to deliver.

So, the sale is one thing actually delivering on it was another and I spent an awful lot of time over Asia first couple years as this literally living in factories, I get on a welding machine if I needed to; whatever the heck I need to do like are you going to figure this out or lots of learning there I didn’t have an engineering background so I ended up learning a lot of stuff on a wide taking engineering classes you know where I could so I could figure out how to actually you know deliver what our customers needed.

Trent:                  And you were to bootstrapping this thing from day one?

Martin:               Yeah pretty much, pretty much my co-founder but a little bit and yeah I was pretty much bootstrapping I mean which is well when you go out…

Trent:                  Which is why you are still kind of doing the professor gig on the side so you could have grocery?

Martin:               Exactly, exactly and look I mean part of the deal was we go out and you know in the same way that you go on your customer saying, “Hey, believe in me” the same way you’re going here supplier saying, “Hey, believe in me”. For a lot of the suppliers this is a new market for them, they were excited to get involved so there was the trust factor in how it was needed that massive expenses so there wasn’t that much that they needed to figure out a way to flow and then it just came down to you know could we deliver on both ends? And that really is just you know it’s great, [inaudible 14:48] and you get through it and we were very fortunate we did.

Trent:                  So, once you got it figured out, okay we’re going to go with this product in this market, you’ve made some calls, you’ve got a little bit of traction and now it’s time to you know make a business out of it, what were some of the very next steps that you took at that phase in the journey?

Martin:               Well, got ourselves some trade show space, hired a couple of people, brought some of the patent sales reps on, started doing some more brand a you know really trying to you know do all the things that you do when you’re you know you’re running a business and trying to build up you know brand name and reputation.

I would say probably the most important step was getting the trade shows, sign a permit trade show space in Vegas. And you know I think really, really started to invest in the R&D side, intellectual property side of things, you know it was really kind of a wide open space at that point so we were putting a lot back into how do we design the next thing,  the next generation of products, a lot of creative thinking going to back I think that’s probably what pushed us along I think we were you know we were young, we were edgy, we were nimble, every one of these meetings we were bound by the limits of what had been done before.

We’re still a little bit… you know our industry, it’s an old school industry and technology is not synonymous with the bedding categories definitely it wasn’t 15 years ago. So we come in and we’ve got all these more ideas and we’re the first company to develop beddy control to arrive at that time. I thought right there was no I thought that also you can tell about the iPod which is super cool back then we don’t see greatest thing ever going to these meeting people.

Now everyone’s got a habit but at that time, you know like we’re going to meetings, it’s kind of a tough sell but then you get in starts to resonate with some people and you know more and more people buy in and start to build a reputation and then everybody wants your product because you know you guys are on the cutting edge of everything.

Trent:                  Would you in hindsight would you describe your company as engineering driven or marketing driven? Back then versus now because maybe it’s different?

Martin:               Engineering driven back then for sure I’d say engineering driven; I still think we’re very much— that’s still part of our backbone you know creating innovative designs and leading the marketplace in that way but we do an awful lot more marketing and we’ve got our you know great sales team and we do all kinds of things really well today I think back that was the focus.

Trent:                  Because back then you probably didn’t have any competitors whereas now I’m guessing you have plenty of competitors so the marketing is— there’s not so much product differentiation between your products and your competitors’ products to maybe it comes down to better marketing to keep your market share or gain market share would that be a reasonably accurate statement?

Martin:               Well, we definitely a much smaller pool of competitors back then; that pool’s getting a lot larger over the last few years in our categories exploded really since 2011-2012 like it’s grown quite a bit so the number of competitors is significant, I think marketing is definitely very important.

But you know we’ve not gotten away from our roots, you know we have a saying, “If we can’t add value to the end consumer with a function, we don’t do it” so we’re not just going to throw something on there, check a box and say that we have it we force ourselves to figure out how to add real value to the end consumer.

So, you know I think all the all the functions that we add those are those are things that our marketing team does a great job of marketing to the end consumer but I think by holding through to our engineering principles and making sure that we’re doing things right. That’s what holds up the marketing; I mean so much of our business comes from you know referrals and people saying, “Hey, like that’s a great product from you, let me refer you my friend” that type of thing so it’s you know I think they go hand-in-hand I do.

Trent:                  I would agree with you I think one supports the other as well; so let’s fast forward in time a little bit when did you start to sell online?

Martin:               I’d say we officially started to sell online probably about 7years ago but we sell online, we focus on selling the sleep system so we don’t sell a power base only we sell the mattress and power based, our retail partners will be the ones that are you know selling the power based. So, you know that sleep system purchase is typically $4000-$6000.

So, our online sales you do you know people do go and buy it online that does happens but for the most part they’re looking at you know looking at us online or doing their research and then they’re calling us. So, the online sale for us is a combination of an e-Commerce you know all on the website plus a phone calling, it’s hybrid it’s not a direct I mean people just use the website but we’ve been doing that for 7years

Trent:                  Okay so I would also guess that Digital Marketing plays a big role in making the phone ring.

Martin:               100% helpful in getting people to the site making the phone to ring all of the above and that’s huge for us, absolutely huge.

Trent:                  Okay so in the journey of your we’ll call it digital marketing because whether they check out on the phone or they check out of the shopping cart of so much care it’s that they found you online, they consumed the content online and that they pick up the phone and place an order.

What were some of the biggest milestones in that journey both positive and negative; if you had a pick maybe 2-3 that will standouts of that 7year period what comes to mind for you?

Martin:               So, positive I think so I was able to get my wife to convince her to leave her consulting job and I offered her a consulting gig and come over and be our CMO. So I’d say that was pretty significant because she knows a lot about marketing and the digital marketing and I really didn’t so that was very, very significant. She came over and led that; I think when we installed the broad sales force on our CRM and really built out our call center around a robust CRM on the different platforms to plug into that so that we were able to really begin to look at the metrics and evaluate performance in a more analytical way, I think that was very significant, both those are positive.

I think what we’ve seen over the last couple years which is probably more of a negative is that the amount of noise in the space has increased like exponentially. When we first started doing this, nobody is doing a bed in the box; that that idea by the way has been around for 20 years-30 years like people were doing that in the 90s I’m quite sure you know people are saying, “It’s new, no it’s not new, it’s been around but credit to the folks that repackaged that. Credit to them but now there’s something like 200-300 bed in a box brands. On top of everybody else which was already fighting for air time so to speak and so there’s a ton of noise so the cost to reach the customer is higher and the amount of noise that the customer has to filter to do is also a lot higher.

So, it’s good to change things I think for the online game in a negative sense but look it’s forcing everyone to evolve which is get I think at the end of the day that competition is just going to bring new ideas and ultimately we’re going to figure out a better way to do it.

Trent:                  So the brand purple while I was seeing them everywhere on YouTube; there are just and I don’t– I’ve never bought a mattress from them, I don’t think I you know I don’t think I would get really targeted. And then lately I don’t see any other stuff, were they little bit of a splash like that they get a bunch of funding and go blow it all adds up maybe they went away or you know anything about them?

Martin:               No, so you know I’ll say a couple things, we make their power bases so I don’t think that’s a secret. And so we make their power bases you know, I know those guys well and what I’ll say is they did get some funding and I think they’ve been evolving as an organization I mean they you know Tony and Terry pairs a couple of great inventors I think to create a great product, they’ve brought on a team that team is a ball and they did get some funding, they went public.

I think they’ve got a really great product and they’re figuring out how you know a way to reach the end consumer where in the beginning it was all digital and I think now you know this brick and mortars, digital I’m not sure I don’t have any inside knowledge as to where it’s going but I will say this, I mean I think you know it’s a good group of people I think the don’ts are really interesting things. But I think you know Mike my 2cents again they haven’t said this but my guess would be whether it’s time or whether it’s anybody else what you’re seeing is you know people are saying, “Hey, we can’t just do online” and they’re doing some pretty cool online you know like viral videos and advertising, you can’t just do online yeah you know kind of great stuff as you know it’s great marketing.

You’ve got to have a hybrid model, you’ve got to go out to retailers you’ve got to work with them, you can’t you know how some of the some folks to that are retailers are even, you know they’re good, they’re bad, that kind of model but the reality is that I think the future is a hybrid, I think the future there’s an online component to it I think there’s a brick and mortar component to it. I think doing one without the other is not going to be a viable model long term. And I think the experience test and see what strikes you talk about you know on the channel I think we’re talking a lot about the chance that we tell the global head of Mexico well the retail spoke or Innovation Summit great guy, great talk you know he was talked about on the press to talk about on the presence of Microsoft not on the channel where it’s not just enough to have a you know he has different channels but it has to be seamless experience between the channels.

And then also, you know kind of directing people to the brick and mortar via the digital like in real time; it was really interesting but I think that’s right and so I think back to your question about purple start whining around here, I think again no special insight but what I would guess is that that’s that they’re experiencing that just like everybody else.

Trent:                  So, it’s actually very interesting I’m glad that we went down this rabbit hole because I have thought of a few questions that are pertaining to some a project that I’m working on that I think the audience but also find the answers to be very valuable. So, I formed an organization to buy existing e-Commerce brands, the type of companies that we’re looking to buy are probably doing 3million-5million a year in revenue and all of that revenue is online, there makes for consumer products that you know basically finish the lock so they’re not the products to make but what were you pricked my interest and most of these companies revenue will be coming from their website and around.

And you talked about this hybrid model and what I think about okay so if we were to buy one of those companies and we wanted to start looking at wholesale, I got a higher reps I got to go to travel to me it seems like a whole lot of noise and expense because I’m an online guy.

Do you think is that one for a company that set $3million-$5million a year in sales with healthy margins, doing an on you know a consumer products are pretty sure online, do you think going multichannel in hybrid is a good use of time and limited resources versus simply taking more of those profits and trying to buy even more traffic and send more traffic to the website?

Martin:               So, what I’ll say is I think it depends on the product in the industry; so going back to the Microsoft discussion you know it was interesting how similar the consumer journey provider computer is to the consumer journey of buying a bed right? And so there are a lot of parallels there, and think about that I mean a lot of people don’t want to buy a bed before they try a bed.

There’s certain things you’ve got to go online for and you know a bed? That you know maybe right sort of do it but I think a lot of people want to try before they buy right very often it’s a decision that a couple’s going to make and you know we still as an industry haven’t figured out how to make that experience a great one which is part of our challenge but your point I think it really depends on the industry, I think if you’re in an industry where customers really benefit from being able to see and use your product in person and I think a hybrid model is going to be the future.

And probably again, I always want to hedge a little because spent on circumstantial probably has to be the right thing for you to invest in, I think if you’re someone, it’s in an industry where the customer doesn’t need to touch your product buy it. I would say it may not be too I mean I don’t think it needs to be a roadmap again you know based off of you know the different circumstances in your organization that is managing a sales force and the distribution all that kind of such can be a giant pain if you’re not ready for it. Don’t dive in because you know if you start doing business with major retailers, sign supply agreements that you can’t live up to, you’re going to end up serious trouble before you know.

Trent:                  All right, good advice, maybe I’ll keep a digital of my first [inaudible 29:55] Let’s talk of about— as entrepreneurs we all experience low points in our businesses where things just go wrong and we don’t get killed in the process. So, thinking back to the no shit moment that you had and then if you don’t want to go into it like super detail that’s fine but can you talk us through kind of what it was or as much detail as you want to provide and then what you did from dying?

Martin:               So I’d say one of the biggest ones you know your early years are the most vulnerable so one of the biggest ones was in 2005, got a letter from a pretty large competitor saying, “We think you’re going to ….. these patents about a bed about 2 years of my business I’m 24 years old 23 it was pretty tight, I was like, “Oh my God, what the heck’s going on?”

So I actually called the guy who signed that they put that number on there and I respect your call but quite well what’s going on? Why did you send me this letter? I think you need a counsel, I can’t talk to you about that. Why did you ask me to call you, thought we can work this out and so you know then I go out and I get counsel and I start to realize that there’s a strategy where you know in order to like an intellectual property like a patent lawsuit, it’s a federal case it’s extraordinary expensive. And you know people can sue you and as long as it’s not a I got a pen and an airplane and you’re selling a car like it’s all of us not stoop or obvious, they don’t throw the case out until it gets to a certain point.

So, whether that’s what happened this case or not I can’t read minds but you know one way that I’ve learned that larger companies will go after competitors is you know do I want to buy them? Do I want to spend a million bucks and I’ll see on when they will have the million dollars it takes to defend it’s the point where the case gets tossed. So, I learned about that strategy early on we had to figure out a way to you know to generate enough business to pay the legal bills; we did everything worked out okay, took a couple years and it was very expensive but you know it worked out.

And it was a really good lesson to me because what we really started to do is focus on not just you know a lot of unique engineering but patenting our intellectual property so that we would not only know what’s out there but we could you know if anybody ever came and said, “Hey, let’s try and sue these guys out of existence over BS” we have some you know since up such a we throw back a word fridge and so you know we now I think on the just a big category like 70 patents I don’t know it’s a lot and we’ve got a lot of our mattress tech as well.

So, we have a very robust portfolio and I learned very early on that you know you don’t want to be– a lot of sleepless nights man you know it really is.

Trent:                  So, if I heard this correctly basically if a big predatory type company try to sue you out of business for BS reasons and in that regard that as you say very educated in the importance of patents now built a healthy fat portfolio so as to avoid that happening in the future.

Martin:               Yeah, I mean I think that’s yeah that’s might be the big takeaway I think for anybody but what I would tell a young entrepreneur particularly if you’re in an industry where there’s a lot of hype here around the products they’re selling, learn about it, be prepared for this and get your own patents on your products because one of the things that happens going through that process is you learn about the priority that’s in your industry right because it may come back and say, “Hey, you can’t patent this because somebody else did this before” or well but there’s two things one you know it helps you on your own engineering journey but you know also touching what’s already out there that what you want to steer clear of right so that’s a good thing.

Trent:                  And when you say learned what patents, what does it actually entail, are you going to the patent and trademark office and are you a …..? How do I mean, that do you have expertise in that area?

Martin:               My experience with this is why I went to Law School and got a Law degree for running my business right; so that’s what drove me to do on top of taking on some of the engineering class but like I mean that was one of my responses so this was like I’d never want to be in a position where I don’t understand this, like it was a scary moment.

And so I’ve learned a ton, read tons about patents, I work directly with our patent attorneys on a lot of stuff like you know our own portfolio I write argued argot I’m not a patent attorney some not you know at that level but I understand enough about how it works I can help the engineering team, I can help communicate, facilitate you know the communication between us and our teaching but what we rely on outside IT firms specialize in intellectual property and saying to develop the stuff for us. It really is a specialty area and you have to find some good people that you can communicate with that understand what you’re saying so that you avoid having the wrong thing or a lot of wasted time back and forth to try to explain your head because I miss money in the legal area.

Trent:                  All right last question before we wrap, if you were interviewing yourself, is there a question that you’d be asking yourself that I’ve not asked you that you think will make this interview more valuable to the audience?

Martin:               Yeah one thing stands out to me, no criticism of your interview at all but you know if I were there, sometimes people ask me like do you have any advice and I hesitate to say advice but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned through failure?

A few things that I’ve learned through failures are the following: As an entrepreneur, you’re going to fail a lot. So be prepared to fail, fast pick yourself up, learn from it and keep going because the name of the game is not you know who succeeds first, it’s kind of who stays with it the longest learns from failure and adapts.

Secondly, you know hire the right people find core values for your organization that fit you and where you want to take the company and hire the right people that get that; they may not be your best friends, they may not even be your friends at all but hire the core values and put them in the right seats and set them up for success on hire SEO and put them in a sales sheet or self-confidence. But if you find the right people and put them in the right seat and you stick to that, now they get this kind of mystical if you really stick to that, you’ll build an organization that’s just fantastic; it’ll almost runs on its own and anything less than that is going to become so headaches.

Trent:                  And to that end, I’ll resort that I discovered at a conference that I was at a while ago I went in to hear a talk from a fast growing company on hiring and how they brought science into the hiring process and much like Myers Briggs and the bunch of these other personality tools they use a tool called ‘Caliper’ and they tried all the other ones, have you ever heard of that tool Caliper?

Martin:               I have not, Myers Briggs I know, I haven’t heard of Caliper

Trent:                  Okay, anyways folks if you’re thinking about hiring I was quite impressed by what they had shown, it was all based upon this tool called caliper it’s not a terribly expensive tool, I’m sure if you just type in caliper behavioral test or something to that effect you’ll find it but nonetheless it’s something cool.

Martin:      I’m going to go do that after we’re done.

Trent:                  Because it’s all of our hiring going forward we absolutely are going to hire scientifically; this this fellow he said every time that he went with this gut and he overrode what the tool said, he failed, failed every single time.

Martin:      Interesting

Trent:                  Martin thank you so much for making some time to be on the Bright Ideas Podcast, it was a pleasure to have you here.

Martin:               Thank you very much Trent; it was a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me.

[End of Interview]

Questions Asked During the Interview

  1. Who are you and what do you do?
  2. What are your company’s big success metrics?
  3. Where did you grow up? Is there a story from your childhood that shows a seed of the entrepreneur you’ve become?
  4. What were you doing just before?
  5. Where did the idea come from?
  6. What’s the first step you took to launch your business?
  7. What did the first version look like? How many products? Where were they offered for sale?
  8. When did you really embrace digital marketing?
  9. How does it play a role?
  10. What is the biggest challenge at this point in the life of the company?
  11. What was the lowest point in your business? How did that affect you personally?
  12. What question did I not ask you that is important to address?

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Today’s Guest

Martin Rawls-Meehan is CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of sleep technology company Reverie, whose mission is to help people live better lives by embracing the power of sleep through customized sleep technology. Since 2003, Martin has been a driving force behind double to triple digit growth and innovation of adjustable bases.

Rawls-Meehan received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, his master’s degree from the London School of Economics, a Juris Doctor in Law from New York University, and a Law and Business certificate from New York University’s Stern Business School. Rawls-Meehan lives with his family in metro Detroit.

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