I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Carl Landau Interview: Celebrating Episode #50 -- Our Host Reveals it ALL!

Diana Landau | December 14, 2021

In this last episode of 2021, we flip the podcast-- and Diana, Carl’s wife/content wrangler/blogger interviews the host. As she interviews Carl, they do a bit deeper dive into his childhood, his parent's divorce, the family barrel business started by his grandfather, his late-blooming teens, and his college years.
 
After a few marketing jobs post-college, Carl moved out to San Francisco in his early 20’s, landing a sales position with Miller Freeman, a B-to-B publishing giant (at the time). While working with exciting magazine titles like “World Coal”, Carl realized he could launch a magazine of his own. It also happened to be the early 1980’s in the Bay area, as coding and computers took off. At 26, he launched his first magazine, “Computer Language.” He then launched a magazine a little ahead of its time, “AI Expert.” (Artificial Intelligence)
 
After selling those magazines and taking a couple of years off in his first (un)retirement, Carl identified the craft beer and wine homemaking trends and launched “Brew Your Own”, “Brew Pub” and “Winemaker” magazines. After selling those magazines in the early 2000s, Carl saw that the magazine industry conferences seemed to be only for the big titles, when 95% of the magazine market was smaller, niche titles. (Think Concrete Today, VegNews, Backyard Poultry)
 
Carl launched the Niche Magazine Conference in 2007 producing hundreds of niche magazine seminars and conferences nationwide. He sold that company in 2019. As our audience knows, Carl started a podcast in 2020 during the pandemic, making himself the guinea pig for a show about people who had big-time jobs and now wanted to do something new in their Second (or Third or Fourth) acts of life. He also offers some insights into what it was like to launch the podcast and some news about the new future of the I Used to be Somebody show. Listen in to find out!
 
Carlism Trivia:
What question does Carl NOT ask podcast guests?
  1. What was the worst job you ever had?
  2. Can you summarize your (un)retirement in four of five words?
  3. What is your pickleball experience?
  4. How much did you weigh as a baby?
  5. What was your childhood like?
Email your answer to podcast@pickleballmediahq.com for a chance to win a free Pickleball Media hat.
• More about Carl Landau and the Pickleball Media Team
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by LoveMyHeartStudy.com
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   unretirement   carl landau   anniversary   second act   podcast  

Dr. James Beckett Interview: Sports + Math = Amazing Success!

Diana Landau | January 26, 2021
Carl interviews the one and only Dr. Jim Beckett. Dr. Beckett has lived quite a life—and as he says, “I had a childhood hobby that grew into a successful business and now I'm turning back into a hobby!”
 
He is currently the CEO of Beckett Interests Inc. of Dallas, Texas. He is the founder of Beckett Publications Inc., the world's largest sports and entertainment collectibles publisher, and served as its CEO from 1984 until selling the company for a reported $20 million in January 2005.

Beckett Publications' titles included Beckett Baseball, Beckett Basketball, Beckett Football, Beckett Hockey, Beckett Racing, Beckett Fantasy Sports Powered by Rotoworld.com, Neopets (The Official Magazine), Beckett Pokemon, Beckett Dragonball Z, Beckett Anime & Manga, Beckett Yu-Gi-Oh Unofficial Collector and a number of other titles. Jim has also authored more than 50 sports-related books, including numerous annual price guides in several collectible fields.
 
As a child, Jim lived in 18 houses in 18 years. His father was in the military and then a corporate CEO and it kept the family moving. He said of those years, “Moving a lot with new schools means you've got to be a quick study.” Jim also discovered that his hobby of collecting baseball cards was a great “socializer.”
 
After earning his Ph.D. in statistics from Southern Methodist University in 1975, he was a tenured associate professor of statistics at Bowling Green State University until 1980. Surrounded by so many baseball entities in the region, he said it was an immersive experience. Combining his great love of sports and math, he decided to publish a free price survey to the collector market in 1975. In 1979, he published a full-length book.
 
Living in Dallas in 1984, Jim then published Baseball Monthly magazine. It was such a success he left his other jobs to fully devote his time to Beckett Publications, Inc. Carl noted that he also launched his first magazine in 1984, Computer Language. Their paths and exit strategies were entirely different—Carl sold his magazine three years later, while Jim grew his company over 20 years into an empire. “I’m not really a serial entrepreneur”, he said. “I’m an opportunistic entrepreneur, I had many great ideas, but that one idea seemed to have legs on it and it sure seemed that I should be the guy to carry it forward.”
 
The company eventually expanded way beyond baseball cards, selling 2 million magazines a month. “I think I have the record for the greatest direct mail return, I had a 1,000%! I would send out 1,000 pieces of mail and get 10,000 orders,” Jim told us. Then while actively leading the company, Jim suffered a heart attack. It forced him into concentrating on his schedule and his health. He went into a more executive role with the company, which he didn't enjoy. “I’m a hands-on guy!” Soon he started thinking of selling.
 
In addition to running a successful company, Jim had started a pro-bono consulting business to help leaders and future leaders solve problems. He started having 200 meetings a year with different entities, often bringing in peers to help too. Jim’s love of problem solving has led to more than 5,000 meetings over the years. “It has been so fulfilling,” he added.
 
Now in (un)retirement, Jim is going strong with a daily (yes, daily!) podcast for the sports collector world. Turns out that in the pandemic, card collecting has had a dramatic resurgence. 2020 was the biggest year ever. “I get to have an impact on my industry and influence the influencers. I'm having a blast!”
 
Dr. James Beckett’s (un)retirement advice:
 
“I think people need to find some connection to a passion. It’s not I have to do this, it’s I get to do this. How great is that?”
 
“I was always a person to bring order out of the chaos……as I've grown older, I've realized you don't want to eliminate all the chaos. A little bit of chaos is the joie de vivre.”
 
“Leave the world a better place. Make a positive impact!”
 
Check out the Dr. James Beckett: Sports Card Insights podcast.
 
This week we're sponsored by 032 Outsourcing: Call 214.403.3755 or visit: https://032outsourcing.com/

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   Dr James Beckett   baseball   baseball cards   sports   collector   podcast  

Mike Krukow Interview: Winning Strategies for Life!

Diana Landau | November 09, 2020
Jon_Miller_and_Mike_Krukow_at_2012_Giants_victory_parade.jpg: Bruce Washburnderivative work: Arbor to SJ, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsThe one-and-only Mike Krukow was a guest on the podcast this week. Carl is a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan and interviewing one of his personal heroes was a major thrill! Mike was not only a star pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and then the SF Giants, but after his playing days were over, he eventually found his way to broadcasting, becoming one half of one of the most famous sports broadcasting duos in the country.

 

Growing up in San Gabriel, California, Mike always wanted to be a baseball player. As a kid he was surrounded by baseball, becoming a batboy and playing in baseball games every single day, up and down his neighborhood street. “Kids talked about becoming blue collar or white collar workers when they grew up—I knew I wanted to be a  ”no-collar” worker!” he laughed.

 

Carl asked Mike where he gets his positive energy. (You can even hear it through his broadcasts, one of the many reasons he’s so loved in SF.) Mike said his mother was a nurse who never had a bad day. “She had the ability to pump people up, to be open and always engaged in the conversation. Our house was always the house where all the kids in the neighborhood hung out. It’s about being either half-full or half-empty—it’s your choice how you want to look at things.”

 

Mike last played baseball in 1989. That year the SF Giants competed in the World Series with a motley crew of players that weren’t even predicted to make the playoffs. Carl noted that podcast guest Joan Ryan has a new book “Intangibles, Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry” that was partly inspired by that team in 1989. “We loved each other. We all bought into the concept of giving all that we had for each other every day,” Mike agreed.

 

Mike had 3 surgeries on his shoulder and his pitching arm was shredded. So after that winning season, Manager Roger Craig offered Mike a position as a pitching coach. Traveling with the team, coaches often worked 12-hour days. Mike turned it down. He had 4 kids and his wife was pregnant with the fifth. At each point in his life when he pivoted to something new, Mike made family the priority. Instead of more baseball, he and a college friend opened a restaurant. “Perfect timing—the recession!” Mike joked.

 

He decided he had to learn about everything, from being a busboy, waiting tables, hosting, prep-cook, finance and more. Mike said it was an invigorating time—failure was on the doorstep every day. “I have an incredible amount of respect for the business owners who are willing to risk everything to run their business and create jobs for other people.”

 

Mike became a full time broadcaster in 1994. He’s known for his deep knowledge of the game and his tremendous humor, and is a 7-time Emmy Award winner. In 2014, Mike was diagnosed with IBM (inclusion body myositis) and although he does not travel with the team anymore, you can count on Mike and his partner Duane Kuiper broadcasting from the Oracle Park studios during the baseball season.

 

Mike’s advice will resonate with I Used to be Somebody listeners:

 

“Don’t EVER retire! What’s so wonderful about life is that there are so many new surprises; you just have to look for them. Go out and do something that is creative and fun. Go someplace where you can do it with other people. Don’t just be content with sitting on the couch. That’s where it all ends. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that there are so many new, wonderful things to explore.”

 

It’s pretty evident that nothing is going to slow down Mike Krukow. He is living his moment!
 

 

For more info about Mike Krukow and how to donate to the Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation, visit this website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #9 with Mike Krukow.
 

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   podcast   interview   giants   mike krukow   baseball   unretirement  

Jim Roddy Interview: Take the Big Shot!

Diana Landau | October 26, 2020

Jim Roddy talked recently with Carl about how he overcame personal and career challenges and the importance of making good people great. Jim is author of the new book, The Walk-On Method to Career & Business Success and has been one of the most popular speakers in the technology industry.

 

It takes a unique skill set to have the courage to persevere and achieve your goals as a "walk on" without the benefit of first being recruited or having a scholarship. Jim knows first-hand about the challenge of being a "walk on". In college he displayed that same ingenuity, asking the coach for a chance and through grit and determination eventually earned a playing position on the Gannon University basketball team.

 

Jim saw how these attitudes helped him succeed in magazine publishing and as a national speaker and as a business coach. He learned that other “walk-ons” had used those practices as well and had applied them to their professional careers. His new book features 31 underdog athletes who parlayed their college experience into habits that led to career success. The author has always been inspired by the concept that ordinary people will accomplish extraordinary feats when their energy is properly channeled.

 

Insights from Jim on accelerating your success:

 

1.     Anyone can change his/her attitudes and practices. Resourcefulness is key.

 

2.     Working 24/7 is not the answer. Dedicate time for yourself. Find ways to increase your knowledge and skills but have fun too.

 

3.     Do something meaningful that has an impact for people-- that will in turn accelerate their success too.

 

Jim’s previous book, "Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer" features hiring lessons, interview best practices, and recruiting strategies for managers through the perspective of a cancer-surviving manager. Available in paperback format, the book includes detailed examples and time-tested hiring best practices you can implement immediately at your organization.

 

The Walk-On Method to Career and Business Success was published in Sept. 2020 and is available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon.Learn more about Jim Roddy here!

 

For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #7 with Jim Roddy.

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.

Tags:    blog   interview   podcast   jim roddy   book   walk on  

Michela O’Connor Abrams Interview: Emboldened and Resilient!

Diana Landau | October 19, 2020

In this week’s podcast, we talk with Michela O’Connor Abrams about facing life’s challenges head on and starting anew. Michela is the former CEO of Dwell Media, building the company from its early phase as a small magazine about esoteric design to an internationally recognized media brand. This was a huge achievement: The Internet has changed magazine publishing in dramatic ways and the brands that didn’t learn to develop new channels for their customer base sank quickly.

 

With Michela at the helm, Dwell became a 7-platform media brand. It’s known for showcasing gorgeous photography and innovative design and for bringing together architects, designers, and the trades in creating beautiful places to live.

 

Although there weren’t very many female CEOs 30+ years ago, Michela was a trailblazer in publishing. Prior to Dwell, Michela led companies from startup to exit and turnaround to high growth, at companies like IDG, Softbank, McGraw-Hill, Ziff Davis and Future Media.

 

Then four years ago, she faced the unimaginable. First, her mother unexpectedly was diagnosed with non-smoking lung cancer. Soon after that, one of her dearest friends died. Two weeks after that, her husband died, and then two weeks later her father died.

 

Flash forward to now. Michela says she is “emboldened and resilient.” She said it helped to imagine all four of her loved ones standing in front of her, telling her to go live her life with reckless abandon. “So that’s what I’m trying to do,” she says. I had to answer the question, “When, where and how do I recreate my future?”  

 

Looking forward, she has been eager to draw on her many years of leadership and coaching experience. Michela founded a new media company, MOCA+. Tapping into her vast experience and connections within the industry, she creates a team to help her clients depending on their need: Coaching, fine-tuning, pivoting, buying and selling. She’s loving it!

 

In her spare time, Michela serves on the board of Arcbazar and is an advisor to Turkel Design, Nebia, Aplat Inc., NextPlay, and NewStory. She is a sought-after speaker on leadership, design, and media and is always game to share her passion for good design and business innovation.

 

3 key takeaways on beginning anew from Michela:

 

  1. You choose what “balance” is and what work you take on. There’s so much to get involved in, you have to decide what you really want for you—first.

  2. Ask, “What’s my time worth?” Decide a price/value ratio that not only works for you but for the client as well.

  3. Take enough time off. Michela says she jumped back in after only 2 months but wished she’d taken more time in between business ventures.

 

For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #6 with Michela O’Connor Abrams. For listening details go to our website.

To learn more about Michela check out her website.

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.

Tags:    blog   interview   podcast   Michela OConnor Abrams   adversity   future   new beginning  

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