An Interview with the CEO
This weeks article was written by Diana Jordan.
I started working with Morty this past September. Even from our earliest email exchanges, I could tell he wasn’t the typical CEO. His passion for his profession and clients was infectious, and I quickly realized I had aligned myself with something rare. The weeks that followed indulged a deeper discovery of the man behind Mad Strategies.
At every opportunity, I peppered him with questions that allowed me to learn more about him and better focus my lens. In the process, it sparked my idea that others would also benefit from knowing these charming fun facts. Alas, after some MMA style arm-twisting, I convinced him to let me share them on his blog.
DJ: So, who would play you in the movie of your life?
DJ: Who has been the most pivotal person in your life’s journey?
MS: That’s a tough one. I have a few. Other than my wife and children, I’d have to say my mother, who taught me to be kind; my father who taught me to be thoughtful and thorough; and Roy Williams who taught me what marketing really is.
DJ: Professionally speaking, what was your biggest game-changing moment?
MS: On break from University, I was on vacation and was looking for something to read. I came across Roy’s book, “The Secret Formula of the Wizard of Ads”, and that was it. My career’s trajectory became crystal clear.
DJ: What was the most valuable business advice you ever received?
MS: My dad would say “Pull, don’t push.” Don’t force things. Picture an industrial line where the people in front of you are waiting on you to get something done. That pressure makes you feel compelled to do something because the person ahead is depending on you. It’s a powerful reaction, caused by will and energy, rather than force. Marketing is the same concept.
DJ: What was your greatest lesson or mistake?
MS: Not letting go of bad people, and certainly not getting rid of them quickly enough.
DJ: What was your scariest business moment?
MS: When I was operating my clothing business I was deceived by a partner. Poor production and delivery caused me to work over time to be able to deliver to the customer. I barely covered my costs (and underwent tremendous stress). In the end, the important thing was that I delivered and never worked with that person again.
DJ: When did you know you had arrived?
MS: I’m not sure if I have – I’m still looking for that feeling. I think it may always be a work in progress.
DJ: What would the title of your autobiography be?
MS: “More Stubborn than Smart.”
DJ: Ever had a near-death experience?
MS: Not yet. Hopefully never.
DJ: What’s the one piece of business advice you would give to your younger self?
MS: It sounds cliché, but it’s so simple and true: Always trust your intuition; believe in your instincts because you’re wiser than you think.
DJ: Who would you pick to have dinner with, if you could pick anyone dead or alive?
MS: Because I am an event producer, I would jump at the opportunity to sit with a set designer named Es Devlin. I would use the dinner to pick her brain and collect as much industry insight as I could.
DJ: How would you spend your last day on earth?
MS: This one would absolutely be with my wife and kids. Nothing fancy; I’d just want us all together, hanging out in the living room.
DJ: Finally, what is the one thing you wish your customers knew about you?
MS: That I really care about them. That I’m genuinely and completely invested in their success.
DJ: I’m glad I saved the best for last! Thanks for your candor.