Pinnacle – Madison/Miles Media

Picture of Mario Medina - Madison/Miles Media - An Agency Story Podcast with Russel Dubree - Episode 37 - Pinnacle - - Available on your favorite podcast app.
Mario Medina, Co-Founder of Madison/Miles Media – a content-driven digital marketing agency based out of Arlington, Texas that specializes in serving small to medium-sized B2B companies. Mario, in his younger years, had grand aspirations of becoming a rock star and even achieved success with a popular song in the Philippines. However, his ambitions extended beyond music. He pursued journalism, engaging in various activities such as writing, editing, and reporting for newspapers and magazines. This path ultimately led him to a career in a previously known custom publishing company, which essentially involved creating printed content for marketing purposes.

Company: Madison/Miles Media
OwnersMario Medina
Year Started: 2010
Employees: 11 – 25

In the bustling world of marketing and creativity, “An Agency Story” stands as a beacon for those intrigued by the raw, unfiltered journeys of agency owners navigating the complex terrain of building and scaling their ventures. This episode, titled “Pinnacle,” shines a spotlight on Mario Medina, the co-founder of Madison Miles Media, and encapsulates a narrative that is as much about personal transformation as it is about business innovation.

At its core, “Pinnacle” delves into the transformative journey of Mario Medina, from his early days dreaming of rockstar glory to co-founding Madison Miles Media, a digital content marketing agency that has carved a niche in serving small to medium-sized B2B companies. Medina’s story is a testament to the power of adaptability, learning from the entertainment world’s hustle to mastering the intricacies of content marketing. The episode stands out for its candid exploration of the challenges and triumphs encountered in this journey, offering listeners unique insights into the evolution of marketing strategies from print to digital, and the importance of storytelling in building a brand.

The discussions are peppered with surprising facts, such as Medina’s unexpected hit song in the Philippines, and humorous anecdotes, including the company’s engagement with dad jokes, showcasing the light-hearted yet deeply committed culture of Madison Miles Media. Powerful quotes, like Medina’s reflections on partnership and growth, resonate with anyone interested in the dynamics of co-founding a business and the personal growth it demands.

“Pinnacle” is more than just a recount of business milestones; it’s a narrative rich with lessons on partnership, adaptability, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. The episode not only highlights the significance of understanding your audience and the evolving landscape of content marketing but also leaves listeners contemplating the value of resilience, creativity, and the joy found in pursuing one’s passions.

Tune in to “An Agency Story” and dive into “Pinnacle” to embark on a journey with Mario Medina. Discover the highs and lows of building a content-driven digital marketing agency, and find inspiration in the power of storytelling, partnership, and the continuous quest for innovation. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, this episode promises a blend of insightful lessons, laughter, and the motivation to chase your own pinnacle of success.


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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up the first big sale, passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth, hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story.

[00:00:41] Russel: Welcome to An Agency Story podcast. I’m your host Russel. On this episode, we have Mario Medina, co-founder of Madison Miles media, a content digital marketing agency based out of Dallas, Texas.

[00:00:52] Russel: Mario is a rockstar turned agency owner. It makes sense given all the ins and outs of marketing he had to learn while his band toured around the [00:01:00] country. Eventually Mario found a capable business partner and retells the wonderful partnership they have developed over the years. It is certainly the result of many a challenge overcome.

[00:01:09] Russel: Listen to how he went from producing hit songs to platinum content and more.

[00:01:13] Russel: Enjoy the story.

[00:01:16] Russel: Welcome to the show today, everyone. I have Mario Medina with Madison/Miles Media. Thank you so much for joining us today, Mario.

[00:01:23] Mario: Glad to be here.

[00:01:24] Russel: Glad to have you. If you don’t mind, start us off with a quick overview. What does Madison/Miles Media do and who do you do it for?

[00:01:30] Mario: We’re a content-driven digital marketing agency, and we serve mostly small to medium sized B2B companies. Think roughly 50 to 150 million revenue. Mostly we’re looking for businesses that have a fairly complex sales cycle, which tends to be the case with B2B anyway, and a longer sales cycle that lends itself well to what is essentially content marketing. We don’t describe ourselves as content marketers to our prospects. They don’t tend to [00:02:00] know the term. Surprisingly we found that out the hard way over the years.

[00:02:03] Mario: That’s how we used to bill ourselves, we’re a content marketing company, but especially at this business size I think businesses, they’re not saying to themselves, you know what I need? I need a content marketer. What they’re saying is, I need more visits to my website. I need to accelerate the sales cycle, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:02:19] Mario: We do differentiate ourselves with content driven digital marketing agency, but have largely abandoned that term content marketing externally at least.

[00:02:27] Russel: Interesting. You would’ve thought by now that would’ve caught more on more in the general business world, but I’ll take it from the expert himself.

[00:02:33] Mario: You’d think so, right? But we even did surveys of our own clients and asked them to describe what we do and pick the term that’s most appropriate. None of them used the term content marketing. I think they get that they need to, again, tell their story. When you get them excited and going about what they want to do with their marketing efforts, they are saying everything but the term basically.

[00:02:55] Russel: Let’s go back in the time machine for a second. Has entrepreneurship always been on the forefront of your [00:03:00] mind? Where did you anticipate your career heading in the early days?

[00:03:02] Mario: As a young man, I thought I was gonna be a rockstar. Once I put that aside I studied journalism and did quite a bit of writing, editing, reporting for newspapers and magazines. That led me to work in what used to be called a custom publishing company, which is essentially a print content marketing company.

[00:03:17] Mario: Adam Weiss, the co-founder of the business, my partner, had a long history in sales and particularly in sponsorships, the more complex sales, say setting up sponsorship programs for NASCAR, things like that. He coincidentally worked at the same custom publishing content marketing company that I did, albeit at a different time.

[00:03:35] Mario: I kept hearing stories about this guy who had built up this amazing business and saw the size of the portfolio he had built. When I left that company I went looking for Adam. We’d decided that we were gonna do this ourselves in our way. I don’t wanna say too much, cuz I don’t wanna disparage the company I used to work for, but the long and short of it is we had strong feelings about what we thought was the right way and still believes it’s the right way.

[00:03:57] Mario: Without jumping up and down too bad on a [00:04:00] previous employer who I learned a lot from, we wanted to make sure we were focusing on the customer’s bottom line first, and then everything falls into place after that. Instead of being known as the guys who are gonna squeeze you for a penny kind of thing.

[00:04:10] Russel: You’re certainly not the first person to start their own agency or probably business period because of some misgivings or raw experiences from a previous employer. You certainly have plenty of company to surround yourself with. I’m more curious about that rockstar component.

[00:04:23] Russel: How far did you get in your rockstar career? I’m trying to picture the Mario I see today in a rockstar format.

[00:04:28] Mario: I know, right? There’s some visual dissonance there. Without going into depth too much we had our album listened to, it made it all the way up the chain at, I think it was Capital.

[00:04:37] Mario: All the way to Clive Davis, who personally rejected us and said it was quote too obvious.

[00:04:41] Russel: That’s pretty cool. That’s not just like a ragtag garage band scenario.

[00:04:45] Mario: No. Yeah, this was a real deal. We had a hit song in the Philippines, which sounds like a Simpsons joke.

[00:04:50] Mario: But we did have a hit song in the Philippines, and our music was played on Muzak so I might be in the grocery store or Denny’s or whatever and hear our songs playing. That’s pretty neat.

[00:04:58] Mario: I’ll tell you what though, I [00:05:00] didn’t expect it to do but it actually helped in forms some of the things that I needed to know as a business owner, as an agency owner. In terms of working with creatives, in terms of having to hustle and develop the relationships. Also realizing that one, you make a livelihood or try to make a livelihood outta something that you love doing.

[00:05:19] Mario: Sometimes you find yourself stepping further and further away from that very thing that you love. It was good prep in essence.

[00:05:24] Russel: All right. Well at some point I need a copy of this song. Little things you find out that you didn’t know before. That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that.

[00:05:30] Russel: When you left that company and that unfortunate situation you mentioned, did you absolutely know this is what you were gonna do is, my next venture is starting my own? Or did it happen more organically?

[00:05:39] Mario: I knew that I loved doing this and I knew that I could do it if I had the right partner.

[00:05:44] Mario: I tend to be an introvert, which is ironic it gets, given what I’m doing right now, what I’ve done in the past, but maybe an extroverted introvert. Someone who will avoid the business conversations and doesn’t want to have to deal with the legal and a lot of those types of things.

[00:05:57] Mario: I was incredibly fortunate to meet Adam [00:06:00] who is a master of those. He’s one of the most gregarious people I’ve ever known who also happens to be extremely creative, but is willing to set that aside for the business. He’s a great painter and illustrator, but in any case, he focuses largely on the legal, the business development, HR, relationships, if you will, culture, and lets me focus on operations, problem solving, process, et cetera.

[00:06:22] Mario: I knew I wanted to do it, but I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. Arguably I could have found someone who was an employee and made it happen. But I’m blessed to have met him because so many people cautioned me and I’m sure him as well.

[00:06:34] Mario: Be careful going into business with someone else. It’s very tough to have a partner. And we have had a couple of bumps along the road, but thankfully nothing major, nothing that caused even a flat tire. Just a few bumps. What are we at? 13 years? It’s 13 years as of this month. I know it’s 13 years because I quit that job that I had a week before my son was born and my son turns 13 this week.

[00:06:56] Russel: Was that your first child?

[00:06:56] Mario: My second child. A big leap of faith on Adam’s part [00:07:00] and our wives and my wife in particular had to be willing to say, okay. Adam had his kid in school too, so it wasn’t scary for him.

[00:07:05] Mario: I had to say to my wife, hey, you know that baby we’re gonna have in five days? Not sure how we’re gonna pay for anything cuz I’m quitting.

[00:07:11] Russel: Oh man, what an interesting time. I want to definitely circle back more to that partnership. I know that’s been a strong point in your business journey, but let’s get back to that fretting. You’re starting an agency, an interesting time, right? And then a leap of faith, as you said. Once you got into it, was it no looking back or did you have some reservations at some point in the early days if this was the right decision or not?

[00:07:31] Mario: I think that there were certainly scary moments. Particularly at the beginning when we had the bulk of our revenue coming from just a couple handful of clients. But once I got the hang of what we were doing, a year, two years in and realized the freedom and that sounds corny, but the joy that comes from running your own business. I was determined to never go back. Adam is as well, and he and I have both said, if for some reason this went belly up, or on the other hand if it was a huge success and we sold it, we would find another business to do together [00:08:00] because we enjoy working together and we enjoy not working for anybody else.

[00:08:03] Mario: Everybody must feel that way to a degree, right? To have to set your own hours and to steer your own ship is an incredibly liberating feeling. I’ve described it as there’s a lot of freedom, but of course you have a freedom with these heavy shackles at the same time because, you are the business, at the beginning.

[00:08:18] Mario: At the beginning, you have complete freedom, but you’re not gonna take out running cause you got these heavy shackles that are everywhere with you, that you take everywhere. Certainly, we both felt the burden, the responsibility of what we’re doing and sometimes still do, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

[00:08:31] Russel: You can always go back to the band, you can always circle back to the rockstar. I think you’re past the going belly up point.

[00:08:36] Mario: I think so. We hope so. We always talked about the, like they say, a wolf at the door. I don’t think he’s gnawing on the doorknob anymore, but he’s always out there somewhere, man.

[00:08:44] Russel: That keeps you motivated, knowing they’re out there somewhere.

[00:08:46] Russel: From a service offering perspective, how or how not, I guess you could say, has what you’ve offered as services since you started to what you’re doing today, changed or evolved?

[00:08:55] Mario: When we started, we were purely print. From day one we knew we were going to be content [00:09:00] marketing, right? We knew that we were going to be platform agnostic, if you will, but the fact is our first 3, 4, 5 customers were all print. Madison/Miles Media was essentially a custom publishing company, a content marketing company. We saw, this was maybe eight years ago, as HubSpot was starting to gain traction.

[00:09:16] Mario: We became one of their partners. I say that like it’s more than it is, you sign up and you’re a partner. They provided some great training and helped us get our heads around what it would take to do for clients in digital what we’ve been doing in print.

[00:09:28] Mario: We fumbled our way through that for a little while until we got pretty dang good at it, until we grew it enough that we could find subject matter or I should say specialty experts.

[00:09:39] Mario: Here’s a frightening thought. The magazine’s easy. I used to be an editor. I used to be a writer. I used to be a managing editor, et cetera, et cetera. Easy. Adam used to sell ads for magazines. We got that.

[00:09:48] Mario: With digital, not so much. I hadn’t done SEO work. I certainly know what it is and had some familiarity with it, but I couldn’t claim it as an area of expertise, likewise with PPC’s, et cetera.

[00:09:57] Mario: I had to become sufficient, barely [00:10:00] proficient at those things. Until we got to a point where we could bring on the real subject matter experts. Thankfully we are there now and have an amazing team. But certainly some growing pains right there getting to that point, given that it wasn’t my area of expertise. Familiarity, yes. Expertise, no.

[00:10:15] Russel: As I understand it you still have a print arm of the business, but at some point along the line, maybe as the sophistication and the knowledge around content marketing, at least in concepts, maybe not terminology as we established earlier. How did you solve those very two different dynamics in the business and maybe the good, bad, and ugly of how those two dichotomies evolved?

[00:10:34] Mario: Initially for many years we kept banging our head against the walls, insistent that positioning ourselves as a content marketing firm would work. One of the important traits of entrepreneurs is they tend to be very stubborn and feel like their way is the right way, and that can be great.

[00:10:48] Mario: It can also mean you don’t listen to the obvious signs sometimes. We finally listened. We heard our prospects. Over time you start to hear some similar themes, right? Literally people saying, oh, I didn’t realize you do magazines. On [00:11:00] the flip side our own magazine customer saying, I didn’t know you did digital work.

[00:11:03] Mario: Or worse yet, someone who was, let’s say they’re a digital marketing prospect, they go to the site and say, what is all this magazine stuff? It was just too confusing of a message. Sure, if you’re Marriott, Coca-Cola you know the term content marketing and the concepts very well. This isn’t to disparage, small to medium B2B organizations, but they’re just less in tune with that terminology.

[00:11:22] Mario: It just became very apparent that we needed to clarify our message, number one, and then to drill down, number two. For magazines, while we still do some things that are not for associations, it’s not the only thing we do, but the only thing that we pursue on the magazine side is association work.

[00:11:36] Mario: Likewise on the digital marketing side, we do B2C work. We have some now, but it’s not what we pursue. We certainly don’t pursue enterprise level or a 1, 2, 3 year old company that’s just barely getting funding, et cetera. We found a sweet spot on both sides, and the more we drill down, it creates a virtuous cycle where we become even more expert at it, even more proficient at it, and then that builds, attracts more clients and so forth.

[00:11:59] Russel: I’m very [00:12:00] curious, you can call the two different sides of that business a tale of two different eras, or maybe not. I’m curious how you see, is there still a long term outlook on the print side?

[00:12:08] Russel: How does that side of the business look for you?

[00:12:10] Mario: I love storytelling, so I genuinely mean this when I say that I love magazines and the digital world. I think some of our employees, some of our team members will say they’ll be the last man on the island holding the magazine, and the others don’t care at all about magazines.

[00:12:23] Mario: From an ownership perspective, Adam and I love both sides of the company and both divisions, if you will. But I will say that people who say, it’s almost a cliche now to say what I’m about to say about the cliche. The cliche is print is dead, now the new cliche is to say no, print’s not dead. It’s just changing.

[00:12:39] Mario: But it’s true. It becomes what it used to be more, which is more of an exclusive higher end vehicle. You think of, Porsche had its magazine. It may still, I don’t drive one, so I have no idea. Jeep is probably a better example.

[00:12:51] Mario: They have a killer custom piece that they print. These niche oriented or higher end pieces in prints still make a lot of sense. At least for now they make a [00:13:00] lot of sense for associations as well, which have gone through all kind of trouble with the way information is now free.

[00:13:05] Mario: Associations used to be classic older school business, right? We own the information and you need to join us to get the information. Now people just go get it. There’s still a lot of benefits to associations. One of which is print for our clients without fail, the number one or two benefit they have according to membership surveys is their magazine tends to be an older audience.

[00:13:24] Mario: They still love their print 50, 60, somewhere in that area as well.

[00:13:28] Russel: I’ll say in my own sense, ever since Kindle came out I only read on a Kindle. I just can’t beat the note taking aspect of that but I still go buy books that I’ve read on a Kindle in print form because I love a book.

[00:13:39] Russel: I love the physical, tangible nature of it.

[00:13:41] Mario: That’s right. I’ve said this too many times to prospects, and so Adam is like, when he hears this, he’s gonna roll his eyes that I said this again but it’s true. The moment that we start giving digital yearbooks and disk drives of the family Bible and we start passing that down, that’s when I’ll admit that print is in trouble.

[00:13:58] Mario: But that’s not gonna happen [00:14:00] because again, some things don’t work digitally. They’ll always have a special vibe and feeling that comes from having that tangible piece in front of you.

[00:14:08] Russel: I wanna talk more about that partnership and obviously that’s been a strong place in your business. You’ve mentioned some growing pains and things you’ve had to navigate over the years. What are some of those challenges and then clearly it sounds like you’ve grown stronger, because of them. Why do you think that is?

[00:14:21] Mario: On the whole, we’ve always had a good relationship.

[00:14:24] Mario: I think we’re fortunate in that way. Part of it’s because honestly, because Adam is an unbelievable sort of mediator, he’s very good at conflict resolution and part of it is because he tends to be more methodical. But that’s where some of the tension can come in because I tend to be more by the seat of my pants.

[00:14:39] Mario: Which is ironic given that my work is largely around building processes, but I tend to operate seat of the pants, a lot of intuition, and I like to move things along very quickly. I’m very outcome oriented, that can cause some tension. And I think it was largely a matter of frankly me realizing that, there’s a reason, we’re working together and it’s that we don’t operate the [00:15:00] same way.

[00:15:00] Mario: And that it was a ridiculous effort on my end to say no, I need you to do X, Y, Z this way, because that’s how I work. I want things to go this way because again, that’s my perspective. The thing that opened my eyes was the book traction with the entrepreneurial operating system and realizing that in terms of the company, a lot of our roles are spelled out in that book where I end up developing processes a lot and he ends up doing a lot of relationship building.

[00:15:28] Mario: To realize the value of that from my perspective and stop insisting that he specifically worked the way I work was eyeopening for me. It just let any incident we had in the room or just let it right out, which is a great thing. The brief way to say it would be I needed to lighten up back off some.

[00:15:43] Russel: Yeah, I think I can point back to a similar mindset shift in my own partnership experience, and I think we may even talked about this in our first conversation of just about how it sounds a lot like a marriage as well.

[00:15:52] Russel: You can focus on the positive qualities and embrace those and get along, or you can try to fix the other side and bend it [00:16:00] to your way or something like that.

[00:16:01] Mario: That’s so well said, because that’s exactly what it is, right? And I’m not gonna get into my business, but I think we all can look at times where we’ve said if he would just stop doing this or she would just stop doing that, instead of just going, that’s what she does. That’s how he is. Just accepting it and moving on.

[00:16:15] Mario: I don’t claim to be some expert at this, but I’ve read several books in the past few years on stoicism that anytime I find myself thinking I’m gonna fix someone, taking a pause and going, okay, use this opportunity to think about what I need to fix about me in this situation. It’s been enormously certainly with the business, but also personally as well.

[00:16:34] Russel: Great advice. That’s a great perspective. Thank you so much for sharing that.

[00:16:38] Russel: Growing pains are always constant in business. When we solve one thing, we instantly create another set of problems for ourselves in all the different areas that those may manifest themselves over time.

[00:16:47] Russel: Where are you currently at in the business? What’s the growing pain you’re currently focused on?

[00:16:51] Mario: I think that it’s getting to the next tier or level where we can advance some of the leaders that we have, a couple in particular, into [00:17:00] an roles with even more responsibility.

[00:17:01] Mario: And then backfill. You’d love to have redundancy in every position, but we’re at just that size where you lose a few clients, and they come and they go, but that means we have to either be far enough ahead of the curve that we have enough in capital to sustain that staffing. Or we have to make staffing changes as we go along.

[00:17:20] Mario: Either one there’s obviously pluses and minuses to both. So you keep thinking, okay, at the next level when we hit blank in revenue, then we’ll be there, and like you said, I’m sure they’ll just be a whole new set of issues. I think that’s one of the biggest issues right now is wanting to expand the staff and get deeper, have some redundancy at the different specialty positions.

[00:17:38] Mario: But it took a long time to get where we are now, which is, we needed that quarterback, we needed an amazing quarterback, which we have in our digital director. We needed that running back and that receiver, now you can start to build around it and that’s great. Just hope like hell that our quarterback doesn’t fracture his a wrist or something.

[00:17:53] Russel: Texan comes back to football.

[00:17:55] Mario: It’s all about football, man.

[00:17:56] Mario: Look at us with Dak Prescott. That’s why I worry about having a [00:18:00] backup quarterback.

[00:18:00] Russel: Oh my gosh. We could have a whole podcast on that conversation for sure. Maybe that’s even a good segue to the next question, and there’s certainly something else I wanna circle back to.

[00:18:08] Russel: What does that future look like for Madison/Miles Media? Where are you trying to take this thing?

[00:18:12] Mario: I try to look at things longer term. I will tell you that I’m wired to look about five feet in front of me. But even when you’re running a marathon, you can do well by just staring at the jersey right in front of you, staring at the number of the shirt right in front of you, focusing on it and staying right with it.

[00:18:26] Mario: You’ll still be in the top five if you take that approach. Which isn’t bad. So the jersey in front of me for 2023, we want to have an even more profitable year. We’ve been focusing in the last couple of years on increasing our prices, and of course that means growing our profit margin.

[00:18:40] Mario: We’ve been less focused on top line growth and more on the profitability side. Then in the next three to five years, we wanna see that expand, where we maintain that new and increasing profit margin at probably no more than double the size that we are now. Neither one of us, I don’t want to, Adam doesn’t want to become, this big $10 [00:19:00] million plus shop.

[00:19:01] Mario: I’m sure some people listening might laugh at that number. But there’s a complexity and a work level that I’m not interested in at this stage in my life. I don’t need it all, I want to grow it.

[00:19:10] Mario: We both want to grow it to, again, about double the size we are now. And I think that’ll do.

[00:19:14] Russel: That’s one of the greatest things about owning a business. You can make it whatever you want it to be.

[00:19:18] Russel: If you go back in time, at what point in time would you go back to and what advice would you give yourself that would put you in a lot better spot or easier path maybe to the spot you’re in today?

[00:19:27] Mario: I might be by design, by choice, one of the least nostalgic, reflective in terms of the past kinds of people you’ve ever met.

[00:19:35] Mario: I am focused on, again, that five, 10 feet in front of me, so to speak. But if I went back in time, frankly, I just wouldn’t. I wouldn’t go back in time. My kids are hitting high school and junior high now and boy, that just reminds me like, I’m damn sure wouldn’t go back there.

[00:19:48] Mario: But what would I tell myself as a younger guy? It would be nice if I had, again, maybe lightened up a little earlier and be less insistent that things go to my direction and [00:20:00] desire earlier on. But again, I’m a small fish in a big ocean kind of thing.

[00:20:04] Mario: Michael Jordan, I bring him up all the time. If my wife listens that she’s gonna laugh, here he goes again with the Michael Jordan crap. Michael Jordan said he didn’t regret anything he’d ever done because it got him to where he is. I am extremely blessed to have a great business partner, great family, great business. It might be that a lot of those mistakes I had to make to get here.

[00:20:21] Mario: I don’t know that I would tell myself anything as a younger guy. I can tell you this for sure though, no matter what I said, I wouldn’t have listened. Past Mario wouldn’t listen to this old man. He wouldn’t listen, not for a second.

[00:20:31] Russel: Yeah, that comes up when I do ask that question too. Doesn’t matter what I go tell myself anyway, I’m still not gonna listen. I’m still gonna do it my way.

[00:20:37] Mario: It’s the type of people you’re talking to. You’re probably the same way where, you have to be stubborn and insistent that you know what’s best and you’re gonna do it and you’re gonna watch me succeed. And then you also have to somehow magically have the opposite of that quality where you know when it’s time to quit and you have to give up and you have to listen to reason.

[00:20:53] Mario: That’s the whole challenge, right? Finding which of those outfits to put on for the day.

[00:20:58] Russel: Love that perspective. Last big [00:21:00] question for you, Mario. Are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

[00:21:03] Mario: Adam and I were talking about that and we think that it depends on the level how do you define entrepreneur?

[00:21:09] Mario: If we’re talking massively successful, world-changing entrepreneurs, anybody anywhere near Elon Musk, Thomas Edison, Tesla, Steve Jobs, those guys are born. Now, they’re also born into an incredibly fortunate set of circumstances, but they are born. But I think at the level that we’re at for most of us in the real world.

[00:21:28] Mario: You can become an entrepreneur. I don’t think if as a teenager, anybody would’ve said, oh, this guy’s gonna run a business someday and he’s going to lead a team of this and that. I think that would’ve been one of the last things they’d say. I don’t know about with Adam.

[00:21:39] Mario: As it happens, everything I’ve done has led me to this point. I learned how to run a rag tag business with my music career. Learned how to tell stories on behalf of businesses with my journalism career. Everything Adam did in his selling career has led him to be able to build the kind of sponsorships and clientele and relationships that he has.

[00:21:57] Mario: That doesn’t answer your question, does it? I think it’s both. You have [00:22:00] to be fortunate to have some qualities that fit, and if you don’t have those, you better develop them quick, like a hard head and a lot of resilience. Then you have to, like I said before, be ready to set those exact same qualities aside when they’re not helping you out.

[00:22:13] Russel: Some of the best answers to that question have been also prefaced with the notion of, this isn’t a good answer, I don’t know. And then I get some of the best content from that. So you just fell into that bucket, sir. That’s some good stuff.

[00:22:24] Russel: If people wanna know more about Madison/Miles media, where can they go?

[00:22:27] Mario: The digital part of the company, which still holds the name Madison/Miles Media, is at The magazine division is I don’t know who cares, but technically we’re the Madison/Miles Media group, which has M three magazines, the print side, and Madison/Miles Media, the digital side.

[00:22:45] Mario: We’re talking about a couple dozen people here. As far as team members, we’re not gonna set up shop with too much delineation. It’s separate arms of, it’s Madison/Miles Media.

[00:22:54] Russel: Old school, new school. Go to Madison/Miles Media, go search Mario Medina. I’m sure you’ll end up in the right spot. Thank you so much for [00:23:00] being on the show today, Mario. So many great insights and takeaways.

[00:23:02] Mario: A ctually, there’s a mass murder in Texas named Mario Medina, so you might not find the right one. If you go searching at Mario Medina.

[00:23:11] Mario: Just know that I’m the journalist, not the mass murder.

[00:23:13] Russel: Good to know. Always good to know who shares your name in the world. Good caveat to that folks. Mario, in fact, is not a mass murderer, so thank you for that.

[00:23:21] We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction.

[00:23:44] Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to 5 million dollars and more in revenue. To learn more, visit[00:24:00]

[00:24:00] Mario: Every day tends to be a lot of fun and very funny. I think part of it is because of the DNA that hopefully Adam and I have put into the business. He and I are very frankly, juvenile sometimes. We shared an office for a long time, right?

[00:24:13] Mario: We started in our own bedrooms, respective bedrooms, made it to a Denny’s that we met at, made it to a virtual office, made it to a real office and so on. So we spent a lot of time together in close quarters and came to realize that we both have the same junior high boys sense of humor. And we’ve maintained that.

[00:24:28] Mario: We have tried to temper that where appropriate while still having a lot of fun. But I will say that we have a creative and very silly lighthearted team that likes to cut up. We have a daily standup meeting and I go to the standup meeting every morning to hear the jokes, not necessarily to know where everything stands cuz they’ve got that handled.

[00:24:45] Mario: But just to hear the jokes. For instance, they do a dad joke of the day. So our newest team member comes on and decides she’s gonna run a chart of the dad joke of the day and grade joke, and then track things like who said the joke, which person said it what the temperature was like, what the reaction was like.

[00:24:59] Mario: And then she puts [00:25:00] together this massive spreadsheet that she maintains. Then at her quarterly meeting comes together with this quarterly dad joke. The dad joke of the quarter and has this fantastic presentation walking us through the quote unquote science of how she chose this. That’s the kind of nonsense that happens on the team because you’ve got these creative people who you have to let ’em run and do what they do.

[00:25:20] Mario: That’s the kind of fun they have, man. I don’t know what you build that to but you gotta make time for it.

[00:25:24] Russel: That sounds like it’s a YouTube channel or something like that. That sounds like an instant, hundred thousand views to some dad joke science.

[00:25:30] Russel: That’s pretty compelling.