Have you heard about the trend in storytelling? The idea of becoming a subject matter expert using videos, e-books, blogs, infographics, and speaking engagements is becoming more and more popular. What’s a story? How does a story develop? Why do people care about ‘storytelling’? Matt Dibble of Final 5 joins me for the first Detroit is Different Podcast of 2018 and we explore storytelling and more.
Check out the Podcast Here:
Read Along for the transcription by Brandy Byrd below:
M: Detroit is Different, what’s up?!
K: Alright, we’re perfect. Alright, it is Friday, December 22nd, 2017. Very close to Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah is already going on or it has passed, and I don’t know what other holidays people celebrate, but for us, I have a basketball junkie and somebody that is very linestep with what I do with Creative Differences and Detroit is Different. A content creator, a creative, and like I said, I’m going to lead with basketball because there’s a lot of basketball stuff happening around Christmas.
M: It’s a good time, man.
K: That’s when the NBA season starts. Matt Dibble, how you feeling?
M: What’s up, man? I was just saying I went and saw some high school hoop last night. That game–I’ve missed high school basketball, and I didn’t realize it. It’s so pure, it’s fun, man.
K: Oh yes. High school ball is one of the few games where a team can be down 25 points with five minutes left and just due to the spirit of it and mental air, and then the court and the crowd–it’s a different feel.
M: Yeah, I mean, you’ve got 16 and 18 year old kids, right? I think there’s this idea of it’s never really over, and I think that’s attractive to people, it’s never over until it’s over, and you get that with high school sports. I’m a big NBA fan, too. I love college hoops. College hoops is probably my thing. I’m a Spartan. What do you think about the Pistons this year, man? They’re kind of black and white, aren’t they?
K: Yeah, the Pistons have an identity I really… okay, I’m not the biggest Reggie Jackson fan. So because of that, and he’s a big integral part of the Pistons–
M: What don’t you like about Reggie?
K: Sometimes I think he can be more of a… and I guess it’s not even really his fault in this era of basketball, but I don’t think he’s making the other players around him better, you know? And that’s a very tough thing to say and to do, but if he can make the players around him better, and the Pistons need a guy to do that, and I feel like he could fulfill that role. I mean, when I look at what Oladipo is doing in Indiana this year by making the guys around him better, and he’s playing phenomenal, too, but he’s making the guys around him better, I’m like, damn, Reggie can do some of that same stuff.
K: Because I look at them as comparable players, you know?
M: Yeah, Reggie has had a couple tough years, and I think if Reggie is playing well, then he’s able to make everyone else better. If Reggie is scoring, then he can make other people better, and I think when things don’t go well–so when they went on that eight game winning streak, he was ballin, and him and Drummond looked like this combo that’s going to be tough to beat in the east, and then they lose seven in a row and he’s not scoring and he’s getting upset and him and the coach are taking shots at each other. It’s like, when things aren’t going well, you’ve gotta maintain, too, you know?
K: Yeah, and like I said, so much stuff has grown with basketball. Magic Johnson and Isaiah just had that discussion and I haven’t even watched it yet, but I’m very interested in that. What we think about what has happened in my lifetime of watching basketball–that’s my favorite sport–and just the way that players look at the game, players look at branding, players look at making money, players just look at their whole career, one step is, I want my team to win, and another step is, this is a profession. And I feel like I see that more and more, so I kind of understand you really want to get that 25 points a night so that can lead to your $50 million contract, you know? But it comes at the detriment of the fan for like, man, this could be a better team.
M: Yeah, I know we’re not here to talk basketball. I could, all day, but I think the NBA right now is like there are three teams that are going to win it, or that could win it, and then everyone else is just kind of playing for contracts.
M: You know, like if you’re on the Warriors, you want to get yours, but we’ve gotta play ball. We’ve gotta win, we’ve got records to break, we’ve gotta get that number one seed, get in the playoffs and win another one. But if you’re playing for the Pistons, I mean, you really don’t have a shot, do you?
K: I mean, it’s–
M: Maybe. I’d like to say yes, everyone’s got a shot. It’s only December. But I don’t think they’re even beating the 76ers.
K: Okay, now that’s a discussion. I think the Pistons could beat them, but this kind of relates to what we do as your company and what I do with Creative Differences is, I call it a marketing firm, but in reality, it’s a content firm. Content meaning we create content online, and this is how I think it’s all interrelated as far as the approach of how you do what you do and so much of content, really, I try to break it down as it’s plain, it’s messaging. You want to create a message that can deliver and convey something to an audience. It’s better if you target who that audience is, but even if they’re outside of that target scope, they can at least comprehend what it is. So this is kind of like the call to action these other NBA teams are making right now, like, we’re still going to make a product that we want you to see even though we might not have a chance to win a championship. But we still want you to come to the game outside of the Warriors coming to town.
M: Look at you.
K: And then you can kind of argue that throughout the 90s, I knew the Bulls were going to win, but I still loved basketball, too.
M: That’s a good tieback, the way you tie in NBA basketball back to content creation.
K: Yeah, most definitely. You need to have some form of message and how that message clicks. So what led you into this whole journey of, video is great, photography is great, you’re also a great writer. You’re moving and creating things in a lot of different ways. How did you get into this world?
M: Cool, man. Thank you. So in 2008, I was doing sales. I always had this idea that I wanted to be a business owner. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and so I had heard some statistic from back in the day that 75% of all business owners have sales experience, and we know now that everyone is in sales.
M: No matter what role you play in an organization, you are selling something.
K: Or you should be. Let’s put it like this, if you want to remain in that organization–
M: Yes, yes. So I took a job in sales. I went through a few different companies. I was really good at it, but I didn’t like it, I didn’t love it. I got sick in ‘08, I ended up having a kidney transplant. Interesting side note, my uncle’s wife gave me her kidney.
M: I know, it’s called living unrelated donor, which is really rare. You know, when someone needs a new organ, you generally rally all the people in your world to get tested. But the chances that one of the people in your world who’s not related to you is going to be a match is under 1% or something like that. It’s really rare. And she went and got tested and the first test said that she wasn’t a match. She’s driving home with my mom who had taken her there and she’s saying, it’s just not right. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do.
M: And so she went back two weeks later and she’s driving from Flushing down to Henry Ford and Grand Boulevard, you know, hour and a half drive. She drives back down two weeks later, they do another test, this time it is a match. It was like a slow developing match, just like the universe playing games with our emotions. So I had a kidney transplant and I went back to work and two months later was just kind of different, and I was trying to be the old me, I wanted to fall back into my old patterns, and I just remember sitting awake at 1, because I was on a tremendous amount of steroids, and it’s hard to sleep, and so I was up at 2:30 in the morning one night and I was just writing, and I was writing about the old Matt, and my old tendencies, and then I drew this vision of what I wanted the new Matt, which now saying it, old Matt and new Matt is ridiculous, but I wanted out of life. And it was just, no more barriers, no more of this idea that I’ve gotta have an income for some reason or another. You know, money is important to me, but it’s just a tool and a resource, and I wasn’t seeing it that way, and this was a big shift. So my buddy and I, he had a Sony Handycam, and we went on the streets of Royal Oak and we made a short video about parking tickets. He got a crappy parking ticket and we reenacted it and then we did a couple other funny things, and it got some attention locally. It won a little festival, and we had a blog say, hey, I’ll pay you guys 500 bucks. Every time you want to make a video, I’ll pay you 500 bucks, and I thought, I can do that. It was right at the beginning of video and the Internet. So I quit my job, started doing video production, and it went well. We caught that wave.
K: So basically all self-taught.
M: All self-taught. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2000 with a construction management degree.
K: Okay, definitely self-taught.
M: My buddy taught me a lot. He just kind of had a brain for it, like, he knew how it worked, and he stayed with the company and I decided I was going to do it myself. The quality went way down, so I had to learn and build myself up. We did some pretty cool things back then. Really original boots on the ground type stuff. Companies were making videos. They didn’t even know why. They just wanted videos. It was the thing. So we did that for awhile. I hated it.
K: So you were talking about a lot of companies wanting video, but not necessarily knowing what they wanted to do with video, and they were just so focused on the equipment that you had as opposed to telling a story with what they were doing with video–using video as a vehicle to get their message out. So how did you start to transition companies from just wanting to have something that looks cool to something that actually conveys reasoning why a person would want to purchase or why a person would find value in their service or brand or whatever they’re doing.
M: Yeah, I mean, I saw two very distinct professions in what we were doing. There was this idea of the person with the technology recording and editing, but then there was this idea of organizations don’t understand how to talk to people in 2017. They just don’t. And you talk about messaging, which is so huge, we just say, you’ve gotta say the right things to the right people. So you’ve gotta spend time getting to know those people, what their challenges are, and how you’re helping them overcome those challenges, right? And nobody does that.
K: It’s funny you talk about that. With my staff, and you have a team, too, and I met with you earlier this year when my team wasn’t as active and I was just working with contractors here and there, but I have people in the camp now, and it’s cause for me–
M: Team Khary.
K: Team Khary, Team Creative Differences, in reality, I feel like I’m the last man on the totem pole, because I’m looking to encourage them, because they have a lot of creativity, but just getting them to see a vision of what someone else needs to convey.
M: Hell yeah, like servant leadership. That’s how you’ve gotta roll.
K: And the tough thing with it is it’s caused me to, like, stuff that I’ve been taking for granted like my process in my head to get out. And one of the number one things I always say is, it’s a client offer and every client offer we’re presenting, first off, we need to know why the client made the offer, what’s their value in it. The second thing is what’s the value to the person receiving the offer. The third thing is what problem does the person receiving the offer have. And then the fourth thing is why is what the client offering the best solution to that problem. So I always look at things as problems, and that’s even a hurdle sometimes, because people are like, why would it be considered a problem, and I’m like, we have to present it as if they’re looking for some form of a solution.
M: I would even go a little bit deeper sometimes. It’s the problem and then it’s what the problem means. Like, what is the problem–so we have a technology client that we’re working with, and their big challenge is the CEO does not see–we get a call because the email is down, but the email being down is not your problem, that’s a symptom of the problem. And so I think we as marketers, whatever that title means, I think we need to really be serving our clients by helping them see what that thing is doing to them. And oftentimes when you bring it up, they already know it. The CEO’s problem is rarely the same as the IT person’s problem, right?
M: The CEO’s challenge, they’re often talking about legacy, culture, servant leadership, a happy workforce, and so those challenges are super different. What we need to do is we need to be able to tie how that challenge is creating symptoms that are keeping them from getting what they want. And stories do that.
K: I agree with you, and I would say that generally, whoever is at the top of an organization, most of their challenges are dealing with adjusting the process, but the person that is taking whatever that offer is, you know, whether it be a sandwich, a pizza, whatever, they could care less about the problem–I just want a good pizza. And the person working making the pizza just wants to make a pizza in the most opportune way where it doesn’t affect their quality of life.
K: As they say, the macro versus the micro, but the micro affects the macro, you know what I mean?
M: And in the Internet world, you have the greatest test group ever, and that’s people that have already bought your product. So we need to be talking to those people, finding out what challenges we’re helping them overcome, and then what that means in their life. Because that’s what you then turn around and tell. You turn around and tell them what that means, because people can feel that in their gut. The challenge of, email is broken, you can’t feel that, but that means you’re losing out on potential customers, which means you’re probably constantly worried about payroll, you’re wondering if you can retire. Those are things where you’re like, oof, I get that, man. I feel that pain.
K: So you were talking about switching off into basically telling stories as opposed to focusing so much on tech.
M: Yeah, I think where the Internet sits right now is very small pockets of people who identify with each other. That’s really what the Internet is made up of. The Internet is made up of millions of niches.
M: And so in order to get to people’s ears, we can no longer say, this is who we are, this is what we do, this is why you should buy our product. That doesn’t work anymore. Now we need to be out there and sharing who we are, sharing what we do, giving it away. That’s hard for a lot of people. And we use traditional storytelling techniques to help organizations identify with their niche. As a company, if you go out there and you be the most authentic and vulnerable version of yourself, which exists–it does exist and it’s made up of your people like you were talking about earlier, Khary–if you can do that, people will gravitate to your organization.
K: Now, this kind of goes into reach versus rich, because that’s what you want, but even before we get into that, as you talk about the Internet right now, net neutrality. How do you feel about that and what impact is that going to have on things, as you talk about the different silos that do exist right now of the people that are using the web?
M: I think the pay structure is going to change. I really think that’s going to be our biggest thing. It’s going to break off even more. I’m not super well-read on this type of stuff. I have friends like Tom Lawrence who does his own YouTube channel and David–
K: You know Tom? And Dave. Love both of those dudes.
M: Yeah, I met them on a podcast panel, and it was immediately clear that they were the ones that should be on the panel and not me. They know what they’re talking about.
K: Dave is a machine!
M: He’s a machine.
K: I don’t even know. Sometimes I look at all the stuff Dave does, and I’m like, Dave, what are you doing?
M: And he’s funny too. He’s got it down professionally, and he’s also just kind of a good dude. So I listen to them post about it and talk about it, and I’m like, yeah, that makes sense. I think the Internet is going to become even more siloed. You’re going to get pushed further into your corners of the Internet and you might have to pay a little bit more for it, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge, and in this conversation, I think it becomes even more important for companies to stand up and say, this is who we are, this is what we care about, and starting saying the right things to the right people in order to fit into your corner of the Internet.
K: And as you talk about that, I actually agree completely. In this era, more so than any other era, if you want to make a company where you make steering wheels for yachts and they cost $50,000 per steering wheel, the Internet nowadays means you may only have an audience of 10,000 people on earth, but you can reach them. And if you have good content, you really can reach them.
M: Yeah, man. Look at, I use Insane Clown Posse as an example, I mean, I don’t like the Insane Clown Posse, but they are the most authentic versions of themselves, so when I say that, I don’t necessarily mean soft or kind, but they are taking their personalities and they’re ramping it up by 100. And they don’t have a big following. They probably have 10,000 people, but I think Shaggy’s worth $12 million and the other one is worth $14 million, because they have 10,000 people that are fully bought in, that say this represents me.
K: Yes. I’m a hip hop fan, you’re a hip hop fan, we would never buy a Monopoly board, tampons, action figures.
M: No, I’ve got my corner of the Internet.
K: We would never buy that based on a hip hop artist. We would never say, you know what, I really like Andre 3000, I trust him when buying diapers for my children. But the juggalos buy anything printed with ICP.
M: Yes, yes!
K: It’s a weird thing, because I was talking to a potential client the other day about the value of created content and what ends up happening. I was like, you might start with A, because she has a hair salon, so I said, you realize you’ll start with the hair salon, but you’ve gotta think bigger than just the people you can touch, because as people start buying from you, they accept you in as a trusted resource and an asset. You’re their own little Oprah and you’re curating life for them.
K: Because it’s like, I trust you on this, now I’m willing to try that.
M: Yes, not only that, but the Internet is full of people who seek knowledge, who want to know the secret sauce. So if I’m a hairstylist, I’m out there giving away secrets.
K: And that’s one of the biggest hurdles with some of my clients, is I tell them, they used to say, the game is to be sold, not told. Now I think you tell the whole game, and what ends up happening is a person that’s worth being your customer will say, you know what, I don’t have time to do all that, but I trust and believe that you know what you’re doing, so I’m going to pay you for it. And the type of person that’s so cheap that they’re going to sit and watch all 1,000 videos, then they probably would’ve figured it out anyway, a, and b, you don’t even want them as a client.
M: You’re on it. That’s 100% it. You’re better off giving away, I think, is it Matthew Naimi at the Recycle Now in Detroit, says give away your candy? You’re better off giving away your candy and letting that filter out the people who would never buy from your anyways. The rest of the people will say, this is interesting, I can tell you do it, you entertain me, I want to be in a relationship with you. I’m just going to pay you to do it.
K: And then furthermore, those people that take the candy are going to be the people that lead you to the person that’s going to buy, because they’re going to be your ambassadors. They’re going to say, hey, you want to know how I learned it? I watched this, I watched that. You were just telling me to check out this other website, and I may end up being a customer from them because you’re considering being a customer from them, and it was told to you through a friend, and this is all how the Internet works right now. So basically, two casual conversations will lead to probably two potential sales in 2018 or probably from another conversation. From the one person that sat down and watched it and is doing it for free.
M: I think the trick right now, the thing that the really good ones are doing, is they’re dispensing knowledge in a fun way. And so I try to think about–I have this buddy that I went to college with, and we actually met when we were in kindergarten. We went to the same elementary, he moved away in sixth grade, lost complete contact, and then we ran into each other at a party at Michigan State, and quick friends again.
K: Ain’t that something?
M: Yeah, it was cool. Lived together, we’ve been best boys ever since. And when I create content, I try to think about how I would explain it to him. You know what I’m saying? I want it to be super informational, but also entertaining and real and me, and so I’m a bit–I’m pretty not safe for work, I use a lot of language, and I make some edgy… so any time I try to explain or bring that out, I’m trying to also be that.
K: But that even helps, I would argue because I do a lot of that, too, someone was like, man, you have your dating/relationship podcast, and I’m like, yeah, it is raunchy, but it’s that kind of topic, and when we talk about it, it’s that. I think we’re to a point where it’s not leave it to beaver, you know what I’m saying? That was a different America, everyone is using coarse language.
M: Oh yeah.
K: And we know the difference. If I’m around children, we’re not going to be speaking in such a manner, but I don’t think people segment off. And do you really want to work with the client that’s going to be yourself–you and I are going to wear jeans to meetings sometimes. We have suits, a button-up shirt, and everything, and if we’re opening, we’re going to wear that, but eventually you’re going to see me in jeans because that’s how I work.
M: That’s who I am, and if shit offends you, we’re probably not going to get along. And that’s okay, right? That lets me know that’s one less person I have to worry about marketing to.
M: So I put that out there, and then you know quickly whether or not this is interesting to me.
K: Yeah, and then we don’t have to worry about giving some statement like, I did not mean to say “shit” last Friday. We’ve lost, and I apologize, and I’m going to go into “shit” counseling, or whatever. You know what I’m saying? Something goofy.
M: And you know what’s funny, is this stuff takes work. It’s hard to be real when the cameras turn on and the mic. We go into corporate talk in meetings. We all say “shit” outside of work, but then for some reason, we flip this switch, and it takes practice to get good at this kind of stuff. You’ve gotta get to Detroit is Different, you’ve gotta get on the mic, and you’ve gotta let it be shit. You’ve gotta let it be bad. And it’s going to be, like you said, they can’t all be home runs.
M: It’s going to be bad.
K: They’re not. Even to this day. I’m still learning and I look at stuff and I’m like, that could’ve been better. But I believe also, it’s not quantity over quality as much as, this is what’s so different about the content world. Because I’m a consumer of it. It’s just like when I make rap songs. I’m a consumer of it. So I’ve been listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast for years, and now he has millions of listeners, but I was one of those first listeners, and I was like, this is just cool. He’d sit sometimes and talk for 40 minutes and then sometimes he’d sit and talk for 3.5 hours and people are like, that shit is too long! And it’s like, no, man, this is an interesting discussion because you get the layers and different authors have come on there. It is so unique, so it’s like, you read 48 Laws of Power and it’s like, okay this is great, but then Robert Greens goes on there and it’s a different take. It’s like, how casual is this? Is this just all theory or is this sincerely you? Basically what you said. How much of this is you? How much of this is Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell at the bar? Would he be presenting this information to me, or is this all contrived?
M: So there’s a way to do it, right? There’s a way Malcolm Gladwell does it now, he has a podcast that I really like.
K: And his has gotten way better over time.
M: It has, but he has the resources, right? So he can come into a place, he’s got the best editors, but he’s done the work. So we do work with DTE, and when DTE calls us, we take in six or seven people. It’s a production, because they have the resources. Most people, all you need is someone like you, Khary, and you need courage. You need the courage to say, I made this and I’m putting it out into the world.
K: Now, on the flipside of that, too, it’s funny you said–because people think of their professional thought–and from street guys to people that run million dollar organizations, there’s something about turning on the microphone and turning on the camera that freezes a lot of people up that are extremely charismatic without it. Then you get in there, and you’re like, I can’t carry the weight of this conversation. I like talking, and there’s other people that like talking, but it’s a different art form, but I agree. You’ve gotta get in there, and you’ve gotta be as casual, and you can’t think about, who will I offend and who am I not going to be able to sell to, and I want to be able to sell to everybody, so if I say I’m only really making Kosher food, will people think I know how to make food that’s not Kosher? If Kosher food is what you do–
M: Do it man.
K: Talk about it.
M: Do it!
K: Now along with this, you also have the human dynamic. You’re a dad, a husband, and you’re building your company and I look at you like, damn, this could be real. You have a lot of other young creatives that work with you on your team. What is the balance between that as you see them building their families and doing their creative things? How do you keep your team together as they get opportunities connected to you? Because I’m pretty sure the equipment you offer them and the technical skills they have, your work is great, so what are you doing to keep them on par so that they can stay focused on the vision and then also how do you still balance yourself so everything isn’t just work and you have time where your wife isn’t saying, Matt, I’m about to kill you?
M: I mean, there are points. Last night I was like, I’m going to a basketball game tonight, and she was like, man, you’ve been gone three nights in a row. It happens. I want to answer those questions but let me get this out: I just want to say, I really dig what you’ve got here. I’m not kidding, man. I think one of the hardest things is the courage to say, I made this and you can judge it. But this feels very safe, to come in here, have a conversation, record a video, do a podcast. So I want to say first of all, what you’re doing here, yes.
K: Thank you.
M: There is something here. As far as balance personally, I have a few key areas in my life. The first is my family. I’m a father to three kids, a three-month-old boy, a four-year-old boy, and a five-year-old girl. Two is my work. Three is my health, my body. And then four is my relationships, which ties into my family, too. So it’s really three different things for me, and it’s all very connected, obviously. If something’s not going right in one, it’s hard for me to compartmentalize, but the best thing I’ve ever done is I’ve gotten out of this mentality that I need to get up at–I mean, I get up early because I have kids–but this idea that from 8am to 6 or 7 or 8pm, you’re working never really spoke to me, and so I’ve set my schedule to fulfil my life, not my life to fulfil my schedule. So for instance, we don’t have an office because an office to me feels like a ball and chain. So we all work from kind of wherever. I work from home a lot, we work from coffee shops a lot. I work out every day. I work out at 2pm every day, which is–
K: That seems to be a prime time where someone would possibly want a meeting, as well.
M: Yep. I say no to a lot of afternoon meetings, because I’m not good. I’m not at my best at 2pm. So if I’m in a meeting, I’m yawning, I’m not bringing my full self to the conversation. If I’m sitting at my computer, I’m falling asleep. So I made this decision, every day at 2 o’clock, instead of doing shit sitting at a computer, I’m going to go work out. There was a little bit of pushback at first, but I think the world organizes around people doing positive things, I guess. I think the universe or God or whatever it is, that thing, I think it rewards people who are living their best life. And a 2pm workout is my best life. So I go at 2pm to work out, and I kill it, and then I get back to the office at 4 and I finish working until 5, and a lot of times I have to open my computer at night, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve set myself up for the night. So I have a great evening with my kids. They get home at 4:30, they go to bed at 8, and those 3.5 hours are good because I’ve worked out, I drink three liters of water every day, which I’m actually starting my own podcast about healthy living as an entrepreneur and a dad, and my first one is here’s how to drink three liters of water every day.
K: You know, it is funny you said that. This year, business has grown, but health, because I’ll generally work out three to four times a week, but I was always bouncing around trying to make sure I could meet the demands of different clients, and that’s the other thing that I’m starting to come to amends with. In ‘18, and I know a lot of people say that, but ‘18, I’ve gotta get back on a rhythm, because think better when I work out. I have a whole gym upstairs in my house. I think better when I work out, because even though I’m counting reps and listening to podcasts and stuff like that, I’m still thinking through other steps in life.
M: No doubt.
K: Especially running. I love running.
K: So you saying that, I may adopt that theory of just pick a time, because I used to pick certain days, but then it’d be loops. So I used to do Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, and Monday, but then it’d be weird times, so I’d sometimes be working out at 10 in the morning and then sometimes at six o’clock at night, and then I’d sleep in late and then work out at 10 at night, so it was just sporadic, you know? But I may do exactly what you said.
M: You should try it. Try 2pm. I mean, it also has this “I’m breaking the rules” kind of feeling.
K: Yeah, I was going to say, it just seems like everyone wants to have meetings at like three o’clock. Three o’clock is the classic, like, let’s just meet at three. But you’re right, in reality, the three o’clock meeting generally is–
M: What if you said no, I don’t take afternoon meetings. Would people be like, what?
K: I’m not going to do business with you, nah, yeah. Like, alright, what about this morning.
M: Yeah. I think you could also be really open and just be like, look, that’s my time and I only get an hour a day and that’s my hour. And so I treat it like that. It’s very precious to me. I’ll be there today, and it’s a really important time. I have a lot of what I think are pretty big things going on, and if I think about how big those things are, I get paralyzed. And I want to do big things just like you, so when I’m at the gym, for some reason, I’m able to see things in terms of next step very well. I have a lot of clarity, you know, I’m sweating, I’m working out, and just for some reason, my brain works differently. So I think it’s important. I think it’s driving a lot of what I do. It’s been really powerful for me.
K: I do know that, because when I run and then lift, and I have a heavy bag, so I’ll knock around on the heavy bag, it’s like I’m thinking about a lot of stuff. It could be personal, but definitely business. It’s like you see the next steps differently, because something about being on, and I have different levels of productivity. Sometimes I can just go through looking at pictures like, oh, that’s a horrible picture. That’s one level of productivity, and kind of look at the shoot and I can line up and pluralize and do a little color correction. Then I’ve got very–I like to write when I’m at my highest level of productivity, because that’s when I’m thinking clear and all of that stuff. And then you sometimes have the “can talk to people, interact, and set up a meeting, make a sale,” that’s maybe the second level. But it’s like different ways I think I could be more effective, but it’s good that you’re saying that, because I think there is a level of quality of level that’s sacrificed as you look at–because you’re right, my clients are going on vacation and doing what they want to do.
M: That’s the culture we live in as entrepreneurs, is you’re never turned off and you can’t be lazy. That’s a bad combination. You’re always available for work and you have this guilt around lying on the couch or going to work out at two o’clock. That’s bad. You’ve gotta shut it down. You’ve gotta be able to shut it down. You’ve gotta be able to be lazy or go work out or do your thing.
K: It adds to another form of thought process. And then how have you been able to balance, because that’s the other thing as an entrepreneur, dating or family life. Like, with my mom’s passing, I played more of a role in my family’s life, and definitely thank you for your prayers and everything, because that happened this passed summer, but how have you been able to balance that whole angle? Because that’s always been one of those things.
M: Yeah, I don’t feel like I see my kids enough for sure. There are times when I’ve gotta get out of the house, but I dropped them off today and this little hole in your heart of like, ah, I’m gonna miss you. I want to stay with you and spend time with you. I feel that way all the time, and it’s hard. But I also know that they’ve gotta have their own time. They’re starting to grow up. So it’s a lot of patience and forgiveness with myself. Being okay with the fact that I’m going to miss dinner one night a week. I’m very consistent with dinner. I’m home at five. I don’t miss dinner usually. So I kind of have that as a touchstone. I get them ready in the morning. So when we are together, I try to make it those really important times. They know I’m going to be eating dinner with them, putting them to bed. So when I am not working, I’m trying to just be thankful, show gratitude, have a thankful heart, and then be forgiving of myself that it’s not always gonna work. If I’m killing myself over finding more time for my family, I won’t. That’s the way the world works. If I’m forgiving of myself, I’m patient with myself, I know that eventually what I’m going through right now and the reason I’m not seeing them very much is just temporary. Next week it’ll change.
M: So, I mean, balance is hard, but I think you have to make this choice of, my work is not me. So I think working out has helped a lot. I think the things being an entrepreneur allows me to do is I don’t have to be to the office at eight o’clock, so I can get them ready. I don’t have to be at the office at two o’clock, so I can go work out. And then when I see them at 4:30, I’ve had my workout, I feel good, I feel ready to make dinner and be a part of their lives. So that’s kind of what I do.
K: Alright, so on the more classic Detroit is Different questions, I’ve gotta ask you a couple. First off, 2018, what are you going to be doing? What will we see from your content? What projects are you working on professionally that you want to share? What’s happening in 2018?
M: I dabbled in content this year, 2018 is a big push for us to start taking it seriously. We’re going to start selling some products online. We’re trying to take our process and productize it so that we can get it online and get it to more people. That’s the idea. As of right now, to hire us to be a consultant, you’re looking at 90 days, $20-30,000.
K: That puts a lot of people out.
M: Right, and we live in a city where so many organizations are under-resourced, over-challenged, and so I’m thinking, why is the only way we’re selling this product face-to-face? I can create content, I can give away our stuff online, and start driving people towards telling better stories through the things that we’re sharing and just trying to be more open. I’m starting up a podcast that’s kind of in line with what we were just talking about.
K: Like health and–
M: Yeah, like how to live my best life.
K: That’s cool.
M: Yeah. We’re going to be adding a couple team members in 2018. We’ve got a big nonprofit project where we’re going to be working with 25 different companies to help them find and share their stories. We’re getting funded–knock on wood–I think we’re getting a little bit of funding to do that.
M: Really just growing my learning. I’ve got a lot to learn. So getting better at finding our people and saying the right thing to them. Same things everybody’s working through.
K: So basically finding the right people on your team and then finding the right client. My dad was talking about that, because he’s a CPA. You want to pick and choose who your clients are so that it’s a better work relationship with managing those expectations. So here are some classic Detroit is Different questions.
K: First, what was your first car and what year was the model and what year did you have it?
M: In 1991, I inherited 50% of a vehicle that my sister and I shared. It was a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron. It was maroon red. I loved it. My sister hated it. But I had my license, I had freedom. It had the bench seating, cassette player, I mean, I loved that thing.
K: Where was the first place you drove to when you got it?
M: My dad gave me the whole, hey, can you go pick up a gallon of milk? Just the excuse to drive to the store. You know my old man, right, he’s hard as stone on the outside, but soft as a teddy bear inside. I came in and I had just passed my driver’s license and had the conversation. I wanted my own car. I thought that was happening, but they told me–
K: You got the timeshare.
M: Yeah, the timeshare. My own car was a Grand Am, an ‘88 grey Grand Am.
K: What year did you get it?
M: I got it when my sister graduated, so ‘94.
M: She had needed a car for school, so I ended up having to get my own.
M: I’m very lucky. I have parents that–they took care of us, but there was never extravagance. There was never, like, getting a new car. It’s like, you’re going to get the hand-me-down or the beater, and I really value that. I’ll probably do the same thing to my kids.
K: Ah man, so they won’t be pulling up in the Jetson.
K: We will not see the Dibble sons in the Jetson vehicle.
M: No, the Flintstone vehicle. Yeah, man. I remember I couldn’t have anyone in the backseat. I wasn’t allowed to drive anyone in the backseat. My parents knew me very well. And of course I did, and of course I got caught, and of course I got the car taken away.
K: Nothing’s worse than car punishment.
M: Ah man, it’s the worst.
K: But this generation of kids, they can’t even, like all my cousins, we were so eager to get a driver’s license, but just due to the Internet, they’re not–
M: They don’t even care, right?!
K: Yeah, yeah. Uber and…
M: My nephew is 16 and still doesn’t have his license and I’m like, what are you doing?
K: We were 12 and we were like, I’m gonna go take driver’s training.
M: Yep. Can you go drive me around in the parking lot, dad? Go to the parking lot, drive over the curb.
K: The car was freedom.
M: Yeah, man, it was. And you’re right, that’s interesting. There’s more freedom now because of the Internet. I hadn’t really thought about it. My nephew says, oh, I’ve got friends that drive. But it’s not that.
K: No. We did not want to–like, we wouldn’t mind riding with our friends, but there was not a better feeling than going to that first high school party, pulling up yourself. It’s just like–
M: This is life! I was 16 and early, too, I’m an October birthday, so I was like, the first one.
K: So yeah, you were the man.
M: I was the man. I was like, I’m not going to have people in my backseat, get the fuck out of here. Come on.
K: We’re riding with Matt.
M: There’s people in the trunk.
K: It’s like you look up and there’s a car full of people, you can’t focus. Really, that’s how I learned to drive around Detroit. Those early years, getting a girl’s phone number at the mall, getting lost way on the east side of southwest Detroit.
M: What did we do? When we got lost? What did we do?
K: Depending upon going to a girl’s house, we turned into–
M: Right? Like Pocahontas, man, we’re just like, finding our way. Like, there’s a footprint, it must be that way.
K: Right, and she said a landmark. This landmark navigation. She said there was a Mobil.
M: Yes. My dad still does that. We went up north this summer, and they have this cottage in Oscoda, which is on the east side, and we were driving across the state to Traverse City or Harbor Cove or something–oh, Petoskey area! And we were getting ready to leave and we had the kids all packed up and my parents were saying goodbye to the kids and my dad’s like, alright, so you’re going to go out of the driveway and you’re going to turn left. You’re going to go all the way down, and I’m just like, I have my phone. I’m holding it in my hand. And I just let him go. I’m looking at him like, okay, ahuh, and I can tell he’s getting joy from this, from the explanation of where to go. I just let it play out.
K: I still sometimes text people depending on if they ask where it’s at, I text them the whole thing. Because I know how to get around here. Wherever you are, I can get you over to my crib. It’s like, okay, so where are you coming from?
M: Right, where you at?
K: Take 696. Other classic Detroit is Different question. You’re doing a block party firework night on Jefferson. What are three songs you’re definitely going to play?
M: What?! Oh my God. Wow. That’s a big question. Holy cow. It’s going to be mostly hip hop.
K: I figured that.
M: It’s gotta be something off of Tupac’s Me Against the World album.
K: Okay. You’ve gotta pick a song, though.
M: I would say probably Old School.
M: Because it’s–
K: Basically that is the song.
M: Yeah, and I feel like it’s got a real nice hook. Some of that album is really angry, and I don’t think it would do super well at a block party. I’d probably play Down with the Kings by Run-DMC. And then maybe Own Light by Brother Ali. Have you listened to that at all?
K: Brother Ali. I was introduced to Brother Ali not too long ago. I like Brother Ali.
M: I’m super into it. Yeah, that would probably be number three.
M: That’s a great question. This is the fun part of the podcast.
K: Yeah, these are like, what I do at the end. Mix and match all these different songs and different answers from people. Especially that car question.
M: You’re big on Run-DMC. Tell me why.
K: You know, you always look up to your older cousins. So when I was younger, my older cousin, I guess Lumumba Reynolds, now, but he was DJ R2, and he had a breakdancing group, and he was always playing Run-DMC. So it’s like, through your older cousin, you start getting connected to this music, so he basically introduced me to so much hip hop. So Run-DMC and Grandmaster Flash, but the cool thing about Run-DMC is, no offense to ??? (55:30) and Grandmaster Flash and Sugarhill Gang and even Kurtis Blow, but Run-DMC were the first rappers where it’s like, okay, they’re cool. You know what I’m saying? The other guys, and I realize they were replicating what the ??? (55:46) artists were doing, but like, I like Run-DMC so much, I’m one of the few people that think that Krush Groove is better than Beat Street. Even though I think Beat Street is probably a better narrative and everything, but it’s just like, those guys were cool, whereas the rest of it seemed a little too far. I’m sure my cousins feel how I listen to Redman or Outkast or something like that and they’re like, what is this old rap stuff?
M: Krush Groove is better. Turn this thing off. Krush Groove is better than Beat Street? Come on. I mean, for me, it was the uniforms, man. When they just came out and it was the Adidas, the track suits, the shoes with no lace,m the gold chains, the hats, we were like, yup. That’s it, right there.
K: It was like, these guys are cool. There’s a picture I have in my screensaver on my desktop, and you were talking about the Beasties and the Beastie Boys were–I think License to Ill is definitely a top hip hop album of all time. It was like, this is amazing.
M: It was a joke. They never thought it would be commercially viable because it was white guys kind of making fun of other white guy rappers kind of thing. It just went crazy.
K: Paul Revere. And then their overlap rap style is full of so many of every rapper from there forward. It was like, this is how you have a rap group, and that was the era of rap group.
M: You know what, my three songs, are we trying to get the party going? Alright. Let me redo my three songs. As much as I love the three songs I said, I’d have to go with California Love, you can’t go wrong with Juicy, and then I’d still stick with Own Light–I love Brother Ali’s doing. It’s hard hitting, the lyrics are crazy good, the beats are pretty good, and it’s all positive. It’s all, I bring my own light. You ain’t gotta light me up, I got my own light. And he’s been around. For me, it’s new. I was talking to my buddy who lives in Minnesota and he’s like, oh, yeah, Brother Ali.
K: He’s another one of those people with what I call a rich audience. He has a fanbase of people that connect to him. This kind of brings me up to what I do with Detroit is Different and even what I’ve done with my hip hop career. My biggest inspirations are actually Invincible and Derrick May. Because something Derrick May told me, one of the forefathers of Detroit techno, we were sitting and talking and Derrick is so cool, he’s one of the coolest people ever. Derrick is hilarious. He was like, you know man, when we started this shit, I’m kind of from the ‘burbs and these three ghetto ass black dudes playing this weird ass music no one else wanted to listen to. He was like, it’d be us and about 12 white kids drinking or getting high, but those 12 white kids were white kids that went on to Harvard or Michigan and they took the music with them. And basically what he said was–and this kind of goes back into the niche thing–and I always remember this and it echoes. They felt so apart of techno music that every step they walked throughout their life, they brought it along with them.
K: So one of those guys that was originally in–they called it Techno Alley–it was just up on the roof across from the Eastern Market, one of those guys ends up being the Marketing Executive for Audi.
K: So now it’s like, okay, the minute I’m doing commercials, whose music am I putting in it?
K: Some of those other people end up being Hollywood executives. The minute that we pick music and it’s a fight scene, whose music are we putting in it?
K: So it’s like sometimes you may not have the masses behind you. And this is the other thing. When you’re an artist with mass appeal, people look at it differently. If I’m at a concert and mass music comes on, I’m just responding more so to the masses, and I’m not responding really to feeling like it’s an experiential connection. The shows where I’ve performed and it’s five people and they actually sit and watch, those people are my fans from forever. The shows where I’ve performed and it’s 5,000 people, they could care less. They’re looking at the girl next to them, they’re thinking about the drink, they’re opening up their cellphones. You know what I’m saying?
K: Their presence of mind is more in the culture of, I’m at a–
M: I’m at a party.
K: Yes, whereas the presence of mind you have with that intimate show, that intimate setting, where you feel as though, I want to advocate for this because I feel like I’m a part of this, and I’m really in the moment with whatever this is as opposed to like, oh, everybody else says that I should see Star Wars, then I wanna see Star Wars. Then there’s the Star Wars fans that are really connected to that culture that are not going to see it the way I watch it. I’m like, ah, this is cool.
M: Yeah, but you know why I saw it? Because of those people. You know? I saw it a week after it came out, and if weren’t for the people standing in line, I don’t know if I would’ve saw it.
K: But that’s what I’m saying. You can end up with a niche audience that can expand out.
K: Some of my favorite people to look at in marketing–it’s always music people. I look at what Jimmy Buffett has done, and I say to myself, he’s created a whole culture around–
M: A world.
K: A lifestyle.
K: You know–
M: Fruity drinks! That’s all he’s done.
K: I would never tailgate to go to a show. I’m showing up. But those people–if Jimmy Buffett’s concert starts at eight o’clock, I tell people, any time he’s going to perform, you need to look at his audience, look at his crowd. They’re in the parking lot with beach balls.
M: And you know how that started? That started with one person.
M: Right? Just like you’ve gotta start with one person. You find that one person and turn them into two people. That’s creating an audience. You just go out and be you and people will be attracted to that. And you take care of those people by lifting them up and letting them be a part of the conversation, but also just consistently creating content.
K: He definitely does that.
M: Yeah, he does. Jesus.
K: I couldn’t tell you one of his songs. My Jimmy Buffett music guide is Jack Johnson. I like his music.
M: I do too.
K: But it’s like, wow, I never–you know what I’m saying? You feel connected to a different thought process.
M: I mean, he’s like one of the top earners every year, right? Like concert attendance. Is he putting on music anymore? I don’t even think he’s doing that.
K: He’s not on any top 100 sales list of songs.
M: No, he’s just showing up and he’s singing about alcohol and beaches and people eat it up because that’s a thing, right? He is the most authentic version of himself and people are attracted to that.
K: And you feel like with his show–that’s what I try to do with my show–you don’t even feel like there’s a separation between the person, like him on stage, and the person dancing in the audience. You feel, like you say, like the authentic version, like I am a part of this.
K: And I think that’s another form of entertainment. Spectacle entertainment.
M: I have been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, and I was kicked out. I won’t go into that, but I got kicked out of a Jimmy Buffett concert when I was 24.
K: Too many margaritas.
M: Well dude, I love what you’ve got going on here. I’m not kidding. This is something special, and I’m really excited. I want to talk about it. I’m gonna tell people about it.
K: Let’s do it. The last Detroit is Different question, and then you’ve gotta let people know how to get in contact with you. If you could rename Woodward after one person, who would it be?
M: Woah. What?
K: One Detroiter.
M: Oh my God. Rename Woodward after one person. Oh my God. There are so many ways you could go with this. I think Hazen Pingree has one of the greatest names in Detroit history. The potato mayor, isn’t that what they call him? But that’s almost too easy. I think that Detroit–so I came to Detroit in ‘06. I started really spending time in the city, and I did it like a lot of white kids from the suburbs do. I found a place that I liked and I frequented that place, and then that turned into finding a place down the street and frequenting that place and just kind of growing from there. Back in the day when you’d walk into a coffee shop and you knew everyone because it was such a small community. It was a small tight knit community. And so I have run into a lot of people that are doing the hard work, like on the ground floor, and I think we kind of think about Detroit in those ways. This idea of blue collar. That’s what the Piston brand is, like, going to work, which I think we really need to relook at how we talk about ourselves as a city. I say we–I don’t live here anymore, but I still feel incredibly connected to the city. I think Detroit needs to take a look at this idea of lunchpale work ethic, and while it’s certainly still there and we’re all grinding and we’re all doing our thing, you know, the adage is everyone’s got a side hustle in Detroit. And it’s true. Everyone’s working hard and I think we need to somehow rebrand what this city is made of. And so I wouldn’t pick a traditional person. I would think more along the lines of someone–I don’t want to make his head big, but do you know Francis Grunow? Francis Grunow is a lifelong Detroiter who really fights for the good things in Detroit, like saving old buildings, regionalization, walkable streets. Things that the new wave of business is not really thinking about. But, I mean, how can you name Woodward after your friend. He’d get a big head after that one, wouldn’t he? Who represents the working man around here? Who represents the every man? Or we could just name it after Big Sean. Big Sean Boulevard. What about Big Sean, he’s killing it right now. Globally. That’s a fun one. Big Sean Boulevard. Danny B. Danny B Way. Let’s go with Big Sean.
M: I took a long time to get there. Why don’t you cut all that shit out? I was telling a story just to buy myself time. That’s all I was doing.
K: That’s cool. That’s what ends up happening sometimes. How do people get in contact with you?
M: Yeah, so you can find me all over the internet if you search Matt Dibble Michigan, Matt Dibble Detroit. There’s an artist Matt Dibble who’s kinda killing it and there’s a skateboarder Matt Dibble.
K: That’s a cool last name for a skateboarder.
K: It’s a cool last name period, but that’s a good skateboarder name.
M: And the skateboarder puts out tons of content, so no matter what I do, I can’t get over the hump on Matt Dibble. So if you search Matt Dibble Detroit, you can find me. My email address and my phone number are both on our website. I’m on Facebook. It’s facebook.com/thedibbler. I do a lot of YouTube-ing, so Matthew Dibble on YouTube. I’m on Twitter @MatthewDibble. I’m on Instagram @MattDibble. I’m all over. But if you just search for my name, you’ll be able to find me.
K: Cool. That works. We’ll definitely get you back
M: This was fun.
K: Thank you, thank you.
M: I really appreciate it, thank you.