Don Mock 0:14
Episode 1. Got to throw that out there.
Rob Broadfoot 0:20
That was recording.
Don Mock 0:21
I know. I don’t mind talking a little bit over the intro too.
Rob Broadfoot 0:25
All right, well, here we are everybody. This is episode one. The first podcast that we’re doing, and we thought it would be apropos. To talk about our stories, both Don and myself, Rob, and how we came to be as Mock the agency.
Don Mock 0:39
We’re gonna call it an origin story Episode, The
Rob Broadfoot 0:44
Origin Story episode.
Don Mock 0:45
How did we get our superpowers?
Rob Broadfoot 0:48
In the beginning?
Don Mock 0:50
What is your superpower there?
Rob Broadfoot 0:51
What is mine?
Don Mock 0:52
Yeah, yours is letters. Mine is
Rob Broadfoot 0:55
Clearly minds podcasting. All right, why don’t you kick us off Don and tell us how you got here.
Don Mock 1:00
I think, yeah, it’s been an interesting journey. So I’m the son of an entrepreneur who’s the son of an entrepreneur, right? So my grandparents had Mock flowers, my dad had Mock photography. But I knew that I did not want to be a photographer, having grown up helping my dad do photo stuff. Right. So I think it was only a matter of time before I definitely wanted to at least try something out on my own at some point, right. So I think, you know, bouncing around various different agencies, design firms, all sorts of stuff, mostly here in Atlanta. I think the turning point for me was that the last firm I was at working for others, and coming to that realization that I had kind of stopped learning what to do, and started learning more of how not to do things, right. It wasn’t, hey, I’m learning how to art direct this, or I’m learning how to take this, you know, project start to fruition or whatever, it was really more like, oh, I wouldn’t do it that way. Or I wouldn’t handle it that way. Right? more from a management style, I guess, you know, as you sort of start to climb the ladder, right. So, you know, that is kind of what started me on wanting to break out and sort of go it alone, right, starting small freelance on my own started, you know, freelancing for a little bit of time. And then slowly controlee control, really, that’s not a word, slowly and controlled, I guess, starting to sort of, dare I say, build a little company.
Rob Broadfoot 2:24
Don Mock 2:25
Rob Broadfoot 2:26
what was it about your dad and his photography business? You said, I knew I didn’t want to be a photographer. What? Why is that?
Don Mock 2:36
Yeah, great question. I think mostly because it’s you wake up. My parents owned the business together, right? And it was, hey, we’re talking about business. We’re talking about photography, business of breakfast, right? We’re coming home or eaten dinner, we’re talking about photography business, and then my dad would go down to the dark room and then develop photos and stuff all night right. And then he was not a commercial photographer. He was more of the weddings, portraiture, all that sort of stuff. Right? So all weekends monopolized by working darkroom, yeah, yeah, so a lot of darkroom time. I mean, when you’re a kid, the magical world of photography is super cool, right? You’re down in the dark room. You got the red lights on, you’re, you’re dodging and burning, like the images are coming up out of nothing. It’s super, super cool. Right. Right. But I don’t think, you know, it wasn’t for me, I guess, you know, I think his grandparents always thought that he would take over the floral business. And that didn’t happen. And I think he always thought I might take over part of the photography business and that that wasn’t going to happen. Right. So. And I love photography. I think photography is great, but I love it as a tool set in what we do. Yeah, more here, I guess if that makes sense. Right. So
Rob Broadfoot 3:40
right, right. Right. Well, it’s there’s there’s different creative things that some you want to keep as hobbies. Yeah. Others, you can turn them into a job. Exactly. I think there’s a difference.
Don Mock 3:50
Exactly. So I guess flipping the script, before we get into how we formed together, because I did a little bit of a quick sort of backstory. You know, right up until, you know, working with further people until starting just decided to go on my own. I mean, how did you end up wanting to become an entrepreneur or dare I say not wanting to become an entrepreneur, and then we can talk about how we joined forces. Yeah.
Rob Broadfoot 4:12
So I so my story goes, I did I was in college, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was majoring in English. I knew it sounds like college. I knew I liked writing, creative writing and that sort of thing. But I didn’t really know what to do with that. My father is a bankruptcy attorney. And I can assure you that was never in the consideration that short. But he he has his own practice and did forever so I think there’s part of that sort of entrepreneurial spirit there for sure. But I was looking for an intern internship. And I ended up getting a dog from this woman who ran a one of your neighbors actually really Peggy Peggy
Don Mock 4:56
lived in the neighborhood that I live in now.
Rob Broadfoot 4:58
She lived right on
Don Mock 4:58
interesting did you come Have the neighborhood to get the dog?
Rob Broadfoot 5:00
It was in the back of her house.
Don Mock 5:01
Rob Broadfoot 5:03
So I got the dog in anyway, we kind of became pals and she was like, Oh, I’ve got an agency in my backyard advertising and yeah, I need an internship. You could do that. Interesting. So great. That way I can bring the puppy over to play. I’ll try that. That seems okay. So anyway, I did that long story short. I ended up graduating and then went to work for a firm here in Atlanta.
Don Mock 5:24
But wait, I gotta back up real quick. The agency was in her house.
Rob Broadfoot 5:28
It was in a carriage house. Oh, she did. Okay. Okay. So who cares how she was right. What’s the main road going into the neighborhood? Wakefield? No, no, Brighton. Right. Right. He’s right on Brighton on the left hand side. I can’t believe I’m blanking on her last name right now. But I was doing kind of media planning and media work for her. So all right. I was like, Okay, I guess that’s what you do. Yeah. Got it. So I joined a big agency here in town, and started doing media planning. And was there for a couple of years, and in that time, sort of figured out that I was on the lame side of the business.
Don Mock 6:01
Yeah, the media side.
Rob Broadfoot 6:02
The media side
Don Mock 6:03
sounds like spreadsheets.
Rob Broadfoot 6:04
Yeah. I mean, in looking back, it was great, because I got a great education. And I still use a lot of those things today,
Don Mock 6:09
for sure. For sure. How do you carve up the budget? Where does the money go?
Rob Broadfoot 6:12
Yeah, exactly. But I was like, I got this. All the creatives are down there and T shirts, right, and ads and doing the fun stuff,
Don Mock 6:18
having fun yeah
Rob Broadfoot 6:18
having fun. So I went back to school and built a portfolio or writing portfolio. And then came out of school and then started writing and wrote for several shops here in town. And then how did I start? I just sort of started I had a creative partner who I worked with, and my first job here in media, actually, Steven, yeah. And he and I sort of partnered up and formed a shop and had a good little run. And that’s when I met you.
Don Mock 6:49
But was there a tip? I’m going to go back to that? Was there a tipping point for leaving? working for somebody else? And then going off on your own?
Rob Broadfoot 6:55
Yeah, I forgot about that. So really good story. Actually, in my mind, it was my sister was my sister’s, the day of my sister’s rehearsal dinner, okay. At which I had to give a speech and all of these things. Yep. So nervous. So I woke up that Friday and went into work. I won’t say the name of the company, but I got to work and the doors were locked. Yes, I’ve heard the story. Click, click, click, click, let’s close. No severance, no job. No, nothing. We’re done here. We’re done here. And so that was I think the moment I was like, Well, I’m not gonna let that happen again.
Don Mock 7:27
There was no phone call No, nothing. Now, how did you? Was there any communication with these people? No, it was just full shut the door we’re done.
Rob Broadfoot 7:35
Funny enough. Again, I won’t mention names, but I’m still in contact with the guy who ran the agency. And in fact, my father was his bankruptcy attorney.
Small Town, Atlanta, that’s fantastic.
So I think it was at that moment that I was like, I’m not Yeah, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But I’m not gonna let somebody else do that.
Don Mock 7:57
Well, there’s always something to, hey, you can always go back and work for somebody else. Yeah, there’s that weird tipping point of your life where it’s like, it’s I know, it’s considered risky to sort of start your own thing. I don’t necessarily view that or share that same opinion. But like, if it, if you flop you can just go back to what you used to be doing.
Rob Broadfoot 8:15
I think it’s true. I think also, too, there’s, at least for me, there was a naivete. That was like, first of all, just start a business.
Don Mock 8:24
Rob Broadfoot 8:25
How hard? Can it be?
Don Mock 8:26
Rob Broadfoot 8:27
And then I think that sort of gets to your point where, okay, well, then you really start learning by failing, or learning how not to do things.
Don Mock 8:36
Yeah, for sure.
Rob Broadfoot 8:36
And then you sort of figure it out from there. But that was kind of how I got to the
Don Mock 8:40
Okay, so you’ve so you’ve got your own shop, and you’re doing your own thing, right.
Rob Broadfoot 8:44
Don Mock 8:44
So yeah. So then how we met each other was I was creative director at an agency here in town. And we use this one writer all the time on this one piece of business, and he moved along and recommended you, right. And then we partnered together on that one account for gosh, a number of years, right?
Rob Broadfoot 9:00
More than Kellogg’s.
Don Mock 9:02
Yeah. Three years. I don’t even know how years or four years.
Rob Broadfoot 9:08
Don Mock 9:08
but yeah, all the Kellogg’s food away from home everywhere you’d consume. Kellogg’s are Keibler products, not in the grocery store. Right. So it was all the non grocery store stuff. It was I was fun to work on.
Rob Broadfoot 9:19
Yeah that was fun. I was just creative, you know, hired stuff. And then conversely, we my shop had Comcast at the southeastern division of Comcast, for which we did a lot of TV and fun stuff like that. And I would hire you as a creative gun to come in and work on TV and Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Ads and all that. All that kind of stuff.
Don Mock 9:43
Yeah, no, it was fun. So So yeah, I mean, we it’s interesting that we did have the benefit of kind of working together on somebody else’s dime. Right. Right. For quite a number of years before truly Joining Forces, right. Yeah. So we’re doing that for a long time. I reached that point where I’m like, Hey, I’m done. There’s nothing really I can learn from this place anymore. That was a crazy story on how I left that, but I’ll save that for another podcast. Right? So go off on my own, you know, floundering around, you know,
Rob Broadfoot 10:12
What year was this?
Don Mock 10:13
I left in 2007, officially, right. And then the incorporation of this business was actually in March of 2008. So call it middle of 2007, you know, just freelance and doing a lot of different things for different agencies, getting my own little clients and things like that, right. And then in March 2008, I think my CPA was, you’re gonna do taxes, or whatever the deal was, and it was like, you need an official name for that you have the weekend to think of a name for the business, right? So I was like, okay, mock, inc, that’s what it’s gonna be. Done. Like, we’ll figure out the rest of the naming later, right. And then it’s funny how those things live on for another 15 years, right. So I’m puttering around doing my own thing. You are doing your own thing with Steven, right. But you guys are starting to get to your separation point as well, right? Because we started going out to lunch all the time as well.
Rob Broadfoot 11:04
Yeah, we started going out to lunch. And I think at the time, if you remember the climate, financial climate and the business climate,
Don Mock 11:11
Well we’re headed towards that,
Rob Broadfoot 11:13
towards the cliff.
Don Mock 11:14
Rob Broadfoot 11:15
And I think just, you know, oftentimes, as creative partners do, we were starting to see things my other partner and I sort of see things a little bit differently and where we wanted to go. And I think he was looking for a little bit more security and things and I was a little bit more of just kind of wanting to keep doing something.
Don Mock 11:32
Rob Broadfoot 11:33
freedom. Yeah. So I think then, yeah, you and I started going out to lunch and talking and I think working more and more together You where over, you can tell that
Don Mock 11:46
I was over where?
Rob Broadfoot 11:47
Well, over around the corner,
Don Mock 11:50
in the mind’s eye space?.
Rob Broadfoot 11:51
Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
Don Mock 11:51
I was sharing. I was renting an office from a production studio here in town. Named mind’s eye. Right. And yeah, so I had my office there. And then it was I think your office was over at Studio Plex. Is that where it was? Right. Yeah. And then it was, it was a little bit of like, hey, let’s just
Rob Broadfoot 12:11
but you had the mothership. Tell that part of it
Don Mock 12:14
was already with the mothership? See, I don’t even know my origin story.
Rob Broadfoot 12:17
You were I don’t know at what point. Oh, okay. You weren’t
Don Mock 12:21
okay. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So what happened was, yeah, so what happened was, I was leasing space over there. And there was a conglomerate company based out of St. Louis, right. That had bought up a bunch of different production houses. Mind’s Eye being one of those, right, so they had all the different avenues of advertising, right, direct mail, photography, video, printing all the all the different peripheries from a production standpoint, but not the front to the tip of the spear being creative side. Right. So to your point, Rob, we were headed towards financial ruin, right? I mean, that, like the economy was about to implode, right? And it was, hey, there’s definitely a safety numbers play, right? So I had kind of been floating around for a year, this because this was 2008. This was the end of 2008. Right, right. And so floating around, and decided to basically sell the business, what little business I had sell the business and be acquired by this larger conglomerate, right, sort of with the premise of increased sales funnel, because there’s other companies out there, you know, turning over rocks and things, trying to find creative opportunities, right? And then, hey, just focus on what we do best, which is doing awesome creative work for people, right. And so yeah, so I kind of I believe I had already joined then it was a paycheck and benefits and all that good stuff. Right. So I had joined that and then kind of lured you over, I believe, right?
Rob Broadfoot 13:42
Yeah. And then we were, we were closing down the other shop, and you and I had a series of conversations, and you were like, Hey, you should come. you partner up with me? Yeah. We’re owned by this other company. And yeah, paychecks and benefits and all yeah, great thing. Yeah. And that was in. That was December of 2009.
Don Mock 14:01
December of 2009, I think is when you officially joined
Rob Broadfoot 14:04
officially joined. Yeah, I think it was we weren’t we were working together before that. Yeah, that was when I signed the paperwork.
Don Mock 14:09
Yeah, correct. Correct. Correct. So I can’t tell you I mean, I’m bad with dates. I don’t remember how long we were with those guys.
Rob Broadfoot 14:16
Yeah, I mean, I guess the short story is, we did that for a couple of years. Was it a couple of years,
Don Mock 14:25
A year and a half, two years?
Rob Broadfoot 14:26
I can tell you what it was because I remember
Don Mock 14:28
we have our letters we have our separation letters, which we still have never framed and hung in the office.
Rob Broadfoot 14:33
I want to say it was December I want to say it was 2010 Okay, I think it was 2010. Anyway long story short, it we were not seeing eye to eye
Don Mock 14:42
No, I think the phrase that pays was on one of the calls with their corporate treasurer or CFO I was you know where we see success you guys see failure. Yeah, cuz they kept you know, allocating our GA differently and doing all this different. It was crazy.
Rob Broadfoot 14:57
And we were at we were asking for We weren’t even asked for more money now for money for an intern. Yeah, we needed well, before. Yeah, we wanted to build this thing.
Don Mock 15:05
I mean, here’s the great news as part of the story is, yeah, we were rockin, right? We were crushing it, right. We’re good things were happening. And it was, hey, we need we need a bigger presence here. Like we’re drowning. Yeah, and work.
Rob Broadfoot 15:17
And they said, No. And we said, all righty,
Don Mock 15:20
Yeah, this was on a Friday. I remember I do remember this. It was on a Friday. And I remember hanging up the phone, we’re on speakerphone and click hit the button. And I think we looked at each other. And it was Did we just fire ourselves? Or did we just get fired? Or how did that it was something you know? And it was alright, well, let’s take the weekend. Let’s think about what we’re gonna do. You know, like, you know, and again, I think the economy was still in a weird spot. But then we had to sort of come back on Monday and figure out if we wanted to untangle the Gordian knot of being part of this other company or not, right. And, yeah, long story short, is we did
Rob Broadfoot 15:53
Don Mock 15:54
yeah, we untangle the Gordian knot, got our company back, went full independent,
Rob Broadfoot 15:58
But stayed friendly with them and stayed and stayed, just continued to lease space over there. Yeah,
Don Mock 16:03
for sure. We stayed over there for a little while, until we ended up with more employees that they had in that space. Right. And then I don’t know, it wasn’t contentious or anything, but it was very clear. It’s like, Okay, it’s time for us to move on. Yeah, we’ve outgrown this space. Yeah, we’ve outgrown the space. You know, we’re happy and laughing and there, maybe not. Right. So yeah,
Rob Broadfoot 16:23
just looking at our time. I don’t know how long we go on these things. Let’s keep battling.
Don Mock 16:27
We go until we’re done. We’d go into the story is told Yeah, that was that we’re storytellers. But, um, so that was Yeah. So I guess I don’t know what the what’s the math on? 2023? Minus 2008. Right. That’s how long that’s how long it’s been rockin and rollin.
Rob Broadfoot 16:45
Yeah, and so then we then we left there, and went in search of our own home.
Don Mock 16:51
Correct. And found, found a great little spot on 14th Street
Rob Broadfoot 16:55
a great little spot where we continue to live out of a bunch of dilapidated buildings. Yep. Much to the surprise of our real estate guy. He’s like, I have to show you these buildings. But you’re not they’re not gonna like them.
Don Mock 17:08
I think within three minutes of standing in here. I will I remember you looking at me and saying, I love them. Yeah, I love them. You should buy them immediately. Yeah. And I think we need to put an offer in that day. We did.
Rob Broadfoot 17:18
Yeah, we put in a full price offer that day. And yeah, there were multiple offers. But we wrote a nice little letter that the buildings had his own.
Don Mock 17:26
Yeah. Yeah, he had his own food distribution, business of some sort.
Rob Broadfoot 17:29
So we bought those. And then we put in a little bit of time, and sweat and money and rehab the buildings and
Don Mock 17:35
yeah, and that was what end of 12 beginning of 13 is when we moved in, I believe. Yeah, right. That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. And then been here since since then. So that’s a that’s a hell of an origin story. that is a hell of an origin. Yeah, it’s a good one. With no end in sight, still rockin and rollin. So
Rob Broadfoot 17:55
I think that’s it. Is that it for the origin story? And then we’ll and then we’ll pick up next time.
Don Mock 17:59
I don’t know that we have any other I don’t have any other questions. I think we’re good. We’re good. All right, everybody. Let’s play us out.
Rob Broadfoot 18:05
Thanks to whoever decided to listen.