I'M THAT GUY
INTERESTING VERSION - a story
Founded in 1978 by Ken and Diane Stabler, Mark began as a small family business, about 8 lb. 2 oz. Like many startups, he had no idea what he would come to accomplish. At that time, being a professional writer was not even on his radar. Indeed, he couldn’t even speak for about the first year or so. When he did start to string words together, little did he know that those first goo-goo sentences would start him on his way toward mastery of the English language.
He spent most of his first seventeen years following a high growth business model, eventually getting to 150 lbs. Originally developed as an athlete, he dabbled in football to ultimately become first string benchwarmer. But he found his biggest success in the market with his archery. He rose to compete on a national level, earning the rank of 17th in the country and the right to get his butt kicked by the guys who went to the Olympics. However, writing became a strong undercurrent in his world of locker rooms and traveling to tournaments in exotic locations like Ohio. He continually wrote poems and stories that no one read during this time.
The six years starting in 1995 proved to be transformative, even before digital transformation was a thing. By chance, it was discovered that people actually liked Mark’s writing. Armed with this new consumer data, he began to shift away from the athletic market and invest more R&D funds into developing a new line of writing and music products. Ken bought out Diane’s share of the enterprise, but the agreement also spelled a slow loss of control for Ken. In 1998 Mark went through his first major rebrand, over the objections of Ken. Music became the main product focus while writing was slated for future release, although writing still received the most R&D funds and effort. Mark launched his first line of music offerings a year later as a bassist in some small-town band no one’s heard of. By 2001 Mark was fully self-funded and no longer needed VC support. He also released his first writing products that year when he published his first poems.
Over the next four years his music product line continued to be the main brand focus. He went on to bigger and better bands, died his hair bright red and started painting his toenails. He ultimately came to manage all marketing and business functions for the band. With his new leading role, he came to realize “this marketing shit is kind of fun.” He then saw an opportunity to combine his insane need to write things (words mostly) with the new marketing knowledge he gained — copywriting. He launched this new product line in 2005, however it was conceived at the time as a line extension of his poetry offerings. It was designed to achieve the necessary revenue increases and cash flow efficiencies until the music and poetry products made him rich and famous.
Several years later Mark had to face some uncomfortable truths. The poetry product line was simply not profitable. While the margins on music were better, growth was almost impossible due to the fact his bandmates, like most musicians, tended to dream big and work little. Bolstered by success in writing copy, Mark embarked on his second extensive rebrand in 2008. His music offerings were dropped entirely, which made the fan with tattoo of the band’s logo cry. His poetry line was relegated to second priority. Mark was now a full-fledged copywriter and began to sprint down the path to gaining vast riches, adoring fans and beautiful women. Mark devoted his newly found extra time to freelance copywriting and landed his first major client a year later.
Today Mark continues to build brands through creatively rearranging the letters of the alphabet (known to the layperson as writing). But his strange and winding path to this point, instead of the usual college student to office professional pipeline, has served him well. He's learned to understand a wide variety of people by actually living amongst them and adapt voice and tone accordingly. He works outside the marketing bubble that talks more to itself than the its actual audience. The ability to apply poetic and literary techniques to the art of advertising and branding is only icing on the cake. Mmmmmm. Copy cake.
LAZY VERSION - a timeline
1978 — Founded by Ken and Diane Stabler
1980 — Learned to speak
1986 — Independently wrote his first poem, started playing football
1990 — Started shooting archery
1993 — Competed in first national archery tournament
1995 — Discovered talent for writing, begins R&D investments in writing and music
1996 — Ken acquired controlling interest in enterprise
1998 — First rebrand from athlete to poet and musician
1999 — Launched first line of music products
2001 — Enterprise became self-sustaining, published first poems
2005 — Launched copywriting services as a 40-hour side gig so he could eat until music or poetry made him famous
2008 — Second rebrand — discontinued music offerings, reorganized to focus on copywriting
2009 — Landed first major copywriting client, developed new 5-year plan
2014 — Realized 5-year plans are stupid
2020 — Continued success in writing and building brands
2025 — Confirmed that anyone who tries to predict the future is an idiot