We had the good fortune of connecting with Brad Michael and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brad, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’d rather chance regretting doing something than knowing I’d regret not.
Leaving my well established cushy desk job with a comfortable salary for the unknown was definitely one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever made. Deep down though, I knew I had more to offer than my giant corporation was able to appreciate and I was tired of making other people money without that recognition and appreciation. It wasn’t just the money, I knew I would never feel fulfilled, at least not there.
Fortunately, I had relative youth, a nest egg saved up and no kids to worry about. I had an idea, confidence in my ability and determination, and I knew that I would learn a ton, so I decided to take stock in myself.
Truth be told, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have done it. It’s been a lot of sacrifice. I’ve definitely had to temper my expectations and embrace the fear of failure, because it ain’t easy.
That said, I don’t regret it at all. Developing your own product and starting your own business is an experience you just can’t get anywhere else. Hopefully the dividends are around the corner. Wish me luck and keep supporting small businesses.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an engineer, creativity is key, but when it comes to aesthetics, that part of the engineer brain typically gets…neglected (for lack of better terms).
What I lack in design intuition, I do my darndest to make up for in attention to detail and with trial and error. I do my design work unlike anyone else in the industry; most makers are moving towards quicker and cheaper with plastic. I think it’s sinful to cover up the beauty of wood and I use laser precision (literally) to transfer the outlines of the things that are meaningful to my clients to the wood. I then meticulously mix and apply all of the stains by hand.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide the customer with something that will bring them joy for years to come. Their appreciation is worth every minute of added effort.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would say get out of the city and explore the coastline, mountains, wineries and Joshua Tree. California is incredible, the concrete jungle isn’t my shtick.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My education is unquestionably the result of my upbringing. Both my parents and their friends instilled the importance of a hunger for knowledge.
Without sounding pompous, what I do is genuinely challenging. The reason that nobody has done this before me is that there aren’t many that could.