In the ninth episode of “A Drink With – Detroit” we have an iced green tea with Marcus Collins the chief consumer connections officer at Doner an ad agency here in Detroit. Marcus is a culturally curious thinker with an academic insight into the cognitive drivers that impact consumer behavior… we stole that from his professor bio at Michigan Ross. The truth is, as soon as we heard Beyonce’s former digital strategist was back in Detroit, we had to get a drink with him. Listen in as Marcus shares what he learned from working with former Interscope and Sony Music president-turned-advertising guru, Steve Stoute, and how “God’s plan” led him back to Detroit.

Whether you’re a native Detroiter, a transplant or a boomerang, you can’t deny that what’s happening in the city is history in the (re)making. From the work ethic to the entrepreneurial spirit, Detroiters are rolling up their sleeves and rebuilding the city with the same determination as Henry Ford and Berry Gordy before them. And in the end, those visionaries, similar to the ones you’ll meet this season, not only shaped Detroit, they shaped the world. Once the fastest growing city in the world; the place that created America’s middle class. Detroit is still a city that breeds innovation.

Just like the city of Detroit, our guests have stories of perseverance and creativity. Why should you care? You’ll find motivation and inspiration to apply to your own life from listening to the dreamers, future leaders and risk-takers who are making a direct impact on the community. We talk about lessons learned the hard way, what it took to reach success, business advice and what makes Detroit special.

This season we’re partnering with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit whose mission is co-creating independence and dignity through the power of personal and workforce development. Goodwill Detroit works to ensure that every neighborhood of Detroit experiences the kind of renaissance that we’re seeing in downtown and Midtown. We welcome Jessica McCall, the vice president of marketing and external affairs at Goodwill Detroit, as our special co-host. We’re asking listeners to use “#WhatsGoodDetroit“ when you come across something inspiring, notable or just plain good in the city.

We’re recording in the Foundation Studio at Detroit Foundation Hotel. Our official podcast studio is located within the beautiful boutique hotel which is the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and Pontchartrain Wine Cellars.

Just a taste…

I saw you speak at an event and you said, “Simple is different than easy and simple doesn’t mean easy.” How have you seen this unfold in your life?

What I just said is innate. It’s intuitive so it seems simple but it ain’t easy at all. Completely different. And we often confuse them. We actually use them as trade-offs. Simple couldn’t be more different than ease. For instance, losing weight is a simple concept; Eat less and move more. It’s not an easy thing to do. We can’t confuse the two but we need simplicity and concreteness to have a goal. The actions that we take to achieve said goal won’t be easy but nothing is easy. In life there is pain. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Which pain do you want?” There is no getting around it, right? Author Mark Manson says it this way… pain is inextricably linked to the fabric of life. You can’t detach the two. The problem for us as humans is that we hate pain, so we’re constantly running, dodging, jumping. We go through so many acrobats to get out of pain that actually creates pain for us. It’s painful to try to dodge pain. So you have to ask yourself, which pain do you want? Say you’re an entrepreneur and you think, “I have this idea but I don’t have the money. I don’t have the resources. I can’t launch because I don’t want to fail.” Or you can say, “I’m gonna give it a shot but the pain is that I might fail.” So which one do you want to be? Do you want to be a a potentially failed entrepreneur or do you want to have a dream deferred? … The regret is painful; Woulda, coulda, shoulda. “I had this great idea but.” Which one do you want? Do you want the pain of, “I’m gonna try to talk to this girl, she might shoot me down,” or, “That could have been my wife.” Which pain do you want? It’s easier if you choose the pain for yourself because it’s gonna get chosen one way or another.

“I failed all the time. The whole narrative is a big failure. One of the biggest learning moments was how you treat people. What I realize [now] is that I didn’t realize how important relationships are. Not relationships as in what I can leverage later on… there’s networking but not that as much as how the things that you do have an impact on people whether you know it or not. You don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. You just don’t know … None of this could have been just me. There are people who opened up doors and closed some doors that made me, me. That was the biggest learning… understanding people.”


What excites you most about Detroit and what brands have your attention here?

I was gone from Detroit for about seven or eight years. I lived in New York for seven years or so and we moved back in 2015. To me the most exciting brand in Detroit is Detroit. There is so much currency around the city both in the city proper, in the surrounding areas and outside. You’ve got people who are rooting for the city which is crazy because ten years ago we were the butt of jokes. That Cleveland video makes me so angry that says, “At least we’re not Detroit.” I remember being in New York and people were like, “Yo, isn’t Detroit like dilapidated?” We were in bankruptcy not too long ago but now the winds have turned and people are really rooting for the city and you have people who are putting their money where their mouth is. They are moving to the city and living here, putting their fingerprints on this great town. I’m a product of Detroit through and through: born and raised, public schools my entire life, my parents still live here. I am a Detroiter and I wear it on my sleeve and have been. I’m excited to push it a little further and make a dent. We’re working on a project at Doner with some other partners right now that hopefully will add much more value to the city. I just want to be a part. I just want to be at the party. What a time to be alive. Detroit. This is amazing.

Photography by Derrick Busman

Listen to the full conversation on Apple Podcasts or SimpleCast.

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