Rod Cochran with Greenbridge

Rod Cochran with Greenbridge

This week we're sitting down with Rod Cochran. Rod is a prominent radio personality who's entered the CBD industry under Greenbridge. Listen to this week's episode to hear his story and why doing your homework can help you succeed, even in a competitive market.

Produced by Blue Fish

Transcript:

Rod Cochran: Hi, my name is Rod Cochran, with Greenbridge Media.

Marcus Neto: Awesome, man. Welcome to the podcast, Rod.

Rod Cochran: Well, thank you for having me, man. Thank you so much.

Marcus Neto: Well, we're going to get into who you are and what you do, but before we do that, we always get some backstory of who it is that we're talking to, who our guest is.

Rod Cochran: Sure.

Marcus Neto: Why don't you tell us where you're from, where did you go to high school? Did you go to college, what did you major in? Did you graduate? Married? Give us some of the backstory, of who Rod is?

Rod Cochran: The Rod that you know is quite different than the Rod that was born here in Mobile, Alabama in 1970.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Rod Cochran: Now, I grew up here a big radio fan, DJing locally, worked my way into radio on WABD, it's a local radio station, here. 97.5, with Bernie Dittman. Then, went off the radio world-

Marcus Neto: You definitely have a radio voice.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, the voice for radio. The face for radio is the problem.

Marcus Neto: I wasn't going to go there.

Rod Cochran: But, I worked my way up different radio stations, ran a cluster of stations in Destin. Worked my way up to a morning show in Cleveland, WNCX, a rock station in Cleveland. Then, had a child. Got married, and had a baby, and decided I was going to step back from radio. Radio was taking a decline at the time, being bought up by corporate radio stations.

Rod Cochran: So, I shifted out of that, and into marketing. I grew up here, in Mobile. That's where I basically come from, is the radio side of things. Now, transitioned that at almost 50, into marketing. Been very successful doing that, in a different may than most people maybe have approached it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, very cool.

Rod Cochran: I went to high school here in Mobile, at Evangel. It's a private school that was here, in Mobile, also went to LSU. I studied finance and banking, I actually was a Regions banker for several years.

Marcus Neto: I'm sorry, but I don't see you as a banker.

Rod Cochran: Well, you know what? That's the funny thing, because I didn't see myself as a banker. Literally, I won the President of Regions Bank Employee of the Year award, I was very good at being a banker. But, I hated it. I hated it. I worked downtown, blocks from here. I had a secretary, the whole nine. I said, "I'm going to be here until the day I die, if I don't get up and change."

Rod Cochran: And I did, I took a $20,000 a year pay cut to become a radio DJ.

Marcus Neto: That's awesome, man.

Rod Cochran: I'd rather be happy than be rich.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Now my relation to you, in regards to that, is when we moved down here, I didn't have a job. I had started some other things, but at one point in time, I found myself a life insurance agent at New York Life.

Rod Cochran: Right.

Marcus Neto: Wearing the Joseph A. Banks suit, and I was ... I can't say it, because you'd have to bleep it out, but I was just absolutely miserable. I did that for like, eight or nine months. After that, I was just like, "There's no way I can do this."

Rod Cochran: Do something else, right.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I was like, "I will just do whatever it takes, I will not do this anymore."

Rod Cochran: That's where I was. It was a great job, very prestigious job, but it was not me. I have a creative side in me, that I just have to-

Marcus Neto: Had to get out?

Rod Cochran: ... get out. In fact, starting out in radio, I'd work full-time at the bank, here at Regions downtown, from eight to five. Then, go to the radio station, right here on Dauphin Street, the Cumulus, before Cumulus bought out Star 104, and became Hot 104. I worked there from seven to midnight, as a radio DJ. By day, I was, "Hi, I'm Rod, the banker. Would you like to open an account?" Then, at night it was, "Hot Rod Cochran, broadcasting live!" It was this parallel world that I lived in, back and forth, until I finally made the switch completely over into radio. And, just decided to follow my dreams, and glad I did.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's awesome, man.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Definitely a testimony to finding your passion, and leaning into that.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I've never looked back. I have some great, amazing experiences working here in Mobile, and like I said, all over the United States. Even to where I've come now, coming all the way back around full circle, to the industry that I've been in, in the vape industry, and using those same tactics, and skillsets to apply in marketing it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Well, go back. High school, college, would you have considered yourself a good student?

Rod Cochran: I could be, I tested very well. But the problem is, I got bored really quickly because my creative mind is constantly ... I'm always thinking. I'm thinking of the next thinking, I'm two sentences ahead. I probably didn't do as well as I should have, simply for the fact that I want to do, instead of read about it. I want to do it.

Marcus Neto: I'm the same way. I want the practical application of it.

Rod Cochran: I had to break out of that, and that's when I found myself truly being fulfilled. Not reading a book about doing things, I'm actually going out and trying to do them. Whether I fail or succeed, it's the adventure, the learning of it that's more important.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I can relate.

Marcus Neto: Now, go back and tell me about your first job. I'm not talking about your first DJ job or anything along those lines, I'm saying your first crap job. Were there any lessons that you still remember from that?

Rod Cochran: Oh, absolutely.

Marcus Neto: What was it?

Rod Cochran: Absolutely. My very first job, believe it or not, was still a DJ at Skate World, a skating rink DJ.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's awesome.

Rod Cochran: Isn't that awesome?

Marcus Neto: That's awesome!

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: For those of you that aren't in your 40s, or maybe even in your late 30s, skating was a big thing.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, absolutely.

Marcus Neto: So you'd go on Friday or Saturday night, and everybody would skate around the skate rink.

Rod Cochran: Right?

Marcus Neto: You might buy your girl a soda and a slice of pizza.

Rod Cochran: It's time for the races. It's time for a couple's skate.

Marcus Neto: That was the best.

Rod Cochran: It really was. What I saw there was being able to make people happy, being able to entertain, being able to play a song for someone.

Rod Cochran: As a 12 year old child, a kid, I learned that was something that I actually enjoyed, seeing that smile. "Oh, you played our song!" Also, I enjoyed the celebrity-ness of it. I got a little taste of that.

Rod Cochran: The DJs from the local station here, WABD, would come by, they would do their live broadcasts. I would always make a point to go and hang out at the radio station. So, I gave me that bug, early on, and the love for the art of radio.

Marcus Neto: Was the love of radio first, or did you get the job DJing, which caused the love of radio?

Rod Cochran: Yes.

Marcus Neto: So, the DJ job came first?

Rod Cochran: Right, right.

Marcus Neto: Then, that's what-

Rod Cochran: The skating rink came first, and then being around other jocks, actual radio jocks. They actually welcomed me in, and showed me stuff. The art form of radio was something, to this day, I still love, and am very passionate about.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's really cool, man.

Rod Cochran: It's a lost art form, honestly, in many ways today. You have very few people that are doing truly innovative, creative content on the radio anymore, because it has been-

Marcus Neto: Declining.

Rod Cochran: Right. That's something I'm very, still, passionate about. I love to see, is that art form of radio, of communication. It's relationship.

Rod Cochran: When they come into radio, most of the time, people think that they're broadcasting to the world. Actually, radio is a very one-on-one medium. I tell them, I'm like, "You're talking to one person, it's the communication of one person, back and forth." When you listen to the radio, you're listening to that, by yourself. It's one on one, your experience with that person, that jock, or whether it be now, today, YouTube reviewers, or what have you. It's still a personal relationship, that you have with that person that following, listening, watching, whatever. I think that, a lot of times, is lost.

Marcus Neto: I wonder, I don't think of it in that sense, but often times when we do our Marketing Madness videos for BlueFish, I am addressing a person. But, I never thought of it in that sense. I'm wondering if there's a practical application here, for our listeners, that if you're a podcast recorder, or a video recorder, or something along those lines, then just keeping that in mind, because I think that's a truism.

Rod Cochran: Speak to one person. When I walked in the door here, I felt like I already knew you. Again, that's because I followed you, I've watched your videos, I've listened to your podcasts. There is that relationship, even though you and I had never met. It's the same thing that translates, and I think that anyone that's a broadcaster in whatever realm they operate in, you need to remember that. It's a very personal thing, people receive it in a very personal way.

Rod Cochran: I would say, it's just that love of the art of communication and entertainment.

Marcus Neto: What are you up to now? What are you here, talking to us about?

Rod Cochran: Well, I'm just going to tell you real quick, going back to the backstory, basically I had been brought into a vape company, Cyclops Vapor. A local company, out of Daphne, making eLiquid, about six years ago, seven years ago. They had some success, but needed to find a way to market.

Rod Cochran: I came in, and looked around the space, and realized that the influencer marketing was really big, that was a really big deal. To me, as a 45 year old guy I'm going, "Well, how do I fit into this industry that's flat-billed hats?" It wasn't me. I literally thought, you know what? We've got to out-hustle, we've got to outdo. I really made a concentrated effort to be at every single show, almost like a band. If there was an event, I would be there. If they needed help on stage, I'm up there.

Rod Cochran: I became where I became a central figure, in that industry, doing that. Then, I brought Pablo, from 92 ZOO, along with me, and we started Vape Radio. Basically, it was a way to market eliquid to vape shops, but it was really hyper-focus, hyper-targeted to that particular demo. I mean, you advertise on radio, you may have 200,000 people listening, but only 2% of that, actually, is going to buy maybe your product, in the market for your product. Where this could be something that was super, hyper-focused, where 98, 99 percent of the people that would listen to something called Vape Radio, obviously they vape, and they're looking for that product.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: I think that can translate into many different fields. I think the weight loss industry, gyms, things like that. The same kind of concept could be used, in other formats, to hyper-focus and target those customers, and those customer base that are looking for that specific content. I think that's where you see a lot of trends going, with the micro-influencers, and how much they have those loyal followings. I think you can do that, the same thing, with what we did with Vape Radio.

Rod Cochran: We made muzak for vape shops. We played music, but all the talk, and all the content was regarding vape, or vape legislation. We had Vape News at the top of the hour, done by Vape News Magazine. Former Winston man, David Goerlitz, did a show about quitting smoking, and how unhealthy it is, obviously, for you. Had Q-Ball from the Bloodhound Gang, who did a mixed show every Saturday night, he's a vaper. He would do a live, mixed show from his studio in New York, on the radio.

Rod Cochran: Basically, we built it from the ground up. We would have anywhere from 18,000, 23,000 listeners at any given time, all around the world.

Marcus Neto: Damn.

Rod Cochran: That was 24/seven radio, it's a 24/seven radio station.

Marcus Neto: I mean, in comparison, how does that compare to a local radio station, as far as listening goes?

Rod Cochran: I'm sure you're going to have more, with the diaries, on a local radio station. Then again, you have a lot more casual listeners, I think too. Where they're just, it's on.

Marcus Neto: Just passive, it's in the background.

Rod Cochran: Right. Again, it's not that hyper-focused. If we have 18,000 listeners, they're listening because they're going to buy that product, or would be willing to buy that product.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: That was the difference. We sold advertisement to the different eliquid companies, or manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, anyone. At the same time that we're marketing our own product, we basically took over the media in the vape space. From California to New York, we became the media for that industry.

Marcus Neto: Oh, that's cool.

Rod Cochran: At the same time, taking marketing, advertising dollars, from our competitors.

Marcus Neto: I love it.

Rod Cochran: All of our competitors were paying us to run commercials, on our vape radio station.

Marcus Neto: That is so cool.

Rod Cochran: We became the authorities, much like the old SEO trick. If you're an author, if you write a book about something, it's going, "Be the authority." Like I was saying earlier, the art of war, if you want to control a revolution, control the communication. That's what we did, we basically took over the communication. We became the central hub.

Rod Cochran: We were very interactive, going back to old school radio, where we're taking live callers, in and out, all day long. Playing requests, doing what radio has gotten away from doing now, because they don't have a live DJ there, most of the time. It's a lot of voice recorded, pre-recorded things, or syndicated shows. We would actually be very interactive.

Rod Cochran: We would call vape shops at random, all across the United States. If you answer, and you listen to Vape Radio, you win $100.

Marcus Neto: Damn.

Rod Cochran: We ran contests, things like that, that made it ... Some of the old school radio things, that are still very effective today if done correctly. I think when you micro-target, like I say, just really get that super hyper-focused demo, that you can make that still work in today's world.

Marcus Neto: It kind of makes me wonder if there's room for that, in other areas?

Rod Cochran: Yeah. Honestly I do believe, like I said, gyms I think would be a great scenario, because you could have all kinds of supplements, advertising people that have weight equipment, people who have aftercare, recovery.

Marcus Neto: Interviews with people that are influencers in that market.

Rod Cochran: Fitness, and wellbeing, there's all kinds of things. We're currently looking at doing this again, actually. We're in the process of tweaking it. We don't know exactly what we want it to be, but we want it to be more adult radio. The problem with vape is, obviously, the vape industry's taken a big hit here, lately. We wanted to expand that, so we brought Vape Radio down. We're getting ready to re-launch as a new type radio station, but it will be open to more products. Instead of just vape, it'll be adult, alternative products for adults.

Marcus Neto: Like?

Rod Cochran: Whether it be vape, CBD, sex lube, what have you.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: These products, and it be hyper-focused on that. That's where the company that I'm with now, Greenbridge, that's what they're looking to do.

Rod Cochran: I'm still a big fan, I would love to bring back a really hyper-focused, local Mobile radio, online radio. We have the mobile app for our radio station, people listen to it in their cars. Actually, it's clearer than your FM station, you connect it with your Bluetooth.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: People listen all over the world, connected in their offices, with their laptops.

Marcus Neto: Repurpose some podcast, or something like that?

Rod Cochran: Right, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that's always been a big thing to me, I would love to bring that back to just Mobile, and it be a Mobile thing. And actually have live people, every day, with the weather, and the traffic today, much like some other stations do, like a 92 Zoo. But, have it where it's a little bit wider, as far as the format goes, where we cover a larger demo of customers.

Marcus Neto: Right. Not bound by some of the restrictions that you are-

Rod Cochran: Right, that corporate radio is bound by, right.

Marcus Neto: Well, you mentioned something else, too. Do you want to talk about that? When we were getting up and running, the factory and the processing?

Rod Cochran: Yes, Greenbridge. That's who I mainly work with. Like I said, what we've done with it, the marketing, as the vape industry's gone down ... We have a 16,000 square foot facility, manufacturing facility in Daphne. Most people didn't realize it was there, that we manufactured products, and sold in, like I said, 22 countries. As the vape industry's gone down, we've started looking for other avenues to use this manufacturing.

Rod Cochran: Obviously the hemp industry, CBD industry is really exploding at this time. Since they've allowed farmers to grow hemp, there's crops even in Baldwin County, thousands of acres of crops of hemp being grown. The problem is, there's not enough people to process it. So, with our facility, we're turning that into the largest hemp processing facility in the state of Alabama. All these hemp farmers can process their farm, complete hemp, right there, in-house, in the state of Alabama, and not have to look outside because they can't take that outside.

Marcus Neto: In Daphne?

Rod Cochran: In Daphne, yeah. Right there, off Friendship Road. You should come by, it's ISO certified, up to international standards. ISO clean rooms, and everything.

Marcus Neto: My first office was on Friendship Road.

Rod Cochran: Really?

Marcus Neto: Yeah. John Kim was my landlord, and we were right there next to his tae-kwon-do place.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, yeah that's right.

Marcus Neto: It was probably right around the corner from where-

Rod Cochran: We're right next to the lumber place, there. That's where Cyclops Vapor was, there's where we manufactured all of Cyclops Vapor. Still do, it's manufactured there still, still sells well. But, like I said, we're trying to expand, in so many things. We have CBD hand lotion, for people with arthritis, there's so many things that are being tapped into, for this to benefit.

Marcus Neto: Well, I would imagine cartridges for vaping?

Rod Cochran: Vaping, of course. But also, pain roll-ons for your back, or your feet. Using CBD, 1000 milligrams of CBD, it's amazing what some of the medical benefits from it can do.

Rod Cochran: I know personally, I have diverticulitis. About a year and a half ago, I was doing a show in Oklahoma, because I would do vape shows all across the United States. I was in Oklahoma, and literally was on a liquid diet, literally. I was eating Jello, soup, just because my diverticulitis was so severe. I'd always looked at CBD as snake oil like, "Oh yeah, whatever."

Rod Cochran: But, I actually used some, there at the show, and started using it regularly. Within two weeks, no problems with my diverticulitis at all. It's literally changed my life.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Rod Cochran: So, I see the benefits, I'm really passionate about that. I think it's something that can help a lot of people.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. I have some opinions on that too, but I'll refrain.

Rod Cochran: I'll be honest with you, it depends on what you get, and what you're using it for. I know people that vape CBD, I honestly don't think there's any value to that whatsoever. Again, something like my case, you're putting something that is anti-inflammatory directly into ...

Marcus Neto: To the gut.

Rod Cochran: To the gut, where you need it with diverticulitis. It obviously has a big help. It has been for me, at least.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, I've tried the CBD vapes before. If you're dealing with anxiety or something like that, I have noticed a difference there. But I do think the tinctures, and things that are more potent are certainly ... When you're vaping, you're not sure how much you're actually getting in, at any given time.

Rod Cochran: Absolutely.

Marcus Neto: If you use a tincture, or some other measurable-

Rod Cochran: If you get a full spectrum, where you're putting 1200 milligrams, full spectrum, directly on your tongue, you'll see the benefit of it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, absolutely. Do you remember ... This is a question, I don't know how to even apply this to you. Do you remember the first time that you ... Well, you just said it, the first time that you experienced CBD, and thought that there might be something to this. But, did that parlay itself? I mean, is that issue that you have, with diverticulitis ... gosh, that's a word.

Rod Cochran: Isn't it?

Marcus Neto: Then, taking the CBD, having that rectify itself, is that what drove you to go into the CBD market?

Rod Cochran: No, no. I'll be completely honest, no, not at all. The company, Cyclops Vapor, that I work for, transitioned to that. I literally work for them, I don't own it. I just do the marketing, I'm a hired gun if you will, to do whatever I need to do. I came over.

Rod Cochran: That is my testimony, I know how it affected me. That's the one thing that makes me passionate about it. It's the same thing with vape. I'd been a lifelong smoker. I mean, everyone said, "Where did you get your radio voice, Rod?"

Marcus Neto: Smoking.

Rod Cochran: I'm like, "Marlboro."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, Marlboro Reds.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, exactly.

Marcus Neto: Or, Camel Unfiltered.

Rod Cochran: I'd never thought I would quit smoking. I can remember working right here, on Dauphin Street. I'd start a song on the radio, and I'd go, "It's coming, broadcasting live. I'll be back in a minute, 97 FM, WABD," and I would run right outside, smoke a cigarette, and run right back in again. It culminated my life.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: Everything was around me smoking a cigarette, I never thought I would quit. Where with vape, it literally got me off cigarettes. It's very similar to that with the CBD, I am passionate about it because it actually affected my life, and changed my life in a way.

Marcus Neto: Wow. That's really cool.

Rod Cochran: It's hard for me to get behind something I don't really feel personal, like I really believe in it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: It's totally different when you do, because you're passionate, you know there's people out there that it can help.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Well, I'm much the same. We do represent people that i don't necessarily use their products, but we like to know that we're impacting people's lives through them, and also impacting their lives by increasing their revenue. I mean, I get it, there's got to be a purpose.

Rod Cochran: One of the great things that we do is we co-pack. So, we're not putting out our own brands and things like that, we're co-packing for other people, other people in the industry. Being able to manufacture it, right there, if you wanted your own line of BlueFish CBD products, we would be able to do that, with your logo.

Marcus Neto: Let's talk afterwards.

Rod Cochran: Right?

Marcus Neto: This advertising gig isn't working out, let's expand.

Rod Cochran: You know what? I think that's a benefit for a lot of people, especially businesses in the vape space, looking at those ... There are a lot of Mom-and-Pop businesses that are looking, they need something else to sell, that they can help stay in business, that is a benefit to the community. It's something new, and I think it helps those guys.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's really cool. I just think it blows me away that, man, I think you mentioned it earlier, I had no idea that you all were doing that much, out of that facility in Daphne.

Rod Cochran: We're moving 65,000 bottles of eliquid out of the here, every month, all of 22 countries. It was the biggest shock. Like I said, Pablo was shocked when he came to work there like, "Wow, this is actually way bigger than I think people realize, in our local area." I'm like, "Well, it just ..." which is fine by me, it's fine. As long as we're making money, and everybody's happy, and things are going well, everyone doesn't have to know.

Rod Cochran: It's funny, because when we started it, Cyclops Vapor was all based around Greek mythology, right?

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Rod Cochran: The two owners, one's seven foot tall, and the other has one eye, so together ... I'm like, "Is that not the best name, ever? We'll call it Cyclops Vapor." The great thing is, we had all the artist work done by the lead illustrator from the Gods of War video game. I reached out to him, we got him to do all of our characters, they're all drawn by him, commissioned for us specifically. It was a lot of creative marketing stuff in that, and it's always behind the veil of, "It's on Mount Olympus," somewhere way out there. People didn't really know where this company-

Marcus Neto: Well, it's just in Daphne, it's a sleepy little town, on the shore of the Mobile Bay.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, exactly. We're over by Top of the Bay, look for us. Exactly.

Marcus Neto: That's too funny.

Rod Cochran: It took off. Literally, we built that company on social media, literally.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's wild.

Rod Cochran: Into a multi-million dollar company.

Marcus Neto: Wow. Now, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?

Rod Cochran: Ah, do your homework. Do your homework, the market that you're looking to get in. Even in the field that we're in, with CBD and hemp now, you see so many people wanting to rush into it, because they see the easy money. They see this is an industry that's booming, there's CBD shops popping up everywhere. "I want do to that, obviously there's money in it."

Rod Cochran: Well, it's an easy way to lose a lot of money, if you don't really, one, do your homework. And two, work with people like BlueFish, that know what they're doing, to help you maximize that.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: If you don't market your product in the correct way, and reach the right customer, then you could be spending all that money for absolutely nothing. I've seen a lot of companies do that. There's as many companies losing money trying to be in the CBD space, are there people getting rich in the CBD space. It's simply for those two things, right there, is they don't know the market and what they're doing, and they're not going to people that do, and know how to help them, assist them, marketing their brand, and what they're trying to do.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. It's like you said, they're popping up all over the place. The demand isn't as great as what-

Rod Cochran: Right, it hasn't caught up.

Marcus Neto: There's an educational component to it. I know a number of people that have started CBD stores, and as the market becomes more saturated, it's going to be more and more difficult for those people to make ends meet.

Rod Cochran: Oh, absolutely.

Marcus Neto: It doesn't matter what benefit they can provide people, they may care, and they may want to still impact people's lives, and all that stuff, but, it just ...

Rod Cochran: But, you have to do your homework, and you have to work with people that you know can assist you in achieving those goals.

Marcus Neto: Well, you also keep in mind, they have to somehow bring themselves up, above the fray, as the person that ... Well, I know I passed by this other place on the way home from work, but I'm going to drive two minutes out of the way because this person, over here, really understands my problem kind of thing.

Rod Cochran: Absolutely. Even the vape space, that's when we came in. The market was so saturated, you're looking at 6000 vape companies in the United States. You're going, "How do we differentiate ourselves from all of those guys?"

Rod Cochran: Again, we had to think outside of the box, marketing wise, and go, "Okay. What can we do that's different, and to be the authority, and be looked at as the leader?" It was doing the things we did with Vape Radio, and things that were outside of the traditional box of how to market that, and to create that demand for something. And, at the same time, take your competitors advertising dollars. You know what I mean?

Rod Cochran: To be creative thinkers, I think that's one of things. We've got computers that do all the work for us, we've got all this amazing technology. I think the biggest demand right now, with anyone, is creative thinkers. It's harder to find people that can come up, and create ideas that are genuinely ... that's really the key. We can go get a great graphic designer lots of places, but to have someone who comes out of left field with an idea that hasn't been really looked at before ...

Rod Cochran: David Letterman was great on television, but you know who really was great? The writers he had, in the back rooms, that came up with all that material every night. Those creative thinkers, I think, is something that's very valuable in today's marketing landscape.

Marcus Neto: I'm looking something up on my phone, here, because I wanted to share something with the folks. I went to a conference last week, and one of the people that spoke is Myron Golden.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: He's a guy that I think everybody should look up, he's got a really good things to say. But, he talks about the levels of value, as far as jobs go. He talks about implementation. We were at the Gaylord, Opryland Gaylord in Nashville, which is probably one of the largest hotels in the country, right?

Rod Cochran: Yeah, it's beautiful.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, 2800 rooms. So, he was using the example of implementation, these are the people that do the thing, and they often make the least. So, his example was, this is housekeeping.

Marcus Neto: Unification, which is management. So, management skills are a little bit higher on that scale, but not so much higher. Like, you're not going to make a ton of money as a manager, but you can make a little bit more money. He said the next level is communication, so those people that can speak, and can actually tell the others about whatever it is that's being done. Then, the last one, which would be the highest, and it's also the people that can change the world, they're the ones that are the wealthiest, and it's the people with imagination.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: It's the people that can creatively think about the things, and solve the problems, that's the highest level of-

Rod Cochran: Yeah, that's great. That's good stuff.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: So true, I really believe that. Like I said, we've got great graphic designers everywhere, we've got great computers, we've got great programs.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: How do we do something different?

Marcus Neto: How do you use it differently?

Rod Cochran: ... than everyone else?

Marcus Neto: Exactly.

Rod Cochran: How do you reach that audience, how do you connect with them, that's different than everyone else? I think, even going forward, we're going to see that become more important as the years go by, over the next decade, is those creative thinkers.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I agree. Now, if you look to the business world ... I always say this. Not your parents, not your granddad, and not necessarily even anybody here in Mobile, but when you look to the business world, is there one person that you look to, that maybe motivates you, or drives you?

Rod Cochran: I wouldn't say there's one, it's an eclectic mix of things, and artists. I mean, of course you've got the marketing gurus, the Gary Vs of the world and stuff, that you admire. But, there's also people outside of that scope because obviously if I was about money, I would have stayed a banker.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: It's the creative, I love the creative thinkers, the people that get outside of the norm. When I think about, in that context ...

Marcus Neto: Give me one? Whose somebody that you think of?

Rod Cochran: Well, today's his birthday, Bob Marley.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Rod Cochran: The reason why is because it was more than music. People go, "Oh, he's a great musician." No, it was more than that.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: It was a movement.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, a revolution.

Rod Cochran: You reach people's heart, their imagination. Again, going back to those things, it was bigger than the artist, that's something bigger. It's cliché to say, "This business man that made lots of money." Money comes and goes, but did you change the world? Did you leave the world a better place, did you impact the world? That's something Bob ... You say his first name, Bob, you know who it is.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: He would have been 72, today was his birthday.

Marcus Neto: I did not know that. I actually ... Short story.

Marcus Neto: We had a competition at the high school that I went to, and I was a sophomore, I think, at the time. It was called the Mr. Viking Contest. Usually, it was always the quarterback of the football team that won this thing, but it was more like a Spirit Award kind of thing. But, they had different components. So, they had the interview, it was like a beauty pageant for guys. They had the swimsuit contest, then evening wear, the day wear, had interview questions.

Marcus Neto: Well, when it came to the swimsuit competition, I got linen glasses. This was pre-PC time, so I got a mop, dyed it black. I had the linen glasses, took a bandana, tied it around my head. Cut-off shorts.

Rod Cochran: That's it.

Marcus Neto: Came out shirtless, to Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry.

Rod Cochran: That's it.

Marcus Neto: I didn't win over the quarterback of the football team, but I came in second, which was pretty impressive.

Rod Cochran: That's good.

Marcus Neto: As a sophomore, I shouldn't have placed anywhere.

Rod Cochran: Right, yeah. You placed.

Marcus Neto: Solidified my place in history, as Mr. Viking. It was a good time.

Rod Cochran: Also, locally, Bernie Dittman. He owned 97 FM WABD, the original owner from the '40s, '50s. To see the way he did things, just going back to my radio heritage, he created so many talented broadcasters out of that.

Marcus Neto: So, there must have been something there?

Rod Cochran: Leslie Fran, that's on CMT now, started on 99 X, the first grunge station. Scott Shannon, in New York, Will Pendarvis on KROCK on the satellite radio. But the thing was, they call came through Mobile, Alabama, and that one radio station. There's a far longer list than that. They call came through there, because he encouraged them to be talent, and get out on a limb and do something.

Rod Cochran: I can remember him telling me, "I don't care if you get on a limb and you can't get back, at least do something. Don't be just a cookie cutter jock, playing the same thing."

Marcus Neto: That's what I tell my people, all the time.

Rod Cochran: "Be personality."

Marcus Neto: Be the expert.

Rod Cochran: "Be you, and push the envelope. Go out there, and be it, own it, embrace it." I've never forgotten the lessons that he's taught me, on that in itself.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's good stuff.

Rod Cochran: It's translated.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Now, are there any books, podcasts, people, or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward?

Rod Cochran: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, so many of them. Vape News Magazine, obviously, they helped a lot in the early days. I knew that some of these shows I would go to, if I actually would gather the content video, photo content for their magazine, if they could make it to a show, then I could supply that for you. That, of course, got a working relationship with those guys, so anything we needed to promote could be done, so they always helped a lot.

Rod Cochran: Lots of different podcasts. My cousin does a podcast in New York, she is a professor at NYU, she does New Hemp Times, where she studies cannabis, the mental health aspect of it and everything. She's a valuable asset right now. In fact, today's her birthday as well. There's too many to name.

Rod Cochran: I follow you, I listen to you. It's funny because, honestly, I have, over the last few years, man.

Marcus Neto: Well, I appreciate that.

Rod Cochran: I've followed you, and what you've done. I think you do a fantastic job, I really do.

Marcus Neto: We're trying. We're trying to eke out, make a difference here in Mobile. I mean, it seems to be working. It's not completely altruistic. You were talking earlier about being the expert, and owning your own space.

Marcus Neto: When I look back, it wasn't necessarily completely intentional, but we knew that if we could talk about the positive aspects of what's happening here in Mobile, then people would tune in, and they would listen. If they start to know that BlueFish exists, well then, hey, maybe they at some point in time need help with their advertising.

Rod Cochran: Absolutely.

Marcus Neto: It was something that we were conscious of, but at the same time I just really enjoy sitting down and talking with people, and sharing ideas, and stuff like that.

Rod Cochran: You've been a breath of fresh air, BlueFish really has.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I appreciate that.

Rod Cochran: Like I said, you're doing a fantastic job.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: I always enjoy that, I take a little bit from everybody that I come across, everyone that I encounter influences, me, or something in some, shape, form, or fashion. Watching your videos, the things that you've done, I've watched.

Marcus Neto: I'm going to cut you off, right now.

Rod Cochran: Well, the thing is, I think we all learn from each other, constantly. I think that's the thing about it, I'll be 50 this year, and I'm still learning. You've got to be able to pick up something from everybody, and take the good, leave the bad, and keep going forward.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's key in life. The key to staying young is to keep learning.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Then, the key to making yourself valuable is to keep learning.

Rod Cochran: Keep learning, right.

Marcus Neto: Otherwise, you just stay in one place.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, because Lord knows when I got my degree in marketing, oh yeah, it was door hangers. You're talking 1988, '89.

Marcus Neto: Direct mail.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, let's do some direct mail pieces, which they still are effective, I will say.

Marcus Neto: You're in marketing space, and you're roughly my age. Do you know a guy by the name of Frank Kern, have you ever heard that name?

Rod Cochran: It's sounds familiar, but I don't know.

Marcus Neto: If not, then I'll just skip it. He actually was one of the guests that they didn't announce, at this conference last week. He's arguably one of the most successful direct mail copywriters, that's currently alive.

Rod Cochran: Wow.

Marcus Neto: He's made the transition to online marketing, and it was just a treat to hear him speak. Anyway, I digress, but look him up when you get a chance.

Rod Cochran: Yeah, definitely.

Marcus Neto: He's got some really good stuff. So, what's the most important thing that you've learned about running a business?

Rod Cochran: Be happy. I know that sounds crazy, because everyone wants to base everything around the dollar amount. But again, going back to my decision to leave banking, it doesn't matter what you're doing, if it doesn't satisfy something in you, then stop.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: Go find something that does. You'll find your true success there. I love making people happy, I love pleasing people, I'm a people pleaser.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: Whatever it is, whether it's on the radio, or whether it's at a convention, or a show, or a YouTube show, or whatever it is, it's that. I love to make people happy. Find what your thing is, and just really go there.

Marcus Neto: It makes it easy, too.

Rod Cochran: It does.

Marcus Neto: You can just lean into something.

Rod Cochran: You love it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: I think about what I do in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning, in the shower, but it's not work because I truly enjoy doing what I do.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: I think that, honestly, is the key. Honestly, to anything, to be successful, if you truly love it, you're passionate about it, if you continue to drive yourself, you will find success.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's good. How do you like to unwind?

Rod Cochran: Well, I told you about Greenbridge hemp, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Rod Cochran: You know what? I'm a single father, a single dad. I've had sole custody of my son for the last eight years, it's just he and I, no grandparents, no aunts, no uncles, no one.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: He's my world, being a dad to him. It's funny, because I've made this character, the wild, crazy, the Rod Man out there, that's a mixture between Pauly Shore, David Lee Roth, and who knows what else. When I get home, I'm dad. It's all about me and my son, and putting those things into him, and just focusing on who he's going to be in his life, and his character. He's got the same, he's got personality.

Marcus Neto: That's cool.

Rod Cochran: He hears me do my radio bits, whether it's, "Ladies, it's Ozzy Osborne," and he's like, "Oh God, he's doing his Ozzy." Or, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." He's, "Oh, he's doing his President Clinton, now."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Rod Cochran: He just rolls his eyes, where I'm like, "This is great stuff, son."

Marcus Neto: Right, yeah.

Rod Cochran: Then he comes home from school and he's like, he got in trouble for telling jokes. I'm like, "Well, no DNA test, you're mine."

Marcus Neto: The apple didn't fall far from that tree.

Rod Cochran: That's what I do, my focus is really, it's been being a dad. It's funny, being a single dad is a whole nother podcast in itself.

Marcus Neto: There's your next market.

Rod Cochran: Yeah. Yeah, single dad. Boom, look it, there.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: That's good, I should do that.

Marcus Neto: You should, actually.

Rod Cochran: Yes.

Marcus Neto: We'll talk offline, but there's some ideas that I have there, that I've superficially talked about with somebody else.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Well, tell people where they can find out more information, if they want to hear more about you, or about the products that you all are selling?

Rod Cochran: Yeah, that we're manufacturing? Greenbridge, the website's getting ready to go live here, soon. We just started this in January, so this is brand new, on the manufacturing side. We've been getting down the manufacturing guts of it, before the website obviously. The machinery, and things like that. But, we're ready to go on that. That's going to be GreenbridgeUSA.com, that's who I work for.

Rod Cochran: Again, like I said, I'm a hired gun, I do things here and there. I don't have any particular website that I own, personally. VapeRadio.com was the one we had. We're going to be launching something new, but we're still working on a name for it. So maybe, you can help me come up with a good name for the new radio station? Maybe it'll be MobileCoastal.com?

Marcus Neto: Just got a tickle in my throat, and it wouldn't go away.

Rod Cochran: "It's only rock and roll, but we like it."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, it's all the cocaine and whores.

Rod Cochran: "It's only rock and roll."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, damn. I'm going to recover for just a second, take a drink of water.

Rod Cochran: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Then, we're going to end this thing.

Rod Cochran: All right. Yeah, that's the tough thing. Like I said, these new partners they've brought in to launch Greenbridge, they're new. Like I said, I'm not real familiar, and I don't know what exactly that's all going to pan out. So, I'm in this floating space, I'm employed there, but I'm not sure where the future's going there.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Rod Cochran: They want to do a radio station, but they want to do another worldwide radio station, which ... One of the owners is friends with the guy that owns the Floribama. I was like, "You should really launch Floribama radio, you could compete."

Marcus Neto: That name is well known, especially with-

Rod Cochran: Put it on your website, "Take a little bit of the Floribama with you, wherever you go."

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Rod Cochran: You can have those artists, broadcast live. I said, "Then, you could sell advertising to Budweiser, this, that, and the other." I said ...

Marcus Neto: Not to mention the fact that, it being a music venue, all the options.

Rod Cochran: Right, all those artists. And, you're just basically making those people stay in love with you, so they book their next vacation. You have ads for Phoenix, and all the places. You're just constantly remarketing, "Come back to the Floribama, and come back to Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach, and spend your money." I think that-

Marcus Neto: That's good stuff.

Marcus Neto: Well listen, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?

Rod Cochran: No. I appreciate you having me in, it's been a pleasure to meet you.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, absolutely.

Rod Cochran: Like I said, I've been following you for a while, and it's great to be here. I love what you do.

Marcus Neto: Well Rod, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me, and share your journey as a marketer, and an entrepreneur. It's been great talking with you.

Rod Cochran: Thank you. I love you all, good night.

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