Special Episode: Switching Microphones with Mark Burdette

In this episode of The Main Thing, our show host Skip Lineberg switched microphones with entrepreneur Mark Burdette. As Mark interviewed Skip, they explored his journey of hacking wisdom over the past three and a half years.

People know Mark Burdette as the voice of entrepreneurship in West Virginia. Whether it is coaching business owners one-on-one, in a group setting, or collaborating with business and community leaders to help them develop and grow, an entrepreneurship ecosystem is what drives Mark.

Mark is a gifted connector and a devoted, generous ‘people person’ whose  hobbies include photography, media, technology, sports and podcasting. He presently serves as Program Coordinator of West Virginia Business Link.

From Skip’s lifelong attraction to wise people to his recent interview with Tom Peters, this episode is a testament to the transformative power of wisdom, mentors, purpose, and faith.

Listen in as they discuss Skip’s experience at a retreat with Tom Peters where he asked, “What did God put you on this earth to do?” This question prompted self-reflection that helped Skip identify and articulate his life’s purpose for the first time.

Finally, join the duo in exploring the concept of living a good life by pursuing purpose and faith. They discuss how taking the time to reflect on these themes can make a significant impact on our personal and professional lives.

This episode was recorded at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, WV.


Episode 86 – Tom Peters Shares Excellent Wisdom

Mark Burdette’s website

Tom’s Book “Re-imagine!” on Amazon

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[0:00:01] – Intro and Hacking Wisdom

Skip and Mark discuss hacking wisdom, time, wise people, technology, and entrepreneurship.

[0:05:55] – Tom Peters’ Impact on Entrepreneurship and Skip’s Career

Tom Peters’ book, In Search of Excellence, has shaped business principles and impacted the host’s life journey from 1982 to 2004.

[0:19:22] – Discovering Life’s Purpose With Tom Peters

Tom Peters facilitated self-reflection to identify life’s purpose, including a life-shaping summit in Tom’s hometown of Bennington, Vermont in Winter 2004.

[0:28:19] – The Last Interview With Tom Peters

Skip connected with Tom Peters, discussing his roots, career triumphs, shared Baltimore roots and – of course – his Main Thing. Who knew it would be his last media appearance?

[0:37:33] – Living With Purpose and Faith

We reflect on living a good life, purpose, faith, reflection, Tom Peters’ wisdom, and hacking wisdom.

full transcript of this show

Full Transcript of Show

Mark Burdette:

Hello and welcome to The Main Thing! My name is Mark Burdette, and I’m here with the host, creator and purveyor of 9-minute doses of wisdom, Skip Lineberg. I’ve flipped the mic today and my friend and colleague, Skip is going to be the interviewee on today’s show. So how are you doing, my friend? 

Skip: Pretty awkward, honestly. 

Mark: That awkwardness is still here, huh?

Skip:  It is. I’m not good at being interviewed. I’ll tell you— I’m out of my comfort zone. 


So last time you did a switching mics episode was a little over two years ago, when our mutual friend, Andy Malinoski, led you down the path of unveiling for us how The Main Thing Podcast came to be. It’s hard to believe it’s been three and a half years since you actually launched the main thing podcast, so give us an update on your journey so far after three and a half years. 


Well, first of all, the fact that it’s been two years since we switched microphones last, wow! Mark, i believe that was Episode 35. That really seems like a month ago, maybe two months ago at most. Anyway, boy, time flies when you’re hacking wisdom. 

Yeah, as far as the journey, the three and a half year journey, it’s been an incredible blessing. I get the first fruits of it all. You know, my whole life I have gravitated to wise people. You know, as a kid that was older people. My elders sit, ask them questions all day, learn as much as I could. They were interesting to me, not boring, they were worldly, they were entertaining. As a kid I would, i would prefer to be with 60 and 70 year olds most of the time, than kids my age. 

So you know if I, if I zoom out and look at that, this has really been a pattern my whole life of being strangely and strongly attracted to wisdom. And what can I learn from other people? You know the other part of that is hacking wisdom. Let’s cut to the chase. Life lesson What can I learn from you so that I don’t have to do it myself with all the stops and starts, mistakes, setbacks, comebacks? There’s a little bit in there have to say for transparency, a little bit of wanting to do it the fast way, and so we know we could debate. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? But yeah, the three and a half years has been an incredible blessing, the friendships that I’ve made deep and cultivated through the main thing podcast is just such such a beautiful thing, such an unexpected thing and such a fantastic part of my life. 


I wanted to talk to you today to zoom in specifically on the Tom Peters interview. How it came to be. You just dropped episode 86 this past Sunday, February 12 2023. I listened to it the very next day. Me and my wife Stacy were traveling back from Morgantown, and we absolutely just loved it. 

Skip:  Thank you. 


But I have to tell you one thing: I was extremely nervous for you because I knew how much of a big deal this was for you, and so I was a little nervous, but I thought it went great. I think you pulled it off and I really wanted to get the backstory. So I appreciate you allowing me to suggest being on your show. I had to interview man. Yeah, absolutely had to do it. 


We’ve known each other a long time, but I’d like to hear you. You’re the host today, not me. You’re driving this train. I’d like you to share a bit of an introduction, just your elevator speech, of what you’re all about and what you do. 


Well, I am an entrepreneur, born and raised here in West Virginia, and that’s how you and I met skips. Yeah, we were both engaged in entrepreneurial activity and kind of. that’s how we kind of attracted one another and what we were doing. Yeah always had a lot of respect for you and and watching your entrepreneurial endeavors from afar and it’s been great. But my background is in technology. I’m now doing West Virginia business link here for the state of West Virginia at the Small Business Development Center at the Department of Economic Development.


You’re an entrepreneur with several startups under your belt and you’ve advised other entrepreneurs including me, I think back to you know we’re going to talk about the early 2000’s. We had a lot of you and other leader facilitators had a lot of cool entrepreneurial programs going on back then, The Entrepreneurial League, the conference that you hosted every year, Create West Virginia had come around and there were, you know, clusters of creative folks meeting to support one another, to share learning, to share fellowship. So there was just all kinds of innovative, fun stuff going on. It was exciting to be a part of that. 


I think the groundwork that we laid back then prepared us for what we are doing today, to take advantage of all the great things and, you know, behind Andy’s marketing here at the state. All the resource partners that we’re engaged with to help entrepreneurs across the state. Yes, i think there’s a lot of great things happening in West Virginia and it’s good to be here. This excitement that I have in wanting to do this with you is to kind of go along that journey with you and how all this came to be. 

I don’t know how often it is for people like yourself that get to interview a mentor. And especially one at that level that a lot of people know. I mean, if you’re in business and haven’t heard of Tom Peters, i mean what do you say to that? 


You’re either extremely young, or you haven’t maybe done as much reading as you need to do. I discovered this book called “In Search of Excellence.” It was published in 1981. I think I picked it up in 1982. My aunt, Joann Stang, recommended that book to me. She had a very successful career in enterprise, personnel management and  human resources. My aunt always had great recommendations for me as a young, soon-to-be high school graduate on his way to college. “Read Megatrends. Read Tom Peters’ new book, in Search of Excellence. This is really groundbreaking. You’ll love it.” She was right. 

The book that Tom wrote with Bob Waterman was a new style of business book. We’re coming out of the Peter Drucker era. It was very traditional writing. You introduce a topic, you define it, you give the core underlying principles, you defend those and you come to a conclusion and you move on to the next chapter. Very academic style writing. 

Tom and Bob Waterman’s book “In Search of Excellence” was very case-study oriented, very snapshot oriented. They went around and visited, i want to say, 200 companies over the course of several years. What they did was they looked at what was working, what were the commonalities of companies that were very successful, companies that were moving up the food chain in their market sectors and displacing the entrenched, long time leaders. These were the companies that were. Today’s women called them like gazelles. They’re moving rapidly up the rank in their market space. So they did all their interviews, they did all of their walking around and then they wrote a book and they identified probably 10 core principles. 

Each one of their principles were groundbreaking… a whole new lexicon, a creative vocabulary to describe business. It was a lot about how companies treated people and how effective leaders within companies had success. It was things like management by wandering around, recognizing the unofficial influence structures within companies. It was this thing called simultaneous, loose type principles. That meant that you have rules but you know when to bend them. The other one that is a hallmark of that book was close to the customer. Now, today that’s assumed and taken for granted that to be successful, you have to know your customer, you have to spend time understanding their needs, you have to have a feedback loop in place so that you are indeed close to your customer. 

Those are just a few examples of the groundbreaking way of thinking. One more, if you allow me. They talked about community in the corporate sense and how companies were a community and a culture, like a town or like a church or any other organization, why certain people at these great companies felt proud to be there, the impact those corporations were having on the communities where they did business. No one talked about that prior to Tom Peters. So Tom held that up as an ingredient of success. And if you want to be successful like these companies, you’re going to do the kind of things they’re doing. 

That was “In Search of Excellence.” It absolutely inspired me to want to do that for a living. I went into engineering at West Virginia University. I studied industrial and management systems engineering, because I wanted to understand the way things work. I didn’t want to build circuit boards. I didn’t want to build bridges or earthworks, but I wanted to build systems where companies could be better and more effective and make things run smoothly. So that was the part of engineering I studied. It inspired me later to develop a consulting business here in our local region to help companies operate more successfully. 

Think back to “In Search of Excellence,” we were talking about me reading that in 1982, graduating from engineering school in 1988. Well, that was my first taste of Tom Peters. 


So not only did Tom Peters have a huge impact on the business world, as you took us that journey from 1982 to 2004, how would you describe the total impact that he has had on your life up to that point? And I think you talked about you got to meet him!


I wanted to work for a company that was headed by a great leader, and I did. I went to work for. General Electric was one of the companies he talked about in search of excellence and I went to work for not directly for, but I went to work for GE in the Jack Welch era. Jack Welch was a great leader. I knew a Jack that was just a great, courageous, bold, clear, visionary business leader. We set out to do great things and we accomplished great things. 

Now to get to 2004, Mark, by that point in time I had come back to West Virginia. This was the era that we touched on a little bit earlier, where I’m operating Maple Creative. It  was a marketing consulting firm here in Charleston, West Virginia. We launched on January 1 of 2001, and so we’re embarking on our fourth year of business. 

One of the other technology entrepreneurs in our area was a great gentleman by the name of Rob Godbey. Rob at that time had also come back to Charleston, and he was. He had started up a business of his own, which came to be known as Godbey Works. Rob was doing technology training, business training and consulting. Rob was a client of our firm, so we helped Rob develop his website, his brand, his logo, some of his collateral materials. And Rob was helping us operate more effectively, helping us with how to run our business, the operation side of our business, which was grossly needed. We advanced great strides forward in that era, under Rob’s guidance.

So he called me one morning … it was the winter of 2004, probably January. He said, “hey, Skip, i’ve been invited to go up to Vermont next month.” 

“Rob, that’s great, wow, amazing! How do you know Tom?” 

By the way, Rob is very humble and unassuming. “Oh well, you know, we kind of ran in the same circles for a few years. Tom was at McKinsey and I was consulting with Ernst and Young, and so we would occasionally see each other at conferences or bump into each other. Have a client that maybe was common between the two consulting firms.”

“Wow, rob, that’s amazing!” 

And he says, “Yeah, the reason I called is I get to bring a guest, and I thought maybe I’d take you up to Vermont if you’d like to go.”

“Oh, my gosh, yeah!” I fired back quickly in response to Rob’s offer.

So we hopped on a plane a couple of weeks later, flew up to … I don’t know how you get to Vermont from West Virginia, but it’s probably three flights. And it’s wintertime and it’s snowy, and Tom’s hometown of Bennington, Vermont, was where we went. He was hosting an event called the Reimagine Summit in his hometown of Bennington, Vermont, It was basically a two-day experience with Tom and his team. He was just about to release another blockbuster book called “Re-Imagine.”

We’ll put a link in the show notes and go look at a copy of “Re-Imagine.” It was this coffee table size book. Every page was touched by an incredibly gifted graphic designer, so it was like mixed media. There was splashes of color and photography and design and typography and font treatments. Every page was a visual delight, not to mention the content of the words and the impact of Tom’s new book. This was for him, 22 years after his first book we talked about earlier. Tom’s got some new ideas. He’s got a new view of how has American business changed. And he’s got some really powerful things to say. 

So he invited Rob and some folks like Rob. These were other business consultants, business authors, media personalities, you know a diverse group of thought leaders probably 40 of us in total. 35 to 40 folks were there for two days, and Tom was going to test his pitch. How he is going to present his findings from the book to an audience. We were his focus group for testing his “Re-Imagine” message points and his pitch decks and his key points and his questions ….  His Q&A, his thought starters. And so we did that over a two-day period in a really cool conference space. 

Mark, one of the things you’ll love is, at that event, every session open and ended with a professional disc jockey who had the turntables there. He was playing rock and hip hop … just really great bumper music to add energy to the environment. We had sketch artists that were writing on butcher paper taped to the wall. The things Tom was saying and some of the feedback that folks were giving was being scribed on the walls with artwork, cartoonish type artwork to capture the whole discussion. So it was a fantastic event. And I remember … I’m such a music nerd… I can’t help but first remember the disc jockey. But I also remember Tom’s key points. 

He said, “Folks, if you go back to go back home to your business, you’re doing what you’re doing… You better find out how to market to women, because women have 82% of the buying power in America. That was true at that time and it’s probably still that or more. They start the buying conversation. A lot of times they make the decision.  They initiate it, always. You better figure out how to market to women.”

“You better figure out how to market to geezers. He called them “geezers.” He made it memorable. These were the Boomers that were late-career, who hold tremendous wealth. And if you were overlooking the boomers that he called the geezers, these were people that were, you know, in their 60s, approaching age 70, huge market potential. You’d better figure out how to make your business attractive to them, so you could earn a share of their wallets.”

He said, “We’d better figure out how to fix healthcare in America.” Because our hospitals and surgery suites were killing way too many folks … operating on the wrong limb … and Tom and other leaders did make an impact in that area. As a result of that, healthcare embraced new methods and new technologies and new ways of making sure that quality was infused into everything they do. Interesting for me to be working in that arena now, late in my career. 

But those were three of Tom’s key points. I think we also talked about how China was emerging at that time. And we’d better we’d better keep an eye on what China is doing and find a way to partner with them. Harness that growing part of the global economy. 

So that was the event. It was fabulous! Thank You, Rob Godbey. If you’re listening right now. I know I didn’t really deserve to be there. I was your “plus one.” I don’t know why you picked me, but I’m sure thrilled and blessed and delighted that you did.


It really wasn’t a conference. It seems like it was an intimate retreat. Wow, i can’t imagine what that was like. So did you actually get any one-on-one time with him? 


Tom couldn’t wait for the formal session to end and folks to come up to share an interesting take, maybe an alternate perspective on something that he had talked about. Very open to that. I remember a number of one-on-ones with Tom. He got to know us by name. Wow… again, just this incredible experience, so blessed to have been there. 


Skip, that’s remarkable. You actually mentioned that you got to meet him one-on-one actually. How did that present itself and come to be? 


You know, Mark, something that Tom did the night before the official summit started. So this is like travel-in day, get checked into inn where we were staying. Well, we had a reception, which is not uncommon.  You would have hors d’oeuvres and a cup of Chardonnay and a couple cubes of Gouda cheese to munch on. Folks would mix and mingle a little bit and that was a fun way to get settled in. And to exhale, after a busy day of travel before getting ready for the next day. 

After about 20 minutes or so, Tom tapped on his wine glass with a spoon and Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink. “Hey, everyone, i want your attention for a minute. If you don’t mind, let’s make a big circle around the outer periphery of the room. If you’d just find a place there. I’m going to ask each of you a question.”

Tom then said, “It’s really important for the next two days that we get to know each other very deeply … and that you get to know the person besides you … what perspective they’re bringing to this really important conversation. To accelerate that I’m going to ask you a really strange question, and I want you to answer it completely authentically … from the heart. I’ll guarantee you no one’s ever asked you this question before.”

“In a moment you’re going to share with everyone the answer to this question. Now, here’s the question: What did God put you on this earth to do? What did God drop you into earth in this lifetime … to do?” 

So, Mark, I’m freaking out. I’m completely floored, paralyzed. When I get nervous, the top of my lip sweats and maybe a little bit up around the hairline on my forehead. Well, I can feel those sweat beads starting to form. I had no clue. I’m about 35 years old at this time, and I’m a little embarrassed right now to say— but I hadn’t thought about that. I would refer to myself then as a striver, climber, achiever, really oriented on, just like getting ahead. I was very much living a selfish, self-centered life. How can I maximize everything? How can my business be more successful? How can I earn more money? Not thinking about what God put me here on earth to do? 

So, here’s great evidence that there is a God: when Tom pointed to who was going to go first, he pointed way across the room from me. Well, we’re going to go around the circle, one by one. So that meant that I had some time to think and guess what … I didn’t have to go first. 

I’m sitting there thinking and listening. What in the world am I going to say? What am I going to say? 

Because, Mark, each of us in that moment could say the 10 things that we care about or the 10 things that maybe are what we’re here to do. But he wasn’t going to let you off the hook. You had to give the one thing. What did God put you on this earth to do? And so, after some intensive listening and soul searching and some praying, and the turn came around to me … by that time I had clarity about what I was going to say. 

And here’s what I discovered about his question:  what I’m going to say really boils down to my purpose. What Tom was asking, in his roundabout way, was: what is your purpose?  What is your driving purpose of how you live? 

“God put me on this earth to be a teacher,” I announced to Tom and the group.

Now, i didn’t go to school to be in education. I didn’t study education. I didn’t teach in a classroom. I didn’t aspire to be a college professor. But as I studied and searched my soul and thought about all of that, everything that I love doing, everything that brought out the most of me, everything that I was passionate about when I felt most alive, i was coaching, i was training, i was parenting. I was coaching athletes on a basketball court. I was coaching athletes in a Crossfit gym. I was training young professionals. I was mentoring, conducting training at work. I was teaching clients new ideas. I was a teacher, and that’s my life purpose. And in February 2004, I articulated and expressed with clarity my life’s purpose for the very first time, thanks to Tom Peters.


That’s amazing! Skip, as you’re sitting here talking about that … it makes me reflect back. Oddly enough, in that same time frame, it was probably 2002, and I really contemplated leaving the state. I was asking God, “Hey, what do you want me to do?”

Through thoughtful prayer and over time, I realized: I just want you to help others. Just help others. And, as you were kind of going down through the list of the impact that you have had on your colleagues, your family, your customers …. You know that’s really, I believe, why we’re all here in some way, shape or form. It’s very simplistic—helping others, serving, teaching. Skip, you were able to zoom in on the specific thing that you enjoyed doing. Yeah and had an impact in teaching. That’s awesome.


I left Bennington, Vermont in 2004, very inspired, very confident, very excited about how to lead a business. How to approach the market and find some niches that our small company could explore and hopefully capitalize on. 

I kept reading Tom’s books. The next one that I think about, that I discovered shortly after that, was a series of three mini-books that he published. Each of these had 50 principles and there are short little lessons. The one that really comes to mind is “The PSF 50” … the professional service firm 50. 

Mark:  I remember that one, yeah.


Maple Creative, which prior to that might have been called an ad agency, an advertising and marketing agency. We reinvented and we retooled how we thought about ourselves. As a professional services firm, we provided a service. We aspired to be professionals and we were. And we were a firm. So We dug into Tom’s professional services firm 50 playbook, and I think Rob helped us apply that book to our business model in a very impactful way.

I continued to follow Tom and his books, followed him in the media. You know we were just entering into the social media era at that point in time. And so I began to see Tom on Twitter. I began to see Tom on LinkedIn, sharing shorter, thought-leadership posts and articles and essays.

About three years ago … this is early Covid. Tom is giving advice to business leaders on how to lead during the pandemic. Very necessary advice where everybody’s in a brand new, unexplored, unforeseen place. Companies and employees are separated, dispersed, we’re in lockdown. How do you lead in that environment? And you know, Tom’s message, if I recall, was about clarity. Cut through the confusion with clarity, and just communicate what you know. Try to reassure people. Be clear about what you do know. It sounds simple now, it sounds almost elementary, too simple, but at the time it was, i think, just what folks needed to hear. Sort of that reassuring nudge, “Hey, we’re going to get through this, and here is how you want to communicate with your people  right now.” So, I direct messaged Tom on Twitter, and he wrote back and said “we should explore this.”

By that time I had begun The Main Thing Podcast. He put me in touch with his agent, who was going to book to do an interview. This is 2020. We are just about at the one year mark of the podcast and excited to perhaps interview Tom in the fourth quarter of the year 2020. Well, Tom had some health challenges. It wasn’t COVID, but I got a message from his agent, Shelley Dolley, who said, “Hey Skip, Tom’s going to be taking six months off. He’s got some health concerns and we’ll get back to you.”

It took what … another 18 months for it all to come to fruition. I continued to drop a periodic email to his team. Mark, I had almost given up on the idea. I’m like well, at least I had the Re-Imagine Summit. I got to meet Tom up close and personal. I may not get him as a guest on the show, but no one can take away from me the Vermont experience. 

One day, I sent a direct message on LinkedIn. The marketer in me said:  keep your message, change your your channel. So I had done a Twitter direct message. I’d sent several emails. This time It was a LinkedIn direct message. Tom responded almost immediately and he said, “Skip, let’s, let’s make this happen. I want to come onto your show. I’m sorry, we’ve been unable to connect until now. Let’s, let’s make this happen!” 

So you know, maybe there’s a main thing lesson in there of keep trying when it’s something you really care about.

Mark:  Persistence.

Skip: Persistence, yeah, absolutely. 


So how did it make you feel once you got the commitment and knew that this was actually going to happen? How did you feel? You know … what were you thinking?


I was … giddy. I mean, that’s the best word that comes to mind right now. I was really hopeful, full of anticipation. 


Oh, man, you were running around your house kicking up your heels. High five, I mean, I can just see it!


No doubt … and also sending text messages. Screen-shotting it, and sending off text messages. Look here —It’s finally going to happen. Tom’s going to be on the show! You know, dream come true for sure. 

The other contributor to my giddiness, Mark, was I’m a book nerd. I know you are too, and when we got a date on the books to record in January, Tom’s team sent me a book. This was the book that we talked about on the show, “The Compact Guide to Excellence.” I was just thrilled to get a book from Tom. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book. I was checking the mailbox like a teenager who’s waiting on the thing they ordered online to come. Or, you know, looking for Amazon to bring that thing that you just can’t wait for. 


I just I can’t even imagine, Can’t even imagine. It’s great. So let’s talk about the interview itself. So how did you feel during the interview? How was his energy coming back to you? Did he seem rushed —or did he seem like he was really embracing the moment during the interview? 


So a couple of things about that. When I started talking to Tom, I maybe had 10 words up. He waves his arms. He’s like wait, wait, wait, wait a minute, wait a minute. He says, “Skip, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken. But you don’t talk like someone should speak from your part of the country. Where’d you grow up? anyway?”He says, and I was like. I grew up in he’s and he, he didn’t even let me. He said I’m from Maryland, i grew up around Baltimore and and and Annapolis. And he’s like the way you’re talking is reminding me a home a little bit. And and he’s like and he’s like there’s a tiny little part of West Virginia that stretches over there towards Baltimore. And I’m like Tom, you’re talking about my hometown And I’m like that’s why, that’s why I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan And that’s why I still, after they’ve been in last place for four years, still a diehard Orioles fan. 

We had a good laugh about that. We traded some Orioles stories, and we traded some colloquialisms about the Baltimore accent. How we say certain words like ‘water’ and ‘wash,’ and how we say the color ‘orange.’ We really bonded, and I felt like Tom was at ease quickly after that. This is THE Tom Peters. I still feel like I’m reaching up. Well, I just decided at the beginning of it, instead of trying to be all poised and professional and not not have any element of “fan boy” in that conversation … I just decided to let my “fan boy” show through a little. I just decided to be really authentic and not try to put on a persona. 


No, I think he did. I mean, it sounded just like any other Main Thing Podcast interview to me. 


Tom was completely generous with his time. We never looked at the clock, it was just a complete, easy, natural, organic, genuine conversation. What a blessing! Still feels a little surreal to me. These three 20-year touches of Tom Peters the book, the summit, the podcast interview … about 20 years apart each time. Isn’t that cool! You just couldn’t make that up, you know you couldn’t script it any better. 


Well, the script’s not done right, so we have this. I get this text a few days ago right And it’s Skip and it’s a screenshot. So, of course, i zoom in on the screenshot and I see that …. To top this whole experience you’ve gone through over the past 40 years, you learn some exciting news. Do you want me to tell your audience what it is, or do you want to tell them? 


You mean this cherry on top of the ice cream sundae from Friendly’s ice cream shop in Maryland? Go ahead, I’ll jump in You start.


I just I got, I got chills when I read it And I’m sitting there thinking did I just read what I just read? that this is his last media appearance, last interview ever period. He’s done, he’s retiring. 




It’s over, right? No more media. Skip Lineberg, a guy I know right here in my own hometown, got to be the very last person to interview the legendary Tom Peters. Bravo to you, my friend! How did that make you feel? I mean to get that news?


Yeah, well, the backstory is, you know, after we record a show we’re about to publish, you start a communication you open up the channel with the other guest and their team. Hey, we’re two days out. They’re starting to send you some materials. Just want you to get ready so that you can sync up your promotional machine with ours. And we can, we can get it out there in the right way, the right place, the right timing. In reply to some of that, his PR agent writes back and says, “That all sounds good, Skip. We will be ready. We’re looking forward to it. Tom had such a blast. 

And then she says, “You should know that you had the honor of being Tom’s last ever media interview. He’s not doing any more appearances TV, radio, podcasts. You got the last one.”

She said, “Now you’ll still see him on Twitter. We won’t be able to keep him off social media, but he’s out of the media business. He’s officially retired from doing media appearances. And you, you got the last one.” 

That’s luck, that’s a blessing. That’s incredibly fortuitous timing. That’s an honor that I don’t deserve. Grace is unmerited favor. I don’t know what to say. I’m humbled, honored and lucky. 


Well, I know what to say. You’ve done a tremendous job, not knowing that this was going to be his last, but you have given him an awesome farewell on The Main Thing Podcast. So skip. I think this is a great place to leave it. Are there any final thoughts, or any other little doses of wisdom that you want to share with folks about your lifelong experience with, with Tom Peters? 


Mark, I think I would say this: be reflective about how you live and how you’re impacting others. If you’re younger and early in your career, you may not see how all the dots are connecting. I have the luxury of of time and perspective to look back over this 40 year horizon that we’ve talked about. We’ve dropped into different moments over that 40 year horizon. Looking backwards on it, it all kind of makes sense and fits. If you’re living a good life, letting God lead your life, and if you are living into your purpose. If you’ve been thoughtful about your purpose and you’re living along that vector … to use an engineering term … of your purpose. You’re living with kindness, in a way that honors that, you’ll be blessed. But that requires some belief and some faith. Don’t get in a hurry. Let it happen. Enjoy every minute of the ride. Those are my reflective thoughts. Be reflective about how you’re living, where you’re heading, and make time for reflection. 


Thank you so much for allowing me to help you be reflective through this process. I’m very humbled that you allowed me to be on this side of the table. Definitely looking forward for you to be back over here and give us your wonderful nine minutes of wisdom—the doses of wisdom that you bestow upon us each time that you do this podcast. I wish you all the best. Keep it going, because I think it it touches people in ways that you may or may not know. Thank you so much for everything that you are doing through your podcast, The Main Thing.


Well, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for being such a great interviewer here today. Thanks for doing this so we could go a little deeper into it, and I’m going to keep going. 

~ END ~

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