10 Questions: Mike Maddock, EO Chicago

Article by:
Staff EO Global
EO Global
Mike Maddock, EO Chicago
CEO of Maddock Douglas, Inc.
EO member since 2000​

Mike Maddock is an inventor, author and keynote speaker, who loves to solve problems with disruptive ideas. This passion for problem solving led Mike to establish Maddock Douglas, Inc. in 1991, an innovation agency that helps leading corporations invent and launch new products, services and business models.

What is your greatest EO experience to date?

“For me, being involved with the Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP) and helping establish and chairing ‘Gathering of Titans,’ has been an amazing learning experience. It’s an honor to be on a collective journey with an insanely diverse group of spirited entrepreneurs who are busy changing the world.”

What event in your life helped define you as a person?

“My great-grandmother lived an inspiring 104 years. During family events, she would put me on her lap and whisper, ‘You’ve got it kid. God gave you amazing talent … you’re going to change the world.’ Since her husband was a very successful writer, artist and promotions executive, I figured she had an eye for talent, so I believed her.”

What event in your life helped define you as an entrepreneur?

“About 10 years ago, my business was going through a very rough patch, and I was feeling completely worn out. Right on time, I received an email from a Forum mate letting me know he was concerned and ready to help. I accepted his offer, and four hours later I was surrounded by 10 EOers who were eager to support me. That evening was humbling and empowering, and it made me understand that helping other entrepreneurs is both a blessing and a privilege.”

If you could be mentored by any businessperson (dead or alive), who would it be, and why?

“I'd love to learn from Richard Branson. He strikes me as a genuine person and an 'Idea Monkey' who has figured out how to consistently surround himself with excellent ringleaders. He’s found Yins for his Yang.”

What was the last business book you read?

“I just read The Pumpkin Plan by EO New Jersey member Mike Michalowicz. Mike has created a list of practices about how successful entrepreneurs focus on, and nurture, a select few ideas.”

What’s the scariest thing you’ve faced in business?

“Telling someone I really, really cared about that I had to let them go. Regardless of the reason, it’s always heartbreaking for me.”

How many businesses do you have, and how would you describe them?

“I am a partner in three businesses: Maddock Douglas invents new products, services and business models for Fortune 1000 companies; McGuffin Creative Group creates marketing and communications programs for service-driven companies; and Ringleader Ventures helps early stage entrepreneurs develop and fund their offerings, and then matches them with large companies who desperately need what they have to offer.”

What’s the most challenging and rewarding aspect of your industry?

“The most challenging aspect is creating, recreating and protecting a unique and valuable position in the market. The most rewarding? I love to inspire and empower curiosity. Helping our customers, friends and partners strike the right balance between creativity and discipline is my superhero power.”

How, exactly, can entrepreneurs achieve balance between a disciplined process and creative thinking?

“I actually wrote a book on the topic, called Free the Idea Monkey, which teaches entrepreneurs how to focus on what matters most. Some keys are to find a partner who keeps you in balance; focus on large customer needs first, ideas second; and learn how to fail forward with as much speed and little risk as possible.”

In your opinion, how will entrepreneurship continue to impact the world?

“Wherever there is great and positive change, there is an entrepreneurial mindset at work. I trust entrepreneurs to continue to take on the world’s toughest challenges and create unexpected ideas that make my kids' lives better.”​


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