I love showing how much we actually care because it's not just about the perception that we care about our customers, there's a community around this coffee like I've never seen around anything else that I've worked for." Mike Mullin, customer service at Death Wish Coffee Company
This week on Science, Jeff and Dustin talk about the newest field in astronomy - Planet Hunting. In the next decade, there will be a handful of spacecraft sent up to discover why planets form, look for habitable planets and scan for intelligent life in the universe. Then the idea of running forever in an Ultra Marathon gets Jeff's blood pumping on The Roast and a special Death Wish Sock add-on is coming for a limited time from The World's Strongest Coffee Company.
ABOUT MIKE MULLIN:
Mike is part of the Death Wish Coffee customer service team and he came to work here with a background in the field. Mike talks about what it's like working for The World's Strongest Coffee, some customer service stories including how he is constantly mistaken for Owner Mike Brown, and we dig into what Mike like to do for fun including playing music and video games.
Jeff: Okay. So you've been working here for six months in customer service, but before you started working at Death Wish, correct me if I'm wrong, you did something similar, correct?
Mike Mullin: Yeah. I was doing customer service for a company called Wink out of Schenectady, New York. Yeah. Tech support.
Jeff: Tech support. That's pretty incredible and that puts you in a camp pretty much outside of a lot of people who work for Death Wish because more often than not when we do this show, we find out that employees here are doing a lot of the jobs they're doing for the very first time. So you actually have a leg up coming in and knowing what you're doing. Like when you started working in our customer service department, were there things working for a tech customer service that you kind of were able to pour it over to here? Were you using the same programs or any of the same kind of stuff?
Mike Mullin: Yeah. For sure. I was using the same program for ticket solving called Zendesk.
Dustin: All right.
Mike Mullin: So that gave me a good idea of like how the workflow went and things like that. But yeah, I mean, customer service in itself is kind of samey all across the board. It's a lot about like how you talk to people and empathy is a big part of it. Like understanding why people are frustrated or figuring out the best way to make it happen for whoever you're talking to at that time.
Dustin: So how long did you work for this company before working for us?
Mike Mullin: Two and a half years.
Dustin: Wow. So you did a lot of customer service.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah. Before that I was kind of even in customer service still, retail at Trader Joe's and then before that I was a barista. So it all kind of comes back around to ...
Dustin: He's a bonafide expert. I bet you think you're better than us.
Mike Mullin: Just a little bit.
Jeff: Man, so then I got to ask this question then, even though you're from the area, where and when did you hear about Death Wish Coffee?
Mike Mullin: Yeah, so it was actually when I was working in coffee shops and stuff like that. Death Wish was kind of getting tossed around. I had been to Saratoga Coffee Traders a couple times. I'm from Troy so I didn't make it out to Saratoga a whole lot, but when I did, we would have to find good coffee. I'd been working in the industry since I was 16 so I've kind of always been a little bit of a coffee snob or at least I wouldn't seek out Dunkin Donuts as my first choice. I would kind of me like, "Okay. What's available? Is there something that's a little bit on the upper level?"
Dustin: You don't like to drink shit.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah.
Jeff: Or at least what's just shelled out to you. I mean, I'm kind of the same way with restaurants. I'm not just going to go into a place that I'm not from, even if it's just in my backyard, and I'm not just going to go and sit down at Mcdonalds or an Applebee's. I'm going to try and look for a restaurant that happens to be around there because I enjoy a good meal. It's the same thing you're saying with coffee. It's like you're not going to go into just a Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts just cause it's there. You're going to kind of try to seek out that coffee shop.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah. Exactly. I'm always up for trying new things and seeing what is available. So while Starbucks is okay in that I know what I'm going to get every time I go there pretty much, the same can really be said for Dunkin. I'm not trying to trash anything, but there's a real discrepancy between orders like especially because with the whole Northeastern vernacular of like what light and sweet means.
Mike Mullin: Things like that. But since then, I only drink my coffee black nowadays anyway. So it makes it much easier, but it also makes it a lot harder to bear other coffees that aren't maybe up to standard by like masking it with a bunch of cream and sugar.
Dustin: What's your favorite way to brew?
Mike Mullin: I am big into the Chemex right now.
Dustin: Nice. It's fun, right?
Mike Mullin: It's a lot of fun. Yeah.
Dustin: Have you used that little guy yet? The little one cup?
Mike Mullin: No.
Dustin: I just used it this morning.
Mike Mullin: I saw your story. Yeah. Yeah.
Dustin: I love that thing. Although I feel like I did it wrong because it drained out too fast. I think because I used a regular sized filter, I think because it had ripples along the glass. The filter should be laid against the glass perfectly and that's how it drips out slowly, otherwise if you have those air gaps, it's just going to run out. That vacuum seal isn't full made. But yeah, that one cup, dude, is a lot of fun. But you really can't beat a Chemex, right?
Mike Mullin: Yeah. I tried a bunch of other stuff. Growing up my family has the Cuisinart that they've always had, auto drip, and that's really where my coffee addiction began was at home. I think senior in high school, maybe even my junior year, just procrastinating until the last minute and then trying to bang out a paper in a night and realizing that I was not going to be getting any sleep, which was a good precursor for college.
Jeff: Truth. Very true.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. So they had always made good coffee. Anybody who would ever come over, they would say, "Oh, this is great coffee. What do you guys use?" We have been drinking Eight O'Clock religiously for like ever. I try to switch my dad over to Death Wish, but he says it gets him a little jittery.
Jeff: Good. That's what we're aiming for.
Mike Mullin: So Chemex is good. I tried Aeropress a little bit before I had started here. I actually didn't have my own Chemex until we released our custom bundle. Had to scoop one up, but yeah, Aeropress is cool too.
Mike Mullin: Yeah, there's something about the Chemex that really makes it a ritual in that everything is very analog.
Dustin: You feel like you're summoning something.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah.
Dustin: You almost need an incantation to make it like perfect. Coffee. Just like, "It's perfect." What do you think of ... A lot of people are like, "I use a french press," but personally, me, I think it's like I don't know, the uneducated version of fancy coffee. Maybe that's just me being a coffee snob, but I have never loved a french press.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. That was kind of always the perception when I was like working in coffee early on was, "If you want fancy coffee, it's espresso drinks or it's french press." I didn't really know about Chemex or anything like that until like third wave roasters started popping up and smaller, independent coffee shops became a thing. I used to live with this guy, one of my best friends, Anthony. Shout out, Anthony.
Dustin: Sup, Anthony. Sup, Tony.
Mike Mullin: He really loves his french press and he has a set up that works really well for him. He really likes strong, dark coffee. It's pretty easy to get a routine where you have a consistent cup with a french press, where with the Chemex there's definitely a learning curve. You know what I mean? If you've never heard about Chemex and you just decided to go pick up one for yourself, you're going to have to do a little bit of homework before you really are like locking into a cup that you really enjoy and figure out, "Okay. This is how I like my coffee."
Jeff: Personally speaking, I mean, that's why I enjoy the french press. I do enjoy using a Chemex and I keep saying on this show I am going to officially purchase one for myself and I will have one at the house and then I'll probably utilize it more. But my wife and I like doing on the weekends like the french press because, again, you get that ... We have a dialed in. We get that same cup of coffee, and it's better than doing it out of a drip machine. I am a notorious lazy person, especially in the morning. So forever and I always say this that all I knew about coffee was you hit the brew button and coffees made as long as you put it in the filter at the top in a drip machine, and then being able to do it out of a french press is a little bit more a step. You're right, as a coffee snob, you're still not getting that great cup of coffee that you're getting from Chemex, but it's better than just a drip machine.
Dustin: I think maybe if people did it correctly because I think people just smash boiling water into a french press and then just smash the plunger down. Where it's like that water is too hot. You're going to start compromising the shell of the bean. You're going to start breaking down pieces of it that you don't want. You're going to get a bitter, gross brew.
Dustin: Which is like when you have a coffee like Death Wish, which is not bitter if you do it right, but you do something like that with Death Wish and it's like, "Oh, this is gross and bitter." But yeah, it's gross and bitter. You threw boiling water all over the top of it. That's ridiculous.
Jeff: Yeah. One of the things I've been actually saying about this company that I'm hoping to implement more of this year on kind of the marketing side but also for the customer service side is I think we should do much more in the way of tutorial. Almost like have our own class system out there because I'm sure you've dealt with this, people will say ... They'll get Death Wish and then they'll either say, "Oh, it's not ... How can you say you're the world's strongest coffee? It's not that strong," or, "It's super bitter." The reason for that is you're brewing it wrong.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah.
Jeff: I think a lot of people, myself included until I started working here, don't understand different brewing methods other than just hit that button and let it drip into your machine. You know what I mean?
Dustin: We should make videos.
Jeff: I want to do more videos.
Dustin: I've seen those out there and that's personally how I learned to use a Chemex and an Aeropress properly because I use an Aeropress all the time but it's like I didn't really know what I was doing. Then one day I was like, "Actually let me see what the experts are doing." I can't remember. There is this barista company that has a series of videos. They do a really, really good job. They go into serious detail where they're throwing a Chemex on a scale and they're weighing everything out, which maybe that's a good way to start because then you can eyeball it after once you tune everything in. But, I mean, that's a great way to get educated is YouTube videos. Let's do it.
Jeff: I'm calling it right now. We're going to make some videos. We're going to start putting them up through Death Wish Coffee. We're going to rope you into it because with people like you and our marketing manager, Tia, who have worked as baristas, you guys know the ends and outs of it. I think it would be smart to do an instructional video that not only shows you the correct way of these different brewing methods, but also, the common misconceptions of what you can do wrong. You literally just said it. If you use too hot water in your french press and you put it right in there and just smash it on top of your grinds in there, you're not going to get the best cup of coffee out of your french press. I think we should actually show that, show how that's going to happen. It's obviously hard to translate taste and smell through a video, but, I mean, I think if we did multiple steps and multiple different things. So look for those in this year, we're going to do that.
Dustin: That's why I keep on trying to push scratch and sniff video.
Dustin: Because it's the only thing that makes sense.
Jeff: Come on, technology. What the hell?
Dustin: So when do you think, Mr. Mike Mullin, coffee snobbery goes too far?
Jeff: Good question.
Dustin: Where's that line?
Mike Mullin: Yeah, for sure. I feel like the line, and this goes for pretty much anything, whether it's like coffee or music or anything like that, but where you've figured it out for yourself and you think that the way that you brew is the best way ever and you try to push that onto other people instead of try and maybe educate them or gently nudge them to something.
Dustin: Or even get educated yourself with an open mind of like, "Okay. I love my method. You say you love your method. Let's put our methods together and make method love."
Mike Mullin: Exactly. Yeah.
Dustin: "And see what beautiful babies commence from that."
Mike Mullin: Right.
Dustin: What are you doing later?
Mike Mullin: I am taken.
Jeff: I agree though. I think that's where that line gets crossed is when people don't want to try a new thing or at least even entertain the idea of a new thing. I mean, I'm the same way. I drink my coffee black, but there was a time in my life where I did put cream and sugar in my coffee. Even to this day, when I hear about people with different ratios of cream and sugar or different types of sugar or even just random things. My wife just started putting cinnamon in her coffee, which I had never even knew was a thing. I tried it. I actually kind of like it.
Dustin: It's pretty good.
Jeff: It's not going to be what I do on the regular, but I'm glad I tried it. I'm glad I experienced that.
Dustin: Who likes to do the same damn thing every day anyways?
Dustin: I don't know. I guess some people are in to that. They want their routine. They want it simplified. This happens, and this happens, and this happens. But for me, even though I drink Death Proof Coffee every morning, I'm putting different shit in that all the time. I'm experimenting. I want to find new ways to do it or I'm just bored of doing it the same way every time. You got to break up that monotony.
Jeff: I want to put a common misconception out there about Death Wish Coffee to all of our listeners and watchers as well. One thing that a lot of people think is that we are coffee snobs at this job because we tote the world's strongest coffee and it's black as the darkest night and that's the way that we're going to drink it. It's not the truth. Even though we put out a lot of memes like that. We do talk about that.
Dustin: It's funny to say things like that.
Jeff: It's fun to say that. We want everybody in the world to enjoy coffee however you want to enjoy it. If you want to just chew our beans in between meals, go right ahead. We're all for it. The reason why I'm bringing this up is a lot of times when we go to events and you're starting to do some stuff with store demos and stuff. I want to talk about that in a minute. But when we start doing like live events, one of the things we always get is, "Do you have cream and sugar?" More often than not at events we don't because if we're giving out a free sample, just think about logistically having to keep all that cream on ice, all that sugar in a cool, dry place wherever we're going to. So it's just way easier just to bring the product just so you can try the product. If you don't drink it black, we still want you to taste what we're selling kind of thing.
Dustin: But see, I'm going to go against you a little bit on this because I have seen so many people go, "I need to drink it with cream and sugar." Then I'll say something like, "Well, we want you to drink it black so you actually taste what our coffee's made of." They go, "Hmm. Okay." Then they drink it and they're like, "Actually it's pretty good." I feel like I've converted somebody to being a black coffee drinker at that point because I feel like a lot of people just throw cream and sugar in it because they've been drinking shitty coffee their whole life. That's the only way to make it palatable.
Dustin: But then after they try a good coffee black and they're like, "Oh. That's what coffee tastes like? It's actually pretty good. Pretty smooth." Where do you fall in that line? Cream and sugar at events or no cream and sugar at events?
Mike Mullin: It makes it logistically very hard to ... You know what I mean? Like you were saying.
Dustin: Let's say it's super easy. We find a dispenser and it comes out.
Jeff: Maybe in our new coffee truck with a refrigeration system.
Dustin: Yeah. Let's say that happens. Would you rather have somebody have all the availability of having to be able to make the coffee the way they like it, or do you want them to try Death Wish in its raw, natural form?
Mike Mullin: That's a really tough one because I'm a big advocate for having people try black coffee, especially when it's very good. That's actually how I was converted was over at a friend's house. They didn't have cream and sugar. They were brewing up some really great coffee, and they were just like, "Just drink it black." I tried it and I really liked it, but there are maybe that 2% of people who still won't try to coffee because we don't have the cream and sugar. I would really just ... Part of my customer service background is please all the people all the time, even if you can't, you got to try. So it would be better in my eyes to have the cream and sugar if it's possible just to make everybody happy. You know what I mean?
Jeff: I agree.
Mike Mullin: Because there are some people who ...
Dustin: Well, you both can go to hell.
Mike Mullin: I agree though.
Jeff: We're going to get in a fist fight before this is over. I'm telling you. A three way fist fight.
Mike Mullin: There's a chicken suit back here.
Jeff: Oh. But kind of going back to events, one of the other things that you're doing with this job, which is something that we've never done before because in 2018 we're working very hard to become more into the retail space as not just an eCommerce company. You've been going out to some supermarkets that we're starting to get our hands in and actually doing demos. How has that been going? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Mike Mullin: It's been going really well. I mean, I've only done a couple that are in the local area of the capital region.
Mike Mullin: So a lot of people are really familiar with us already and they're really excited to see us. As soon as they see ... I feel like first they'll smell coffee and they'll kind of meander over. But then as soon as they see that it's Death Wish, they're like ecstatic, which is ...
Jeff: That's awesome.
Mike Mullin: It's one of the coolest things, you know what I mean? I used to work for Trader Joe's like I said, and people would get really excited about that. If I was going and running errands after my shift or something like that and I had my shirt on, everybody would want to chat me up about it.
Dustin: I love Trader Joe's.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Exactly.
Dustin: They make good coffee too, by the way.
Mike Mullin: It's not bad, right? But yeah, I mean, it's tenfold with Death Wish because people love that we are a local company that's really making a dent in the industry and people love supporting local business. Yeah. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and then the people who don't know us are excited to try some new coffee. It's something that literally almost everybody drinks. You know what I mean? So when somebody finds out that they can try something new and that their supermarket that they go to weekly has something a little bit different for them to offer, they're really excited about it.
Jeff: Yeah. For everybody who's listening and watching out there, you can go on over to DeathWishCoffee.com, and we're starting to list everywhere we're going to be throughout the year. So keep checking back, which is really excited because, I mean, for the longest time we were only online and now we are in a lot of different supermarkets on the East Coast. We're working into the West Coast, and then hopefully we just start to meld the two coasts together and then the world.
Dustin: I think I got the number the other day it was something like 500 and something retail stores at the moment.
Dustin: Yeah. We're staring in the face of like another 500 tomorrow, and then also staring in the face of another 1200 around the corner. So it's like it's happening. It's like right there. Super excited to do this.
Mike Mullin: So excited.
Jeff: So going back to the customer service angle, you've worked in customer service, but like you said, customer service is an art almost because you have to pretty much tailor what you're doing to the customer and the company.
Dustin: It's like podcasting. It's a conversational art.
Mike Mullin: Definitely.
Dustin: or a communicational art.
Jeff: So coming into a company like Death Wish, did you find it hard to kind of acclimate towards kind of our brand, our voice, what we are in the customer service world?
Mike Mullin: Not really actually. It was really seamless transition.
Jeff: Ha. Even my waters excited about that.
Dustin: I splash you. Answer questions while I splash you. I dare you. I splash.
Mike Mullin: Baptism by podcast.
Jeff: God. So you didn't find it hard?
Mike Mullin: No. Yeah. The job I had before was very challenging because a lot of times there were technical aspects in the way of fixing something for the customer immediately.
Mike Mullin: So we were waiting on a bug fix, we were waiting on Keywave to get through testing something so that they could find a solution.
Jeff: Right. They want to get off the phone and their technology work.
Mike Mullin: Right. Exactly. I think everybody's had that frustrating call with maybe like a cell phone company or cable company or internet provider. What we did was smart home technology. So it's like an app based system that you would turn lights on and off with your phone, adjust your thermostat, things like that.
Dustin: Make you feel like Bill Gates.
Mike Mullin: Right. Yeah. Exactly.
Jeff: Until your home starts revolting against you and you have to call you up and go, "Please, help me. My home is trying to kill me. I think Bill Gates is in my house."
Mike Mullin: But yeah, so there are very few issues with coffee that are as difficult as trying to troubleshoot and application and also hardware to figure out where something is going wrong. So no, it's been a pleasure really to meet so many new awesome people, not only who work here but who are customers and kind of build the connection in the very short span of six months. It feels like I've been here forever already. It's really great
Jeff: I got to bring this up because I know I've heard some customers talk about this. It is widely known that our CEO and fearless leader is Mike Brown, and when customers call up and get Mike on the phone because you answer the phone, "Death Wish Coffee, Mike speaking." Do you get that a lot? Do you get people being like, "Oh my God. I'm talking to Mike Brown." Do you get that?
Mike Mullin: I get it all the time. I don't mind it at all but what I mind is that ...
Jeff: Do you get into it? Do you go, "Yes, I am Mike Brown."
Mike Mullin: No, I'm petrified. [crosstalk 00:22:18][inaudible 00:22:18]. Here's my dogs name.
Jeff: That's funny.
Mike Mullin: No. Yeah, the only part that bothers about it is that people are very, not noticeably, although sometimes they are noticeably and they'll share their disappointment with me. But it's a bit of a let down when they realize that it's not Mike Brown on the phone. But he's a very busy man. I know that if he could be answering calls sometimes, he would be. But it's just not a possibility for him right now.
Mike Mullin: With all of the stuff going on.
Jeff: We've been toying with the idea. In fact, I don't even know if this is out there yet. But we've been toying with the idea for maybe like an April Fools Day or a kind of day like that where for an hour, we all kind of switch jobs. So like customer service does marketing and Mike does customer service. Logistics does whatever you guys would do outside of ...
Dustin: Yeah. I see how that would go.
Dustin: I'm trying to picture it. Somebody in my job. They'd just be getting calls and emails going, "I don't know."
Jeff: National news. You hear on the news, "Death Wish Coffee just went belly up because of a crazy hour of the work day where ..."
Dustin: That's what would happen, man. I'm a watcher on the post. So do you have any, and it doesn't have to be this job in particular, but do you have any particularly funny customer service situations that you've run into?
Mike Mullin: Oh, man. I was really racking my brain about what to talk about for this in terms of like a story or something, and I feel like we kind of already touched on it with the whole Mike thing. But there was a day where because it's me, Christine, and Caden. We all do the customer service thing. We're all sitting next to each other hanging out. I'm the first one to answer the phones, so I'm the one picking up the most calls most of the time. So I'll do my bit. It's not really a bit. It's just, "Thank for calling Death Wish Coffee. This is Mike, how can I help you?"
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mike Mullin: That day I had gotten already probably about 10 people being like, "Oh my God. Mike Brown?" I would have to say, "No. This is a different Mike. I'm Mike Mullin." They'll be like, "Oh. Well. I guess we can work together." So I turned over to Caden. I was like, "You know, this next call. I'm going to say, 'Thanks for calling Death Wish Coffee. This is Miguel.'" Because technically it's not a lie.
Jeff: It's not a lie.
Mike Mullin: I feel like it would kind of mitigate that disappointment because it's really about not disappointing the customers.
Dustin: And also not completely demoralizing yourself.
Mike Mullin: Right.
Dustin: Oh, the other Mike. Okay.
Mike Mullin: But yeah, the funniest part to me was that a lot of times when I answered the phone as Mike, people would just say, "Oh, hey, Mike. This is my issue," or, "Oh, hey, Mike. How are you doing? I'm just wanting to talk about this." But when I said, "Thanks for calling. This is Miguel." People would just not bat an eye and they would be like, "Oh, hey, Miguel. How's it going?" That to me was funnier than me saying initially. So then I would have to stifle a ... They think my name's actually Miguel, but why wouldn't they? I mean, that's what I just said.
Jeff: You're not lying. That's really funny. So okay. Outside of work, we all love this company. We're all doing what we can to make Death Wish caffeinate the world. But what keeps you going outside of work? I know a little of your hobbies. I know you're a hobby gamer and you're also into hip hop, right?
Mike Mullin: I do love hip hop. Yeah.
Dustin: He's also a bassist.
Jeff: I did not know this about you.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: All right. So talk a little bit about that. When'd you start playing bass?
Mike Mullin: Sure. Yeah. Well, I had a group of friends probably when I was around 12 or 13 who were all like ... At the time it was the typical listening to Green Day and New Found Glory and stuff like that. That era of alt rock and into emo and kind of stuff like that. They were all just like, "Let's start a band."
Jeff: Always the way it happens.
Mike Mullin: Yeah, exactly. So one of my friends was a ... I've always been in band and music in school. So I started with clarinet, moved on to saxophone, but couldn't really land any gigs as like a 12 year old sax player in a rock band. Billy Joel's era had passed.
Dustin: I can't tell you how many times I've been looking for a 12 year old saxophone player to play in my band.
Jeff: But in the way.
Dustin: Okay I did that.
Mike Mullin: No, but one of my friends was a drummer and the other one had a guitar. They were kind of just like, "You should get a bass."
Dustin: That's how it always works.
Mike Mullin: Right.
Dustin: The one left over plays bass.
Mike Mullin: Yeah.
Dustin: That's how I ended in there.
Mike Mullin: But I had recently been getting into jazz a lot and I was trying out for jazz band, but didn't quite have the chops to cut it for jazz. At the time I think I was a freshman in high school or maybe in eighth grade. So I was like bass might be the way for me to go get into that possibly. But I had gone to mom and said, "Mom, hey. Some kids are starting a band. They want me to play bass." She was super supportive, as she's always been. Thanks, mom.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Mike Mullin: Got me like a Johnson cheapo bass, but it actually sounded great.
Dustin: Sometimes cheapo basses do sound great.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. It's so crazy.
Dustin: I don't know why. It like pisses me off. I'll pick up a Rogue jazz bass and it's like why does this fucking thing sound so good? It's stupid. It's $150. I went out and spent like $1200 on a bass and it doesn't sound this good.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Exactly. But yeah, did that. My two friends, Tom and Tom and Mike, we I think played all of maybe like 10 times in our buddy Tom's basement.
Dustin: What was the name of the band?
Mike Mullin: Pirate Radio.
Jeff: Oh. I like it.
Mike Mullin: Yeah.
Jeff: I like it. Get sued a little maybe at this end.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: But no, I like that. That's good. Better than some early band names for sure.
Mike Mullin: Well, at first ...
Dustin: What was the one ... I can't remember Aaron Patrick's. We're not going to remember. I'm sorry.
Jeff: No, I remember. Window Pain. P-A-I-N. Shout out to Aaron Patrick from All That Remains for the worst band name ever.
Dustin: Oh yeah. I'm so glad you remembered that. It's so good.
Jeff: So are you still playing?
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Yeah. I still play bass. I have a really good friend. We try to get together and play music every once and a while. I've just been super busy with other things at the time, but I still like to pick up my bass and play through some tunes or just kind of go through some exercises. For a while I was going to go to school for bass and do that, but then it ended up not working out.
Jeff: Hey, you still do it because you love. That's the whole thing. That's awesome.
Dustin: Don't worry. I went to school for bass. I wasn't so great at it. I dropped out really quick.
Jeff: So quickly then, to touch on your other hobbies. You're a big hip hop fan.
Mike Mullin: Yep.
Jeff: Top three all time.
Mike Mullin: Oh, man. Just MCs or groups?
Jeff: Yeah. Or I mean, MCs or groups. Just say if you were to like put three acts on to listen to back to back, what would they be?
Mike Mullin: So my first hip hop love was the Beastie Boys.
Mike Mullin: Thanks to my dad. He gave me Hello Nasty when I was like 10 and was like, "Don't tell your mom."
Dustin: Dammit. Your parents are so cool.
Jeff: Yeah, your parents are awesome.
Jeff: Holy crow.
Mike Mullin: So one of the first records I ever memorized like the lyrics to even though I didn't know what I meant.
Jeff: Such a good record.
Mike Mullin: Some great coffee references in that record too.
Mike Mullin: 50 cups of coffee and you know it's on.
Mike Mullin: But yeah, my sugar with coffee and cream. Anyway, but so yeah, I'd probably have to put the Beastie Boys up there. Really fell in love with them and then later on in college era, I had like a resurgence of them and got further into their discography when I found out what kind of records they were sampling with Paul's Boutique and stuff like that. It just kind of went crazy from there. Tribe Called Quest very classic hip hop. Love them. Then I would have to say People Under The Stairs is another big hip hop group for me. West Coast hip hop. They're more recent but still have that really old school vibe. Really cool stuff. So I'd probably put those guys as my top three groups. Then as far as MCs. I don't know.
Jeff: It's tough, right?
Mike Mullin: We would have to have a whole podcast.
Jeff: All right. We'll get you back on. Actually we should get you on ...
Jeff: Yeah. Mr. Through Back Thursday.
Mike Mullin: Oh yeah.
Jeff: Because that is the best hip hop podcast out there, friends of Death Wish Coffee.
Mike Mullin: Yeah.
Jeff: So onto the video games side. What's your poison? What genre do you really like in video games?
Mike Mullin: For sure. Yeah. I'm a big adventure, some RPG, but I had a Game Boy at a really young age. One of the first games I fell in love with was Link's Awakening, Zelda Link's Awakening.
Dustin: So good.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. Just totally fell in love with the little world that you're put in. I played that game for years probably without accomplishing any of the goals. You know what I mean?
Jeff: I love games like that.
Mike Mullin: You just walk around and you talk to the little MPCs and there's a whole trading thing that happens in the game. I would just around trying to complete the trading sequence, but then there's like a part where you can't progress until you at least beat the first dungeon.
Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah.
Mike Mullin: But yeah, always a big fan of Zelda games. Big Nintendo guy. Been loving the Switch.
Jeff: Yeah. We got to start Twitchin the Switch. For sure.
Mike Mullin: No, absolutely.
Jeff: For sure. Twitchin the Switch. Switchin.
Dustin: That sounds perverted.
Jeff: Yeah. You go keep looking for your 12 year old sax player, okay? We'll be playing some video games. You got nothing.
Dustin: You'll be Twitchin the Switch.
Jeff: Twitchin the Switch. So with everything that you're doing outside of work, with work, you been here with six months. You seem to really enjoy being here. We love having you here. That's the question we come to. What fuels you to keep wanting to be here? To keep wanting to get up every day and doing what you do?
Dustin: And you can't say paycheck.
Jeff: Yeah. You can't say paycheck.
Mike Mullin: No, I mean, specifically coming here just the relationships that I've built with everybody here already.
Dustin: Except for Jeff.
Jeff: Except for me.
Mike Mullin: This is the first time we've talked ever actually.
Mike Mullin: No, just I feel like I'm really helping out our customers and I feel like I'm really helping out the company. Everything that I do doesn't have the feeling of just monotony of like day after day doing the same thing to no end. It all has a very distinct purpose within what we do here and yeah, it's meaningful work. People can talk smack about people who answer phones for a living all they want, and most of the stuff I do on the phone is like taking orders and stuff like that. A lot of our stuff comes in through email and social media. I don't know. Even if somebody has a problem, I love helping them out because, I don't know, just shows ... I love showing how much we actually care because it's not just about the perception that we care about our customers, there's a community around this coffee like I've never seen around anything else that I've worked for.
Jeff: It's intense.
Mike Mullin: It's crazy. There's people who call up and it's like your uncle's calling in to catch up and hang out. I have a couple customers who just call to say, "Hey," you know what I mean? To say, "What's up?" It's really great. It's a really beautiful thing.
Jeff: It's awesome. Well, you, Caden, and Sierra and Kristine all doing everything you can with the customer service angle, like you said, from social media to the phones to the emails to everything else. I don't think ... I know for a fact I've never worked for a company like this personally, but I don't think I've ever heard of a company whose customer service is constantly talked about. You guys kill it on a daily basis and we couldn't be happier to have you as a part of this team.
Dustin: What makes it so great is not only do we have great customer service representatives, you're all cool fucking people.
Jeff: Yeah. For sure.
Dustin: That shows, even in a five minute conversation that shows. That's what makes working for this company so cool for all of us is that we're all cool people, and it makes the company cool.
Dustin: It makes our jobs cool.
Mike Mullin: Yeah.
Dustin: It's awesome.
Jeff: It's exciting to work for a company like this just with all of the different aspects that we get to do. A question that I like to ask when we have employees on is do you think that there is avenues that we haven't touched on yet or maybe avenues that we have but we should touch on further? Do you think we should be ... Are there any areas of the world like within pop culture or wherever it is do you think that we should be kind of focusing on, maybe in 2018, 2019?
Mike Mullin: Yeah. I mean, we do really good job ... It's a really small crew and it's amazing how much that we actually do. So whenever I'm thinking of what we're not touching on, it's always kind of in the context of, "Well, we're already doing so much. As much as we can." But I feel like there's stuff. We reach out to a lot of like rock and alternative groups and stuff like that, and they seem to really resonate with what our brand is and things like that. But I'd love to see a little more ... We had that talk with Wyclef recently and he's amazing. He was even on earlier too. But yeah, I think more of the multi-cultural vibe when it comes to music and stuff like that. But I feel like we're going in such a good direction with getting as much coffee as we can out to as many people as possible. Always thinking of different products that we can bring to people so that they can enjoy our coffee in different ways. I think it's just about getting more people, different kinds of people to hear about us and get to try it out.
Dustin: So I'm going to ask you a question, but the answer might get you in trouble.
Mike Mullin: Okay.
Dustin: But you got to answer honestly.
Mike Mullin: Sure.
Dustin: No bullshit.
Mike Mullin: No wishy washy. Okay.
Dustin: No bullshit frilly shit.
Mike Mullin: Okay. I'll stay strong.
Dustin: Death Wish or Valhalla Java?
Mike Mullin: Oh, Death Wish.
Jeff: Yeah. Just like that. Do you even like Valhalla Java?
Mike Mullin: I mean, it's ...
Jeff: Zakk Wylde is listening right now.
Mike Mullin: Zakk, listen. Its good coffee, but Death Wish, it's the best.
Jeff: There we go. I love it. That's a new commercial right there.
Mike Mullin: Please don't hurt me.
Jeff: Oh, that's awesome.
Dustin: So if people want to find you on the internets, where should they look?
Jeff: Do you social media at all?
Dustin: You social media.
Mike Mullin: I social media, yeah. You can find me pretty much on any platform @DeepSlackerJazz is my handle. All one word.
Dustin: We can probably put it right here.
Jeff: Yeah, put it right here.
Mike Mullin: Yeah, just like right here.
Mike Mullin: @DeepSlackerJazz. SoundCloud, Instagram, that's what I'm on most of the time.
Dustin: Great. This was fun, man.
Mike Mullin: Yeah. It was a lot of fun. This is great.
Jeff: I love talking with everybody that works here and getting them on a platform like this. You are the first person that we've had on this show whose been here for less than a year.
Mike Mullin: Oh, wow.
Dustin: Except for Jeff, himself.
Jeff: Except for me. Yeah. Oh, of course. I mean, I started this show before I started working for the company.
Dustin: I know. I remember.
Jeff: I was a negative. So it's very cool because one of the things I usually talk to about employees is like a perspective type thing. Because you've been here for six months, that doesn't really translate, but it's interesting to talk to someone whose only been here for six months because you've got the hunger and you still see what has happened in that short amount of time. So it was really, really cool to talk with you, and thanks so much.
Mike Mullin: No, yeah. Thanks so much for having me. It was great.