Hi Mike. I saw you were at Walmart yesterday for their open call. I had a friend there that said it was awesome. What were your impressions? Also, whatever happened to their Made in the USA initiative? Mark Cassel
Hi Mark. Open Call is a combination of Shark Tank and QVC, on steroids. Everyone there had a product to pitch that’s made in the USA, and roughly 30% of those pitching leave with a commitment from Walmart to get them on the shelves. It’s kind of mind-boggling, really, and I’m not sure why someone hasn’t made a TV show about it. The people are extraordinary. After my talk, a guy named Jeff Chaney pulled me aside and told me about “Sprayzi” an ingenious attachment that fits over any aerosol spray bottle and makes it “exponentially more user friendly.” Wilford Leonard wanted to tell me all about “Lips-Smackers” the BBQ sauce from East Texas with “sop-ability.” Brian Wholehan invented something called an “EZ-Shade,” which is a clip-on light shade that fits over any exposed light bulb. And Lucas Levine was there on behalf of Frida.com, a baby company that makes a device that sucks the snot from your infant’s nose, (Bye-bye boogers!), along with another device that facilitates farting in babies, which apparently helps with colic, or something.
In short, it’s a celebration of entrepreneurship, small business, manufacturing, and innovation. I had a ball. As for the other stuff, a little background for those new to the page. Eight years ago, I narrated a commercial that announced a financial commitment from Walmart to invest $250 billion dollars in US Manufacturing over the next ten years – a pretty bold pledge that I enthusiastically endorsed at the time. In response, I was criticized – rather robustly, as I recall – by people who hate Walmart for a variety of reasons. Several labor groups called for a boycott of all things Mike Rowe, and one – Jobs With Justice – flooded my foundation with thousands of angry form letters, crashing our website. https://mikerowe.com/…/mike-rowes-facebook-response…/ Today, I’m happy to report that Walmart met their pledge two years ahead of schedule and has since promised to invest an additional $350 billion in companies that are making products in America.
I’ll repeat now what I said then. Our country has no hope of reinvigorating our domestic supply chain without robust support from the largest retailer in the country. I’m rooting for them today, just as I did eight years ago, and I’m hopeful that other retailers will make similar investments. Also – I was really encouraged to learn that Walmart is no longer requiring a college degree for many of its management positions.
This is a great and wonderful thing, and again, I hope more companies will follow their lead. Not because I’m anti-college, but because a liberal arts degree – for all its potential to foster a well-rounded individual – has nothing to do with becoming properly trained for the VAST majority of jobs begging to be filled today. College is valuable, but way, way, way too expensive, and universities will never lower their tuition if companies keep demanding diplomas that are fundamentally unnecessary for many millions of jobs. Friends of mikeroweWORKS know that I’ve beaten this drum as hard as I can for the last fifteen years. It’s extremely gratifying to see a big company take such a big step. Others will surely follow, and that’s and that’s great news for a lot of hardworking people who would prefer not to borrow vast sums of money for degrees they don’t guarantee them anything.
PS. I’ve never had kids, but the booger-sucker thing looks like a homerun, since babies, (or so I’m told,) can’t blow their nose…