Top Wisconsin Entrepreneur Series:
Michael Smith is one of the top business leaders. He has a proven track record in e-commerce and direct marketing that spans more than a quarter century.

Michael’s positions: CEO of Lands End in 1994, CEO of LifeSketch in 1999, President of Nordstrom.com 2000, etc.

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What will you learn in this interview?

  • Why did he warn Lands’ End before they lost $100 million in sales?
  • Who were Michael’s big influences as a child?
  • How did he realize he wanted to be an entrepreneur?
  • How young was he when he started working and how it shaped who he is today?
  • How does he pull himself out of a slump?
  • How do you follow marketing trends to create the perfect campaign?
  • How did he rise to be CEO at Lands End?
  • How did he help transition Lands’ End online?
  • What were some of his biggest challenges?
  • What skill set does a great leader possess?
  • What was it like working on the classmates.com site?
  • What are the most interesting reconnections he has witnessed via the classmates site?
  • How do you walk away from a 7 figure position to start your own business?

FUN FACT:

He takes foster dogs and at his peak had 9 dogs at a time.

Business Mentors, Tools, Books mentioned:

  • Dick Anderson – Principal Consultant at InnovAction Marketing
  • William Ferry – Vice Chairman at Lands’ End; president at Eastern Mountain Sport (EMS)
  • David Zentmyer – Direct to Consumer/Business Executive/BOD Member
  • Dan Nordstrom – Chief Executive Officer, Owner and President of Outdoor Research, Inc.
  • Bill Burley – general partner at Benchmark
  • Pete Higgins – Group Vice President at Microsoft Corporation
  • “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson
  • Lou Holtz – retired American football player, coach, and active sportscaster
  • Adam Dell – Bag Borrow or Steal

A little background about Michael Smith:

Michael’s timeline:
CEO of Lands End in 1994
CEO of LifeSketch in 1999
President of Nordstrom.com 2000
CEO of Classmates 2002
CEO of United Online 2004
CEO The New Bag Borrow or Steal 2005-2010
CEO of Full Circle 2013

Board Member of REI
Advisor at UW-Madison at Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

Michael Smith has held top posts at five consumer companies, and has a proven track record in e-commerce and direct marketing spanning more than a quarter century. Smith served as president and CEO of Avelle, the pioneer in online rental of consumer fashion goods. He also held posts as president and CEO of Classmates.com, president of Nordstrom.com and president and CEO of Lands’ End Inc. He also currently serves on the board of directors for REI, the nations largest consumer co-op.

He was brought on as CEO of Full Circle. With more than 18,000 members, Full Circle is the most successful subscription produce company in the United States. Working with a growing network of farmers, Full Circle delivers farm-fresh, local and organic produce and artisan groceries directly to consumers.
Michael’s career timeline:
CEO of Lands End in 1994
CEO of LifeSketch in 1999
President of Nordstrom.com 2000
CEO of Classmates 2002
CEO of United Online 2004
CEO The New Bag Borrow or Steal 2005-2010
CEO of Full Circle 2013
Board Member of REI
Advisor at UW-Madison at Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

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