During this time, we’re on a mission to not only cater to this new breed of independent, selectively unattached women that you see in today’s society, but to celebrate our lifestyle and create a community for us as well. We’re going to shake things up by delivering MaleRoom on many traditional and nontraditional platforms. At its core, MaleRoom is a video series, podcast and event series.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mindie Kaplan.
Mindie Kaplan is MaleRoom’s Creator and Messenger for her selectively unattached audience. Mindie got her professional start in marketing working for companies such as Microsoft, Nissan and Ford. After over ten years of experience in the corporate world, Mindie ventured off on her own and used her business acumen to start her own Virtual Reality company. After founding Rated VR and running the company for over two years, Rated VR was ultimately acquired by MediaMint where she currently holds the position of VP of Innovation. Mindie has led discussions at CES, SXSW and was recently highlighted by Alleywatch NYC as 1 of 5 “Top Women in Tech.”
In addition to her passion for marketing, tech and media, Mindie discovered her fascination of connecting with people and sharing their stories and got her hosting start at The Chicago Sun Times. There, Mindie created the series “Happy Hour with Mindie” where she utilized her personal network and inquisitive style to deliver unscripted lifestyle interviews with big names in media and culture. Mindie started MaleRoom, a media brand for single women on nights and weekends to appeal to an underserved market that she personally identifies with as well. She utilized her background in marketing and sales to create the brand, work as Executive Producer and Host of the series and leverage her network for guest curation and content sponsorship.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Male Room came about because I wanted to recreate the entertaining and insightful conversations that I was having with my guy friends about dating, communication and relationships. I also felt that there was an underserved market for relevant content for single women that wasn’t focused on self-help or others who have chosen extreme independence. In the middle, there are many women who have chosen to hold out for the right person and companionship despite a ticking clock. All of that said, dating can be exhausting and disappointing, but…it can also be highly entertaining in the way the opposite sex thinks. There also wasn’t anything out there that was turning the tables to ask men where they were actually coming from. So, I set out to change the conversation by going straight to the source for answers.
Also, my professional background is in media sales and marketing and from a business standpoint, I thought MaleRoom was a great way to get brands involved in our programming messaging and the market that our brand caters to as well. It has been a great way to tie in my professional background with the creation of this brand.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We are delivering fun & authentic content to women that have never been available before in this type of format by going straight to the source. The beauty of MaleRoom is that we’re all anti-experts and we all have different perspectives based on our dating experiences or based on the types of guys that are featured in each episode. It really is a way for people to be entertained but also gain insight at the same time. Also, since the content is by men for women we’re asking the guests on the show questions that our audience, and women in general, really want to know. We also encourage our viewers and listeners to submit their own and we address them live on the show. MaleRoom brings a live interactive element that content like this has not seen before.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
One of my biggest mentors is my Aunt, Jackie Kallen, who is often referred to as “The First Lady of Boxing.” My Aunt had an unrealistic dream to manage fighters in a very male-dominated industry then and now. Despite all of this, she became just that and eventually had a movie made about her life where Meg Ryan played her called “Against the Ropes.” It’s such a fascinating story and she really was a big inspiration in my life to really push myself when I had an idea or wanted to explore something new. She made me realize that the regret of not trying and wondering what could have been is worse than actually trying and possibly failing. My Aunt always pushed me to explore and that was what gave me the motivation to leave my corporate background and take a 3-month sabbatical. This push by my aunt to try new things is also what led to me tapping into passion projects and making them my full-time career path.
Other amazing mentors are both of my parents, my Mom recently went back to school for Psychology and my Dad taught me his solid work ethic as a serial entrepreneur.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Try anything for a year: When making any big decisions such as a career move or geographic change, my mantra is to try it for a year! This helps push you to make bigger decisions more manageable. For example, after a corporate job at Microsoft, I was debating going to another corporate environment or taking a chance to start my own VR/AR company. I couldn’t decide if the timing was perfect or risky and was struggling with the decision. Once I changed the perspective a bit and put it into the framework of a 1-year commitment to test the market and determine a contingency plan halfway through if necessary, it didn’t seem like such a final decision anymore.
- Focus on your strengths and don’t waste time focusing on your weaknesses: Early in my career, I was really hard on myself for not being detail-oriented. I despised administrative work with a passion and was told to try harder to be even more well rounded. I did which took a lot longer and came to find out down the road, it’s best to hone in on what you’re good at such as sales for me and in the right assembly line, the rest of your team does what they’re good at and everything runs efficiently.
- Live out of your comfort zone to consistently grow and evolve: It doesn’t happen as often now, but if I get that nervous feeling coming on, I know that I’m doing something right! It’s easy to become a creature of habit, but I find the most adventure personally and the most success professionally comes when I take those chances.
How are you going to shake things up next?
During this time, we’re on a mission to not only cater to this new breed of independent, selectively unattached women that you see in today’s society, but to celebrate our lifestyle and create a community for us as well. We’re going to shake things up by delivering MaleRoom on many traditional and nontraditional platforms. At its core, MaleRoom is a video series, podcast and event series. In the current climate, our events have moved to live episodes on Twitch and we’re combatting loneliness with our “MaleRoom Monday” virtual dating events too.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
Tim Urban (“Wait but Why”) was a guest on a Tim Ferris podcast and made a point that really stuck with me. I’ve had the idea for MaleRoom for many years and wasn’t ready to pull the trigger to launch the brand at the time. When Tim was asked why he created his brand, he said, “If I could envision stadiums of other people like me, then I knew there was a market for it.” Although it was very logical, I envisioned endless stadiums of single women who definitely needed this type of content too and it helped to validate my vision and provide an extra push of inspiration.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Thank you! As a recent breast cancer survivor with no family history, my personal movement is to make the conversation more approachable about proactive testing. I recently launched Mammosas.com to invite women to grab a friend, a mimosa and a mammogram together to ensure that they are not going through this process alone. Many strong women I’ve met along the way were too scared to face potential results, so, they were avoiding getting screenings altogether. I want to make sure that people feel supported and can have an open dialogue with each other to get ahead of their health…together!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite quotes is from “Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man (or woman) but one thing: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
This is especially true right now on many levels. Whether it was my health last year or this trying time for so many people, all that we can control is how we handle it.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
IG: @wearemaleroom & @themindieproject
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!