E54: Commitment, ambition, and expertise with Mark O’Brien

Show Notes:

Mark O’Brien is CEO of Newfangled, a digital marketing consultancy helping experts generate ideal new business opportunities. We’ll discuss Mark’s unusual career track, and how he’s established himself as an expert on expertise.


Episode highlights:

  • How Mark has moved from poetry to cooking to digital marketing.
  • What Mark did when he realized that his “dream job” wasn’t so dreamy—and what he told himself in that limbo.
  • Mark’s “critical” morning routine.
  • What the role of freedom plays in being an entrepreneur.
  • The unique buyout situation Mark faced in his journey from internship to ownership.
  • Best advice you’ve received: From David Baker – business needs to be 60% utilized, payroll should be no more than 45% AGI, and 20% profitability.
  • Habit that contributes to success: his morning routine.
  • Recommended book: The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday and Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
  • Recommended tools: The Insight Timer



  • “In the restaurant world, you don’t call in sick—you call in DEAD.”
  • “What I thought was my future was NOT my future.”
  • “A failed marriage is much worse than a failed business.”


  • What role does your business play in your life? Does it support you? Are you excited to be engaged with it? Does it offer stability? What can you do to improve its offerings?
  • David Baker says business needs to be 60% utilized, that payroll should be no more than 45% AGI, and that you need a profitability ratio of 20%. How do your numbers measure up?


Tools & Resources