What Can You Learn From 6 Billion Nights Of Sleep?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leadership, marketing, mattresses, Sleep

What do people love, need, cherish, have to have, and when they get it they want more of it and if they don’t get it they will most certainly die? Sleep of course. In this industry, we know this stuff right? Well, now that Fitbit is tracking sleep they are able to start educating all of us about the subject of sleep in a much more significant way.

Fitbit is the wearable device that can track your biometrics which includes your sleep among other things. In March of 2017 these guys started to track sleep and so far they have over 6 BILLION nights logged into their system. Want to talk about a relevant sample size; this will qualify. As a matter of fact, it’s the largest data set ever compiled. Not only will this device track how long you were snoozing away, it can tell you how long you spent in each cycle of sleep and then they can carve up this information based on the other things it already knows about you like your age, sex, weight, height, geography, activity level etc. So what has Fitbit learned so far?

  • Women sleep longer than men. 25 minutes longer! They average about six hours and 50 minutes vs. men at six hours and 26 minutes.
  • Women are also 40% more likely to have insomnia which means that they have trouble falling and staying asleep.
  • When you are 20 years old you get 30 minutes more deep sleep each night compared to when you are 70.
  • National bedtime is 11:21pm.
  • If your bedtime varies by two hours from the weekday to the weekend then you will lose about 30 minutes of sleep as a result.
  • Boston is the #1 party town as they vary their bedtime more than other cities. No wonder Roger Magowitz has the Seena Magowitz Golf Tournament there. 

There are SO MANY things that this research can show us depending on how you slice the results. The remaining question is WHY. Why do women sleep longer than men? Why is exercise good for sleep?

These guys are not alone however, there are more products in the market that will also help us learn more about our sleep like the very cool ZEEQ Smart Pillow by Protect-A-Bed, or the way that Sleep Number is integrating its SleepIQ technology. So is this “sleep thing” getting bigger?

Mark Kinsley and I made some bold predictions in this Dos Marcos podcast last year and one of them included the idea that sleep as a health issue was going to grow in importance. Part of the opportunity around sleep as a subject is the fact that it was not easy to measure in the past but it looks like Fitbit is taking care of that. If it’s true that knowledge is potential power, then this will certainly advance some of the conversation around the subject don’t you think?

Wouldn’t it be cool if sleep grew so big that it was THE THING on everybody’s mind? People started to learn about their own sleep cycles, parents understood how bad caffeine was for their kids sleep so seeing somebody else’s kid drinking pop at 8 pm was just as bad as seeing a pregnant lady smoke a cigarette? What if business people stopped bragging about how little sleep they get, wearing that as a badge as to how much of a “driver” they really are? In order for anything to become a massive trend, like exercise and diet, there must be many different groups talking about the subject. Is the mattress industry doing its part? What happens if SLEEP blows up and becomes this major thing that people become obsessed with? Will we sell more mattresses and sleep essentials?

Not saying that some of you are not contributing, but I know that with the amount of money that is spent promoting this industry, we have a large voice that could make a much bigger impact. What do you think?



What A Year!

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Leadership, Management, mattress industry, Retail, Sleep

WHAT A YEAR! 2017 has been incredible in many ways and not all good, can you relate? Just a few thoughts for you as we close out this year; do with them what you will.

  • Our industry is changing in a lot of ways so complaining about it or ignoring it because you don’t want it to happen won’t help you; only good strategy will keep you in the game. Stay focused on what your good at, but don’t be afraid to try some new things. If you fail, do it fast and as cheaply as you can.
  •  If you’re a brick and mortar retailer out there, this is my hope for you in 2018. Create a consumer experience that is something they will talk about when they leave your store. I realize that this is a huge hurdle to jump over but if you don’t have that, then you will end up a victim of the internet. Businesses do it all the time and it doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. In addition, if you are selling the same stuff everyone else has look at some proven “craft beers” out there like Spink and Edgar that bring big tickets and fat margins. Set yourself apart this year and create your own competitive advantage. It works.
  •  Do business with the people that you trust the most. I have heard many stories this year about big corporate types making moves to benefit themselves, regardless of the impact on their customers. Life is too short for that crap if you ask me and there are WAY TOO MANY solutions in this industry to stand for that type of treatment so pick partners who actually SHOW you how important you are to them. (But get it together before you make any big changes, planning is the key!)

I say it every year but take some time in the next few days to review 2017 in your mind. What did you do right and how did you screw up? Be grateful for the bad things that happened because if you’re paying attention, chances are, they happened to show you something about someone or something so don’t miss out on that learning.

Looking forward, BE THE BOSS. Have faith in yourself and in your people and go after it in 2018. Have big expectations, solid strategy, and get the right team in place, then go out and kick some serious butt.

Finally…my parents lost their home this year in Houston due to the flood and just yesterday, I had a call with a very close friend that told me his wife was dealing with news of a tumor. Benign thank God. Bottom line is that no matter what you faced in 2017 or are staring down in 2018, stay focused on what matters most.


From my family to your family, have a blessed NEW YEAR!

What Are You About?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Leadership, Management, marketing, mattress industry

I recently saw some advertising for a mattress retailer getting ready for the holidays. I have this to say to everybody that reads this blog no matter what part of this industry you are in.

If all you do in your advertising is shout sale with a slightly different offer, and change the name of the promotion, you have a big problem. If you have nothing else to talk about, no other value to share, no other stories to tell, then you will eventually lose to someone that does.


If you are angry at me for writing this post then maybe you are one of “these” people. If I am “preaching to the choir” then raise your hand in the next meeting. 🙂


Adjustable Beds Are FREE!

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in marketing, mattresses, Retail

First things first, you may have noticed a new look for the blog. I figured I should change it at least once every 4-5 years so here you go.  I have more wrinkles and less hair, but I do have more joy in my heart so all in all a net positive. In this picture my buddy Zac Jankovic from Cut To Create is interviewing me on set for a video we did together. (Check them out, they do great work.) Also a shout out to Carlos Arnavat at C5 for always looking out for me and making me update my stuff! I would like to tell you we had an extensive review of hundreds of photos and ended up with this one because it captured me in a good light doing what I love. Truth is, it was one of only a few photos I could find in landscape/high resolution and it sucked less than the others did. 🙂

Over the holiday I had several e-mails alerting me to the fact/complaining about Mattress Firm running the free adjustable bed base with the purchase of a queen over $500. “It kills average tickets. It drags the market down. They are taking a profitable product category and ruining it.” I understand this and if I were a retailer in their market I might not like it either. However, isn’t there something good that comes from this?

When someone as big as Mattress Firm drives a promotion this compelling with a significant amount of media, doesn’t that also shine a light on the mattress category and benefit other retailers at the same time? Does it drive traffic into the market and allow you to possibly introduce them to adjustable bases, maybe for the first time, and then sell them up to something with more features?

There has been a lot of criticism aimed at Mattress Firm this year about what they have been doing or not doing. Now that they are going big there are even more critics so we all know the reality. If you are the leader in a category you are going to draw fire so just be sure that whatever your strategy is, your tactics move you toward your ultimate goal.

In full disclosure, I do some consulting work for a company that sells adjustable bases to Mattress Firm so this is obviously a good thing from where I sit. But I also think that getting more consumers to sleep on adjustable beds is a very positive thing because most people that own an adjustable base absolutely LOVE THEM, and the more people we have out their LOVING their bed, the bedder. Right? (See what I did there.)

What do you think? Did Mattress Firm screw up the market or do us all a favor?




Steinhoff CEO/CFO Step Down

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in furniture, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattresses, Uncategorized

Markus Jooste, CEO for Steinhoff and Ben la Grange acting CFO, both step down under growing concerns about accounting irregularities. Markus led Steinhoff on a great run acquiring companies and growing Steinhoff into the second largest retailer in all of Europe finishing right behind IKEA. Their stock took a 60% dive yesterday wiping out over $8 billion in shareholder value. According to Reuters, “Steinhoff did not tell investors about almost $1 billion in transactions with a related company despite laws that some experts believe require it to do so.”

Markus admits he made some big mistakes. “Now I have caused the company further damage by not being able to finalize the year-end audited numbers and I made some big mistakes and have now caused financial loss to many innocent people… It is time for me to move on and take the consequences of my behavior like a man. Sorry that I have disappointed all of you and I never meant to cause any of you any harm.”

The question for us here in the United States is what impact will this have on Mattress Firm and Sherwood? Does the loss of value in Steinhoff negatively impact the loan covenants in a material way? What position will the new CEO at Steinhoff take when it comes to the foreign investments Markus has made in the U.S.? There will surely be a bounce back on the stock, the question is how much and how soon? I guess we will know more when the details surface on what actually happened.

I have not talked to anyone at Mattress Firm about this but I did have a conversation with Sherwood and the feeling there is that nothing will change for them. They will continue to build high-quality bedding products and serve them up to their retail base.

Mattress Firm is a large company with the ability to drive the market if they figure out the correct approach. This year they have been struggling with the loss of Tempur-Pedic, many changes to their management team,  a massive shift to de-centralization, and now will need to deal with this news. So can they get through it? With the right leadership team and favorable business conditions, you can do just about anything.

Steinhoff started us out this year with some pretty big disruption with their acquisition of Mattress Firm and it looks like they will disrupt the industry again as we finish up 2017. For now, we should just wait and see what happens and hope the best for the people in the Steinhoff companies. As I have said in the past, put your seatbelts on, this ride isn’t over.