In episode 165, Erik and Kerel talk with Michael Roca, Executive Director, Elevate at Omnicom Media Group. Elevate is a center of excellence and community that helps upstream diversity in the audience and business process. In their conversation, Michael shares his story of growing up in Queens, New York, as the youngest of four boys and children of Guatemalan parents, how they assimilated to the Latin and American cultures, how he still stays connected with those roots and the lessons he’s learned from his parents and family that he has passed on to his kids.
Since 2006, Michael has been in the media industry and has seen a lot of changes in diversity, although more is to be made. He explains to us how businesses need to communicate with their diverse audiences in order to stay alive, hiring experts to help just like one would outsource any other expertise, and making real change through budgets, resources, and decisions. Michael continues to learn from new people coming into the industry in terms of inspiration and balance, keeps his Board of Directors close to him, and he also shares advice from lessons he’s learned, advice to his younger self at the beginning of his career, and what excites him about the culture from new generations to music and more.
“If we're not looking at future proofing your business, you're not going to be here in 20 years, right? You're not going to be here, in some categories, in the next decade, if you're not talking to these audiences, and you're not talking to them authentically.”
We want to welcome all of our listeners to another episode of MRP, Minority Report Podcast, with Erik and Kerel. Each episode, we talk with the real operators, and leaders in media, tech and business. And joining us today is Mike Roca, who's the Executive Director of Elevate at Omnicom Media Group. Let's jump in and get to know Mike. Mike, how you doing? Welcome.
Michael Roca 00:30
I'm great. Erik, Kerel, thank you for inviting me. Excited to talk to you guys.
Yeah, we're thrilled to talk to you too, Mike. Kerel and I were talking a little bit and you just have such an impressive background. And I think especially really unique experience too. It's not too often that we get to spend some time with some folks that have a lot of experience, you know, really tackling, you know, a lot of really important work, and really a lot of effort in areas that, for some organizations feel kind of newer, or of recent times, so can't wait to dive in there. But first, Mike, for those that don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about where you were born and raised before we get into what you're doing today for work.
Michael Roca 01:16
I always tell folks, I'm a kid from Queens, born and raised in Middle Village, Queens, New York. The youngest of four boys, my parents are from Guatemala, they immigrated to New York City in the late 60s. So I have two older brothers born in the 70s. And then there's a big gap between the two youngest boys born in the 80s. But we are a product of New York City, you know, born in the 80s, but raised in the 90s. So, I'm a 90s hip hop head, Queens kid, fond memories of growing up in New York City. I went to school, I went to St. John's University in Queens. I started my career in New York in media. Then I moved down to Miami in 2006. So I've been here for a while now. But I'm based in New York so I'm in New York every other week. So I still get connected to my roots.
That's great. Besides probably having to have to be tough with a bunch of brothers, you know, getting tough, quick and learning how to defend yourself, what was it like, kind of growing up in that period of time, the son of parents from Guatemala, so Central Americans in New York? What was that childhood like? What was that upbringing like?
Michael Roca 02:40
That's a great question. Because when I tell folks that, you know, I'm from Queens, New York, if you look at me, I am Latino, like, you see it and you're like this guy's Hispanic, but folks will automatically think I'm Dominican, or I'm Puerto Rican, because that's the biggest contingent of Latinos in New York City. But growing up in New York and being from what Guatemala from Central America, it was different. Especially growing up in Queens in the area where I grew up, we grew up in a predominantly Italian Irish neighborhood, so there were very few Latino families in those times. And the Latinos that we did know, they were mainly South American. So it was a lot of Peruvians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and those were like my parents' friends. So every time we had a birthday, it was never our birthday, it was our parents, you know, opportunity to have a big, you know, 'pachanga' party in the house. And that's kind of how we grew up. But it was interesting because I lead our Hispanic BRG at Omnicom Media Group. And the other BRGs from the Asian and the Black community want to do like a cross kind of conversation between the three BRGs. So the idea was this interesting topic called "What's in a name?" and they had the leads talk about their names. And everyone was like, "Well, Mike, your name is Mike, like, what's in your name?" I'm like, well, there's actually a big story behind my name and it's kind of how I grew up. Because my parents immigrated to New York in the late 60s and back then when you're Latino, like the first wave of Latinos that came to New York City were Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. And when you arrived, you had to assimilate and assimilate fast, right? So that's why I made an effort to kind of talk about my brothers and our age gap because my two older brothers, you know, I love them to death, but they had it the hardest, because in our house, we spoke Spanish, right? Like that was what we sold to our parents.
Michael Roca 04:40
And my mom made a big effort, especially with me and my other brother to kind of speak to us in English. She gave us all real American names. So, Mike, Dave, Robert, Jimmy, James, and she did that because she wanted us to assimilate. She actually got called into the school, our oldest brother was in kindergarten because the principal told her, "Hey, look, we're having difficulties with James because he speaks Spanish. And so moving forward, you need to speak to your kids in English." And coming from Latino culture, like authoritative voice, like the principal, you kind of listen, right? Like, you're like, you're like, I gotta, you know, speak to them in English. And she made sure that like, my next two boys, if I have kids, they're going to be very American names. So I have three kids, two daughters, a 10 year old Lucia, my eight year old her name is Cecilia and when we had the boy, and this is why it's so interesting about 'What's in a name?" everyone's like, "Hey, Mike, are you gonna name him Mike Jr?" I'm like, "No way." And they're like, "Why?" I'm like, "Because I'm actually going to make a decision that I wish my parents would have done but to be honest, like, if I were in their shoes, it would have been difficult. And I kind of, I see where they're coming from now, but I want to kind of pay homage because I want to make sure my kid is as Latino as possible when you see it on paper, when you see him. So his name is Santiago Ignacio Roca. And like he is, you know, that name, you hear it and you know, it's a Latino, right? And that's why I wanted to make sure that it came through loud and clear. That's kind of the story of what's in my name and why I my love my name, and I'm so proud of like, the decision that my parents had to make, and the times that they had to make them. But now we're living in a different world, right? Where you're embracing their culture and I'm making sure that we're shouting that from the rooftops.
That's what I was gonna say, Mike, isn't it so fascinating how we can go from one generation to another, and you're right, your mom, your parents are doing exactly kind of what they needed to do to protect their kid, right? That was at the heart of their decision making process. But today, you know, we just live in a different world, you can say progress has been made, where now in many ways for all of us who are dads on this call, protecting our kids is making sure that our kids lead with who they are and their heritage and their cultures. To me, it's so fascinating how times have changed when you move from one generation to the next.
Michael Roca 07:21
Yeah, you know Kerel, and it's important because it's honoring your ancestors, right, knowing where you come from is what makes you who you are, right? Like, I'm not my title, like, I will always be the youngest brother of you know, these four Roca boys in Queens, New York, but my parents, you know, made those decisions, they also make great decisions too. They would ship us off to Guatemala every summer, so that we would spend time with our grandparents and with our cousins, and coming from, again, Latino communities, you have a million cousins. So we really kind of are tied to our roots, so I kind of knew where my family was from. But when I got back to La Guardia airport, you know, I was back in New York City and back in this, you know, melting pot of different cultures. And now I live in Miami, where it's predominantly Latino. So my kids, you know, 99% of their school is Latino, and then they speak Spanish, and they're flowing, and they love the music and the culture and the food. And it wasn't like that, especially for me growing up. So I love you know, Kerel to your point, seeing that in this new generation.
Yeah, and I think Mike, that's a great point to point out for, you know, shoutouts to traveling when you're young and you know, being able to connect with your roots like that. For those that don't know, I happen to be half Guatemalan as well and I had the same summertime experiences where we would travel back from DC to Guatemala to be on my mom's side. And I would take all my toys with me and then when I was there, I had to leave all my toys behind. My mom would always say, "Look, mijo, these toys that we brought from over here, they can't get these here, right? This is gonna be our way to pass these on to not only your cousins, but to like their friends and then you're gonna leave this behind and they're gonna get so much joy out of this." And I learned so much and I think children can learn so much from traveling on how to be with each other.
Michael Roca 09:13
I have a question for you though, did you bring back Pollo Compero on the flight back?
I absolutely did. And for those that don't know, before they opened Pollo Comperos here in the US, there was a super solid tradition of boarding an airplane with a bucket of fried chicken that was exclusively made there and I had so many trips where we were not the only ones that made the whole cabin smell like delicious chicken. There might have been 10, 12 other people doing it.
Michael Roca 09:38
Yep. We were probably on the same flight.
We probably were. We might be cousins.
If the if the airlines were smart, they would have been catering that flight.
Michael Roca 09:47
Ayee there you go. And then, one time, ultimate chicken story - we got a delay, we had to stay in Miami on the way back, we had a connecting flight. My uncle who brought the bucket, he was like "My turn and bring it," brought that and took care of it all night, put it in the fridge. Next flight the next day brought it home we all enjoyed it together as a family back home.
Michael Roca 10:10
The best. I love it.
Mike, I've got to ask you, you're doing some big things over at Omnicom Media Group with Elevate. Can you talk to us about, you know, what Elevate is and what it is you're doing there? For those that don't know, spend a minute explaining that, please.
Michael Roca 10:29
Yeah, yeah, I've been with Omnicom for quite a minute now, so since, almost going on 18 years at OMG, so I've been at all of our agencies, OMD, Hearts and Science, PhD and now at the center which we call OMG. And Elevate is a center of excellence slash community that helps upstream diversity in the audience and business process. Right? So I think right now we're hearing a lot about supporting diverse all media, which is important. Diversity, DE&I, the last three years, you know, post, unfortunately, George Floyd, has been a big topic and priority for many organizations. Well, I think this year, things have changed a bit, I think, you know, we're starting to kind of tackle that narrative. But I've been in this space since 2006, right, so I've been in the weeds and minutiae of ensuring that we are talking to diverse segments. And looking at diverse segments as a way of growth - multicultural, cross cultural, whatever we call it, it's growth. And I always talk about growth, if we're not looking at future proofing your business, you're not going to be here in 20 years, right? You're not going to be here, in some categories, in the next decade, if you're not talking to these audiences, and you're not talking to them authentically. My main mission throughout my career, especially at Omnicom was to ensure that we build a center of excellence where we can help empower teams, because in 2023, it's everyone's responsibility to know this but, we know the reality of how it is working in an agency or working on a marketing side of work and even on the media side, that sometimes it's an afterthought. These audiences tend to be a bolt on and what Elevate is meant to do is build it in, build it into the process, so that when we do show up in the marketplace, it shows up organically, it's just part of what we do, it's second nature to work with the Group Blacks of the world to work with the Canella Media of the world, because it just ties back to the overall strategy and business objective is to ensure that we are reaching and engaging these diverse communities, that we're talking to them, rather than speaking at them and really having a dialogue with these consumers. Because I think what has happened for so long, it's all, from a media perspective, been about reach. And my whole mission is, yes, reach is important, but relevancy, trump's reach.
Michael Roca 13:06
Right? Relevancy eats reaches lunch, dinner, breakfast, like we got to be relevant with these consumers, we need to show up in the right spaces and places to truly connect with them because you can reach them, but are you connecting with them? That's another conversation.
Yeah, I 1,000% agree with you in terms of being able to connect with the consumer and being relevant. I mean, you said it, you've been in the space for some time now, this is really at the heart of, you know, what you're passionate about and what you do every day in terms of helping brands reach the right consumer in a relevant place, right? You and I have had conversations prior to this because our companies work with each other, right, what do you think are some of the biggest challenges as to why this hasn't, if you will, scaled as much as you and I would like in terms of marketers understanding the opportunity that's ahead of them and then doing more of reaching their audience in a relevant place, if that makes sense.
Michael Roca 14:14
I think, if we look back, post 2008, 2009 recession, the term total market was coined. 2010 census came out, multicultural audiences are growing at the largest clip and contributing to the overall population growth of the US. We should have one creative campaign, one media plan that reaches all audiences, right, because we are living in a multicultural market, I think that total market approach had a positive intention from the industry overall. What happened over the years of 2010 to 2020 was many marketers, agencies and media partners went about total market in a different way. Right? There was not a unified definition of what total market was. For one marketer, it was one thing for one agency it was another. And what it did was it disproportionately impacted the diverse media community, right? We saw a lot of endemic media players that had been around for decades fold, right? We saw investments in endemic players that built this marketplace decrease by huge margins in terms of their investment from the prior decade. So post George Floyd, I think there was a big interest in supporting diverse communities and talking to them authentically. I think the biggest barriers are those who walk the talk, and those who just talk to talk, right?
Michael Roca 15:51
I think it is ensuring that you are putting in appropriate resources, because it requires resources. I always tell our internal teams and our external teams, our clients, and our partners, that it takes a village and you really have to commit, this is not an overnight thing, this is something that's going to take a three 510 year roadmap to build out the strategies. You know, one of my biggest, I think, prides, an account that's near and dear to me has been my experience working on State Farm at OMG. This is back in, I'm aging myself all over this conversation, but back in 2006, they really wanted to start speaking to the Hispanic community, right? They were hearing from their agents across the board, that, "Hey, we have a lot of Latinos coming into our agent offices, and we are not equipped. We're not speaking to them from a media, from a marketing perspective." And State Farm doubled down. They created units within State Farm to start kind of talking to these audiences, they hired agencies, they invested in media, and they became the number one insurance company amongst Latinos within five years by doing that, by doubling down and by committing with resources. And I think that's what it takes that type of commitment to truly unlock the opportunity. Because there is a huge opportunity that a lot of marketers and businesses are leaving on the table by not committing. And I think that's kind of what we really need to push for is accountability and making sure that if you're going to be making statements, that you better be kind of showing the receipts, that you actually dial into these audiences and into these partnerships.
You know, Mike, I'm gonna say it so you don't have to, but a great example with State Farm and you've worked with tremendous, tremendous media brands to sort of continue that example, but across other great companies like Ford and PNG, and Google, and I'm really curious about your perspective, you know, in 2023, you know, Ad Age and Meta presented a list of sort of media leaders and working in advertising and marketing to really sort of talk about some of the sort of big industry challenges and shifts. And you talked about growth, and how that can be sort of just part of like, the overall business versus like a bolt on, you know? I'm curious about you sharing your thoughts on a real critical factor, it seems like you guys talked about which is, you know, really having DE&I in the workforce as being essential to authentic DE&I marketing strategy, right? So if it's in a workforce, it can translate into strategies. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Michael Roca 18:46
Yeah, yeah. When I started in this business two decades ago, I did not see myself reflected in leadership, I did not see myself reflected in the agency. It felt very lonely, right? There were, you know, people of color, and we all gravitated towards each other. And I still hold those friendships tight till this day, 20 years later and definitely see a change. I see a change in terms of the reflection of people at the top, I still wish for more change. And I think naturally, it does have an impact on the way marketers go to market. But I don't think it's an automatic shift. Because there are times where I'm speaking to folks who are also, you know, people of color who are decision makers, and it's tough for them to make that commitment to change, right? I think what is needed is that expertise and the space I think that's where marketers who are probably not of the community or of the community and who need to kind of own up to "Hey, I don't have expertise in this space, let me bring in either media partners, agencies who are dialed into these communities and who know these communities to help us."
Michael Roca 20:12
It's alright to not know what you don't know, right? And I think that's what sometimes people kind of hold very close to the chest is like, and I don't know what gets in the way, egos or not being transparent, you not knowing what you don't know, but it's important to bring the experts to the table, because I think that's where change happens. And I love that I see the changing faces in these boardrooms. But I need to see that diversity of thought as well in terms of experience and what they bring to the table. Because I think that's where real change happens, especially when that diversity of thought actually has influence in terms of budgets, resources, and being able to make decisions on behalf of either agencies or on the marketing side.
Yeah, what a really good point, you would do it almost in every other aspect of the business, right? If you need a data specialist and specialization and expertise there, you would do it. If it was marketing research, right, no brainer, you would do it, right? And then just to take it one other step, right, if it was that, then you bring in the expertise, and you bring in [...]
Michael Roca 21:18
Exactly. And that's what Elevate is all about, right? We have cultural, what we call Cultural Practitioners that are embedded into key businesses. So I see it almost as a teaching hospital, they help keep the internal teams and our clients accountable in terms of ensuring that we are upstreaming diversity in the business planning and the audience planning of the work that we produce on behalf of our clients. And that it naturally waterfalls into the media ecosystem. So they work across all disciplines from a planning perspective, marketplace, market and science, I call them, our Unicorns at Omnicom Media Group, because they wear many hats, but they're experts with these audiences. And they can go into any boardroom and present to any CMO and talk to these audiences authentically, and they understand the marketplace, and most importantly, they understand media. They understand the fundamentals of how we can move the needle in terms of reaching and really engaging these audiences. So that's where I say, bringing the Elevate team, bringing our cultural practitioners to help you along your journey, because not everyone can be a PNG, right? But everyone can start their journey. And it's really up to marketers to commence it and to bring us along.
Mike, where do you draw inspiration from?
Michael Roca 22:36
To be honest, I draw inspiration just from my family, my parents, like, it's, I always tell folks that like, professionally, I'm an extrovert, but you know, I'm a real introvert. And I love just kind of, you know, I grew up with this big family and I see what they've went through and just like, the generation that came before us, like, they're all heroes, like, everything that they do, you know. Till this day, I tell my kids, I'm like, look like your grandparents have gone through things that you don't have to go through. So I draw from them. I remember my mom at one point was working two jobs. She was taking trains at 4am in New York City in the 70s when it was like the craziest crime and I'm like, "That's nuts!" For me to jump on planes and go to different clients, like I don't complain at all. Like I draw inspiration from the generation that came before us. I draw inspiration from my wife, who just I can't even do this without her. She's amazing, she started in the media business as well, she teaches at University of Miami, she teaches advertising and she's a media consultant. You know, she helps raise these three amazing kids that we have, but it's homegrown. Like I really draw inspiration from the four walls of the Roca household, but externally, like, I call them my personal board of directors are the people that I grew up with in the industry, because I didn't have mentors. Growing up in the industry I didn't see myself reflected in leadership. So again, I gravitated towards people who are cut from the same cloth as me. And now, you know, this personal board of directors have amazing kickass jobs. And we all share experiences and give each other tips and like, you know, when we win something, we're the first one that gave each other kudos. So I draw inspiration from them. And I also, what inspires me is the generation to come, you know, and I think sometimes they get a bad rap. But there are a lot of them out there right now that surprise me. And I do a lot of mentorship. And I'm excited to see what's to come because a lot of them have a great hustle in them. They're seeing now reflection and leadership and I think it is imperative that all of us in leadership roles now send the elevator down and we bring as many people up.
Your comment about your board of directors is very interesting. I was given that advice very early on in my career, to find a group of folks in the industry that you can connect with that are on similar paths as you, right, that you can build with, that you can celebrate with, that you can challenge each other with as well, too. And so that group for me has been instrumental in my career growth, and it sounds like the same for you.
Michael Roca 25:27
Yes, and they're the first ones I go to for advice, they come to me for advice. Because out there again, sometimes it feels a little lonely, right, you know, who has your back, who doesn't have your back, but this personal board of directors 100% have your back, and they keep it real, and they'll call you out when things get too much in your head. I really rely on them. It's been growing steadily, like, the more we you know, we grow in our careers, the you know, we're meeting different people from different walks of life, that you just kind of see eye to eye with, and you're just like, wow, like, let me let you in to the walled garden that we have here for our board. But it's been great. So I do draw inspiration from them. And I see that it's helped many along the way in terms of, you know, we talk about things that salaries, right, like we know that salaries has become a taboo, like to talk about, like, you know, like, what should I be earning? Or, like, what do you earn at this agency or this company? So like, that's great to have that think tank as well, when it comes to like negotiating on behalf of what you bring to a company?
Absolutely, absolutely. What excites you about the future of our industry?
Michael Roca 26:36
There's just so much change so fast, the advancements in technology and data, it's both exciting and scary at the same time, to be honest. I see, like, AI as something that is like, it's incredible, you know, what's been happening in that space, but at the same time, we talked about the inequities and misrepresentation in certain categories, and you think about tech, you know, there's a severe under representation of people who actually understand diverse communities, and how that could be a slippery slope when it comes to technology and diversity. So that's something that I'm very cautious about. But I'm very excited about, like some of the benefits that it could bring and kind of bear fruit to the marketplace. So that's something I'm definitely keeping an eye on, I think everyone is because you've gone to any conference that's all everyone talks about right now.
Mike, sort of rewinding a little bit back to some of the the older days and sounds like there was a lot of sort of lessons learned and passed on from your family, to like who you are today. If you've thought about it just for a second on the spot right now, obviously, but if there was like one or two things that always kind of stand out that you feel like you learned from your parents or from your family that you pass on professionally to others, or even your own family, what are one or two of those kinds of things that you always sort of think about you learned, you know, from your family and your experiences that you pass on to others?
Michael Roca 28:05
I see myself kind of passing that on to my kids, right? Like, stay true to yourself, stay true to who you are, don't compromise. And I've been learning this in my career, like, the more you move up, you know, sometimes people have to give up some of who they are. And I think, previous generations and my ancestors it's just too much to do that because they've instilled so much in me. And, like I actually tell that to my kids, you know, like in the age of social media, and what they're going through, they're growing up so differently than when we grew up, right? We didn't have Instagram and all, like just all this noise 24/7. So I told them, like, you know, I try to empower them, instill that in them, because it helps you out professionally, in terms of, you know, walking into a room and being confident in yourself and your ability and what you bring to the table. I think transparency, communication skills, people skills, I think being humble is important. You know, we talk about mentors, I still think there's a lack of people who actually care about other people in the industry. And I think that is something that I try to make the time to have conversations with people, rather than having conversations in my free time. Because we need to make room to have these conversations and just have real frank conversations. I think that's kind of what we need more of. And my parents always taught me that, they were always real with me in terms of "Hey, like, when you're shooting the shit, make sure that you're direct in terms of your communication with folks" and it's sometimes hard conversations that you have to have with people, but I've been always very direct and transparent. And I think that's important in terms of working and group environments. I think that's something that comes from the culture as well, right? Sometimes it's, it's not about the me, it's about the we, and what you bring to the team. So I always try to encourage folks to think about the team and not to think about just yourself, I think there's times to think about yourself, right, obviously, within your career and your progression, but when you're thinking about the work and the team, it's a we environment.
Yeah, you know, I want to ask you too, kind of that question in a different way, because you mentioned and I think a lot of us feel this way too, that we're, we didn't necessarily have like, peer mentors helping or working with us, you know, in our career, right, you have a mentor, but now you have an opportunity to, to actually work with others, right, and in their career. What's maybe one or two things that you felt like you've learned from some folks that, you know, you spend time with and sort of coach up or a mentor, there's got to be one or two things that sometimes either you learn as a result of sort of working with others that are a little bit earlier in their career, what might be one or two of those things?
Michael Roca 31:05
Like I said, this new generation that's coming up, they get a bad rap of maybe being entitled, or you know, all the other type of negative tropes that come against this generation. But if you think about what they've come up through too, you know, great recessions, a pandemic, like all these things that are just, it's, it's been crazy and in terms of their experience. It's interesting in terms of that work life balance, and sometimes I'll have a conversation with them and they're like, "Hey, Roca, like, you're involved in so many things, like, take time for you," so bringing me back from reality. (laughs) Like, wow, I'm hearing this from a 24 year old, you know, but I have my hands in so many different hats and like, they're always seeing me like on different, you know, conferences, and, you know, a lot of things I'm involved in. So it's interesting that, you know, they have that take, because I see that they're coming up in a different world than we did, you know, 20, you know, or 25 years ago. And it's important, you know, I think the pandemic taught us many lessons in terms of that work life balance. Like, you know, I know you guys probably travel a lot, I travel a ton for work, but I make sure that like, you know, last week, for example, I took the family to Disney World, I put that work phone in the hotel, like I did not bring it with me at the park, like I made sure I was completely invested in my kids experience, and just making sure that my mind was just in the moment, rather than in my phone, and like what's coming down the pike. And I think that's sometimes that has come up in conversations I've had with some of the younger folks that I mentor, and I love that, you know, and I don't think that's something negative about them. I think it's a positive, you know, like, we need to kind of balance these two worlds to make for a healthy human being.
Very true. Very true. What advice would Mike today give to Mike first starting out in his career?
Michael Roca 33:02
To the younger Mike, would be just stay the course. I think earlier in my career, you know, growing up in New York City, like graduating from college, and I remember making the first salary I made at MediaVest at the time, I could have almost been on welfare, like it was so bad the salary and I remember making decisions and jumping from shop to shop early in my career, because you're just chasing the dollar and you weren't really focusing on your growth within the organization. And that's why I always go back to like having mentors and people who can really help you like, say, "Mike, just stay the course, the money will come, just focus on the work and focus on building your skill set. And the money will come." And it does. All of that comes at its time, you know, if you really dedicate yourself and that's kind of what I've been doing in terms of mentorship is like, just focus on building these core skills and fundamentals, and the money will come. Don't chase the salaries. I think a lot of folks were doing that, especially during the Great resignation, a lot of people are moving from agency to agency, media partner to media partner, you know, client to client, you know, I was talking to some of these young kids who were, they were making 50% increases, 80% increases from salary to salary, I'm like, be careful, because this rise is not gonna last too long, like you have a good in this place. You know, sometimes I'd rather be in a company where I know kind of like, where the pitfalls are, versus a company where you're coming in new and green, and not understanding where those landmines are. So thinking about long term and the long game versus you know, short term gains. I think that's one of my biggest regrets in the beginning of my career, and I wish I would have told younger Mike, just stay put, man. Don't worry about money. It's going to come in due time.
Yeah, great, great advice. Know exactly what you mean. Alright, fun question. What's in the music rotation right now?
Michael Roca 35:02
Oh my god, this is embarrassing right now. My life is completely taken over by my girls, my 10 year old, my eight year old girls.
There's no 90s hip hop from Queens?
Michael Roca 35:18
Oh I do have my 90s hip hop, I have my Wu Tang, I definitely have, like my Biggie like music that they don't listen to, but like their music creeps into all of my music. So I'll be at the gym and all of a sudden I'm listening to like a Taylor Swift song and what is happening here? So their music is seeping into my world, but I am 100% a 90s Hip Hop head. I had the opportunity to go to Wu Tang concert here in Fort Lauderdale, which was awesome a couple of months ago. So that was really cool for me, that was a cool experience. Anything that's 90s that's kind of where my head's at or early 2000s. I'm jealous of folks who got to go see Lauryn Hill, like that is for me, like, yeah, did you guys get to go to her concert?
No. I'm jealous of those who got to go see it as well.
Michael Roca 36:07
Yeah, that's kind of my music. It's interesting, right? Because we grow up and when you're growing up, you think about like, people who were like in 70s Rock and all these other music and like, what the hell and now you're like, now my kids are like "Why do you only listen to the same music?" I'm like, anything past 2002 is just not cool for me anymore. I don't know.
I hear ya, I hear ya.
Michael Roca 36:29
What are you guys listening to?
Kerel, you want to take it away first or you want me to go first?
Go ahead, Erik, go ahead.
Aw man, so I kind of got like three main big vibes, so obviously big 90s, 2000 sort of hip hop to like literally, I mean, I got everything from, like, on my phone from like Black Moon to like, I mean, like a bunch of stuff, right? So, but recently, besides like, a bunch of like, reggaeton, I've been really into like a bunch of different sort of, like, Afrobeats artists, and I'm like, getting in real deep with a lot of you know, Fireboy, you know, like, I'm like, in deep on that tip right now. So it's just like, a constant rotation that I'm discovering, like new songs. So that's, that's it for me right now.
Yeah and I'm 90s hip hop, 90s R&B, anything Jay Z, he's my favorite artist of all time. So that's where I'm at.
Michael Roca 37:20
I love it. I love it.
Maybe we should publish like a couple screenshots of what's in the rotation too.
Michael Roca 37:28
It's interesting, because my daughter just turned 10 years old and to see that these kids are not like, you know, they love Taylor Swift, but they love Latin music. I love it. You know, like, I think we played the clean versions of the Bad Bunny songs, but they knew all like the lyrics and they were like, vibing with it and I was like, this is incredible. To see just the world that they're growing up in versus the world that we grew up in where you know, we listen to live music, but it wasn't what it is today. And it's amazing that it's just been this like crossover smash.
I agree. I agree. Well, Mike, thanks for hanging out with us today. What a blast. Thanks for passing along a lot of insights. And you know, a lot of times our viewers and listeners like to stay in touch. What's a good way that folks can get in touch with you that's easy?
Michael Roca 38:17
Hit me up on LinkedIn. Let's definitely start the conversation there. That's my social media of preference.
Thanks, Mike. And thanks, everyone for listening to another episode. You can find many more episodes wherever you find all of your audio and video, just search for the logo and find Minority Report Podcast. Thanks again, Mike. And thanks, everyone for listening.
Michael Roca 38:41
Kerel, Erik, thank you guys.