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November 10, 2023 at 8:26:18 PM

Design Talk LIVE Reloaded: Unleashing a New Era of Design Dialogues


Because the design industry has so much more to say.

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November 10, 2023 at 8:26:18 PM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.


Joseph Haecker

Podcast Host

Design Talk LIVE Podcast

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

Absolutely, and thank you for having me! I'm Joseph Haecker, the host of the Design Talk LIVE Podcast. My journey has been quite a ride, starting with my dream of becoming a Disney animator as a child. However, life took me on a different path, and I found my niche at the intersection of artistry and business.

Over the years, I've worn many hats – from operations director at Triton Chandelier, leading design and development at Alger Lighting for projects like The Wynn Encore in Las Vegas, to venturing into entrepreneurship with OC3D Solid Designs and founding Dezignwall, a social platform for the interior design industry.

The Design Talk LIVE Podcast emerged as a pivotal project, sparking unfiltered conversations with industry leaders and celebrities like The Property Brothers and Kelli Ellis. This journey expanded into "The Live Broadcast Network," challenging traditional broadcasting norms.

Facing setbacks and adapting to the ever-changing landscape, I delved into virtual events, podcasting, and pioneered "In-Home Shopping" on Facebook during the challenges of the COVID-19 era. My recent ventures include Join inCrowd, a Digital Business Card platform, and numerous startups, showcasing my commitment to innovation.

In addition to my podcasting endeavors, I've authored 22 books on Amazon, created 19 audio courses, and shared insights through blogs and audio blogs, encapsulating what I call a "Marketing Vortex."

Through my experiences, successes, and failures, I've become passionate about guiding fellow entrepreneurs. My goal is to offer a mix of free and premium resources, sharing the wealth of knowledge I've accumulated over the years.

In essence, my journey is about resilience, reinvention, and a relentless pursuit of pushing boundaries. I'm excited to continue this adventure, collaborating, and helping businesses thrive through Design Talk LIVE and beyond.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

Certainly! Before diving into the world of podcasting with Design Talk LIVE, my journey has been a tapestry of experiences. The genesis of Design Talk LIVE occurred during a layover in Houston. Observing colleagues discussing trends rather than the impactful products they'd witnessed, I posted a Facebook event titled "Fuck the Trends" and went live the next day. The response was overwhelming, leading to the birth of Design Talk LIVE with co-host Donna Moss.

This venture marked a paradigm shift. Weekly Facebook LIVE talk shows garnered over 3.2 million views and featured influential guests like The Property Brothers and Kelli Ellis. This success laid the groundwork for "The Live Broadcast Network," disrupting traditional broadcasting norms.

Adapting to challenges, I delved into virtual events, podcasting, and even pioneered "In-Home Shopping" on Facebook amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join inCrowd, a Digital Business Card platform, and other startups followed, showcasing my commitment to innovation.

The decision to start this new journey was fueled by a deep-seated passion for unfiltered conversations and a drive to push the boundaries of traditional media. It's been a thrilling ride, filled with challenges, triumphs, and a commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue in the design community. This journey is a testament to the belief that, in every design, there's a story waiting to be told, and I'm excited to continue uncovering those stories on Design Talk LIVE.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

As a kid, my dream was to be a Disney animator. I was captivated by the magic of bringing characters to life through animation. While that childhood aspiration didn't lead me directly to a career in animation, it profoundly influenced the person I am today.

The essence of animation lies in storytelling and creative expression. Those early desires to create enchanting narratives and breathe life into characters planted the seeds for my passion for design and artistic expression. The ability to envision outcomes in my mind and devise strategies for implementation, a skill set I developed as an artist, has been a cornerstone of my journey.

The creative foundation laid in childhood guided me through various chapters of my life. It instilled in me the belief that design is about solving problems, whether it's in marketing and communication as a graphic designer, addressing product design challenges as an industrial designer, or tackling spatial and emotional concerns as an interior designer.

While my path diverged from the initial dream of being a Disney animator, the underlying drive for creative problem-solving remained constant. It shaped my approach to business, innovation, and the unconventional path I've taken in founding and hosting Design Talk LIVE, a platform where unfiltered conversations and raw discussions thrive.

In essence, my childhood dream fostered a mindset that values creativity, storytelling, and the power of design to address challenges. Today, as the host of Design Talk LIVE, I continue to embrace that spirit of creativity and problem-solving, guiding conversations in the design community and beyond.

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

While my childhood dream of becoming a Disney animator has evolved, the essence of storytelling and creativity that it instilled in me remains an integral part of who I am. I haven't let go of the spirit of that dream; instead, I've channeled it into different avenues of expression, particularly in the design and media industry.

Looking ahead to the next ten years, I envision a continuation of the dynamic and innovative journey I've been on. As the host of the Design Talk LIVE Podcast, I see the platform evolving into an even more influential space for unfiltered conversations within the design community. I aim to delve deeper into impactful discussions, explore new storytelling formats, and foster meaningful connections within the industry.

Beyond the podcast, I see myself pushing the boundaries of innovation, perhaps venturing into new projects, startups, or initiatives that align with my passion for design and entrepreneurship. The ever-changing landscape of media and technology provides endless opportunities for exploration and growth.

In essence, while the specific form of my childhood dream may have transformed, its essence continues to shape my creative endeavors. The next decade holds exciting possibilities for furthering the impact of Design Talk LIVE and exploring new avenues that align with my commitment to storytelling, problem-solving, and pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking.

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

Absolutely, the journey to where I am today has been shaped by the invaluable guidance and insights from various individuals who played pivotal roles in my life. It's difficult to pinpoint just one mentor or influence because I've been fortunate to learn from a diverse array of people.

One individual who stands out is John Peitro, the former head of marketing for Wendy's. He instilled in me a crucial principle that resonates in my decision-making: "What's the lowest hanging fruit?" This mindset has been instrumental, guiding me to identify and seize the most accessible opportunities for growth and success.

Walt Disney, an iconic figure known for his innovation and creativity, has been a profound influence. His commitment to giving back and expanding horizons has left an indelible mark on my approach to business and community engagement. Disney's legacy reinforces the idea that success is not just about personal achievements but also about contributing to the greater good.

Moreover, learning from the experiences of successful individuals who faced bankruptcy multiple times has been eye-opening. It underscores the resilience required in any entrepreneurial journey, teaching me that setbacks are not roadblocks but rather stepping stones to eventual success.

Sports figures like Michael Jordan, who missed more shots than he made but still became one of the greatest, embody the spirit of perseverance and determination. Their stories serve as a constant reminder that failure is an inherent part of the path to success.

Even my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Ule, made a lasting impact. Her insight into my potential as a "late bloomer" and encouragement to give me time to develop has been a guiding principle. It reinforces the understanding that everyone has their unique timeline for growth and success.

In essence, the collective wisdom from these diverse influencers has shaped my multifaceted approach to business, creativity, and personal development. Their lessons contribute to the mosaic of experiences that define the person I am today.

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

The concept of "the lowest hanging fruit" that I learned from John Peitro has been a guiding principle in my approach to business, including the diverse ventures and experiences I've undertaken. Essentially, it emphasizes identifying and seizing the most accessible opportunities for growth and success. This notion has become a cornerstone in my decision-making process, ensuring that I prioritize tasks and initiatives that yield the most immediate and impactful results.

Moreover, at my core, amidst the various businesses, failures, and successes, I've remained consistent in embodying key characteristics: I am a networker, a connector, a community builder, a storyteller, and an eternal optimist. These traits have been instrumental in shaping not only the Design Talk LIVE Podcast but also in fostering meaningful connections within the design community and beyond.

As a networker, I thrive on building and nurturing relationships. This has translated into the podcast, where I connect with designers, manufacturers, and influencers to create a vibrant community of voices. Being a connector allows me to bridge gaps within the industry, bringing people together for insightful conversations and collaborations.

The role of a community builder is evident in the platform I've created with Design Talk LIVE. It serves as a space where individuals from the design community can come together, share experiences, and engage in authentic conversations. My identity as a storyteller finds expression in the podcast format, where each episode unfolds as a narrative, exploring the diverse facets of the design world.

Finally, maintaining an eternal optimism is essential in navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship. This optimistic outlook fuels my passion for innovation, pushing boundaries, and adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of design and media. It's a mindset that permeates the conversations on Design Talk LIVE, fostering an atmosphere of exploration, growth, and shared optimism within the design community.

In essence, the takeaway from the concept of "the lowest hanging fruit" has been seamlessly integrated into my business philosophy, while my core identity as a networker, connector, community builder, storyteller, and eternal optimist continues to shape the ethos of Design Talk LIVE and my broader entrepreneurial endeavors.

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

The "Why" behind Design Talk LIVE is deeply rooted in giving a voice to the vibrant and creative design community. Every day, my team and I wake up with the mission of shining a spotlight on the stories within the design world—stories that often go unheard in traditional media channels.

I've always believed that the design community, spanning Hospitality, Commercial, Residential, and the skilled trades, is a tapestry of creativity. These designers are true artists, each with a unique and compelling story waiting to be told. My background in art has fostered a profound admiration for the creative process and the nuances that make each designer's journey exceptional.

In the broader context, less than 1% of all businesses ever get the opportunity to be published in local or trade press. Design Talk LIVE seeks to change that statistic by providing a platform where the voices of designers, manufacturers, and influencers can resonate. It's about democratizing the storytelling process, ensuring that the narratives within the design community, with all their creativity and diversity, find a place to be heard.

Our "Why" is to break down barriers and amplify the voices that often exist on the fringes of mainstream media. Design Talk LIVE is more than just a podcast; it's a conduit for connection, inspiration, and a celebration of the artistry that defines the design community. That's what drives us each day—to create a space where these stories can flourish, where the unsung heroes of design can share their insights, challenges, and triumphs with a wider audience. It's a commitment to fostering a community where everyone's story matters.

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

Design Talk LIVE is more than just a podcast; it's a platform designed to foster community and conversation within the dynamic world of design. One distinctive aspect that sets us apart is our commitment to making participation accessible for everyone. Being a guest on our show is always free, ensuring that there are zero barriers for any member of the design community, whether they're a design student taking their first steps or a seasoned architect with a wealth of experience. Design Talk LIVE is about breaking down walls and creating an inclusive space for dialogue.

In addition to providing a free platform for guests, we offer paid advertising opportunities that go beyond conventional approaches. Brands and businesses that choose to partner with us recognize that they are not just paying for ad slots; they are investing in a community-driven initiative. Our sponsors believe in the power of conversation, debate, celebrations, and amplifying voices within the design community. We serve as a bridge, connecting sponsors with our engaged audience, facilitating meaningful interactions that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of advertising.

One of the unique services we proudly offer is the ability to host in-person podcasts at trade shows, events, and even private corporate or industry gatherings. This distinctive service provides an unparalleled opportunity to create more intimate and engaging events. It's a chance to shine a spotlight on current and potential clients, fostering the sharing of stories in a setting that goes beyond the confines of a typical podcast recording. Through these in-person podcasts, we aim to elevate the conversation, strengthen connections, and showcase the vibrant narratives within the design community. Design Talk LIVE is not just a show; it's a platform that actively contributes to the growth and cohesion of the design world.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

When a brand chooses to advertise with Design Talk LIVE, they're not just investing in ad space; they're embarking on a journey to build a profound connection with the design community. We don't just showcase products or services; we create a platform for meaningful conversations that resonate with the soul of the design industry. It's more than promotion; it's about becoming an integral part of a vibrant and dynamic community.

Design Talk LIVE operates as an event coordinator, seamlessly integrating sponsors into our podcasts, live recordings, and in-person events. We don't just endorse products; we tell stories, amplify voices, and celebrate the diverse narratives within the design realm. This approach transforms the advertising experience into a powerful tool for community engagement, fostering a deep understanding and connection with the target audience.

For marketing managers and business owners seeking to transcend the ordinary, Design Talk LIVE becomes a catalyst for inspiration and motivation. We don't merely advertise; we craft experiences that leave a lasting imprint on the hearts and minds of the design community. It's about creating a bond, nurturing relationships, and positioning brands as more than just products—they become integral contributors to the rich tapestry of the design world. Design Talk LIVE isn't just a platform; it's a force that elevates, inspires, and connects.

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

At Design Talk LIVE, we don't see customers; we see a vibrant community and valuable partners. Our journey begins with the diverse individuals who become our podcast guests, ranging from aspiring students to renowned celebrities, manufacturers reps, and service providers. The podcast serves as a powerful platform for each member of our community to share their unique story—a story that goes beyond the surface, delving into the struggles, conflicts, and triumphs of being a creative force in the design industry.

For our podcast guests, the experience is about more than just being heard; it's a journey of self-expression, a spotlight on their individual narratives that often go unnoticed in the hustle of the design world. We provide a stage for the everyday heroes of our industry, fostering connections and highlighting the human side of design that is often overshadowed.

When it comes to potential advertisers, we offer an alternative to the mundane and costly routes of traditional industry events and advertising platforms. Design Talk LIVE isn't about the monotony of trade shows, exhibits, showrooms, or the saturation of traditional media. We provide a refreshing approach that centers on telling human stories, creating genuine connections, and bringing authenticity to the forefront.

Our goal is to redefine the customer journey by offering an experience that transcends the ordinary. We want our community, whether podcast guests or advertisers, to feel the impact of being part of something greater—a movement that celebrates, connects, and transforms the design industry one story at a time. Design Talk LIVE is more than a podcast; it's a catalyst for change, a bridge that links the diverse voices within our community, and an opportunity to break free from the constraints of conventional advertising.

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

Absolutely, let me share a heartwarming story that embodies the spirit of our Design Talk LIVE community. Recently, we've been in the process of scheduling and inviting a new group of guests onto our show, and the impact we've witnessed over the years is truly inspiring.

In the past, our guests and sponsors have gone on to experience tremendous growth within the design community, forming lifelong connections, discovering new opportunities, and thriving as they pursue their goals and dreams. One remarkable instance that stands out is the "Unofficial" HGTV Reunion hosted on our show. This reunion not only became a nostalgic gathering for HGTV stars but also served as the starting point for numerous relationships between fellow designers. It opened doors to valuable business opportunities, brand collaborations, and enduring connections that continue to flourish.

Design Talk LIVE has been the catalyst for innovative programs like "A Student's Perspective," a student-led initiative where design and architecture students interview industry professionals from their unique viewpoint. This program has not only provided a platform for students to learn from established figures but has also facilitated meaningful connections between emerging talents and seasoned experts.

Moreover, the show has successfully brought together designers and manufacturers, laying the foundation for licensing agreements and other collaborative ventures. These stories are a testament to the power of our community, and we take pride in being a driving force behind these transformative experiences. Design Talk LIVE isn't just a podcast; it's a vibrant tapestry of stories, collaborations, and growth within the design industry.

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know?

Absolutely, let me share a behind-the-scenes detail about the inception of Design Talk LIVE that not many people might know. Our first episode, back in September 2017, was a complete fluke. At that time, I had around 1,200 followers on Facebook, and the idea of going live was more of a spontaneous decision.

I had just returned from High Point Market, flown to DC for a live show with my tech company, and was heading back to California for the DesignEdge Fair in Santa Monica. During my time at High Point, I observed something intriguing – instead of discussing the exclusive finds and insider gems from the industry-only event, my interior design friends were fixated on Sherwin Williams' latest "color of the year." That's when the impromptu rant about "F*ck the Trends" was born.

When we went live for the first time, I didn't have fancy equipment. I literally tied my cell phone to my luggage handle to keep it in place. To my surprise, the episode garnered immense attention, with 2.2 thousand viewers during the live stream and an impressive 30 thousand views within the first 24 hours. We even had seven people call in and join the podcast that day. Raad Ghantous, who became our first guest, set the tone by saying, "I don't necessarily agree with you, but I like that we are having the conversation."

Design Talk LIVE was not meticulously planned or orchestrated; it was simple, raw, and unfiltered. Its only redeeming quality was our consistency and authenticity. We embraced our flaws openly, fostering a community-based approach that resonated with our audience. The success of that spontaneous first episode became the foundation for what Design Talk LIVE is today.

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

I want our audience to take away the essence of Design Talk LIVE as a platform. Our original tagline, "Get pissed. Get inspired. But get talking," reflected the passion and urgency I felt at the beginning, and though I may have mellowed a bit, the essence remains.

The design community is evolving, and there's still so much to discuss. Influencers like LuAnn Nigara are making incredible strides in helping designers acquire essential business skills. On the flip side, we've witnessed industry giants like Klaussner Furniture and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams face challenges leading to closures, a fallout from both Covid and financial strains. As an industry, we're still navigating the realms of tech and innovation.

Take the example of International Market Centers, now ANDMORE, attempting to venture into tech through the acquisition of Juniper, a digital marketplace. Unfortunately, it faced setbacks, but the conversation around these endeavors and challenges is crucial.

Design Talk LIVE doesn't aim to incite controversy; it's here to facilitate the discussions the design community genuinely wants to engage in. Each guest brings forth topics that matter to them, and we're here to host those conversations. Whether it's the latest trends, industry shifts, or challenges faced by creatives, Design Talk LIVE is the space where the design community can freely express, connect, and inspire.

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

Absolutely, I'm thrilled to share more about Design Talk LIVE. To discover more about our podcast and the vibrant community we're fostering, you can visit our official website at There, you'll find a wealth of information about our future episodes, featured guests, and the diverse topics we've covered.

For those who want to stay in the loop and catch our latest episodes, subscribing to Design Talk LIVE on popular podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts is the way to go. We're committed to delivering insightful conversations straight to our audience.

If you're eager to be part of the dialogue, whether as a guest, sponsor, or curious listener, our website provides details on how you can get involved. Feel free to connect with us on social media too; we're active on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, sharing updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and engaging content.

Ultimately, Design Talk LIVE is more than just a podcast; it's a dynamic community. I encourage everyone interested in design, innovation, and authentic conversations to explore what we have to offer and join us on this exciting journey.

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

It's been my pleasure! Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey and the story behind Design Talk LIVE. If anyone has further questions, wants to be part of the conversation, or simply wishes to explore the world of design with us, feel free to reach out. I'm always excited to connect with fellow creatives, industry professionals, and anyone with a passion for design. Looking forward to more inspiring conversations ahead!

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