Episode 15

Navigating Public Scrutiny & Adversity as a GC: Mark Marin’s Candid Insights

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:25

  • Introducing Mark Marin, General Counsel of Puffco, his background, and the variety of roles he has held throughout his career.
  • Beginning his career as a patent attorney.

Jumping into the fast-paced start-up world at Quirky: 2:31

  • Joining Quirky, an invention product development platform, for his first in-house legal role.
  • Working in a high-energy, ambitious environment.
  • How changing business priorities led to an unsustainable business model, and consequently bankruptcy.

Discovering a silver lining during bankruptcy: 6:40

  • Declaring bankruptcy due to Quirky’s lack of funding and vision.
  • Being one of the last few employees at a company and navigating the legal nuances in bankruptcy law.
  • How strong relationships with colleagues helps open doors for career opportunities, like Mark’s new role at Wink.

Navigating being acquired twice in the span of a short time: 10:17

  • Transitioning from Quirky to Wink, a subsidiary of the bankrupt company that was sold to Flextronics in a stalking horse bid.
  • Earning his first Head of Legal role.
  • Differing vision with the acquirer leading to Wink being sold off again.
  • Overseeing two acquisitions during a short period of time.
  • Finding an unexpected high-profile buyer in

Learning from trying to merge cultures during company acquisitions: 14:58

  • Early signs that an acquisition isn’t going well, from change in business priorities to lack of buy-in from employees.
  • Integrating into your acquirer’s vision for your company, and losing your own.
  • Lack of employee buy-in after acquisition, due to competing cultures.

Grappling with adversity as Barstool Sports’ first General Counsel: 18:50

  • Leveraging his network to land a GC role at Barstool Sports.
  • Underestimating the intensity of challenges, especially the public criticism that came with working at a high-profile company.
  • Facing internal resistance when trying to develop legal processes as the first in-house counsel.
  • Dealing with a public backlash and being in the line of fire as the company’s GC.

Finding support during career challenges: 27:20

  • Navigating lack of support from the company.
  • Leaning on friends, colleagues and mentors for support.
  • Realizing that it’s common to land in challenging situations as a GC, and that you’re not alone.

Venturing a new path in the cannabis industry: 30:40 

  • Negotiating an exit from Barstool Sports and joining Puffco as a general counsel.
  • Exploring the regulated industry of cannabis.
  • Lobbying for causes on behalf of a company, and its community.

Parting advice for younger attorneys: 33:17

  • Understanding why “Leaders Eat Last”, from a Ted Talk and book by Simon Sinek.
  • Expecting an unpredictable career path as a GC and preparing for anything.

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Tyler Finn
Head of Community and Growth, SpotDraft
Mark Marin
General Counsel, Puffco

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