As so many great entrepreneurial success stories do, the tale of Mike Lindell begins in a crack house. It was the fall of 2008, and the then 47-year-old divorced father of four from the Minneapolis suburbs had run out of crack, again.
He had been up for either 14 or 19 days—he swears it was 19 but says 14 because “19 just sounds like I’ve embellished”—trying to save his struggling startup and making regular trips into the city to visit his dealer, Ty.
This time, Lindell arrived at Ty’s apartment expecting the typical A-plus service and received a shock instead: The dealer refused his business.
Ty wasn’t going to sell him any more crack until he ended his binge. He’d also called the two other dealers Lindell used and ordered them to do the same. “I don’t want any of your people selling him anything until he goes to bed,” Ty told the dealers.
When Lindell protested, he cut him off: “Go to bed, Mike.”
Many people would be ashamed by this story. Lindell tells it all the time. “I was like, ‘Wow, drug dealers care!’ ” he says. “That’s what it felt like, this incredible intervention.”
The moment wasn’t the end of his drug abuse, which started in his 20s when he owned bars and stretched through the early years of MyPillow, the Chaska, Minn., company he founded in 2005 to fulfill his dream of making “the world’s best pillow.”
It was, however, his low point.