From Near Bankruptcy To A Media Powerhouse: Media Mogul Jay Martin
Jay Martin, CEO of Cambridge house and host of the Jay Martin Show came on Behind Success. Graciously, Jay invited me to his beautiful home up in Squamish B.C where I was greeted by his wife and his newborn son, Bear, (insanely cool name).
In his early 20s, Jay wanted nothing to do with Vancouver and had no thought in his mind of joining his fathers business. He wanted to experience the outdoors, adventure, hunt and guide tours. Jay didn’t know this at the time but his entrepreneur spirit was just about to blossom. As with every business savvy individual, reality started to kick in for Jay and he knew he could find ways to make money from his passion. Jay ended up purchasing an interest in a white water rafting company, his entrepreneurship journey was on its way...
Fast forward, Joe Martin, Jay’s father and founder of both BC Business and Cambridge House was in tough spot. It was 2011, juniors had no cash and nobody wanted to touch the sector. As a conference business that focuses on juniors, the future ahead looked dark. It was Jay’s time to step in….
Jay began working with his father and quickly began to learn the ins and outs of the business.
“What I learned from my old man, I learned about relationships, that would be the key thing. You are the results of your strongest relationships. People that you hold closest, that you speak to everyday, that you look to for inspiration, that you bounce ideas off of, that is the most influential ingredient to how your business or life will develop."
Joe Martin was heading out the door and Jay now had control of a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. At first, Jay struggled to find his identity in the business.
“It’s a tricky thing buying out a family business… You’re stepping into a business, you’re acquiring an interest in it but it still may never feel like yours. You put your finger print on it, you change things you think you should, you make consequential decisions, bring in new people, add new products, whatever it is but it still may never feel like yours.”
What helped turn Cambridge house around?
“People were always poking me and saying, you got to stick your neck out, you have to put your name forward, you got to be the one on stage, you got to be offering a letter, you got to make your voice heard. People follow people.”
“The utility of a personal brand, you cannot ignore it. It’s amazing how things got easier and more doors would open.”
How did you grow the personal brand so fast?
“I started going deeper and deeper into vulnerable parts as an entrepreneur”
“When a company is going through insolvency, it’s pretty scary and you end up doing some wild things. So I started sharing those stories, one time I took money from a loan shark at crazy rates but I felt like I didn’t have a choice.”
Things were starting to look better for Cambridge House and now with the creation of the Jay Martin Show, his father’s business started to feel more like his own. Jay reflected a bit about his experience starting in a business on the verge of dying.
“I’m so fortunate that I started my real entrepreneur journey in that seat and I wouldn’t have said that 8 years ago, it didn’t feel like it. It was more like why is everything on fire all the time but it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me honestly.”
What does your portfolio look like right now?
“I’m super overweight commodities, I think it’s a smart place to be and one of the reasons is if you look back to recent history, 2021, it was hard to put cash anywhere because everything was hitting all time highs. There was one industry that got beat up quite bad and that was the hard commodity sector, specifically precious metals. Great 2020, correctly heavily in 2021 and in the end of 2021, early 2022, a great place from my perspective because having watched this industry for 12 years, I’m seeing healthier balance sheets than I’ve ever seen, I see more conservation and competent management that I’ve ever seen, I see valuations that are favourable, I see individuals like Mark O’Day giving warrants on financings, this kind of stuff hasn’t happened in a long time. That’s where my cash is going right now.”
“I’m super heavy in hard assets on one side, very conservative boring stuff like gold, real estate, cash and then nothing in the middle and then the other side is highly speculative, early-stage stuff… It’s about 70/30, 70 on the conservative side.”
What makes you invest in a junior?
“It’s definitely the leadership, first and foremost. Look at a company like PureGold, great example, they were telling the market back in 2020 that they were going to be pouring gold bars by the end of the year and they did it. 18 months later they discovered a pretty significant, $50 million dollar operational cash problem. Stock fell from $2 all the way down to $0.13. Now you can look at that and say its a disaster and run from the hills but what I see is a problem that only a few entrepreneurs can solve but they’re going to solve it. I think Mark O’Day is one of those entrepreneurs. That’s why always focus on the people because disasters like that are going to happen, its not find the company who can have a smooth ride, its find the entrepreneur who can solve any problem.”
“Who’s in the shareholder lineup right now, am I following smart money or retail money that’s been pitched real hard and may not know any better.”
Is there any underlying qualities in these successful mining entrepreneurs that you see and talk to?
“You want to find individuals that struggle with the work-life balance and tend to obsess over their projects a little bit. I want them to obsess over it so I don’t have to.”
Is there a metal or resource you’re most confident in?
“I would have to go with gold, that’s for no other reason then I think the 2020s are going to be a continuation of what they already have been. Which is just continued unprecedented chaotic events. Given that’s the case, I want to have a ton of my chips in a location that have proven to retain value over the course of thousands of years.”
Thank you Jay for coming on the podcast. I really appreciated it!
Listen to the full episode https://www.matthewrnelson.ca/podcast
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