Keeping It Real Online and Off - Meeting Mike Klingler at Marketing Merge Headquarters

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First Impressions and Early Thoughts about Mike Klingler

The first time I listened to a tutorial by Mike Klingler in the back office of Renegade Professional, I was impressed by his directness, ability to explain detailed instructions and his pace.

As Eric Walker, my fiancé later stated, “Mike has that rare ability to engage both your head and heart, which is the tell-tale sign of a true teacher-leader.”

I was not only impressed; I felt a sense of security while learning from his videos. He was speaking to “me,” a person who, at the time, new very little about creating and navigating through technical things online such as building a blog.

With Mike, it doesn’t take long to learn complicated and technical things. I recall spending the weekend with Mike – not literally – but I spent about eight hours with Mike that weekend. He walked me through setting up Eric’s Squarespace blog.

With each new tutorial I watched, I found myself developing a bond with this person on the other side of the country; getting to know him little by little, his mannerisms and sense of humor. I began to think this “talking Mike Klingler” was a nice guy.

I thought if I ever got the chance to meet him in person, that I’d like him. Meet Mike Klinger? THE Mike Klingler, founder of Marketing Merge? Yeah right!

Or so I thought…

Later, as More Time Passed and Eric Worked Really Hard...

My fiance, Eric Walker, has been involved with Marketing Merge Renegade Professional for well over a year now. Over that time he worked his way up from being a Renegade Professional member to leader of the Super Guide Program, and is now working alongside Mike on two upcoming projects. Whoa, wait a minute…did I just say, alongside?

That’s right! Eric now walks to Marketing Merge headquarters every day.

We made the decision to pack up our home in Michigan and move to Portland, Oregon so Eric could work directly with Mike and the rest of the Marketing Merge team – it was an offer that we could refuse, an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. So I got my chance to meet Mike Klingler?

-Last Saturday night-

My daughter and I arrived in Portland late that evening. The next morning, Eric informed me we’d be having brunch with Mike and Diyana (Didi) Alcheva. Man, was I excited! As tired as I was from the packing, flying across the country and staying up late catching up with Eric the night before (he arrived a week earlier), I woke up early and eager.

Meeting Mike, (in person!) exceeded my expectations!

First of all, I’ve got to say, listening to someone’s voice and watching videos of them does no justice to their persona compared to seeing them in the flesh. Didi and Mike were so much more in real life, yet all at once so familiar, as if we’d already met. Mike surprised me with his down to earth, personality! Well, not surprised, his positive attitude just seemed too good to be true. But it was true.

I could not get over how nice a guy Mike was! You can tell when you’re meeting a genuinely nice person – you can see it in their eyes. I saw that quality in Mike’s eyes. He was direct, warm and sincere.

For example, when I stopped by the office with Ella (the mothers out there reading this may more fully understand the importance of these kind words)… Mike said, “Kaitlin, just so you know…” and he paused. Looked straight at me, as if waiting until I looked directly back at him, and repeated, “just so you know, in case you don’t already know, you and Ella being here is not a distraction. Not at all. Make yourselves at home.”

I was a stunned by this act of genuine, sincere kindness – so disarming and welcoming. I thanked him.

Here I am with an almost eight month old baby – whose attention span is less than a minute, laughing one moment and crying the next, and Mike Klingler, who is trying to operate a new and growing company, tells me to relax, sit back and let my baby be a baby in his office. Wow.

But wait, I think you’ll agree this story gets even better when I tell you something more...

Tonight I walked down to the office to pick up Eric. We were going to get a bite to eat and head back home – it’s approximately 10 blocks and we walk. I walked through the unlocked doors, was greeted by everyone and sat down.

Before I knew it, Mike walked out with his guitar, and asked me if I’d mind playing a few songs.

Being the singer-songwriter that I am, it’s hard to pass up a “request.” So I enthusiastically agreed. As I sang, the video camera came out, Eric perched Ella on top of his shoulders and the sound of computer typing fell silent. For me, it was a beautiful moment. One that I’ll remember for a long time. I thought about what had just happened as we walked home and made this realization about being around Mike Klinger:

He is the kind of person who acknowledges the best qualities in others. Once he finds out what their talent or passion might be, he encourages them to share it.

That is one thing that makes him such a great teacher and such a great leader. I look forward to more “real” moments with Mike Klinger. I have a feeling Mike wears “real” on his shirt sleeve every day. So, if any of you out there thought Mike seemed like a nice guy, I’m here to make that confirmation. I wanted to share this with all of you as a testament to Mike Klingler, that he’s the real deal, a genuine guy who keeps it real on and offline.

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About the Author: Kaitlin Rose

Member Since: 10/20/2008

Company: Kaitlin Rose Inc.

Industry: Education

Primary Web Site:


It's All About Family

Great work Katie.

It was a cool moment watching you play guitar (as always).

It was also neat to see your reaction to Mike. You'd heard a lot about him from me.

Mike is definitely a keepin it real kind of guy. The one thing I respect most is the consideration and deep sense of care he has for family values.

I have experienced this first hand with the way he has always been receptive to the being sure my family was cared for during this transition.

But don't let this nice guy stuff fool ya. Mike's as intense as anyone I've ever met. That's why he's been so successful in business (and why he will continue to be successful).

No matter what it is, he has a deep sense of care for anything that is real, and that is as keepin it real as it gets.

Eric Walker — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 3:05am

"Real" Talent

Your song was so good. Like Mike, I could sit and listen to you all day long.

I really enjoyed this special moment you shared about your experience meeting Mike. It's nice to hear everything that I already knew, but hear it thru you, as you experience Mike's genuineness first hand.

Waiting for your CD!

Becky Joubert — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:23pm

Song of Joy

Kaitlin, what a joy to follow the thread from your first thoughts connecting with Mike through tutorials; watching Eric's friendship grow with him; to playing his guitar in a moment of joy in the Marketing Merge office.

Mike is for real. After 7 years, I'm sticking close to him and all he puts out there. He doesn't expect work from anyone that he hasn't already done himself.

Have fun with the team.

Pat Campbell — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:37pm

Keeping It Real

Great article to read. Mike is a master at taking you through what could be difficult and walking you through it so that when you are finished you think "that wasn't so bad". Then he encourages you to take what you have learned and apply it.

Dr. David Enders — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 7:59pm

Enjoy While Your Work


I see Mike put you to work right away entertaining him. He does have a way to get the best out of everyone, but I think your voice and sound got him relaxed, and productive.

Rallie Rallis — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:55pm

Thank you Katy

I don't know about this Mike guy--but you've got a beautiful voice! Maybe its sort of like calming the angry giant with a lullaby :-)

Thank you Katy. I was very moved by your article. It means a lot to me.

And it says a lot about the power of social media. To be able to write a public letter to someone, as this sort of is, bring even deeper meaning to the caring message. I never thought about that until here. Pretty kewl stuff.

You can come over with Ella Rose and get that guitar out any time!!! Might even add a few years to my life!

Mike Klingler — Wed, 10/21/2009 - 11:18pm

The Renegades = More Than Just A Name

The more I get to know my fellow Renegades the more I feel like I have come home. And that starts from the top down.

No one is put out if you ask for help and everyone respects each others' abilities.
There are no puffed shirts in this community and that makes we want to stay, participate and share.

We are a reflection of our leaders.

There's no place like home!

Marie Leonard — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 8:58am

"I did it my way" = The Mike Kliingler Way

Katlin you have expressed beautifully what so many of us know and believe to be the Real Mike Klingler.

You article took me right back to the first tutorial that I ever listened too and I knew then that I had found something and someone very special and unique. He has that rare quality of making you feel special and drawing out people's talents. You always feel that he is speaking only to you and that he understands exactly where you are and what you are feeling.

With the gentleness and clarity of your voice it added to the quality of the words I was reading.

Quite an emotional few minutes.

Thanks for telling it like it is for all of us at Renegade.

Judith Atkinson — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:14am

Grateful For the Opportunity

I want to thank all of you for the beautiful compliments you've given my music. I really appreciate it.

Secondly, I want to let you all know how incredibly happy it makes me to have had this opportunity - that sharing my story with you has resulted in feelings of reflection and gratitude for not only Mike, but the entire Renegade Professional educational platform.

Kaitlin Rose

Kaitlin Rose — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:24am

“Real” is refreshing!!

Kaitlin, what a beautifully written article! I love reading articles that are straight from the heart and this one definitely was! Everything that I hear from Barbara and those that personally know Mike, is that he makes you feel like you are the only person in the world. I too, can not WAIT and am highly excited to meet Mike, you, and Ella, as well as everyone else on the team come January.

The video was icing on the cake. Ella loves listening to her mama's beautiful voice perched from daddy’s shoulders. Danielle, thank you for bringing out the video recorder!!

LeeAnn McVey — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:32am

A great way to start the day!

What a cool article to read with this beautiful voice and song in the background. Certainly a great way to greet the day and begin connecting with fellow Renegades.

Kaitlin, your article brought me back to when I first found Renegade University. I thought I died and went to heaven. I was so excited learning this stuff, I couldn't stop. Before the week was up, I had 4 sites I posted on and had begun a blog. These were things I never thought I would learn how to do. I have to thank Mike Klingler for that.

His person exudes humankindness and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I'm thrilled to be a part of this group.

Donnalynn Polito — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:48am

Not Just Another Pretty Face

It seems to me between diaper changes you've been following along with Eric's successful year as a Renegade Professional. You storyboard like the pros Katie.

That was a touching story. I only know Mike from his tutorial trainings but have always said that he comes across as a fiend. I truly feel as if I know Mike just from being a student.

It surprises me none that he is as genuine of a human being as you have portrayed him to be.

Thanks for letting us all know he is not an actor in front of the camera.

Well done!

James Rouse — Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:05pm

The Real Deal

Kaitlin, what a beautiful voice you have! It's obvious both your music and your article come from the heart. That's how Mike comes across in all of his training and tutorials as well. There's a genuine caring that doesn't need to be put into words. You just know. You captured that perfectly when you wrote this. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Beth Heilman — Fri, 10/23/2009 - 3:23pm

What A Talent

You have such a talent! I really enjoyed listening to you sing and the "peek" inside the Marketing Merge offices in Portland. I hope to meet you soon in person.


Dotty Scott — Fri, 10/23/2009 - 8:01pm

A Real Tribute to Mike.


What a beautiful job singing! I really enjoyed your song. You also have a very pretty daughter.

What you wrote was a real, heart-felt tribute to Mike. Having listened to him on many tutorials and conference calls, I would not have expected anything different. He just comes across as a very genuine, caring person.

Great article and video, Kaitlin.

Scott Hubbard — Sat, 10/24/2009 - 4:23pm



Very nice article...

As I sit here reading and listening, I'm Wowed! For one reason, the song was awesome. But for another reason, the article was heartfelt...

I loved how you shared the moment... "truly the moment' of knowing Mike Klingler through tutorials. And then in person...

Thanks for Sharing, Kaitlin...
Donna Wells

Donna Wells — Sun, 10/25/2009 - 2:53pm

From the Heart

What a beautiful song and an incredibly beautiful daughter that Loves Mama's music....

I am sure that meeting Mike was a highlight, I have always sensed that he was the "true teacher-leader" Always making sure that everyone understood what he was talking about and going over it till it sunk in.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Keep singing, I love your style..

Angela James — Mon, 10/26/2009 - 9:17am

Down To Earth

I think we've all known from the beginning that Mike has an incredible way of making everyone feel right at home. What amazes me is that you can feel it coming though the internet with out having met him.

Kaitlin I'll make sure I take your song on my next sunset endeavor,what a smooth, relaxing wonderful song and a great way to unplug with a good glass of wine, Can't wait to hear more.

kevin thomas — Mon, 10/26/2009 - 1:02pm

First Encounter

Sounds like Mike and you each had a grand first encounter. You both bring great gifts to the team at marketing merge.
It's with lots of expectation that we await the New Year and where this business venture will lead....
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest,

Dianne Thomsen — Mon, 10/26/2009 - 7:43pm

Thanks Again!

Hello everyone,

I just read through these comments and felt a tickle in my nose! I cannot thank you enough for your warmth.

I appreciate this thread because not only was my article very "real," but all of you have been equally real in your responses. We're all very human aren't we?

Nothing brings that out in us like a cute, smiling baby. I see it all the time when I walk down the street with Ella in her sling (facing outward, feet dangling). Almost every single person I pass smiles at her, from the tattooed dude to a seven year old girl in pigtails.

It is then, like it is now after reading your comments, that I feel a unity with mankind - I know that sounds a little corny, but honestly!

Thanks for making my day everyone,

Kaitlin Rose — Tue, 10/27/2009 - 5:40pm

It feels Like Home


What a great testimonial about Mike and what really beautiful singing. I love your words about a unity with mankind. One can tell they come from your heart. Your writing and your song convince me that I am in the right place with the right people to learn and grow. Thank You

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