Less than a decade after leaving his job at the New York State Comptroller's office, Michael Brown is heading to the Super Bowl… sort of. His brainchild, Death Wish Coffee won Intuit Quickbook's "SmallBusiness Big Game" contest. The award: a big-budget 30-second commercial,created by Intuit's agency, RPA that will air during Super Bowl 50. Not bad for a guy who had no career plans when he left his four year stint as an accountant.
"I wasn't the greatest employee," Brown told CNBC. "I'd come in late, try to leave early and I wasn't into my job."
So he quit in 2007 and started searching for another career. About a year later, a store on the main drag in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. went up for sale. Brown bought it with the idea of turning it into a coffee shop even though there were already quite a few java joints in the area. Not to mention, his only experience at that point consisted of working just one day at another caffeine location nearby. Undeterred, he managed to design and open Saratoga Coffee Traders in 2008. The job transition did not go smoothly.
"I went through all my savings and I had to sell my house and pour all my money into my coffee shop," Brown said."Eventually, I had to move in with my mother when I was at the age of 30."
Determined to make it work, he began to look for an additional source of income. The candy he sold at the shop wasn't sweetening the pot enough. He thought real money might be made through online marketing. He just needed a good product with a catchy name. One item he couldn't find listed on the internet was the world's strongest coffee,something many of his customers craved. So Brown set out to create that missing hyper-caffeinated link.