HARRY ARNETT’S JOURNAL
Harry’s the CEO and co-founder of MUNICIPAL. Below you’ll find his thoughts, perspective, and behind-the-scenes insight as he works his way through each episode of Wahl Street.
Hit him up on Twitter @HarryArnett
if you have any questions for him.
I remember the first time I heard Unrealistic Ideas (the production company owned by Mark, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips) was going to be doing a documentary series with HBO Max. They told me it was a behind-the-scenes, up-close-look at how Mark managed the various businesses he’s involved with, along with his ridiculously hectic actor/producer schedule. I thought that alone sounded really cool, just from the outside looking in. It didn’t really sink in that we at MUNICIPAL, and more specifically, myself, would be a part of this. And it certainly didn’t become a reality until the show producers reached out to get the proper clearances to film us going through the day-to-day and daily challenges of starting a business from scratch.
LOOK, I DON’T MIND BEING VULNERABLE AND LETTING PEOPLE SEE EXACTLY WHAT I’M THINKING OR FEELING…BUT ON CAMERA? FOR EVERYONE TO SEE? UNSCRIPTED?
I asked if they could sign a guarantee that it wouldn’t make MUNICIPAL or me look bad (they declined). And before we could rethink it, the cameras were already rolling…
Now that it’s done and streaming on HBO Max, I was pretty nervous to see how the past 18 months all played out in the series. There have been so many ups and downs and twists and turns, not just with MUNICIPAL, but with everyone’s lives.
That first scene with Mark on his way to the opening of Spenser Confidential immediately got my adrenaline going and the emotions hit me harder than I expected. From the beginning, we set out to do something extraordinary. Something people would love. Something that truly represented us all. Something we’d all be proud of. We’d be all in. Together.
Suffice to say it wouldn’t be easy (nothing worth doing ever is). And that’s under the best of circumstances…
A really cool aspect of this show is that not only is Unrealistic Ideas producing it, they’re a part of it! I’ve gotten to know Archie Gips (Prez of UI) and the people behind the camera really well the past 18 months. We’ve basically lived together while we have been getting MUNICIPAL up and running. His story is similar to my story—left an important position at a much larger place, taking a significant decrease in his compensation, stripping everything down to its core, and essentially starting over from scratch as an owner. I can certainly relate! BUT, the chance to really and truly bet on yourself is a chance we were both willing – and wanting – to take. And who better to do it with than Mark and Lev? Lev’s not really a major part of the show (as he jokes, “it’s called ‘WahlStreet’ not ’LevStreet”) but there’s a reason they’ve been partners for almost 30 years.
THEY SHARE THE SAME VALUE SYSTEM: LOYALTY, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, HUSTLE, SELF-BELIEF, AND BEING UNSTOPPABLE.
You can see that with Mark’s interactions along the way. You also see his humility, even at a point in his life where he truly has more than he could have ever imagined. But his entire world view is about growth, progress, and challenging himself to reach his full potential. Sign me up. Sign us all up!
Now seeing these episodes coming together, sometimes I just want to shout at the screen. Wait, there’s a reason we did it that way! Or, hey there’s another way to look at that! For example, we sent Mark a big box of sample products when he was in London. Since we weren’t there to go through it with him, there wasn’t any context to why he was getting some of the things we sent. So when he opens the box and pulls out a giant, yellow hoodie, I was yelling, “THAT’S JUST IN THERE SO HE CAN FEEL THE FABRIC WE LIKE!” Even my wife, who was watching with me, was asking me, “Why would you send Mark a XXXL yellow hoodie?” No, we aren’t stupid. We’ll remember that if there’s a Season 2!
I could feel the cold chills up my back when they tease that the coronavirus was headed to the U.S. Especially so when I see how optimistic we all were with launching MUNICIPAL on time and without too many hiccups. There was just so much energy and excitement for everything we had poured our blood, sweat and tears into.
You can really see the trajectory of Mark’s involvement in the various businesses he’s in and where he sees his participation and partnership adding value. He has a plan. Inspiring people to be active, commit to a healthy lifestyle and get going. More than just see it, you can really feel it. I always get asked the same question about his schedule; is it as intense as what they read and hear about? From my perspective, it’s even more intense because usually they only cover his workout and travel routine. What they don’t really show you is
THE PULL OF FAMILY, THE STRESSES OF BUILDING BUSINESSES, AND THE DEMANDS ON HIS TIME FROM EVERY DIRECTION.
He tries to maximize every minute. It’s exhausting, but somehow, he looks like he has limitless energy.
But I know he doesn’t. So when we get the chance to talk and spend time together, I know it needs to be used to its fullest. No slack or waste because he’s on to something else immediately afterward. That’s a good training ground to always get to what is most important and get to the essence of each element. That’s the secret.
This episode ends with all of us about to enter a part of our lives that will fundamentally change us all forever…