THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1758 – A Mind-Blowing Art Installation Experience with Jeff Lund

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the General Manager at Meow Wolf, Jeff Lund.

Lund Wide

Jeff Lund, the General Manager of Meow Wolf's Omega Mart in Las Vegas, shared his insights and experiences about this unique art exhibition. Meow Wolf's Omega Mart is not your typical art exhibition; it is an immersive and interactive art installation that aims to make art accessible to people of all ages.

One of the highlights of Jeff's discussion was the joy and fascination he witnessed among visitors. The experience captivated children and adults, and the exhibition provided numerous opportunities for capturing memorable moments for social media enthusiasts.

Jeff mentioned that the average visitor spends about an hour and a half to two hours exploring the exhibition. He also mentioned a game called “boop” that allows visitors to become grocery store employees.

Jeff encouraged visitors to approach the experience openly and embrace their creativity. He hopes the exhibition will inspire visitors to explore their creativity in various art forms, such as music, painting, or other mediums.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Description of MeowWolf as an experiential, touch-and-feel, exploratory art installation
  • Meow Wolf's mission to make art accessible to all ages and encourage exploration
  • Introduction of Jeff Lund as the General Manager of Omega Mart in Las Vegas
  • Omega Mart as a grocery store with unique products and a mysterious storyline
  • Sense of glee and fascination among visitors, including children
  • Average time spent exploring Omega Mart (1.5 to 2 hours)
  • Operating hours of Omega Mart (noon to midnight, weekends open at 10 am)

About Jeff Lund:

Jeff Lund is a seasoned professional with a diverse aviation, live events, and cruise management background. With over 13 years of experience, he honed his leadership and financial management skills in the dynamic world of business aviation, overseeing a massive marketplace of 200+ corporate jets.

Jeff's journey led him to Cirque du Soleil's touring production, TOTEM, where he excelled in overseeing global operations for 130 technicians, artists, and staff across 26 cities.

His innovative thinking successfully launched the VIP Behind the Scenes Tour, enhancing the guest experience and contributing millions in additional revenue.

Transitioning to Carnival Cruise Line, Jeff's leadership propelled a ship from 14th to 2nd in the fleet, showcasing his ability to thrive in uncertain environments.

Known for setting clear expectations and fostering high-performing teams, Jeff Lund is a proven leader with a positive attitude and a track record of success.

About Meow Wolf:

Meow Wolf, an avant-garde arts and entertainment company, revolutionizes immersive experiences, captivating millions with fantastical realms of imagination.

Renowned for groundbreaking achievements, including Time Out's #1 Immersive Experience in the US (2023) and Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies (2022, 2020), Meow Wolf engages curious minds through discovery and play.

Collaborating with visionary artists sets them apart. This is evident in their inaugural creation, the THEA Award-winning House Of Eternal Return in Santa Fe (2016), a mystery house blending hidden passages and captivating art.

Meow Wolf's recent unveiling, The Real Unreal, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (July 2023), and plans for a 2024 Houston location showcase their commitment to defying conventions and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

As a certified B-Corporation, Meow Wolf stands at the forefront of themed entertainment, celebrating and innovating the boundless realm of human imagination.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Meow Wolf  website at

https://meowwolf.com/

Check out Meow Wolf  on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/meow-wolf/

Check out Meow Wolf  on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/meowwolf.sf

Check out Meow Wolf  on Instagram at

https://www.instagram.com/meow__wolf/

Check out Meow Wolf  on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/meowwolf

Check out Jeff Lund on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-lund-60aa761/

Check out Bill Simmons on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/jeffdlund

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Transcript

Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. Well with us right now is Jeff Lund. Jeff, you are the general manager of MeowWolf's Omega mart in Las Vegas. My wife and I just got back from our Vegas vacation, and I'm so grateful to have a quick chat with you right now, because I wanted to share, not just with our audience, about what the Omega mart experience was like, but I really just wanted to thank you for just an amazing experience.

Josh (00:01:28) - And when I say experience, it's not just the installation because we've been to Meow Wolf in Denver, which is just incredible. And we'll try to, by the way, for someone who's like, what does he keep saying? Meow Wolf Omega? What does that even mean? We'll talk about what this is exactly. But my suspicion is you're probably going to want to watch some videos, go to the website, that sort of thing, so you can get a feel for what it is that we're talking about. Because the way I would describe it, Jeff, is that Meow Wolf is is experiential touch, feel explorer. You know, there's mystery involved. There's this legend that's going on and there's all this story that's going on behind the scenes. But, you know, really, I see this as just a beautiful way for anyone, including families, to go and experience art and to art any way you want. But not only is it just the installation itself. Sorry, this is the world's longest question here.

Josh (00:02:19) - I promised Jeff, I'm going to give you a minute. It's all good. But also, you know, I got to give props to the people that are involved. It's not only is it just the installation, but everybody's in character and it's just so cool. All right, Jeff, I've said my piece. I'd love to have your take on what meow Wolves Omega mart is.

Jeff (00:02:42) - Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Josh, for having me on here. First of all, we're an immersive art exhibition, so we celebrate all sorts of art. And our mission here is to raise artists and art to make it accessible for eight year olds to 80 year olds. We just want you to come with an open mind and just explore the portals of possibilities that we offer. Meow Wolf has basically, for right now, exhibitions around the country. The first one started in Santa Fe. Omega mart in Las Vegas was number two. Convergence station in Denver is number three. And we just opened the Real Unreal in Grapevine, Texas.

Jeff (00:03:25) - I specifically manage Omega mart here, and each exhibition has a different story, so we're happy to share that story when you first arrive. If you're not familiar with the Meow Wolf product, but we also just say, hey, you can just come explore on your own. You don't have to do a deep dive into the story, and you're going to see amazing art throughout the exhibition. A little sneak peek for someone who might not have been here so far is we welcome you into the Omega mart grocery store, and once you get in there, you start to look at the products. And a majority of those are for sale. So you can pick up, you know, some whale song, deodorant or maybe some gender fluid soda. Yes, you start to explore these products and you soon realize, like, there's a little bit something off on this grocery store. And as you start to go deeper and deeper, oh, I've got to stop to the tattooed chicken and the meat deli is our number one seller for, you know, any sort of house warming Thanksgiving meal, that sort of thing.

Jeff (00:04:29) - So you got to make sure you check out the tattooed chicken. But you'll soon realize that there's a lot more to explore. And the story behind Walter Dram and the Dram Corporation, who owns that grocery store? What's really going on? So I don't want to give too much out. But once you arrive, we kind of share all that information, and then you soon find out that maybe one of the refrigerators to the soda cooler opens up, and you can walk in through this portal into another whole universe and start to explore deeper and deeper into the story.

Josh (00:05:04) - You know. So when we were there, people sometimes ask, you know, is Vegas a place for kids? And I say, it's not really for kids, but you can bring kids, but you're going to want to be pretty deliberate on what you do. Oh, Mega mart, like the kids that we saw there were just fascinated. They were giggling. They were having a great time. But there's something so exciting about, hey, I'm in a what appears to be a grocery store, but all of a sudden I can go places that I've never been able to go before.

Josh (00:05:33) - So there was so much I would say. Glee is kind of what I observed, and not just from the kids, but and I'll tell you, if you like having really clever, kind of fun things to post on social media, this is a social media hey heaven here in terms of like things you can take pictures of and videos and just things that you can engage with and post on social, which we saw a lot of as well, a lot of video. And by the way, to our friend that's listening just to hit up YouTube. But your website, Jeff, what's the Meow Wolf Omega website? Because you could go to Meow Wolf. But I was just I didn't know if there was a separate website just for Omega. Oh, you know what I'm like. Yep.

Jeff (00:06:16) - Yeah. And that will that will give you an overview. You can purchase tickets there as well.

Josh (00:06:20) - Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. And there's a video on there. But yeah you'll find videos online where people are starting to share a little bit of the story, what's going on.

Josh (00:06:29) - But it's it's pretty immersive. And here's one thing, Jeff, that I really liked about it is you could, in theory, go in theory and maybe find about 30 minutes worth of activity. But my suspicion is that you're probably going to want to budget a couple of hours, because once you start, and especially if you're going with you have people in your party that want to explore, because there's some aspects of it are a little bit escape room ish, where it's like you're looking around and like, wait a minute, I'm seeing some clues that are kind of adding up and that's going to reveal information or a secret message or something like that. We saw some of that, but can you talk maybe a little bit about the time and how you might plan for a trip to Omega mart?

Jeff (00:07:12) - Absolutely. So the average consumer spends a good hour and a half to two hours. Now, if you're one that really wants to do a deep dive into the story, we've got kind of a game play called Boop, and you can purchase a little boop card and you become an actual employee of the grocery store.

Jeff (00:07:29) - So that's going to lead you through more of the experience. The fun thing to, you know, we've got a lot of grocery store attendants working there. If you get lost or confused, you can always ask them for help. They won't give you specific answers to your questions, but they're going to lead you down the journey of like, have you been to the corporate office? Maybe you need to go into projected desert. You might find something in the mailbox, you know, at the Monolith Village. So there's a lot of people here that don't work here, but work here because you never know what's real and not what's not real. But yeah, there will be people to help you into that gameplay. And again, you know, you can do it as a family or you can do it as an individual. It's just up to you. But your journey, I would say allow at least 90 minutes just to get through. We're 53,000ft², two stories, so it's quite massive. So if you're coming here just for that FOMO, you know, video, which is great eye candy for all the social media platforms.

Jeff (00:08:31) - You can get that very quick. But really to digest all the different rooms and exploration spaces you can spend a good couple hours here.

Josh (00:08:39) - Yeah. Also, we should point out there's a secret speakeasy if you can find it and so you can enjoy there. And I just wanted to mention this really quick. And this was a little confusing for me. So there's a larger installation called area 15. That is the entire compound is, I guess, what I'll call area 15 included in area 15. There's other things you could do, interactive things and restaurants. And it's a real kind of artsy, cool place to be. But one of the I would say we were hanging out with Michael from Yahoo! Wolf, and he had mentioned, you know, it's kind of like Omega mart is a Nordstrom's in area 15 is kind of like the mall.

Jeff (00:09:21) - Yep. So area 15 is an entertainment complex. They've got activities both indoor and outdoor. So we are the anchor tenants. We occupy half the building on the west side.

Jeff (00:09:32) - And yeah so you have to come into area 15. There's restaurants. There's axe throwing those golf activities. And then we part of that entire experience and we're the first phase that has been built so far with future expansion plans.

Josh (00:09:48) - Well it's really exciting. You know, I'm here in Orlando and there's rumors that area 15 maybe Meow Wolf is coming. We're all, you know, kind of hope and wish and praying that that comes true because that would. Be delighted and I can't wait. It's kind of the last thing I wanted to point out. In every male wolf installation, there's a little bit of a commentary, I would say, on something. Right? And in Vegas, I think you'll kind of pick up on what that commentary is kind of poking fun at maybe consumerism a little bit in a lighthearted way. And so I can't imagine what it's going to be when it's just down the road from Disney.

Jeff (00:10:26) - Yeah, yeah. So I can't confirm or deny anything you're saying. But the, you know, the plans for Wolf to grow in Future cities is definitely on the books.

Jeff (00:10:36) - So that's great where we pop up next.

Josh (00:10:39) - Jeff Lund the website is Omega mart right there. Get your tickets ahead of time. Yep. Any other suggestions for planning? Like if someone's planning on going to Vegas in a few months. Anything else that you'd recommend they do right now?

Jeff (00:10:54) - You know what? We're open seven days a week. We open at noon until midnight, so we've got lots of hours to come during the day, and on weekends we're 10 a.m. till midnight, so we find that people who are coming to, you know, Taylor Swift or Katy Perry, this is a great opportunity to do something during the day before you go to your U2 experience or whatever else you've got planned in town. So yeah, just come with an open mind, and I hope that you'll find that we inspire your own creativity in making art in whatever medium or form that is, from musician to painting to whatever. Like just bring a creative mind.

Josh (00:11:34) - Jeff Lund, general manager of Meow Wolf's Omega mart in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Josh (00:11:39) - Jeff, thank you so much for the conversation.

Jeff (00:11:41) - My pleasure. Thanks, Josh.

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