You may have seen one of the ubiquitous ads: Mike Lindell makes his personal appeal for you to buy the pillow he literally dreamed up because he could never find one he liked. As Bloomberg reports, plenty of people have done just that, making his MyPillow company wildly successful. Consider that he opened a second factory last year and saw sales jump from $115 million to $280 million. He now employs 1,500 people and has sold more than 26 million pillows, which he insists, to anyone who will listen, are the best ever made. But what makes Lindell's success story so compelling is what the Bloomberg piece calls the "preposterous" nature of it: Lindell, for instance, is a former drug addict who loves to tell the story of how his crack dealer probably saved his life in 2008 by cutting him off after a 19-day binge and ordering him to go to bed.
For years, Lindell owned bars and maintained a steady cocaine habit, and the idea to begin making pillows came to him as a kind of vision that found him sketching the company logo over and over before the company even existed. He experimented with various types of foam and ways to manipulate it, and saw his first success hawking pillows at a home and garden show in Minneapolis. Since then, it's been nothing but strong growth over the last decade or so, despite, or because of, a management style that involves "governing largely on instinct and by making seemingly wild gambles that he swears are divinely inspired," writes Josh Dean. “We don’t use PowerPoints,” says Lindell. “I end up getting stuff in prayer.” Click for the full story, which notes that he and pal Stephen Baldwin plan to turn his story into a movie. (Read more Longform stories.)