If there’s one thing Peter Markoe doesn’t want to hear on the phone in his role as a content developer, it’s crickets. But for several years while living in Los Angeles, crickets were his life.
After graduating from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with a degree in English—because he excelled in math and science, Peter wanted to study something he wasn’t proficient in—he took a three-month-long backpacking trip to Europe. Following a self-guided tour of 17 countries, he returned to Maine and got a business proposition from his college roommate.
“He said he was starting a cricket farm and moving to the West Coast, and three weeks after getting back from Europe, I was on a plane to Los Angeles,” Peter says.
While arriving in Southern California brought some serious culture shock, he says the energy around Los Angeles was palpable, which helped as he and his roommate built their company.
“There were so many people all around, and there was a certain kind of energy that was overwhelming and exciting,” he says.
Building a Business
Soon after arriving in LA, Coalo Valley Farms was born with Peter serving as a co-founder and the chief operating officer. He spent many hours a day working on financial planning, marketing and selling cricket protein-based products and growing the business. But he was also at the company’s Van Nuys warehouse headquarters every day feeding crickets and cleaning toilets.
The company quickly made a name for itself and was featured on Buzzfeed—there was even talk of a Cricket Boys reality show.
“It was an amazing experience, and it’s a fun conversation starter, and we got a lot of press in Los Angeles,” Peter says. “But there’s a lot of ups and downs and trials and tribulations. It really helps you grow as a person.”
After Coalo Valley Farms folded, he had several other jobs in Los Angeles with varying degrees of excitement and success. He worked for a plant health stimulant company, managed an estate and ran a pop-up coffee shop, among other things. He even considered becoming a lifelong resident of Southern California. But he missed his family and friends in Maine—and re-connecting with his now-fiancée he realized that settling down and starting a family was going to bring him back to his home state.
The Future is Bright
Whenever Peter would visit Maine from Los Angeles, he’d make time to visit with one of his oldest friends, Zach Brann, one of Trueline’s longtime managing content coordinators. During these visits, and during phone calls and texts while Peter was thousands of miles away, Brann would talk about Trueline and the experience of working with people like President and CEO Haj Carr and COO P.J. Rose.
“I knew a lot about the company before I ever interviewed, but I had never worked in a traditional 9-to-5 job before,” Peter says. “But I knew Trueline had a good group of people and was a great place to work.”
As a content developer, he spends his time talking to people in various industries across the country—something he got accustomed to during his cross-country trips between Los Angeles and the East Coast. Learning about people and showing a genuine interest in their story, even for a short amount of time during an initial phone call, goes a long way to being successful in his role.
Last year, he went into the company’s old office on Congress Street in Portland and listened to Kirk Dyson and Gavin O’Connor, seasoned content developers, which made Peter more comfortable as a CD.
“It was definitely beneficial listening to them making those calls, and I think I had a leg up from the start because of that experience,” he says.
Peter considers himself a lifelong learner who wants to continue to grow in his role at Trueline—and outside of work. He occasionally has ideas for new business ventures and says Trueline has a lot of resources to hone his existing skills and develop new ones.
“Since starting at Trueline, I’ve grown up. I’ve gotten engaged and become a homeowner,” Peter says. “It’s been a great fit from the beginning. Trueline has developed me as a professional, but it’s also helped me grow and become a better person.”
Bonus Facts on Peter Markoe
Did you know? Peter Markoe shares his birthday, February 24, with Steve Jobs, Floyd Mayweather, Abe Vigoda and Charles V, a former king of Spain and Holy Roman emperor born in 1500.
Who’d play you? Russell Brand, because he was Aldous Snow in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Get Him to the Greek,” and he’s a dope overall person.
Bucket List: Peter wants to be published in The New Yorker or The Atlantic and wants to travel to another 25 countries—he’s already been to 25.
Greatest achievement so far: Getting engaged and buying a house, laying the foundation for starting a family.