Episode 101: Martin Keen, CEO of Focal Upright Furniture


Description: Host Brad Kearns talks with Martin Keen, CEO of Focal Upright Furniture—a cutting edge company headquartered in Rhode Island. Focal Upright is responsible for a wildly popular line of functional furniture products, including their unique leaning and mobile seats and assorted upright desk options. Martin discusses the many health hazards of prolonged sitting (electrical activity ceases in your leg muscles, fat metabolism enzymes decline by 90%, calorie burning minimizes, blood flow to brain is reduced, spine is compressed, hip flexors tighten, etc.) and how assuming an upright position can deliver exceptional health benefits.

Unlike other standup desk setups that are all-or-nothing propositions and can often represent too daunting a transition from decades of sitting at work, Martin asserts that the Focal Mogo leaning chair allows you to transition into an upright work setup without needing a chair as a safety valve. This is because the Mogo can support all of your weight when desired, while promoting a stable and elongated spine position. Interestingly, none of the Focal employees have chairs, but they do have a designated lounge (with couches, etc.) where they can go to take a true and authentic break from work. When they return to their desks, they put they bodies, and minds, into an optimal position to focus and get work done! Enjoy this interesting conversation with one of the leaders in the dynamic workstation movement!

Show Notes:

  • How does Martin’s manufacturing of “stand-up” furniture relate to the Primal lifestyle? [00:01:50]
  • Is the best way to control people to get them to sit down? [00:06:02]
  • Why the proper work environment should include frequent breaks and the absence of chairs. [00:08:41]
  • What happens to our bodies when we’re not active? [00:13:46]
  • Sitting causes severe damage to our bodies as well as our productivity, thus the new design in furniture. [00:19:02]
  • We need to challenge the status quo regarding the importance of movement. [00:24:04]
  • How do these newly designed chairs become accessible to the general public? [00:26:29]
  • What is the rationale for open environment offices vs. cubicles? [00:32:31]

Selected Links from the Episode:
8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back
Focal Furniture
Marc Hamilton
Martin Keen
Frederick Taylor

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