How to Turn a $100,000 a Year Business into a $1,000,000 a Year Business

It was as some will say, the early days of the Internet. Email was spelled E-mail. Modems and tube monitors were everywhere. Phones could hardly text.

I am from Delaware. Delaware is an island in business. Looking for work in Delaware amounts to searching the “greater Philadelphia market”.  I responded to an add to an up and coming Internet provider in the Delaware market. It was a local company. It made my day. But before I arrived at my interview, I had a plan. I saw everything in my mind.

The company was called, The Magnetic Page, or MagPage for short. I wasn’t excited by the name, but the name did separate them from the rest of the landscape where everything had, Earth, Globe, Net, or Fast in it.

For me what mattered most was the company was in a nascent industry and they too were babes in the woods. I arrived in a suit and tie. My interviewer and would be boss, had on tattered clothes and no shoes. He even propped them up on his desk from time-to-time.

Pleasantries quickly resulted in the question. “How would you manage your position as Vice President of Marketing to grow our company?”

I was ready and waiting. I pounced. The following is not far from my real words.

The goal is to dominate the market. In our case, the Delaware market. I’ve identified all the competitors and more.

To do so, I would bifurcate Internet and web hosting channels into a two-pronged dealer network.

I will do this all on a shoestring budget. Your only cost is my salary and eventually anything the company invests will be well justified by ample return on the investment.

You see, I believe in systems thinking. Once in place a system is almost self-sustaining but more important, a system generates more energy.

Of course this drew the obvious question. “How do you intend to do all this?”

I answered, “The first side of the network requires the least effort. We bring every retail store and mom-and-pop computer shop into an exclusive dealership arrangement by offering them a larger perk than any other provider. Even more important we stand on our customer service as a means of taking any burden off of them and by tying both of us together we gain stronger brand recognition while they claim prestige for being associated with the best.”

“Tell me more.” I had him. I continued.

“Next, we approach one of the local radio stations. They all have a horrible web presence. We negotiate an astronomical trade in which we use to advertise.”

“But the work will cost money to build the site. Where do we get the money?” He asked.

“Ted, this is why it’s called marketing. If I do my job right, this comes together flawlessly. I will approach all the web design firms and put the cart before the horse. I’ll make it clear that the one shop that designs this site will get an initial disproportionate amount of leads, but perhaps even more important is that they will be able to have claimed to build that radio stations website.”

“That’s it?” He asked.

“No. You see what is happening here is we will suck up the air from the room. Your competing ISP’s will lose their sources in an instant. This would all happen so fast they won’t be able to combat what happened. With signed exclusives in hand, we lock down everyone and rise to the top fast. “

“Once this is accomplished what will you do?” was his next questionAgain total preparation was the key.

“I would manage the networks. To keep everyone from considering each other competitors we create a colleague oriented atmosphere. We have monthly dealer meetings. Here is where the company spends money. We offer up an award to the top producers of each network. We call the web designers the Creators Alliance and the computer shops the Dealer Alliance. In addition, we bring in companies like Microsoft, Netscape, Adobe and others to give a promotional speech to further increase the moral.”

That one conversation lead to me being hired on the spot. He asked my salary expectations which included that IF I achieved my goals for the company I would also be rewarded with a small part ownership, a mere 3 to 5 percent. He agreed. I secured my first dealers day one and the rest is history.

Dear reader, this story unfolded exactly as I stated. 

This achievement in life is one of my most prized. I was empowered to make critical decisions. I was supported along the way.

The Magnetic Page moved from a row home in downtown Wilmington to the stunning bucolic Yorklyn Delaware. There Magpage took up residence in a converted snuff mill near a brook.  A slow countryside setting for a fast paced industry and company.  Inside one year, my achievements led to Magpage’s growth to over 1,000,000 a year in revenue.

It was just over a year that I pressed Ted and his wife to keep their promise. They had claimed earlier that money was tight as they hired a lot of people behind me and their sacrifice was my current salary. I understood and waited.  When it became clear the company was earning much more, I stated it was time for us to do it. They scheduled a meeting with me at a restaurant. Just as we were about to leave the office a fax came across to me from our attorney. I needed to sign not only an NDA but a non-compete. I looked it over. I concluded that if I left the company and I owned a piece, why hurt myself? I signed it.

At dinner they balked. I’ll remember this part of the conversation until my dying day. “Now is just not the time, Lars.” Said Ted.

I replied, “Ted, it only gets harder from here.”

One month later on the way into an event I produced with our radio partner at the local technical college, Ted and his wife ambushed me in the parking lot. “Lars. We are letting you go.”

Lars Hindsley on Fox News

Reader, you may think I’ve ruined a great story. That is not true. The next chapter in my life was even better. Because it was then I stopped making other people rich and decided it was my turn.  I even appeared on radio, tv and print. That is an article for another time. Would you like me to tell it?

Until that time, this story should serve as both a great template for your own marketing success and as a cautionary tale. Above all things, life is what you make it. Go out and make it happen.

 

How To Prepare for a Tough Mudder

Lars at the Tough Mudder

How to prepare For a Trail Race Event like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash

Finishing the Tough MudderEndurance obstacle course events have become popular. Most endurance runs add in the element of mud if for no other reason than to create a light hearted fun atmosphere. Endurance runs on a whole are about running stamina, however mud runs such as Warrior Dash are only mud runs and contain no obstacles. If you are asking yourself, “What’s the difference between the Tough Mudder (untimed event), Warrior Dash (timed event) or Spartan Race (timed event)?” The answer is very little. They are all obstacle course events with Tough Mudder being the longest on average and largest. With many races and runs out there you should be sure you know what type trail race you are entering. Is it a mud run or an obstacle course?

What Kind of Trail Obstacles Will You Encounter?

Rope climbs, mud crawls, short and tall barricades to climb, mud pits to jump, fires to jump over, barbed wire to crawl under (usually in muddy water), crawling through tunnels (tubes), carrying logs, jumping off high ground into water, plunging into ice filled vats, and of course running. Running up sudden steep inclines which become slicker over the event, running down steep inclines, running up sloped walls, running up and down hills. Oh yes, and the Tough Mudder features a forest of hanging electrically charged wires to dash through.

No matter your preference the field of runs and dashes are swelling.  The shorter list under five miles includes: Dirty Dash, Devil Dash, Diva Dash, Down & Dirty Mud Run, Hell run, Hero Rush, Mudathalon, MudMan, Mudness, Baddest Mud Run, Mud Guts and Glory, Original Mud Run, Mud Ninja, Wild Warrior, ROC Race, Miles of Mud, and Strongman Run just to name a few!

Of all the trail race’s, few are as long as the Tough Mudder. While the Spartan Dash has extended versions you can select al carte, Tough Mudder is a single field everyone runs together.  Only the Iron Warrior Dash and Death Race come in longer but can require the most travel in order to participate. The longer mud runs come in at:

  1. #1. Death Race – Average distance 40 miles. (But you get two days – limited entry)
  2. #2. Iron Warrior Dash – Average distance 15. (Big brother of the Warrior Dash)
  3. #3 Tough Mudder – Average distance: 12 miles (Most accessible worldwide)

Type of Participants

There are two types of participants in these physical challenges.

  1. The hard core athlete.
  2. The Casual first timer or repeat runner enthusiast.

Don’t be intimidated, both the casual runner and hard core athlete co-exist without friction in these events.  Don’t let anyone advise you never to stop.  If you need to stop, then stop. No one will taunt or condemn you for slowing down, walking or standing aside as others pass by on a Tough Mudder. However if you do join in on an event that is timed, be advised you need to train to run, not walk or pause. The Spartan Dash entered into a televised relationship with NBC television in 2013 and now offers at $250,000.00 purse.

In most events there are as many as 10 staggered start times daily that you pick from. The hard core trail runners go early in some, in others they are the last ‘race’ of the day.

The question you may be asking is can the first time Tough Mudder participant do well? Of course. I’m living proof. My first Tough Mudder was completed with a mildly sprained ankle.  My training consisted of doing what I already did. I inline skate with various skate groups on 12 mile skates. I play paintball and I hit the gym mildly but consistently.  If you take any extra advice from this article, consider a healthy lifestyle over training for kudos. Don’t fall for the  image hype of ‘team building’.  These events are not built to break you. They sell them as ‘designed by special forces’, but that’s marketing. Special forces train to break you, and build you up to survive. The obstacles in Tough Mudder, Spartan Dash, Warrior Dash and the likes are designed to challenge you at best. They are designed to be fun.

The Secret to Mud Runs and Trail Races

Here is the big secret behind the Tough Mudder and other trail races such as the Warrior Dash. They all speak of how speed is important. That’s just not true. Speed is not a factor. Finish by running, jogging, walking or any combination at the pace you want for yourself and you still get your award for finishing. There is no reason to beat yourself up for the best time if you are a casual participant. Remember this advice, “The journey is the reward.”  Why end it so fast? Enjoy it. Go as fast or slow as your body tells you.  The event is not predicated on speed. Remember that above all things.  Of course when you participate in cold weather, a moving body stays warmer.  Just keep it all in perspective. No matter your own arbitrary goal, you are generally working for a t-shirt.

What are the elements of the challenge?

  1. Strength
  2. Stamina
  3. Will

You’ll need strength to climb, grapple, pull, and crawl. You’ll need stamina to go the distance of running (or walking) the course as-well-as the stamina to complete the length of some of the individual obstacles.

Do You Need To Train For A Tough Mudder or Spartan Dash?

There are dangers to most any activity, and a long distance mud run is no exception. As with any activity, it’s about preparation. My experience was injury free despite having a mildly sprained ankle. You may question why even train if one can perform with a sprained ankle? The answer is I still trained. Training is a good idea if you are not already active in multiple sports. It will help you stay free from injuries more than help you finish.  If you plan to run the entire course and never pause to walk, training in running is necessary.

What Do You Prepare For?

You can check the event listing, but most often each event doesn’t give you a detailed list until the date of the event.  Most of course share common obstacles. Here are the things you can do at home to prepare:

  1. Strength – Overall strength is not the key. It’s strength based on the obstacles and on any course the key obstacles do repeat. You want to train to lift your body.
    1. Pull ups, and reps that focus on you lifting your body from arms only. If you can lift yourself with your arms, your remaining upper body strength is a bonus.
    2. Arm strength. This is the most important thing to train for outside of running. Focus on anything that will allow you to lift your body weight from your arm strength. You’ll need to pull yourself up many times without assistance of your feet. Remember that grade school playground ladder you called the monkey bars? Imagine one 40″ in length over cold water. You’ll get those. Train your arms.
  2. For stamina – Run, bike or skate. Sure it’s a run but you don’t have to run the event. You can walk at any point. You get a T-shirt or some take-away for completing it. No more. So why kill yourself to train unless you the ‘hard core athlete’ mentioned prior. Let’s face it, that type of individual isn’t researching this event.
  3. How do you train your will to succeed? Always think about just making it one more step. Every step you take makes the end that much closer. When it comes to jumping over fire or running through electrical wires, your body already knows if you can do it. Listen to your body. You have nothing to prove.

How Far is a Mud Run?

Tough Mudder advertises mud run’s upward to 13 miles. Most come in under 10 miles. The hard core athlete will complete the event in about an hour. The first time Tough Mudder participant won’t run or jog the entire course. They’ll take their time with pauses to walk quite often. The casual first time Tough Mudder will finish in three hours or less.

What’s important to know is that any obstacle along the course can be bypassed. Yes, that means if you don’t want to jump into a sub zero temperature vat of ice during a cold weather outing, you can just walk around it. Just skip it.  If you can’t climb well, skip the towers and so forth. Of course it is nice to try and it’s great to overcome obstacles. The toughest are generally the monkey bar types that require both strength and stamina.

What do I Wear to a Mud Run?

Teams will often come with matching T-shirts for corporate team building or groups in support of causes, but outside of dressing for the weather, it’s a good idea to think in terms of what you can’t wear.

You may think clothes without belts are smart, but when clothes get wet and muddy, they want to fall. Find a sports belt that can take the abuse. A baseball belt at $4.95 is a good disposable solution.

Keep some zip lock bags to keep your wallet, phone or camera in. And even then, be very careful because your body will be submerged a few times. From pits, to streams of water you walk through waist deep. High jumps and more will abuse anything in your pockets.

The events do offer lockers for everyone to stow their towels, change of clothing and car keys in. Taking them along is almost insane. I took a non-electronic car key simply because I wore mountain biking shorts with full zip closure pockets.

Shoes are a big question for many. The all terrain shoes are my goto. Many like to wear Vibrams which are shoes with individual toes, because unlike most any other shoe – Vibrams won’t come off in the mud.  Many, many many shoes are lost in the mud.  It’s rumored you should train in Vibrams before just buying a pair and running a long distance. I wear Inov-8 Bare Grip 200’s as I wanted what I Vibram can give, that is off-trail traction. The rubber cleats are huge but don’t cake with mud. I say this from experience. I use them now for paintball in warm weather. The super thin 3 mm sole allows my feet to conform to any surface minimizing risk of ankle twists.  They are lightweight, dry fast and can take an insane amount of abuse. The company should pay me for that rant because you know you’re going to buy a pair. BTW, they are called 200’s because that stands for the weight in grams which is only 7 ounces.

Synthetic socks no higher than the ankle make the most sense for wicking, and friction.  If you are going to take your shirt off, have a solid base tan or have sun block and re-apply even if you have mud all over your body.  Gloves that dry fast are crucial if you attempt to traverse monkey bars or other obstacles that require a tight non-slip grip. Fingerless leather gloves are good for many obstacles but eventually getting them wet becomes a liability. As the day wears on, unless you keep a pair dry in a ziplock bag stowed in your pocket, you better have a very strong grip to sustain the distance and strength needed to cross a long monkey bar obstacle. If you can find a rubber palm and fingered glove that dries very fast, these will be a big help on obstacles that don’t like wet surfaces on them.

Safety Issues at Mud Runs & Endurance Runs

Yes, for all the downplay on how hard this event is, an extreme obstacle course event is something to take serious.  Almost all the major big name events have had a death occur.  The events do consider the risks and put measures into place that are designed to help, but if you want to challenge your body, not every single risk can be eliminated.  The same huge cargo nets that are used  for participants to climb up can be a liability.  In one event a participant tripped on one and fell 15 feet to the ground. He is now paralyzed from the injury.

Tough Mudder: Gerrardstown, W. Va. – April 2013  a 28 year old man died jumping into water from a 15′ article on the Walk The Plank obstacle. That obstacle still exists but with more divers on the ready with slower rate of entry into the water. I participated in May of 2013 (see me make that same jump in the video below) unaware of the previous death. I did however notice numerous divers and safety appeared well in order as each participant jumped into the water.

Tough Mudder: Brooklyn, Mi. – June 29-30 2013 An estimated 200 participants contracted a gastrointestinal norovirus from muddy water.

Warrior Dash: Kansas City, Ks. – 2011 Two men died from heat related symptoms.

Warrior Dash: Detroit, Mi. – July 2011 A college student became paralyzed after jumping head first into a ground level mud.

Original Mud Run: Fort Worth, Tx. – April 2012 A man died when he was pulled under in the Trinity River. Sudden weather changes played a roll.

Preparation is never a guarantee of safety or health, you can only minimize risk.  Life isn’t a test drive. You either live it yourself or someone will live it for you.  If you see me on the course, be sure and say hello. Lars at the Tough Mudder

Should You Lose Your Job For Being A Jerk?

Have SJW's Gone Too Far?

Social Justice. It’s a modern term but has been around since time has begun. It’s been social commentary fodder for books marking its place in time. Think The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850.  The term mob rules and vigilante justice are forms of social justice. How often are those terms associated with the moral high ground?

Social Justice in 2018 has reached a point where it has potentially become unbalanced in how the accused are punished.

We are speaking of how men or anyone is punished for their civil behavior and societal transgressions when their behavior has not crossed the line into a criminal act.

The Me Too movement began as a good thing. It rooted out horrible men that used power over women. It’s wrong, no one should deny that. Since Me Too’s inception in 2017 it has spawned a new type of social justice, that is making the act of being a jerk cause for extreme punishment.

Keep in mind this is not a defense of men. This discussion is about how we dispense justice outside of the court system. People are losing jobs and livelihoods for their transgressions.

The question is should people lose their livelihood and for how long? Social Justice seems to suddenly have unlimited power to censure.

Consider the case of actor Mel Gibson. He had two forms of proof to his bad character. First was his publicized recording of being detained by the police in 2006. Gibson tossed insults in a drunken anti-semitic rant at the arresting officer. The recording was proof of where his heart was. Society and Hollywood judged Gibson.

Mel Gibson 2006 and 2001 mug shots
Mel Gibson 2006 & 2011 Arrests

Soon after in 2009 Gibson was outed again during a divorce with photos of physical abuse and audio recordings that may have been altered but still painted enough of a picture to see he was someone who flew off at the mouth with extreme words. It’s been over 10 years since Mel was punished by society.  What is the time limit to which we let him back in? We have no standard.

We could explore the importance of accused vs guilty. This matter is about punishment in general. Don’t misunderstand – accountability is great. I believe in it. If you have children you teach this concept to your children from the time they speak.

Like Mel Gibson, many have been punished by losing their livelihood. There is no jail time or being sent away to relearn proper societal behavior. Instead we jettison that person to oblivion. We turn our back on them like sweeping dirt under a rug.

What we do and do not tolerate has changed throughout history. One example is that the gay lifestyle now is celebrated.  In Ancient Greece homosexuality was accepted. Then it was not. Just 30 years ago homosexuality was taboo, mocked and condemned.  Did society have the right to make outcasts of gay people in the 1970’s?

The same could be said for those that smoke marijuana. The list of things we reject then accept as a society goes on.  In 2009 Christian Bale blew up on the set of Terminator in an ugly rant. Even he called it inexcusable. Had that happened now would he be ran out of Hollywood?

Beyond the timing of when a social justice infraction takes place is the question of do we have the right to take away someone’s livelihood as punishment?

Social Justice now demands that at the time we learn of an offense we make the accused an outcast. Do we have that right?  How far do we go? This isn’t a defense of people who clearly do wrong. It’s a question of who decides how people should be punished outside the legal system.

Some who have lost their jobs are slowly making their way back into the public eye.  Is taking away a person’s livelihood the only way this should be handled? To take the question even further, should we take away a person’s livelihood for just being a jerk? Because we’ve reached that point.

Nerdist FounderThat is how the latest case is playing out with Chris Hardwick. He’s the founder of a million dollar empire, Nerdist.com.  Recently he’s been outed by his ex girlfriend Chloe Dykstra in her online essay Rose Colored Glasses: A Confession.  From her article Ms. Dykstra infers Mr. Hardwick mentally abused her during their years long relationship. His downfall has been an instant elevator ride to the bottom. He’s been removed from the Nerdist history books as founder, scratched from multiple TV jobs and all but erased from our sight.  His punishment has all come without a trial, nor any credence to his response.  No one is diminishing Chloe Dykstra’s hardship. I for one think what she says is true. I think Chris has as much said he’s bad in relationships. His insecurity of holding onto someone in the L.A. lifestyle is no excuse. There is no excuse. The question is has his pitiful behavior in a relationship given cause for him to lose everything he’s worked for?

Unlike the recent MeToo (women in business taken advantage of by predatory men) movement where men have been losing jobs and companies they own due to criminal behavior, Chris Hardwick’s case is new territory. It’s now about civil behavior outside the workplace. He’s being accused of being a shitty person. Hardwick is not being accused of  being sexual stalker or sexual predator like others. Instead he’s being accused of being a jerk. A really bad jerk to put it mildly.

Chris Hardwick has maintained for years he’s not good at relationships. He’s owned up to his bad behavior without actually broadcasting it over the air or memorializing it in writing. No one is disputing that if what his accuser is saying is true that Chris is a jerk in his personal life.

That’s where we are now.  The question is now – do we punish people for just being crummy personalities?

In business, sharks make it to the top. We all know some very ugly personalities in the workplace that we ask in wonder, “How is this person in a position of authority, let alone employed here?” To that end, karma usually catches up with them. Sometimes it does not, but on balance those people are moved out of those positions or fired from their jobs left to soul search and hopefully learn from their bad ways and change for the better in their next job. That has been the way of things. The natural order and the business world solve the problem of ‘bad eggs’ for the most part.

Sexual harassment in the workplace has come a long way in my lifetime and still has some work to go, but it is beginning to be applied to those at the top like it has those at the bottom. That’s a good thing.

As for Chris Hardwick, it may yet come out he has committed some form of physical or sexual abuse. Until that is proven, should he lose all he has worked for because he’s a bad person in relationships? For years he was the darling of the millennial generation adhering to every hip norm becoming the poster boy of all that is cool. He made being a nerd or geek okay. Now he is suddenly not okay because current Social Justice demands people lose their jobs.

But again… social justice has now worked it’s way outside the workplace – to affect livelihoods. We need to get that right. Chris Hardwick’s case illustrates this need and we should all be a bit more careful lest that stone be cast at our own glass house.

Holistic Thinking as Family Advice

by Lars Hindsley

Years ago I read a book The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge — actually I listened to it, many times. It was about thinking in totality, seeing things from a distant view, or top down view where an installed system that is successful can be self-sustaining. While the book does in fact expand on feedback loops being influenced by interconnected outside forces, my article focuses on two of the lessons I learned from the book I’ve applied to personal life.

Systems Thinking as Family Advice

I like to give back so today I want to explain systems thinking in regards to my life and my children’s lives so that you may apply it to your own.

The book The Fifth Discipline is not just about simple systems perspective, but that is what we will focus from here out.

The other night I was installing a new shower head system in my shower. The boys and I are in the bathroom with all the parts. I admiringly appreciate my oldest son is keen to state we should be reading the directions to our youngest son. This may seem strange that one son is dictating this information to another but it is part of systems thinking being instilled from one family member to another.

Let’s back up. Since the time my eldest son received his first set of Lincoln Logs I instilled in him that he should always use directions. To this day he always refers to directions when building or assembling things. Why mention this? Reading the directions in full and having them in advance of a project is in fact a form of systems thinking. You know the end before you begin.

You see when you step back and view things on a whole you are better prepared to work within that system even if you are only going to operate strictly within a small segment. Now I’ll return to my story of the plumbing.

The Hindsley Boys

The boys and I are working along and I stop to show my eldest son how the threads on the parts run standard in one direction. However if you have ever wrapped a string or wire around anything you know to wrap counter to a thread’s direction. Both my sons learned early how screws, or bolts on nuts operate, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey”. We needed to put Teflon tape on the faucet part but you should wrap the tape in the direction of the part going on which tightens over the tape otherwise the part you are attaching will simply bunch up the tape, and that is counterproductive. Imagining what will happen in advance can avoid mistakes. Systems thinking is more than this, but for the sake of teaching children, I simplified the logic.

In systems thinking, you imagine in advance what will take place. Then you can troubleshoot before something goes wrong and avoid pitfalls.

Systems Thinking

When I read about systems thinking for the first time, I was committed to learning the nuances of it. It went well beyond linear cause and effect. I listened to that audio book over and over again. The result was a lifetime of rewards.

A few years later I took a job as VP of Marketing for an Internet Service Provider (ISP). These were the early days of the Internet when everyone was fighting for dial-up customers. In my job interview I laid out a system of success for my would be boss. I got the job because I gave him a clear top down view of the future. Better yet, I made it happen. The plan I offered, I executed. But it took time. In fact there were times of doubt along the way I had to answer to. Knowing what would come next gave me confidence in my responses which in turn gave the people who hired me confidence things would work as planned. They did. They went from a small market competitor to the dominant market leader.

Systems thinking is not something that shows immediate results. You must have patience to see the system come to fruition. In the case of my job at the ISP, three months into it they had spent $35,000.00 on my plans and had yet to see a dime of profit, but they did see enough of the system building that they held on. A year later that company had over a million dollars a year income. Their patience in my planning paid off. They had their own agenda and when the company reached a certain size they sold it; that left me to find employment somewhere else but I took pride in my achievement.

I learned a valuable lesson in that experience. Patience. I remember having to explain myself to my boss and it was a trying time when the system was building. But I know now that you can believe in systems thinking. Of course it helps to have a solid plan.

But systems thinking is far beyond the world of business. Cause and effect is a big player in what systems thinking is all about. When you turn on the water in a shower there is a system in place which you must ‘familiarize’ yourself with. You learn at a early age the system of showering. When you first turn on the water, you want it to be warm — so you overcompensate with hot water to get the warm water flowing through the plumbing. Then you counteract that with backing off the hot water and adding cold water to regulate the temperature. But — there is a system in place. You know that when you first turn a knob you must “wait”. Waiting is important. If you don’t wait what happens? You could make another change before the system sends that hot water through the pipes and reach you; otherwise making another change of more hot water before the first bout of water reaches you will result in over-compensating hot water and you’ll be scalded. Who has not accidentally done this? In systems thinking you must turn the knob and wait, then again you turn the knob and wait. Keyword: wait. That is the system of regulating warm water in the shower.

This same logic applies to all parts of life even in relationships. From reading all the directions in a plan before beginning to building a business or taking a shower, systems thinking is something we can all benefit from. By you teaching your children the logic of systems thinking at an early age you grant them the wisdom of patience and more. They learn to set expectations properly and the ability to understand things greater than what lay before them. It starts with you however, you must lead by example. I think my eldest son relies so much on directions now because he’s always seen me use them and seen the benefit of doing so. Just last week he was assembling a bed with his grandfather whom had no use for the directions but near the end, my son stepped in with the directions and solved an otherwise difficult problem with ease. My son understands the importance of seeing things holistically. He practices systems thinking now and I see him doing well in life for it. For yourself and your loved ones, I suggest you learn more about systems thinking.

For your information, here are all five disciplines according to Peter Senge.

1st Discipline is Personal Mastery
2nd Discipline is Building Shared Vision
3rd Discipline is Mental Models
4th Discipline is Team Learning
5th Discipline is Systems Thinking

Your Audience Finds You

File this under helpful advice in understanding life. It’s about a modern day adage of sorts.

There are many sayings in life.  Some become hackneyed expressions, while others hold deep meaning.  One saying I’ve learned years ago has become one that came back to me time and again to teach me a lot about life. It’s about being yourself or being true to yourself, and yet it goes beyond living life on your terms. The saying is:

Your audience finds you.

I first heard it as advice when I was the front for a local Delaware band.  We were making the rounds with radio stations pushing for airplay.  Who I heard it from, I do not recall.  It wasn’t something profound when I first heard it.  It was just one of those… “Yeah you’re right”  moments of acknowledgment.  I believe it was a fellow musician from a band that mentored ours.

Our conversation started with me explaining our band’s sound.  I was defining how I sing, I was explaining we had two guitarists that traded off lead guitar solos and how that gave us more than one flavor.  In response I was told, “Your audience finds you.” Its meaning was clear right away. We didn’t need to worry if people would like us, the people that did like us would appreciate us and become our fans. Our audience would find us.  And that story — a seed in time, grew inside me.

Over the years I recall that analysis and observation about how the music industry works. It applied to business.  Many folks had these crazy ideas for usable web sites, from gaming forums to odds bettors, and even bonsai tree enthusiasts.  I remembered to myself and assured people with their idea, “Your audience will find you.”

There came a point in time I gave that advice to myself; about love.  I realized that I was a unique guy lost in an obscure part of the world where someone such as myself couldn’t stand out. More than that, I was never interested in being tough and strong. I was a paradox. I became insensitive and outwardly uncaring but genuinely sensitive, only I had to get to know you first. I wasn’t special. I just wanted to believe I was because my mother raised me to believe I was.

My foolish and far too romantic side  made it hard for me to get the right woman to strike up immediate interest.  I was …an acquired taste. 🙂  I said to myself, “Don’ t worry Lars, your audience will find you.” I knew that a woman that had similar interests would one day cross my path — Oh, and she never did. I eventually forced myself to accept others. Until that day came, I believed I could just be everywhere at once hoping to put myself in the right woman’s path. Again, a foolish boy thinking he was a man.

Lars Hindsley

Of course that is why I wrote the song Forced Fate.  Those two words in terms of love mean you can’t make a woman love you, but you can put yourself in her path to find you. My theory seemed so possible.  Wow could I spin my own lie and live it.  You can force fate to some degree. Yes I know,  those two words — forced fate are somewhat paradoxical.  Forcing fate is something I’ve been at for some time.  I knew I’d never sing in a band if I didn’t go after it. The mind moves towards what it sees.  I knew that if I wanted to play football, I’d have to try while I still had my youth.  I did that very thing at the age of 27.  It was never too late.  And the people that played in my band and played football… were like me.  We had the same outlook on life and the same energy and will to achieve.

In life, your audience will find you.  The people that share common interest find each other.  People that love alike, people that hate alike.  People that have strong family values, people that have no interest in family; the different types of people there are find each other.  Followers follow and leaders lead, but they share characteristics that are alike.

When we dress it is an expression of our values, our interests and more.  We find ourselves attracted to people that dress in a manner in which we agree, even if it’s uniquely different than our self — even if it seems diametrical.  We find each other based on being alike deep inside, and sometimes on the surface.  Of course clothes alone don’t define a person but it is a starting point.  As we open up to learn about the people we meet we draw closer to those that share our interests.

Perhaps my underlying message here is be yourself and those that are like you will like you most for the real you.  No matter what it is. May your audience find you.

The Future has the Last Laugh

What is it that we all yearn for in our lives?

The answer? Control.

We are all just one breath away from losing everything, from our health and jobs to love.  Life is fragile, we long to control our destiny. As for money,  we try and earn money to ensure our future, to give us control over the future.

Many of us we can’t let go of the need for control.  And why should we?

We all have an agenda.  We live our lives by our needs and desires.  Morality plays some part for some of us, while for others — getting from point A. to point B. has no rules.

All of these lives are points in time crossing each other affecting the control of others over one another destiny.   A car crash could mean a loved one won’t come home today.  A heart attack could leave the breadwinner of a family out of work affecting everyone, opening a path for someone else.

In my life — I admit I cannot control everything.

You can’t make a woman love you but you can put yourself in her path to find you.  In that, you force fate.

While I work for survival,  I don’t allow the lack of control in some areas to affect the happiness I seek.

We all look to the future with very little true consideration. Some of us have well laid out plans. Some of us have an agenda playing everyone as mere pawns.

But in the end, the future has the last laugh.

What’s With the Name DangerMan?

You may be asking, why do you call yourself DangerMan? That is a very good question. I have an answer. In short, DangerMan is an unintentional moniker.

Here is the story behind it.

Years ago I began a YouTube channel with the intention of helping others by producing HOW TO videos. I wanted the privacy of Lars Hindsley kept intact. Since my videos were of an active life, the name DangerMan worked. So where did I get the name DangerMan? I borrowed this name from a novel of my own creation, Aeroplane City. You can read part of it for free if you like at AeroplaneCity.com.

Of course many years later, Lars Hindsley has become synonymous for many with DangerMan. It’s a name I reluctantly adopted as a suitable alternative to Lars. After all, I like my name Lars, which is by the way not a nickname for Lawrence. It’s Scandinavian of course but the nickname for Lars is Lasse. Ironic that a nickname is longer than a given name.

You may call me DangerMan. Many do. From the world of video games, inline skating and of course paintball, it’s a name I’ve learned to appreciate and love. To enjoy my videos, please visit YouTube.com/DangerManXX. While I don’t have the username of DangerMan, mine is DangerManXX, I am fortunate enough to be the most popular DangerMan on YouTube. I trust one day the character I’ve created from Aeroplane City will be the DangerMan everyone best knows and enjoys. I believe that.