Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with David Henzel, previous owner of MaxCDN, founder of CDN Advisor LLC, and podcast host of Managing Happiness.
Tune in to hear David share about his passion for applying business principles to one’s personal life and relationships, the principles that will help you achieve continual success, how he sold his e-commerce business for $300K just so he could move to the U.S., and how defining the company’s mission statement made growing the business much easier.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Why David Henzel Sold His Business for $10M+ and Started a Podcast Called ‘Managing Happiness’ TRANSCRIPT
Time-Stamped Show Notes:
- 00:36 – Leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
- 01:00 – Eric welcomes David Henzel
- 01:45 – David shares his background
- 01:48 – Dropped out of school at age 16; originally from Germany and always dreamed of moving to America
- 02:06 – Was unable to get a H1B visa due to lack of formal education; sold his e-commerce business in 2007-2008 which enabled him to move to America
- 02:23 – Started Max CDN in 2008 and sold it last year
- 02:35 – His wife being diagnosed with breast cancer prompted Max to pursue his true passion, managing happiness
- 03:35 – Sold his e-commerce business for around $300,000 in 2008, and sold Max CDN for more than $10 million
- 04:25 – The origins of Max CDN
- 04:40 – A good friend of David’s asked him to come onboard as an investor
- 05:20 – CDN stands for contract delivery network; it takes a copy of a file from a server and puts it on servers around the world
- 06:24 – A recovering introvert, David was uncomfortable speaking in English
- 07:31 – Went to conferences to network and get rid of his shyness
- 07:40 – David’s a-ha moment was realizing that “every decision that you make in life is either out of love or fear”— speaking out of love while giving presentations enables him to do a good job
- 09:12 – David’s assistant was not doing a good job with company newsletters; David explained to him that if he did his job out of love, his quality would surely improve
- 11:00 – Check out David’s blog post about leading your life with “Love, Not Fear”
- 11:44 – David explains his core business philosophy
- 11:44 – Not having a mission statement in the initial years of Max CDN was a huge mistake
- 12:25 – Took a while to figure out that CDN was really hard to buy since it was an enterprise product
- 12:42 – Worked on making CDN more accessible and easier to purchase
- 13:41 – Takes on Jack Ma’s business philosophy which is to look for ways to make business easier
- 14:14 – Feels that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is critical for developing a strong position in the market
- 14:31 – A vision or mission statement is like the North Star that aligns the business and works as a decision filter
- 15:42 – David lists Max CDN’s company core values
- 16:44 – The first core value is, “To make cool shit”
- 17:07 – The second core value is, “To work and whistle”
- 17:27 – The third core value is, “To own it, build trust and accountability”
- 17:58 – The fourth core value is, “Share the love”
- 18:29 – The fifth core value is. “Don’t stop believing in your growth potential”
- 19:50 – David offers a “Managing Happiness” course which is about applying business principles to your life
- 20:08 – Entrepreneurs find it difficult to have a work-life balance as business can easily consume you
- 21:11 – Business concepts, such as mission or vision statements, regular meetings and goal setting, are meant to align a group of people together and ensure that there is no friction
- 21:35 – David’s life mission statement: “To be a change agent and transform individuals and organizations and help them reach their full potential”
- 22:30 – Does not invest in a lot of businesses because it does not align with his life’s mission statement; came up with his life’s vision statement by engaging in a “funeral exercise” where he visualized his own funeral
- 23:46 – The “Managing Happiness” course is a six-week course: emotional strength, family core values, roles and responsibilities, planning and goal setting, problem solving and finances are the various topics covered in the course
- 26:33 – Course is priced attractively at $200; Growth Everywhere listeners will get 25% off (see below)
- 27:25 – David’s wife was resistant to defining roles and responsibilities, but changed her mind after seeing positive results
- 28:38 – It is always important to have growth everywhere, be it in business, money or relationships
- 29:09 – Engages in daily habits/rituals that foster gratitude and an “all is well” mindframe
- 31:06 – As an entrepreneur, it is important to be emotionally strong which can enable you to act in the most difficult situations
- 31:50 – Has simplified his wardrobe by purchasing five pairs of the same jeans, 15 of the same black T-shirts and three pairs of the same black shoes
- 32:49 – What’s one new tool that you added in the last year that added a lot of value for you? – Better Proposals
- 33:42 – What’s one must-read book do you recommend? – Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success, Think and Grow Rich, The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
- 35:33 – Connect with David on Facebook or via email
- 35:48 – Head back to Growth Everywhere for show notes and additional resources; leave a review and rating and subscribe to the podcast
3 Key Points:
- Apply business principles to your relationships to ensure that they are in a continuous phase of GROWTH.
- Lead your life with LOVE, not FEAR.
- Develop emotional strength which will help you act in the most difficult of situations.
Resources From This Interview:
- CDN Advisor LLC
- Managing Happiness podcast
- “Love, Not Fear” blog post
- Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore
- “Managing Happiness” course
- Better Proposals
- Must-read books:
- Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
- David on Facebook
- David’s e-mail
- Growth Everywhere listeners will receive 25% off for managinghappiness.com with coupon code GROWTHEVERYWHERE
Leave some Feedback:
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Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.
Full Transcript of The Episode
David Henzel: It was good.
Eric Siu: Got it. Would you say north of eight figures.
David Henzel: Eight figures is yes.
Eric Siu: Over $10 million. Yeah. Cool.
David Henzel: Yeah.
Eric Siu: Yeah. I want to do a little more background on one of these companies and then I do want to dive into Managing Happiness because that's what we basically talked about when we had breakfast. Yeah. You had an e-commerce business and then you decided to start this thing, MaxCDN, which I think we still use actually. What is MaxCDN? Why did you decide to start it? How do you even start something like that?
David Henzel: I want to move to Los Angeles and this was my goal, so I didn't really have a clear plan on what I'm going to do there. I just flew over and I had really good friends there. Was just feeling the market out, what I could start, I had some ideas, but one of my really good friends had just sold his hosting company and was about to start MaxCDN. Well, NetKing A actually. First it was called NetKing A. I don't know if you remember this?
Eric Siu: No.
David Henzel: He asked me if I want to invest and do the marketing and the product part. This was a really good fit, so this is how ... I did not have the idea to do this. I think the actual reason we started a CDN was that Chris has a non-compete, so he could not start a new hosting company and CDN is kind of close to hosting, but there was a contractual clause that we can start a CDN and this is why we started a CDN.
Eric Siu: Got it. Just for people in the audience and maybe a refresher for me as well, hat is a CDN?
David Henzel: A CDN is a content delivery network and what it does, it takes a copy of the images or files on your web server and puts them on servers around the world, so when somebody visits your website, the website loads faster. Let's say somebody's coming from Germany, is looking at your site that's hosted in the server in Los Angeles, then the bits and bytes will travel around the world, and this would take some time. If you use CDN, then you get the heavy objects from the Frankfurt server when you're in Germany, or [crosstalk 00:05:50] example.
Eric Siu: Got it. You know what? It makes sense. Oftentimes, people talk about it's the people and I find, I think in this scenario too, it's about the friends that you knew and the perfect timing too. The more that I end up meeting people like yourself or people just in serendipitously, it leads to so many more opportunities. The people that are like, "Oh, I just want everything remote, hide behind a computer screen, 100% of the time." I don't necessarily agree with that. I think there has to be some level of in person, right?
David Henzel: Absolutely. I'm a recovering introvert. I used to be really introverted and preferred to hide behind the computer. This sounds crazy, but I was actually even uncomfortable to be on conference calls in English in the beginning. It was a really awkward feeling. As an entrepreneur, it's really tough when you struggle with public speaking and all these things. A mutual friend, Said Balkhi, I met him through ... We sponsored a talk that he gave about website acceleration. I met him at this conference and we really hit it off. He introduced me to all the speakers and the organizers of the conference. He has such an outgoing personality that I kind of taste blood and was convinced that's actually the way to be. That makes way more sense, it's way more fun to extroverted.
Eric Siu: Yeah. Sometimes that's just what it takes, right? You just got to ... One sense a motivation and just go all in. My thing is I'm still introverted. I call myself a introverted extrovert, I have to force myself into new situations, which this is why sometimes I'll just throw events because then I'm forced to be there. Whatever way you can hack it, right?
David Henzel: Yeah. I went to two or three networking events in LA per week. It was really crazy. Just forced myself to talk to new people all the friggin' time and I had this ah-ha moment when I was in yoga and my yoga teacher said, "Every decision in life you either make out of love or out of fear." This really resonated with me because it was something I always knew, but I never really had this clear description for it. When I give a presentation and I speak out of love, because I think about the information that I give to people is valuable for them and it's going to improve their lives, then I can give a good presentation.
Versus when I'm full of fear and I think like, "Oh, do people think I have a weird accent? Do they think I'm an idiot?" Or whatever the heck you're thinking. Then I can't give a presentation. Or I can't give a proper presentation. Or with sales. If I want to sell you something and I sell out of love because I know it is a good product and it's going to enrich your life or solve your pain points, it's very easy to sell. Versus if you think about the money that you make in this transaction or you think about the mortgage that you have to pay or the numbers that you have to hit, then you sell out of fear and it becomes much harder. The other person feels this and I think it's ... For me, this has been a really big guide throughout my life.
Eric Siu: Wow. I love that. Can you repeat that quote again?
David Henzel: Every decision in life you either make out of love or out of fear.
Eric Siu: Is that from somebody in particular?
David Henzel: I have no idea. My yoga teacher said it.
Eric Siu: Wow. That's a really good ... That actually just affected me profoundly. You never know what happens with these interviews, man. All right.
David Henzel: If you want, I can drive it home further. At a part of the course where I talk about this, a big part is how to manage yourself, and one other example is I asked my assistant to send out a company wide internal newsletter once a week, because we grew to the point where not everybody knew what was going on in the other departments. Every time when she came to me with a draft, I had to correct a million things in there. I told her, "Hey, you're doing this out of fear and not out of love." She looked at me like, what the heck do you want from me?
I explained to her that if she would do this out of love, she would put in the effort to really understand what each department had to say, even though we were a super technical company and for somebody who's not really technical it's hard to understand what the CTO was talking about. She would really put in the effort to understand this and she would write this newsletter in a way that everybody gets the most benefit out if it and actually enjoys receiving it. Even looking forward to receive it. I told her, "You're doing this out of fear. The only motivation for you doing it is because David said this has to go out at 4:00 p.m. If you do any work out of fear, then you always deliver a shitty result."
For example, my wife always asks me to do stuff around the house, like hang up pictures, or I don't know, whatever she comes up with, do stuff in the garden. This is the last thing I like doing. I always did them out of fear, because I didn't want conflict with my wife. Once I realized the love and fear thing, I still start out of fear because I still don't like doing it, but then I switch to love because then I enjoy the task and the result is much better. Otherwise, if I do it out fear, I cobble it together and then my wife's upset that the result is not up to her spec.
Eric Siu: I love it.
David Henzel: I think it's really, really powerful. Even when, let's say, you ask somebody to work on an Excel sheet and he gives you the Excel sheet back and there's a column that's supposed to be dollar is not set at dollars, just numbers, then I just send it back right away and say, "Hey, please work this over again," because I know he did not really do it with love and dot all the Is and cross the Ts.
Eric Siu: I love that. Do you have a blog post on this somewhere?
David Henzel: Somewhere, yeah.
Eric Siu: Okay.
David Henzel: On DavidHenzel.com.
Eric Siu: Well, we'll try to find it and put it in the show notes. Just one more bit on MaxCDN. You ended up starting it and then how many customers did you get up to? Or how many customers are there today?
David Henzel: I think we were in over six, I don't know, maybe seven million websites by now.
Eric Siu: Wow. Okay. What's one big struggle you faced while growing that business?
David Henzel: Oh my god, there was so many struggles. Actually, one really big struggle that I just gave a presentation about at a conference was that we didn't really have a mission statement or a vision statement. We were just basically in it for the money when we started NetKing A. We were an enterprise focused CDN and, I don't know, did you read "Crossing the Chasm?"
Eric Siu: Yep.
David Henzel: You have to somehow convince these enterprise buyers that you were legitimate and because they only buy what their peers buy, they don't buy the best product or the cheapest product, they just buy what their peers buy so they can justify, in front of their boss, why they bought this. "Hey, I bought the gold standards." Otherwise, if something goes wrong, they may lose their job. We had a really hard time getting started at NetKing A and then we looked at the market and thought, "What does the market really need?" The biggest need that we saw back then was CDN was really hard to buy. It was purely an enterprise game. You had to talk to a sales guy, they give you some one year contracts or two year contracts and some ridiculous monthly minimums, because they didn't really want to deal with smaller customers.
We made our mission to make CDN as easy and accessible as possible and as easy to use as possible. Then we packed this in the MaxCDN and then we really took off and went really well. Then we messed up again because we never wrote down this mission statement and we never communicated over and over to our staff. It was in the heads of the founding team and the employees, but then we hired some more and more strong people, like the new Head of Engineering and the new Head of Sales. They brought in their own ideas, because we never told them what really the idea of our business is.
Then we started walking into 10 different directions, because you need a really clear focus on what you're building. We build, for example, some crazy analytics tool that was good for a handful of enterprise customers, but the bulk of our customers was like, "Okay, what do we do with this?" We spent crazy resources and time on this. We could have made a product so much better for the actual core of our business. Jack Ma, for example, from Alibaba, his vision is to make doing business easier anywhere. I saw a talk that gave, he says, "Every day, an entrepreneur, you have always like 10 million ideas for day what you could change in the business or add to it."
He said, "Every day I have so many ideas and people in my business come to me and say, 'Hey why don't we implement this and that to our business because it would make us so much money?'" He always runs it through the filter, does this new feature or this thing we're going to do here make doing business easier? Yes? I'll consider it. No? I will not consider it. You lose a lot of the FOMO, the fear of missing out. I think that's a very critical thing to set a company up for success. To actually have really strong positioning in the market and how this feels to actually build a really awesome product.
Eric Siu: Great. What is a mission statement? What is a vision statement?
David Henzel: A vision statement is like the North Star that defines what you want to build here. Ideally, it's something that aligns the business as a decision filter, to attract people that are also excited about doing this. At MaxCDN after we lost and we found again, we came up with "A world without waiting." The idea was that at MaxCDN, you didn't have to wait for anything. We deliver objects around the world in 30 milliseconds or less. All the changes to your account are instant. We're not only saving time for your customers, but also you and your administrators. A change to the account is instant or if you want to add SSL it's also instant versus with our biggest competitor it took like a month to add SSL. We ran it through this filter to make sure that we save time. That's a vision statement.
Eric Siu: Great.
David Henzel: A mission statement defines how you're going to do this and for whom you're going to do this.
Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. It's very simple to say the statement is to save time, right? That's the mission statement. It sounds a lot easier said than done, so how long did it take you guys to come up with it and what was the process for coming up with it?
David Henzel: Oh my god, this was a real pain actually. We also came up with our core values. If you Google 'MaxCDN core values', also I think it's a very important filter to have something like this. We actually sat down, first we came up with an interim mission statement, which was to deliver the best CDN experience possible, which is a blanket statement, but it also works. For example, every time you release new products, you run through this filter, is this a really good experience for the customer? You don't release it on a Friday. You don't release it before Thanksgiving so you don't want to mess people's holidays or weekends up, just a little example.
Then we sat down with five, six people from the business and we had Monday two hours a meeting where we talked about this and crafted this. This took, oh my god, weeks and weeks. Was really painful, but the result was really good and it made it much easier for us to grow. Our core values, also something that we came up with in this time and the idea of the core values is also a filter for the people that we hire and who we are basically. The first core value is 'make cool shit.' We love what we do and we make cool shit. The idea with this is when you have this on a job posting and somebody who likes to come to work with a tie on, he will be scared off immediately, because we don't want somebody corporate in our startup. Doesn't fit the culture. We also, we are a very engineering heavy company, so we want to attract the guys and girls who want to build cool shit.
The second one is work and a whistle. We get excited about working hard and having fun. The idea is that we don't attract somebody who wants a 9:00 to 5:00 and is not really passionate about what we're doing here and doesn't care about the customers. Somebody who would leave even though there is a customer issue, to scare these people off. Get it done. We roll up our sleeves, and get in the ring, and get it done. We have to execute. Then own it. We build trust through total accountability, which is one of my favorites, because it's an amazing management tool. If you assign somebody a role or somebody has to take care of and if he doesn't take care of it and he starts to come up with five excuses why he didn't do it, then you just can say ... We had these core values all over the office on the wall. Just point to the wall and say, "Hey man, own it." And they go like, "Okay, you're right. Sorry." It's a really cool management tool as well.
Eric Siu: I love it.
David Henzel: Two more.
Eric Siu: Keep going.
David Henzel: I'll talk fast. Share the love is we generally care about each other and we love sharing our goods. We are big into open source and it's important that people love what they do so they can take good care of your customer. Taking good care of your customers, nowadays, you can't be a non-customer centric company anymore with the web, and Yelp, and review sites. It doesn't work anymore. The web destroys companies that deliver bad customer service and accelerates companies that provide customer centric. Last one, don't stop. We believe in infinite potential, because we want people who are in a growth mindset. Sorry, for going through all of them. I hope this was ...
Eric Siu: No, no, no. That's super helpful. People are probably wondering, this is something that seems easy to brush over, right, but it does take time to put together. For core values, some people, and I used to certainly think that, core values, oh I can just define them, but it actually is a team exercise. How did you guys put together your core values?
David Henzel: First of all, we came up with words that describe us or describe the state who we are or who we want to be. Then we started to write a few sentences. Together we decided that we want always an image that defines it, a short version and a long version. Short version so it's easier to remember and a long version so we can give more detail. Each category that we defined, we came up with five or six ways of saying it. Then we sent it out to the entire staff so people can give their input and can vote on it, because it's really important that everybody really buys into this and believes that this is actually who we are. It's not something that the leadership team shoves down people's throats. People have to have buy in and this is why we did it that way.
Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. This leads into the next thing, which is you have your personal mission and vision statement, and I think this is a big thing. Do you want to talk about that?
David Henzel: Sure. I'm also a firm believer ... Actually, let me take one step back. The course that I'm doing with Managing Happiness is business principles applied to your life and to your family life, because we did this and I did this with my wife. 80% of all the fights and friction that we had went away. As an entrepreneur, it's really hard to have work-life harmony or work-life balance because the business always consumes you fully. By applying these business principles to our personal life, everything became much, much easier. I'll tell you the story how we came up with the thing in the first place and then I'll talk about my mission statement.
I was at home after a long meeting about roles and responsibilities at MaxCDN. Who does what and when, basically. Then I was sitting on my couch at home and my daughter, still in diapers back then, needed a diaper change. I pointed it out to my wife like, "Hey, look. Emma needs a diaper change." My wife got super frustrated that I didn't change the diaper. I thought to myself, "Why are we fighting about this? She changes the diapers 90% of the time and I'm absolutely cool with doing it, but how should I know that it's my turn now?" Then I realized that we had never discussed roles and responsibilities in our household.
The very next morning, we sat down and did this. Wrote down who does what and when, and this took away all these unspoken expectations that she had of me and vice versa. It was really crazy how well this worked and I thought if this works so well, maybe we can take other elements from business and apply it to our personal life because all these things we have in the business, like mission statement, vision statement, regular meetings, budgeting, goal setting, they're there to make this group of people successful and aligned and to make sure there's no friction. The family is also just a group of people so it translated over really, really well.
I became obsessed with it then. This is why I make this course. Doing this course is also really in line with my personal mission statement, which is to be a change agent who is transforming individuals and organizations so they can reach their full potential and consciously live the life that they desire, because this is just a thing that makes me the happiest. I use this in a sense, this is my vision statement and then I have our core values, which everything, the whole Managing Happiness thing is organized in Trello, which is pretty nerdy but it works.
Eric Siu: This is Trello with your family?
David Henzel: Yes. Having my core values or our family core values and my mission statement makes it so much easier for me to operate my life. For example, I have sold people come to me and say, "Hey, do you want to start this business with me together? Do you want to invest in my business?" I generally would do a lot more things because just I liked the people or I think it's a good opportunity to make money, but then I run it through this filter of is this really in line with my core values? Is this really in line with my mission statement? It's much easier to say no to people, because you actually have a reason to say no. It's not, just because. Yeah. A lot of FOMO goes away.
Eric Siu: Got it. How did you come up with your own personal statement? You said it's something that you like doing, but I feel like maybe there's a deeper story to it.
David Henzel: There is an exercise called the Funeral Exercise. You basically envision your own funeral and the people that are important in your life, let's say, wife, business partner, kids, somebody from the community, goes up and gives a speech. What are the things that you want these people to say? What's the ideal thing that they say? If you can envision this, then you are already much closer in terms of what you want to do with your life? Then you mix this with the things that you really enjoy doing and the things you're really good at. You come up with your mission statement. It's also part of the course work people-
Eric Siu: Wow.
David Henzel: [crosstalk 00:23:33]
Eric Siu: That's great. What else is in the course? I'm sure there's a lot of people listening to this, the entrepreneurial people because it's an entrepreneur audience, right? They're wondering what kind of templates, what kind of hacks do you have inside of the course? Can you talk about it a little bit?
David Henzel: It's a six-week course and the first part of the course is how to manage yourself, which I talked a little bit about the love and fear thing. This is in there. A little more elaborate. Then it's finding your personal mission statement is also in the first week. How to become emotionally strong, which is super important as an entrepreneur because you always have to deal with problems. In life there's always crazy stuff that's happening. Week two is to come up with your family core values, your family rules of engagement, basically how you want to treat each other at home. Often, you treat the people that are closest to you the worst. For example, you would never in a million years yell at somebody in the office. It's most likely not going to happen. It's more likely that you do this at home. Coming up with your family bucket list and just basically figuring out what you want out of life.
Then the next week is coming up with your roles and responsibilities and then I introduce Trello and how to manage all this stuff that we do in Trello. Week four is planning and goal setting. In business, it's unthinkable not to set goals or not to plan, but in life a lot of people do this. Then week five is problem solving, because in the relationship, you most likely only talk about your problems when you fight, all right? Then you just want to win this argument, you don't really want to solve it, right? You just want to, because you're emotionally involved. Just translate this over to the business, let's say you're VP of Sales doesn't bring in the numbers. Going to him and yelling at him is pretty unproductive. You'd rather sit down with him and say, "Hey, why is his happening? How can we solve this? How can I be of service to figure this out?" This is what you should be doing in your relationship as well.
We have a column in Trello so we write in the things that annoy us about each other and then we only always pick one thing that we actively work on. First we brainstorm how we can solve this issue and then we track how we do over a few weeks. Once it's solved we take it off and we put up the next one. An example would be me always being on the phone at home and my wife getting upset about this, because my brain is still at work. I'm on Slack or I'm answering an email and my wife's upset that I'm no present with my wife, or with my daughter and her. She complains about this and I get emotionally involved because I think like, "Hey, you have no idea what important thing I'm answering right now." The solution that we had is to give people in the business my home phone number and to put my phone on charge and on mute so in case something went south, people can reach me. This worked really, really well. We still do this.
Eric Siu: Wow. Okay.
David Henzel: Week six is about finances. It's the last week, where you talk about money and you set your financial goals. Surprisingly, in a lot of relationships this is a not really discussed topic and a reason for lots of fights.
Eric Siu: Great. This sounds like this is something that everybody needs, so how does pricing for the course work? I'm sure some people probably want to take a look at it that are listening.
David Henzel: Pricing for the course is ... We say that it's $500, but we just launched, so we put it at $200 or so. Like $197, I think right now. You can check it out at ManagingHappiness.com. Actually, you know what? If I can ... I use Member Mouse for the course. I can create a coupon for you and then I can give people 25% off to be this-
Eric Siu: Yeah. Why don't we just make the coupon Growth Everywhere or something and if people want to find it they could just enter it in?
David Henzel: Yeah.
Eric Siu: Great. What I'd imagine with something like this, it's an entire system, right? How do you convince ... Let's say somebody's dating ... They just started ... Maybe not just started, maybe dating someone for a year or two, maybe about to get married soon, how do you have this conversation that you should build a system? Then it sounds, they're like ... Oh, I can see the resistance right? This is too business-y, I don't need a system.
David Henzel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. My wife was the same thing for her. She was pretty resistant in the beginning as well, but once she saw the results of defining our roles and responsibilities, the resistance dropped quite significantly. She was still a little bit resistant to ... In the beginning I had this in Excel sheets and was working in Excel sheets, but my wife, I don't know, has some traumatic experience with these type of things, so she really hated working with Excel. Then we have printouts in the course as well so you can do it on a piece of paper and then move it over to Trello. Trello's more visual and just better UX. This was the thing that pushed her over the edge.
In general, my killer counter argument with this is if you manage the things that are important to you. You manage your business, you manage your money, you manage your health. If your relationship is important to you, then you put in some time to manage your relationship. Then your relationship is going to be so much better. I'm a firm believer that everything has to grow. It fits with your theme, Growth Everywhere. I believe if a business is not growing anymore, if a plant's not growing anymore, if a person's not growing anymore, or a relationship's not growing anymore, it's dying. It's not fun anymore. Maybe that's just me, as an entrepreneur, but I think that's like a global thing. It's always important that you have some kind of growth everywhere.
Eric Siu: Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. That's a Tony Robinson quote, right? "If you're not growing, you're dying." Or maybe it's not ... Maybe he said it, maybe it's just somebody else. I don't know. When we met in person, I think we talked about some important habits that you've established to help reduce thinking about things that are not as important like what you need to wear every day and things like that. I'd be curious for you to share your daily habits again, just so people know how you do things.
David Henzel: I like to simplify things and I like to have habits everywhere, because it makes life so much easier. You don't have to think. It becomes second nature. Even little things I put out the clothes I'm going to wear the next day the evening before and I pack my yoga bag the evening before to make sure that it's just an automated system. When I come home, everything has its spot. Then you never have to clean up after yourself. I think the habit that has had the biggest impact on me is I have this gratitude rock that I pick up every morning and I go through the things I'm grateful for.
This puts me into an always well state of mind, especially as an entrepreneur, it's super important because you always have problems that you deal with. In life as well, most people deal with some problems. You get sucked into these problems, like the big problem of the day. You think it's like, oh my god life sucks, because you have this problem, but in the big picture, this problem is just a speck of dust. In a few weeks, or in a few months, you won't even remember that you had this problem. You always forget all the positive things that you have in your life. Like your healthy body, your loved ones, your business, your friends. The list is always long. The list is long for pretty much everybody.
I have this rock with me and I put it in my pocket. Sometimes I still get stressed out, but then from time to time I feel the rock and this brings me back into this all is well state of mind. At the end of the day when I come home I take out the rock and I go through the things that went great this day. Sometimes you have a very productive morning, but at 5:00 p.m. you have a falling out with an employee, customer, or your spouse and you think the whole day sucked, but it did not. There were spots of positive things.
Eric Siu: Truth, this is a rock, literally?
David Henzel: Yes. It's some stone that you find in the street, like a random, nothing special. Only my stone's work, I sell them for $800.
Eric Siu: That's the upsell from after the course, right?
David Henzel: Yeah.
Eric Siu: Got it.
David Henzel: Especially as an entrepreneur, it's super important that you are emotionally strong. At MaxCDN, a few years back, we've been hacked. If the leadership team then freaks the heck out, it drives everybody crazy, but if you can accept whatever happens, no matter how bad the situation is, then you can act. Otherwise, you just react. As the leader of your company or your team, it's really important that you are calm and you're the captain the boat. You have to navigate this boat through a rough sea and you can't afford anybody to flip out. They have to do their jobs and if you flip out, it rubs off on them. I think it's super, super important for people to do this.
Eric Siu: Yeah. The other thing is in terms of your wardrobe, you've also reduced decision making too, right?
David Henzel: Yeah. I like this brand called Gustin, they're kind of like a Kickstarter model, so say you prepay and then they manufacture it for you, but they actually ship it to you, not like Kickstarters. I bought five times the same black jeans, 15 times the same black t-shirt, and three times the same Vans shoes. Just like to minimize headache. When I travel, I like to travel. I travel a lot. Just say, "Oh, I'm going for five days. One, two, three, four, five, six." Put it in and I don't have to think about, "Oh, does these shoes work with this shirt," etc, etc. Makes life much easier.
Eric Siu: Yeah. After we had that conversation, I went to Bonobos, which I like, and I just ordered seven of one shirt and seven of another. That's thanks to you. It does make life a lot easier, by the way, because if you look at the Steve Jobs of the world, the Zuckerbergs of the world, that's what they do, right? What's one big tool, what's one new tool, that's you've added in the last year that's added a lot of value? Like Evernote?
David Henzel: One amazing tool with podcasting is Zencastr, because I'm also in the process of starting a podcast. Zencastr is pretty amazing. Actually, one really cool tool, I just bought it, AppSumo. It's better proposals.
Eric Siu: Better proposals, yeah I saw that deal the other day.
David Henzel: It's pretty phenomenal actually. It takes no effort to put together a really amazing proposal that really blows people away. I do some consulting with companies, with startups, and this makes a real impression on people. Also, it's like in a DocuSign, you can get the signature in there and stuff like this. It's really, really awesome. If this deal's still up, check it out. It's really cool.
Eric Siu: Yeah. I think it might still ... Well, by the time this is aired, maybe it might not be up anymore, but yeah, definitely check it out. How about a must read book that you'd recommend to everyone?
David Henzel: Oh my god. I'm a big book nerd. Actually, when I hire people I always ask them what are the last three books that you've read and what are the three books that have had the biggest impact on your life? Are you still there?
Eric Siu: Yeah. I'm still here. I just muted myself.
David Henzel: Okay. I was like ... I always ask people, what are the three books that had the biggest impact on your life? What are the three books that you just finished reading? The second question I ask, is because I want to see if people are in a growth mindset. If they grow. The other question is because I want to see if there is good books, tips, that I can read. The top three for me would be Napoleon Hill "Outwitting the Devil", basically any Napoleon Hill books. "Think and Grow Rich", "How to Sell Your Way Through Life", "The Laws of Success." Really, really amazing books, especially when you're an entrepreneur. It's like I think a must to read.
The other one that had a really profound impact on me was "The Four Agreements", which is basically the agreements that you make with yourself. People often have conflicting agreements in their mind and if you read this book you'll stop the chatter in your mind. It makes it way easier to focus and execute. It also makes you much stronger emotionally. What I'm reading right now is "The Untethered Soul", which is also a really, really amazing book. It's a little hippy yoga, but it's all about how you deal with stuff that happens to you in life and be emotionally strong.
Eric Siu: Got it. That's great. A ton of books. We'll definitely drop them inside of the show notes. Yeah. David, this has been fantastic and I think people should check out your stuff for sure. What's the best way for people to find you online?
David Henzel: I'm pretty much everywhere. I'm most active on Facebook. Feel free to @ me or shoot me an email at [email protected] I'm always happy to chat about anything.
Eric Siu: All right, David. This was phenomenal. Thanks so much for doing this.
David Henzel: Thank you for having me. It was fun.
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