If I'm being honest, I'm slightly embarrassed at how long it's been since I've written a newsletter article. Or a blog post. Or any sort of update on the company. So I have some catching up to do. 

It's Not Business, It's Personal 

It's hard for me to decide how much personal information to share in a business newsletter. But I feel I need to at least mention that my family recently experienced a major tragedy. On Feb 1, 2020 my son Kyle was killed in a motorcycle accident. If you want the full story, you can find it here: www.justinshelley.com/kyle. I mention it because it was the beginning of a chain of events that has transformed how we do business. Maybe it was one of those, "Life is precious" moments. "Make every moment count." You know, that sort of thing. But I'll come back to that. 

Immediately after the accident, I slipped into depression combined with a major existential crises. Running my business was not really on my radar. I would come into the office for a few hours at a time, a couple times a week. I wanted to make sure things were still running smoothly (they were; I have an amazing team) and I wanted to show my face so that everyone knew I was still here. But it was mostly for show. I had nothing to give. A fake smile. A "thank you" for keeping the business alive. Then I would slip into my office, close the door, and melt. Then I would go home. 

At home, I mostly slept or sat on the couch. I did anything to numb the pain. To shut off the voices. Trying to escape this new horrible reality. 



And then COVID hit with a vengeance. The world was burning down, panic was spreading, government leaders were hitting the kill-switch on life as we knew it, and I had a crystal clear realization: depression was no longer an option. Keeping up appearances at the office was no longer an option. If I kept doing what I was doing, the most likely outcome would be a failed business. It was a true come-to-Jesus moment. I had no idea what to do, but I knew I had to do SOMETHING. Anything. 


Educational Webinars 

Somehow, I got the idea to start a series of webinars. I reached out to the local business community and found plenty of smart business leaders willing to join me in this venture. You can find the archive here: https://www.master-computing.com/academy/ 

I learned two important lessons from the webinars.

1) There is no shortage of brilliant minds who are willing to come together for the good of the community.

2) Promoting a daily live webinar to the same list of people is a quick exercise in the law of diminishing returns. As attendance dropped, I realized I needed to make a change. 

And so the podcasts were born. We have two: DFW Rockstars and Stupid… or just Irresponsible?  


DFW Rockstars 

This one is off to a rocky start. Mostly due to task overload on my part. We'll get there, but slowly. The idea is to interview local business leaders on two points:  

Part 1: is meant to be a bit personal. Success is not a straight line, and I find value in hearing people's stories of overcoming. "What is a significant challenge or setback you have experienced, and how did you overcome it?" A potential follow-up would be, "How has that challenge made you a better person?"  

Part 2: is all business. Here I ask the guest to share something of significant value that can help the business community. I want them to dig deep into their professional skillset and truly educate the rest of us. I firmly believe that every human has something significant to teach the rest of us. 

Even though this one started out slow, we're ramping back up quickly. I have interviews lined up for the next few weeks. I’m also looking for more. Let me know if you would like to participate!  Now that we're consistently recording, I hope you'll join us! www.DFWRockstars.com 


Stupid… or just Irresponsible? 

We've been more consistent with this one. Like anything, it has and will continue to evolve. But the primary theme is to take a hard look at the things we do as business leaders and executives that make us vulnerable to cybercrime, inefficiencies, and other technology-induced problems. 

The name is intentionally inflammatory. It comes from a marketing campaign that many of us in the IT industry use. The headline reads: "When You Fall Victim To A Cyber-Attack Through No Fault Of Your Own, Will They Call you Stupid… Or Just Irresponsible?" It then goes on to paint a picture of how unfair life is. And I don't disagree. Cybercrime is one of the few criminal activities where the victim of the crime is prosecuted. That sucks. And it makes me angry. But it is reality.  

I spent a full year on a speaking circuit telling local businesses how unfair this is and offered many resources absolutely free of charge to help protect them. And it blew my mind how few took me up on my offer. I was absolutely disgusted with the number of people who simply will not take the appropriate measures to protect their business. So I changed my tone.  

This podcast is meant to be playful. Mostly. We talk about the stupid things people do, the irresponsible things people do, and the smarter options that we highly recommend. But we do make it clear that to NOT take action is flat stupid. It is a gamble none of us can afford. It's like not wearing a seatbelt and disabling your airbags while shooting down the highway at 80 mph. Take a listen and learn from other people's mistakes! www.StupidOrIrresponsible.com  

Both podcasts are available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and most other podcast platforms.


The Transformation 

I mentioned at the beginning that Kyle's motorcycle accident was the beginning of a transformation in how we do business. The short version of this story is that with each webinar and podcast we recorded, we took a hard look in the mirror. "Are we truly practicing what we preach?" was a common question we asked. And THIS is what truly transformed us. And continues to transform us. We have added some key team members. Others have been put into roles that are a much better fit for their skillset. Accountability for results is an absolute. The security services we employ internally and those we offer to our clients are better than ever. Productivity is up; response times are down. We've added new services that promise to make your lives easier. We are working harder than ever to keep our clients happy and welcome new clients in. As the economy stumbles and sputters, we feel incredibly fortunate to be growing as an organization. And we thank you, our clients, for traveling this journey with us.