Surround Yourself With Good People

“Surround yourself with people who are the best at what they do, then let them do it.” Our first Dadage explores the company you keep; the good and the bad. What does it mean for us as individuals, and how does it apply to our family, professional, and social lives?

Episode Transcript:


You know, when I was your age, go ask your mother. I know you don’t like it, it builds character. How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not just talking to hear my own voice



Hello listener and welcome to Dadages. I’m your host Chad Hagle. And if you’re looking for some fatherly wisdom for your career, your family or any other aspect of your life, then you’ve come to the right place. If you want to learn more about Dadages, find additional content, submit questions or feedback to me. Or if you want to know if that mental picture you have of me after hearing my voice matches my real face, visit Thanks for being here. And before you listen to our podcast, please listen to your father.



Well, I see you made it back for episode two of damages. I’m your host, Chad Hagle. I’m so glad you’re here. I sound like an American Airlines “welcome aboard video”. That’s a sure sign that I spent too much time on planes. Maybe that’s a good thing though. My air time is my free time, it seems to be the one time I can avoid distraction or interruption and get my reading and writing done. To share some behind the scenes perspective, I actually compose the majority of episodes one, two, and three collectively, while traveling on a family vacation to Kenya during this past summer. It was an amazing vacation with three generations of my family. But I’ll come back to family travel stories later in this episode, and then share some really detailed perspectives gleaned from my time in Kenya in episode three. I told myself before we went away to Africa that if I could pull together three episodes of this podcast while traveling during a two week period, that would represent a critical mass of work and I would shift from writing to producing. It would also be my litmus test. To prove that I had the capacity to reliably produce content at the proper volume and cadence to fancy myself as a podcaster. The fact that you’re hearing this now is evidence that I met my initial goals.


I hope you’re enjoying Dadages so far. And I hope you keep coming back and finding meaningful content and commentary from me. Just to refresh your memory from the close of episode one, which I just wrote, and perhaps you just listened to. I introduced this first Dadage as the topic for Episode Two. Always surround yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do best, and then let them do it. This is a notion that dates all the way back to the sixth century, when Confucius said, if you are the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. As part of the law of attraction Confucius believed that if you wanted to manifest your objectives and bring them into your life, you also had to surround yourself with the right people to help make that reality come to pass. In today’s episode, I’m going to break down this concept a bit and apply it to family life, professional life and social life. Let’s dive right into family. I’m going to restate my own Dadage how I see it in a family context. Surround yourself with your family and learn to love them for being the best version of themselves. Even a quick search of the internet provides a vast range of quotes and perspectives regarding family that reveal the unique and different experiences that we as human beings have with our own families, and how they shape our deep rooted feelings about family. Desmond Tutu said, you don’t choose your family, they are God’s gift to you as you are to them. That’s really beautiful, right? But you can also find multiple versions of a quote attributed simply to anonymous that goes something like some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family. Well, this is a particular poignant statement. I’m sure many of us can relate it at some level.


Listener, where are you on the spectrum? Is your family God’s gift to you? Or is your family made up of poisonous people? Or both? Newsflash, families come with conflict. It’s a universal trait. As I said a moment ago, our human experiences with family are not only highly varied, but they’re equally formative and impactful. For the purposes of our discussion today, I’m going to keep to the middle of the fairway and not try to play the rough. What do I mean by employing this golf reference? I simply mean that there are individuals among us who have experienced horrific trauma inflicted by family members, including terrible cases of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, I’m not going to try to touch those subjects nor would I presume to try to offer advice on managing family relationships in such extreme and terrible circumstances. I’m simply not qualified. My advice and perspectives offered today are really geared for those of us that have middle of the road family experiences and only have to endure the requisite and customary amounts of consternation, damage and frustration required of all families, my family, like everyone’s exhibits a healthy amount of unhealthy behavior. I’ll share a few examples of such behavioral patterns to which I’m sure you can all relate.


Triangulation is the first. Triangulation is nothing like Phil Jackson’s triangle offense which transformed the way basketball was played at the NBA level in the 80s and 90s. But it is just as effective at breaking down an opponent, I can assure you of that. Triangulation is when one family member recruits another family member against a third family member to try to call out family member three for something that family member one dislikes. Oh my gosh, Judy, can you believe what your brother did? I don’t think that is consistent with our family values. Do you? This sound familiar to anyone?


Here’s the second – projection. This is when your dad straps the entire family to the living room sofa and makes you all sit through a slideshow of family vacation pictures against your will. Now no, that’s not what it is at all. Projection is when one person takes their own insecurities born from negative experiences or their own negative traits and either accuses a family member of those same things, or anticipates that the family member will exhibit those behaviors or traits in the future. Because that’s all the one doing the projecting knows from their own experience. Projection artists are those family members living in glass houses and hurling stones seemingly non-stop.


Here’s a third behavior pattern – diagnosing or labeling. listener, I’m gonna let you in on a secret, and let’s keep this secret of parenting quiet. When you become a parent, they bestow upon you a PhD in psychology and an MD along with the collective wisdom and knowledge of every psychologist and medical professional that has come before you. That’s why parents know everything. Yeah, we all wish it were that easy, right? While this is a farcical notion, it doesn’t stop some family members, particularly parents from believing that they have the ability to diagnose any condition that can be experienced by a child or an adult, for that matter. I’m certain Jimmy has borderline personality disorder, we look at the way he’s coloring so radically outside the lines of his coloring book. Even worse, individuals who can’t resist this behavior pattern, also have a tendency to shape any set of facts into symptoms to validate and reinforce their diagnosis. This falls under the heading of “you get what you’re looking for”, and is known by psychologists as confirmation bias. I can tell you this is certainly the worst kind of family practice medicine you can find.


With all of these landmines that exists in family dynamics. Why bother? Why don’t we all just run away from home form new circles of friends and never look back? Here’s what I think we’re stuck with them. Right now listener, you’re probably saying Wait, that’s good news. That sounds terrible. That’s like saying, gee, this restaurant makes up for its terrible food by providing poor service to ensure that you have to endure it for as long as possible. I asked you though, to please stay with me and on this one, and I’ll try to explain. There is no bond stronger than family. We really can’t run away from our families. Even if we do physically run away from them. We cannot escape the lasting impact they have upon us as individuals. It’s like the theme of the movie Magnolia. You may be through with your past, but your past is not through with you. If you haven’t seen the movie, go stream it as soon as you can. I think it’s perhaps Tom Cruise’s best performance ever. He’s not the main character of the movie, but it is truly a powerful character portrayal, perhaps second only to his role and Tropic Thunder, another one of my favorites. Make a note of it listener and watch that one too.


So we may be through with our families but our families are not through with us. Any licensed family therapist will tell you that the most common issues that they treat and their patients have at least some basis and family of origin issues. I hear us and our again, where’s the good news and all of this I’m gonna give you three pieces of good news. First, family is your fallback, your safety net, it may not be universally true for all of us. But when you struggle the most in life, that’s usually the time that you come back to your family. And you can count on them to be there for you. After all, if you’re stuck with them, they’re stuck with you also. Second, family is a framework for problem solving and reconciliation. Because of the strength of the family bond, members of a family are less inclined to cut and run when there’s conflict. And again, this is not universally true, but on average, you stand a better chance of working out interpersonal issues in a family setting, because the family bond provides a tether to hold you together until you get through the process of working through your differences.



This can help you learn critical skills and dispute resolution that you can apply to other relationships in your life and for the rest of your life. Third, even when we incur damage from family, that damage can be a foundation for growth. Maybe you don’t resolve issues with your family members, maybe those issues leave a lasting mark on you. Maybe that mark grows into some form of more significant psychological damage. Well, now you have a real chance for growth. Whether you find a great therapist to be your Sherpa up the mountain of personal growth, or perhaps you find an incredibly healthy relationship where you and your partner can help heal each other from the trauma of your youth – either way, that same family that screwed you up, gave you the gift of an opportunity for personal growth and for a meaningful human connection. With everyone else out there in the world, damaged in some way by their family of origin. It can truly be a unifying force. If you appreciate it for what it is. Without a doubt, we will come back to topics related to family and future episodes.


For now though, I’d like to move on to applying today’s Dadages to the professional realm. This is probably where it fits most obviously, always surround yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do best and let them do it. Logical, right? You’d be surprised how much this is a challenge, though, as an entrepreneur for over 25 years now. Wow, that’s a quarter of a century I’m getting old. In my 25 years, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about building and managing a company. This episode gives me the first opportunity to share some of those lessons with you. I’ve built organizations as I said, in my career as a real estate developer, I’ve also built a lot of buildings. But what I enjoy more than either building organizations or buildings is building people.


Over time, I’ve learned not to hire for positions. Instead, I hire people and put together the right job description around them based upon their actual skill set. And even more importantly, that job description can’t be stagnant. If you filled your organization with good people, you have to challenge them and keep them challenged. That means the job description changes over time. Sometimes I like to say that in my company, we may be in the business of building buildings. But we don’t build walls or ceilings for our team members as the capabilities of the individual grow, so to should the scope of their role in an organization. Some of you are shaking your heads right now and saying what about the Peter Principle, the notion that by continuing to advance someone in an organization based upon their capabilities, you inevitably move them up through the organization until they reach the point of incompetence, because only then do they stop growing their role in the organization. Well, you’re right. It’s a real thing. And it happens.


Let me share a story from my own company. I once hired a young woman named Lauren as an administrative assistant. She was incredibly bright, and she really had an understanding for our business and a grasp on our approach to project management. So we expanded her role to include some basic project management. She showed so much promise in that area that we made her a full time project manager and she started to manage some of our key development projects. As our development program grew and grew. Lauren grew with it, she took on a greater and greater role in it. Eventually she became director of Project Management, and not only manage her own projects, but took on a role managing other project managers. Obviously, her compensation grew during this time period. And at some point along the way that dreaded Peter principle kicked in and she started to make mistakes she had grown beyond her capabilities at that stage of her career. So what happened even though Lauren’s compensation had grown it It hadn’t necessarily grown to the level the market would dictate for an experienced director of Project Management. As I said, That was her her new title. Another opportunity came along from another company who saw what she was doing for us and wanted her to be a director level Project Manager for their organization. They enticed her with a greater compensation package. And, frankly, we wished her the best and let her go. And Lauren was an amazing team member, a great asset and quite a find. She had grown with us we had grown with her, it was time for her to move on. Everybody wins. This case study reveals changes in the hiring environment and the relationship between employees and employers that has evolved over the past 20 years or so.


Reed Hoffman, co founder of LinkedIn, wrote a piece with a couple of colleagues in the Harvard Business Journal in 2013. And that piece was entitled tours of duty, the new employer employee compact, here’s what they say in the article. The time has come, we believe for a new employer employee compact, you can’t have an agile company, if you give employees lifetime contracts. And the best people don’t want one employer for life anyway. But you can build a better compact than every man for himself. In fact, some companies are doing so the article goes on to say this is the beginning. We think of the new kind of compact that’s needed today. Although it is most evident in the tech world, we’ve seen elements of it elsewhere. At consulting firms, for example, the chief principle underlying it is reciprocity. Both parties understand and acknowledge that they’ve entered into a voluntary relationship that benefits both sides. I firmly believe in this notion, we’re well beyond the world of lifers, people that spend an entire lifetime working in one company, or one industry for that matter. But if we cultivate an environment that promotes mutual respect, and provides mutual benefit, we can attract and retain good talent for the appropriate length of time, until that mutual benefit has run its course. And as long as both the company and the employee depart better than they arrived. Again, everybody wins.


We’ll talk a lot more about hiring and team building and future episodes of Dadages. I promise you that I found this Best If Used By Date phenomenon to be true of partnerships as well. The notion of finding a good business partner for a lifetime is daunting at best. I have achieved at higher levels throughout my career when I have had a strong partner or partners around me. Now a strong partner is not necessarily the person who is best at everything. A strong partner is the person who is the best fit for you. Partners must complement one another, fill in blind spots, hold each other accountable, and communicate effectively with one another in order to serve as great sounding boards. I think in addition to this pairing of complementary skills, the other essential factor for successful partners is alignment of interests. partners must not only stand side by side, they must be facing in the same direction. They must have the same goals and objectives for the enterprise as a whole. That is equally rare and essential. What is even more rare, perhaps impossible, from my experience is that the alignment of objectives remained consistent in perpetuity. Inevitably, individuals grow and change in different ways and at different times at a different pace. So far, in my lifetime, all evidence has proven to me that it is impossible to sustain partnerships indefinitely. For this reason, when incentives interests and objectives of partners are no longer aligned. It’s time to move on. I’ve been there at least three times in my career. And trust me when I say that dissolution of partnerships can be as challenging as divorces. It takes even more maturity and mutual respect to dissolve a partnership than it does to form or sustain one. Again, forming building and managing business partnerships will be a topic of Dadages to come. So how do you find good people with which to surround yourself? There’s no magic formula, no secret sauce, and certainly no guarantee but offer just a couple of suggestions to you here that have served me well over the years. I’m going to just touch on them, and I sound like a broken record here now ,but I promise that if you tune into future episodes of Dadages, these are concepts we will explore together and far more depth.


Chad’s first suggestion for team building; never hire someone to do something you haven’t already done yourself. There are two equally important aspects to this concept. A, it’s a morale issue. I think it’s professionally hypocritical to ask someone to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself. I find it demotivating and demoralizing to team members when they feel like they’re being dumped on. B, If you haven’t executed on a task yourself, how can you ever know if the person doing it is doing it properly? I’m not saying you have to develop an expert level of proficiency in all tasks or functions of your enterprise in order to hire somebody to perform those tasks. That would be impossible. I’m just saying you better have done it, or at a minimum tried and failed at it, before you hand it off to someone who can hopefully do it a heck of a lot better than you can.


You can’t know if someone is better than you at making coffee if you’ve never made a cup of coffee for yourself. And yes, I’m telling you that you better have made your own coffee in the office at some point in your career before hiring an assistant and making it a part of his or her responsibilities. True story. One time I was interviewing somebody for a job, and I asked them, Is there anything taken out of the equation, something that would be morally wrong or questionable. But is there anything in our company that you wouldn’t do? And they said, I’m not going to make coffee. That was the end of the interview. I’ve made coffee. When you have to make coffee, you have to make coffee. And if you’re not willing to make coffee, you’re just not a team player, and you don’t belong in my organization.


Chad’s second suggestion for team building; hire team members that are good members of a team. Well, hold on Yogi Berra, that’s awfully redundant and reflexive of each ad. Well, here’s what I mean more specifically, there are roles in life that change who we are, there are certain experiences that change our mindset and we grow go through them. Some of these experiences can cultivate better team members. Specifically, I require one of three experiences in the background of anyone I hire into my organization. Pretty much without exception, one hospitality industry experience to military service, or three team sports. I found over the years that there are very important lessons that can be learned in these three areas of experience that cannot be learned anywhere else in life, putting the needs of others ahead of your own, and working together as a group. In my experience as a business leader, these traits are some of the most quintessential for good team members to possess. How may I help you today? Leave no man behind. There’s no I in team. These are the common phrases you’ll hear in hospitality, military and team sports. The people who think like this are the ones I want around me and my company.


So now we’ve talked about this notion of surround yourself with people who are better than you are in the family and professional realms. What about the social arena? To introduce this topic, I’m going to relate it to my experience at Stanford, for me, and I think this was the case for the majority of my classmates at Stanford. I came to the University out of a big-fish small-pond situation. Let’s face it, no matter how big or how cutthroat competitive your high school might have been, it was still just high school at the end of the day. Relative to the great wide world out there. Every high school was a very small pond, coming from an environment where I was always at the top of the class. And, frankly, I could get away with a lot when I was thrust onto the scene at Stanford, I was suddenly surrounded by some of the most incredible people on the planet. My incoming freshman class included Olympians, a Russian concert pianist, soon to be internet billionaires, and of course, Tiger Woods. Being thrust into an environment like that can be many things. intimidating, inspirational, overwhelming, you have to come to grips with the fact that you probably aren’t going to be the best at anything, and you certainly aren’t going to be the best at everything. And if you expect yourself to be or if you try to outwork everyone around you to be the very best, you can really set yourself up for failure, terrible failure.


There are many reasons why mental health has become such an area of great concern. And this crisis of identity in the face of tremendous competitive pressure from peers is just one of those reasons. It’s a big problem on college campuses across the country these days. It really requires a complete paradigm shift in order to find happiness and to find comfort in your own skin. When you’re in an environment like Stanford, you really have to learn to be the best you rather than the best – I don’t know – fill-in-the-blank with whatever you like. Let me restate for you in one more version, today’s Dadages of surround yourself with people who are better than you are. I’ll say it in this way. When you have surrounded yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do best, learn to simply be the best version of you that you can be.


Let me share that once more because I really want you to hear this. When you have surrounded yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do best. Learn to simply be the best version And of you that you can be and one more thing, love yourself for being that. Now the Type A plus folks and tiger moms in the room are saying, wait a minute, Chad, are you telling kids it’s okay to just be mediocre and not try your hardest to be the very best. I’m in no way promoting mediocrity as a virtue and I’m certainly not part of the participation trophy crowd. I’m not advocating for compromise. I’m simply advocating for acceptance, acceptance of reality, self acceptance, and stoic philosophy. This notion is called The Art of Acquiescence. One of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday, paraphrase the Art of Acquiescence as follows. When the cause of our problem lies outside of us, we are better for accepting it and moving on.


I’m not an expert in stoicism, but I do appreciate the principles of the school of philosophy. If you want to learn more about stoicism, I do recommend Ryan holidays books which cover a number of topics and certainly contain a really good accessible introduction to stoicism. He’s a very prolific writer, and among his titles are the obstacle is the way and the daily stoic. At every stage of our lives. The selection of the people with whom we surround ourselves plays heavily into our quality of life and into our overall trajectory as human beings. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn often said, You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. What Jim is really saying is that we should be conscious in our choices of the people with whom we fill our lives and fill our time because they will influence what we do and ultimately who we are. And Jim kept some good company. While you may not have heard of Jim Rohn, who is most influential in the late 70s, you’ve probably heard of two of his mentees who credit him with helping them achieve their success. Mark R. Hughes, the founder of Herbalife and Tony Robbins, life strategist and motivational speaker extraordinaire, but rather than me continuing to drop big names and trying to impress you, and in the case of Tony Robbins, he has literally a big name. That guy’s what like six, seven.


Let me bring back all of this closer to home back to my own little corner of the world here and Fairview, Texas. This is really exciting for me listener because I’m about to introduce our first guest to Dadages. Without further delay, I’m pleased to introduce my very first Dadages cliffhanger. Please continue to episode to be to enjoy my very first Dadages interview. And before you do remember, dad may not always know best, but he sure can sound like he does.



Thank you for listening to Dadages. If you enjoyed this episode, remember to visit And subscribe to the Dadages podcast to get notified for future episodes. You can rate a review on Spotify and Apple podcast. Why? Because I’m your father and I said so. Just a little respect is all I asked for. I put a roof over your head and food on the table and what do you do? Know Tell me exactly what do you do because I am doing everything I’m paying for everything. No Get back here. Get back here right now.



Welcome to Dadages

Fatherly advice, worldly wisdom, and of course, some enviable dad jokes. Welcome to the Dadages podcast. Whether you are a dad, will be a dad, or have a dad, you’ll find applicable advice for all of life’s challenges. From relationship advice to career questions – there’s a Dadage for that!

Episode Transcription:


You know, when I was your age, go ask your mother. I know you don’t like it, it builds character. How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not just talking to hear my own voice



Hello, Listener, and welcome to Dadages. I’m your host Chad Hagle. And if you’re looking for some fatherly wisdom for your career, your family or any other aspect of your life, then you’ve come to the right place. If you want to learn more about Dadages, find additional content, submit questions or feedback to me, or if you want to know if that mental picture you have of me after hearing my voice matches my real face, visit Thanks for being here. And before you listen to our podcast, please listen to your father.



This is the first episode of the Dadages podcast. I’m your host, Chad Hagel. So where do we start? Listener? Let’s together ask and answer two important questions. One, what are Dadages? And two? What the heck are we all doing here? That’s as good a place as any to begin our time together. So what our Dadages, thank you for asking. Let me start by sharing a couple of things about myself. I love to play with words. Perhaps it comes from growing up with four English teachers in my family, my mom, her sisters, and her mother. They were all highly educated and linguistically inclined. I grew up with words and when you got my mom and her sisters together in a room, let me tell you it was like a verbal tornado wrapped inside of a hurricane. So in my OCD mind, I’m constantly playing a torrential downpour of words, associating words with one another, stringing them together and meaningful or sometimes completely meaningless wordplay. And I like to make up words, take two things that don’t necessarily go together and try to combine them and into new made up words. Usually it is in an effort to make some sort of pawn and the majority of the time that that effort falls flat on its face. Here are some examples. First, here’s one I can’t take credit for. Rather, it comes from that most respected literary reference, the Urban Dictionary. You’ve probably heard this term before. Have you ever heard of someone being called fugly? It’s the brilliant and pithy synthesis of friggin and ugly. What a truly great contraction right? Quite equally self explanatory and useful. It’s one of those amazing fabricated words that paints a mental picture of its own meaning without even having to be explained. When you hear fugly. You know, fugly. Here’s an example that’s much closer to my heart. My wife is half Filipino and half Lebanese. So we often refer to her as Filonese. Or sometimes we say she is half Arab and half Filipino. And we’ll say she’s Arapino. However you slice it, I can assure you that my wife is 200% of whatever she is, and we all love her for it. Full disclosure moment here – as a multicultural household with an even more diverse circle of friends and loved ones. The topics of race, cultural differences, stereotypes, and the like, are far from off limits in our home. We lack the virtue of political correctness somewhere along this journey with you listener, I’m going to offend some of you. I’m confident of that. And I’d like to get the apologies out of the way right here up front in episode one. So I’m sorry. Setting aside value judgments, you might call these little examples of literary mental gymnastics, lingo synthesis, and I think I might have just done it again, right there. One of the things I’ve always found most fascinating about William Shakespeare is the sheer quantity of words he totally invented in his writing words we use every day that seems so plainly obvious or totally ubiquitous today that we would all assume they have been part of the English language for all time. Words like bandit, critic, elbow, not the actual body part, but its use as a verb to elbow someone, the list goes on and on. There are far better podcasts from far more erudite linguists than I if you want a more productive use of your time. Please go check those out instead of listening to me and maybe you’ll actually learn something. If you’re still here, thank you. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m certainly not likening myself to Shakespeare. Simply justify my own fun with words by saying, if Shakespeare can make up words for fun, why can’t you and I do the same? In the same way I play around with making up words I also like to play with combinations of words to come up with pithy sayings. I’ve actually started a list I carry around in my pocket on my phone. Every time one of these trivial turns of the tongue or brief bits of word wisdom comes to me, or if I just find myself saying something over and over to others, I decide to capture it so I don’t lose it. I, being “the Chad” have always called these sayings Chadages when I share them with my close friends, professional colleagues, or family, in person, but at some point along the way, I started to entertain the notion that I could that I should share these bits of wisdom with others. The idea of talking to a broader audience and referring to these things as challenges just seemed a bit presumptuous or vain. The notion of incorporating my own name into a new word to describe bits of knowledge and wisdom that can be shared with others, didn’t really sit well with me. And perhaps I’m a bit presumptuous and vain in reality, but I prefer you to keep listening to this podcast and discover that for yourself over the days and weeks ahead, rather than me spoiling it right up front with a podcast title that broadcasts vanity prematurely. Enter Dadages, the lingo synthetic solution to all of my problems. I in fact, am a dad. I’ve been a dad for 18 plus years now and I have two amazing sons, Brayden, 18 and Camden, 16. Much more about that to come. And who can argue the notion that dad is the supreme all wise expert on all things in life. Dadages can cover topics ranging from business to family to personal to the great truths of life. With a quick name change, my bits of wisdom are instantly anonymous and universal, insightful and incontrovertible Dadages. Well, maybe not. But at least the term captures my attempts at creativity and terrible humor. Both of these will be hallmarks of this podcast, I can promise you that. Now we all know what a Dadage is. So on to our second question for this introductory podcast. What the heck are we all doing here? I’m not asking an existential question here. I’m not trying to get to the root of our humanity and our purpose for being that’s a completely different podcast. If you want to delve into any of those vastly more important questions about life, I’d recommend you go check out philosophize this hosted by Stephen West. It’s really a great podcast. The question I’m posing for our discussion is, why am I recording a podcast and what can you as the listener expect from this podcast?



My 18 year old son Braden, is actually the podcast junkie in the family. He’s a Joe Rogan enthusiast in particular, but he really inspired me to start checking out podcasts. I can say as a father and I hope those of you that are parents can say the same thing. I often find inspiration from my children. I think if you aren’t being inspired by your children, you simply aren’t paying close enough attention. So Braden got me started listening to podcasts, and I found some and several different genres that I enjoy. I talked about Stephen West and philosophize this a moment ago. For sure entertainment value, I often tune into Smartlace with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett those guys are iconically hilarious and put some fascinating and funny guests together. I also hear a lot of Joe Rogan, but that is mostly by proxy with my son Brayden serving as the Joe Rogan correspondent for The Hagle family. The podcast genre is going to present dual challenges for me. First, most of my communications experience in my adult life has come in the form of public speaking engagements. One of the few distinct talents that I possess is for public speaking, it has always come to me very naturally, I find myself at public events more comfortable when I’m behind the podium speaking to an audience than I am at times mingling in the crowd and speaking with people one on one. Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I’m really more of a closet introvert. Right now, you’re probably saying aren’t all introverts closet introverts by definition? And yes, you got me there. But you know what I mean? Public speaking is not really an extroverted activity, per se. While you are surrounded by people when speaking at an event or on stage, it’s really just that a stage it’s a performance. It’s not really human to human engagement. That lectern is a great defense mechanism. And while I enjoy direct engagement with people I can find it energy depleting at times and sometimes after a social event. I’m exhausted and need to retreat to privacy to re-energize. Here’s how I’ll be challenged in producing a podcast though. For me standing at the front of a room is actually a very comfortable place. I enjoy reading the body language and the responses of those in the room, and responding and adapting accordingly. From this end of our present engagement listener. I can’t tell when you smile, when you laugh, when you nod your head in agreement with something I’m saying, for that matter, I can’t tell when you groan or gasp or get up and walk out of the room because you’ve abandoned our little discussion altogether. It’s so easy for you the all power for listener, to tap that pause button swiftly eviscerating me with those two deadly vertical cuts, swipe and exit stage left and never return. To me that’s more unsettling than facing a roomful of people. I’ve always thought my aptitude for public speaking is more of a comparative advantage rather than an absolute advantage. For those of you who may not be familiar with those terms, they come from micro economics. I studied economics at Stanford. Chad fact, I went to Stanford University. Do you know how you can tell if someone went to Stanford? The answer is you don’t have to, they will let you know in the first five minutes after you meet them. But we’ve been talking for well over five minutes now and it just came up, I guess I’m doing pretty well. But seriously, I do wear my Stanford experience both my four years as a student and my 20 plus years as an alum, right on my sleeve. It’s a pretty fundamental part of my life. My Stanford education is the greatest gift that my own father Mark gave to me. I’ve said it to him privately. And I thank him again for that transformative gift now publicly. Thanks, dad.


Back to comparative and absolute advantage, I’m taking some poetic license and distorting the use of those terms from their pure economic definitions just a bit to make a point. Economics is not really about business at the end of the day. It’s truly a social science and it offers a lot of insights into modes of human interaction, and economic terms. Absolute Advantage refers to one person group or organization that is better or more efficient at doing something and another group. Comparative Advantage sets aside which resource is purely best, acknowledging that a single resource cannot do everything everywhere all at once. Great movie, by the way, Everything Everywhere All at Once. I love Michelle Yeoh, she’s a badass. Anyway, comparative advantage considers the opportunity cost recognized when a resource trades off participating in one activity versus another. So how is this discussion of comparative advantage relevant to my public speaking experience? I’m not the best public speaker in the world. I’m certainly no world class orator. It’s simply that my cost in air quotes of public speaking is not as high as it is for some others. Some people actually rank the fear of public speaking, or glossophobia. Look it up. That’s a real word up there with the fear of death. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Think about that for a minute. I’m thankful I don’t suffer from such a fear. And I suppose that makes me the obvious choice if we are ever faced with a public speaking emergency, and somebody has to step up to the mic to save us.


Here’s another Chad fact. As you may already be able to tell, I’m a wealth of relatively meaningless knowledge. I’ve picked up little bits of trivia throughout my life and held on to probably the least important of those. I know it’s an amazing skill that gets me just about nothing to show for it. But what I do attempt is contextual sharing of knowledge. I’ve always tried in my life as part of any conversation, to add value and meaning through something I can contribute to the flow of a discussion that is relevant. I try to be an engaging conversationalist. This brings me to my second challenge in the podcast realm. This really isn’t much of a conversation. You might be yelling at me right now, because you feel like I’ve wasted the past 15 minutes of your time. But I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. Now, I’m not telling you that you can’t talk back to me, who am I to deprive you of your half of this discussion. And I really am a very good listener. It really would be easier from where I’m sitting if I could, in fact hear you because I’m not typically the one in the room that leads a conversation. I prefer to listen, react, respond and add my two cents. That’s where I excel. Actually, the skill earned me my one and only a plus at Stanford and in my very last semester on the farm and earn me my first job. This is a funny story and one that I’m a bit embarrassed to share publicly. But I think I’ve exceeded the statute of limitations within which a professor could dock me for what I’m about to share with you. So that final semester at Stanford in 1998, when I was taking a seminar based economics course, I think I knew deep inside that I had really studied as much as I was ever going to study in four years at Stanford when it came to economics. So I honestly did very close to 0% of the readings so that we were assigned in that class, I would come to the class ready to listen though, I would follow the discussion and the salient points raised by my classmates. And I’d borrow bits and pieces from what they had to say, and just reformat them into a more concise and direct statement of the facts and opinions that they were already putting out there and the discussion, everyone seemed to be impressed with what I was able to articulate and add to the discussion. Even the professor. Like I said, that got me an A+, there was this one guy, though, who sat in the front row of the class every day. And I remember he was always wearing these boots. He was very Euro. One day in the very last week of classes, he approached me after class, he said, I’m very impressed with how well you speak in what you contribute to the class. But I have to ask, have you read a single thing for this class? Oh, busted. I was honest.


“No, I really haven’t.”

“Interesting.” He said. “I have a company I’m starting. And I’d like to offer you a job.”


 That was 1998. In Silicon Valley, everyone was starting a company, they were practically handing out stock options with our diplomas at Stanford. I did join that company, get Our company rode the wave of the first .com boom up, and then back down. That company was You’ve never heard of it I’m sure, you’ve no reason to’ve heard of it. I’d like to say that I got to go to business school and somebody else paid for it. And that guy with the boots, that’s Oded Pelled, one of my closest friends on the planet to this day, you’ll all have a chance to meet him on this podcast at some point, just standby for that. So the second challenge is rooted in the fact that I’m abandoning and apparently a plus level of conversational skill, or complete BS artistry, depending on how you want to look at it in favor of a discussion where I have to talk first, I have to take the lead, I have to guide the discussion somewhere. But I embrace the challenges I have described as opportunities for personal growth for me, your host. And I’ll ask you to be patient and consider it as I climb that growth curve. Should this podcast be successful? I hope that over time, you might actually see it evolve and improve. And I hope you’ll help me along the way, please do. So please. I’ll share a bit later how you might do that. The past few minutes have been spent explaining why I maybe should not be doing a podcast. So again, we have to ask the question, why are we here? The podcast format does make sense for me for a couple of reasons. One is simply a matter of time. People say time is money. I say, time is far more valuable than money, I can always find more money, but I will never find another minute of time in my life. If your data alarm is going off, you’re exactly right. I just snuck one in on you. But that’s not the basis for this introductory episode. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to that one in the future and do a whole episode on that particular data edge. Anyhow, I make the majority of my business decisions based on my return on time rather than my return on money. That’s reason number one for me producing a podcast. I’ve contemplated sharing my perspectives with a broader audience. For some time, I’ve thought about writing a book, but I struggled to carve out the amount of time that would be required to invest into such an endeavor, especially with no guarantee whatsoever that I could actually pull it off. The amount of time that I would have to invest in authoring a book before I could even recognize if it was succeeding was absolutely daunting to me. The medium of the podcast offers a more episodic approach to communication and in this way, it’s more bite sized for me to produce and to weave that work into my life as an entrepreneur operating an enterprise and, of course, my primary job, dad.



The very nature of what I have to share also lends itself to loosely assembled, fragmented approach to communication. Frankly, my perspectives might not come together that cohesively into a book, at least not for now. If I have ever developed a volume of content and I decide to write a book one day, though, I don’t want you coming back and calling me out on this point, please. So my very first exposure to an absolutely brilliant podcast wasn’t really a podcast at all. Mike Rowe, a great communicator with an amazing, silky smooth but manly voice, who I personally recognize as the host of Dirty Jobs. But know that he has a long and prolific career in front of the camera and behind the mic. Mike wrote a book called The Way I Heard it. That was based on his podcast by the same name. And here’s a mind bender for you. I listened to Mike’s book on Audible as an audiobook. So I listened to Mike reading an audio book he recorded of the book he wrote about the podcasts he recorded. Wow, way to go. Mr. Rowe, you really got mileage out of that one. Brilliant. Now, Chad Hagle is certainly no Mike Rowe, but I’m certainly smart enough to follow his lead. Thanks, Mike. And as my own dad likes to posit, how do you eat an elephant? The only answer is one bite at a time. There you go. Maybe that will make for a good episode down the road to Reason number two for the podcast format. Iteration. This is virgin territory for me. I’ve never written or recorded any piece of media to be distributed to a large audience, presuming for the moment that this podcast will reach a large audience someday. Taking a more incremental approach to distributing a podcast one episode at a time gives me a chance to stick and move like a boxer to adapt and change as I go and hopefully improve the work product I’m offering you as I go. Many great authors have written about the importance of failure and how failing fast can breed success, I can promise you an episode on that topic down the road as well, as long as you’ll stick by my failures, and by my iterations long enough to get there. And this is where you can help. Also, I talked earlier about the challenge I face in this conversation with you because I can’t hear what you have to say, well, that’s not really true. You can make your voice known if you like, and I ask that you please do so. I’ve set up a website. I know it’s so 9098 you can visit and share your feedback there on every episode or email me at I would love to hear from you.


Reason number three for Dadages to come to life as a podcast. I’ve often been told that I have both the voice and the face for radio. I’m pretty sure one of those two observations is a compliment. I think my voice is one of the most positively recognized attributes I possess. I’m no professional vocal artists. You’ll have to stick around for episode number two to hear from one of those. I know I have some untrained aspects in my patterns of speech, perhaps a few too many ahhs and umms. But I hope most of those get taken care of in post production. And I have this weird way of swallowing my ELLs that causes some people to misunderstand certain words I say, now that I’ve pointed them out, I hope you aren’t singularly focused on my little speech nuances and can still enjoy listening to the sounds of my voice in this podcast. But I’ll try to channel my inner Mike Rowe to offer you quality vocal artistry from here on out. Now we’ve established why I’m here. Why are you here? Listener? Did you stumble upon this podcast? Did someone encourage you to check it out? Or maybe you’re just one of the dozen friends or family I just guilted into listening. Like I said, visit us online. Share your story. Let me know what brought you here and let me know what you think about the podcast. Let’s get back to databases. Now. We’ve discussed what Dadages. But where do Dadages come from?


You should know something else about me. I give a lot of advice and I seek a lot of advice. I’m sort of an advice aficionado or an advice connoisseur at this point in my life. I’m one of those peoples that others come to for advice. Some of that comes from being an entrepreneur and being an activist, philanthropic investor. People know I’ve built my own business and a lot of people are looking for insights and guidance and doing that for themselves. Others know that I’ve engaged at a high level with many startup nonprofits and institutions particularly in the realm of education. I’ve learned how to navigate organizations small and large and how to make a positive impact. As much as I enjoy building things that work and building organizations I enjoy even more building people. I like to help young people in particular chart a course for themselves and connect the dots to make their objectives reality. Is I’m also an opinionated person. And I feel that my opinions are earned through hard work positive contributions and the experience gained. We’ll do a whole episode in the future about opinions as well. I also tend to be a very philosophical person. I’m not saying that I’m a philosopher, the only philosophy class I struggled through at Stanford prove that fact for certain. I simply couldn’t think or write the way they wanted me to think or write. So you won’t find me on an episode of philosophize this. When I say I’m a philosophical person. What I mean by that is that I have formed a set of guiding philosophies through the course of my life. And whenever I have a tough choice to make, I tend to evaluate the decision through the lens of one of those philosophies, and to make my decision based upon one or more of them. So I guess the message here is that I’d never tried to offer you advice that I’m not willing to take myself. Most damages are a little pithy sayings born out of the wrinkled gray matter of my own mind. Others are sayings I borrow from people I respect along the way and I adopt or adapt them into my own repertoire of go to advice. Oscar Wilde famously said “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. But a lot of times people end to the quote there and drop the remainder of the aphorism. It goes something like this. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, that mediocrity can pay to greatness. Obviously, when repeated in its complete form. This thing takes on more complexity and depth. This one sentence can be used to praise the originators of meaningful thought, or action for their greatness. It can also be used to demonstrate how imitation of one’s work is synonymous with complementing that work. But applied in a more critical sense, it could mean that one who copies and other is relegated to mediocrity. Ironically, Oscar Wilde didn’t come up with this thing on his own. He adapted it from the work of Charles Caleb Colton, who preceded him. And Triple C, as I affectionately refer to him, adapted it from works dating back to the early 1700s. So I tend to believe that none of these guys were really trying to cast shade on folks for copying or adapting what came before them, unless they were super self critical.


All of that being said, if me borrowing from great individuals who came before me, makes me mediocre. So be it. I have long ago became comfortable with the notion of mediocrity. Before you start thinking I suffer from low self esteem or that I’m just sandbagging and setting low expectations for myself. Let me explain. When I arrived at Stanford in 1994, I came from a small prep school in Central Florida. I was accustomed to being a big man on campus and never really having to struggle that much, even though I did work hard, because I got by mostly on natural ability. In the Stanford ecosystem, though, I was surrounded by people who were the very best in the world at whatever they did. And my class alone were Tiger Woods, several Olympians, world renowned classical concert pianist and several of the greatest minds in science and engineering that I’ve ever met. And listener. That leads me finally to the topic for episode number two of Dadages. And here comes our very first official Dadage.


“Always surround yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do best. And then let them do it.”


Continue to episode two and learn more. Oh, and before I depart today, we will close each episode of Dadages with the dad joke of the day. This one is in honor of an individual who was admitted to Stanford along with me freshman year, but she hit it big time and never showed up. This joke is actually a conversation between Dad and Mom.


Dad: Honey, I was just listening to the radio on my way into town. Apparently an actress just killed herself.

Mom: Oh my who?

Dad: I can’t remember. I think her name was Reese something.

Mom: Witherspoon?

Dad: No, it was with a knife.


Trust me, you have a lot more to look forward to where that came from. Remember everyone. Dad may not always know best, but he sure can sound like he does.



Thank you for listening to Dadages. If you enjoyed this episode, remember to visit and subscribe to the data just podcast to get notified for future episodes. You can rate a review on Spotify and Apple Podcast. Why? Because I’m your father and I said so. Just a little respect is all I asked for. I put a roof over your head and food on the table and what do you do? No, tell me exactly what do you do because I am doing everything I’m paying for everything. No Get back here. Get back here right now.



There’s an old adage that says: Father knows best. But what does he know best about? Tune in weekly for career advice, relationship talk, and a look at life’s problems – all from the perspective of dear old dad.