Sharing Secrets to Success: Mark Glidden
Faith, perseverance and a sense of humor will take you far, says Doylestown business leader Mark Glidden.
Name: Mark Glidden
Business: Stone-Glidden Inc.
What drew you to your profession/business?
I ended up in the electronics field almost by accident at a fantastic time in our industry. Stereo systems were in demand but surround sound, home theaters and home automation did not yet exist.
I discovered that although putting audio systems together was simple for me, it was strange science for most people, and clients were willing to pay me to set up their electronics. Shortly, my customers starting asking me if I could come up with ways to put speakers in other rooms and expand their stereo systems so they could be enjoyed in other areas of the home.
Most of the equipment that can now be purchased, like in-wall speakers and controllers, didn't exist yet, so I figured out ways to do that using odd parts and car speakers or by building conventional speakers into walls. Manufacturers then saw the opportunity to develop products to help guys like me install larger-scale systems.
What drew me was the fact that I could be creative in forming solutions for what my customers were asking for and I loved the challenge of having to find ways to make things work for my clients. When I completed projects, the joy it provided to them really got me fired up and excited.
What do you find interesting about your work?
There are a number of things I find interesting about my work but the incredible diversity of my clients is fascinating. I get to deal with some incredibly successful people, as well as incredibly creative architects, builders and designers and really marvel at the wonderful synergies that can be created on a project.
I also believe that when you work with technology you can't shut your mind off for even an instant. Things change that rapidly, and every new product or technology brings with it new issues with integrating it into a project. Our team has to be on their toes at all times.
What is the most challenging aspect of your career?
The most challenging aspect of what I do is keeping up with all the changes in our field. People ask me all the time, "When will technology stop changing?" I always say the same thing: "If tech stops moving forward, it will mean that either life has ceased to exist or we have entered another Dark Age." Technology continuing to change is absolutely the preferred option!
How do you balance your career with family life?
It's tough but I also know it's tough for nearly everyone else too.
I have clients who need to meet me on weekends and at night, so my schedule is anything but static but I work constantly to try to "be present" when I am with my family.
My wife's career has always had her traveling about 2-3 days a week. Fortunately, she can decide when she travels so she can work around my schedule a bit which often meant she traveled on weekends when I could normally be with our kids.
When my daughter, who is now 19, was 6 months old, my wife handed her to me on a Friday and said "See you on Monday!" I was pretty fearful, but my wife knew I could do it and her confidence in me combined with help from great friends and family really helped me develop a great bond with my kids.
What’s the one lesson you would teach others about life and success?
Listen 80 percent of the time, talk 20 percent and ask lots of questions. I have to remind myself of that often - I do like to talk.
What are the three most important traits/skills a person needs to be successful?
Faith - Believing in God and knowing he has a plan for me helps me most when things get tough and things get tough for everyone at some point. Having an "attitude of gratitude" for the blessings in my life helps me to be happy, and I hope that some of it spreads to others.
Dedication - Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I really like that quote and believe that you just have to keep plugging away in a logical way to find what works. That takes dedication and commitment.
Good sense of humor - Life can get stressful. If you can be the icebreaker and keep things light, it can help keep your mission or project moving forward.
What is your definition of success?
For me it's a combination of having a healthy family ,a fulfilling career that provides for them and feeling that I leave the world a little better place each day.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their career?
Prepare well and have confidence (not cockiness) in what you can bring to the world (job, other people, your community). I think most young graduates don't feel they have that much to offer but when they really try and put themselves behind an idea and work diligently, they can move mountains.
Develop a habit of saving and find a way to be charitable in your community.