We had the good fortune of connecting with David Koontz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Risk is unavoidable. The opposite of taking a risk is playing it safe which generally means not taking an action, but since you only control yourself and the rest of the world is continuing to change even doing nothing still means the circumstances around you will change over time. Every choice you make is a risk at some level because you’re always forgoing some other choice, the opportunity cost, so there’s not getting away from it.
In my life, whenever I’ve been presented with 2 opportunities, the one that feels less safe has been the right choice. I’m not talking about risks that are wholly out of proportion with my comfort level in life, but in general when I have two job opportunities, collaboration opportunities, etc. the riskier one pays back at a much higher rate. This isn’t always right away, but over a long timeline I’ve been astonished how often something I did 10+ years ago comes back to pay off. We naturally want to make our lives safe, to have less downside possibility to the risks we take, and that’s a perfectly fine way to live you life, but if you’re unhappy with just getting by you have to do things others are unwilling to do. It’s the old idea of “entrepreneurs live the way you won’t so they can live the way you can’t” idea.
I basically look at risk as an indicator of possible value. Not all risks are the same, and surely you can take risks that will get you killed (literally and metaphorically), but in general I think it’s useful to listen to that voice that says “hey this sounds risky, how about we stay here where it’s safe” and use that as a barometer of potential growth for yourself. So the next time you’re faced with two options and the second is a bit riskier and you feel a bit uncomfortable with that choice because you feel unqualified, or you don’t know if you’ll be able to handle it, that is a great indicator that it’s the correct choice for you.
What should our readers know about your business?
Wayfinder is a video production company that takes a filmmaking approach to all the content we produce. We’re not just looking to just capture what happens, but to tell a story about it. This can be done in many formats: a 30 second testimonial, a 1 minute commercial, or something longer like a mini-documentary that goes behind the scenes. We love telling stories so we’re always working on creating something, including our own films.
The second aspect that sets Wayfinder apart is that we have an entrepreneurial background. We can speak business, we have our own giant spreadsheets, and we understand the lingo of ROI, ARPU, and CAC. Furthermore we know how easy it is to pick the wrong solution to your problem, and while we believe video is a very powerful tool for connecting with your audience, we’ll be the first to point out it’s not always the best one.
The thing I love most about Wayfinder is how we are able to bring something that may feel out of reach to so many businesses and make it a reality for them. You look at a commercial on TV and you hear how those things cost millions of dollars to produce but that’s not the reality for most content. I’m not going to say it’s particularly inexpensive as there is a lot of work that goes into something as seemingly simple as a 30 second commercial, but it’s definitely not out of reach for a small to mid-sized business. But most people have no idea where to start, and that’s where Wayfinder can come in, we give clients options and then they’re really in control of what kind of marketing and advertising they think will best serve their businesses needs.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a tough one, I’m not much of a socialite. I would definitely say if it’s hockey season to go see a Coyotes game, but then that’s mostly just an excuse to get to go see more live hockey. For food I would take them to the Cornish Pastie Co. and for entertainment I’d look to see if there was a band they liked playing at Crescent Ballroom, The Van Buren or the Mesa Arts Center. Beyond that most of the kinds of things I would take people to are based on their interests. I’m involved in lots of meetup groups and I would probably invite them to come along and meet cool new people if there was some overlap in our interests. Everything from board game nights to discussions about relationship structures to filmmaking to game development.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This may sound strange, but YouTube has become such an indispensible resource for so many topics in the past few years. I’ve gotten plugged into communities for filmmaking, entrepreneurship, investing, and a host of other topics through recommendations from channels I follow. I also find that the type of discussions that occurs through YouTube is often missing from more traditional mediums, especially in terms of “behind the scenes” looks into various crafts. Nothing beats doing it yourself but this sort of content comes dazzling close sometimes.
I also want to give a big shoutout to Audible and audiobooks in general. I am a fairly slow reader but I can listen to an audiobook at 1.5-2x speed. The breadth of topics that are now covered via audiobook is fantastic and is a great resource for me.