The Tech Leader's Toolbox

Powered by Integrity and Innovation with William Benner

July 20, 2020 Paul Simkins / William Benner Season 1 Episode 26
The Tech Leader's Toolbox
Powered by Integrity and Innovation with William Benner
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The Tech Leader's Toolbox
Powered by Integrity and Innovation with William Benner
Jul 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 26
Paul Simkins / William Benner

Paul Simkins talks with William Benner, President and CTO of Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc.  They are the industry-leading provider of hardware, software, and services for laser light shows. William talks about the challenges he faced building his business and his team to achieve success going on 34 years. If you have seen a sensational laser show lately, chances are it was Powered By Pangolin!

You can find out more about William and Pangolin at GetALaser.com.

Paul shares a recipe for Spatchcock Chicken, a dish well worth the wait. This recipe is provided by Paul Deluca, a member of the Smoke and Ash Facebook group. You can find the recipe, and many more, on the Smoke and Ash Facebook group or by emailing [email protected].

You can join the discussions at our Podcast Facebook group here.
You can learn more about
Paul Simkins on his website.

We happily work with Buzzsprout for our podcast. See how
they can help you and get a $20 Amazon Gift Card after you pay your second invoice!


Support the show (https://pod.fan/the-tech-leaders-toolbox)

Show Notes Transcript

Paul Simkins talks with William Benner, President and CTO of Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc.  They are the industry-leading provider of hardware, software, and services for laser light shows. William talks about the challenges he faced building his business and his team to achieve success going on 34 years. If you have seen a sensational laser show lately, chances are it was Powered By Pangolin!

You can find out more about William and Pangolin at GetALaser.com.

Paul shares a recipe for Spatchcock Chicken, a dish well worth the wait. This recipe is provided by Paul Deluca, a member of the Smoke and Ash Facebook group. You can find the recipe, and many more, on the Smoke and Ash Facebook group or by emailing [email protected].

You can join the discussions at our Podcast Facebook group here.
You can learn more about
Paul Simkins on his website.

We happily work with Buzzsprout for our podcast. See how
they can help you and get a $20 Amazon Gift Card after you pay your second invoice!


Support the show (https://pod.fan/the-tech-leaders-toolbox)


Liza
The Tech Leaders Toolbox podcast is brought to you by Paul Simkins and the Boldly Lead program, focusing on helping tech leaders like you end the frustration of low performing teams, and losing excellent employees so they can increase productivity by 50%, go home on time, and sleep better at night.

Paul Simkins
Hello, and welcome to The Tech Leaders Toolbox. I'm Paul Simkins. And we're here because how you lead today determines how your team succeeds tomorrow. And of course, as always, I want to remind you, you are a leader. And as a leader, you have to commit yourself to being more of a leader each and every day, and you have to grow and you grow by a commitment to become better each and every day. You know, changes and growth require that a leader have an agile mindset. They have to be dedicated to discovering trends and fostering innovative ideas to keep up and they have to know what to let go of, and what to hold on to. Our speaker today will talk about how he handles some of those challenges. And he has an amazing story and does some really, really cool things. And I think what he has to share with you today is going to be useful. So are you ready? Let's go.

Paul Simkins
Our guest today is William Benner. He's the President and Chief Technical Officer of Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc, a company he started back in 1986. And that company now provides hardware, software and services for laser light shows all over the world, including some of the most notable theme parks, sports teams and performers. And in fact, the chances are, if you've seen an excellent laser light show somewhere, it's a good bet it was Powered By Pangolin. Bill holds 50 issued, and has even more pending, US and international patents in the field. He's had articles published in trade journals and other publications. And in fact, he's the co-author of the best-selling business books Game Changers, Win and The Success Secret. Bill's also been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox Television affiliates. I've gotten to know William for a while and so of course I get to call him Bill now. So Bill, glad to have you on the show.

William Benner
Well, thank you for that gracious introduction. Paul. It's great what you're doing here. This podcast is really important. Glad you're helping entrepreneurs all over the world. And it's an exciting time to be an entrepreneur too.

Paul Simkins
It always is. So So Bill, you know, I love hearing the stories of journeys because it's just fascinating how people got from age Be there's always a great backstory in there. So let's hear yours. How did you get here?

William Benner
Yeah, well, it's it was an unlikely beginning, that's for sure. So, so while in high school and also college I played in a rock band. It was a three piece band. I played bass and synthesizer, we had a guy on guitar and another guy on drums and we played basically top 40 stuff to entertain ourselves and our friends. And it's part of the band. One of the things I got to realize through the help of my girlfriend at the time was he had to kind of really look, it wasn't only about sounding good, you actually had to look good to the looks, were really something that added to the overall experience. So I put together a lighting rig as a college project and we got the part from Home Depot, we're talking about light bulbs and use PVC pipe and stuff like that. They're, you know, today they have something called American DJ where you could just go up to the internet shop and buy this stuff at the time, you know, in the early 80s wasn't anything like that. So we had to make everything. And so one of the things I got to noticing was that the bands at the time the biggest ones, namely Pink Floyd, and Blue Oyster Cult has had a laser as a part of their show. And so I say, well, gosh, you know, we should add the laser as a part of our show to just kind of through the same mentality of adding to the visuals would add to the overall experience, but when I looked into it, what I found was that one thing that information out there wasn't really easy to find and lasers were super expensive, basically unobtainium. But I did wind up finding through surplus parts stores and stuff like that, a way to build a laser for our band. And, and it worked. The laser got the band at great notoriety. And what happened to the band was that what always happens we had Nick that moved up to Jacksonville, we had Bob who moved over somewhere. You know, I was still in Ormond Beach, Florida. And so so the band kind of fizzled out but my interest in ladies remained. And sooner or later I was reading a magazine, an article written about a guy named Patrick Murphy up in Virginia and who in the article was about him, he had similar interest in music and lasers. And so I picked up the phone and call them there was no internet at the time. And so I said, Hey, you know, what you're working on sounds really interesting. And I have pieces that you don't have, and you have pieces I don't have, why don't we get together and and do something like this. And so he was already in business. He had a graphic arts business, and he, so he knew business, kind of that how to start businesses, how to get customers, stuff like that. So So that's kind of and I was mostly the technical guy. And so that's really how we get started. So we built a business just really out of a passion for doing lasers. And and one of the things I know is that a lot of small businesses start that way. And there's a great book that I've read, called the E myth. We might get to talk about that here in a second. But it is the Artists journey, right? We start off as craftsmen or people who really like to do the craft and you know, we know that there be customers for the craft, but the certain certain, you know, as you're trying to grow, turn your craft into a business it, it winds up, you know, there's problems and challenges that come along. And as an entrepreneur, our, you know, our job is to kind of figure out over and overcome these challenges. So that's, that was really the journey. It's something I didn't start off saying, Hey, I'm going to start a business doing laser. It was really something I did for for our band and then eventually turned down into business. And so today, you know, you know pangolin we have three offices around the world we've got one in in Central Europe and one in China. We've got one here we do. We provide equipment and services for entities like all the theme parks, you see, including the the big show out at Epcot, the Super Bowl halftime show To show all of the musical artists, the rock concerts you see with red laser shows with the laser show special effects that you see in movies. So we're really involved in all of that. And you know, it just started off as me and a couple of guys in a rock band. So it was an unlikely journey, but that's how it started.

Paul Simkins
All right, so so now we go. And so what not to age or anything, but that's what now 34 years you've been

William Benner
in business? Yeah, that's correct. It's been 34 years.

Paul Simkins
So what are some of the challenges you faced with that? Kind of, because you've had, again, phenomenal growth here that like, you know, like you said, I looked at the list of clients and everything and you got all the big names in there. Yeah. What kind of challenges did you face with that growth?

William Benner
Yeah. So I tell you what, there is a great book, and it's by a guy named Michael Gerber and I met Michael Gerber when he was receiving his lifetime achievement award for the book that he wrote for entrepreneurs and I was receiving my award for my first book game changers, but the book is called the E myth and it It sounds funny. So I'm going to spell it so that people can understand what I'm saying. So it's the letter E as an entrepreneur and then a hyphen which is also a minus sign and then myth like myths like things that are not real. And so then I'll cut to the chase what the E myth is is that is the myth that entrepreneurs start small businesses. And Michael Gerber's assertion is entrepreneurs do not start small businesses, real entrepreneurs start big businesses, it is craftsmen and things like that and artists who start small businesses, right and so so his observation that the craftsmen and artists start small businesses and and the example he uses throughout the book is this, this girl named Laura, who starts this pie shop because she likes to bake pies. And and what happens along her journey in the pie shop of, you know, the challenges that she faces. And what's interesting is that what he laid out is exactly the challenges that we face here in Nic have my buddies at With small businesses the same thing. So basically, all businesses that are that start with by craftsmen and artists have the same kind of journey, they have the same kind of problems, because, you know, they're not thinking as a business person, they're thinking, How do I do my craft? How do I offer my crafts to people to say, and and the, and what Michael Gerber outlines is okay, here's basically here are the problems you're having. And here are the here are the solutions that are prescribed and the solutions that he prescribes, are solutions having to do with organization and systemization. Right. So in basically how to treat this as a real business, not just as a craft. And, and in fact, he sets out this, this kind of framework. And as you're going through it, it seems kind of silly. Like for example, you got to create an organizational chart, you know, and so you got to figure out who the managers are going to be that and you basically have these all these blocks in an organizational chart, and when you start the business, all the blocks are you so you're The manager you're the shipping and receiving guy you are the you know you're this you're you're all this the the sub sub people, but that but what it does is it helps you figure out how this business is supposed to work. And then as you hire people, let's say you hire your first person well now they get six blocks. So six of the boxes them and six of them, are you right? So like, if somebody's listening to this for the first time, and they don't really understand what I'm talking about may seem silly. It may seem superfluous. Why am I doing this seems like busy work, but it really is. You know, it's all about mindset. And then actually not only figuring out what all these blocks are, but but putting what Michael Gerber calls systems in place like each you know, in other words, the step by step procedure, here's how you do this job and even job descriptions and it's great because, you know, sometimes when you hire somebody, they may come in and say, What is my job description instead of just spitballing it and, and going on and on and on. You just say well, here it is. It's these blocks in here, the job descriptions for each one of these blocks and stuff like that. But it really does help to as the business grows, you know, where you need to slot people in and what they're going to do. And and the whole thing is, is operated in such a way that if you want to expand like for example, as Laura wants to add another pie shop down the street or in another city, she's got a whole framework, the whole kind of thing, they're just kind of it becomes a cookie cutter thing so it makes expansion a whole lot easier. And then let's say someday Laura wants to retire and somebody is interested in buying Laura's thing. They want to rest assured any buyer is going to want to rest assured that they really buying a business and not okay when Laura leaves and all the tribal knowledge leaves with Laura and all the everything leads with Laura. So you know, a business like that isn't really worth very much. But if business is making money, and it has the systems in place and has managers and a framework is could be worth it. lot of money, right? So, so that's kind of the end thing. And so the E myth is has been a tremendous,

William Benner
you know, tremendous help. So and and you know, and what I'd say is that we built a business, Patrick and I, and we very quickly attained a level of revenue of about $1.2 million. And it stayed there. And it stayed there for years. And it wasn't until I found the E myth and a couple of other books that it started going up. So if you're running a small business, it has plateaued. It's the this is the time to start looking at books like the E myth. Another book, good, be great. Another book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. These are the things that got us out of stagnation and into growth again,

Paul Simkins
okay. So I would imagine years ago, I read a quote from Richard Branson talked about, you know, part of the way that he grew was, you know, that kind of attitude where somebody He said, Well, can you do this? He goes, Yeah, then go figure out how to do it. Yeah, with with your industry and with all of the the advancement, fast, rapid advancement of technology, did you find yourself in that position as well? A lot of times?

William Benner
Yeah, you know, we didn't do that. You know, it's funny you can when you say that there's a machine shops, I've spoken to beat you, because we machine parts here pangolin, too. And I've spoken to people with machine shops, and that was their strategy. Well, first, we'd say we tell the customer, we can do it, and then we figure out how we could do it at a play at a price we can actually make a profit. We'd never that has never been our approach. And it's just because of the craft that we do. It's such a niche industry. It the the effects that can be done with the laser are always a limited but they're they're specific effects that that work really well. And and so we pursue those effects. And so when we get into raw, honest conversation with a customer if they want to accomplish something What a laser really adds to special events is it makes it special, it makes the event special, it's the thing that makes it special is the thing that adds the spice to the food, and stuff like that. So you got to, you got to know how to do it. So the food isn't over spice and that sort of thing. It's not all about when you go to a rock concert, it's not all about the laser. It's about the, you know, it's about complementing the performer. So, you know, so we never really had to kind of sell it first and then figure out how to do it. It's just we're always finding new ways to enhance the special effects. But that has never really been our business approach of, you know, what would you say?

Paul Simkins
So, imagine with the growth and have an add staff and all that there's you for it, you face some challenges there with your workforce, as you mentioned, you got a machine shop and everything else. You've got a variety of disciplines in there. What kinds of challenges are you facing with the workforce and how are you addressing those?

William Benner
Well, sure, yeah. So So as I said, the E myth was tremendously helpful in it. identifying what kind of the blocks were who we needed to hire and that sort of thing. So then the next step is to start hiring people right and obviously you want to hire right? You want to get the best people in and and one of the things that could definitely be said about me it would be hundred percent truthful is that I am not a good manager of people I am a good manager of projects, but I personally feel better is not a good manager of people right so so what that means is the best people that we need to hire are people who don't need management, the people who kind of kind of manage themselves who can understand what the project is and the E myth helps that because it it says okay, here's here's what your job is. And then also in and among when we really started studying this and when I ran into the E myth, it was something it who your good friend, Steven place he recommended to me he was talking about the E myth once once I got into this little business group that everyone's talking about the E myth I'm like, What the heck is the E myth right, so that I ran into Stephen place he recommended the E myth I went through the E myth next person And I ran I ran into was Monica Wofford, who's also in this nice little group. And she, one of the things that she does is help people helped. She helps in the hiring process because she's got this thing that I'm not sure she developed it, or she developed it in concert with something else, but it's called a core profile. And people have heard of profiles, you know, there's this disc profile, and there's some other profiles, something called a Colby profile. And then but but Monica use something called core profile. And what this is, is is a recognition that within each one of us, there's four things that we do, there's a commander, an organizer, a relator, and an entertainer and everybody has some components of this and some, some people are really strong commanders. And some people are really strong entertainers and other people are kind of maybe even across the top, but how, you know, so So if we're trying to hire somebody, the question is okay, so So what she did was he did profiles of everybody in the whole company that exists right now. And then so when we want to hire somebody, we haven't been Take a core profile so we find out who they are and with the IDB in two things. One is that for one thing, are they going to be a good fit for the team for another thing? Where will they best fit within the team? And then thirdly, when they start getting stressed out, this core profile is so sophisticated that will tell you that when people start getting stressed, what are they going to do? Right so I'll give you an example. We had a guy we hired named Scott as a mechanical engineer and and Monica says if Scott starts cutting jokes you know that he's he's stressed because that is his sign of stress. And so so then we kind of take that instance we know that okay, if Scott starts cutting jokes well something something about the jobs becoming stressful and now this is the time to either take the foot off the gas pedal or get into a discussion Hey, Scott, what's going on here? it but it's really helpful. So hiring right is is a is a big part of it. Now we go through three interviews before anybody gets in the door. We always do these core profiles. with Monica, you know, and but before we did that there were challenges of people who would get in, they go through an interview or two pretty good, we'd hire him, and then find out that you know that they just weren't a good fit. And you know, nobody wants that. It just it takes time away. Let's say you get somebody in there, even if they were only in the company for two or three weeks, and then you have to lay them off, find somebody else, well, that's two or three weeks that you lost the time you invested in this person. So really, that you want to avoid all that stuff that you can try to get the best people in there. From from the beginning and with, especially with with my case, like say, because I want people who can manage themselves and who are not going to need real hands on management because I just I can't do that. Just it's just not what I do.

Paul Simkins
Yeah, and there's and there's the expense. Like you said, there's the expense of you make a bad hiring decision, and you've got to replace somebody, you know, the studies On average, it costs about two to three times their salary to, to recruit, hire and replace a position. And so yeah, we've got a high rate of turnover and a rapid rate of turnover. You're wasting a lot of money. Yeah, just hunting and pecking for the right person. So it's a smart thing that you take the time to provide some screening. And I think you mentioned that you typically you minimum of three interviews with every person.

William Benner
Yeah, you know, and I tell you why it's interesting because you have somebody come in, and you could tell if they're not the right person in the first interview, you'd like you could definitely tell who's not going to be the right person. But but so often, we've had people come into the first interview is just really strong and you say, wow, you know, we some of these jobs that we put up on the internet, we may get 60 or 100 resumes, right? So you get the 60 or 100, and you boil it down to maybe eight that you see Wow, these look pretty good, let's let's start either bringing them in or these days, do a Skype interview something like that, right. And then the first interview, sometimes sometimes people just Ace it. And then and then on the second interview, they just fall apart. It's, it's incredible. And so if they can get through a second interview, then we'll invest because it does cost a little bit of money. It's a few hundred dollars to have Monica do this core profile. And so so at that point, we invest a little bit of money, we'll have them do the core profile. If it looks good. If it keeps looking good, then we'll bring it for the 32. We'll explain what the chord what the poor profile has said to us, because we want the recipient to also get something out of this, that people get to learn about themselves. And it's kind of interesting in that way, so yeah, so that's what we do typically three interviews and if they can get through the third interview, and it looks good with the core profile, then then we hire and that has worked out pretty well. You know, most of the people around here are really long term. You know, I can't think of anybody who hasn't been with us for three years these days. And, you know, we've got guys who've been with us 20 years, 14 years. You know, just when when everything's working, you want them to stick around. Yeah.

Paul Simkins
And they will stick around because again, like you said, it that good fit is a big thing. And I see so many people that will hire strictly based on talent, they'll hire the hot shot, you know, like the Hot Shot programmer the, or the system architect or, or the technician because of purely on talent. And, you know, and it goes the same way in the sales business, you know, you can hire the sharpest salesperson out there, but if they're a jerk, and they tread all over everybody else, and dishonest and, you know, they just don't fit into that culture and they do more damage than they do. Good.

William Benner
For sure. Absolutely. Yeah.

Paul Simkins
So I think I noticed that you list yourself as the President and the Chief Technology Officer. So you were at least a couple of different shoes in there. And you mentioned earlier about, you know, filling in that org chart at first, you know, you're all the positions, and then eventually, you become fewer and fewer of them, but you still hold on to those two. So as the company's grown, what have you had to learn to let go of? And yeah,

William Benner
you know, regarding the title, it's funny. So here's the way it worked for me. So there was a company that we dealt with, and and there was a person listed. It was a top person and his title was president and vice president of sales, which to me was really weird. But the message that he was trying to put out there was for one thing, he was the top guy, and he's also the guy who's head of the sales team, right. And so so for me, President CTO, or I, I'm not the only president and CTO is out I'm not the only person who's ever put those two words together. But the message I'm trying to communicate is that I'm not only the kind of the top guy in the company, but you can also talk tech to me, because a lot, a lot of times in a company, you know, the top guy isn't really the technical guy. And so you have engineers at a trade show would be afraid to talk to the President about technical issues or something like that, right. And so, so by me choosing that title, what I'm trying to put out there is it's okay to talk tech to me, and it's also okay to talk to business to me. Now, we, we really don't have a formal CEO position. We have Justin Perry, who's our CEO, he's really Chief Operating Officer and he really handles almost everything about the business, right. And so in terms of anything, operating, run, really running the business, managing the people, he's a lot more of a people person than I am, he's a lot better of a manager of people. And he's also pretty good manager of projects, too. But so that's sort of the thing. So without Regards to kind of grow in the business and filling this in. It's just we kind of come back to the E myth, just like you alluded to, you know, there's these blocks. And and one of the things that the EMA helps you to understand is, what the blocks are and how to fill them in. So, so in our case, we've got, you know, President CTO, that's me. We've got the CEO, and Justin also used to be the chief financial officer, and he has recently relinquished that title to another guy named Todd, who's our who's who's chosen the name controller for himself. So it's just it's funny because it really is the E myth. So it's like, okay, you you get so busy, that you need to hire somebody else. And then so you bring somebody else on. And so it really got to the point where Justin and I were so busy, kind of with our fingers in the numbers, you know, we're kind of running the numbers side of the business, we realize that we're spending an awful lot of our time here, wouldn't it be? better if we hired somebody to, to be the controller to be the, you know, basically the financial end of things so that way they can handle that, you know, Justin can handle on concentrating on operations, I can't concentrate mostly on technical stuff. So that's how the business grows. And it's all kind of guided by the E myth. Right. So that's kind of what we've done well, and it's

Paul Simkins
good decisions in many ways. I mean, one of the things I talked to organizations about is, is focusing on you know, where you're strong. And, you know, there's the old saying, of, you know, you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and you work on your weaknesses. And I always tell everybody, you know, forget your weaknesses, you know, all your best you can do if you work on your weaknesses, make yourself mediocre at it. Instead, focus on where you're strong, making yourself stronger. And then like, like what you're talking about here. So the way you deal with your weaknesses is you find somebody who's, that's their strength, you know, so you've got your Your controller in those numbers are his strength. And does right and Justin, run in that day to day operation. That's his strength. And absolutely, so you go with that

William Benner
job of it. So, everybody we've got we've been fortunate to get the right people in there, like I say, with the help of Monica. And yeah, it's exactly I have no loss of pride, no loss of, you know, anything is, gosh, am I going to give up on this thing? So there is a there is an element that I have and I'm hoping other if other people are more controlling that they can have this view of it really, really what you when somebody comes into pangolin with adjust and I did this with two and everyone who I hire, I kind of and they take bill you're micromanaging. It's like what I'm doing is I'm I'm kind of crafting you I'm molding you and getting you into a place where you can do the job perfectly and then once they demonstrate to me that They can do the job perfectly, then, frankly, I don't even want to be involved anymore. You know what? So once Justin really had gotten it, you know, then it came to I'm not gonna worry about this thing anymore. You know, we have meetings once a week, how are things going? What's this? What's good? Are there any threats coming on the horizon? Do we see any new opportunities for laser stuff that we could be doing? And so, so that, so it becomes so now I'm just concentrating really, most of my time spent on tech. And, you know, we got these other people who kind of become deputized as specialists in their field. And so for me, it's it is once once they demonstrate the proficiency, I have no problem relinquishing it. So it's not a loss of pride that I'm not the guy who's managing the fires anymore. You know, the good job that I did was finding a guy to manage the finance. No, that's it. That's what I take pride in is finding the good people. Excellent.

Paul Simkins
All right, so bill, so what's one tip or one thing a leader can do or apply today to To add value to their team,

William Benner
Well, I'll tell you what, so So looking back at my kind of our journey, right, the E myth journey, right and, and also looking at how we plateaued and we plateaued for a number of years before we started rising again. And the thing was this, recognizing that companies are not really limited by their opportunities, they're limited by their leaders. Brian Tracy, who I'm also a co author of one of my books with has this concept he calls the leadership lid, that is where the business will will only go up to the leader that what the leaders vision is, and so then the trick is to open your mind and so anybody who's listening to this podcast has already taken a great first step right? You're already looking you're already thinking about how can I do better in business you're already thinking about expanding. So podcasting books would be another thing like I say you got the E myth good degrade the Checklist Manifesto. So another great book, seven habits, all these great books, but then the most important thing is recognizing that you can't do it alone, right? And so no matter how smart you are, there's going to be some limitation in your head and so much as you can't know everything right and so, so finding other people finding mastermind groups to help you get different perspectives in there to help you to figure basically figuring things out, it is reaching out it is it's the biggest tip that I can give to an entrepreneur is understand that you don't have to do it yourself because if you try to do it yourself, you're ultimately limiting your business and so, finding masterminds for you know, finding other addictive business people with whom you can group together that is my advice. It's just know that you can't do it yourself and that there is a leadership lid and and Find mastermind groups and then go that way that that has worked wonders for us. And we still do that today.

Paul Simkins
Oh, great. Well, Bill, thank you so much for being on the show today.

William Benner
Oh, sure. Thanks for having me. It's been great, Paul. Thank you.

Liza
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Paul Simkins
So now this is the part of our show as we always do where we talk about one of my real passions which is outdoor cooking. I love to cook outdoors. I have a smoker, I have a grill and I do a lot of cooking outdoors and with my experience and as a both as a scout and as an adult leader in scouting. Now I do a lot of camping. So cooking over an open fire using Dutch ovens, just any kind of cooking outdoors. I'm all for it. And so I always like to share recipes and I get a lot of these recipes. By the way. From group I have on Facebook, I have a Facebook group called smokin ash. And it is all people who love outdoor cooking and share that passion. All the different kinds of cooking and they share recipes as well. And so I wanted to share a recipe today and this recipe is from one of the members of the smokin ash Facebook group. He's a longtime friend of mine named Paul DeLuca. And he has a recipe and I wanted to share this with you today for spatchcock chicken. This is delicious recipe you can do this on a smoker you can do it on a grill. Paul has a Big Green Egg that he likes to use and that That's what he uses that for. But this is spatchcock chicken. So what you're going to need for this is you need to have a whole roasting chicken, you're going to need kosher salt is you're going to need your favorite dry rub seasoning. So if you have your favorite kind of dry rub seasoning that you use, you want to get that otherwise if you go back and look on one of my previous episodes, I actually teach you how to make a dry rub seasoning of your own. And then whatever your favorite barbecue sauce is, you're going to want to have that as well. And so this process is going to take a little while so you have to plan on it and make some time for it. It's going to take several hours of prep time in order for you to be able to do this. So the first thing you need to do is take your chicken again you want a whole chicken, not a chicken cut into pieces a whole chicken and you're going to clean out the insides of it now most of the chickens you buy today, they've taken all the insides the gizzard and all that they've wrapped it in paper, but it's still stuffed inside there where you want to get that out of there. Any of the insides, the organs and all that, clean that out and what you can do with that, by the way, and this is just a side note, take all of that and dump it all in a sauce pot full of about two to three cups of water. And just bring that to a boil and then turn it down to simmer and let it sit there for a couple of hours. And what it will do is it'll create a nice rich broth that you can freeze and then reuse anytime you want. Anytime you need bra through something, you've got it there. So once you clean out the chicken, you're going to lay it down on a cutting board with the backside of the chicken up. And then using kitchen shears or real sharp butcher knife, you're basically going to cut the spine, completely out of the chicken. So just cut just on either side of the spine. It'll be a piece about Two to three inches to about two inches wide, usually no more than that, and about five to six inches long. So then you're going to kind of where you've made that cut separate, push it back a little bit, and you should be able to see the inner side of the breastplate. And you want to take your knife, and again, you want to go right down there, it'll be in the dead center, you want to go down there and gently cut into the bone with the sharp knife, but don't cut all the way through what you're trying to do is basically break the breastplate there. So you want to cut on either side of that. So finally, then you're going to flip the carcass over, spread it wide. And since the breastplates been separated, it should come out very flat. Now what you want to do is do first we're going to do a dry brine. So you're going to take that kosher salt and first take paper towels dry the bird as much as you can. Then put it on a rack and place that rack over a pan, sprinkle the kosher salt all over the bird. And then I would cover it with plastic wrap, stick it in the refrigerator overnight. That's going to help be MIT this skin become very crispy when this is done. So you want to use that kosher salt, just sprinkle it all over there. Once you've done that, again, it's going to go overnight the next day. Take the bird out again, place it bottom side up, and apply dry rub seasoning all over it. Again, make sure you apply a little dry rub to both sides of it. Then you're going to take that now that you've put the dry rub on it and you're going to put it on your grill. You want to get your grill temperature up to about 350 and you're going to stick that on the grill. Close the lid on the grill. Let it go for about an hour. After about an hour the temperature should be the internal temperature The chicken should be around 125 degrees. Now at this point, you're going to brush on your barbecue sauce all over the chicken, brush the barbecue sauce all over it. Close that lid again, let it go for probably about another 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the breast is about 165 degrees. At that point, you're going to take it out and you want to wrap it up in heavy duty aluminum foil, it's a good idea to get the extra wide foil because you what you want to do is wrap the bird all with one piece and using a tenting method and seal the end of the foil as best as you can so that you don't let any air escape. And you're going to let it sit that way for about 10 minutes. That just kind of seals everything in. So once the 10 minutes is up, you're going to unwrap the foil. Take the time chicken out, put it on your cutting board and carve it up to your liking, and you're ready to go. And that's it. It's spatchcock chicken. Now, there's a lot of different recipes for it. But that's a real good one right there. And that is again from one of the members of our smoking ash Facebook group, Paul DeLuca. And you'll find this recipe out on the smokin ash Facebook group. Or you can just simply send me an email to TL toolbox at boldly lead calm, and I'll be glad to send it to you.

All right, so our guest today was William Benner, the President and Chief Technical Officer of pangolin laser Systems, Inc. which again, if you've seen the laser show recently, it's more than likely was powered by pangolin. So Bill, what are you working on right now that you're excited about?

William Benner
Oh, it's a brand new technology for laser so so for 45 years, as long as laser shows have been existed. They've used one pan Imagine if every artists who ever existed from Picasso Rembrandt to Andy Warhol, everybody, the only tool that they had to create their art was a sharpie. Imagine that, right? There still be the variety of art but it all be a sharpie. Right. So that's been the case with laser light all this time, the only tool we've had to use with a single diameter beam. So most recently, we've developed a multi diameter, it can have any diameter, it's just like painting. Imagine now you give the artists a paint roller, some cases of paint brushes and, and so what we've done is we created a product called beam brush. It allows you to expand the beam dynamically in real time and it just opens up what can be done with the laser to the nth degree and so so that has involved both technology and AR and so we're bringing that to the market right now. That is something we're super excited about because it is it is really the biggest leap in laser shows since the additional color. So it's just an it's a huge I cannot undo state the importance of this beam brush to laser shows into laser effects. And when once people start seeing this stuff in concerts and that sort of thing, it's going to just blow their minds. That's what we've been spending our time on. Since for the past about half a year, we've been working on that.

Paul Simkins
Wow, I could listen to you all day because I love hearing how excited you are about the work you do. So So Bill, if somebody wants to get a hold of you, what's the best way for them to do that?

William Benner
Yeah, so the easiest way and the easiest thing to kind of remember is get a laser, you want to get a laser and so we created a website called Get a laser COMM And I think you could spell that with an S or a z. I hope so is the proper spelling is with an s la s er get a laser comm so that's how, you know we have a variety of things up there so you can get in touch with me that way. If anybody has any, you know, they want to talk about special effects or even business. You know, I'd be happy to talk to people about businesses just like how you and I ran into each other Paul, I'm always happy to help entrepreneurs. My fellow entrepreneurs.

Paul Simkins
Great. All right, well, so that's it for this week, folks. Again, another episode of The Tech Leaders Toolbox. Don't forget to subscribe. And if you're using an app Don't forget to leave a review. And we'll have another episode next week until then go out and be the leader. You were meant to be.








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