Thank you, Barry Lind

Former employee pays respects to futures industry pioneer

I was extremely saddened to learn this morning that Barry Lind, founder of futures brokerage firm Lind-Waldock, was killed in a car accident yesterday in California. I had the great fortune to work at the company that bore his name for 11 years, and the number of lives he touched is inconceivable to me. My deepest sympathies go out to his family as well as his closest friends and associates.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for believing that individual investors—even those with just small amounts of money—deserved access to trading the futures markets. You built your company around providing retail investors with high-quality service, tools and knowledge at an affordable price. You did for others what you would have wanted for yourself in the same situation and changed the futures brokerage industry for the better.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for instilling the attitude of  “the client comes first” in everyone who ever worked for you. Long after you had sold the company, those who were “Lind Lifers” kept that spirit alive and passed it on to newcomers who never knew you.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for supporting the people around you. To work at Lind-Waldock was like working with family. We cared about each other as people, not just colleagues. I remember hearing that you had never laid anyone off—no matter the business environment—because of the responsibility you felt you had as an employer to so many who counted on you for their livelihood. Today’s employers would be wise to take that page from your book.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for believing in advertising and marketing. Your ads in the upper left corner of The Wall Street Journal commodity price page are legendary. Your commitment to reaching a broad audience with television ads set the bar high—and Lind-Waldock apart. Thanks for one of the most memorable days in my career, when we shot TV spots to promote mobile trading (on the PalmPilot!) at your home-base golf course. It was great to see you doing the two things you loved most at the same time. As for your approach to marketing, I was the envy of many marketing professionals I met at conferences who could only dream of the reality that I lived--where management believed that marketing was the essential first step to developing a successful business.  

Thank you, Barry Lind, for devoting resources to an in-house marketing team. When I joined Lind-Waldock, I inherited a team that handled everything from advertising to website to printed collateral and public relations. We had the opportunity to grow that team into a marketing phenom in the futures brokerage industry, and I cherish everything I was able to learn about all facets of marketing and team management because of it. Because we were a relatively small team and completely in-house (including our own advertising agency), we were always holistic in our approach and nimble in our efforts. What the Lind Marketing team could and did accomplish was always amazing--and always trendsetting. Leading that team is the highlight of my career in this industry. Thank you.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for making your headquarters in the Rose-Lind building at 1030 W. Van Buren. Because it was in downtown Chicago‘s own “Timbuktu,” you built out an executive dining room that I had the privilege of enjoying—likely for the only time in my career. Not only was it a luxury to just walk down the hall for lunch, but it also was a brilliant strategy on your part to keep your senior staff on site and accessible. What you might not have realized is that it was a great way for us to get to know each other better, and we solved many a problem over Kathy’s Ceasar salads and Chicken Marbella. Thanks to you, transportation wasn’t an issue as we hopped on the “Lind” bus to get to/from the train stations. Fun times were had by all on those five-minute rides twice a day.  And, on 9/11/01, I was really glad we weren’t in the Loop, close to the exchanges or the Sears Tower.

Thank you, Barry Lind, for understanding that your job was to keep the company in business. You made business and financial decisions with that in mind, and it permeated our every action. We worked with lean staffs of people who were paid well, but not too well. We were hands-on managers. We negotiated the price of everything. We didn’t spend more than we could afford. And, we dreaded having to balance our budgets to the penny (literally!) under Shelly's watchful eye. But, we always knew that funds would be available if we needed them for something important. And, of course, we enjoyed not being forced onto the unemployment rolls. 

Thank you, Barry Lind, for having a name that didn’t want to die. I was there for both times that parent companies tried to replace the Lind-Waldock name with their own. In each instance, they were bankrupt within three months.

To paraphrase the British: “Lind is dead. Long live Lind!”

© Copyright 2013 SusanGSays LLC


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