Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

June 9, 2018


As he sat down in his Porsche 911 and wrapped his hands around the wheel, Magnus Walker felt the thrill he feels every time he sits in one.

The memories of the first Porsche he ever laid eyes on in real life when he was ten come rushing back to him. As the motor revs, the familiar smell of gas and oil embrace his nose like a long-lost lover and he is in love all over again. 

One foot on the brake. One on the clutch, he puts it in first and slowly pulls out of his garage. That is the last time he goes slow for the remainder of the day.

It’s pedal to the medal from the Los Angeles arts district over 60 miles up into the California mountains at over one hundred miles an hour. His long hair and beard blowing in the wind. His arms using all of their strength to navigate the curves.

His classic car has no power steering. Driving is his workout. 

The cool air fills the vehicle and he is at peace. His head is clear. His thoughts are quiet. He starts to think about how far he’s come. 

Magnus Walker grew up in Sheffield, England with two siblings and both of his parents. His mother worked at a school. His father worked whatever job came along. Both Magnus and his father had a love for cars.

Most boys in the 70’s had a love for sports cars. Magnus was no different. His father fostered his affections by taking him to races and car shows regularly. The one show that stuck out to him was the Earl’s Court Motor Show in London in 1977.

Magnus was 10 years old. It was the first time he had ever seen a Porsche in real life.

It was a 911 model.

Magnus walked around the whole car. Admiring the red, white and blue paint. He looked at the sleek interior. He stood at the back and his eyes were stuck on the word “Turbo.”

He decided at that moment, he would own a Porsche 911 Turbo one day. 

When he got home from the car show, Magnus sat down and wrote a letter to Porsche. He told them he wanted to come work for them. And surprisingly enough, Porsche wrote him back.

They lovingly told him that he was too young at the moment, but he should get in touch with them after he finished school. 

Magnus put the letter away and forgot about it. He went back to running cross country track. That was his current happy place. He had been bullied and made fun of for his name since the day he started school.

Running cross country was his way of blowing off steam.

Spending some much needed time alone not being bothered by anybody. Over the next few years, his running became more than a way to avoid being picked on.

He became competitive. He won races. He racked up awards. He was a good runner. By the time he was 13, he had even joined a running club.

He looked up to the greats of the time like Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Brendan Foster and Steve Cram. He trained two times a day, six days a week. He aspired to be up there with the best. 

Until he turned fifteen. The golden age for getting into pubs.

Magnus started drinking more and running less. His energy was put into rock music and girls. His training diaries were replaced by albums like Motorhead, Rainbow, Def Leppard and other British heavy metal bands.

Along with a few US bands like Motley Crue and Poison. 

His attitude towards sports and running weren’t the only thing that changed in young Magnus’ life. His clothing style changed as well. He grew out his hair, much to his father’s dismay.

He started wearing skin-tight leather pants and Levi’s jeans. He wore jean jackets and leather jackets. He wore mascara. 

In the midst of finding himself and finding his own style, Magnus asked his mother if she would teach him how to sew. She was a talented seamstress and jumped at the opportunity to spend time with her son who was home less and less.

She showed him how to sew his old Levi’s to make them tight again and fit like new.

She showed him how to properly sew a patch on and how to embroider.

Before long, Magnus had his own personal style.

He created jackets that were full of band patches and band names embroidered on his jean jackets. Pants that were sewn to fit perfectly. 

Concerts and pubs became his daily routine. He worked to go out on the weekends.

When he finished school — and not successfully — Magnus got a job as a laborer. It wasn’t a job he loved, but he carried his competitive spirit with him everywhere he went so he was good at it.

He mixed mortar at record speed. Always trying to get it to the brick masons before they ran out of the batch before. He cleaned up swiftly always trying to clean up faster than he cleaned up the time before. His boss was impressed.

But he eventually tired of all the manual labor.

He didn’t want to do that for the rest of his life. 

Magnus didn’t have a plan at all. He mostly just went where the wind blew him.

When he was 18, it blew him to study sports management for a year at a local school. He only picked that subject because he already liked sports and figured he would excel.

While he was in school, his classmates talked about working abroad for the summer with a program called Camp America. You had to apply and be accepted. The application part was easy. The being accepted part was a far-flung dream. 

As it turned out, far flung dreams sometimes come true. 

Magnus had never thought about leaving England. He never wanted to go to the United States. He was content where he was. But when the winds blew again, he found himself with a small duffel bag packed.

Sitting on a free ride to Detroit, Michigan. 

He worked the summer program as expected with underprivileged youth. As the summer came to a close, Magnus decided that he wanted to see Los Angeles. The home of some of his favorite rock and roll bands.

So instead of boarding the plane home, Magnus boarded a bus for a long, four-day journey across the country. 

He ended up in LA, with a park bench for a bed. His first night there, he was awakened by the local police telling him he had to move on.

So he wandered the city. Nowhere to live. No job. Just the bag on his back, the money from his summer job, and the concrete and sand under his feet. 

Magnus slowly established himself in LA.

He found a place to live.

He went and bought a few clothes on Melrose. He fell in love with a pair of leopard print pants. He bought them and took them home. He used the lessons his mother had taught him to tailor them to fit him exactly how he wanted them to.

The next time he wore them out, a member of the Pussycat Dolls, a very popular band back then, asked him where he got the pants.

Instead of telling him that he got them around the corner, he said, “England.” The band member wanted to buy 8 pair. Magnus upped the price by $15 per pair and made more in a few hours than he had made all week. 

Again, clothing was never part of his plan. The plan picked him.

Magnus started going around to thrift stores and flea markets during the week and buying clothes.

He would take them home and personalize them.

When the weekend approached, he would set up a table on the main strips in LA and sell his product. 

Magnus met his other half and married her while selling his clothing. Together they took his street mercantile to the next level. They rented a warehouse where they made and distributed his fashions.

They named the company Serious Clothing. And for the next fifteen years, they were successful and dressed superstars such as Bruce Willis and Madonna. 

And then the day came. In 1992, Serious Clothing had brought Magnus serious money. So serious, that he was able to buy his first Porsche.

Not unlike getting a tattoo, Magnus soon had somewhat of an addiction to more. He started amassing Porsche 911’s of as many years as he could.

He would buy old Porsches and fix them up.

Just like he did with the clothing, he always added his own personal touch. Making a name for himself in Porsche car circles worldwide. 

Even the company took notice. Thirty years after they sent him that first letter, he received a second letter inviting him to Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart. Where he was able to visit the Porsche museum. He was able to talk about the car he loved with the people who made it. 

It was a trip that changed his life and fueled his passion for Porsche even more. 

Over the last 25 years, Magnus has collected over 40 Porsche 911’s. He has revamped even more than that. He doesn’t usually sell them, but he will do contract work for other Porsche owners.

He also sells accessories and has been dubbed the Urban Outlaw for his go against the grain lifestyle. 

He didn’t plan any of this.

He just followed his gut every single time it spoke to him. Life didn’t fall into his lap, but he let life happen to him.

And when life pointed him in a certain direction, he didn’t question it. He didn’t make excuses. He went with it and he made it work. And when it wasn’t working anymore, he changed directions- fearlessly.

It was pure momentum. The ebb and flow of life — going where it takes you without excuse or apology.

Unwilling to quit or go back. 

What are you scared to do? What direction is your gut pushing you in? Why are you still making excuses to no do it? 

Be fearless. Live your life. You never know when it will turn into the dream you never dared to dream. 

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.