Over the years of Built By Battle's existence, I've had quite a few people ask me the same two questions; where did I come up with the idea and how did I go about getting it going. I usually give relatively short answers, but there's so much more if you really want to know. That's why I've decided to use this platform to go into detail on those two questions. Every up, every down, my background... everything. I've never had a blog before but there's always a first time for everything, right? Just a fair warning, some of this stuff may be unsettling at times.
For starters, my name is Danny Smith. I'm 32 years old and I'm from a small town in Illinois that's near St. Louis, Mo. I've always been one to try to figure out how something works. By time I was 4 years old, I had taught myself how to use our first computer. This was 1992, so I'm talkin' no Windows software. Just a black screen and commands. I was the youngest in my house and the only one that knew how to operate it. I eventually started taking toys apart. As I got older, it became bikes and music equipment and even eventually the entire interior of my first car (1972 Chevelle).
I'd like to think that trait was the first of many that lead me down the path of entrepreneurship. Once I knew how something worked, I'd realize how simple most things are, or even how I could make the same thing. A couple wires, battery pack,a light, a button and boom, you've got Buzz Lightyear's laser blast. Another trait I picked up along the way was creativity. I taught myself how to draw so I could get concepts out of my head and down on paper. I remember drawing cars that only existed in my head, or new things to bolt on to my bike. Most of them were just crazy, but a few of them maybe could have actually been something.
In between those ideas, I had the typical lemonade stand in the summer time. I'm not going to lie, I was not much of a worker. That took a while to learn. But, I'd usually get neighbor kids to help me run the stand and we'd split the money. I also used to paint bikes for kids in the area. My brother would take them apart, I would paint them and put them back together. There were always business ideas floating around, especially when we were bored in the summer time.
By my early teens, I really started to feel like an outcast. I always had friends at school, but I was always in detention for getting in to fights. I couldn't stand bullying so I always included myself in any fight or situation I'd see where someone was getting picked on. I remember this one time where a kid was invited to play basketball with the popular guys during recess. He was pretty happy to be included. He couldn't see what was about to happen.
When he wasn't looking, one of the popular kids fuzzed the basketball right at his face from maybe 10 feet away. It hit him so hard that his feet went over his head when he fell. I handled the situation and walked by myself all the way to the principals office to tell him that I just beat up a kid for fuzzing a basketball at another kids face. I'm not okay with someone picking on or taking advantage of someone else.
Depression became a real thing at that point. Looking back, I feel like it was kinda always there. I think that may be why I was so intrigued with how things work. I was probably around 10 years old when I first thought of suicide. I always felt some sort of darkness around me. My parents divorced when I was 3 and, even though I went to his house every other weekend as a kid, I never really had much of a relationship with my dad. I felt like a ghost there. My brother and my oldest sister both knew him really well, but I was the youngest out of my parents kids (my dad re-married and had two more daughters) and something just seemed... different. Because of this, I felt lost.. for a long time. Until 2018 to be precise. That was when I learned why I felt like I did.
I'm going to have to end it here because a whole lot of things happened when I was in high school. I'm trying to keep these short enough to read in a few minutes. I'll be updating as frequently as I can. Hopefully 3-5 times a week for this series. Feel free to follow me on all social media @dannysmith618.