“I come up with an idea every week. Nine of ten of them are usually terrible. It’s really all just serendipitous and dumb luck as to how everything happens.”
– Lincoln McCardle
written by Jasmine Hon
Lincoln McCardle seems to be good friends with chance, constantly running into great ideas and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. During the day, he works as a full-time network associate at Bell Canada, monitoring data traffic. With all his other time, Lincoln hosts an original show on Rogers TV, serves on numerous boards in the city of London, and is the inventor of many wacky yet useful creations like Twittens.
Lincoln describes Twittens as “gloves of the text generation.” He first came up with the idea four years ago, while walking through Western’s campus in the winter. As he was struggling to text on his phone in the cold, he noticed how effortlessly the girl next to him was able to text wearing fingerless gloves. Lincoln’s initial reaction was to get a pair himself, but upon contemplation, realized that the most ideal gloves would have flaps on the tip of the fingers to still keep the users’ hands warm when they are not using their phones.
Lincoln emailed three to five manufacturers with the “Twittens” idea, not really expecting a reply. A few months later, a company called him to say that they loved his idea but did not have the capacity for production. They did, however, refer him to another manufacturer. By December 2010, Twittens was a blooming business receiving lots of publicity and attention. Lincoln sold two thousand pairs within the first four days, over five thousand pairs in the first year, and another five thousand the year after that.
How Lincoln came to host #ldnont on Rogers TV was also by complete chance.
Two years ago, Rogers TV was searching for new show ideas, and Lincoln thought it would be interesting to have a show about the Twitter hashtag #ldnont to follow how locals feel and talk about community events on social media. Lincoln likes the search #ldnont, because “London’s a small enough city that it only needs one hashtag to cover everything happening in the community. Cities that are larger need numerous hashtags to cover all of its events on art, sports, culture, music etc.”
However, Lincoln did not actually think that Rogers TV would want his idea, so he answered only a few of the hundred questions on the application. His response to the question about past experience was “donut, bagel, zero, zilch, none.”
A few days later (and to Lincoln’s great shock), Rogers TV called him to say that they loved the #ldnont idea. Skip ahead two years and Lincoln is now the host of one of London’s top-rated shows. He also invites two different members of the community every week to be his co-hosts. In the beginning, Lincoln found himself having to approach people to come on the show, but now people are coming to him to ask to appear on the show instead. Because of #ldnont, many Londoners who formerly disregarded Twitter as a relevant news source are beginning to realize the usefulness of social media in connecting members of the community together.
One of the many things I learned from my conversation with Lincoln McCardle is to be more daring and to “just go for it.” As a student entrepreneur, I am always coming up with different ideas but am just too scared to carry through with any of them. Lincoln, on the other hand, is always willing to take on risk, and his passion in finding new ideas and realizing them greatly inspires me to do the same. As he said, “the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work out – so you move on, and come up with another idea.”
Maybe if I follow after Lincoln McCardle just a little more, I will end up with my own TV show as well. #justkidding
About the writer
Jasmine Hon is a first-year student studying Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) at Western University with Advanced Entry Opportunity (AEO) to the Richard Ivey School of Business. While her interests lie within the fields of journalism and business, she is uncertain as to the kind of career she’d like to pursue in the future. For now, Jasmine is just greatly inspired by the entrepreneurs she’s met to continue working hard and discovering more about her passions. In her spare time, this eighteen-year-old is often spotted exploring the city of London, visiting the farmer’s market, or tapping away furiously on her laptop in various coffee shops around the city.