40 Under Forty: Mike Hines, owner, Redline Computers

2014-02-02T00:15:00Z 2014-02-10T16:40:13Z 40 Under Forty: Mike Hines, owner, Redline Computers The Billings Gazette
February 02, 2014 12:15 am

Saying that Mike Hines grew up tapping on a computer keyboard is no exaggeration.

“My dad bought a TRS 80 when I was 4 years old, and I messed around with that,” he said. People who know their computer history recognize that particular model as one of the earliest home computers.

During high school, Hines continued to show a knack for an industry that was exploding in popularity and has fundamentally changed how the world does business and shares information.

Not only was Hines the first among his circle of friends to buy his own computer, he was also an early user of the Internet.

Marketing experts classify people like Hines as early adopters because they are on the cutting edge of new ideas and products long before the masses have a clue about what’s going on.

When teens started spending long hours in front of computer screens, many worried parents responded by yanking the power cord from the wall. But Hines said his parents remained supportive of is high-tech passion.

“My parents were real encouraging, even though my dad was a little hesitant when he saw me tearing into the computer I had bought,” he said.

Hines studied computer science during his time in college, but much of the course work concentrated on software applications and writing computer code.

“I didn’t enjoy the coding that much. My interest was in the hardware or IT side,” he said.

Hines held a series of technology-related jobs before launching Redline Computers 12 years ago. Redline provides computer repair service, computer sales and other services such as IT service/consulting, managed IT and cloud computing.

Describe how you got where you are in your work today: Trial, error, the grace of God, stubborn persistence and constant learning.

What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? Changing roles from a “one man marching band” to “conducting an orchestra” as we’ve grown.

What did you learn from that challenge? Leadership and delegation are much more difficult than they appear on the surface and create a whole new set of challenges.

What’s the best business advice you have received? Trim out a less-profitable service I was doing and focusing on the more profitable services.

Who gave you that advice? My father.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Help people learn outside of traditional post-secondary education. Traditional four-year degrees aren’t as essential to success as they were 20 to 30 years ago.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? Relationships, both quality and quantity.

Which living person do you most admire? Dave Ramsey.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Growing the business from a $300 investment and one client to what it is today.

I’m happiest when I’m… Recreating in the great outdoors.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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