Kris Lindahl is the most misunderstood person on the planet. There, I said it.
You know Kris Lindahl, but you don’t really know Kris Lindahl. You might think you know him because you see his face a lot—arms outstretched promoting Kris Lindahl Real Estate on billboards, buses, light rail trains, online, and most recently during airplane flyovers at Vikings and Minnesota United games. I can tell you exactly where you’ve seen Kris’ ads, because my ad agency designs and places them.
At the same time, chances are you don’t really know Kris at all. And yet this fact hasn’t gotten in the way of lots of people expressing their opinions about him. A marquee in Uptown now reads “Kris Lindahl Must Be Stopped.” Setting aside the fact that this sign further promotes the person it’s trying to take down, let’s be honest: At this point, what really needs to stop is the increasingly ridiculous social media hatred directed at my client and friend.
I started working with Kris in 2017 when we were introduced through a mutual friend who knew that Kris could no longer grow his business by himself. When I arrived in Blaine for our first meeting at Kris’ office, I panicked when he called to say, “Where are you? I’m at your office!” Then he walked in with a big grin on his face let out a huge, contagious laugh, and I knew this was a match made in heaven. “Here’s a guy who takes his business seriously but not himself,” I thought. And I was right.
Since that moment, my respect for Kris has grown a hundred fold. Being in the media and advertising business, I’ve worked with thousands of people, and I can honestly say that Kris is the most positive and generous person I’ve ever known. He’s also one of the smartest. It’s no accident that he’s gone from being a top agent, to running a top team, to now leading one of the fastest-growing independent real estate companies in the country. He’s disrupted a traditional industry and made it more tech-savvy and customer-centric for the internet age, virtually overnight. No biggie …
But Kris’ impact goes well beyond his business. When a local family’s house burned down, Kris used his personal brand to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help them recover, including buying all-new band instruments for the kids. When beloved youth hockey coach Harv Graczyk died from a traumatic brain injury, Kris again used his platform to promote the family’s GoFundMe page, personally contributing thousands of dollars while also helping raise nearly $40,000 for funeral and other expenses. For several years, Kris’ team has sponsored the Great Pumpkin Giveaway in Blaine, handing out free pumpkins, providing family entertainment and donating the proceeds to charity.
I could easily give you 50 more examples like this. I could tell you that Kris truly lives to help other people. I could tell you that I’ve never heard him utter a negative word about another person. I could tell you that he would literally give the “Be Generous” shirt off his back to a stranger. I could tell you all that and more, because that’s the real Kris Lindahl.
So you can imagine what it’s been like watching the army of self-loathing “trollpreneurs” take their shots at my friend. We’re not talking run-of-the mill “damn, this guy does a lot of advertising!” comments. We’re talking seriously hateful, vitriolic stuff. My agency specializes in social media, so I’m well aware that anyone who puts themselves out there inevitably faces a backlash. But it’s one thing to let off your snark steam; it’s quite another to create hurtful rumors with no basis in fact.
Yet doing this to Kris Lindahl has somehow become a blood sport. And why exactly? Because people are tired of seeing his “wing span”? Do these people rip on other companies for the cardinal sin of advertising? Do they realize that other brands have far more billboards than Kris does—and that maybe his ads are so hard to ignore because they’re, I don’t know, well concepted and strategically placed?
I’ve yet to read a negative story about Kris that comes within a hundred miles of the truth. “Hey, I saw Kris Lindahl ignoring his son at a school event!” Funny, Kris has a daughter. “I heard he’s spending all his money because he’s going through a divorce and doesn’t want his wife to get it!” Hilarious, because a) spending the money means making money, which is tracked income; and b) Kris’ former spouse (of several years) worked with me recently to place a “Happy Father’s Day” billboard for him as a gift. “I heard that he’s funding his ads from ransomware attacks and is buying Jeffrey Epstein’s Caribbean island!” Okay, I made that one up, but it’s not that crazy compared to some of the other ones out there.
I wish I could let this stuff roll off my back like Kris does. After all, the negatives do add up to a lot of positives. The attention multiplies the effectiveness of our media buys, keeps Kris’ phone ringing and helps his business grow even more.
But I can’t let it go, because it isn’t right. I want to sit every Kris critic down and make them understand how wrong they are about a person they don’t even know. I want to tell them, “Hey, if you’re looking for someone to go after, there’s plenty of truly evil people out there. This ain’t your guy.” And truth be told, I want to put them in the position of not being able to sell their home, because they would probably call Kris Lindahl Real Estate to make it happen. I know I would.
When you see one of your favorite people used as target practice for irrational hatred and creative fake news from total strangers, it’s easy to lose your faith in humanity. But every time I walk up to that line, I stop and remember that there are people who are the exact opposite of all that. People who are kind, positive and generous—who spread a lot of good in the world and leave every person and every day better than when found it. People like Kris Lindahl.