Braughm is a CEO & Car Builder
Braughm Ricke talks about his passion for building cars, how it relates to building a company, and why it is important to have something to focus on outside of your work!
• Getting into car building
• How building cars and companies are relatable
• Highlighting personalization within the company
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Welcome to Episode 427 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett, and each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.
If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book, also called What’s Your “And”? It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. If you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books. It goes more in depth into the research behind why these outside-of-work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and listening to it and writing such great reviews on Amazon and more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this week is no different with my guest, Braughm Ricke. He’s the founder of Aduro Advisors who provide strategic financial services to premier venture capital and private equity firms. Now he’s with me here today. Braughm, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Braughm: Yeah, thanks so much for having me.
John: Yeah, this is going to be a blast, so much fun. First, I have some rapid-fire questions, get to know Braughm right out of the gate. This one might be an easy one. How about a favorite color?
John: Blue. Solid. Mine too. How about a least favorite color?
John: Purple. Interesting. Okay.
Braughm: Yeah, I know, not too far from blue. Right?
John: Yeah, yeah, but it mixes with red and then it gets tainted. It’s dirty. How about cats or dogs?
Braughm: Dogs. I’ve got four.
John: Oh, wow. Okay. All right, you’re all in on that. How about a favorite actor or actress?
Braughm: Jason Statham. First one top of mind.
John: Oh, okay. Nice. Yeah, that’s the first time for that, but yeah, really good. How about more chocolate or vanilla?
John: Yeah. Yeah. How about a favorite day of the week?
Braughm: Great question. Maybe let’s say Sunday.
John: Sunday. Okay, solid. There you go. How about puzzles, Sudoku, crossword or jigsaw?
John: Sudoku. Nice. That’s actually how I do my tax return. Just kidding.
John: No one call the IRS. Alright, we’re all good. How about Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars. Yeah, mine too. Yeah, for sure. How about your computer, PC or Mac?
John: Yeah, for sure.
Braughm: I’m in the financial industry.
John: Exactly. They don’t even teach you what a Mac does.
Braughm: I don’t even know what a Mac is.
John: Right, or that it exists. How about a typical breakfast?
Braughm: Eggs and toast.
John: Eggs and toast. Nice.
John: Solid. There you go. How about a favorite ice cream flavor? I’m a huge ice cream junkie.
Braughm: Dutch chocolate.
John: Oh, nice. There you go, a little added Dutchness.
Braughm: Yeah, get the dark chocolate.
John: Yeah, a little bit richer in there. How about more talk or text?
John: Text. There you go. We should have just typed out our interview. That would have been.
Braughm: Yeah, so we don’t talk to each other. Yeah, exactly.
John: Everyone just read it. It’s all good. It’ll be transcribed at the bottom. How about balance sheet or income statement?
Braughm: Oh, income statement.
John: Income statement, just show me the number. There it is. Boom. We’ve got four more. How about your first concert?
Braughm: Oh, this is a little bit embarrassing but B-52s.
John: Oh, that’s awesome, The Love Shack. There you go.
Braughm: Exactly. Yeah, my brother took me.
John: That’s awesome. Very cool. Very cool. How about a favorite number?
Braughm: Three or five, or a combination thereof.
John: Okay. Is there a reason?
Braughm: Just like threes and fives.
John: Yeah. Okay. Then 35 and 53.
Braughm: 53, yeah.
John: Okay, all right. I like it. How about books, audio version, e-book or real book? Real book? Yeah, because you can feel it.
Braughm: Yeah, you can take it with you. It’s just, yeah, classic feel.
John: Right, exactly. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Braughm: Well, my cars.
John: There you go. I was going to say. That’s probably going to be the answer, which leads right into the conversation. How did this get started? Did you grow up always wanting, I mean, I had a Lamborghini poster when I was a kid, type of thing and stuff like that?
Braughm: Yeah. I’ve always had a passion for cars. My walls were plastered with tear-outs of various car magazines. It’s always been that way.
John: Were your parents into it, or it was just you were always into it and then took it the next step?
Braughm: It was actually my grandfather. He was obsessed with Mercedes and just had a whole collection of them. It was always inherent in me, but he really helps for it.
John: Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, because it starts out as Matchbox cars and then now that we have adult money, it’s real cars.
John: There you go. That’s so cool. Is there a theme to them, or is it just anything that you like?
Braughm: Yeah, there’s definitely a couple of themes, and one theme being SUVs. I have a penchant for SUVs and classic SUVs. Also, going back to one of your earlier questions, blue. My kids even make fun of me for how many blue cars I own.
John: That’s great. That’s so cool. That’s awesome. Mostly blue, classic SUVs, okay, there you go. That’s awesome, man. Is it just buying them and then driving them? Or you also get under the hood and tinker a little bit?
Braughm: Yeah, it’s a lot of tinkering, a lot of planning, a lot of upgrading and then also building.
Braughm: One of the most fun projects that we’re doing is, my son and I, my oldest, he and I are building a kit car. We’re literally putting every single bolt on, every rivet, everything. It’s an absolute blast to get into a car at that level.
John: Yeah. It’s a kit that shows up at your, I mean, it’s similar to when you were a kid with the plastic model, except for it’s something you’re actually going to ride in.
Braughm: Right, right. Yeah, it’s similar to a really complex Lego.
John: Right. Yeah. That’s so cool, man. That’s awesome, and it’s got to be really fun as a father-son bonding, sort of thing, and all that.
Braughm: Absolutely, yeah. We really put a lot of research into it, in terms of what kit, what to do, which car we want to build. We also went to a build school. The company that makes the kit car that we chose, has a build school out in Detroit. We went there for three days and built one with a bunch of other guys from all over the country.
John: That’s awesome.
Braughm: Too, just to make sure that it’s something that we felt like we could do. From there, we’re like, yeah, absolutely, let’s do it. Yeah, we bought it right there.
John: Yeah, that makes total sense because you don’t need people not knowing what they’re doing and then going down the interstate on a car they made, and the wheels fall off or whatever.
Braughm: Yeah, something falls off. That might be a little dangerous.
John: Exactly. Exactly. That’s super cool. So, what kind of car is it that you guys are building?
Braughm: We’re building a kit Shelby Cobra.
Braughm: Yeah. It will not be slow. It will not be extremely safe, but it will be extremely fun.
John: Right, which is what we’re going for.
Braughm: Right. Yeah, and it will be blue.
John: And it will be blue.
John: Do you have to paint it as well?
Braughm: Yes, we have to get it painted as well. We’re nearing the point now, we’ve been working on it for about a year and a half, and we’re nearing the point now where we take it to the body shop.
John: Oh, okay. Yeah, so the end is near then, I would imagine.
Braughm: Yep. Absolutely. Which is good because my oldest is going off to college in a month.
John: Right. Just in time for you to be able to drive it.
Braughm: Right. Exactly.
John: Thanks for helping build it. No, that’s super awesome, man. Do you feel at all that building a car or even just being into cars gives you a skill that translates to your career?
Braughm: Yeah, absolutely. I look at what we’ve done with my company for the last nine years, and my entire team, is very much a build project. There are a lot of corollaries between what I do in my spare time as to what I do in my professional time. That building theme is very much a commonality between the two, of building the company, step by step by step. Obviously, you don’t have an instruction guide or an instruction manual to walk you through.
John: It will be awesome if there was.
Braughm: Yeah, seriously, right? The instruction manual for the car is 500-something pages long. Who knows how long it would be for a company build, right?
Braughm: It is very similar. There are a lot of corollaries.
John: Yeah. That’s interesting because at no point in your education, did anyone say, hey, learn how to build a car because it’ll make you a better founder and CEO of a company.
Braughm: Right. Right. Yeah, but very similar, when you’re building a company, you’re going to hit roadblocks. You’re going to hit issues where you really don’t know the answer, and you have to sit back and research it and figure it out on your own. Even with the instruction manual for building a car, is pretty much the same way. Kit cars aren’t perfect. There are a lot of things that don’t fit right together. There are a lot of things that, okay, this isn’t the best part. Let’s go and research and find a better part. There’s a lot of the same mentality that goes into hitting those roadblocks and how to address them as well.
John: That’s interesting. Something I hadn’t really thought about before, but you’re exactly right. Imagine if there was a manual. That would be great.
Braughm: It will be nice.
John: It would be stupid long. It would be like the whole encyclopedia because well, what if this and what if that and what if this? You’ve started it from the beginning, so you’ve experienced all of the what-ifs. It’s crazy town.
Braughm: Yeah, and they come every day.
John: Right. Exactly. Exactly. Are the cars, is this something that you talk about at work that coworkers know about or colleagues know about?
Braughm: Yeah, I would say some know about it, for sure. I’ve definitely referenced, when talking to the team about building the company, I definitely reference car building and that sort of thing. Yeah, there’s a lot more to it behind that, just in terms of the collecting and such, but I think that build component is very much a really interesting data point to talk about.
John: Yeah, for sure. Because sometimes it’s like, well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the job, so some people feel like, well, I’m not going to talk about it or whatever. You’re not shouting it from the rooftops. It’s not the leading, hi, I collect cars. Oh, yeah, by the way, my name is also Braughm, something like that. It’s, if it comes up, it comes up. If somebody else is talking about cars, you’re like, hey, I know a little bit about that. That’s awesome. Have you come across anybody, whether it’s clients or even throughout your career that have also been into cars?
Braughm: Absolutely. Yeah. My favorite is when, in this world of Zoom, we get little glimpses into people’s work environments. A lot of people have the fake backgrounds or whatever, but a lot of people don’t. My background, obviously, you can see it, but you can’t see it on the podcast. My background, I’ve got a model Land Rover Defender, which I have a real life version of. I’ve got a model classic Ford Bronco, which I also have a real life version of. It spurs a lot of the conversation. They’re there on my shelf, behind my camera, because I like them, and I like to see them. Also, I like that it spurs that conversation sometimes.
John: Yeah. No, that’s great. Because that’s the thing, the little bit of silver lining to this whole working remotely now is that we’ve all been in each other’s homes. We’ve been able to see those things. They bring me joy. That’s why they’re there. They’re also there for you to ask about it. It’s like, hey, what’s with the model Bronco? It’s like, let me tell you.
Braughm: Right. Exactly.
John: Do you have a model OJ that fits in the model Bronco? No, you don’t. Okay.
Braughm: I purposely don’t have an OJ version of the Bronco.
John: It’s blue. It’s also blue, everybody, just so you know.
Braughm: Yeah, it’s not white.
John: Right. Right. Exactly. That’s super cool, man. It’s interesting to hear just how people pick up on that and then you can pick up on theirs. That’s really neat. How much do you feel it’s on an organization to create this sandbox, if you will, for people to play in, to share their “ands”? Versus, how much is it on the individual to maybe just start in a small group?
Braughm: Yeah, I think you’re right that it is hard to just open up about what your hobby is, that’s what I’m saying, unless you’re very overt about it just naturally. Because a lot of this is, I think a lot of people feel there are two parts of my life. There’s the professional piece, and then there’s the personal piece. That “and” really is very much in the personal piece, but I think there’s a lot of value to having a crossover there and thinking through or being able to talk about it more at work. What are your hobbies, what do you like to do and that sort of thing. We try to bring that out in our team. We we ask them upfront, and we try to highlight that in our internal bios, so that people can get a more personalized feel for each of their team members, which is also really crucial for us because we are historically, we’ve always been a distributed team. Obviously, everybody else is living our world that we’ve been living for nine years now, so it’s a little bit more crucial for us to try to pull that out a little bit more.
John: Yeah, that’s an excellent point because you can’t really create the connections over just work. It doesn’t have to get creepy deep, but just one step deep, below surface level. That’s interesting to hear that that’s in the real world, too, than just in my bubble head.
John: But that it works.
Braughm: It does. It helps. Yeah.
John: Yeah. I would imagine that people that are in person that are listening, that’s going to help even more then, so it’s even more crucial. Yeah, that’s interesting. That’s a good point. Yeah. Because I feel like, sometimes, people feel they’re permission-based. They’re like, well, they didn’t say we could talk about our outside-of-work hobby ever. It’s like, yeah, but they never said you couldn’t. If it comes up, why not? Just share.
Braughm: Yeah, and we really want to get over that feeling of not knowing if you can talk about it or not, so we’re just very overtly asked.
John: Yeah. That’s great. Because then it’s not only is it permitted, it’s actually almost required. We’re asking you, so tell us. Do you have any words of encouragement to people that are listening that maybe feel like, well, I have a hobby, but it has nothing to do with my job, like cars and accounting or something like that?
Braughm: Yeah, they’re ancillary to each other. They’re in conflict, if you will. You’re spending money on an asset that depreciates, unless it’s one of those really unique ones that actually appreciates.
John: Right. Exactly.
Braughm: Yeah, so they don’t really go hand in hand. The building part, it’s a nice corollary now, but it wasn’t always that way. It was just passion for cars, period, in general. I think that just being comfortable with talking about what sort of things you enjoy. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be one item that defines you. Cars is just probably one of my bigger passions. There are a bunch of others, but that is one of the ones that maybe is close to an obsession, so, close to the top, naturally.
John: Yeah, but it’s something that lights you up. You get excited about, you talk about. You think and breathe it. As the founder of a company, it’s probably a similar thing because you’re the founder, but not everybody’s a founder of something.
John: They’re not thinking and breathing it, 24/7, type of thing. It’s cool to have something else and find out what that is.
Braughm: Yeah, things that really drive you, things that really, you get fixated on, and also things that have more meaning to them than maybe just on the surface. For me, the classic Bronco, the ‘66 Bronco I have, that’s the kind of car that I learned to drive on, at my grandfather’s farm, when I was 12. It has more meaning to it than that. My classic Land Rover Defender, I had pictures of Defenders, my entire life. It was always the one car I was completely fixated on, and I finally have one. It’s about having those goals, setting those goals and achieving them, both professionally and in life.
John: That’s awesome, man. Because I would imagine that achieving something outside of work, probably motivates you just as a person that then accidentally also motivates you, work-wise, as well. You can’t have one without the other. That’s what’s so interesting to me is how people try to have only work all the time as their only thing. It’s like, you have to have the other side, or you’re just not going to be as successful.
Braughm: Yeah, it’s an easy way to get burnt out, too. Right?
John: Oh, yeah.
Braughm: Yeah. You definitely want to have that balance. Yeah, those hobbies and those interests outside of work definitely drive overall success, I think.
John: Yeah, I agree. It’s just interesting how our default mode is only work, talk about work. Anything that’s not work-related is too far. It’s like, no, not really because as a founder, you hired the whole person, not just the technical skills part, so we’ve got to nurture the whole person, type of thing. It sounds like you’re doing that, which is cool.
Braughm: Yeah. I’ll go on and on about work, but as soon as somebody flips that switch for me, talking about cars, I’m gone. I have to remember to reel myself back in because then all of a sudden, I’ve spent 90% of the scheduled time on something other than work-related.
John: Right. So what was this meeting about anyway? All right.
John: That’s what it is. We all have that thing, at least one of those things, that if somebody flips that switch, it’s on. That’s cool, man. It’s cool to hear that it’s something that does come up and that you share it and that there’s positive benefits from that, which is always cool to hear. This has been great. Before I wrap it up, I figured it’s only fair that I turn the tables because I so rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning. We’ll make this the, why not, the first episode of the Braughm Ricke podcast. Thanks for having me on.
Braughm: I’m always interested, to you, what is the most interesting “and” you have heard in one of these interviews?
John: Oh, wow. Not trying to dodge, they’re all interesting to me. It would be like asking you, what’s your favorite kid or your favorite dog?
Braughm: Fair enough.
John: They’re all good in a different way. Some of them are just like racing vintage motorcycles or making kombucha or ballroom dancing. I had a guy who’s a managing partner of a firm in Louisville, Kentucky, who loves to rollerblade. He goes to a skate park and rollerblades.
Braughm: That’s awesome.
John: He’s in his 50s. It’s just people that are alive. It’s just so cool to see. Just, it’s the Instagram page you just scroll through. It’s just such a variety of things. The coolest part is they’re all smiling, and they’re happy. You go to their business profile page and that head shot, not always that big of a smile.
Braughm: I can also appreciate that you said Louisville correctly, considering that that’s where, actually, where I was born.
John: Oh, you were. Oh, yeah, you have to say it like you have a bunch of marbles in your mouth.
Braughm: Louisville. Yeah. I guess one other question, what’s your favorite kind of car?
John: My favorite kind of car, actually, my first car when I was a kid was my mom’s 1968 Mustang.
John: Yeah, that was pretty cool. I don’t know. I’ve always been a Ferrari guy, I guess. I just tend to, if I could, in case you come across one, and it’s a buy-one-get-one-free.
Braughm: Sure, I’ll grab one for you.
John: I don’t care. It could be blue even. It’ll be fine. I don’t even know. Do they make them?
Braughm: Yeah. They make a nice blue, yeah.
John: Okay. All right. We’ll be the only two blue cars out there.
Braughm: Yep, totally.
John: That must be a kit Ferrari. No, it’s real. Cool, man. Well, this has been awesome, Braughm. Thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?
Braughm: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me on.
John: For sure, and everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Braughm’s collection or him building his car or what have you, maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com Everything’s there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out the book.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.
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