Josh is an Accountant & 3D Printer
Josh Standley, CEO of DKK Accounting, Inc., talks about how he discovered his passion for 3D Printing, why he finds it to be a relaxing hobby, how it helps him establish connections in the office, and much more!
• Getting into 3D Printing
• Discussing 3D printing in the office
• Creating connections
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
- Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close
Welcome to Episode 511 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. And 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.
And if you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. And 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 audiobooks. It goes more in-depth with the research behind why these outside of work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it, and now listening to it, and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it. And 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, Josh Standley. He’s the CEO of DKK DKK Accounting in Duluth, Minnesota. And now, he’s with me today. Josh, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Josh: Thanks for having me, John.
John: Oh, this is gonna be a blast. I don’t know enough at all about 3D printing, and I am super excited, and I’m probably gonna order one right after we’re done talking. So, you get a commission. But first, I have 17 rapid fire questions. Get to know Josh on a new level here. I’ll start you out with a— This is gonna be a slam dunk. Star Wars or star Trek?
Josh: Definitely Star Wars.
John: Star Wars. There you go. And a favorite character in particular?
Josh: I’d say Boba Fett and The Mandalorian. Probably my two favorites.
John: Yeah. Yeah. Very much. How about your computer? More of a PC or a Mac?
Josh: I like Mac personally. But for work, it’s gotta be a PC.
John: Yeah. So, a little bit of both? That’s impressive, man.
John: That’s impressive. How about your ice cream, in a cup or in a cone?
Josh: Oh, it depends on the cone.
Josh: And depends on the ice cream.
John: Yes! You’re a professional. I like this.
Josh: I got this chocolate on chocolate with chocolate. Oh, it’s delicious.
John: Oh, wow. So it’s like a chocolate cone with chocolate dipped?
Josh: Yeah. It’s got like fudge in it. It’s kinda like Oreo crumbles.
John: Oh, wow. Yeah.
Josh: It’s just amazing.
John: That’s some next level stuff right there. Like you could almost skip the ice cream.
John: Like “Sir, are you okay?” “I’m totally okay. It’s awesome.” You got chocolate all over your face.
Josh: Will buy one and I’ll eat like two a night sometimes.
John: Right. Right. There you go.
Josh: Don’t judge me.
John: I love it, man. So good. How about would you say more oceans or mountains?
Josh: I kinda like both. I’ve always wanted a cabin near a mountain on the ocean, which is kind of like— Duluth is kind of like that where I live.
John: Right. With the Great Lakes. Absolutely up there. Yeah. Totally, man. I love that. Okay. How about more balance sheet or income statement?
Josh: Ooh, I like the income statement. I just like analyzing it I think. I don’t know why.
John: Sure. Yeah. I feel like there’s a lot more ratios and stuff that you can play with there. Yeah, definitely. HOW about a TV show that you would binge watch of all time? It could be any time.
Josh: Oh, Parks and Recreation is definitely one of ’em.
John: Yeah. Solid answer. There you go. Solid answer. That show is so good. So good. How about puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, or a jigsaw puzzle?
Josh: I don’t like any.
John: None. Okay. Right. Accounting is enough puzzle for me.
Josh: No. If you like puzzles, you would be like working on cars. It’s a puzzle.
John: Oh, okay. That is very much a puzzle.
Josh: 3D printing is like a puzzle ’cause you have all the different axles you have to coordinate to work together, so that’s more mechanical puzzles.
John: Yeah. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Or a picture that we’re gonna put together and then tear apart to put it back in the box. It’s like “Why are we doing this? How about we just skip it and put it right in the box? How’s that sound?”
Josh: The picture’s already complete on the box.
John: Right. Right? Right? There you go. How about a favorite color?
John: Blue. Mine too. How about a least favorite color?
Josh: Anything super neon bright.
John: Ah, okay. That’s a good answer. How about favorite day of the week?
Josh: Actually, surprisingly, Mondays. I look forward to going to work.
Josh: It’s not like work to me. It’s like a hobby I get paid for. I just jump from the thing I like to a thing I like.
John: Well, you’re living a good life, man. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Right? And it’s not all one thing, which is super cool too. You know, it’s several things.
Josh: I just gotta find a little more balance, this issue, ’cause it’s usually one polar end of the opposite. I’m still working on it. Once I find that balance, I think it’s gonna be great.
John: How about a favorite actor or actress?
Al Pacino. That’s a solid answer. There you go. How about a favorite cereal of all time?
Josh: I think Kix has been one of my favorites.
John: Oh, yeah!
Josh: Eating it dry too is just delicious. Yeah. That’s like a midnight snack, you know.
John: There you go. There you go. We got four more. For your books, more audio version, e-Book, or real book?
Josh: Real book. Always real book.
John: Real book.
Josh: Dealing with the computer all day. I want something tangible that I can sit somewhere quiet.
John: True. Good for your eyes. How about a least favorite vegetable?
Josh: That’s a hard one. I like a lot of vegetables.
Josh: Lima bean.
John: Oh, there it is. Something rare out there then. Okay. All right. How about a favorite number?
John: 7. Mine too. Is there a reason?
Josh: Lucky #7. I think that’s about it I guess.
John: No, no, that works for me. It’s the most popular answer by far on here that I get. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Josh: Right now is my Boba Fett stuff.
John: Right, right. Is it like full-on head-to-toe costume?
Josh: Yup. I’m gonna be Boba Fett for Halloween. I’m gonna make an Ironman next. The full Ironman getup ’cause you can print it for like nothing.
John: Yeah, which leads right into talking about 3D printing. And how did that get started? ‘Cause, clearly, it wasn’t something you were doing as a kid.
Josh: I always wanted to be a mechanical engineer at one point in my life, and I just didn’t wanna do as much math. Believe it or not, accounting was easier to get a degree and then going to be a mechanical engineer. So I liked the way things work and move. And so, I ordered a full Boba Fett costume, which cost quite a pretty penny. And I’ve always wanted a 3D printer. And then I saw watching videos and stuff. I’m like I could have made this costume for like 300 bucks instead of spending three grand on it. And so, I ordered a 3D printer, and I’ve just been hooked. Now, I got three.
John: So you got the Boba Fett costume and a 3D printer, so like you doubled the—
John: Three 3D printers. Okay.
Josh: And then I went and bought 3darmory.com, which isn’t live yet because I need to wait to write off my hobby. So I plan to make money at it, but I don’t care if I make a ton of money. Just enough to break even and allow me to print stuff.
John: That’s awesome.
John: Can you 3D print a 3D printer?
Josh: Yes, technically, but there’s still metal components and stuff you’d have to put—
John: Okay. Okay. So like the box itself or whatever. I mean, maybe I’ve seen like some videos or whatever where somebody takes like a chunk of plastic and then all of a sudden it’s like whatever comes out.
Josh: You create almost anything you can imagine.
John: That’s awesome. And so, is it like a program on the computer that you basically do the drafting of and then spit it out to the computer just like you print a piece of paper?
Josh: There’s all kinds of free files. You can just get free files and use the file. Then you have to put that into a software. And then that like puts the lines ’cause we were basically printing lines on top of lines. So you could just grab a file and print. The hardest part is learning to like get all the axes to coordinate. Right?
Josh: But if you wanna do 3D modeling, then you have to have a different software where you actually build, but I mean like you can literally create anything.
John: That’s awesome, man. I would just be printing nonstop. And it’s something that you have in your office there at DKK Accounting
Josh: Yeah. They’re sitting in the office. I actually sold couches to make more room for the 3D printers in the waiting area.
John: Love it!
Josh: But you know, everybody “Hey, what’s that?” And then I get to sit and show ’em like “Hey, I’m making an Ironman outfit.” And they’re like “Oh, my kid would love that.” And you know, I’m hoping I can build the whole costume and maybe go to the cancer ward and show up as Ironman and make someone’s day. Like it just a fun thing to do, you know.
John: Yeah. Or just go grocery shop. Like why not, man? Forget make my kids’ day. It makes my husband’s day. It makes everyone’s day. It’s like “That’s awesome, man.” Like just start high fiving people.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah.
John: I love it, man. That’s really cool. That’s really cool. And so, I guess it’s mostly focused on like Boba Fett and Ironman type of things that you’re printing?
Josh: Right now, yeah. There’s other things that— tool holders. So like Milwaukee impact gun, you can make a tool holder or a battery holder. I’m gonna print something that takes the Milwaukee battery, connects it. And I’m gonna use that to connect the power to the suit. So like it’s not just printing too. I mean, it’s wiring and diagramming. And so, there’s just like this never ending deep dive into this fun hobby basically.
John: Yeah. No. I love it. That’s super awesome, man. It’s also awesome that it’s something that you share at work with clients and with coworkers. Was there ever a part of you that was like “No, one’s gonna care, I shouldn’t talk about it”?
Josh: I just put it in the office.
John: You didn’t even think about it.
You were like “Nope, this is it.”
Josh: You know, I got the helmet in there. It just immediately started opening up people. “Oh, is that the Star Wars helmet?” It’s created conversation just having the helmet in the office. And now, with the 3D printer, it’s like people are way more interested in that than they care about picking up their taxes, you know.
John: Right. Right. And why do you think that is?
Josh: People want a connection. I mean, it happens to be that you do some kind of service for them. But really, what they’re paying for is the relationship and the quality of service you give someone. You can get the same thing done anywhere else. So what are you really paying for? This my philosophy anyways.
John: Yeah, no, you’re totally right. I mean, 99.9% of all of our jobs are a commodity. I mean, there’s somewhere else that does the exact same thing. And so, to hang our hat on “we’re the best because we’re really good at what we do”, well, so is this place down the street. Like who is not good that they wouldn’t be in business anymore, you know? And so, the differentiator is the guy with the Boba Fett helmet and the 3D printer and is waiting area.
Josh: I think it really comes down to how you treat people. I mean, I think the bigger business gets the more away they are from the customer. And they don’t realize like the people probably who should be paid the most are the people dealing with your customers because that’s where all the money comes from. And if they’re not building those relationships, then they’re gonna go somewhere where someone’s going to give them that relationship. Just my philosophy.
John: No, that’s an excellent point. You’re totally right. And it’s more than just doing a good job and having sound technical skills. It’s the other things actually is what they’re paying for.
Josh: The soft skills I think they call it. Right?
John: Yeah. Yeah. Interpersonal skills, what have you, yeah.
Josh: You can teach someone to do the technical stuff, but you can’t always teach someone to do that part of it.
John: Amen, man. And I think it’s becoming harder to find those every day. It’s crazy. And you just care, you know. It’s simple, but not easy. For some reason, just care and then everything good comes from that.
John: And so, do you feel at all like 3D printing gives you a skillset or something that you bring to work? Like is there any of it that translates over either as it’s a complete reprieve from work, so it’s super cool to unplug and do something that’s fun that you’re energized about or is it something that, wow, these are similar skillsets that kind of overlap from the 3D printing world to the DKK Accounting world?
Josh: I think it’s more of a relaxed thing. I mean, it’s a nice conversation piece. It wasn’t my intention for it to be that. It just has become that, which is cool to know that other people have— You know, it opens up the conversation. It brings in the relationship, which is great, because half the fun is being able to get to know people and help them. But yeah, I just did it because I wanted to do it and I came down to it. I just decided to—
John: No, totally. It’s what’s been interesting from doing so many interviews, is how you’re doing it for the pure joy of you enjoy doing it. But oftentimes, there’s an accidental byproduct of, wow, there’s a lot of Star Wars fans out here. Wow, there’s a lot of Ironman fans out here. Wow, there’s a lot of people that have no clue about 3D printing and are just fascinated by it. And so, you know, you’re able to create these conversations and create these connections with people that are so much deeper and richer than if you were just really good at accounting, and then they came in and you gave them their financials, and then they left.
Josh: Even people who really don’t care about Star Wars or anything, they’re still interested in the 3D printer. Like what’s that? What’s it doing? You know?
John: Right? Exactly. So I think that’s what’s so cool about it is, you know, there’s always an extra thing that your and gives you beyond the intrinsic joy for yourself. There’s always something that creates a relatability factor at work, which matters, you know. Because at the end of the day, your firm is dealing with a business, but it’s still a human-to-human connection that happens, so you gotta nurture that. And I think that’s super cool, man. And I think it’s great that you brought it right in. You’re like “Look, I’m not even just gonna tell you about it. I’m gonna show you it’s right here. It’s running right now.”
Josh: It’s right in the waiting room. Too many people wait. You know, these people schedule appointments. So I’m like I’m gonna sell the big couches and I’m gonna make a little more room for my 3D printer cause there’s wasted space.
John: And then they have to walk by it. They see it. What is this? Oh, well, let me tell you. And you know, that’s great, man. I think that’s awesome. And then before 3D printing, was there something else that maybe you were able to create connections with people on or is 3D printing kind of the thing that sort of just kicked the door open on this?
Josh: It’s kicked the door open since I’ve done this for sure. I think it might be a different knickknack in the office or just something in conversation, you know. I think you can always find something to relate to somebody by because we all have similar experiences.
That’s just my experience. You know, I like people. I’ve tried a lot of things before accounting that I’ve been able to bring into accounting. Like I didn’t know working at a retail clothing store would benefit me owning an accounting firm, but it sure did. You know, like it’s great. I don’t know.
John: Yeah. And I love how you said too just having a knack or having something in your office that you see it, it brings you joy, but it’s also a little bit of an opportunity for someone to ask about, you know. And so, showing just a little bit of your humanness lets people wanna glob on to that, so that’s kind of where it starts. I guess you just have something small in your office and then let people ask about it and then see what happens. I think for people that are listening that are like “Well, how do I do this”, it’s like, well just bring something in.
Josh: You have to find some common ground between and you gotta build. Trust is earned, not given. And I just slowly build it over time. You get really deep, great relationships. I mean, we’ve had generations of families.
Josh: I haven’t seen all the generations, but I’ve seen the tail end of the new generations coming in that the families continue to come, and you just get to know these people. And it’s a great feeling. Sometimes you’re like I don’t wanna see people.
John: Yeah. But I mean, it’s cool just to know that like you’re creating that connection and you’re touching people in a way that makes them wanna keep coming back and share it with others. And it’s that humanness that we often forget about with AI, and tech, and all these fancy things. It’s like, yeah, but we still gotta be human.
Josh: I think the AI and tech is great. It should give you more time to give you that customer service and that relationship. That’s where the power is because you can have something automate everything, but you still need someone to translate it.
John: Right. And have some empathy or be able to, yeah, tell someone in a way that’s—
Josh: That they understand because not everybody learns the same way. As a tutor in college, if they don’t understand this way, you have to explain it in a different way. And so, most of what I do is that now. It’s less of the work and it’s more of the relationship, and it’s great. I don’t know. I love it.
John: No. What what’s cool to hear too is all these different back stories to who you are, that play into DKK Accounting now. You know, the retail work, being a tutor, tinkering with mechanical things. You know, all these things that they all come together and make you better at your job. And if any of those you were to leave outside the office or act like they don’t exist or whatever, then you’re not gonna be as good. And so, I love that, man. So many great examples that you’ve dropped just in conversation where it’s like “What?! Yeah! That’s cool.”
Josh: I think too many people try to be the person that they want the person to— I’m saying it wrong, but try to perceive you as this way. But realistically, you win when you’re yourself at the end of the day.
John: Yes. I love that man.
Josh: Depending on who I’m with, you know, I work with a lot of construction people, we might swear because that’s just common in the construction industry. And you’re gonna relate to them in a way that, you know, you be your more self in certain aspects with other people.
John: I remember when I started at PWC right out of school and I walk in and there was a partner that— I mean, I don’t think he could say two sentences without a swear word being in there. And I was like “What?!” It’s like it doesn’t matter. Like it doesn’t matter. Like it’s not like, you know, one is less professional or less whatever. It’s just it’s who you are. All right. Cool. You know? And he’s a partner. So clearly, he was okay.
Josh: Look at Gary Vaynerchuk. He swears all the time. But you know, he has great things to say. I mean, he’s authentic. I think that’s what it comes down to.
John: Right. And if it’s your cup of tea, then great. If it’s not, also great
Josh: Could be your wrong client. It’s not your ideal client.
John: Maybe somebody’s really anti-Boba Fett. Okay, I’m not your guy. Like I’m not your guy.
Josh: We got someone else for you. Don’t worry.
John: Right. Exactly. Some Spock-type person. What?! But no, I love it, man. This is so awesome. And so, do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe has an and that they feel like no one’s gonna care about ’cause it has nothing to do with my job?
Josh: It shouldn’t matter what someone else cares about. You should do what makes you happy, and everything else will follow.
Josh: I think people get in their minds that— I love the John Lennon quote. The teacher said, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” And he says, “Happy.” And the teacher is like “You don’t understand the assignment.” He’s like “You don’t understand life.” Life is that simple I think.
John: Yeah. Simple, but not easy.
Josh: You know, it’s hard. Yeah.
John: Yeah. I mean, the simpler that you want it to be, the harder it is. Our minds and everything. But that’s so rich, man. That’s so good. So this has been so much fun and I might need to go get a 3D printer now before you buy a fourth one, but I feel like it’s only fair since I rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning that we turn it around and make it The Josh Standley Podcast, and I’m all yours. So whatever you wanna ask, fire away.
Josh: If you have a superhero power, would it be flying or invisibility and why?
John: Oh, wow.
Josh: We did this in a psychology class and it got super deep. It was really fun.
John: Yeah. That’s a good one. Like I feel like flying would be just like awesome because then you could just fly. I’m gonna go flying, I think, yeah. ‘Cause invisibility I feel like could be used for evil.
Josh: So can flying maybe.
John: Yeah. Well, I guess that’s true too, but I feel like flying is more of like, well, this is cool, but then I can go places and I can go see things, travel, and all that stuff. So yeah, I’ll go flying.
John: Hopefully, that means that we can still be friends. I don’t know what the deep rooted psychological thing of that is, but—
Josh: I don’t remember. It just became this huge like 2 days in the class we just talked about it. It was just super fun.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Josh: And people just analyze and picked it up apart. I don’t really know.
John: Yeah. No, that’s a good question though for sure.
Josh: So my next one is would you rather have a cabin or a mansion?
John: Oh, a cabin. Yeah. Cabin like just unplugged just out there. Just, I mean, cabins can still be nice that’s for sure. But a mansion is like, man, that’s a lot of. You gotta clean it and like all the— like sort of windows a wash.
Josh: I thought about that.
John: I mean, you would assume that you have someone to do it for you if you own a mansion, but I’m sure I wouldn’t.
Josh: You can get a mansion in Minnesota for like 2-3 million, which is like a regular house in California. But if you had a mansion, like you would have to have staff to clean it. It would just get dusty in parts. You wouldn’t use like 90% of it. That’s crazy to think about.
John: Exactly. It just seems wasteful. The cabin, out in nature, just unplug and just go veg out. And I would fly there naturally.
Josh: Yeah. It goes into my next question. Would you rather drive or fly?
John: You know, and that is a really good question.
Josh: Both are great.
John: Yeah. Both are great. And you know, the driving is to see the journey and blah, blah, but sometimes the journey’s far.
John: Like I’m not driving to Costa Rica. Like I’m flying. Like one overnight, I’ll drive and it will be not annoying. But anything longer than that, it’s like I’m flying. I mean, unless it’s gonna be a road trip where we circle around and hit a bunch of places. But yeah, if we’re going to one place, then let’s get there and yeah. Maybe I’ll sit in the window seat so I can look out a little bit and we’ll combine it.
Josh: Might depend who you’re traveling with too. That makes a difference if you’re stuck in a car for days.
John: That’s a good point. Yeah. Yeah. But I did a ton of driving when I did standup full time. I had like a ton of driving. So I’ve certainly put in my driving time to even that out, so yeah. Well, this has been so much fun, Josh, having you be a part of What’s Your “And”? Thanks so much for taking time to do this.
Josh: And thanks for having me, man. This is great.
John: Everybody, if you wanna see some pictures of what Josh has been printing or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Everything is there. And 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. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple podcast 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.