David is a CPA & Non-Profit Founder
David Almonte talks about his non-profit, FountainHead RI, its purpose, and how it helped him improve his skills as a CPA! He also talks about how his office promotes a healthier work culture and why that is so important for productivity!
• Founding FountainHead RI
• Skillsets gained from starting a non-profit
• How his office promotes a healthy work culture
• How both the individual and the organization can influence work culture
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Welcome to episode 487 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 another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that really differentiate you when you’re at work.
If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, a 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. Both versions go 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 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, David Almonte. He’s a financial reporting and analysis senior manager at Amica Insurance out of Providence, Rhode Island, and now, he’s with me here today. David, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
David: John, thank you so much for having me.
John: Yeah, this is going to be a blast, man. This is going to be so much fun. I have my rapid-fire questions, get to know David out of the gate. You buckled in and ready to roll?
David: Buckled in, ready to rock.
John: Okay, all right. There we go. There we go. Here’s an easy one. Cats or dogs?
David: Dogs. Allergic to cats. I’ve got nothing against cats.
John: Oh, no, no, everything about against cats. I’m kidding. I’m teasing. Dogs. Me, too, man, all the way. How about puzzles, Sudoku, crossword or maybe jigsaw puzzles?
David: Let’s go with jigsaw puzzles.
John: Okay. All right. The picture. There you go.
David: Yeah, and I got a little kid. They like those things, too.
John: Oh, yeah. That’s perfect. Yeah, it’s like six pieces. You’re like, I am amazing.
David: Pretty much.
John: That’s awesome. How about a favorite color?
David: I’m going to go with baby blue, like Tar Heel blue.
John: Oh, okay. All right. Is it a Tar Heel connection or…
David: I grew up a big Tar Heel fan, Michael Jordan. Lived down in North Carolina for five years and down there you have to decide. It’s Tar Heels or the Blue Devils. That could decide your career.
John: That really could. It actually could. Who your friends are, what birthday parties you’re invited to, as a kid, all that.
John: That’s awesome. How about a least favorite color?
David: Go with, say, brown.
John: Even sounds not great. It’s just brown. That’s weird. How about a favorite adult beverage?
David: Espresso martinis.
John: Oh, okay. I just heard about this recently.
David: They’re amazing. Favorite drink by far. Father’s Day a couple of years ago, I actually had my wife get me a really nice espresso machine, so I can start making them at the house.
John: Okay, okay. That’s some next level, man. That might be your “and”. That’s impressive.
David: That is, yeah. Future bartender.
John: There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?
David: Oh, I like Ben Affleck.
John: Oh, okay.
David: Yeah, The Accountant.
John: Right. Absolutely. Or Goodwill Hunting, all that stuff. Yeah.
David: Yeah, and he’s a New Englander.
John: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. I like it. Okay. How about, are you more of a shower or a bath?
David: Shower for sure.
David: Yeah, probably just fall asleep if I take a bath.
John: Right. Which maybe is the idea, I don’t know. I don’t like to relax that much.
David: I like to get in and get out. Just do what you got to do in there.
John: Exactly. Right.
David: Get out of there and get on with your day.
John: I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to.
John: That’s awesome. Me too, man. I’m the same. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
David: I’d go Star Wars, although never really got into either of them.
David: I know, save the hate mail.
John: Right. How about when it comes to books, audio version, e-book or real book?
David: I like the real book. I’ve got to underline stuff, fold the pages, go back to it. I haven’t figured out an efficient way to do that without the hard copy.
John: Yeah, we’re just used to it. It’s just easier, for sure. How about a favorite number?
John: Yeah? Is there a reason?
David: Brett Favre, big Brett Favre fan, growing up, so 4, 8, 23 are pretty much my favorite ones. Eight, no clue. Twenty-three, Michael Jordan.
John: Sure. Absolutely. No, that’s awesome. That’s totally cool. It’s usually sports-related. How about, are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
David: Early bird, for sure.
John: Yeah. Good for you.
David: Best thinking in the morning. At night, it’s just draining. Again, two little kids, so I’ve got nothing left at the end of the day.
John: Oh, that’s true. The tank is empty. There you go. Since you have the accounting background, balance sheet or income statement?
David: I’m going balance sheet. I know most people probably say income statement. I’m more of a stability guy. Especially working for a big insurance company, stability matters.
John: There you go. The risk-averseness comes out. I like it. An accountant at an insurance company, it’s like, I don’t know what more risk averse is out there. That’s it.
David: It’s definitely not the cash flow, I’ll tell you that.
John: Right. No, no, no, it’s definitely not. No one knows how to do that. That’s part of it. Thank goodness for computer programs, right?
John: How about, are you more of a PC or a Mac, on computers?
David: PC. I can’t figure out the whole Mac thing.
John: I’m not even cool enough to go into a Mac store, I don’t think.
David: I had one, couldn’t figure it out. I just put it in the basement.
John: That’s hilarious. That’s awesome. How about your first concert?
David: I’m trying to think about this. I think it was actually, I’m afraid to admit this, or maybe I shouldn’t be. It’s Taylor Swift.
David: Yeah, she opened up for… It’s one of those like country packs that you get. Because Taylor Swift before she was Taylor Swift, she was amazing. Lady Antebellum was there, too, before they kind of blew up.
John: Right. That’s awesome, man. That’s very cool. Yeah, it’s so funny to look back and be like, wait a minute, they opened for… There was a band, Live. That was a really great band, and we saw them in college. No Doubt opened for Live. No one has heard of Live now, but everyone’s heard of No Doubt and Gwen Stefani.
David: Of course.
John: It’s funny just to catch them on the way up and then you can tell right away. You’re like, man, that person’s amazing.
David: 100%, and shout out to Taylor Swift. I know she listens to this.
John: Right. Oh, she’s always listening.
David: She has a house here in Newport, Rhode Island, so, fellow Rhode Islander.
John: Oh, there you go. Okay. Her and this breaking up with boyfriends, that’s why I’ve never had her on the show.
David: She just puts them into the songs, whatever works for you.
John: Exactly. We’ve got a couple more. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?
David: Black raspberry all day long.
John: Oh, nice answer.
David: In a frappe or a cabinet or a shake or wherever you’re located, whatever you call it.
John: Right, yeah, whatever the thing is.
David: I know everyone says Friday. I’m going to go with Monday, starting the week off right. Monday can make or break your week, so I’ll go with Monday.
John: That is true, and if you have the right mindset, then makes the week. All right. Good. That’s a first. I’ve never had a Monday. Good for you, man. Good for you. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
David: Yeah, I’m going to go with the best thing my wife and I ever did. We have two incredibly smart, beautiful little girls who challenge us every day, multiple times a day, to be better versions of ourselves. I’ll count that as something that we have.
John: That’s awesome. Yeah, absolutely. That totally counts, man. I can’t even imagine.
David: I can’t say something that I own either because they’re in charge.
John: They are in charge. They also own my espresso machine.
David: They tell me.
John: All of this is theirs. That’s awesome, man. Let’s talk about just founding a nonprofit and going with that. It’s FountainHead Rhode Island?
David: It is, yeah.
John: Yeah, yeah. Just what is it and how did that get started?
David: Five years ago, I helped co-found a nonprofit, FoundtainHead Rhode Island, and our goal as an organization is to bring together and connect diverse like-minded individuals who really just want to make their local global communities a better place. We accomplish that two ways. We host educational panel events throughout the year that encompass informal networking. Bringing people together is really at the core of what we do. The second, we conduct live community spotlights via Facebook. We host a rising star industry community leader for one-on-one fireside chats, sort of like this, just learning more about them, figuring out ways that people can get involved, and then we bring everyone together. Used to be The Dorrance in Providence, Rhode Island before the pandemic and everything happened, but informal networking, huge, 250 people just coming together to try to build relationships, deep relationships, actual relationships, not sales-oriented. We helped co-found this five years ago and since then, we’ve grown into community of over 1100 people all over the country.
John: Oh, that’s fantastic, man. That’s awesome. Just trying to get, just, business people to connect on a human level and then we’ll talk about business later, maybe or maybe not. I just rather hang out with a bunch of cool, interesting people and then connect that way. I love that philosophy, man.
David: Yeah. It started probably back in 2016. We launched in 2017, but 2016, like most people, I have trouble sleeping. I couldn’t sleep. I roll over, and my wife’s like, what’s wrong? I’m like, there’s got to be more to life than this. She was like, what? Really? I was like, no, no. I go to work, and I come home. I wake up, and I do it again. I don’t want to do that. There’s got to be something more. I want to hang out with people. It’s fine if you go to work, nine to five, and that’s your thing. I want to hang out with people that want more. She was like, all right, go to sleep and then figure it out in the morning.
David: I called two buddies of mine, and they were like, alright, awesome, Dave, what do you want to do? I was like, let’s start these Jeffersonian dinners. Thomas Jefferson used to bring the smartest people he knew, the most eclectic people, to the White House, and they would have these dinners, talk about art, business, culture, whatever. We started that. We went out. We each brought someone to a restaurant, had some drinks, talked about whatever was going on in the world. The next time, everyone brought one more, so now like 12 people. After that, the restaurants were like, you can’t bring 30 or 40 people.
We got together, and we’re like, I think we’re onto something. There’s a lot of people that want to do what we’re doing, engage and have this kind of conversations with people that are changing the world in their own little way and, selfishly, to learn from them and be around people that see the world a different way, and energize yourself. I meet so many incredible people, and after you meet with them, you’re like, oh, man, I’m not doing enough. I have to go back, and I’ve got to step up my game. Doing that just every day. Building a community of 1100 people in five years is not something we set out to do. It just shows you that there are so many people that think the way that we do and want the same things out of life.
John: Yeah. That’s awesome, man. It’s just broadening that perspective and creating those connections that get you to think a little bit differently. I never really looked at it that way, or what have you. It’s not a, I need to change everyone’s mind. It’s more of, well, here’s how I see it. Having an adult conversation about something and then creating those connections on the human level as well, makes that a lot easier. You see them the next time, and it’s like, hey, what’s up? You have friends now, type of thing.
David: It’s easier when you’re involved in a lot of the complicated things, local, national level, whatever they may be. People that are doing the same thing understand that. It’s hard to talk to people that aren’t going through the same thing, so that helps as well.
John: That’s awesome, man. That’s really great. Is there, I guess, probably that first one, is there one of the gatherings that was pretty memorable, where you’re like, wow, this is a cool thing, or you met someone that was really interesting?
David: They’re all really cool, obviously.
John: Yeah. No, absolutely, but it’s like, which one’s your favorite daughter? Both of them.
David: Yeah, then you shout one out accidentally.
John: Yeah. Right.
David: The event we had in 2019 was really cool, to get 250 people together when all you want to do is selfishly hang out with smarter people. We recently did a fireside chat with Hubert Joly who’s the former CEO of Best Buy. That was just really cool. Thinking back, in 2016, laying in bed, thinking I want more out of life; and five years later, you’re doing these cool things. It’s really neat.
John: That’s awesome, man. I love it. That’s so cool. Do you feel like, being a co-founder of this and running it, does it give you a skill set that you bring to work?
David: Oh, for sure. I think many of us know how easy it is to start a nonprofit, run it while not being paid, on top of a full-time job, super, super easy. When you start a nonprofit, you don’t realize how much work it is, honestly. You do everything, creating the name, the logo, the website, invoicing, signing acknowledgement letters, figuring out you need to sign acknowledgement letter, sponsors, you know how easy it is to ask people for money, planning, running events. Getting outside your comfort zone is a big thing for me that we’ll probably touch on at some point in this conversation, but having conversations, leading discussions with local, national powerhouses, just being able to have those conversations, lead them, plan them, grow your network, obviously, helps you at work. Public speaking, learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable is a favorite tagline of mine. Running a team of unpaid volunteers. How do you get people to all row in the same direction when none of us are getting paid? It’s unbelievably difficult.
John: Holy cow, man. Yeah. There’s so much here. At no point in business school did anyone tell you, hey, why don’t you go co-found a nonprofit and then it’ll make you better at your career? But it clearly does.
David: No, it’s one of those things, and maybe this is a bad equation, but it’s like when you have kids, you don’t have kids to get richer. You don’t do it selfishly. It’s like, no, I want to give back and bring people into this world to leave a legacy or whatever it may be for you, but it costs massive amounts of money and time. I’ve got gray hair now. I don’t know if I had that before the kids or after the kids. You lose a lot when you have kids, but obviously, you gain so much more.
John: Yeah, you put in a little and then you get back so much more, but that being comfortable with being uncomfortable phrase is so important. We’ve all been uncomfortable for the last two years, and some people adjust better than others. Even at work, before the pandemic, it was still that, and so you’re getting that skill, which is great. Because at some point, things are going to get uncomfortable and I need to be ready.
David: Right, 100%.
John: Yeah, totally. Is this something that comes up at work? I’m sure that you talk about FountainHead Rhode Island at work.
David: Yeah. Everyone now knows, jokingly, everyone knows about FountainHead at work now. It just comes up organically over time. Last year, I was the chair of our E-Committee, which is our fun committee for our Accounting Department. It basically puts on all the fun stuff for 120-person department. We had our kickoff educational panel event going on for FountainHead. We’re talking about mental health and self-care, and we’re smack in the middle of the pandemic. Just, obviously, a great topic before the pandemic, but really, a lot more people became comfortable having that conversation because of the pandemic. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to bring the two worlds together. We had the incredible Katie McDonald of b.nourished, she’s just an incredible human being, who was speaking on a panel that we were having. I went to the comptroller at the time and asked him. I brought up this idea. I’m always the one pushing the envelope or trying to be different or smashing the box, whatever you want to say. I try to operate 100% outside the box, which can annoy some people.
John: It’s how you’re supposed to be, and the box is too small.
David: I told him, I said, we’re doing this really cool event, talking about self-care. We’re keeping it super high level, so from an HR perspective, you don’t really get yourself in trouble. I worked with him, I worked with the HR team, and we brought in Katie to have this really heart-to-heart conversation about bringing your whole self to work and how important it is to take care of yourself. Most people talk physically, but the mental side is massive. Doing that and that was really the first time actually the two worlds have collided, which is pretty cool for them to see in action what we’re doing.
John: Yeah. That’s great, man. That’s so cool because that’s a big part of who you are. To not talk about your daughters, to not talk about FountainHead, to not talk about things that light you up and bring you joy; it’s like, well, then what am I doing here? Just putting in the hours and going home? There is so much more to this, like you said earlier.
David: Yeah. It’s like you’re a big basketball fan, played basketball my whole life, and it’s like showing up to a game. They’re like, put your left hand behind your back and tie it. I’m like, but I’ve got two hands. No, you can only use one of them. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
John: Right? That’s exactly it. It’s going to work with one arm tied behind your back like that. Well, why would you do that? You have skills and expertise and a mindset that you have that other people don’t have.
David: It’s just the way it was done.
John: Yeah, exactly. No one cares. If no one’s talking about it, then no one’s doing anything. It’s like, no, no, everyone’s doing awesome stuff. Why don’t we talk about, and why don’t we find that out? Before FountainHead, was it probably basketball that you talked about? Or was it just kind of…
David: Yeah, just sports. The list of things you can’t talk about is just growing by the day. There’s not much left for us to talk about.
John: That’s true. I do think, and provided it’s not taboo or illegal, then that’s totally fair game. If it’s the same thing, that’s bonus. Even if it’s something I’ve never heard of, or don’t know anything about, well, we’re not in sixth grade anymore, where we’re going to get made fun of and shoved in a locker. I actually have questions about this. I don’t know the rules of lacrosse. Why are they so weird? Why is it that when the ball goes out of bounds, it’s not who touched it last, but it’s who was closest to the line? Explain that to me, or whatever.
David: The whole lacrosse thing and the hockey, two things I just don’t understand.
John: Totally, but people love that stuff. It’s like, tell me about hula dancing or ballroom dancing or whatever it is. Because you can just see people light up, and they’re just so alive. It’s like, yeah, more of that, please; especially in the office, in the corporate setting.
David: I think that lighting up, that’s the whole thing. I always laugh because my wife, we’ll be having a conversation and all of a sudden, she’s like, you’re glowing. I’m like, what? She’s like, I can just tell you’re really passionate about what you’re talking about. I’m like, oh, okay. Sometimes you just need people to point it out and be like, you know what, that is what makes me happy, and then trying to figure out how to get more of that.
John: Yeah, especially, at work where it’s just, well, we’ve got to get the work done. No, the work will happen. It’s like breathing or your heartbeat. You’re not even thinking about that. It’s happening. It’s going to happen. It’s exercise and mindfulness and things that you have to be intentional with. Because if you don’t, then they don’t happen. It’s the same with your “and”. Your job is going to happen. It’s going to get done. The work will get done. Don’t freak out about it. It’s fine. We know why we’re getting paid. That’s our job. It’ll happen.
David: You’re not saving babies. Unless you are actually saving babies, then your job is super important.
John: Right. In that case, think about it but…
David: Take your lunch, get outside, go for a walk, have walking meetings, all those things are super helpful. Take a break. Go to the gym. That’s what we try to tell people. We’re in year-end right now. We are working Saturdays. It’s just busy right now. If you don’t take the 5, 10 minutes, you’re basically going to come out in, whatever, March, February for us, April, we don’t do that whole April 15th thing anymore, you’re going to come out, and there’s going to be nothing left to you. You’ll be sick because your body’s broken down; and mentally, you’re just going to be all over the place. You’ve got to go in strong and then you’ve got to keep it going throughout the process.
John: Yeah, I love that man. I love that that’s something that Amica’s doing. It’s stressing that because it is important. We do care about you as a whole person because we hired the whole person, type of thing.
David: It’s not rocket science.
John: It really isn’t. When I speak at conferences and stuff, I’ll have people be like, isn’t this intuitive? I’m like, oh, totally. It’s totally intuitive, but you’re not doing it.
David: It’s like financial literacy. Don’t spend more than you make. It’s not that difficult, but life gets in the way and things happen.
John: Exactly. How much do you think it is on the organization, it sounds like Amica is explicit with, hey, this; or how much is it on the individual to just maybe create a little circle amongst their peers, maybe bottom-up sort of idea?
David: Yeah, I’m one of those that takes full responsibility for anything that I do, good or bad. It’s great if the employer sets you up for that. That’s awesome. If you have that foundation from a culture standpoint, that’s on you. When I was working at Grant Thornton, they always said, be the captain of your own career, and that’s something I’ve carried myself with. When we have career meetings, it’s like, you tell me what you want out of this conversation. I don’t want to drive the conversation because it’s different for every person. Tell me what you want to work on. Tell me how you best learn, and I need to reshape myself to get the best out of you. I can’t treat every person the same. They’re not the same. You tell me what works best for you, and I’m going to have to do that.
John: That’s awesome, man. That’s the thing I’ve always wondered is, what’s your dream job? If it’s to be a senior analyst or whatever, a staff person, whatever, then, awesome, okay; but it’s probably not. There’s probably something that you want to be and become. Well, how about I help you get that? You know that I care about you. You’ll probably stay longer. You’re more engaged. Then when you get that other position, you’ll remember, type of a thing. It’s just we’re all in this rat race together. Why don’t we help each other, something, just live a better life? That’s awesome to hear because it’s, are my people living their best life? Working here is part of that, but so are eight or ten other things. If those aren’t good, then the one work thing is definitely not going to be good.
David: Yeah. I tell all my people, we spend more time at work with each other than we do our own families, and I want to have fun. Whatever it is to bring your whole self to work, if you’re not getting that, well, let’s figure out how to make that happen because a miserable you makes a miserable me, and I don’t want to be miserable.
John: Right. So good.
David: You can put that on a T-shirt.
John: That’s the bumper sticker right there, a miserable you makes a miserable me. Marriage 1.0. There it is. That’s awesome, man. It’s so cool to hear that you have that mindset and that Amica encourages that, which is really awesome. That’s so cool. Do you have any words of encouragement to people listening, maybe somebody that has an “and” that they think, well, no one’s going to care, it has nothing to do with my job, so why talk about it?
David: Yeah, I was thinking about this before, so I got five that I’ll walk through. The first one, block out the noise and do you. That’s something that I’ve tried to take to heart. There are plenty of people in the world that want to take things from you, put you down. People get annoyed when they see you happy. Why are you so happy? You should be miserable. I’m miserable. Find a place that not only allows you to bring your whole self to work, but actually appreciates you doing that. We had the conversation about employees bringing their whole self to work, being happier, loving what they do, are more productive, leading to better company results. I think we’ve all seen plenty of metrics on that.
Second thing, invest in yourself. If you’re not willing to invest in yourself, it’s hard to expect other people to do the same. When it comes to investing in yourself, most people say, it costs a lot of money. There are so many things that you can do that are free. Read books, articles. There’s so much free content out there right now because of the pandemic. Take advantage of that with everything shifting online. Third thing, get back along the way. NABA, the National Association of Black Accountants has this motto, lift as you climb. That’s something that my dad preached to us when we were growing up. The thing I like to say is, what’s the point of climbing the world’s tallest mountain if, when you get to the top and look around, you’re all alone? That’s what I took home in public was, you work so much. You’re looking at the partners across the desk. When you come into work, they’re there. When you leave, they’re still there. You’re like, do I really want to do this? That’s the conversation we’ve been having, and the partners know this because they’re really good. It’s on them to set the course for all of us to get out of the office at a reasonable time and make it a place where you want your people to work someday.
John: Absolutely, because otherwise, people feel like it’s a trap. Well, they’re here when I get here in the morning. When I leave, I’m leaving at 7:30pm, and they’re still here. It’s like, am I okay to leave now? It’s like, get the hell out of here. What are you doing?
David: The pay is great, but you never get to see the money. You can’t take vacations. It’s not a knock against the public world. It’s just, sometimes, like we’re saying, you do what was done before. We’re saying it’s okay to break the mold. It’s okay to do things differently.
John: Because you’re the partner, you’re the CFO, you’re the lead engineer. You’re that title. Be you.
David: Work six hours. If you get your job done, then great. If it takes you 12, okay, let’s figure out how to make you more efficient, but don’t work six hours and then sit there for two hours because you have to punch a magical clock. You’re wasting people’s time. You’re making them miserable.
John: It’s true. It translates so much. It’s even in corporate. There are people that just have that mindset of, I have to be here X number of hours. It’s not even just eight. It’s more. It’s 10 or 11, 12 hours. No, you don’t.
David: I worked 15 years to make partner. How are you going to make it in eight? Well, we have these things called computers and technology. I have unbelievable content at my fingertips. If I want to research something, you just get on Google, and you can find anything you want, you need at the time.
John: Exactly. Exactly.
David: I’ve got a couple more. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, which we kind of talked about. Saying yes to anything that pushes the limits of your comfort zone helps you grow as an individual or a leader in your career. I found this quote, Aretha Franklin, “It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hold onto.” I love that quote.
John: Yeah. There you go. Unless you’re going down.
David: Unless you’re going down, you want the smooth side, yeah, way more fun. Then build a solid financial foundation. I serve in the AICPA’s, financial literacy commission for the last six years. Financial literacy is a big passion of mine. It’s really hard for people to concentrate on anything else, work, family, whatever it may be, if you’re worried about your home being foreclosed, or your car being repossessed. Take care of your own house.
A bonus one, 212 Degrees, a book by Sam Parker, I don’t know if you’ve ever read, it’s amazing. It basically says, at 211 degrees, you have hot water. At 212 degrees, you have boiling water. Boiling water can create steam. Steam can power a locomotive. It basically goes through all these things. They use the PGA Tour a lot, where the difference between the person that wins and the second place is a massive amount of monetary gain. If you had just tried a little bit harder, and it uses the concept of and some, just a little bit harder, tried just a little bit more, gave us a little bit more, the outcomes are massive. I use it. We use it internally as a joke, with me and my wife. She’ll take the trash out of the trash bin and put it next to it instead of putting it in the bin outside where it goes. I’d be like, oh, super, thanks for giving 130%. That’s awesome. Maybe if you did a little bit more and put it in… Then you get hit with a bag of bread or something like that.
John: Yeah, it’s like 211 degrees right here. That was good. You did it. Seinfeld has a great bit about that too, like the 100-yard dash in the Olympics where it’s like, you train all your life, you never eat carbs, you nothing, and then start, done. No. Literally first place, second place. On the box of Wheaties, never heard of you.
David: Massive pressure for them, trained for years for something that short. It’s crazy.
John: Exactly. I love all those, man, so much advice there, so great. I feel like it’s only fair though, before I wrap this up, that I turn the tables and make this the first episode of the David Almonte podcast. If you have any questions for me, I’m all yours. Let it rip.
David: Alright, favorite sport to watch and favorite sport to play.
John: Okay, so favorite sport to watch, easily, college football. That’s easily my favorite. I think just the whole experience and everything about it, there’s a passion there that’s deep.
David: The atmosphere is unmatched, I agree.
John: Yeah, totally. Especially, live, in person; there’s the band, there’s the whole tailgating, there’s all of it, the whole day of it. To play, I’m kind of at that age where I’m nervous.
David: You just don’t want to get injured.
John: Yeah, exactly. Definitely not basketball anymore because it’s just like, all my legs are going to explode. Yeah, I don’t know. I enjoy snowboarding here in Colorado. I guess that counts. They’re mostly solo things now, unfortunately. Although, soccer, I do enjoy playing soccer. When you’re in an older man’s league, then it’s a little bit easier.
David: It’s also dangerous because everyone’s out of shape, and they’re very aggressive.
John: Yeah, my brain is still like high school and college John. I can make that. I can catch that pass, or I can run that down. You start, and then you’re like, oh, no, I’m not even going to get close to that. That’s not even going to happen. We’ll just let that one go. I’ll get the next one.
David: Yeah. I’ve got one more. For most people, public speaking is kind of the thing that they fear the most. Obviously, with you as stand-up comedian, I don’t think that’s one of your fears. It’s funny, most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.
John: Exactly. That’s a great Seinfeld bit, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
David: What scares you the most? What’s a big fear of yours that you have?
John: Oh, wow, that’s a good one. Well, girls have cooties so bad.
David: That’s a given.
John: That’s a given. We already knew that one. I don’t know. Sometimes, like the edge of a cliff, it’s not necessarily like the fear of heights. It’s the fear of falling from that height, if that makes sense. Because I have no problem flying, gondolas, I have no problem, chairlifts, I have no problem, but it’s just that edge of that cliff where it’s just like, wow, this is…
David: Yeah, it’s the in-between.
John: Yeah, that and then also too, there’s a part of me that’s, I’m probably similar to you, where it’s achieving your full potential. I guess as you get older, you start to realize a lot of self-limiting beliefs that maybe you subconsciously put on yourself, and you’re like, wow, I need to remove that and then you level up. Just writing a book really uncovered that for me. Then how the book has resonated with people, and the Amazon reviews; you’re like, wow, this is awesome. People I don’t even know reading the book and taking the time to do that. It’s cool. On the flip side, it’s also you don’t want to just paralyze yourself of constantly always trying to be better. It’s like, all right, within reason, sort of a thing, without burning out, then you start back at zero.
David: Yeah, and celebrating those small wins along the way. That’s something I struggle with that I need to work on.
John: Exactly. For sure, man. Well, this has been awesome, David. Thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?
David: Of course. Thank you so much for having me, and congrats on everything you’ve got going on.
John: Oh, thanks, dude. I appreciate it. Likewise, man. Starting a nonprofit’s not easy, as you joked about earlier.
Everyone, if you want to see some pictures of David outside of work, or 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 read the book.
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.
Scott is a COO & Volunteer
Scott Orn talks about his passion for running and moderating his non-profit “Ben’s Friends”, which was started for a friend who had a rare brain aneurysm and serves the need of expanding a network of other affected by it! Scott also talks about how he got this group started, what it provides, and how it has affected his life in the office!
• Starting “Ben’s Friends”
• What “Ben’s Friends” provides
• How his work in the non-profit translates to his work in the office
• Having support from colleagues
• Relating to entrepreneurs
• How Kruze Consulting encourages sharing outside interests
• How organizations should make space for a desired culture
• Help save your team from themselves
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Welcome to Episode 317 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 another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “And”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiates you when you’re in the office.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is published. That’s right. It came out last week, so check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s listening to the show and changing the cultures where they work because of it, and getting the book to help spread that message. It’s just beyond amazing to me. Thank you so much.
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, Scott Orn. He’s the COO of Kruze Consulting in the San Francisco office, and now he’s with me here today. Scott, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Scott: Hey, John, thanks so much. I’m really looking forward to this. Before you even turned the mikes on, we had a great conversation, so I’m really excited to be here.
John: Exactly. I feel like we should have just recorded that and then we’d be done by now, but I didn’t. Because you’d think I’d learned something in the first 316 episodes but nope. So, here we go, rapid-fire questions, get to know Scott right out of the gate. All right, here we go. Favorite color.
Scott: Favorite color, blue and gold.
John: Blue and… Oh, look at you sucking up already. All right, yeah. How about a least favorite color?
Scott: Definitely Red.
John: Red, yeah. No, I agree. I agree. How about pens or pencils?
Scott: Definitely a pen. I like a good blue pen.
John: Okay, no mistakes. I like that. I like that.
Scott: I guess that corresponds with my favorite color. I never thought about that before.
John: Yeah, I was like, oh, you’re really riding it out. I like that. If you had to choose, Star Wars or Star Trek.
Scott: Star Wars, 100X.
John: Yeah. How about your computer, PC or a Mac?
John: PC. Yeah, me too. How about your mouse then, right click or left click?
Scott: I think I’m left click, but I have one of those crazy ergonomic mouses, which may be more interesting.
John: Right, like with the ball thing and the…
Scott: Yeah, it’s the production.
John: It’s like you’re playing a video game with Excel. Maybe cooler, never mind. How about puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
Scott: How about kid puzzles? Because my daughter’s two-and-a-half and it’s like, my wife is obsessed about puzzles, my mother’s obsessed about puzzles, and my daughter inherited all those traits. So, those are the kind of puzzles I do.
John: That’s awesome, man. That’s so cool. All right, all right, that works. How about a favorite adult beverage? If you use your daughter for this, I’m going to ask some more questions.
Scott: But I love kombucha now. My wife got me hooked on, what it’s called, it’s Sun Goddess. It’s incredible kombucha that’s made in California, the Bay Area. Good Eggs sells it, if you can use Good Eggs, but that’s my new choice.
John: That’s awesome. Okay, all right. How about, balance sheet or income statement?
Scott: Balance sheet.
John: Balance sheet. Okay. All right. Oceans or mountains.
John: Ocean. All right. Yeah, California, that makes sense. Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Scott: You know what we’ve been doing lately? We just started watching all of Tom Hanks’ movies. We’re like, that guy makes good movies. Let’s just watch all his stuff.
Scott: I will say he’s probably my favorite right now.
John: Yeah, yeah. Plus, there’s so many. You’re like, I forgot about that one and that one and, what? Yeah, it’s amazing. How about suit and tie or jeans and a T shirt?
Scott: Jeans and a T shirt. I usually wear like a little of a button-up, but I wear jeans pretty much every day.
John: Yeah, there you go. There you go. How about a favorite sports team?
Scott: I would have to say the Warriors, Golden State Warriors.
John: Okay. Yeah, they were so good for a while and, yeah, really fun.
Scott: Yeah. It’s been like watching Picasso paint every game. They’re so good. They’re just amazing.
John: That’s for sure. How about a favorite number?
Scott: 16, Joe Montana’s jersey.
John: There you go. Two for two on the Notre Dame references. I like this.
Scott: For those who don’t know, Joe Montana went to college at Notre Dame and then he went and won four Super Bowls with 49ers.
John: Right, exactly. How about, my book just came out, so Kindle or real books?
Scott: Definitely Kindle, I love Kindle.
John: There you go. Two more. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
Scott: Early Bird. I wake up — today I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and worked out and then goofed around the computer and then played around with my daughter, made her breakfast.
John: Oh, wow, 5:00 a.m. Yeah. I thought you were going to say worked out and then went back to sleep because that’s what I would have done. I was like, holy crap, that’s early. Last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Scott: I would say — well, we’re going to talk about some stuff I like to do, but my favorite — I’m not a millennial, but I do like experiences more than actual items. I would say my favorite thing is being on a plane flying to Hawaii because I know I’m going to have a great vacation and a great time when I get there.
John: All right, that works. The experiences, I like that, yeah. All right, that’s awesome. Let’s talk Ben’s Friends, sounds like such a cool organization. How did that start?
Scott: Yeah. So Ben’s Friends is a patient’s support community for people with rare diseases. It all came about, I was in business school at Kellogg at Northwestern, and one of my good buddies, Ben Munoz, had a rare brain aneurysm. It just came out of nowhere. You don’t think about these things in life. It was very fortunate his girlfriend got him to the hospital. He has what’s called an AVM. It’s a different kind of brain hemorrhage, and 50% of people die who have that. So, Ben was lucky, emergency surgery, survived.
He was trying to come back but — this is even before Facebook really took off and the internet really took off, or social networking really took off. He was trying to find support groups for his condition. He was living in Houston. Then he moved to Chicago, back to go to school. Neither of those cities could find a single person that had his condition. So, he was really lonely and depressed and, yeah, it was crazy.
He just came up to me one day and was like, hey, I’m going to start a social network for people with my condition because I figure, if I can’t find them, maybe they can find me. I thought that was a really beautiful thing inside and so I was one of the first members or second member of the group. His AVM survivors community worked. We started multiple other communities, and then we incorporated into a nonprofit. We’re one of the largest patients support communities in the world now. We have, I think we have 40 or 42 patients support communities for all these different kinds of rare diseases.
So, people can connect. Honestly, the most important thing is they don’t feel alone, but they can also share what’s working for them, what’s not working for them. Oftentimes, their spouses or their children or maybe their doctors don’t understand what’s going on with them, so they can share with each other. It’s been amazing. We’ve been operating for 13 years now.
Scott: We just changed a lot of lives and so that’s one of my favorite things to do in my spare time.
John: Yeah, that’s so cool. That’s insane. Chicago and Houston are the, what, third and fourth largest cities in the US, and there’s not a single person that has the same…
Scott: Well, it turned out there were, he just couldn’t — there was no organizational principle. There’s no way of finding each other. So, when we built the communities, all of a sudden, we started popping up in Google. I used to moderate the communities, and so did Ben, every day, for many years. There was nothing better than someone would join the site, and we’d have a little kind of welcome thing. It was like we changed their life right in that moment. They were in a really dark place, and they found relief, and they found understanding. We have hundreds of thousands of members, across all the communities. When you think about all those people who just are benefiting from those social connections and sharing, it’s really powerful. It’s really cool.
John: That’s amazing. I need to reassess things. No, I mean, just because you’re making a difference in so many people’s lives.
Scott: Your podcast, this is actually really fun, and people are gonna hear about Ben’s Friends who wouldn’t have — I think the whole principle of your podcast is really amazing. I was even telling you before I turned the mike on, I had forgotten to even bring this up with you. I was thinking about it last night. That’s why we’re talking about it. What you’re doing to explore the other side of people, not just focus on people’s work, but focus on what makes them human, what makes them fun, what makes them passionate, is super cool.
John: Well, no, I appreciate it, man. I appreciate it. With Ben’s Friends, is it like a community where they can just talk, or are there functions that happen as well?
Scott: I always describe it, for the technical or nontechnical people, it’s like a mini-Facebook. You have a social network. You go there. There are posts. There are forums. There’s messaging each other. People post pictures. People post pictures of their kids or their loved ones all the time, all that stuff. So, it’s like a social network in a box, but the social network is made up of all people who have your exact issue.
One of my favorite things, this is in early days when people were really scared about internet and influencing medical decisions, people would post like, here are my symptoms. A very common thing for people who have rare diseases, they’re often misdiagnosed a lot by doctors because doctors are going down that mental checklist of what you have, and they’re trying to remember. When it’s rare, they don’t see it very often, right?
They would find the community, it would resonate with them, they’re pretty sure they had it, and they would print out those list of symptoms that other members had written about. They’d take the paper to their doctor and say, “Read this, this is what I have. Come on, let’s get on board here.” It was one of these things where I know doctors sometimes find that super annoying, and people do diagnose themselves in a crazy way. I would be typing stuff into Google and thinking I have cancer or something weird.
John: You either have a cold, or you’re going to die in five minutes.
Scott: Yeah, exactly.
John: Like, what?
Scott: These rare conditions, when you’ve been misdiagnosed for years, it’s incredibly empowering to tell the doctor, make that connection and actually get treated correctly.
John: That’s really awesome, man. That’s really cool. You got involved because you were friends with him in grad school. You were right there.
Scott: Yeah. I co-founded it with him. The other interesting thing about Ben’s Friends is it’s all patient moderator or community moderate. We took a lot from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an amazing resource the world has but really, there’s a few thousand people who really moderate Wikipedia. So, what we started doing was training the most active or most passionate members of the community and trained them into moderators so that they can, if there’s like a pharmaceutical salesperson joining the community, they chase them off. Or someone’s really in a bad state, they might direct them to the crisis text line or crisis phone call line where they can get help to avoid suicide or something like that. Ben’s Friends is powered by about 50 or 60 moderators who are just volunteers, who help out and want to help people who have the same condition as them. That’s one of the other things. It’s really people helping people at a very base level.
John: Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome, man. Do you feel any of this translates to your corporate world?
Scott: I think it did in the sense that we probably learned a few things. I always like to think it’s like, good things come unannounced sometimes. Because we were nonprofits, we didn’t really have any money, and we were doing this late at night. I would work a full day. I used to work in venture capital. I’d come home, and my favorite thing to do was moderate the communities. This was before I met my wife. Once I met my future wife, my girlfriend that became my wife, I stopped moderating quite as much because I actually had something else to do at night.
John: Right, but you still ducked in. It wasn’t like —
Scott: Oh, yeah.
John: — you just bailed altogether. Yeah.
Scott: We learned a lot about how Google works and how social networking works. We also really learned and lived the power of distributed teams and distributed volunteers. Our company now, the company that my wife founded, Kruze Consulting, that I work for, it’s an accounting firm, we are distributed across not only the whole United States, but across the whole world. One of the reasons we’re able to do that was some of the skills and tools I learned doing Ben’s Friends, helping teach the moderators, communicate with the moderators, just knowing how to operate online, living online, in a way. That actually was this incredible — I mean, I was a super active moderator probably for eight or nine years. Living that every day just taught me how the world works and how the internet works, and we’ve been able to leverage that in our business, too.
John: That’s amazing, yeah, because at no point — I mean, even at Kellogg, does anyone tell you, go moderate a nonprofit charity that makes lives better to become a better business person? Like, what are you doing wasting your time on that computer internet thingy?
Scott: Yeah. You need to learn how to do consulting case studies or something like that. Yeah. Actually the Kellogg community was incredibly supportive. Actually, still to this day, a huge component of our donations come from our classmates every year.
John: That’s awesome.
Scott: It actually was really powerful. It was like the right place at the right time to start something like that.
Scott: Because it’s not what you normally think of when you’re going to go to business school.
John: Is this something that you talked about when you were working in the venture capital world or even now?
Scott: Yeah, I would — so, in the same way that I learned so much that I could apply to Kruze, I was doing it the whole time I was working at the venture capital fund, Miles Capital. All the partners and the coworkers of mine were super supportive of it. They loved it. They thought it was awesome.
A lot of the internet entrepreneurs, I could actually relate to, and this happens at Kruze too, because I know how hard it is to start something from the beginning. I can relate to your podcast and your comedy career in a way that probably most accountants couldn’t because I’ve been at, like, Day One and had no one coming to our website and then hundreds of thousands of people. The same thing, when Vanessa was starting Kruze Consulting, I could relate to her getting her first client and her 10th client and her 20th client.
It’s really hard to start something, but it’s incredibly rewarding too. I can look those entrepreneurs that we’re investing in, in the eye, and be like, I know what you’re going through. I know how freaking stressful it is. I know how hard it is for people not to know that most people don’t care about what you’re doing, but some people care about what you’re doing. I’m one of those people. Let’s work together.
John: That’s awesome. Yeah, because that just makes your career better because those relationships are so much stronger.
Scott: Yeah, you just understand people in a way that other people — in a non-surface way.
John: Yeah. It’s, I’ve done it, as opposed to, I read 17 case studies on it.
Scott: Yeah. I’m sure there are analogies in your comedy career where you and other comedians are just — they just know how hard it is.
John: Oh, yeah, totally. Yeah, and even actors and actresses, any artist of any sort, but comedians, especially. Because, yeah, when you’re creating art, if you have a painting, you don’t know immediately whether people like it or not. You’re probably not even there when they see it.
Scott: First to make that painting or make that comedy act, knowing that you’re not going to have direct feedback.
John: Yeah, but then in comedy, you get that direct feedback.
Scott: That’s true.
John: It’s not always great, not always great, especially when the joke’s new and you’re working on polishing it, and how many syllables and whatever, what words to use. No, that’s just so great. That’s amazing, just to know that, just from that experience of helping start and run Ben’s Friends, how many good things have come from that, not only just helping others, but even just in your own career, just accidentally.
Scott: I have a question for you, just while we’re talking, it just popped in my head. Do you ever feel like, because you’re saying you get the direct feedback, you learn that it’s okay to bomb or it’s okay not to be perfect?
John: Oh, yeah. It’s part of the process.
Scott: Yeah. Learning that lesson was maybe the most freeing lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. I remember in business school, I was trying a lot of different stuff, interviewing for a lot of different industries that I wasn’t qualified for, and I was bombing half my interviews. I was like, wait a second, it’s actually not that bad. I walked out. I’m fine. I’m not even really studying. The world’s going to go on, not that big of a deal.
John: Exactly, and I think for a lot of people that have been on the podcast, or listen, it’s the same with sharing an outside of work interest. We build this up in our head that people are going to judge me, people don’t care, whatever it is. Then you start to share it, and people think it’s cool, like you said, the venture capital, even now, the clients and coworkers. It’s a cool thing.
Scott: Yeah. We were talking before we turned the mikes on, about we do a bunch of sharing about our outside of work life at Kruze. We talk about our favorite foods. We have a top chefs channel in Slack. I highly recommend that to people. It’s a little cheesy, but people love sharing pictures of their food. I love looking at those pictures, and so does our company, so, definitely top chefs pounds, top chefs in Slack, if you have Slack at your work. We also have a dad jokes channel that people like.
We also have a diversity channel, which I’m super proud of, that was actually adjusted by one of our team members who’s — one of our most junior team members, Janika, took it upon herself to start a diversity channel. Now we share about all the different cultures and what people are going through. It’s been super awesome during Black Lives Matter because it’s given the whole team a lot of context on that. Instead of people being afraid to talk about it or not knowing what to say or not empathizing, there’s a ton of empathy. There’s a ton of understanding all because of the sharing. This is not professional talk whatsoever. This is all just sharing who we really are, what our interests are. It’s all consistent with the theme of your podcast.
John: That’s great because it’s just cool to hear examples that people listening can be like, well, we could do that, type of thing. It’s just open that door just a little bit to people’s lives. You don’t have to blow it wide open at first, but just a little peek. Especially now in the past couple of months, we’ve been in each other’s homes with Zoom calls or whatever kind of calls and video conferencing, so don’t act like you haven’t been in each other’s homes, never seen what art or their dog or their kids or what they look like in the morning with their hair all a mess.
Scott: Totally. I really dig that with the kids and pets too. I know the beginning of COVID, everyone was trying — they didn’t know how to act if your kid ran in, on camera, and started talking to the whole group. For us, we’ve really encouraged our team to just embrace it. This kid is probably the person you love the most in the world. Be nice to the kid. Half the people you’re talking to on video, have kids too, and the other half were kids or have nephews and nieces. It’s okay. It’s totally cool.
John: Yeah. It’s almost like, just get them their own channel, so they can join the meeting too. Get your own box, Suzy, or whatever.
Scott: They need a calendar and they need an automatic meeting invite. I love it.
John: Exactly. They get their own Slack account. Let’s do this. That’s a question that I like to think about too, is, and it sounds like you guys are doing a really great job at it, is, how much is it on the organization to create that culture where it’s okay to be human, and how much is it on the individual to either be a part of that, or if that doesn’t exist, then start their own little circle?
Scott: You used the phrase that I really like, which is make space for it. I think the organizations, what it should do is make space for it and make it okay and normalize it. That’s through communication. That’s through constant — every Monday morning meeting, we talk about –we do dad jokes, we do what people did that weekend, we do most fun dishes. Whenever someone starts at our company, we ask them to talk about their bio, but then we say, what’s your favorite thing for lunch? It just opens the door. Then having things the Slack channels with top chef or diversity channel or dad — it just continues to reinforce that it’s okay.
I think what I’ve found is once that doors open, they enter, no problem. It’s not an issue, and they’re actually excited about it. It’s more fun. Even today, it makes it just a more fun place to work, and you understand your coworkers. That’s more fun. It also gets rid of the illusion that we’re all supposed to be perfect or have a perfect day, every day. We all have our ups and downs. So, people can also empathize with each other when they’re having a bad day and celebrate good days.
John: That’s awesome, man. That’s so well put because, yeah, we’re not all firing on all cylinders all the time. I think if you expect that of yourself or even of others, you’re going to fail twice as hard because you’re just unforgiving to even yourself. We’re not perfect. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s just, don’t do them as much as possible, but you’re trying. There are other people around you that will help too.
Scott: I think also in COVID especially, it’s even more important because we’re all left alone to our own thoughts a lot more. We have a giant mirror facing us every day because we can’t get out. We can’t distract ourselves quite as much. So, that support and that normalization is even more important. One of the things we’ve been doing is really being aggressive about asking people to take time off. Because they couldn’t really go anywhere, they weren’t taking vacations, but then what that was doing — it was actually the ultimate time when they needed to take a vacation or just take a day here or a day there just to get away from the COVID, especially people have kids who are trying to babysit and manage those kids during the day. It’s way too hard. So, that was something I’m proud of. We aggressively promoted and messaged people and said, please take a vacation. It turns out, they started doing that. We jarred everyone out of that work every day and not take care of their health.
John: Because we’re also permission-based. Just do it. Oh, wait, no one even said anything, which is great. Then they did. People just don’t want to get in trouble. It’s like, well, really? Come on.
Scott: I went back and did a study a few years ago. The people who were most successful at our company are the ones that took their vacations. The people who were in a workaholic environment or just didn’t have the self-discipline to step away were actually people who always ended up burning out very quickly. The cost of a burned out person and the change in your corporate culture, those people can tilt the culture to a negative place. If you’re running something, or just a team, just make sure you police that stuff because sometimes you’ve got to help save people from themselves. I know I’m an obsessive person. I’m the kind of person who, if it wasn’t reinforced to me to take a vacation, I would just keep working and keep doing stuff like that. So, help people save themselves from themselves. It’ll be a more productive work environment. It’ll be more fun too.
John: That’s awesome, man. That’s such a great takeaway for everyone listening. Whether you’re a COO or a manager-level or even entry-level, no matter what it is, the people around you, take care of each other.
John: Yeah, that’s huge, man. That’s so huge. This has been so much fun, Scott, and really awesome. It’s only fair that I allow you to question me. We’ll make it The Scott Orn Show, which I know you have your own podcast, which everyone can get a link to at whatsyourand.com. It’s The Scott Orn Show. You fire away here.
Scott: I hope this isn’t too crude, but there’s a game people play, F, Marry, Kill, so, who would you F, marry and kill between Stanford, USC and the University of Miami?
John: Oh, my goodness.
Scott: John is a huge Notre Dame football fan, and those are all rivals of those —
John: That’s hilarious. Well, I’m definitely not marrying any of them. As far as I’m concerned, they can all go F themselves. I don’t know, kill all of them. I don’t know. If there was a three-way game of football, that would be awesome, and then it fell off into the ocean. Yeah, I wouldn’t blink an eye but they’re all not good.
Scott: Next question, burritos or pizza.
John: Oh, man, that’s a hard one. Yeah, I’m going to go really good pizza, I guess, just because it’s got to be really good. My New York days have, I think, tainted me. Although, now in Denver, it took me two years, but I found a good one.
Scott: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s so important in life.
John: Yeah, it is. It is.
Scott: I have one more for you, Paris, France or Paris, Las Vegas.
John: Paris, Las Vegas, whatever the other of Paris, France. Even if you said the Coliseum at USC campus, I would have probably picked that.
Scott: Really? Why?
John: I’ve been to Paris once, and it was not great. It just wasn’t a positive experience.
Scott: My approach to it is marry someone who speaks French. My wife isn’t fluent, but she speaks enough, and she’s cute. Everyone wants to talk to us. When I went there by myself as a bachelor, yes, it was more challenging.
John: Well, thanks so much, Scott, for being a part of What’s Your “And”? It was so encouraging to hear this, and really fun.
Scott: Thanks, John. Thanks for having me on, really appreciate it.
John: Absolutely, and everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Scott outside of work or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Also, the links to Ben’s Friends will be there as well. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
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.