Episode 120- Tom Schneider


Tom goes “all in” for better business skills

 

Tom Schneider was named the World Series of Poker Player of the Year in 2007. He learned how to play from his mother when he was young, where he quickly learned how to read people actions and how they’re motivated. He also happened to teach himself how to play the guitar at the age of 51, so now he writes and sings country music in his spare time.

In this episode, Tom and I talk about how playing poker helped him learn how to calculate expected values and to process the game, all of which helps him be a better CFO. He started the singing/songwriting passion because he wanted to be on “America’s Got Talent”. While that never happened, he’s gone on to write 30 songs. He’s found that his coworkers at LoudMouth Golf really appreciate this talent and he’s created stronger bonds because of this. He believes that having something outside of work is crucial, so when he meets new team members, he is quick to ask them “what do you love to do outside of work?” because “that’s what really drives them.”

Tom Schneider is the CFO of LoudMouth Golf in Phoenix, AZ. He’s also a Member of Advisory Board for Truceclean and INOV8Golf.com. He’s also an Advisor and Ambassador for Every Kid Counts Phoenix and The Care Fund.

He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science, Accounting and Finance.

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Transcript

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    Welcome to Episode 120 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion, making them stand out like a green apple in a red apple world. And to put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and” as in my guest Tom Schneider is an accountant and was the World Series of Poker Player of the Year. That’s pretty impressive. His passion for poker allowed him to develop a unique skillset that allowed him to be better at his job. And this isn’t unique to only Tom as most of us have a hobby or a passion that sharpens some aspect of us that can benefit our careers, so many people that I‘ve talked to here in the Green Apple Podcast whether it’s community theater for presentation skills or dancing for confidence or music for consistency and practice or running for mental toughness. So many different examples here and these are just a few of the hobbies and passions that make you better at your job but only if you let them.

    We’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you like the show and are listening on iTunes or your favorite Android app, don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes, because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest Tom Schneider. He’s the CFO at LoudMouth Golf and the author of the book Oops! I Won Too Much Money. Tom, you’re a busy, busy man so thanks so much for taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Tom: Awesome. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go.

    John: Yeah, exactly. Let’s go, John. I gave everyone a little bit of your background in the introduction, but it’s so unique that maybe in your own words, a little bit of what you’re up to now and how you got there.

    Tom: Well, what I’m up to now is I’m the Chief Financial Officer for LoudMouth Golf. They make the crazy clothes that John Daly wears on tour. And I have been a poker player for a part of my career. I was a four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner. And I’m also — I wouldn’t say accomplished musician, but I’m a singer/songwriter. I’ve written and recorded about 30 songs. I love doing that. That’s where my passion is right now.

    John: Yeah, man, absolutely, absolutely. We’ll get on that in a minute. But you’ve had such a varied career. I guess what made you made want to go into accounting?

    Tom: I’m not very bright. I don’t know if you’ve picked that up from anything I’ve said yet. But I actually graduated with a degree in finance. And then I started working at a company, and they had mostly CPAs there. The CPAs kept getting promoted and I kept looking like, “What’s going in here?” “Well, you’re not a CPA, Tom.” So I decided to go back and get hours in accounting so that I could become a CPA and then I could be treated like everybody else and then I was. So it was kind of cool.

    John: Oh, nice.

    Tom: So I’ve got almost like a double major in accounting and finance.

    John: Right, right, okay, yeah. And then all of a sudden, now you’re getting promoted too. Welcome to the cool kids table, Tom. That’s what happened.

    Tom: Right. I always thought CPAs were the uncool people when I was growing up, right?

    John: Yeah. Why is that that that’s the stereotype? I wonder. Like why is it that everybody thinks like that?

    Tom: It’s the green visor and the adding machine where you punch in the numbers and you pull the lever. It’s that and the cigarette smoke, and they’re just trying to figure out numbers all the time. Most CPAs don’t have a personality is what they’re stereotyped. But I’m not so sure that’s true.

    John: They’re always coming in after the battle to count the bodies, and they’re not actually doing anything pro-active. Taxes after the money has been made. You’re coming in and taking our stuff.

    Tom: Right. And they’re usually the ones that say, “No, we can’t spend that.” So they get a pretty negative —

    John: Yeah, that’s true.

    Tom: Do you know what CPAs use as birth control?

    John: What’s that?

    Tom: Their personality.

    John: Oh, there you go. Oh, man, brutal, brutal. The fact that that’s a joke makes me want to like —

    Tom: Well, it used to be engineers, but I changed it to CPAs.

    John: Oh, it should be engineers because that’s the truth. Well, then it wouldn’t be a joke because then it would be true.

    Tom: Right. Exactly.

    John: That’s how that works. Yeah, man. It’s so frustrating that that’s what people think of us. And I mean, clearly, you’re shattering that stereotype. I mean I have to imagine that you’re blowing brains left and right when you meet people, and they find out that that’s what you do.

    Tom: Well, especially if I show up with a LoudMouth sport coat on or a LoudMouth pants. I mean, I don’t know – trying to paint a picture of a LoudMouth sport coat, but imagine a black canvas with spray paint just all over it, that might be one of them. So it takes a different kind of individual and most CPAs — actually, you’re not going to see too many CPAs, if any, wear LoudMouth clothing. It’s just not possible.

    John: Right. Yeah.

    Tom: People I get introduced especially if I’m looking for a job or something is not the typical CPA but someone who can actually be your friend and motivate and get you excited and make you laugh and accomplish things in a different way.

    John: Yeah. That’s fantastic man. Really, really great. Really great. So I guess you touched on it earlier, but between the World Series of Poker champion and then the music — we’ll get into the music in a minute — but four-time World Series of Poker champion, that’s fantastic, man. Congratulations. That’s unbelievable.

    Tom: Well, thank you. Thank you. I’m really proud of that. And I don’t know what else there is to say about it. It’s tough —

    John: Yeah, I know. I mean I guess is that something that you just got into when you were in college and then just kept getting better at it?

    Tom: I have to blame my mother for this because —

    John: Oh, wow.

    Tom: Yeah. She loved playing cards. She was terrible at it, but she loved playing cards. She would actually play with my friends. When I was 12 years old, she would have me babysit my sister who was one. She would pay me $5, and I would have my friends come over and play poker. And then she would join us when she got home.

    John: Wow.

    Tom: Yeah. And I just always won. I think it was because I thought about the game differently than those people. I have a fairly mathematical mind as a CPA you would expect. Probably I’m more in tune with other people than most people. I understand when they’re happy or not happy or they like what they have or don’t like what they have. I have three sisters, so I give them some credit for being able to feel people’s feelings a little bit better.

    John: Right, right. And that has to come in handy in the office big time.

    Tom: It really does. I think I’m very conscious of the words that I choose to talk to people about issues because I know that I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I just want to make sure that people are communicating. So yeah, you have to be very careful with the words you choose.

    John: Yeah. That’s great, man, because not every business school is telling you, oh, yeah, go learn how to play poker because it’s going to make you better at being a CPA or a CFO or whatever.

    Tom: Yeah. There are a lot of skills that I have used in my poker career at business. I typically haven’t talked too much about my poker career in business because there’s somewhat of a negative stereotype with people who play poker. Some people call them gamblers, and they’re really not gamblers; they’re just poker players. And the way that you win at poker is by playing other people. You’re not playing the house. If you’re playing the house, then you’re usually making a bad bet. So I play other people. But the concept of understanding people’s motivations and how they think has been very positive for me in negotiations and understanding what people’s points are that make them cringe and make them happy. So I can stress more on the points that make them happy. And then just the ability to deal with people and see when people are uncomfortable or not and make them comfortable, especially if they’re employees. I use it a lot. Also, calculating expected values of certain transactions and/or processes so that you can maximize the processes or the transactions to create the highest value. So it’s really been all the way around from a math perspective and a people perspective. It’s been very positive. It’s just not something I talk about at work.

    John: Sure. Sure. Certainly, when I was doing comedy, I mean people have a stigma about that. It’s a bunch people doing drugs and swearing and talking about foul things and whatever.

    Tom: Hey, what’s wrong with all that?

    John: Right, right, exactly. That’s called being a CFO. That’s what that is, Tom. I just got promoted.

    Tom: Exactly.

    John: Yeah. No. But it’s just people have that negative stereotype, and it’s because they don’t take the time to get to know us. Take the time to get the people around you and then you’ll realize like, oh, wow, this is kind of a cool guy.

    Tom: CPAs are people too.

    John: Yeah, exactly. And sometimes CPAs forget that amongst ourselves, which is the most frustrating thing to me.

    Tom: The one that CPAs I think are pretty bad at is they don’t talk about anything other than business at work or at business. I think that what you’re promoting is amazing because I have made probably better friends and had opportunities open up, not because of poker so much but more because of the music that I do. And we can talk a little bit about that.

    John: Yeah, let’s get into that right now. Perfect segue, man. Look at you.

    Tom: How about that? I can have a podcast.

    John: Right, exactly, exactly. I do want to say that because you’ve won so much and four-time World Series, you have the book Oops! I Won Too Much Money, which is awesome because it takes your business side and your poker side and marries them together for people to be able to take those skills and apply them to the business world which I think is fantastic.

    Tom: It’s really a book about all of my mistakes and what I’ve learned from them. I’ve seen through a poker player and business person’s eyes. I wrote it so that you could read Chapter 32 and then Chapter 4 if you want.

    John: Yeah. We’ll have a link to the book on greenapplepodcast.com. So everybody can go there as well and check it out. That’s for sure. But talking about the music, how did you get started with that?

    Tom: Well, it’s kind of a funny story. Nearly at the beginning when I started at LoudMouth Golf, the CEO at the time loved to sing and he actually had a pretty good voice. And the founder was an amazing guitar player, a shredder. So I said, “What we ought to do is go on America’s Got Talent just so that we can wear our full LoudMouth suits. I mean they’re ridiculous, but that would give us some publicity.” So the CEO said, “Well, we have to have a song then.” And I’m like, “Well, I’ll write a song.” I had never written a song but I’m thinking, “Well, how tough could this be?” So I wrote a song called “The Most Fun You Can Have with Your Pants On.” I sent it around the company, and everybody loved it and thought it was really funny. I mentioned a lot of people in the company. It’s a really kind of a rocking with a great piano in it. I recorded it in a studio. I had never really thought of writing songs. And I wrote that song and I’m like, “This is fun. This is a blast.” So since then I took up guitar at the age of 51, and I have written probably 30 songs and recorded them. I would say that I think most of them are pretty good.

    John: Nice.

    Tom: Some of them are really good actually. So my goal is to write a hit song. So if anybody is listening to this that knows people in the music industry, I have some songs that I think are worthy.

    John: They’re ready to go.

    Tom: I think so.

    John: And like Taylor Swift’s single, all of a sudden it becomes a hit, right?

    Tom: Yeah, exactly. You heard one of them or two of them.

    John: I did, man. They’re really good. I mean that one was really, really good. We’ll have links to those as well on the show page at greenapplepodcast.com for everybody. It’s an easy place to go. Really, really good stuff, man.

    Tom: Thank you.

    John: I was impressed. And especially you picked it up out of nowhere.

    Tom: I did.

    John: It’s pretty amazing. So had you not been winning World Series of Poker, maybe you could have been in the music business.

    Tom: You never know. It’s not too late though. It’s never too late. I still have hopes and dreams. Don’t crush them on me right here.

    John: No, right. That’s what I do here on this podcast. I bring people in and crush their dreams.

    Tom: The dream crushers. The apple crushers.

    John: That’s what my business card says right there. John Garret – Dream Crusher. That was me in high school too, but that was different. Clearly, something that you talk about at work, and I mean it’s so great that the CEO and other C-suite people are also open about this. How much is it on that organization to create that culture to just have that, hey, it’s cool to talk about things outside of work? Or how much is it on the individual to just create that themselves?

    Tom: Yeah. That was kind of organic. I just knew that he loved to sing. And then I ended up writing a few more songs for him specifically to sing, and one of them was called Khaki Prison. I don’t normally use other, you know, but Folsom Prison. I don’t normally use other people’s songs but for him, he liked to sing that song anyway. So I said, “Okay, I’ll write Khaki Prison.” And I wrote a few others for him. Actually, once he heard a song, he said, “Hey write a song. We have a gospel group that sings, and they want to sing a LoudMouth song. Can you write one for them?” So I’m like, “Okay, sure, I’ll write a gospel song.” So I ended up writing three or four songs that other people sang. So it’s really been good.

    If you have people that appreciate music in your company, it’s amazing how fellow musicians will talk. I’ll be walking down the street and somehow guitar will come up and I’ll say, “Oh, I play guitar.” And he says, “Oh, I play guitar. I got this kind and that kind.” It’s almost like car collectors, they’re talking about their cars. It’s really cool. People in the music business or people trying to get in the music business are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever been around. I mean you could play something like crap and they would say, “You know what? That was good, man. I really liked that one sentence you got in there.” They’ll find a positive way, something positive because they’re just trying to encourage people to continue to write because it is a process.

    John: Yeah, yeah, Oh, totally man. That’s so funny, man. Yeah. I really liked that one sentence where you said, “Okay, this is one that I just wrote and then after that I don’t remember.” But that first part was really good.

    Tom: Right. You’re going to say about this podcast. You’re going to go, “Tom said something really nice at three minutes and 42 seconds in.”

    John: Exactly, exactly, yeah.

    Tom: The rest of it is a junk but —

    John: I got to know, did you get on America’s Got Talent, or did you even submit?

    Tom: No, we didn’t. I didn’t even try. But the truth is they actually asked me to audition. They gave me a free pass to audition, like to not have to stand in line without an appointment. So I did get an opportunity to do that. Unfortunately, I had a cold when I went in. I think I did well but my energy was low. Your energy has to be high for everything in life these days. It seems like your energy has to be really at its peak. I was a little bit dragging. What a bad day to get sick, huh?

    John: Yeah. Well, a lot of that is not real anyway.

    Tom: Oh, another dream killer. Okay. Thanks. I appreciate it.

    John: Well, no, I’m trying to help you out. I’m trying to say that trust your dreams, and I’m saying your dream is still alive.

    Tom: Oh, okay, okay.

    John: Reality TV isn’t real. It’s just on the name.

    Tom: Yes, I agree.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, clearly, at LoudMouth Golf — at other places you’ve worked in the past even early on in your career — let’s focus on that. That’s great. Were you as open to sharing hobbies and passions that you love to do? Or, well, I guess it was doing the poker so that was a little bit not something you want to shout from the rooftops.

    Tom: Yeah. Interesting story. I worked for Ping Golf quite a long time ago. When I first really started playing professionally or I would call it semi-professionally. Let’s call it once or twice a week. I would go out and play poker and do really well. I told one person I think at the place and then everybody knew I did that. And I said, “Hey, listen, I don’t really want this going around because I like to do it. I’m really good at it.” But it’s probably not something they want their controller to be doing. I didn’t blame them. So then the CEO come over and talked to me about it. I was the controller and he came over and said, “Hey, what’s this about poker?” And I’m like, “Oh, man, okay. Well, since you asked, here’s the deal. I play once or twice a week and I happen to be really good at it.” You have to explain that you play against other people. You’re not playing against the house, and any game against the house is a loser and I don’t do that. I’m actually very skilled at this game and I make extra money doing it. And I said I don’t play craps or Blackjack or bet on sports. I’m not into gambling.

    John: Or slot machines or something like that.

    Tom: No, none of that. I only do things where I have an edge. So I explained the concept of an edge and how casinos, when they put a slot machine on the floor, are they gambling? And he said, “No, I don’t think so.” And I said, “Well, I’m the same way. I have an edge on every hand. I may not win every hand just like a player, you know, the house doesn’t win every slot machine pole. But eventually, I’ll get all the money if the player is worse than me.” And the true skill in poker is to find a game where you’re better than the other players. And if you are, you’ll win money. It’s that simple. So I explained that to him and he actually was very comfortable with it. He said, “That’s a good explanation.” He was very comfortable with it. And then I went on to become Player of the Year at the World Series. So I think he — this is later after I had already left there, but word filtered back to them so they didn’t feel so bad about the fact that I was doing that.

    John: Yeah. And that’s thing is just taking the time to get to know each other. I mean I remember in my last corporate job, there was a manager of a different department that we interacted with, but he was never over me or really understood what I did. I remember being in a meeting and at one point, he just turns to me and says, “Well, why don’t you just go tell jokes for a living? That’s what you really want to do.”

    Tom: Wow.

    John: Yeah. It’s like, “Well, yeah.” And I was like, “Well, why can’t I be good at both?”

    Tom: Right. Is my job suffering here? Am I doing badly here?

    John: Yeah. I mean it’s crazy. And that’s something that came up earlier on in a Green Apple Podcast episode of just because we can do two things really well doesn’t mean that other people should judge us and vice versa, we shouldn’t judge them for not being able to handle two things at this level. Clearly, once you’re making money at it and you’re doing it several times a week, that’s a whole different level than just, you know, hey, this is something I like to do once in a while for fun.

    Tom: The guy probably spent as much time golfing as you did doing what you do.

    John: Oh, totally, totally.

    Tom: And nobody gives him any grief or “Why don’t you just go on the tour?”

    John: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

    John: Because you’re not good, that’s why.

    Tom: Right, right, exactly. But watch me and see how that I ended up making a living doing comedy. You know, that’s called jealousy is what it’s called. I believe that most corporations are embracing people with passions outside of business, and I think it’s smart. When I started my last job, I brought everybody in and talked to them because I want to introduce myself and understand who they are on a personal level. I would always ask them what they do outside of here because that’s really what drives them. That’s your whole concept. And the truth is that you never know. Someone might be great at designing something or writing a song or doing whatever, and that’s a skill that you can have them use at work which makes their work better. And if you need that skill, why wouldn’t you have somebody use it at work? It’s a more positive experience. Work has to be fun. If work is not fun, it’s hard to stay there. It’s hard.

    John: That’s exactly right, man. And it doesn’t have to be where you’re necessarily doing exactly what your hobby is, but you’re talking about it. And the energy that you bring from talking — I mean when people talk about their hobbies and passions, their eyes are alive. There’s oxygen in the air, like things are in color. And when it’s work, work, work — I mean, wow, I mean you can walk into places where you know where the culture is terrible because right as soon as the door opens, just all the air is sucked out.

    Tom: Exactly.

    John: It’s amazing.

    Tom: There was a job I was looking for recently, and I asked about five people and they all said the guy — I can’t think of the word.

    John: Not a nice guy.

    Tom: That’s it. That’s the word I was thinking of. But just really a bad person. He’s like a bully. I know the job would pay well and I just said, “You know what, forget it. I just can’t do it anymore.”

    John: No, no, it’s not worth the money.

    Tom: Why do people not treat other people well? I have not gotten that. I never understand. It never works. It never works long term. It might work short term but — yeah, I’m a big believer in ensuring your passions and talking about them. You know what, when you’re at work — I’ve read at studies recently. If you’re at work, if you took a 15-minute walk every 45 — if you work 45 minutes and take a 15-minute walk, you’d get more work done and have a better attitude than if you stayed at your desk and kept working.

    John: Wow.

    Tom: Yeah.

    John: There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt that that’s true. But imagine if people, “Well, what’s the charge code for the 15 minutes that I’m supposed to hit?”

    Tom: Charge code. Oh, my goodness.

    John: That’s the thing. Like on the survey that I have on the greenapplepodcast.com page and it’s anonymous, I ask, what are reasons that people don’t share at work? And that column is just full of, well, there’s no charge code to socialize. We don’t get paid to get to know each other or whatever. Well, you kind of do. I mean that’s how things work.

    Tom: Anybody who thinks that way, their culture is really screwed up, really screwed up. That is a way of the past, man. That’s the way of the past. There are companies that are on the cutting edge on how to treat people and how to let them — I think it was Google or some other company. They take one day a quarter and you get to work on whatever you want — whatever you want. Whatever your idea is for the company to make more money, you have 24 hours to work on it then you present it the next day. They don’t care whether it’s good or not, but they get your thoughts. This whole old style of business does not work anymore. Try that on millennials and you’ll get nowhere.

    John: Yeah. And I think it’s not even just a millennial. I think it’s just a human thing.

    Tom: Well, it is, you’re right.

    John: It’s just that the millennials are fed up with it enough or they’ll say something.

    Tom: Yeah. Us older people put up with and then go, “That’s what work is supposed to be like.” It’s kind of like when you’re married to somebody that treats you really bad and you go, “I guess this is just the way marriage is.” And that’s the same way with work I guess is just work, work, work.

    John: Yeah. This is just how it is, I guess.

    Tom: It can’t be any fun here.

    John: Right. And then you talk to your friend and you’re like, “Wait. What?!”

    Tom: Yeah, right. “They do what there?”

    John: Get out of here.

    Tom: “They had an ice cream show yesterday?” Whatever. Who knows?

    John: Yeah. I mean it’s those little things that really make it better, really make it better. That’s exactly it. I guess do you have any words of encouragement to people that maybe they are poker players or maybe they are musicians, but they’re not very good and they don’t want people to judge them?

    Tom: Well, here’s how I look at this type of thing — and I actually speak on this topic — is that if you tell me that you love doing — you really want to, like that’s the word that I always — I really want to learn to speak Spanish or I really want to learn to play guitar or the oboe or whatever that is, if someone says that to me and I say, “Oh, really, what program are you working on to learn your Spanish?” “Oh, I haven’t signed up yet” or “I haven’t done anything.” I just tell them, I say don’t even talk to people about it unless you’re willing to commit five minutes a day to doing it. And if you’re willing to spend five minutes day — so if you tell me you want to learn guitar and you don’t have a guitar, don’t tell me that. Just don’t even talk about it because the concept is that if you can’t spend five minutes a day on something you’re telling people is your passion, then it’s really not your passion.

    So what I did is I committed to playing guitar for five minutes a day. And if I said, if I cannot do that, then I obviously don’t want to learn how to play the guitar. So I put my guitar right next to my desk, picked a song that I wanted to learn, and then I would start with five minutes. And I’m telling you, when you first learn guitar especially, you’re fingers feel like your touching razor blades when you learn.

    John: Oh, yeah, yeah. I’ve tried. I’ve tried and I was out. I was like, “No, this is terrible.”

    Tom: You tapped out, right?

    John: Yeah, totally. I’m a wuss. I’m a total wuss.

    Tom: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I fought through the pain because I wanted to actually had written songs that I had produced. It was like before I could learn how to play that I wanted learn how to play, so I could actually sing my own songs. But the thing with five minutes is that five minutes turns to ten, ten minutes turn to 20, 20 turns into an hour, and an hour turns to who knows how long. And I can sit and play guitar and entertain myself for hours. If you came over to the house and said, “Tom, can you play me some songs?” and I’d say, “How long do you have?” because I would play all day long because someone actually is listening to me.

    John: You built up the tolerance for it too.

    Tom: Yeah. But you got to commit to five minutes a day, whatever your passion is. If you tell me you want to learn Russian, you research the best way to learn it and you spend five minutes a day, and then you’ll find out whether it’s your passion or not because if five minutes doesn’t turn into an hour, then it’s not your passion and stop telling people about it. You know those people that always say, “Oh, I want to write a movie. I want to write a play.” And I go, “Really? How far along are you?” “Well, no, I haven’t started.” You don’t have an idea. It’s kind of “I want to do charity work.”

    John: That was me writing a book for a long time. People keep asking for a book. All right, fine, I’ll say out loud I’m writing a book. But I’m stuck in my brain for a long time, but now it’s in the process. That’s a cool thing.

    Tom: Hey, that’s how you get it done is just taking the first step and spending the five to ten minutes a day.

    John: Yeah. And then not being scared to share it with others at work because maybe you’ve spent that five minutes a day, and now you’re actually halfway decent. People aren’t actually judging you. We’re not in sixth grade anymore.

    Tom: Right, exactly. It’s funny because I just got done reading a book called Do the Work.

    John: Oh, yeah, Steven Pressfield.

    Tom: It says the most important thing is to publish, meaning that’s the scariest part to people. People will write a book and they go, “I don’t know. I just feel like…” because they feel like they’re going to be judged. But the point of the matter is it’s an expression of yourself. If anybody wants to judge you, then they’re not your friends, right?

    John: Yeah.

    Tom: You know, there are people I’ve stopped playing music for because they start talking within 30 seconds of me playing. “Oh, when did you record that?” Whatever. I’ll just play by myself. It’s for me. But I don’t get upset. Most people are pretty good. They’re not going to ridicule you for doing what your passion is. If they are, they’re really kind of something wrong with them.

    John: Well, yeah, because what do they have? They’ve got nothing. So you’re way head of them. And you’re not showing them because, hey, I’m a professional guitar player. You’re showing them because this is what I just like to do.

    Tom: I love to do this. Would you mind listening? It’s fun. I love doing it.

    John: I think that’s the frame of mind. A lot of people think that if I show somebody, that I’m bragging or I’m saying that I’m expert at it. No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that I’m kind of okay, but this is what I like to do. And you asked so here you go.

    Tom: It’s kind of funny you say that because I’m appearing at a place called The Listening Room on January 19th that’s in Phoenix. I’ll just put it in Facebook, and I’ll invite my close friends. I’m not doing it to brag and say, “Listen to me. I’m so great.” But I want to have an audience. I stopped playing open mikes because the football games and all that are more important. If you spend a lot of time on lyrics, then it kind of sucks to pour your heart out and have somebody go, “Oh, those Dodger’s. Dog gone it.” So I really just play for myself. I stopped playing for a lot of people. It’s more enjoyable. It pleases me.

    John: It works, man. That’s awesome. That’s so great, man. Well, this has been really, really fantastic. Really fantastic. But before I get on a plane and fly out there to Phoenix and we play poker while you play the guitar, that way then I have at least an even edge sort of.

    Tom: There you go.

    John: I have my 17 rapid-fire questions that I like to run everybody through. So I got a special set just for you.

    Tom: Okay.

    John: Let me fire this thing up here.

    Tom: I’m ready.

    John: All right, all right. Here we go. Here we go. I’ll start you out with an easy one.

    Tom: Rapid fire, right?

    John: Rapid fire. First thing that comes to mind. Here we go.

    Tom: Okay.

    John: What’s your favorite food?

    Tom: Steak quesadilla from Dick’s Hideaway.

    John: Oh, okay, even from the place. That’s great.

    Tom: Yeah.

    John: How about when it comes to financials, more balance sheet or income statement?

    Tom: Balance sheet.

    John: Balance sheet, all right. How about do you have a favorite number?

    Tom: Thirteen.

    John: Why is that?

    Tom: That’s what I wore in football. I played football in high school, and that was my number.

    John: Okay. Are you more Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Tom: Ooh, the truth is neither.

    John: Neither. All right. How about any movie trilogy or any movie series?

    Tom: Movies are not my thing.

    John: Movies are not your thing. That’s fair enough. Fair enough. How about more PC or Mac when it comes to computers?

    Tom: I’m a PC guy.

    John: And when you’re on your mouse, are you more right click or left click?

    Tom: I am more a left click.

    John: Left click. Getting stuff done. How about more jeans or khaki’s?

    Tom: Jeans.

    John: Jeans. How about do you have a favorite adult beverage?

    Tom: Beer.

    John: Beer. Canned, bottled, it doesn’t matter. Whatever. How about as a musician, do you have a favorite band or musician that you like yourself?

    Tom: Garth Brooks and James Taylor.

    John: How about do you have favorite toppings on a pizza?

    Tom: I’m a pepperoni and/or sausage guy.

    John: Okay, that works. How about more pens or pencils?

    Tom: Oh, I don’t have pencils.

    John: How about sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    Tom: Neither.

    John: Neither?

    Tom: Neither.

    John: Wow. How about do you prefer planes, trains, or automobiles?

    Tom: Automobiles.

    John: Automobiles. Do you have a favorite comedian?

    Tom: I’m going to say John Garrett.

    John: Ah, look at that. Everyone says that and they’re already on the show.

    Tom: You’re actually very good. I watched your stuff. You’re very clever. Very good.

    John: How about do you have a favorite color?

    Tom: Not really. Isn’t that weird?

    John: Wow. How about a least favorite color? There’s got to be one you don’t like.

    Tom: Orange, maybe.

    John: Orange, yeah. That’s a good answer. That’s a good answer. Two more. Two more. Are you more early bird or night owl?

    Tom: I used to be more night owl, and lately I’m more early bird.

    John: Getting stuff done. And the last one, the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Tom: I’m going to say the most important asset that I have is my name.

    John: Yeah, that’s pretty deep, man. That’s super deep. Well, this has been awesome. Thank you so much, Tom, for taking time to be with me on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Tom: My pleasure. I had a great time.

    John: Wow, that was so great! I loved how Tom said that he always asked people what they do outside of work because “that’s what really drives them.” It’s the “and” that provides the energy and passion that makes you better at your job, especially if the firm embraces your talents and lets you not only talk about them but actually use them. If you would like to see some pictures of Tom and get some links to his music and to his book, be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com. And while you’re on the page, please click that big green button and do the anonymous research survey about firm culture.

    And thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app that you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, which is to go out and be a green apple.


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