Episode 122 – Mathew Heggem

Mathew choreographs a dance between arts and business


Mathew Heggem started dancing as a child after realizing he wasn’t a good enough singer for the lead parts in the local children’s theater musicals. It was during an inspired performance as The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland that someone who ran a dance studio offered him some free lessons. He continued to dance through high school and later would get into choreography as well.

In this episode, Mathew and I talk about how his arts side allows him to view business through a different lens. He likes to look at it as he’s participating in acts of creation both in the office and on stage. It was when he realized that both dance and business grow from ideas created by a person, he began to flourish in both worlds. He even went so far as to say, “It’s when I separate the two that things get worse.”

Mathew Heggem is the CEO of SUM Innovation, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Neuland Alliance, and a Choreographer and Co-Founder of Left Side Labs.

He graduated from Goucher College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Dance with emphasis in Choreography and a Minor in Religion. He later attended the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program at Babson College.

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    Welcome to Episode 122 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 another way, it’s like helping people find their “and” as in my guest Mathew Heggem is a CEO “and” a choreographer.

    And now is you’ll hear his passion for dance has allowed him to have this really great creative mindset for innovation and also to connect with many people in his career and there’s a lot of science behind why this is because there are chemicals in your brain that are released when you meet interesting people like norepinephrine which creates engagement and then another one called oxytocin that creates trust and bonding. Both of these combined are really, really crucial to developing a positive corporate culture.

    I’ve got a quick favor to ask you if you like to show and are listening on iTunes or your favorite android app. Don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each week. And this week’s absolutely no different with my guest, Mathew Heggem. He’s the CEO of SUM Innovation and busy with a ton of other things. So Mathew, thank you so much for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Mathew: You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to it.

    John: Oh, man. I’m so excited to have you on after we near miss at Accountex. We were two shifts crossing in the night but we’re able to talk a couple of weeks ago and really cool stuff that you guys were doing there and they gave everyone a little bit of the introduction but maybe in your own words, how you got to SUM Innovation in what you’re doing there.

    Mathew: Yeah, totally. What I’m doing there is a big conversation, so I’ll just start with how I got there situation.

    John: Sure.

    Mathew: I mean I ended up in accounting sort of by accident and not by accident. I don’t think anything really happens by accident. But the long and short of it was that I was helping this non-profit organization called The Bookkeeping Center. I was helping it to deal with some fundraising and development communications issues because I came from this non-profit background.

    And then the founders of that organization, that non-profit, decided that I was capable enough to help them grow their for-profit business, and that became the beginning of this journey of really ultimately becoming the CEO of what is now called SUM Innovation today.

    Yeah. So I came from an arts background. I am still a practicing choreographer. I’m still very much engaged in the world of creativity and entrepreneurship but I definitely have a non-traditional approach towards the situation at hand.

    John: Yeah, yeah. I mean and that’s so perfect in coming from that arts background, do you feel like that comes in handy when you’re dealing with the accountants if you will?

    Mathew: Yes. For two reasons. One, I think on one hand, I’d like to add value wherever I go. And that’s sort of a goal of mine in life. When I think about the work that I’m doing today in the accounting industry, a lot of it circles around engaging acts of creation in order to produce something.

    And so to answer your second question which is what am I up to today, a lot of the things that I’m involved at SUM Innovation are around this idea of unlocking innovation in order to solve entrepreneurial challenges faced by our customers. That requires creativity. That requires thinking in a different way and ultimately having empathy for the customer to be able to sit in their shoes and experience their challenges so that I could then design programming that solves those problems.

    That being said, what I’m finding engaging and interesting on the industry side is actually helping other accounting professionals understand how to bring the conversation of creativity into their conversations. Everything from the obvious stuff like how do you more effectively market yourself down to — or perhaps the more complex stuff like well, how do you design your organization in order to unlock creativity?

    That’s like a whole other conversation. But it all circles around this same idea of well, at the heart of it is this creative engine that’s pushing things along.

    John: Sure. Yeah, man. I love it. I mean that’s so fantastic. Unfortunately, a little bit of an uphill battle but you’re doing it, man, which is great and really making a huge dent in the world. It’s great when you’re able to not have to be the one that’s the engine all the time where you can teach other people how to do it themselves which is fantastic.

    I mean that’s what it’s all about right there. And so you touched on it earlier, just on the choreography. I mean that’s something that you’re still really passionate about and still have one foot in that world which is awesome. So that definitely takes up some of your free time, I imagine.

    Mathew: Totally. Well, I have to feet in for sure because otherwise, I’d fall over.

    John: All right. Right.

    Mathew: But no, absolutely, I’m fully engaged in the world of choreography and dance making. I mean I think it’s been an interesting journey to get to this point and one of the steps along that path was understanding how my work as an artist and my work as a choreographer supported the work that I was doing as a CEO and as a business person and as an entrepreneur. I sort of likened it to this idea that the act of making a business which is the act of creating something that you have in your head and you want to sort of have it come to fruition is, in many ways, the exact same as making a dance.

    You have this idea and you want to make it happen. It just so happens that the medium that you’re working in is different. In this case, it’s the medium of business as oppose to the medium of movement. But the brain, the way the brain thinks about ideas and the way that those ideas come out of you and are articulated onto the page or the stage or whatever, it’s a process that is a transferrable skillset. Accepting that and understanding that is important for me because I think the other thing that I’ve realized too, and this goes back to the one foot versus two feet thing is I most intuitively know how to create dance. I

    I’ve been trained. I’ve been educated. I’ve experienced, I’ve worked with some of the best people that I can work with. So for me to cultivate those skillsets or to refine those skillsets on the business side, right? Because it’s the transfer. I actually have to practice them on the art side. And then in some cases actually interestingly enough, most of my business experimentations come in the form of doing something for Left Side Labs which is the dance company that I run, and when that idea comes out and it’s clear to me and it’s something that I can replicate, then I move it over into the business and start to play with it there.

    John: That’s awesome, man. That’s so perfect. Yeah, because then no one sees it until it’s ready to be seen until it’s good, yeah. That’s really, really cool. Did you have an example of something that maybe people can –?

    Mathew: Yeah, totally, totally. I mean it’s like my Easy-Bake Oven, right? I just bake it over there. Put it out for commercial later. Yeah. I think a lot of the times for me it comes down to different marketing techniques or different marketing strategies. I’ve played with for example, I’ll just pick one. So like content production. The idea of engaging in thought leadership. So I did that. I do that in my creative world and I start by drafting content and I published some things on medium and put them up on my blog article.

    And learning, for example, in that space what a process for writing is, it’s meaningful for me because I think every writer has their own process in a way, I was able to experiment and tested that out by creating content for the blog and some of the other outlets for that company on the dance side. Then I’m able to say okay, okay. Now I understand what is a meaningful writing process for me. Let me see how I can take that process and transfer it over into some innovation.

    John: Yeah. No, I mean that’s so perfect because I mean it’s a muscle group, if you will, that you’re exercising outside of the office and then all of a sudden, when you get to the office, it’s like, “Whoa!” I mean you’re just so strong in that because you’ve been doing it over here on the side and that’s such a perfect example of how the hobbies and passions aren’t throwaways.

    Mathew: Yeah, no, totally. Well, another example just because I love talking about this kind of stuff is I’m really big on the lean startup model and how that the principles of lean startup can be applied into the accounting space and particularly as it relates to growth strategy and charting out territories and developing teams and all that jazz. So I adopted a lean startup mindset when I launched the dance company which gave me a chance to share a language with my business partner because I have a business partner over there.

    And talk about okay, well, what does it mean to test out an idea, right? Because it’s a big principle behind the lean startup and what does it mean to iterate that idea over time and that idea is what we did and now I’m able to again, take that over into the business world and I think about like how I even talk to the employees at SUM Innovation or how we engage in the conversation on strategy and planning. It’s a much bigger animal than the dance company. But again, I’ve been able to test out the conversation in a smaller environment. It’s almost like the dance company’s like my petri dish for business strategy.

    John: Yeah. Well, and plus then you know what it’s like to be a business owner then. And so you can relate to your clients or your staff can relate to the clients.

    Mathew: Totally.

    John: Yeah. That’s awesome, man. I don’t want to like move on too far from the choreography. I mean what are some of the more cooler, rewarding experiences that you’ve had from doing that?

    Mathew: That’s a good question. Many. I think one of the biggest ones for me right now is watching the byproduct of a marriage between both sides actually come to fruition and take on a life of its own. So what do I mean by that? Well, in exploring the intersection between arts and business which is what we’re talking about here, I launched an arts entrepreneurship incubator program just last year.

    That was sort of a pilot program to test out some curriculum to think about ways in which some innovation could more holistically service a target population that we’ve historically serviced but do it in an innovative way and leveraging the resources and knowledge and expertise of my background in the arts and my relationships but do it in a business environment.

    So what happened was I created this program in partnership with a colleague of mine called the Arts Lab. Arts Lab is a six-month — what once was a six-month arts entrepreneurship incubator program. And now, it’s in its second cohort. Watching that thing evolve and seeing in particular the sort of attention it’s getting has been fascinating. I spoke recently at the Actors Fund which is a fairly well known non-profit organization that provides resources to creative professionals.

    They invited me to come talk to this room full of about 60 artists who wanted to break through this sort of entrepreneurial mindset to create something profitable for themselves. For me, seeing that come out of this exploration makes it real and makes it meaningful and it’s impactful. I mean these people were so excited and honored to — and I was honored too to be able to talk about entrepreneurship from an artist’s perspective because it was just awesome. That’s been a really interesting sort of benefit, side benefit.

    John: Right, right, yeah. And even before you got started with the business world, I mean I’d imagine coming through school and stuff like that. I mean the shows that you’ve done or been a part of have to be pretty awesome.

    Mathew: Yeah. I mean I’ve done some awesome things.

    John: Yeah. Hello, I’m Mathew Heggem. Don’t you know? No. But I mean, yeah, I mean just is there one that stands out as being like yeah, no one’s going to even believe this

    Mathew: Well, what do you mean by that?

    John: Well, no. I mean because I have so many just comedy stories from hanging out with Jay Leno or opening for Louie Anderson in Atlantic City or shows like that that it’s just like is this even happening to me? Like this is crazy. But you’ve worked hard to get there. So you deserve it, you know.

    Mathew: Yeah, I mean I don’t know like I’ve had moments where I’m surprised that what is happening is happening. But I’m also not surprised because I think that my intentions have always been the same that is to create the best thing that I can create. And part of that is being present with the things that you’re doing and where they are aiming themselves. And so when I think about things that have happened and the things that are going to happen and the things that are happening now, I’m surprised because I’m not surprised. You understand? I don’t know, it’s just that I just feel like if you know what you’re doing, then you’re doing it.

    John: Right, yeah. I mean you’re where you’re supposed to be.

    Mathew: Exactly.

    John: Yeah, yeah. How did you get into choreography? I mean did you dance when you were younger and then just keep working your way up or how did that start?

    Mathew: Yeah. A woman came up to me. I was a young man then, a young boy. And let’s see what — and I was performing with my local children’s theatre. The woman who ran things, she was very good at creating musicals but I just sucked at singing. So every time she’d give me a singing role, it would be taken away and I’m glad inside that that happened because I was horrible at singing.

    But what happened is just like okay, well, what are we going to do with you? Because I was a good actor. I could get on stage and had stage presence and I was very dynamic. I was very physical. So actually I remember very clearly, there was this one role I played. This woman, she would re-write children’s stories and re-write musicals. She created this mash-up of all of these different fairytales and I ended up as the Mad Hatter character.

    This role was all about being super physical and flailing about the stage and just like really expressing myself through my body. And what had happened is, I did very well apparently, I did very well and it was a great show.

    And then there was a woman in the audience who ran the local dance studio. And after the show, she came up to me and she said, so have you ever thought about dancing? I hadn’t at that point, but the minute she said it, then she offered me free classes. And this is how it works in the world of man and dance. I mean they sort of hook you in with a free class. Once you’re in and you love it, you’re in. So then I just started dancing and I just started dancing through all of high school until I got hit by a car.

    John: Oh, my.

    Mathew: Yeah, which is a whole other kind of thing but yeah. And then that was the beginning of it I mean, it was that show.

    John: Yeah. That’s great man. Yeah, yeah. And then just all through, and then yeah, I mean that’s pretty awesome because you stuck with it and made it happen and you’re still making it happen. I just think it’s so neat how this skill and the training and all these that’s in the arts is impacting your career in the business world so much and that’s really what it’s all about.

    Mathew: It is and I will say that the reason why is probably because of the entrepreneurship thing. I mean I remember when I first moved to New York, I had to figure out how to figure it out. There was no model. I was like okay, good luck. You landed. You have really expensive rent, so now the time is ticking and there’s all this expectation and it’s never going to get easier and there’s a lot of competition. So figure out what you’re going to do.

    Just like any other business and you just sort of have to throw yourself into it, roll your sleeves up, figure out what the problems are, start solving them, whatever you don’t know, you have to learn how to do yourself until you can hire somebody to do it for you. What does that sound like besides growing a business? It’s exactly what happened and it’s harder because it’s in the arts. It’s like in the world of accounting, it’s easy. It’s easier I should say because everybody needs what we have to offer, right?

    John: Yes.

    Mathew: It’s just whether or not what we have to offer, the way we offer it is the way that they want it. But that’s a whole other conversation. But the thing is like the fact that you have to hustle to make something out of nothing.

    John: Right. No. I mean you have to hustle. You have ten times in the arts to what it is in business. That’s for sure. I mean is this something that the dance that you’ve talked about all through your business career, I mean people know about it?

    Mathew: There was a time where I didn’t. I had this sort of dilemma, if you will, where I was trying to figure out how these things co-existed or did not co-exist. For me at one point, I actually separated them completely meaning that I would like, I had my business life and then I had my art life. That worked for a little while until I ended up in a hospital after having a panic attack because I never suffered from anxiety to that degree before.

    And then as I sort of started to unpack that and then gained some insights about who I was as an artist and who I was as a business person and how those things intersected, I realized that in the act of separation, I was creating a discordance with myself and then that created the anxiety and the frustration and the challenges that I was having on multiple levels and it was limiting the potential that I had also on multiple levels.

    And so after sort of waking up to that and unpacking that struggle, I then realize oh, wow. It’s actually when I separate that things get worse. So the thing big thing for me right now is pulling things together, taking this arts stuff and this business stuff and smashing it in the one thing taking this desire to support entrepreneurs and the work that we do in the accounting profession and smashing that together and taking the leadership stuff — sorry, so the thought leadership stuff and the work that we’re doing with our clients and smooshing that together and just making sure that everything is cohesively connected.

    John: I love that. The whole you know, when I separate things get worse. It’s so hard to live two separate lives.

    Mathew: Well, yeah, yeah.

    John: Your brain can only handle so much. And then like you said, I mean which is really profound that you realized and recognize this is that you were actually limiting yourself in both worlds.

    Mathew: Yeah, and business does that in general. I mean so two things I talk about right now quite a bit just in terms of referencing things in my writing. One of them is the myth of work-life balance which is baloney because work and life — life is work sometimes and life is not work sometimes but it’s all one thing. So trying to cut yourself up into parts doesn’t make sense. And then the other thing is this dehumanizing side hustle.

    What I mean by that is again, it kind of feeds into that idea that everything can be separated and compartmentalized when actually, it doesn’t have to be. In some ways, it’s healthier to not compartmentalize things. But then on top of that, I think about my business. I think about the growth strategy that we have now and the things that we’re talking about today. What we’re talking about is taking that “side hustle” of one of our employees and actually folding that up into the strategy of some motivation so there’s some motivation that’s not just Mathew’s crazy dream or idea but that it’s our crazy dream and idea.

    And therefore, we’re supporting each other in this journey by taking that side hustle and saying okay, well, how does that actually translate into the work that we do on a day-to-day basis with our clients and where can it take us? It’s really about looking at all the things that human beings do in your organization and saying, what are the opportunities here to do more to do better?

    John: Yeah. No. I mean that’s awesome and I mean how do you go about finding out these hobbies and passions of the people that work there?

    Mathew: Well, it’s all conversations at the end of the day. But I think what it is, is it’s creating an environment where people understand that you’re there to listen and to be responsive and not shooting ideas down, not saying things like okay, well, if it’s not on the agenda, there’s no time for it. It requires more conversation than I think most organizations take the time to have. It requires a non-higher archaical organizational structure that allows for conversations to bleed from one area of the organization to the other.

    John: Right, right. No, and that’s great. I mean do you think that that’s possible to exist in accounting firms? I mean in smaller groups. I think that that’s probably easier? How do you suggest that people that are listening that are like oh, yeah, that sounds great or we could never do that here type of a thing, either side of that? They should but is there a first step that’s an easy first step for people? Well, not easy but I guess the first step.

    Mathew: Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean I think part of it is having conversations about ideas, right? I think a lot of people get together and they have a meeting about making a decision. But what if you just don’t make a decision like what if you actually take the time to make no decisions and only talk about ideas?

    And start with like a zero mindset, pretend like time, space and everything doesn’t exist and the only thing that exist is right here, right now, who you are and who’s in front of you and what is around you and what you know and understand and just brainstorm like crazy and just let it flow out of you and on to a piece of paper and don’t say no.

    That’s like, it’s like that after thing, that improv thing. It’s like yes and yes and yes and yes and, right? And dig, dig more into the conversation and once you sort of see it all out in front of you, then start asking more questions about it. I mean one of my favorite exercises from the lean startup book is this ask yourself why five times. Because by the fifth time, you actually start to tell the truth.

    So I think the first step is really frankly just having a conversation about it. I think if there’s a person out there that’s listening that’s working in an organization that doesn’t support their ideas, then I think the first step is to bring that forward to the leadership team and as scary as that sounds say hey, look, I have all these awesome ideas and I don’t know how this organization is going to support me but I’d like to share them with you and then we’ll see where it goes. I think even just the willingness to say I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to share them with you anyways. If they then turn around and say those are great ideas but not for here, then at least you have the opportunity to say thank you and move on.

    John: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Yeah, because I mean I think that that’s the biggest fear for people in wanting to share ideas or share their hobbies, their passions or just open up, they’re vulnerable and they’re afraid that — and I think that fear is mostly in their own head because once you let it out, I mean I’m sure once people found out that you do the choreography and your dance background, I mean people are like wow, that’s actually really cool. Tell me more of that.

    Mathew: And it makes you different and it makes you approachable. I mean I think there is a myth about business people and it has to do with this idea that we’re not humans. I mean that’s the thing that is so frustrating and in many ways, traditional business models and traditional hierarchical business models are in fact dehumanizing so I can understand why the general population feels and therefore, the general consensus is that business people don’t have this passion or this motivation or these desires or if they do, that they have to exist in a box off to the side. That’s only because that’s those are the cards they’ve been given.

    But actually the truth is these people do want these things. They desperately think seek authenticity and uniqueness because that’s actually the thing that’s going to make them connect you. That’s the whole idea behind the empathy and connectivity and sharing the experience with other human beings that is possible if you can open yourself up.

    John: Yeah, that’s exactly — I mean that’s exactly right. The people play the cards that they’re dealt rather than asking for a new hand. And it’s like, it’s okay to get some extra cards, you know, or whatever.

    Mathew: Or play a different game.

    John: Yeah, you’re right. All of a sudden, we’re playing crazy eights now everybody.

    Mathew: Why not, man? Or whatever. It doesn’t matter. But change the game. If you don’t like what you’re playing, go to a different table.

    John: Right. No, that’s exactly it, man. That’s exactly it. How much do you think it’s on the organization to create that culture from the top-down or how much could it be an individual that just kind of creates a small little group in their little corner?

    Mathew: Every organization is going to be different. I think fundamentally I believe that it has to be an initiative of the organization to say yes “and,” right? And that has to be because there needs to be a certain level of trust in the employee and in the people within the organization to say you know what? I’m sitting here as a business owner and as a CEO and I’m on that side of the table and I have to be able to look at the group in front of me, these employees and say yes, I have no idea what you’re doing and keep going.

    John: And keep going. Right, right, right. Yeah.

    Mathew: And that’s hard for the owner to say because yes, there is a lot at stake for you personally. But if you cannot do that, then what you’re saying implicitly or explicitly is I don’t trust you.

    John: Exactly. That’s exactly it.

    Mathew: Exactly. That’s going to be the beginning of a whole lot of other problems that you’ll have everything from the inability to innovate which is what we’re talking about, all the way down to poor job performance on simple tasks that you need them to do, right?

    So trust is a huge factor which brings it back to the organization but it’s the organization in partnership with the person that they choose to hire. I think the other part of it is understanding what kind of people you need to bring in to your organization in order to be able to do what we’re talking about which means that you need to find people who are totally open to talking about their “side hustle” who are totally open to sharing ideas with you, who can actually sit at the table and give you a completely different perspective that you’ve never ever heard before.

    And you need to be able to hear that and say, wow, I’ve never heard that before and that’s why I need to hire you. I think part of the problem with the accounting industry in particular is we hire the same person over and over again.

    We say okay, they need to be able to fill these boxes out and they need to be able to answer these five questions and then you need to com.plete this form and have this certification. If they check, check, check, check down the list but P.S. that looks just like the last person you hired then you shuffle them in the organization and think you’ve done your job when in fact, there is a lot of innovation that needs to happen in the world of recruiting and talent acquisition and hiring practices within the accounting community.

    John: Yeah, yeah, or if somebody comes in and they don’t fit that mold, then they hammer them flat so then they do within that first year or two. You hire all these people with extracurricular activities and then you don’t allow them time to go do the extracurricular activities. You just suck it right out of them.

    Mathew: Yeah. And the other thing I’ll say about that and I know people don’t agree with me on this one so I’m going to say it because I have to. And it’s this issue around conflict of interest. A lot of people will look at that thing that they’re doing off to the side and say, that’s great but that’s not us or that’s not part of our services or that’s not part of our strategy, whatever the thing is.

    So wash that away for a second because we just talked about integrating these things more deeply. So really, what you need to realize is actually what they’re doing and what you’re doing are the same thing and both parties are benefiting equally and simultaneously.

    For example, I have one person on my team right now and I’m hoping to unlock this potential with her specifically but she’s interested in working with female entrepreneurs and she wants to coach people and she wants to — it seems like that’s like a big passion that she has and she’s driven to do it, right? In perhaps a traditional business environment, we would say to her one day, hey, now is the time for you to go away and do your coaching business and good luck with that, right?

    John: Exactly.

    Or you could say hey, why don’t you coach female entrepreneurs inside of this organization? Because that’s going to help us build our business. We’re going to have female — we’ve had historically about 70% female clients at SUM Innovation. Anyways, so it’s already a target demographic that were engaged with. If there’s a way that we can engage even more to create a stickier relationship to build potential and opportunity for all of us, then why don’t you do that and yeah, fine, that brings up questions about like revenue sharing and ownership and all.

    But you know what, so what? That’s part of the dialogue. Let that be a part of the dialogue. They’re business people too just like you, right? It’s not like all the top three people are the only ones that get to talk about equity. You know what I mean?

    John: Right, right. Yeah. Because I mean I think what this all boils down is to is it’s more work for management to manage people that are all individuals or have different interests or what have you or make sure that the workload is the proper amount with flexible work schedules and things like that versus the old way which is just face time. You’re here and you’re in the office so I know that you’re “working” or at least your body is here. And yeah, so it’s — I don’t know. I think that it just creates more work higher up and you have to hire the right people, so there’s more pressure that way. But in the end, it’s much more fruitful and it’s just better for everybody.

    Mathew: Yeah.

    John: Yeah. Well, this was unbelievable like lives are changed. That’s for sure, that are mine anyway.

    Mathew: Yeah. Good. I’ve done my job.

    John: Really fantastic. Yeah, yeah. Really, really fantastic but I do have my 17 rapid fire questions that I have to run people through before I come down to D.C. and have you show me how to dance any kind of dance basically. So I need to make sure that we’re really simpatico here.

    Mathew: I got you. I got you.

    John: So just let me fire this thing up. Let me fire this thing up here and all right, all right. I’ll start you out easy. What’s your favorite color?

    Mathew: Jesus. Blue. Blue. I don’t know why but blue.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Mine too. How about a least favorite color?

    Mathew: I think like a dark brown might be my least favorite color.

    John: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah. No. That’s good, that’s good. When it comes to computers, are you more of a PC or a Mac?

    Mathew: Hands down Mac man.

    John: Yeah. That’s what I figured. How about do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?

    Mathew: Mint chocolate chip.

    John: Oh, nice. That’s classic. I like it. Are you more pens or pencils?

    Mathew: Total pen.

    John: Total pen. Yeah, yeah. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Mathew: Oh, that’s a hard one. I am going to have to go with Star Trek.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Okay. All right. How about a favorite TV show of all time?

    Mathew: You know what? A favorite TV show now, The Good Life.

    John: Oh, yeah, yeah.

    Mathew: You’re watching that? It’s awesome.

    John: What a typical breakfast?

    Mathew: Yogurt and coffee.

    John: Wow. I was like healthy and I don’t know.

    Mathew: Well, I mean the coffee is okay, right? It’s a latte generally speaking. Yogurt’s good for you.

    John: Okay. Right, right. No, that’s awesome. Are you more of a suit and tie or a jeans and a t-shirt kind of guy?

    Mathew: Jeans and t-shirt. I mean I love wearing a suit and tie but jeans and t-shirt is my default.

    John: Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Now when it comes to financials, are you more of a balance sheet or an income statement kind of guy?

    Mathew: Balance sheet, man.

    John: Yeah. That’s where it’s at. Do you have a favorite actor or actress?

    Mathew: Julianne Moore. She’s incredible.

    John: Oh, yeah. How about a favorite that you’ve been on vacation?

    Mathew: Favorite — Bermuda. The water was incredible.

    John: Yeah. Would you say you’re more of an early birth or a night owl?

    Mathew: Early bird.

    John: All right, all right. I got three more. Three more. Do you have a favorite number?

    Mathew: 7.

    John: 7 and there’s a reason?

    Mathew: It’s a good number. That’s all you need to know.

    John: How about a favorite band or a musician?

    Mathew: I loved and will always love Björk.

    John: Oh, my goodness. Look at you with the Iceland reference. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have.

    Mathew: My cat.

    John: Your cat.

    Mathew: I love my cat.

    John: And what’s his name?

    Mathew: Well, it’s a she.

    John: Oh, it’s a she. Sorry.

    Mathew: Her name is Kitty Princess.

    John: Kitty Princess.

    Mathew: Yup. She’s Miss November in our building.

    John: Nice.

    Mathew: That was very exciting. We wrote up a bio for her and a little picture.

    John: That’s very, very cool, man. Very cool. Well, this was so great, Mathew. Thank you so much for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Mathew: No problem. Thank you.

    John: Wow. That was unbelievable. So many great nuggets in there for everyone to take away. I loved how Mathew said people seek authenticity and uniqueness because that’s the thing that’s going to make the best connections with others. You see, it’s your “and,” your hobby and your passions for things outside of work that allow you to truly standout. And not only that, as Mathew his story that is separating his work and his passions may both worse.

    If you like to see some pictures of Mathew in action or connect with him on social media, 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 you use and for sharing these 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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