Episode 21 – John Choe


Clients enjoy that John is a modern day George Plimpton

 

John Choe has played one game of professional baseball and he’s also tried out with an NHL team. And you better believe that clients and coworkers gravitate toward these stories, especially in the sports-obsessed stock picking world. One client compared John to George Plimpton, famous for his “participatory journalism”, where he would do an activity once and then write about it.

In this episode, he talks about how he used the skills he developed in the office to open the door to these professional sports opportunities and how it’s greatly increased his relationships at work. And if you’re in a place that doesn’t encourage this, you can still find a small group of the right people to do so.

John is a Security Analyst with FinArc Investments and responsible for researching, analyzing, and recommending stocks to the investment committee. Previously, he held research analyst positions at Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors.

John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

 

Other pictures of John

(click to enlarge)

John getting ready to make his professional baseball debut.

John gets an at-bat for the CornBelters in Bloomington-Normal, IL.

John tries out for goalie for the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

John’s links

 

Transcript

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    John G: Welcome to Episode 21 of the Green Apple Podcast where every Wednesday, I talk with a professional known for a hobby or a passion and how that’s impacted their career. This week is no exception as I’m excited to introduce you to my guest, John Choe. He’s a Security Analyst with FinArc Investments, an investment management firm in Boston. He’s got a Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. And he’s got a bucket list that would make any eight-year-old jealous, and I’m so excited he’s with me. So, let’s just jump right in to your day as a professional baseball player.

    John C: Okay. Well, the thing I did in 2011 is I played one game of Minor League Baseball. At that point, I was 35 years old. I hadn’t played organized baseball competitively since high school. So, it’s very strange for someone who’s in front of computer, in front of Bloomberg. A lot of my time to play a game, a lot of games, this live pitching. The story is that I love baseball and when I was in business school, I learned a lot about the business sports. I did a pro bono consulting projects with the Red Sox Foundation here in Boston. I see how sports work.

    I had learned how baseball teams run basically. There’s affiliated teams or unaffiliated teams. Those unaffiliated teams are the ones that run those crazy promotions to get people on the seat. The way they make money is not by TV contracts but by running promotions like — I think one team had free vasectomies on Father’s Day. Just crazy things like that, and it’s because what they really want to do is generate buzz and get people on the seat.

    At that time, I was working a lot and I had two kids. For me, it was like, “Boy, I’m getting to the point of midlife crisis. I want to do something fun.” Part of it is like, “Wow, I really want to see what life, pitching is like. I would love an experience like this.” I’ve read an article years ago where one of these teams with a crazy owner run an eBay auction for a Rockstar spot in the next vision game. I read about that years ago and it’s stuck in my head. So, that was the pitching.

    John G: That sounds great, man.

    John C: Yeah. A team in Illinois said yes and that’s how it started.

    John G: Where was this?

    John C: Central Illinois, a team called the Normal CornBelters.

    John G: Oh, sure. In Bloomington-Normal. Absolutely.

    John C: Yes. It’s a great, great area, and I love the great experience and the team was gracious and it worked out perfectly, and the phone call —

    John G: It was your idea and you won the auction?

    John C: Yes.

    John G: That’s so great.

    John C: Yeah. Well, I told them that he runs auction. Here are considerations that you can do to make it — I kind of worked with them on this and all the while saying, “Hey look, if someone beats me on this auction, good for you, good for the charity, good for that” and everyone wins. They had to make it a buzz board and open to everyone. Some friends did against me.

    John G: That’s so great.

    John C: Everyone treated me really well.

    John G: That’s right, and you got to play the whole game?

    : No, it was a tough thing. Part of the pitch was doing an exhibition game because these guys John C are professionals, don’t insult their professionalism. But the contract that they gave me said minimum one at that and one, I think, in the field.

    John G: Oh, okay.

    John C: The funny thing is that that day was — they only play a handful of spring training games, exhibition games, and it was raining. I flew my entire family out to Chicago. We did a family vacation there. The game was winning and I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is my one chance.” This is the last exhibition game of the year and I was fearing we’re going to get rained out. But someone was smiling because the rain held up. I won the auction on one day and I think two or three days later, it was a game. I had zero practice.

    John G: Right. So how did you do it, man?

    John C: I thought pretty well. It’s a lifetime in memory.

    John G: Yeah. It looked like you were on base at least in one of the pictures. Did you get hit by a pitch or what happened?

    John C: Well, I got one at that. I went in call though because I didn’t have a chance to go to batting cages. I was so busy with work and the two kids and the family. I went in the batting practice that day it was rained out. So I was going in 100% call.

    I went up. I’m a baseball fan where I think you should take the first pitch. Work the pitching. My wife is like, “John, you’ve got to swing. You’re getting one shot. You better go down swinging.” I was like first pitch is — I was like, “Okay. Swing right away, no matter what.” The first pitch was a fastball, the clock, I think, was 89 miles an hour right down the middle of plate and the thing was I tried to swing but it was so fast. The speed of the game just amazed me that the bat didn’t leave the shoulder. A journalist wrote afterwards, said that, “John patiently took the first pitch.” But in actuality, I was, “Oh no, I tried to swing but it was by me before I started.”

    John G: These bats are a lot heavier than in tee-ball.

    John C: The second pitch came down and I’m like, “Okay. Just as soon as –” you know, his hand goes up, starts swinging. I felt it but it was as late as possible. The ball went straight back at an angle and it was — yeah, I started early, I cheated, but still I was way behind. The third pitch came and it was like even faster. Just as soon as he starts winding up, starts swinging, right?

    John G: Yeah, all right.

    John C: I got a fell ball over the first base dugout.

    John G: This is so great, man, this is so great. I’m visualizing all of this happening.

    John C: Yeah. The fourth pitch was, okay, I started when he was winding up. Now, you got to start earlier. I think he was just starting, shaking off signs from the catcher and I started swinging. The ball came in. It hit my bat. It went down the first base line. It was wet turf. The first baseman had to dive and knock it down and the pitcher came over and covered the bag. The ball got out there in a millisecond. I was out by ten steps. I got the one shot.

    John G: Yeah, but you made a contact, man. I mean, that’s way better than I would have done for sure. I would have been laying on the ground. The ball comes hissing in like — one curve ball and I would have been toast.

    John C: Yeah. I was just hoping at that point — these guys are pros and I was like, “Okay, curve ball, I’m dead. I’ve got a gasp.” I played an inning in right field.

    John G: Yeah. But from that guy’s perspective, from the pitcher’s perspective, he doesn’t want to lay into you. But on the other hand, if he lets you get a hit, he’ll never hear the end of that. You’re like the national league pitcher. It’s like, “Oh, man, I can’t get a hit on me.” But that’s so great, man. You made contact, you got to run one out. I mean, you went down swinging. That’s awesome. That’s so cool, man. That’s so cool. So, did the story make it to the office?

    John C: Yeah. Well, it had to because I had to explain why I was taking time off on short notice. A very interesting thing in my experiences in the investment world is that so many people are fan to baseball because it’s a very — a numbers driven, analytical game. It’s a team sport but really, it’s individual interaction, so you can measure individual actions versus soccer and basketball. It’s fluid. It’s depended on other people on positioning. But baseball is real. That’s how a lot of people get into — I feel a lot of people get into investments as they develop this love of looking at numbers and trying it to make sense.

    So many discussions over the years I’ve had with people in this industry always ended up with baseball. My experience is working with the Red Sox Foundation doing that consulting project. People would ask, “Hey,” this free agent, “how do you go about thinking about this contract? Was this a good signing or not? If you think they overpaid for someone, well, what is the right number and how do you get there?” For me, it was a really easy thing to talk about. People love hearing about it and it was very easy things to talk about.

    John G: That’s so great, man. Yeah, yeah. So then coworkers, clients, everybody just gravitates towards that. I’m sure they’re just super jealous of that cool experience.

    John C: Yeah. It was a fun story to tell and it’s — you know, upon reflection, I’m glad that the lessons I’ve learned over the years in terms of understanding where someone is coming from, what their motivations are, why would someone say yes to something, what are they thinking about. These are the lessons I’ve learned over the years and it’s nice to be able to apply that to this one experience but it’s what I do at work.

    John G: Yeah. That’s so excellent, yeah. And I didn’t realize how much statistics were involved in baseball till I was maybe in high school and George Will had that book, I think, Men at Work.

    John C: Men at Work, yes, yes.

    John G: It follows like Tony La Russa and I think Tony Gwynn. I mean, just the statistics of the count is this, the pitcher throws this pitch at this percentage of the time. I mean, it was unbelievable how much —

    John C: I remember that book too and I felt the same way. I totally, totally —

    John G: And the whole time I kept thinking, how does John Kruk play so long? Like, how did that happen? He was just up there swinging. That’s what’s happened there.

    John C: He wrote a funny book, and the title, I remember — you know, being a silly fan, he was one of my favorites. The title of the book, I’m paraphrasing, I think it was I’m Not Fat, I’m An Athlete. Some woman came up to him and made a barb at his weight and that was his reply, and that became the title of his book.

    John G: Of his book. Yeah, exactly.

    John C: Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Not Fat, I’m A Ballplayer.

    John G: I’m A Ballplayer, there you go, yeah. No, he was a great man. He was very entertaining, and I knew as a Phillies fan, you would appreciate that one. No, and that’s so awesome how in the moment, you are able to see how this correlates to work. It wasn’t a little bit after the fact but you didn’t just dismiss it as, “Yeah, it’s just a fun thing to do and it really serves no value.” It’s actually, “No, no, this is what I do every day, just in a different way, I guess.”

    John C: Yeah. And even trying to get this experience, it took me about three years for this to happen. Every March would roll around and the weather starts turning. For me, it’s being baseball crazy. It’s like, “Oh, spring training is on the corner” what they call the Truck Day when the Red Sox load their truck with all the baseballs and gloves and they drive down to Florida. It’s a big holiday around here in Boston. So, every spring or every truck they had kind of get this itch like, “Oh, I want to make this work. I have an idea.” The first year, I call teams and I’m really kind of honed by pitch. A lot of people would say no but you just kind of move on.

    John G: Right. Their calendar is full of vasectomies and water balloon pies or whatever.

    John C: Yeah. It was a series of short pitches I was making over the phone. Someone buy and you get interest. So the first year, I talked with a couple and just picked up on what resonated and what didn’t. That first season, a team didn’t say yes. The next March rolled around, I was like, “Okay. I want to try this again.” And there was actually a team that agreed to do it. But it came back, they were working at details and the league insurance — the league wouldn’t approve it because of insurance issue.

    And then the next March rolled around. This was the third kind of March where I tried to do this. I think it was the first call I made that year. There was a bunch of persistence. As a stock-picker, you’re going to make some mistakes and you have to accept it and move on. For me, the nos weren’t discouraging, it was, “Okay, just move on to the next thing.” You know, I had to be creative in how I could craft this story and think about how it works. Those things are lessons that not only helped me do this but these are lessons that I comply to work. Those are all very similar.

    John G: Yeah. I mean that’s just fantastic, man. I love it, and I loved the tenacity too. I mean yeah, three years of making this happen. And then you take the first pitch, so good for you.

    John C: No. My wife pointed the tenacity point a lot and she said, “That’s one of the most impressive things is just how you were –” I didn’t think of it this way. I think this was just kind of normal but she’s like, “No, this is something that’s hard to do and it’s something that’s very valuable. You’re, perhaps, being humble about that but it takes persistence in some –”

    John G: Yeah, the fact that you made like one call is above normal. But then for three years to keep trying at it, yeah, I mean that’s impressive and I’m just glad for you saying that no one outbid you because that would have been terrible. Three more years of trying to get the Peoria Mudhens or somebody to junk it onboard.

    John C: No. If someone outbid me, it’s the same thing. I just would have moved on and accept it and go for it.

    John G: Sure. No, you’re a good sport about it. No, that’s awesome. It seems like you’ve had some other forays into professional sports as well in the hockey arena.

    John C: Yeah. It was another experience I just had and this was just last March. I was invited to try out for an emergency goalie position with the NHL Florida Panthers.

    John G: Emergency goalie. Is that like the get back guy on the NFL Sidelines?

    John C: No, this is the — if our goal is go down and we need someone to use, we’ll call you.

    John G: Okay, okay.

    John C: The story is that last March — most NHL teams carried two goalies and in one game, the Panthers’ first-string goalie got hit in the head with a puck. So, he went out of the game. Their second goalie blew out his knee, and so they had no goalie.

    John G: So they were at the emergency goalie was their goalie.

    John C: Yeah. This happens, actually, about once a year and this actually happened, plays over the last two months when they called someone up. Yeah, the Arizona Coyotes were the last team to do it. They just called up someone and gave them an hour’s notice. They say, “Our goalies are down, can you come in?” He’s a 31-year-old banker.

    John G: That’s so great.

    John C: Yeah. He was giving his two sons a bath. It was 6:00 p.m. They called him up and said, “Hey, the game starts at 7:00, can you make it down?” Yeah, this happens. What happens in the Panthers’ scenario is that, oftentimes, the goalie coach is a retired NHLer and they’ll suit him up or a forward will put on equipment and such. In this case, the first-string goalie came back in, and arguably shouldn’t have, but he did. I read about this and the next day, the team run a good promotion as a marketing thing for fun but they said, “Try out as an emergency goalie for the Panthers.” The entries for the contest was a form on the Internet. It’s very easy; name, address, history, and there’s this open text field of, “Describe your experience and why we should pick you.”

    I saw it and my son at that point was eight. He’s in third grade and he’s learning how to write a persuasive essay and I pulled him over. He’s a big hockey fan. He plays goalie for his team. I said, “Son, come over here, let me show you something. This team is doing this, let’s think about why they would say yes to someone.” In about maybe five or ten minutes, I crafted an essay, maybe a three-paragraph essay with some humor and basically saying, “Hey, I’m a hockey coach and my kid is seeing this which solidified their love of hockey.” You know, the things that would make this a good experience, once again, listening to what they said in the instructions and understanding where they’re coming from. And a couple of days later, they said, “Hey, you earned an invitation. Come on down to Florida.”

    John G: That is so cool, man.

    John C: Yeah, because I hadn’t played goalie since my graduate school days at Dartmouth, I think.

    John G: Oh okay, because I was going to ask you, have you ever played goalie? I mean, you got to be a little bit off your rocker and to play goalie and hockey, I think.

    John C: Yes. The big team at the Tuck, my business school. All of the limited free time I had, at that time, it was mostly dedicated to my oldest kid’s hockey team. I was coaching this team. I was like, “Oh, I don’t know if I should do this.” My wife is like, “You’re crazy. This is a great experience. They picked you for a reason, go and do it.”

    John G: Go back in your boss and some other crazy excuse to have days off, right?

    John C: No. The firm I work at now, it’s a smaller firm and everyone was really into this and heavily invested. It was a great experience.

    John G: That’s so great.

    John C: Yeah, so I hopped on a plane. I bought used equipment down there at a Play It Again Sports outside of Florida, and then some older coaches there, the retired NHLers. They’re taking shots at you and it was a great experience, and the speed of it was amazing. The speed of the clocks, I had no chance on breakaways. I think I stopped five out of the first six shots. For a millisecond, I was like, “Oh, maybe I’ll be fine.” And then they started doing one timers and breakaways and it was — yeah.

    John G: Yeah. Then it was like, “Oh, that’s –”

    John C: It’s a cheaper day job.

    John G: This wasn’t in the couch.

    John C: But it was a great day and —

    John G: That’s very cool, man.

    John C: Yeah. And going back to the understanding why they would want to say yes to you and go in there. So, that worked out. It was a fabulous experience.

    John G: And you think it hurts, most importantly. Yeah, I would have walked in there with pillows from the hotel room I just stuffed in my shirt. All right, guys.

    John C: People say there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, right?

    John G: Yes, and hockey goalie, I think it’s both. Hockey goalie is right on that line. That is cool, man, that is so cool. Yeah. Just what a great experience, and also, rallies everyone in your office around you. You had to be legendary.

    John C: Also, too, up here in Boston, it’s a hockey — and New England is a hockey mad area, and this was something that long-lost contacts heard about it and they contact me out of blue and say, “Hey, John, I read about this in the paper. This is nuts. I read about it in the Boston Globe.” Or “So and so told me about this.” It was a great way to connect with people that I’ve lost track with. A lot of people were rooting for me.

    John G: Yeah, that’s such a cool feeling as well. I have to imagine that after doing the emergency goalie tryout, how did that play out when you were talking to your clients?

    John C: Yeah. I got a lot of feedback. They wrote an article on the Boston Globe. I do remember one client, in particular. He called me up and he was asking me about it and he said, “I’m telling all people in my office, I said, this guy we’re working with, he’s a modern day George Plimpton.” If you don’t know who he was, he did many different things but he was a journalist and wrote up a bunch of books. One being about — he pitched an inning in a Major League Baseball exhibition game. Another was a book called Open Net. He played a game for the Boston Bruins as their goalie.

    It fit and I hadn’t thought about it until we had talked and he brought this up and it was — it made sense, made me laugh, and we had a great discussion afterwards.

    John G: Yeah. Now, he’s got a label for you going forward. Yeah, they’ll never forget you, man. That’s so great, the modern day George Plimpton. I love it. I guess before the baseball, Minor League Baseball career took off and before the NHL tryout, those are obviously huge things that are as magnets, going to just pull a ton of people towards you. But before those, were there things that you would share in the office or was it these things that kind of broke it open for you?

    John C: When you work in small teams over time especially if you work closely with people and it’s intense, stories come out and such. I think on the whole, I tried to not be so personal, initially, at work because I want to be a good team member, contribute and people value my contributions and see that I was supporting the team and doing good things. And I didn’t want to let any kind of these fun stories kind of dominate — that could be the main impression that people have. At first, I’d like people to know that, “Wow, he’s a nice person. He does a good job. He’s a good teammate.” After that, it’s like, “Oh, wow. There’s also these fun stories.”

    At first, I was reluctant to often share a lot of personal things. But over time, it comes out and a lot of times, people would bring it up and say, “Oh, so and so told me about this. Tell me about this.” I’ve had meeting staff where people would do that. They told me about this, you’ve got to tell me about this, what happened?

    John G: Yeah. That’s so great because yeah, I mean if it hadn’t come out, then we’re just talking about the weather or something — and I guess one thing that I liked to ask everybody is, when it comes to the spectrum of whose responsibility is it to kind of open up and to share some of these fun stories of your personal life or what have you, is it on the organization to create this culture or is it on the individual to just, during lunch, bring it up in conversation or somewhere in the middle? Which way do you think it leans there?

    John C: I also don’t like to say it depends or both but in this case, I kind of feel it’s both. I think team and company and organizational culture, they’re so important. It’s something that I think it needs to be actively developed and crafted. I worked at places where communication among different groups was not promoted, and I’ve been in environments where — cultures were not conducive to good teamwork. So I do think the organization does have responsibility to — they should. It’s to everyone’s benefit to have a culture of sharing and respect. But also, on an individual too, is that developing a team starts from both sides, is that each person can either be something, add things to the culture and add things to a team, and that’s how these things develop. Unfortunately, I’ll say both.

    John G: Yeah, there you go. That’s the engineering answer. It’s both. No, I’m just kidding. But no, yeah, I agree with you. On one hand, the organization can create a magical culture that’s just the ultimate, but if the individual doesn’t share, well then, that doesn’t matter. And on the flipside, there are some cultures that are just really toxic and keep your head down and grind billable hours and things like that.

    John C: But individuals can change things. They have the opportunity. It could be more difficult in situations where the culture hasn’t been developed, but it is possible.

    John G: Yeah. So as an individual, you could make that change slowly but surely, yeah. No, that’s excellent insights there, excellent insights. I guess some of those organizations that you were talking about where they have a great culture or increased engagement or what have you, are there specific things that those organizations did to encourage that sharing or was it just kind of just the culture as a whole?

    John C: I think some of the things that an organization can do, it’s really putting team development as a thing that we should work on, address it directly. A lot of it comes from hiring the right managers, giving them the ability to develop and nurture and foster however they want to. A lot of it is giving freedom. It’s a lot of having environment where anyone can share ideas that they respected and the ideas are evaluated not so much on who’s giving them but really the quality of the idea. It’s a really difficult thing.

    John G: Yeah, definitely.

    John C: So the places where I’ve worked where I think that had the best cultures and were the most successful are ones that were able to do that. Put the right people in place. Give them the ability and the freedom to do things and have it so that people feel comfortable to speak up, to share ideas. I know it is possible. I know it is very difficult.

    John G: Yeah. No, I mean it certainly takes — like you said, it has to be intentional. It doesn’t really happen on accident. I mean, I remember when I was working in Big Four and a lot of the people that were promoted were just because they were who’s left. It’s like, “Well, who’s been here longest? Okay, you, you’re promoted to manager now.” And it’s like, “Well, that’s terrible.” But it seems like that’s years of service don’t always equate to a good management style.

    John C: Absolutely. I think nowadays, people are catching on to that. But yeah, those are all really good things, and yeah, just having everyone be able to pitch in and not be left at because you’re the first year on a project. Well, you know what, you probably have a good idea that no one’s thought of before because they’ve been around here too long. Yeah, that’s cool. I guess I’m kind of coming in for a landing here. What might be some barriers that maybe keep people from wanting to share? And then maybe any words of encouragement of your experience for that, you know, after you had the baseball and the hockey and other experiences.

    John C: It’s a very difficult question.

    John G: Yeah.

    John C: I think some barriers that would prevent people from sharing are either cultures or managers that don’t value the human side or — value the team building, I think it’s very important, and I think cultures and managers that don’t value that team building. I think that puts people in situations where they might not want to share. They might feel awkward. I felt like that at times too in certain environments. Those are the things that to me, I felt the biggest barriers.

    And the words of encouragement are that even if you can develop relationships with small of number of people that you feel would be open to sharing like that, it could be clients, it could be business partners. Just a few people on the team. I think the connections are really valuable. It helps build your network. It humanizes things. You know, you could find the right people and the right — if the entire organization or team is like that, then find out it’s just the few people that it would help. I think those are the keys.

    John G: Yeah. No, that’s an excellent point. Yeah, just pick and choose who you do share with. Those people are receptive and then you have those relationships with them even if it’s not an organizational wide culture. That’s an excellent tip. That’s really great.

    I feel like we’ve gotten to know you through all this. Yeah, I mean this is just so cool. You know, you got an NBA tryout to do and I’m just trying to rattle off all the sports maybe a little across in the arena.

    John C: Yeah. I, hopefully, find another fun experience.

    John G: Yeah. No, this is so cool, man. Definitely, let me know because I will be there with a big sign of your head like they do in the —

    John C: Great. Thank you very much.

    John G: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We’re going to wrap it up here with my rapid-fire questions, 17 to be exact because 16 isn’t enough, so we’re going to go 17. Here we go. First one, Star Wars or Star Trek?

    John C: That’s a tough one. I’ll say I love both. I love Star Wars. However, a big however, I think they might be in the minority, I think Star Trek the next generation is that the quandaries in every episode are outstanding. So, slight heads to Star Trek.

    John G: Okay. Yeah, and you qualify with the next generation.

    John C: Yes.

    John G: Favorite toppings on a pizza?

    John C: You know, if you’re going to have a pizza, instead of a salad or anything, just call it out, pepperoni, mushrooms.

    John G: Okay, nice. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    John C: Sudoku, hands down.

    John G: Yeah, hands down. Cats or dogs?

    John C: I’m a reformed dog lover, and cats I love now because they’re independent free thinker and I like their strength.

    John G: So both. You’re going to go both again. I love it.

    John C: No, no. Cats win.

    John G: Cats win, cats win, got it.

    John C: Cats have won me over.

    John G: Yeah, they’ve won you over, nice. Balance sheet or income statement?

    John C: Tough. I think I’ll be in the minority now, I have to say income statement here.

    John G: Yeah. Well, that’s a stock picker. That’s what that is.

    John C: Yeah, because that’s a stock picker. Income statement drives a short-term news around the stock and you add up a string at short terms and you get the long-terms. So I’ll say income statement.

    John G: Favorite cereal.

    John C: I’ll say none, but if I had to pick, I would say Cocoa Krispies because that reminds me of childhood.

    John G: Yeah, and then you get to drink the milk at the end, oh, that’s the best.

    John C: Absolutely the best part.

    John G: Yeah, absolutely. Movie that makes you cry.

    John C: Oh, Field of Dreams, no question there. Moonlight Graham didn’t get as one at that, I did. And then also, when you say you want to have the cats off, tears just come.

    John G: Yeah, that’s an excellent pick. Favorite number?

    John C: Thirteen.

    John G: Really? Why is that?

    John C: The reason is when I was a kid and picking form numbers and no one wanted 13 because it’s a bad luck and for me, it was like, “Forget that. I can do it.”

    John G: I’m better than this.

    John C: I’m speaking out my tongue to bad luck, let me go out.

    John G: Good for you, man. Pens or pencils?

    John C: Pencils, I’d say. It feels tangible. You have to sharpen it. Yeah, that to me signals hard work. You’re drafting and working and —

    John G: And you got to take a break to crank out to sharpen it.

    John C: Yeah. Everyone makes mistakes. You’ll raise it, keep on moving, and never finish product.

    John G: I like it. PC or Mac?

    John C: Mac. The design, hands down, the ecosystem —

    John G: Sure. Right click or left click.

    John C: Right click. It opens up a hidden world of things. Right click.

    John G: Definitely. Favorite color.

    John C: Oh God, just traditional green, forest green, light greens.

    John G: Sure. That’s the Dartmouth in you, right?

    John C: Yeah.

    John G: Least favorite color?

    John C: The colors that become suddenly hot. Teal in the ‘90s.

    John G: Oh, okay.

    John C: Every sports team now has a black uniform just because — and now, this year has been dark charcoal gray or smoky gray just because. So, I’ll say my least favorite color is the current trendy one.

    John G: The current trendy one. That’s awesome, that’s awesome. Jeans or khakis?

    John C: Khakis, and because most people make jeans work. It can make things work but you’ve got to be really sharp to make khakis work. And I’m not saying I can do it but when it works, khakis will —

    John G: Yeah, the degree of difficulty is raised.

    John C: Yes, absolutely.

    John G: Favorite actor or actress?

    John C: Favorite actor or actress, tough. I’m not sure this will count but there’s a comedian who’s on TV a lot, a guy named Jeff Ross, who rose people. I want to say most of the things, him, or Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog say it. I appreciate the sharpness of thought. If Triumph or Jeff Ross count as an actor, they’re it.

    John G: Yeah. They’re on TV. I think that counts. Favorite Disney character.

    John C: Star Wars works.

    John G: Oh yeah, Star Wars works now. Good call, good save.

    John C: Yeah. Han Solo.

    John G: Han Solo. There you go. The favorite thing you own.

    John C: Favorite thing I own. You know, I’m someone who doesn’t — as you can tell, I value experiences a lot more. I don’t have too much stuff my own. The most important things are my families and the laughs and memories we have. But if I took one thing, it would be — I started collecting recently for my kids, a notebook of words of encouragement or advice from family and friends all addressed to my kids.

    And recently, as I met people through the years through investing, through any of these sports conference I’ve gone to is that people might find it really interesting. I’ve written notes for my kids. Michael Lewis, Ming Tsai, who’s a celebrity chef, the chief accountants at Google. So people, not necessarily just celebrities but people I find really interesting. They’ve written really neat and fun things to my kids and it’s something that one day when I show it to all my kids, I think they’ll appreciate it because it’s notes like kids. One of my favorite is Ming Tsai. As a chef, his words of encouragement were a taste as you go. Things like that, really neat. Bill James wrote in. He wrote, “Keep the faith” and things like that. It’s a neat thing that I’m really looking forward to share with all my kids.

    John G: Yeah. That is a really cool project that you got going on.

    John C: Yeah. And it was really simple. That’s a pitch save. “I have a short book of words of encouragement and it lies from family and friends. Would you like to contribute?” And people will just jot things around the spot.

    John G: Yeah. It is amazing if you ask what happens. I mean, “Hey, I got you on this podcast,” right?

    John C: Yeah. Short straight to the point and make it easy for them and people say, “Yeah.”

    John G: Exactly. Well, thank you so much, John. I really appreciate you being on the show. We could check this off your bucket list as well, right?

    John C: Yeah, absolutely.

    John G: This was so cool to talk with John and hear how intermingled his work is with these crazy experiences. Go to greenapplepodcast.com to see John in action on the baseball diamond and NHL hockey rank. And there’s also links to iTunes and Stitcher, and thank you for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we are trying to spread, which is to go out and be a green apple.


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