Beau is a Software Integration Engineer & Musician
Beau Osland talks about his passion for playing music, how it affects his relationships to clients and co-workers in the office, and much more!
• Getting into music
• Skills that playing music has given him in the office
• Talking about music at work
• How both the individual and the organization can provide a space for people to be themselves in the workplace
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Pictures of Beau Performing
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Welcome to episode 491 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett, and each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.
If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. If you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books. The book goes more in depth with the research behind why these outside-of-work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and now listening to it and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this week is no different with my guest, Beau Osland. He’s a senior partnerships analyst integrations with FindHelp in Denver, Colorado, and now he’s with me here today. Beau, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Beau: Thanks, John. Yeah, excited to be here.
John: Yeah, this is going to be a blast. I’m so excited. I have 17 rapid-fire questions, though, get to know Beau right out of the gate here. Maybe I’ll start with an easy one, Star Wars or Star Trek?
Beau: Oh, okay. Let’s Go Star Wars, and admittedly, haven’t really seen much of either.
John: Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough.
Beau: A little bit of each.
John: Yeah, I haven’t seen much since the original three.
John: I haven’t heard great things about Star Wars since then, so I’m like, I don’t want to ruin it, sort of thing. How about your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?
John: I was going to say I would imagine.
Beau: Yeah, Mac for more of my music and production and then PC more for work and software development.
John: Exactly. Yeah. That’s impressive, man. I can barely do PC, so we’re good. Oh, this will be a fun one. Your first concert.
Beau: First concert was Fastball, actually, and Matchbox Twenty, I think.
John: Yes, I totally remember Fastball. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Wow, that’s going back. Okay. That’s fantastic. All right. How about ice cream, more in a cup or a cone?
Beau: I love ice cream and always, but cone is nice.
John: Cone. Yeah, a little extra sugary, extra calories, whatever it is.
John: How about a favorite movie of all time?
Beau: Let’s see. I’ll give two answers for this as well.
John: Yeah, totally.
Beau: Home Alone 2, Lost in New York. I love that movie for some reason, a lot of sentimental value. It’s always been big in my family for some reason, so, love that. I’ve always loved Big Fish as well, Tim Burton.
John: Yeah, totally. Okay. How about puzzles, Sudoku, crossword or jigsaw puzzles?
Beau: I’m going to go Sudoku. I play a lot of that.
John: There you go. How about a favorite color?
Beau: Kind of go back and forth between blue and green, lately, liking green.
John: Okay. Yeah. Two solid answers. Absolutely. How about a least favorite color?
Beau: Brown, boring.
John: That’s by far the most popular least favorite. I don’t know. I just contradicted myself in some way, but brown’s always, yeah. It’s like the dark brown just ugh. Yeah, totally. Are you more of a talk or text?
Beau: Text. Generational perhaps. Yeah.
John: And the IT side of you. You’re like, yeah, let’s just get to the chase here.
John: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Beau: I don’t think I do, actually.
John: Fair enough. Yeah. I like them and dislike all of them the same. There you go. This is a fun one that somebody threw on me a while ago, and I thought I’d spring it on you, socks or shoes?
Beau: Oh, wow. Socks. I love wearing nice comfy wool socks around the house, year-round, unless it’s too hot.
John: Exactly. Socks can get super fun with all the designs and like, who knows what’s on there? You see somebody wearing pants or a suit, and then all of a sudden you see their socks. You’re like, whoa, party going on. All right. All right. What’s a typical breakfast?
Beau: Typical breakfast for me, banana, always like having a banana, and then a cup of cold brew and then kind of rotate through maybe making a couple of eggs or a bowl of cereal. I love cereal still in my 30s.
John: Maybe I’ll throw this one in there then, what’s the favorite cereal of all time?
Beau: Favorite cereal of all time, Life cereal.
John: Oh, really? Okay.
John: All right. Mikey likes it. Nice. There you go. How about a favorite number?
Beau: Favorite number, 15 and 11.
John: Okay, okay. Are there reasons?
Beau: I played basketball growing up and was always number 15. I was always a huge Nuggets fan. When Carmelo Anthony joined the team, it kind of furthered my love for number 15. Now, Nicola Jokic on the Nuggets who’s 15, so that’s my answer there. 11 has always been a lucky number. I was born on the 11th, so always like that, too.
John: Plus, there are two ones. What’s better than one? Two ones. It’s right there. How about your books, audio version, e-book or real book?
Beau: I will go with audio book.
Beau: Yeah. I have a hard time focusing when I’m reading books and end up having to reread the pages, so I tend to like listening more, auditory.
John: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. We’ve got two more. Summer, winter, spring or fall.
Beau: Fall, favorite time of year, favorite weather when it’s starting to get cooler, but still some longer days than winter.
John: Exactly. I’m a huge fan, fall it is, absolutely. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Beau: Favorite thing I own is probably the first guitar that I bought with my own money.
Beau: It’s probably the longest guitar that I still have after all these years and is the main one I like to play.
John: Yeah. What kind of guitar is it?
Beau: It’s a Fender Telecaster.
John: Okay. Yeah.
Beau: Yeah. Vintage white.
John: There you go. That’s awesome, man, which leads in perfectly into music. How did you get started with this? Was it playing the recorder in fourth grade, type of thing, like me, or something different?
Beau: Yeah, I’ve been playing music almost my whole life. My mom was a musician, and my parents felt strongly that us kids, me and my two older sisters, should start learning piano at an early age. I started piano lessons at five, and always loved singing before then and after then. In school, started playing the trumpet and recorder as well, not in that order.
John: Right. That’s awesome. The trumpet was mainly the instrument and then piano at home, I guess?
Beau: Exactly. Yep. Then took piano lessons for about five years. I always wanted to play guitar, though, even since I was a toddler, watching MTV, all the grunge bands and music videos. I remember getting picked up from school one day, and it was the day of my piano lesson. My mom said, “You’re going to guitar lessons now. Piano lessons are no more.” I was ecstatic.
John: You’re the coolest mom ever. This is great. I grew up playing piano as well, and I remember, we moved, because my dad was in the Air Force. When we moved overseas, I was playing the theme song for Cheers and the Pink Panther and songs like that in elementary school. Then I moved, and the new teacher wanted to do like classical. That’s when I stopped playing the piano because I’m like, these aren’t fun. Looking back, I probably should have stayed with it. I picked it up since, because now there’s the internet, and you can just Google songs and get the music and pay for it. That’s awesome, switched over to guitar and then ever since then, it’s been just super fun, I’d imagine.
Beau: Yeah. Kind of self-taught a lot of other instruments after playing guitar for several years, but that’s still my favorite and true musical love.
John: Yeah. That’s awesome. Do you have some favorite memories from performing, whether it’s piano or even trumpet or guitar?
Beau: Yeah, I have a lot of great memories, mostly on guitar, I think.
John: Sure. I would imagine.
Beau: I remember I had a high school band called For Love of Ivy, also based in Denver. We got to play a couple of really awesome shows, and those are probably to my better musical memories, to date.
John: Very cool.
Beau: We got to play 93.3’s big gig one year.
John: Oh, yeah. Huge.
Beau: When I was 16 or 17.
Beau: It was the year Paramore and The Offspring were the headliners, so that was pretty awesome. The other that comes to mind is the first time I ever played a sold-out concert also with that same band as an opener for another local band from Fort Collins called Tickle Me Pink. That was pretty amazing. That’s what I wrote my college essays about was that show.
John: Denver’s got a lot of, or Colorado, I guess, has a lot of really great music, just bands that a lot of people have heard of, coming out of here, and a lot of people with music on the radio and Spotify and everything now. I guess it’s not just the radio. That’s got to be a cool feeling too, is just, you’re driving along and then your song comes on. You’re like, that’s cool. A radio station you listen to as a kid.
Beau: Yeah, yeah, definitely, very true. It’s always a dream. That is pretty amazing.
John: Yeah. That’s the goal. It’s like, alright, that’s pretty cool. That’s awesome. You’ve gotten to work with other artists as well, beyond Pandas and People, which is the current band for everyone to look up. You’ve gotten to do some other projects as well.
Beau: I have, yeah. I was actually a founding member of the band, Air Dubai, as well, as their first synth player, a good chance to get back into keyboard and synth, and ended up having to leave that band when I did go off to school. Then I previously lived in Wisconsin for several years and played in a number of groups around there, and played in the Midwest. I’ve always been a big solo performer, too.
John: That’s cool, man. It’s great. With guitar, there’s a lot of opportunities there for that. That’s awesome, man. Do you feel, at all, music gives you a skill that you bring to work?
Beau: I do. Yeah. I think it helps me connect with people. Well, I guess, being able to interact with the crowd is something I enjoy, and I feel like that translates over into working with my colleagues, as well as customers, at my job. I think that’s a huge part of it. I also think my creative thinking pairs well with more of my technical work and being able to approach solutions creatively, troubleshooting problems and trying to come up with maybe different ways to solve different issues or goals.
John: Yeah, because most people think that, like for me, accounting, and for you, IT; oh, it’s very left-brained, very logical. It’s like, no, no, I have a whole brain. I actually have some creative stuff, too. It’s kind of fun to get the whole brain working and give the one side a little bit of a break every once in a while and bounce over to the other. I totally can see that. Is music something that comes up at work? Have you talked about it with colleagues before?
Beau: I have. Yes. I talk about all of my upcoming gigs. Especially on Mondays, like, oh, what did you do this weekend? Tell them about a show I played.
John: Most people are like, what? Hold on. I thought you were going to say nothing. That’s cool.
Beau: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s been a fun way to connect with other folks I work with, over music, and then anytime I end up bringing up my band, people tend to come to me with music that they like, I really enjoy that, or wanting to talk music, talk shop. I love doing that, hearing about new bands, telling them what I like.
John: That’s awesome because it’s just relating to them on a human level. It’s super cool to hear that they’re coming to you with, here’s music I like. Or what do you think about this band? Or, oh, you performed with the Offspring. What’s that all about? You’re getting to light up because you get to tell stories about it, but they are too because it’s something that they want to know about. You’ll get to the work later. It’s just, let’s create a human connection here.
Beau: I agree. Absolutely.
John: Was there ever a part of you that thought, hey, maybe I shouldn’t tell people I’ve got other interests? Because sometimes our demons in our heads tell us big time lies, basically.
Beau: Yeah, yeah. That’s true. I think so, actually, mostly trying to remain humble, I don’t know, especially, if it’s someone I don’t know as well, might just try not to mention it. I think the more selfish side of me loves to talk about it.
John: Sure. Let’s talk about music.
Beau: Always looking for an opening to casually bring that up.
John: It’s just great. It’s funny, too, because I remember when I was working corporate, and all of a sudden, it’s like, well, let me tell you who my favorite comedian is. I’m like, well, I know it’s not me, so just keep going, whatever. It’s fine because I probably like him, too. It’s all good. It’s cool that people want to connect with you like that, which is just really awesome. I guess, how much do you feel it’s on an organization to create that space to encourage people to share these outside-of-work interests? Or how much is it on the individual to just maybe start small or find that opening, like you were saying, to just, oh, you have a radio on? Well, let me talk about music.
Beau: That’s a great question. I think there’s a little bit of both. I do think it’d be great for organizations to make a space for it, at the very least, make sure people know that’s okay to include in your daily conversation. We’re not robots. We do want to connect. I do think it makes it easier to work with others too, if you do connect with them on a personal level and understand more about what they’re like, outside of the office. I guess, short answer, I would love for companies to make space for that, encourage that, and then also think individuals should bring it up when they can and want to.
John: Yeah, provided everyone’s getting their work done, then fair game. Of course, we’re not talking about just disregard work all together. Of course, it’s get your work done.
Beau: Agreed. Yeah.
John: Just for the people that are listening that are like, wait a minute; it’s like, no, no, no, neither of us are saying that.
Beau: It’s a good balance.
John: Yeah, exactly. Like you said, we’re not robots and work gets done, and teams, more times than none, or you’re relating to someone in another department or a customer or client. That only helps to have that human connection.
Beau: I agree. I agree.
John: Totally. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone that’s listening that maybe feels like, I’ve got an “and” but no one cares because it has nothing to do with my job?
Beau: Oh, yeah. Well, maybe pretty generic, but I’d say put yourself out there, and you might be surprised someone else might share a similar “and” or at least want to hear about your “and” and talk to you about it. I think it doesn’t hurt to at least give it a try.
John: Right. Worst case scenario, everyone goes, okay, and then puts their head back down and starts working. All right. Worst case scenario is not you’re going to get fired, provided your “and” is legal and not taboo. It’s like, all right, maybe don’t lead with that one.
Beau: Yeah, that’s a good point.
John: Yeah. Just talking about human things with humans, it’s so weird to me that that’s not our default mode at work. For some reason, when we go into a work setting, we turn into something that we’re not, or a fraction of who we are, so weird.
Beau: Yeah, it’s weird to have to kind of fake it or compartmentalize yourself a little bit. Sometimes I do feel like there are two different sides of me, and trying to continue to blend them and give the whole picture of who I am and what I like and what I do.
John: Yeah. It’s not like you’re bringing your guitar to work and playing. Maybe there’s a time for that, happy hour or something, but not on a Tuesday at noon when everyone’s in the middle of work. It’s still cool to talk about it, and that’s fair. It’s awesome to hear that people gravitate towards that, the shows that you have. I’m excited, next week, to catch you guys here in Denver as well. That’s going to be a really fun show also. I feel like it’s only fair though, before we wrap this up, that I turn the tables because I so rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning. We make this the Beau Osland podcast. Thanks for having me on. I’m all yours. Whatever you’ve got, fire away.
Beau: Sounds good. How about a DC or Marvel?
John: I am the worst at this. Whatever one Spider Man is, is going to be my answer. Although I love all of them because I think Iron Man’s on the other side, and Iron Man’s super awesome. Batman’s always cool. I like the ones that are low key, kind of the least suspecting type of people that are out there kicking butt and taking names. Those are my favorites. Yeah, I’m the worst. Sorry, man.
Beau: No, no, no problem.
John: All of them. Does that count?
Beau: That counts. You can have them all. Awesome. How about chocolate or vanilla?
John: I’m going to go chocolate on that only because there’s more things that are chocolate. A vanilla candy bar would be weird to me. Milkshakes, I can go either way, but, yeah, probably chocolate, more universal.
Beau: Yeah, yeah. Great answer. I agree with you on that one. Let’s see. Do you have a favorite band or artist at the moment?
John: Yeah. Well, besides Pandas and People, growing up, it was Metallica definitely. That was my first concert.
John: Blink-182’s always good and for just like, you can just throw something on, out of there. Killers are amazing, especially live. Man, they’re amazing.
Beau: I’ve always wanted to see them live. Yeah.
John: They put on a show, man. There’s a lot of confetti and stuff and lights and video board. It’s an experience, that’s for sure. That was a bunch of answers, but more of that alternative upbeat kind of stuff that you can just put on and be in a good mood type of thing, without having to think. It’s not that everything’s musically high. It’s more of just, it’s just easy to digest, I guess.
Beau: Yeah. Yeah.
John: All right, you’ve got one more?
Beau: Yeah, let’s do one more. How about favorite comedian?
John: Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. Brian Regan is probably going to be, probably my favorite. Bill Burr and Dave Chappelle are amazing, too. Even guys that I’m friends with like Tommy Johnagin and Ryan Hamilton and Nate Bargatze, a lot of guys when I lived in New York that we were all around each other.
John: Probably Brian Regan. He’s so good. So good. Thank you so much for taking time to be a part of What’s Your “And”? This has been really, really awesome.
Beau: Yeah. Thanks, John. Really fun to be here.
John: Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Beau onstage, or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. Don’t forget to check out the book.
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