Episode 515- Chase Birky

Chase is a CPA & College Football Enthusiast

Chase Birky, CEO & Co-Founder of Dark Horse CPAs, talks about his passion for college football, talking about it at work, why it is important for employees within a company to have an aligned purpose, and much more!

Episode Highlights
• Why Oregon is his favorite college football team
• Talking about college football at work
• The need for intentional connections in a remote environment
• Aligned purpose
• How Dark Horse promotes sharing hobbies and personal goals

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Chase’s Pictures

This was captured after Chase’s Oregon Ducks won the 2020 Rose Bowl in Justin Herbert’s final season. Little did he know that a pandemic was on the horizon…

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    Welcome to Episode 515 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. And to put it in 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.

    And if you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the award-winning book on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. It was so kind of the Independent Press Awards to name it a Distinguished Favorite. It’s really, really cool to have that for my first book. And overall, the book goes more in-depth with the research behind why these outside of work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and writing such great reviews on and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it. And 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, Chase Birky. He’s the CEO and cofounder of Dark Horse CPAs. And now, he’s with me here today. Chase, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Chase: Thank you, John. Happy to be here.

    John: Yeah, it’s gonna be a blast. We connected over a random LinkedIn post that you had about an article about how supposedly accountants are boring and then somebody is like “You should talk to John Garrett.” And I was like “Ooh, that’s a lot of pressure.” Like a whole profession I need to turn around. But no, it will be fun. But I do have some rapid fire questions. Get to know Chase out of the gate here. So maybe an easy one, a favorite color.

    Chase: Forest green.

    John: Okay, nice. How about a least favorite color?

    Chase: Fuchsia.

    John: Fuchsia. Nice. Don’t even know how to spell it. That’s how much I don’t like it.

    Chase: It has a C in there.

    John: Right. Weird. Like what? That makes me angry actually just because of that. Do you prefer more talk or text?

    Chase: Talk?

    John: Talk. Okay. Yeah. How about a favorite actor or an actress?

    Chase: Ooh, let’s go with Edward Norton.

    John: Oh, yeah. He’s so good. Like so good. Like deceptively good. How about a favorite season, summer, winter, spring, or fall?

    Chase: It depends on where I am. In Vegas, it’s definitely not summer.

    John: Right.

    Chase: I would say fall just because seasons are turning and college football’s on as well as—

    John: Amen, man. That’s why it’s my favorite too. Exactly. Yeah. It’s exactly right. How about when it comes to puzzles, Sudoku, crossword, or a jigsaw puzzle?

    Chase: Crossword.

    John: Crossword. Okay. Oh, nice. All right. How about a favorite movie of all time?

    Chase: The Big Lebowski.

    John: Oh, there you go. All right. I see. I see. how about when it comes to books, audio version, e-Book, or real book?

    Chase: Audio version.

    John: Audio. Okay. All right. Yeah. I just started getting into that and it’s great ’cause you can double speed it and just burn through a book. It’s like “Wow.” All right. Great.

    Chase: Yeah. I find that I am not using as much of my brain, which is helpful, when I’m trying to absorb information after a bit of a day. So for me, it works.

    John: Yeah. Totally. I totally get it. And do you have a favorite number?

    Chase: 14.

    John: Yeah. Is there a reason?

    Chase: That is always the number that I had in all sports growing up.

    John: Okay. It’s a solid number. Yeah. You got lucky, man.

    Chase: I don’t know how I landed on it, but I stuck with it once I did.

    John: That’s a good number, man. That’s solid. There you go. What’s a typical breakfast?

    Chase: Breakfast burrito.

    John: Oh, you know what? Those are like so good. I mean, it’s just like everything all wrapped and then you could just now messy hands, just eat it. Yeah. That’s so good.

    Chase: I spent good 15 years in San Diego, so I got pretty accustomed to that as a breakfast item. And I’m also pretty picky on it, but I will say my favorite item is just something I can’t really find where I currently am is a breakfast pizza.

    John: Oh! Never even heard of that. Okay.

    Chase: Yeah.

    John: All right. So it’s the burrito just opened up?

    Chase: Kinda. Yeah. I mean, there’s a place in San Diego that does one. it’s an Italian spot called Pappalecco. And it’s basically a Neapolitan-style pizza with an over easy egg, sausage, potatoes. And it’s just delicious.

    John: Yeah. Wow. All right. That sounds like that’s also one of your ands. That’s for sure like it.

    Chase: I’m a bit of a foodie for sure.

    John: Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I love it. ‘Cause you have the accounting background, balance sheet or income statement?

    Chase: I’m gonna say balance sheet just because it’s underappreciated. It’s the dark horse of financial statements.

    John: Ah, I see what you did there. I see what you did. Circle around there. All right. All right. How about when it comes to your computer, PC or a Mac?

    Chase: Absolutely. PC. I mean, I’m on the iPhone, you know, as far as the Mac world, but everything in accounting is just PC native. So I’m all in on that.

    John: Yeah. I’m same with PC. Absolutely. How about your first concert?

    Chase: First concert… Actually, the first concert I was supposed to go to got canceled even though we drove 2 hours to see it not realizing it was canceled. That was actually supposed to be The Lost Profits, which was a UK-based band. They’re kind of alt rock.

    John: Yeah. Oh, man, bummer. But it makes for a great story, I guess, sort of. Have you been able to catch them since?

    Chase: No, I haven’t.

    John: Okay. And my musical tastes have kind of changed over the years. So one thing that most people are surprised to learn about me is that I’m really big into EDM.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Chase: I may be one of the only CPAs you’ll find at a rave.

    John: Ah, you’d be surprised, but yeah. But I mean, a lot of tax information being distributed to the audience like “Is this your business? Those glow sticks are tax deductible.”
    “What?!” Right?

    Chase: I can assure you those are not the conversations I’m having there, but point taken nonetheless.

    John: Exactly. Exactly. That’s hilarious. How about Star Wars or star Trek?

    Chase: Star Wars.

    John: Star Wars. Yeah, me too. All right. We got three more. How about when it comes to your ice cream, in a cup or in a cone?

    Chase: A cone. And actually, hopefully, that cone is chocolate dipped.

    John: Ah, yes. There you go. There you go. How about your favorite college football game that you attended?

    Chase: It was the Rose Bowl with Justin Herbert’s last year, the Ducks and the Badgers. It was a game that I thought we were gonna lose up until midway through the 4th quarter.

    John: That was an insane game. I totally remember that.

    Chase: Totally insane game. Herbert had three rushing touchdowns, which was just beast mode status. And it capped off a road trip that we did from Southern Oregon all the way down to Rose Bowl. And it was epic.

    John: Yeah. And Rose Bowl is such a great place to see a game anyway.

    Chase: Other than the parking I will say.

    John: Well, yeah, no. Right. The parking was super—

    Chase: The parking was a nightmare, but the venue is incredible.

    John: Yeah. Just really cool history there. All right. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.

    Chase: You know, for me, it’s probably not so much a tangible item. It’s probably more the freedom and autonomy that I have that I didn’t always have in previous jobs. I mean, to me, that’s what I value most. You know, not the material things that have come as a result of that, but really it’s just that autonomy is what I value most.

    John: Totally. No, that’s solid answer. That totally works. So how about let’s talk college football? That’s also one of my ands, so I’m super excited about this.

    Chase: Yeah. And you’re a Notre Dame fan from what I understand.

    John: Yeah. I mean, it’s where I went to school, but I’m just a huge college football fan in general. But yeah, definitely Notre Dame’s my team.

    Chase: What do you think about the Brian Kelly departure?

    John: Yeah, that was crazy, man. Also, it’s my podcast. I’ll ask you the question. I’m totally teasing. No, but I do some work with the team for their award show every year. And so, I had gotten to know BK a good amount. That’s my helmet that’s on my shelf. It is signed by him and with a little note. And he was always good to me, but yeah, it was crazy. But you know, when there’s $95 million—

    Chase: Money talks.

    John: Yeah. I mean, definitely. And so, we’ll see how it plays out. I think Marcus Freeman’s awesome, and he’s a really good person, and the players love him.

    Chase: He was the assistant there. Right?

    John: He was a defensive coordinator for 1 year.

    Chase: Coordinator. Yeah.

    John: So he had only been there 1 year or less than 1 year technically when he was hired on as the head coach. And so, yeah, we’ll see how it all plays out, but a lot of the staff are awesome now too. And the players are excited. The recruits are excited, which is most important, but I feel like we both can hate USC equally. So we have a common bond there.

    Chase: Especially with that Lincoln Riley showing up.

    John: Oh, totally. And then taking half of Oklahoma’s team with him. It’s like “Come on, man. That’s dirty.” Like this is just weird.

    Chase: The only thing I’ll say that’s good about that is the Pac-12 is in desperate need of relevance. And hopefully, that restores some of the previous cache at the conference ’cause we’re—

    John: Exactly. So how has Oregon become your team?

    Chase: So I, I grew up in Oregon.

    John: Ah, okay.

    Chase: Yeah. And so, you know, you’re either a Beaver or Duck for the most part, and there’s some pretty ill will amongst the two groups. And for me growing up, I kind of liked both to be honest. Oregon, for a long time, didn’t have a baseball team. Oregon state did. They won national championships, you know. So I always followed them. But when it came to football, I mean, the brand that Oregon is and especially when they were pioneering that no huddle, fast tempo offense when no one else was, it was just so exciting.

    John: Yeah. Chip Kelly as the coach and then yeah.

    And then plus the Nike alignment. And they get all the cool jerseys, and gear, and all that stuff. And the stadium’s nuts. I mean, it’s awesome. It’s great to see a game in.

    Chase: Right. I mean, Uncle Phil definitely is kind of the angel investor behind all this that has definitely paid dividends for the program. That’s for sure.

    John: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. And so, you’ve been to quite a few games then as well.

    Chase: Yeah. And actually, most of them actually haven’t been at Autzen. It’s just kind of been wherever I’ve been subsequent to that. But yeah, I mean, anytime I get the chance, I’m there, although I will say going to the Pac-12 championship in Vegas when they played Utah was extremely disheartening. And I actually left during the 3rd quarter ’cause I was so upset.

    John: All right. It’s an emotional experience. Right? I mean, it’s like I’m not playing, but I’m playing. Like I feel like it. Like it hurts when we lose. And when we win, it’s exhilarating, and I’m gonna be hoarse after for sure just from cheering. And yeah, all that.

    Chase: My wife doesn’t love the fall because I’m either on a really great day or a really terrible day. So she doesn’t know what she’s gonna get, you know. And it’s not within my control obviously. You might say I could control my reactions, but maybe I’m not that evolved at this point in my life.

    John: No, no, I think you’re doing all right, man. I think you’re doing all right. Like I’ll see you at the meetings. Like college football anonymous, here we come. No, but it’s just such a great experience when you’re there live. But even watching on TV, it’s so cool. Are there other teams you’ll watch as well or is it pretty much just a straight Oregon thing?

    Chase: Well, I binge watch college football, so I start pretty much at about 6 a.m. with college game day.

    John: Nice. Yeah.

    Chase: You know? ‘Cause I love the pageantry. I love the conversation. Some of those human interest stories they do.

    John: Sure. Yeah.

    Chase: You know, it gets me just fired up for the rest of the day. And honestly, I’m usually watching until 8 or 9 at night Pacific time, so it’s a long day of football, which is then followed up by another not quite as long day of football, but NFL.

    John: Right. On Sundays.

    Chase: Watching RedZone and all that. So my wife doesn’t see as much of me as she probably would prefer to during September through January-ish.

    John: Exactly. But you know, at least you have a passion like for something. And that’s cool, man. And is this something that you talk about with coworkers or clients or does it come up?

    Chase: I mean, kind of the running joke at Dark Horse is that I’ll be able to correlate just about any statement back to football. So I try to be mindful of that to not alienate those who don’t care. But you know, it is a pretty universal thing when it comes to college football because most— well, every CPA went to college, right, so they have some allegiance usually unless they went to a small school without a football program. But you know, everyone has some sort of connection to it I find and even folks that you might not suspect. You know, we’ve got a VP of technology who’s from China, but he’s actually probably even a bigger college football fan than I am.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Chase: Yeah. He went to the Ohio State.

    John: Oh, on purpose? No, I’m just kidding. I’m teasing.

    Chase: That’s what I wondered. But you know, he’s used to winning.

    John: Sure.

    Chase: But he probably knows more about college football.

    John: Especially recently. Yeah. ‘Cause he probably caught on after the Cooper era and, you know, like whatever. So yeah, it’s like “All right, good for you, man.” It’s like those young Patriots fans and Red Sox fans that don’t remember when they were terrible, but that’s cool that you’re able to find that bond over— I mean, someone from China and it’s over something that’s deeper and something you’re both passionate about like that above and beyond spreadsheets, computers, and accounting, and whatever.

    Chase: Totally. I mean, when you can find those areas, you can always find ways to connect because it’s just an easy point of conversation, right? When you’re searching for that point of commonality, it’s a lot harder and a lot more exhausting. That’s for sure.

    John: Yeah. Even if it’s not exactly the same thing, at least you know about it and then you can ask questions and be genuinely interested in it as opposed to just I don’t even know who you are type of thing, you know. And how important do you feel that is? I mean, especially for Dark Horse where it’s so remote with everyone on the team.

    Chase: Yeah. I mean, I really think that being remote, which companies have been forced to do, and obviously some are going back more to the office, but we were remote before the pandemic and we intend to be that way forever because it really fits our business model. But being remote requires you to be a lot more intentional about connection and culture.

    Because if you’re not, it’s just not gonna happen because you don’t have the water cooler conversations, you know. So the need for intentionality in terms of reaching out to people and having meaningful connections, I think, has been a learning curve for a lot of folks. And even though we started remote, we’re always learning better ways to connect and make it more regular and do what we can to bridge the gap of in-person relationships to things like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

    John: Yeah. ‘Cause, I mean, when you’re in person, those things happen accidentally. You’re around somebody. You go to lunch together. You’re in their office. You see the whites of their eyes. Yeah, like you said, the water cooler, whatever, in the hallway. You know, those conversations happen. And this, you get on a video call and then when the agenda— and then when it’s done, the screen goes black, and you’re like “Uh, was that good? I don’t know. You know, like I’m not sure.” And so, like you said, being intentional with it. Are there things that Dark Horse does specifically that you find help to make that happen whether it’s leading a meeting with something or something like that?

    Chase: Yeah. I mean, I guess from 30,000 feet, what I believe to be the most impactful component of culture is purpose. Because if you’re aligned around a common purpose and mission, then a lot of that tends to figure itself out. But beyond that, I mean, we do a kickoff call every Monday where we talk about different initiatives, and highlighting people’s successes, and all those sorts of things to keep people connected with kind of the broader organization. And then we have huddles on a daily basis for different areas of the business that get people a space to connect and shoot the breeze, if you will, or talk about different areas that they’re trying to improve in or get maybe a second opinion on best practice huddles. I mean, just really a series of scheduled touch points that aren’t too much that it distracts people and makes people feel obligated, but striking that balance to push people to connect, but not dominate their day.

    John: Yeah. No. Just be intentional with it and you bring people together and then magic happens, you know. And then we’ve been in each other’s homes now. Like you can see the art on the wall, or the cat catwalk across the screen, or the whatever.

    Chase: And the toddler on the knee. Yeah. I mean, you really get a window that you’d never had before into people’s actual personal life, which I think definitely fosters connection in a lot of ways. And then the other thing we do is an annual retreat typically after the last deadline for us of October 15th and get everyone together. But you know, when we get everyone together, it’s really cool to see relationships that started online pick up right where you left them off online and people— It shows you that it’s not just a synthetic sort of connection. It’s a real connection because you see it in person and it’s as authentic as it is on Zoom.

    John: Yeah. And then it just accelerates it. So then the next time we meet virtually, then it’s even further advanced. And yeah, that little bit of in person is huge. Definitely. That’s really awesome. And so, were you always like this as far as like sharing an and or even having ands or earlier in your career?

    Chase: Yeah. I mean, I think I’ve kind of maybe been on too far the spectrum of what might be called an overshare.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Chase: I just kind of lead with whatever’s on my mind and really trying to give people an authentic window into who I am, not who I’m trying to project myself to be.

    John: Yeah. And I mean, is there any negative ramifications that come from that or is it mostly in our heads that we think that we’re oversharing? Because relative to everyone else who’s sharing nothing, I’m oversharing by saying one thing, you know.

    Chase: Yeah. I mean, there’s always a downside if you share something that makes someone uncomfortable maybe.

    John: Well, yeah, of course. Right.

    Chase: I think the positive, what I focus on is that humanizing, you know, you as either a coworker, a leader, whatever position you’re in in the firm really just helps foster a meaningful relationship. When people know that when they’re talking to you that they’re getting the true you and not just the accountant or CPA version of you goes a long way ’cause, you know, at the end of the day, it’s a relationship business whether it’s with clients or with coworkers, or team members, or whomever. And you really have to invest the time in people, in relationships to do what you wanna do from a business standpoint and also enjoy the journey along the way.

    John: I love that, man. That’s so good right there. It’s so good. Yeah. And of course, leading with something that’s controversial, or illegal, or taboo, let’s not do that, then it’s unprofessional actually. But you know, if it’s not your fault somebody went to the university of Washington, if that makes you uncomfortable, I can’t help that.

    Chase: AKA my brother-in-law and we’re always talking craft to each other, which I’ve had the upper hand for a number of years.

    John: It got ugly. It got ugly the last couple years. Woo! Yeah, it got weird, but you’re exactly right. And you know, it’s just being intentional with that and, and caring about others, and creating that human connection, you know. ‘Cause at the end of the day, it’s still a human-to-human transaction that’s happening.

    Chase: Well, and the other thing too is that people struggle with things whether they’re health, whether they’re relationships, whether that’s stress. And if you don’t take the time to really unpack those things to the extent that people feel comfortable sharing, you’re not able to support them in the ways that they need. And I think that often gets overlooked in public accounting, especially during busy seasons or tax seasons, where the work just has to get done and your problems can wait until things slow down sort of thing. But at the end of the day, if you’re not supporting people, they can’t bring their best self to work. They can’t do the kind of work that they would otherwise be able to if they had a clear mind and not so much hanging over their head.

    John: Yeah. No. You’re spot on. I mean, when I keynote at conferences, it’s asking people are your people living their best life. Because if they’re living their best life, they’re gonna do their best work. But if they’re not living their best life, they’re not gonna be doing their best work. I mean, they’re just not. So if we fix this thing, like you said earlier when we’re talking, everything falls out from that. And so, are you living your best life? Awesome. Are you doing your ands? Are you sharing them? Awesome. Then everything good’s gonna happen.

    Chase: Yehah

    John: Especially at Dark Horse where you guys— the bios for everyone on your team on the website, but the last paragraph is always, you know, when they’re not crunching numbers, they’re doing this or doing that. And it just really humanizes everybody to go from “Well, they all work for an accounting firm” to “Well, no, they’re all different in their own way, which is cool.” And I’m sure that people can connect over that whether it’s with clients or coworkers.

    Chase: Yeah. So I write all those myself. My mom made me take all these advanced placement, you know, international baccalaureate English courses, which I hated growing up. But I’ve come to find that writing is a really key differentiator and you know, something that’s super valuable in the workplace.

    John: Yeah. That’s where the crossword puzzle answer came from earlier. I see.

    Chase: Exactly.

    John: Okay. Okay. All right.

    Chase: Exactly. And also Scrabble. I love Scrabble, which might put me in the nerd category, but it’s hard to beat my parents ’cause they know way more words than I do.

    John: Right. It’s like they had a head start or something, like they’re cheating.

    Chase: They’ve read more books. They’ve looked up the dictionary more times.

    John: Right.

    Chase: They’re tough to beat.

    John: Well, it’s all right. One day, man. One day. Like it’s all good. It’s all good. So, yeah. So do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that might have an and, but they feel like no one’s gonna care because it has nothing to do with my job?

    Chase: You know, I would say I guess taking a step back even further if you are working at a company, or accounting firm, or wherever that you don’t feel like you have that level of rapport with the people you work with, maybe you should look at working somewhere else because if there’s not that level of rapport in relationship that you feel like you could bring up a hobby, which I would say is maybe some of the more or less emotion-filled areas of people’s lives, you know.

    John: Unless it’s college football for you and me, but either way, it’s benign, you know. It’s a benign thing of a hobby.

    Chase: 100%. Yeah. I think just in general, you know, accounts are in large struggling from existential crises in terms of trying to find ways that their work is actually providing meaning to their lives and helping them live the life that they want to live as opposed to just getting from deadline to deadline. And so, that’s what I’m really most passionate about with Dark Horse, is giving people the platform to design their life in a way that when they’re at their deathbed, they’re gonna be proud of and they’re gonna live a story that’s meaningful. And if you’re not intentional about it and if you don’t have the platform and support to do it, there’s a lot of folks that get to retirement and they’re like “I’ve worked my whole life for this. And by the way, I kind of missed out along the way because I was so focused on being done with work and being secure that my best years I didn’t enjoy.”

    Right? So one of the exercises we do with people, usually once a year, is we have them write their obituary. Ad this is my idea. This is actually from Donald Miller.

    John: StoryBrand. Yeah.

    Chase: Exactly. Yeah. Out of Nashville. And really, the point of that is what do you want to be said about your life? And if you start with that end in mind, then you can really be intentional about how you’re structuring your life and your work to make that happen. It’s like anything where you have a goal. If you have that goal and you’re focused on it, you’re a lot more likely to achieve it than just kind of having it in the ether and having some vague ideas about things and not doing tangibly what you need to do in the here and now to make that happen. So we like to have people start with that end in mind and how are you gonna build a practice and a lifestyle that’s gonna support you in and really what you want your life’s work to be about.

    John: Yeah. And is it something that we share with the team as well?

    Chase: Yeah.

    John: Oh, okay. Nice.

    Chase: I mean, we don’t force people to say, but just about everyone feels comfortable enough to share it.

    John: That’s awesome, man. There’s gonna be a lot of CEOs of Dark Horse in the room. That’s weird. It’s like target on my back, but I love that because it’s literally are you living your best life? Like how can we help you do that? You know, explicitly saying it out loud, and we care, and how can I help you get to that end goal type of thing. And that’s how much you care about the person, which is great ’cause you can’t get that a lot of places, you know. And it’s something that that’s simple, but it’s genuine and it runs deep. I love it, man. That’s such a great example that literally everyone can do.

    Chase: Yeah. I mean, for me, it was really what we are doing when you look at the motivating factors and the purpose. You know, going out on my own was not something that was necessarily intentional. It was just a product of the circumstances for me. And in that, I really was able to realize that I could do a lot more than I thought I could. You know, I realized that I could be the author of my own story and that I had control over my life. And I could find things that I found compelling, and interesting, and worthwhile that I could focus my time and energy towards. So starting what’s now Dark Horse was probably more personally transformational than even professionally.

    John: Totally.

    Chase: Having said that, there’s a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice along the way. So really what Dark Horse is about is let’s give people that platform without as many of the headaches in the trials and tribulations because so many firms out there, you know— I mean, 99% of firms out there, you start as staff, and senior, then manager, then senior manager and grinding for 15 to 20 years hoping that you’re gonna be one of the 2% that makes partner. And at the end of the day, this doesn’t happen for a lot of people. A lot of people opt out before they get there because they’re just so burnt out and run down. Right?

    John: Yeah.

    Chase: But you know, that kind of just comes from an old school traditional mindset. And what we’ve found is that when you’re talking about CPAs, you’re talking about high capacity, high integrity people. And if you give ’em the right platform, the right tools, and the right coaching, they’re so much more capable than I think a lot of the firms that they come from believe they are. And we see just that light bulb turn on it’s not just about them growing a book of business. It’s enjoying their life. That’s what it’s all about.

    John: It’s amazing how much we believe whatever the narrative that’s fed us or even the narrative we tell ourselves. I mean, my inner critic is brutal. I mean, so much more brutal than anyone could possibly be. And it’s the self-limiting factor that’s just terrible, you know. And it’s cool to step out on the limb and be supported, and you can do it and all that. So it’s just so cool to hear you’ve been through that as well. So that’s awesome, man.

    Chase: Yeah. I think as accountants in general, we suffer from paralysis by analysis and knowing what we don’t know. It’s a sign of intelligence, but it’s also something that can be a barrier to growth when the kind of knowledge of what you don’t know and what you feel like your faults are and all that just— you know, know it can get in your way. Right?

    John: Totally. No, I love it, man. So encouraging. So encouraging. And I feel like before we wrap this up though, it’s only fair that we turned the table since I peppered you with questions at the beginning. We make this the first episode of The Chase Birky Podcast. So thanks for having me on as a guest and I’m all yours, man.

    Chase: All right. Well, my rapid fire questions are in relation to college football.

    John: Okay.

    Chase: They’re easy questions, but I might judge you for the answers.

    John: Okay. I’m gonna judge myself before you can judge me. I’m judging that I’m judging you’re judging.

    Chase: That’s very meta of you. Very meta.

    John: Right.

    Chase: All right. So I got 3 questions here all about college football.

    John: Okay.

    Chase: Number 1: What is the most overrated conference in college football?

    John: SEC hands down 100%. I’ll fight anybody on that. It’s Alabama and maybe one other team and then 12 average teams at best. It’s like get out of here. Quit playing in your FCS schools and play somebody north of the Mason-Dixon line so we can actually see you guys not just play yourselves in this fake bubble that ESPN continues to feed. Hopefully that was the right answer.

    Chase: That is the correct—

    John: That’s the right answer?

    Chase: Yes.

    John: Okay. All right. All right.

    Chase: All right. Next question. What is next year’s surprise team?

    John: Ah, next year’s surprise team. So kinda like the Cincinnati of—

    Chase: Yes.

    John: …2021. That’s a good question. I feel like— I don’t know. I feel like somebody like a Miami maybe or maybe a Florida state. Somebody that’s gonna just rebound that’s a historically good team that’s been not good for a while and they’re due to come back. I don’t mean like they’re gonna be in the playoffs, but I mean like 9 in 3, 8 in 4, 9 in 3 kind of thing, so be respectable at least.

    Chase: Yeah. I would say Miami is a good answer. It’s one that I’m also bitter about because Mario Cristobal used to be our coach. He’s now at Miami. So I think he’s gonna turn them around in a pretty meaningful way.

    John: Right. And the recruits are there and everything. So I feel like, you know, maybe not playoffs, but like respectable.

    Chase: Right. And actually, that brings up another question that I’m gonna add here. How many teams should be in the playoff? How big should the playoff field be?

    John: You know, I kinda liked it when it’s just 1 and 2, when it was kind of the BCS and then the bowls could be the bowls and whatever ’cause it’s hard ’cause there’s always gonna be “Oh, well, let’s make it 8 teams.” Well, there’s always a ninth that should be in there. And then are we cutting down the season now to only be 9 games because we have to have the championship eventually be whatever? I don’t know. So I’m kind of traditionalist though. Like, I mean, even before that, before the BCS when it was just like just play the balls and all that, so I don’t know. I can see the other side too though. It’s just the wear and tear on these student athletes is a lot. I mean, it’s a lot now.

    Chase: So my personal opinion, I’m on the other side, I think we should have 8 teams. I think you should take away one of those meaningless FCS games you mentioned off the front end of the schedule. If you win at your power five conference, automatic bid. Then three at large, it gives a conference of five like Cincinnati a chance, although they probably end up playing Alabama and getting crushed, but they still get a chance. And then two at large teams, probably one from the SEC and one from the big 10 or the big 12 as it stands currently.

    John: Right. I could see that as well. It’s just you gotta shorten the schedule and then you also have to make sure that the wear and tear and the academic side of it too for the schools that have student athletes instead of athlete athletes, but I mean, more college football isn’t a bad thing. So like, yes, it’s like would you like 4 scoops of ice cream? Totally. Like why would we only have one?

    Chase: Right. And the other thing for me, I mean, this might just be informed by Oregon losing two national championship games, is the number of weeks off in between the regular season and the bowls tends to benefit the SEC because the defense is usually so much better than the team they’re playing. So, you know, with 3-4 weeks the game plan—

    John: Against the offense. Right.

    Chase: Exactly. And the offense comes out, you know, not clicking like they were during the regular season tends to disadvantage my team. So that’s a totally biased take on it.

    John: I mean, I feel like all our takes are biased. I mean, on everything. They’re based on our experience. So, you know, that’s awesome. No, very cool. Was there one more question?

    Chase: There’s one more question. And so, this one is another biased question, Oregon versus Georgia season opener, are you taking Georgia -15 or Oregon +15?

    John: Oh, I’ll take Oregon +15 on that.

    Chase: I like it.

    John: I think Georgia’s gonna be a little overconfident. I feel like they got super lucky last year. And yeah, I think Oregon. I think so. I mean, there’s plenty of speed in offense.

    And 15 points, good Lord. Yeah, that is a lot.

    Chase: I mean, I think you got two things. One, we’ve got the defensive coordinator from Georgia from last year, so he’s gonna have some inside knowledge. And #2, it’s the first game of the season, so neither team is gonna be playing their best. I mean, if this was middle of the season, I actually might say Georgia..

    John: Not by 15. No way. Yeah. I mean, they still got their walk on quarterback. They’re still rolling with that. It’s like he’s the Rudy of the SEC. It’s like we got a new Rudy now. Good for him. E C now. Like it’s like, we got a new Rudy now. So it’s like, you know, good for him and good for Georgia for getting the monkey off their back and all that, but goodness.

    Chase: Rudy is probably someone close to your heart as an Irish fan of the movie.

    John: Not the individual. The movie.

    Chase: The movie.

    John: Of course.

    Chase: Yeah.

    John: But yeah, not the individual per se, but this has been so much fun, Chase. We could go on forever because this is also my and, but we should probably wrap it up. So thanks so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?

    Chase: Thanks, John. Really appreciate it. Really enjoyed the conversation and hope to talk soon.

    John: Everybody listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Chase outside of work at a college football game or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. And while you’re on the page, please click that big button. Do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. And don’t forget to check out the book. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple podcast or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


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