Episode 593 – David G. Ewing

David is a CEO & Robotics Coach

David G. Ewing, CEO of Motiv, shares his passion for robotics coaching his son's high school team in Austin, Texas. He highlights the importance of building teamwork and structure within robotics programs and talks about the intense but rewarding 12-week competition season. David emphasizes the positive spirit of competition, where teams support each other and foster camaraderie. He also explains how coaching robotics can translate valuable skills like teamwork, camaraderie, and a positive mindset into the workplace. Tune in to hear David's insights on the power of his "And" and its impact on personal and professional growth.

Episode Highlights

· Leaders should be humble and accept that they don’t know everything.
· Low-stakes prototyping and speed are crucial in business.
· Creating space for hands-on learning and sharing is the responsibility of both the organization and the individual.
· Having passions outside of work leads to personal growth and better work performance.

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Podcast Transcript

David G. Ewing:

Hey. This is David G. Ewing. And when I’m not crashing drones, I’m listening to John Garrett on What’s Your “And”?

John Garrett:

Welcome to episode 593 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 another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “And”. Those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you at work. It’s the answer to the question of who else are you besides the job title. And if you like what the show’s about, be sure to check out the award-winning book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble Bookshop, a a few other websites, all the links are at what’s your and.com.

John Garrett:

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 Amazon, and more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it. And if you want me to read it to you, that’s right. This voice reading the book, check for out What’s Your Hand on Audible or wherever you get your audiobooks. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast. You don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. And this week is no different with my guest, David G. Ewing. He’s the CEO of Motiv out of Austin, Texas, and now he’s with me here today. David, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?.

David G. Ewing:

John, I am so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

John Garrett:

No. Absolutely, man. This is gonna be a blast. This is gonna be super, super fun, but we have 17 rapid-fire questions. Get to know David Out of the gate here, here we go. I’ll start you maybe it’s a fun one. Yeah. Favorite cereal of all time.

David G. Ewing:

Oh, Lucky Charms.

John Garrett:

Oh, okay.

David G. Ewing:

A complete shot of sugar right in the arm to start your day in 4th grade.

John Garrett:

And then sugar milk after that you get to drink and

David G. Ewing:

out Yeah. Yeah.

David G. Ewing:

And, you know, I would eat all the, like, the little, like, extra not sugary parts first so that I can just have a cornucopia of, like, marshmallows and just take it all in like a big old snap. You know?

John Garrett:

There is a right way to eat Lucky Charms, and you just nailed it. That’s for sure. That is it. I like it, man. I like it. How about, pens or pencils?

David G. Ewing:

Stylus, I’m a remarkable guy. So I do everything there, so I’ve given up the pen and the pencil. And if I don’t have my stylus, I can barely talk.

John Garrett:

I love it. That’s awesome. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

David G. Ewing:

Huge, huge, strong opinion here, track all the way. Okay. No offense. Star Wars, the first movie was great, but all Eleventy movies after that are the same movie. And so right, you get the different captains and Jean Luc Picard, and you’ve got Janeway, I think, is the best of them all. And, you know, all the leadership coming from there, track all the way.

John Garrett:

Okay. I love it, man. I love it. How about your computer? PC or Mac?

David G. Ewing:

I built my own PC.

John Garrett:

Oh, okay. There you go. I’m a PC guy as well. So, finally someone’s on my side. I’m always getting hammered on that one.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. I take issue with the Mac crowd.

David G. Ewing:

Right. Yeah.

John Garrett:

Your favorite ice cream flavor?

David G. Ewing:

Cookie dough

John Garrett:

Oh, yeah.

David G. Ewing:

I don’t know with the Lucky Charms. It’s got that, you know, little bit of sugar in there. It’s got Yeah.

John Garrett:

I’m a big fan of chunks. It’s like I don’t know if it just maximizes the calories or something. I don’t know what it did, but just

David G. Ewing:

I just can feel myself getting fatter, and I don’t know. Exactly. Yeah.

John Garrett:

There we go. How about a favorite day of the week? Thursday. Oh, yeah. Okay. Why is that?

David G. Ewing:

Well, as a kid, you know, like a little kid, that was the night the best TV shows were on. Right? It was. Night was, like, the night. And then you go to college and everybody I didn’t get to go out on Thursday I but all my friends had told me about what a great time they were having.

David G. Ewing:

I I think that’s the one that I remember. So, anyway but Thursday is just

David G. Ewing:

I don’t know. They’re just a lot of energy on Thursdays. Thursdays are just

John Garrett:

Okay. I like it. Alright. How about books? Audio version, ebook, or real book?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, strong opinion here too. Audiobook all the way, and it’s because, you know, not only do I listen to audiobooks, but my son started listening audiobooks, when he got old enough and he realized that he could crank up the speed to 3a half times the speed

John Garrett:

3a half times after the edit.

David G. Ewing:

I can’t go 3 I can do about 2.4. So on Audible, I’m at 2.4, and I plow through 6 books a month. And I absolutely love it.

John Garrett:

That’s awesome, man. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I I didn’t realize how popular the audio was until my book came out, and people are like, hey. Where’s the audio? And I was like, woah. I didn’t alright. Hold on.

John Garrett:

I gotta go record it.

David G. Ewing:

You know, it does add another dimension when you get to hear the author and their tone and their inflection. I mean, it just it adds another, like, amp up on it. So, like, memoirs, biographies, all that stuff, when you can have that person who lived it, to me, it adds another dimension to

John Garrett:

the world. It come alive even more.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. Yeah.

John Garrett:

I love it. How about a favorite sports team.

David G. Ewing:

Oh, you know, you’re not gonna like this one. I know you’re a Notre Dame guy, but my family is just rife with obnoxious Michigan Wolverine spans. So Well,

John Garrett:

you’re not an obnoxious. That’s, like, the Michigan. It’s redundant. But

David G. Ewing:

They are obnoxious, and I love them for it. So I’m gonna go over into here. Sorry.

John Garrett:

Yeah. That’s fine. No. No. No. It’s totally cool. I mean, I thought you were gonna say USC, and I was gonna be, we’re gonna have to stop

David G. Ewing:

the ship. That would be worse. Yeah.

John Garrett:

Yeah. No. That’s the end of it all. But but there we go. Alright. No. Fair. I mean, you know, somebody’s got a cheer for him.

John Garrett:

How about a favorite Disney character?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, boy. I wasn’t expecting that on man. And my business partner is a huge Disney fan. She’s gonna kill me if I can’t think of 1. And

John Garrett:

Well, I mean, anything animated, I think, is Disney now, so we’ll take it.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. That’s true. That’s true. Boy, you

David G. Ewing:

know, I’d have to say Nemo then. Is Nemo counting? Yeah.

John Garrett:

No. That totally it works for me, and I’m sure she’s flipping a lid right now because maybe it’s not. But it seems like Disney owns everything.

David G. Ewing:

The Grave Wonder, like, goes and finds Nemo, so I’ll go with the DAT. Yeah.

John Garrett:

Okay. Alright. That’s a great movie too. Absolutely. How about a favorite color?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, 0 b 0633. 1, the only hexadecimal color I know. It happens to be, like, a super, super dark blue. But Okay. I had a branding guy give me that color for my company and I was I was just blown away with how cool that color looks, so I memorized it because anything that I can stamp 0 b 0633, I do. So that’s my color.

John Garrett:

That’s awesome, man. I love that that it’s you have the the the code for it too. That’s even better. How about a least favorite color? If you know the code for that, I’m

David G. Ewing:

gonna be like, what is going on? I don’t.

David G. Ewing:

I think the one code.

David G. Ewing:

You know, I would have to say it’s probably, like, a one yellow because it it’s like swamp, and I don’t know.

John Garrett:

Oh, yeah.

David G. Ewing:

The Indian guy wanted me to use that color too, and I was like, absolutely not.

John Garrett:

No way. No. Yeah. No. That’s nasty. Yeah. I’m with you on that one. How about your first concert?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, U2, Octoondebay when I was 16 years old, and I’ve never been to another concert that was as good as that one. The concert was absolutely amazing. So

John Garrett:

Yeah. Yeah. I remember cool.

David G. Ewing:

You know, I was 16, and I think it was the first time a friend of mine drove me someplace. So I was like, we’re in the car together doing things, and I’m like, a feeling of freedom of, like, wait. We can go out on our own.

John Garrett:

You know?

David G. Ewing:

And so I I never forgot that feeling of freedom. So Pine Knob, Michigan, U2, Octoondebay, 1990, woah. 1 or 2, something like that.

John Garrett:

That’s very cool, man. That’s very cool. How about a Sudoku, crossword, Wordle? What’s your favorite puzzle? Jigsaw, I guess?

David G. Ewing:

Numbers guy all Sudoku all the way.

John Garrett:

Okay. Yeah. In

David G. Ewing:

fact, I love Sudoku so much. I had to uninstall it from my phone because I realized how much time I was wasting at night, weekends, or, like, just odd times like playing Sudoku, I was like, gotta stop. So

John Garrett:

Yeah. You were just being an expert at something that no one’s gonna ask you about until you’re in it’s

David G. Ewing:

completely useless that I could get through the hard setting in 4 minutes or something. I was

John Garrett:

like, oh, why

David G. Ewing:

is this going in my life it’s not? So

John Garrett:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. How about a favorite actor or actress?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, good one. I’m gonna go with a classic, Jimmy Stewart. Oh, yeah. Fantastic human being. You know? He had this amazing acting career, and then he you know, World War 2 comes, and he says, well, I can fly a plane and so he gets in a bomber and flies daylight bombing missions for the air force, amazing guy. And then, you know, great movies and great actors.

John Garrett:

So Absolutely. I love it. That’s great. 2 more. When it comes to toilet paper roll, is it over or under?

David G. Ewing:

Not a strong opinion on this one. How about over? Seems to make more sense. I don’t know.

John Garrett:

I know. That’s funny because that’s the one that everyone always has strong opinions on, and you had to have, like, these other randos that you’re like, no. Absolutely.

David G. Ewing:

No Steve lost Tom out. Out

John Garrett:

Within arms or reach of the toilet,

David G. Ewing:

there’s a ton of junket. Over on it.

John Garrett:

Right. And the last 1, the the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, unquestionably, my Jeep Wrangler. I absolutely love that thing, and I’ve done all sort of mods and things to it and just yeah. It’s my favorite thing

John Garrett:

That’s very cool. Awesome, man. Well, that might actually sort of lead into robotics coaching and, like, what is that? Just for people listening, you know, I mean, obviously, I know what robots are. I know what coaching is, but, like, when we marry them together

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. So welcome to one of the biggest time sucks the universe has ever invented, which is, you know, it’s robotics. It is amazing. It’s wonderful, and it is a lot of time. But what happened to me was my son just decided to sign up for a team when he was little, and I went to show up just to be, like, a supportive dad. And the kids were running around like hooligans, acting, you know, just out of control and nothing was getting done, except there’s these 2 dads in the corner, like, building a robot. And I’m like, hey, guys. Kind of missing the point here.

David G. Ewing:

You know, it’s supposed to be these hooligans who are building the robot. So they’re off, like, helping us win the national championship. And I was like, hey, all you hooligans, like, let’s line up and get some things done. And so I started, you know, building some team building with them and then trying to figure out how to get them to actually contribute to the robotics. This is like LEGO League for kids. So anyway, I got some experience that was that was fine, and then I thought my career was over because I did that for a couple years and was, like, great. The pandemic hit. And then after the pandemic, my son goes to this high school.

David G. Ewing:

It’s called Westlake. It’s here in Austin, Texas. And they have a building that, I kid you not, it is bigger than a lot of schools, and it’s just for the robotics team. And you walk in there and to use the Star Wars analogy, it’s kinda like, you know when the X Wing fighters are all getting ready to go to to the desk, you know, little robots are scurrying here, and r two d two’s going over there? That’s what this place looks like. It’s just a 150 to 300 kids running around, plugging things in, turning things on, flying things here and there, just it’s crazy. And I walked in there with him one day and was like, wow. And the the coach couldn’t be a better person. He’s this fantastic guy who inherited the program because he was a basketball coach.

David G. Ewing:

And, like, 16 years ago, the guy in charge of robotics was just laughed. And he kinda got handed it, and he had to figure it all out himself. And so he’s gone on to win all these national championships, and he’s done great, but he still runs it like football coaching thing, he’s yelling at the kids. Come on. You know? Like, they line up. Discipline is great. It’s really fun.

John Garrett:

So We’re doing shuttle runs? It’s

David G. Ewing:

like, how you

David G. Ewing:

met him? Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

David G. Ewing:

So I show up there, and I just thought I was there to drop off my son and get the heck out of there because I know

John Garrett:

who the

David G. Ewing:

fuck was. But Yeah. Yeah.

David G. Ewing:

He horse collared me and was like, tell me about yourself, and I did. And then he was like, hey. How would you like to mentor 1 of the teams? And the next thing you know, I’m, you know, arms deep in this team and so, anyway, to explain what actually it is is they make these seasons incredibly short and intense. So it’s kinda like a 12 12 week season or so. And on a magic day, they have a kickoff where they announce a video, and it’s it’s all about the challenge. So this year, my son is in a a robotics challenge, it’s a drone competition, and it’s a inside this drone cage, there’s this big kind of city setup, and it’s all about this drone doing mock firefighting. So picking up plastic balls and dropping them as if they were water on, you know, certain eerie spots or hitting other buildings with a laser water cannon and, you know, it’s just a little laser. And so, you know, you get points for everything that you do.

David G. Ewing:

And so, you know, starting on the on the opening day, you learn with the challenges, and now with the sprint is on because the competition is now 8 to 10 weeks away and you are trying to race to get as many points as you can by achieving all these objectives in your 5 minute allotted period, so all of this it comes down to, you know, kind of a 5 minute magic run that you do with your robot. And you get a few chances at it, but that’s what it comes down to.

John Garrett:

Pretty awesome, man.

David G. Ewing:

It is. And and the amount of teamwork and camaraderie and, spirit that goes into it and but but I think the best part about all of these leagues is I used to play football as a kid. And, you know, you we got chippy with the other kids. You know? Like, it wasn’t

John Garrett:

we weren’t pals

David G. Ewing:

at the end of the game. You know? But in this, you know, it’s a lot I think a lot more positive in the sense that everybody kinda looks at their team as we’re putting a robot onto the course to try and beat the course, and then the next team over to us, they’re trying to do the same thing. But while we are competing against one another, the spirit amongst teams is great. I mean, I watch this other team have their robot lose one of its key components. And my son bought 1 with his own money and had it in his back pocket I was like, here you go. You can have mine. And I was just touched by how cool it was that he just gave a competitive team, like, a $50 part too I was just like, here you go. Like, take this.

David G. Ewing:

You guys need it, and they, you know, were able to fly because of it. So, it’s really cool. So

John Garrett:

yeah. That is cool. I mean, Growing up, we had, like I’m sure you probably participated in these as well. Like, you know, you go to, like, a it was like a science competitions or whatever the hell where you show up, and then it’s like, here’s things, and then we’re gonna drop eggs from a certain height. You have to, like, make it not break.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. Science Olympics. Yeah.

John Garrett:

Yeah. Science Olympics. That’s what yeah. And and we had stuff like But this is, like, next level. I mean, it’s drones and robotics. It’s like, what? Like, you have to go to a the right school, it sounds like. But it sounds like there’s a lot of them out there, which is cool too That a lot of kids have these opportunities.

David G. Ewing:

Well, what’s really neat is is that not only do a lot of kids have these opportunities, but there are a lot of rural schools once you get outside of Austin, and they don’t have those kinds of opportunities but, you know, the the the spirit of this league is such that, you know, we’re we’re inviting those teams in to use our facilities on certain them so that they can get a chance to, you know, to so that they can compete effectively. And and and we do that in a in a really positive way so that and our kids don’t feel threatened by it. You know? They they’re realize the rising tide lets all boats, and and we’re all here to learn. And and I think that it’s just a really positive message, and I think that’s it.

John Garrett:

No. I love that so much. And does any of this, like, coaching robotics translate over to work?

David G. Ewing:

Oh, 100%. Yeah. These kids are teaching me things that I I didn’t even know because, I mean, I went to engineering school 20 years ago. Right? Like, none of this stuff it existed.

John Garrett:

Yeah. No. It was a dream. It was the Jetsons. I mean, it was a cartoon.

David G. Ewing:

I kid you not. You know, one of these kids is like, hey, coach. I downloaded this free software off the Internet that does optical recognition through this camera, and we can just use this to, like, find targets and target them. And I I was like, wait. That was free? Like, how how did you do that?

John Garrett:

And I’m like, where is that?

David G. Ewing:

And I’m like, this kid’s 16 years old, and he’s showing me how he’s using things that he just download off the Internet to make a thing that I thought was science fiction. Right? Right. I thought Ada could do this on Star Trek.

John Garrett:

Yes. Exactly.

David G. Ewing:

I didn’t think that Avery could take care of this and There he is, you know, being seen now, and I’m like, where’s your little, you know, visor, man? Richard.

John Garrett:

That’s awesome. No. That’s that’s so cool. Yeah. I mean, I guess it’s it’s the humbling side of it. It’s so key for leaders today to just be like, hey. I don’t know everything. And, You know, a 16 year old knows more than me in this particular arena at this moment.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. And, you know, it’s funny because, yeah, we have freshmen on the team, and and they’re teaching me things. And they just got there. And so, yeah, I walk into the beginning of the season, and I say, hey. I’m gonna learn just as much as I’m gonna teach guys, and, we all have a lot to learn. And, yeah, learn, we do. It’s it is incredible.

John Garrett:

That’s cool, man. That’s cool. And and so you take that mentality to your team then, you know, through work as well?

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the the thing is is that I think it’s actually, like I mean, it’s a super challenge to keep 14 to 18 year olds focused, and concentrating

John Garrett:

on it, tell them these

David G. Ewing:

guys are. Like, if you can do it with 14 to 18 year olds, you know, with all the raging hormones and all their other stuff, if you can do it with them, you can do it with professionals in the workplace. So it’s kinda it’s like it’s an extra obstacle course of leadership, patience, and, you know, focus to do that and it makes me much better with when I the professional That’s

John Garrett:

a good point. Who

David G. Ewing:

are a lot easier to work with.

John Garrett:

Right. It’s like playing with a medicine baller type of a thing, and then all of a sudden you you go to work. You’re like, man, I can throw a football a 100 yards. Like, this is nothing.

David G. Ewing:

I think teachers and principals probably could run most of the companies out there because they know how to manage people, they they’re pros. Right? They’re the heavyweight champions, and the rest of us are all lightweights compared to them. You know?

John Garrett:

Yeah. I would agree with that just based on the I mean, I love kids, but, man, holy crap. To, like, get them focused to all do, you know, something together, it’s, man, Takes, I don’t know, a magic flute or something to, like, hypnotize them. I don’t know what the thing is. But I imagine having drones involved, that’s always good.

David G. Ewing:

It keeps it in.

John Garrett:

Yeah. Yeah. And so is this something you talk about at work?

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. I talk about it at work a lot. I talk about, you know, things that we learned and also the planning and and one of the things that was kind of an interesting crossover is I brought to the team kinda agile development. So what, we do a lot of agile development at work, of course. And so what was neat is, you know, I had the kids on the very first like, 2 hours after the competition was announced. We had a mock field made up of chairs that we, like, moved all around to, like, represent what the field might look like. And we had cardboard boxes, and I was having them walk around and pretend like this is cardboard boxes, the drone. Now where does it go on the field? And, like, we’re all talking about it.

David G. Ewing:

And I said, this is our 1st agile prototype, guys. Like, we’re we’re doing an agile prototype here. Next week, we’ll maybe have some real parts in a real field. But, you know, every week, we, you know, increment, and they could see the changes. But what’s nice is from that very first, very rough prototype, I noticed that we had all the kids kind of thinking in the same way. And it made me realize that, like, when I go to work, you know, I might have a very clear idea of exactly what I wanna do. The vision is clear, and I’ve written it down, and I think I’ve communicated it to everyone. But until you do some kind of very basic prototype, you don’t have everybody pulling in the same direction.

David G. Ewing:

Everybody thinks it’s slightly different. And and that ability to just do the rawest of raw raw, you know, prototyping is so powerful that it’s been kind of like a big in the other direction as well.

John Garrett:

Yeah. Because until you start to see it come alive, then it’s like, oh, that’s what, oh, that’s what it’s gonna do. That’s what it means. That’s what, Then all of a sudden, even your perspective changes. It’s like, oh, I didn’t even think of that, you know, type of thing. And so but but to just do it with very low stakes, you know, and and, like you said, it’s just cardboard boxes and chairs. We’re walking around as if we’re a drone. Super low stakes, low cost, low everything, then it’s it just helps then when the real stuff comes in, then you’re able to just hit the ground running a lot faster.

David G. Ewing:

Exactly. Yeah. Very, very quick. And I think speed is the key part of that. Right? I mean, in business and in this, you know, there is only a limited amount at a time before the competition is out there in front of you and so the faster you can get everybody to see what’s going on, the better.

John Garrett:

No. I love it, man. That’s awesome. That’s so cool. And I guess, how much do you feel like it’s it’s on an organization? I mean, as a CEO of an organization, like, how much is it on the organization to create space for people to have these hands and to share them and to talk about them, or is it you know what? It’s on you as an individual.

David G. Ewing:

I think it’s incredibly important. I mean, I think that it brings energy, knowledge, and learning back to the company. So there’s always something that you can do. For example, I mean, my head of sales, in his spare time, he runs a no kill farm sanctuary. And I kid you not, it’s a 100 acres of goats and pigs and sheep and cows and all sorts of stuff. And what’s really interesting is, you know, he does that. He’s got a whole team that does it, doesn’t take away from his day job, but, hey. He has the coolest, cutest pictures under the sun.

David G. Ewing:

So you have the best Instagram in the world. If you want to be cheered up, just go to Austin Farm Sanctuary for it, because that thing is so gorgeous, all these happy little animals that would have been killed are all thriving in this Texas, you know, ranch, and it’s wonderful but when we were talking about marketing, we were like, gosh. We really need to bring another level to our marketing. And he said, really simply, he’s like, we need to tell better stories. And, you know, that’s really what something that he got from, you know, his days marketing, his nonprofit was just how powerful a story of Doya the pig is when it comes to people going, well, I’ll donate for Doya. Like, save Doya. You know? And so away it goes. And so, you know, that came back and it boomeranged back to Motiv, and we were just thrilled with kind of that concept because we could tell a lot of stories.

David G. Ewing:

And it just made what we do come alive a lot more, and I thought that was really powerful. But that’s an example. So, yeah, I have found that having great passions outside of work it’s so much better than saying, well, you’re going to work, you know, 17 hours a day, then you can go eat for a little bit, watch a couple of Netflix, and go to bed. That person isn’t growing. Right? Like, that person’s not becoming something else. And as a result, that you know, you’re not taking care of your people, and they’re not gonna be able to take care of you.

John Garrett:

Yeah. No. That’s so great. Because I I mean, that’s when I when I speak at conferences and into leadership groups and stuff, it’s, you know, if if your people aren’t living their best life, they’re not doing their best work. And, you know, it did it’s really that simple and and, you know, gone are the days where it’s, hey. We paid you. We’re done with this transaction. It’s no.

John Garrett:

No. No. Like, what are your life goals? Like, where are you headed? Like, how can we help you become a better human of who you wanna be? And then you’re gonna do your best work along the way. I mean, it’s just gonna accidentally happen.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. Because I think even if you could go back to those days, you would not have a better company than one where you were having people that were growing outside of work. So, yeah. At Motiv, we just realized that our mission is 1 word, and that’s growth. And if we can have our people grow, then they help our clients bro and, of course, then all metrics that we’re all looking for, the and the bottom line, they all start to grow as well.

John Garrett:

Yeah. No. It’s it’s so great that you have that mindset, you know, and that That the team there is able to to jump in with it. Because sometimes I find that people are like, oh, is it a trap? You know? Because where they’ve worked before, it was, you know, maybe not that way. And so then when they come to a place, you know, like Motiv, then it’s like, oh, wow. Like, maybe I don’t know. Is he testing me? Like, you know, and it’s but you it sounds like you’re living the the example so it’s like, well, if if David g Ewing’s doing it, then, I can’t do. So, you know, it’s like type of thing.

David G. Ewing:

Absolutely. Our head of HR pointed this out. At the root of culture is always assumptions. And, you know, to your point, people might come into an organization, I’d be like, are they testing me? What’s going on? This place seems a little unusual. Those are all assumptions they have about, is there a trick here? And if you can start to root out those assumptions and point out to people, like, hey. You had clearly have some assumptions about what we’re doing here. What if your assumptions are wrong? That’s really how you change culture is you get rid of the assumptions that people have that are negative. But you can only do that if you can prove it.

David G. Ewing:

But once you do that, then you get meaningful cultural change.

John Garrett:

No. That’s that’s exactly it. And it’s just, like, who are you? Collectively as a group and individually, of course. But it’s just who are you? And then, you know, you can’t change that, you know, type of thing where it’s, no. I wanna be a 7 foot, you know, NBA player that can dunk with his eyes closed. It’s like, nope. You’re not that. So sorry.

John Garrett:

You know? Like, it’s but, you know, I am me, and, be the best you you can be, and as a company, that’s the same thing. So I I love it, man. And so do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that they might have an end that they feel like, well, no one cares because it has nothing to do with my job.

David G. Ewing:

I would say this is that I’ll start with something a little morbid and then work my way backward, and that is is that we’re all gonna come to an end at one point. Right? Like, we we know that we’re there’s death and taxes. Right? There are the 2 certainties in this world. And the number one thing people always say is that they’ll have regrets at the end, that they spend too much time working and not enough time doing anything else and I’ve seen some great talks from from some a couple of folks about regret. And there’s regret comes in a couple of different flavors. One is the regret of the thing that you wish you’d done that you didn’t do. And the other is the is the regret of I did something I really wish I hadn’t done that. Right? And so those are 2 of the biggest ones, and I think we all live with regrets.

David G. Ewing:

I think anybody who says I live with no regrets is examining themselves closely enough because Exactly. Enough to not have regrets. Right, so

John Garrett:

I’ll I’ll point some out for you right now if you need some. Like, it’s

David G. Ewing:

So to me, an and is all about making sure that, like, when you’re there, hopefully, you’re at your final moments there, and you’re saying, you know what? I did it right. Like, that was a life worth living. You know? That was a great life. And if you can have that moment, then what are you afraid of? Right? Because if you’re not afraid of death, you’re not afraid of anything. And the only way I know to conquer that is to say, it was a life worth living. And for that, you’ve gotta find an end.

John Garrett:

No. I love it, man. That’s such a such Such a great thing because, I mean, it is work is important absolutely, but so are the other things. You know? You’re you’re working so you can live. What with the Dolly Parton quote of, you know, don’t get so busy Making a a career that you you don’t make a life or something along those lines. And, you know, it’s it’s just it’s it’s so easy for us to go down that slippery slope of, you know, upside down priorities, and then, you know, just take someone coming along to just be like, woah. Woah. Tap the brakes.

John Garrett:

What are you doing and why? And, you know, if that’s your thing, then that’s fine, but just know that the majority of people, like, 92% based on my research, have hobbies and fashions outside of work. So, like, that’s a lot of people. That’s the stereotype. So let them live. You know? And and the more that you let them live, the more that the work is gonna get better.

David G. Ewing:

You know, I read this essay when I was in college, and it always stuck with me. And it was about happiness, and they they said that there are 5 things that you can do to make yourself happy there are 5 categories. And everything that makes people happy really falls in one of these 5 categories, and it was the first one surprised me. It was productive work. And I’m I’ve always realized, yeah, productive work actually makes everyone really happy. So doing productive work, doing doing tedious, like, boring work or or, in my case, taxes, that does not make

David G. Ewing:

you happy.

John Garrett:

Same. Same.

David G. Ewing:

But productive work makes you happy. And then hobbies and recreations is the 2nd. Relationships is the 3rd. Off, art is the 4th and sex is the 5th. Right? So if you can spend your life doing those 5 things, you you have a pretty good life. You know?

John Garrett:

That’s fine. That’s pretty good. Yeah. But it’s not just one of them. It’s not just productive work.

David G. Ewing:

You know? And those productive work.

David G. Ewing:

You gotta have all 5.

John Garrett:

That’s 20% of the Look at me doing the math in my head. That’s just 1 out of 5. You got 4 more. So it’s not like 4 out of 5 will work and what where you could be like, well, I’ll just not do the one. It’s like, no. No. Like, you’re throwing away the meat of it. And yeah.

John Garrett:

So that’s awesome, man. Well, I feel like it’s only fair since I rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning that I turn the tables, make this the 1st episode of the David g Ewing podcast. No. But thanks thanks for having me on, man, and I’m all yours, so fire away whenever you got.

David G. Ewing:

John, thank you for coming to my show. It’s so wonderful to have you. Rapid fire questions for you starts with this. 1st one, Harvard or Yale?

John Garrett:

That’s a trick one because I read up on you. But either way, it would still be Harvard. So yeah.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. You can stay as a guest. Okay.

John Garrett:

That’s right. Right?

David G. Ewing:

Beer, whiskey, wine, or coffee?

John Garrett:

You know, I’m gonna go ciders. Can I cider? It’s a it’s a tangent to the beer. I’m more of a cider guy.

David G. Ewing:

I have a particular cider in mind that I can send you as a gift.

John Garrett:

Oh, wow. Well, here in, Denver, we have STEM Cider. That’s pretty good. Cider. STEM. Yeah. Plus, it’s kinda goes along with your, robotics science, Whatever. But, yeah, it stems good cider and hot chocolate for sure.

John Garrett:

I miss the coffee train. I I don’t know. I never got on it. I never Oh

David G. Ewing:

my gosh.

John Garrett:

I’ve I think I’ve had 1, and it was my junior year in college and spring break in New Orleans at, like, Cafe Du Monde.

David G. Ewing:

What what do you do to get so much energy? You got a lot of energy. You got a lot of vibe. You got a lot

John Garrett:

of depth. Problem is if I took coffee, I would explode. Like, it’s so it’s like it’s it’s probably best that I don’t Yeah. I don’t know. It’s just natural.

David G. Ewing:

This next one is also like it separates the Hatfields from the McCoys. In my house, if you have a birthday party, there is a big question as to whether when you slice the cake you have a slice on your plate. Right? And now there’s ice cream. Does the ice cream go on top of the cake or to the side?

John Garrett:

I’m gonna say on the side.

David G. Ewing:

Wrong answer. Goodbye. Thank you for coming.

John Garrett:

Right now If it was pie, pie, it goes on top. Cake, it goes on the side. But no. You go on top. But even though it that’s the wedge?

David G. Ewing:

Yeah, and then it melts in a little bit. You get it with the sponge.

John Garrett:

Oh, so you like it? Like, soggy like? Okay.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

John Garrett:

Fair. But it’s definitely on the plate. Like, I’m not gonna pass on the ice cream.

David G. Ewing:

Okay. Alright.

David G. Ewing:

That we can at least agree on that.

John Garrett:

Alright. Alright. Alright.

David G. Ewing:

Alright. What is your proudest childhood moment?

John Garrett:

My proudest childhood moment, Oh, man. It’s, like, outrunning the police from TP ing a kid. Does that come as proudest moment? Like

David G. Ewing:

That’s pretty amazing. Yeah.

David G. Ewing:

This is when you need,

David G. Ewing:

and whether they deserved it.

John Garrett:

Oh, they always deserved it. But that was military, so you grab his camos like his fatigues.

David G. Ewing:

Oh, wow.

John Garrett:

Plus, you know how many rolls of toilet paper you can fit into fatigues. It is a lot. Yeah. Plus then when they then you could just lay on the ground, and they they really work. So I don’t know if that counts. That’s that’s pretty good one. That’s, like or winning a talent. There was a talent show.

John Garrett:

I feel it was 3rd or 4th grade, and we did Weird Al’s Like A Surgeon. Ah. And one of the my friend’s mom’s was a nurse, so she had these giant turkey baster syringes Without the metal part, of course. And so at the very end, we turned around and squirted the whole audience with water, like the whole gym. That was pretty awesome. Like, that was that was a good one. And I

David G. Ewing:

don’t know about you, but I just thank god that they didn’t have camera phones when I was a kid.

David G. Ewing:

For sure.

David G. Ewing:

Moments were floating around right now, I’m in.

John Garrett:

For sure. Absolutely.

David G. Ewing:

Alright.

David G. Ewing:

If you could wave a magic wand and get any guest on your podcast, living or dead, fictitious or real, who’s the dream guest for What’s Your End?

John Garrett:

Well, now that David g Ewing has been on, I’m gonna go with the CEO of Goldman Sachs.

David G. Ewing:

Really?

John Garrett:

He is a DJ On the side, he’s like I forget his d, but he’s like a, like, like, he mixes like, he’s like a legit, like, DJ. Yeah. Just for fun.

David G. Ewing:

Yeah. For Goldman Sachs.

David G. Ewing:

That would be good to have him.

John Garrett:

Yeah. I think that that would be a cool person to have on. So if he’s listening, shoot me an email. He probably listens to your podcast and not mine. So there we go. Like, that’s how this works.

David G. Ewing:

Alright. 2 more, and then I’m gonna let you off the hook.

John Garrett:

Alright. Alright.

David G. Ewing:

First one is New York or LA?

John Garrett:

New York, hands down, all day. Yeah. All day.

David G. Ewing:

Alright. Great. And finally, to wrap it up, if you could have 1 superpower, what would be your superpower?

John Garrett:

Yeah. You know, I would yeah. Man, I’d like, I think just to be able to sing. Like, I didn’t it’s not even a superpower, but, like or dunk. Like, I’m 63, and I can’t dunk, and that’s embarrassing. Like, it’s terrible. Like, everyone’s like, oh, you’re tall. And it’s like, I’m not that tall.

John Garrett:

I’m point guard tall. Like, slow down. Yeah. But to sing while I was dunking, that would be my superpower. Like but, yeah, just to sing. Like, I I can’t. I could play plenty of instruments. I’m musically inclined.

John Garrett:

I love concerts. I love all that. It’s just I cannot sing in tune. It just doesn’t come out right.

David G. Ewing:

I think if you could sing and dunk, I think you were a contender for the slam dunk contest there. I

John Garrett:

Probably these days, man, it’s bad. But, yeah. Or the Globetrotters. 1 of the 2. But that would be my it’s not even that super. But to me, it’s super.

David G. Ewing:

You’d have a big Instagram following

John Garrett:

on that. Right? I’m starting to catch on here. I would tell some stories. I would sing them. I would sing the stories. Then there we go. Well, awesome, man. Well, thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your Hand, and it was so much fun having you on, David.

John Garrett:

Thanks so much.

David G. Ewing:

Thanks, John. Great being here.

John Garrett:

If you like to see some pictures of David in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to what’s your and.com. Everything’s 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 Podcasts 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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