Casey Cobb on Building a Business Without 80-Hour Weeks

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In this episode of The Early Stage Founder, I’m talking with Casey Cobb of Project Ricochet, and many, many other projects. He actively works with and advises 6 different businesses, from tech startups to a brewery, and does all of this while working 40 hours a week, allowing him plenty of time to be an active father and husband.

Casey’s success flies in the face of the common startup wisdom that you need to work long, grueling hours and make huge personal sacrifices if you want success, and today he is here to share with you the tool that makes it all possible.

I actually had Casey on my other podcast, Agency Advantage, and his advice there had a huge impact on me in a short amount of time and I knew I needed to get him on this show to get his message out to more founders, especially those who wear 80 and 100 hour work weeks as a badge of courage.

So without further adieu, here’s Casey…

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Transcript:

Andy Baldacci:
Casey, thanks for joining me today.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Andy Baldacci:
Of course. Today, you're a software engineer, angel investor, writer, speaker, inventor, co-founder of three companies, and I'm sure I'm missing a few things there. I'm curious, what path led you to where you are today?

Casey Cobb:
I've spent my career just trying to leapfrog from each small success to subsequent successes, and then I live my life according to … I guess an adage that I say in my brain, I call it 'Stacked wins', so anything that I do, I try to make sure that it's benefiting me and/or the folks I'm working with or the companies I'm working with on all different levels as opposed to just doing something that benefits one of those. I could give you a bunch of examples, but how that ends up playing out is I'm always doing a lot of stuff. It's always yielding success or benefits, and I'm building on those benefits, so when I worked for my first job out of college, I've worked my way up in the company, became chief operating officer of that company, then I used that. That was in the beverage industry.

Used that to leapfrog into starting my own winery, sold that and jumped into consulting which I had always been doing in the web development, and then tied in successes from that into the other investments that I've done on my own behalf, and then also as a company, we have a plan for our whole team where they benefit from the fruits of our product development arm. Really, I could … You know me. I could talk at length about all this stuff, but it's just been one thing after another that has been a natural progression at every step, and then never keeping my eye off the ball that where I want to be and where I want to go, so I still feel like I'm just getting started, sir. I don't know if that answers the question, if that's too bad.

Andy Baldacci:
I don't either, but I still liked it though, and I am curious to just see if you were to take a snapshot of what are your focus … At a high level, what are you doing now? What companies are you involved in? What is your job I guess?

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Yeah. My main thing is Project Ricochet. We're a full service digital agency, about 25 people. We do work for Fortune 10 companies, all the way down to small mom and pop shops in terms of developing web applications, content strategy, all the web stuff that folks are involved in these days. We have several startups that we've invested in as a company that I'm involved in, a social media photo sharing app, another travel, kind of travel meets Instagram, meets Twitter, sharing itineraries and stuff, startup, 'TripVerse.co'.

Another company that I co-founded with my wife actually, 'Ziraffe.com'. It's like giraffe with a Z. That's a fashion in kids' clothing line or retail rather. Then also, I'm a partner of a brewery here in the Bay Area, and then I also do angel investing on the side, sir, and I'm a father of a three-year old son, sir. That keeps me busy too.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah, because I remember … I had you on my other podcast where it's focused on agency owners, and we've talked about that. Just hearing all of the things you do seemed it was exhausting to me to hear it, but digging into more with you, it didn't seem like it was unmanageable, and I think a lot of that came back down to how you really focused on things that matter most, leveraging what is providing the most value, and just really being careful about how you're applying yourself. It's funny because at the end of the talk we had on my other podcast, I forget that I was even doing natural show or not, but you mentioned the DiSC personality assessment tool in passing. Right afterwards, I took it, and because it was this productivity stuff, all these things are things I have been struggling with and really trying to figure out my whole systems, and it seemed like you have that figured out, so I took the test, I'm seeing the results, and the results were just four numbers.

I think it was … I have it right in front of me, so it was, yeah, 7114.

Casey Cobb:
7114. Yeah.

Andy Baldacci:
Exactly. Yeah. That's all I sent you. I sent you the category that put me in, and then the insights you gave me and you replied back to me made me think you were like some kind of wizard who could see directly into my soul.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah.

Andy Baldacci:
It was crazy.

Casey Cobb:
You didn't send me the report. You've just sent me those numbers. That's four numbers. That's it.

Andy Baldacci:
No. That was it. That was it. Again, because you would just say things like "Oh, do you ever feel like this or do these people ever bother you?", and I was like, "Yes. This is my life."

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Yeah.

Andy Baldacci:
For the listeners who aren't as familiar with that tool, can you explain exactly what I'm raving about right now?

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Just to your point before that is what I mentioned in the previous interview that we did is all the stuff that I do, all the stuff I'm involved in, I work 40 hours a week and I spend time with my family. The weekends, we do family stuff. I also exercise a lot, so I'm not maxed out in any way. I like to have time for creativity and mental space, and I do that because the way that I'm able to do that is by focusing on working smart, not hard, although I do work hard, but I try to live by the 80/20 rule Pareto principle.

You're going to get 80% of the results in 20% of the effort, and this applies … If you look up 80/20 or Pareto principle, you'll find tons of writings about it, but if you can get 80, 80% of the way there is pretty darn good because for the most part, most stuff you try is not worth doing, so if you only get 80% of the way there and you realize that you can stop that rather than trying to get to 100%, and that's what I tried. Just my life is a series of experiments, and the moment I see that it's not working, I either try to correct course and change what I'm doing or I just stop doing it and just do something that looks like it's going to be better, and this can apply to business, to marketing, to relationships, all sorts of stuff. Going to DiSC, I really, Andy feel like it's the secret of the universe, and I'm bewildered that this is not a thing that everybody talks about all the time and is a part of school curriculum and is a thing that we talk about at jobs and before you the start the job. I mean, it's just bewildering to me that this is not talked about more, and in fact, I'm collaborating with somebody right now to work DiSC and the Pareto principle into kids' curriculum because I want to be involved in …

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Yeah. I want to push this stuff down because I feel like if somebody had shared these ideas to me or with me when I was younger, I could have done a hundred times more than I'm doing even right now, and it took me 20 to 24 or 25 years old when I finally learned this stuff and I've had success as a result of it. Let me give you the high level, and the reason I like this over something like Myers-Briggs is that … Have you ever done Myers-Briggs?

Andy Baldacci:
Probably in some psych class, but I know what it is. Yeah.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. The hard thing about Myers-Briggs is that it tells you what you're thinking, and not necessarily how you behave, although there is some correlation possibly. The other thing about Myers-Briggs is the critic of it is it seems to be unpredictable, so you might get one result one day and another results another day, and it's really complicated. I've studied it quite a bit and I still have a hard time making actionable conclusions from what I see even in myself. DiSC though, total opposite.

Four letters, and each of these letters correspond to a set of personality qualities, and then you have an intensity of each of those four, and you're not all one. Usually, you're a number of those in some level of intensity. Let me go down each of them. The reason I know that this is going to resonate with a lot of your listeners is that I guarantee that most of them can imagine somebody in their life that is each one of these things, and then I'll talk about some of the mixes that you find especially in certain industries, but we'll start with the first one, the High D. This stands for I believe dominance.

It's the military general, "No nonsense", "Cut to the chase", "Just give me the facts", "I want to get stuff done", "Don't want a lot of fluff". Then, the I, the next letter is the, I think that stands for influence. That's the salesy, extroverted, knows a million people person. He or she is not going to … They're not going to open up email attachments. They're going to glaze over the details, but they're going to be driven to succeed through connections.

You can give them a problem. They'll call five people to solve that problem. They'll get it done. It might look like they're just chatting on the phone and relaxing, but they know how to get it done just through a different way than the High D would.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
Then, you have the S. This is the empathizer, pleaser, somebody who is very in tune with everybody else's emotions and feelings. They're the social glue of a group, and so they're also people-focused like the I, but whereas the I is more focused on maybe status and flash, the S if more focused on communal happiness. Then, you have the C, the last one. I think that stands for conscientious. I literally don't know the meanings of these letters because it doesn't really matter to me.

All that I know is that it gets me results, but the C is the systematic, logical, factual, generally a little quieter and more introverted person, very conscientious, but to them, it's more important that things are done right even if it means that you get less done or that it's actually not even useful for the High D just because it's done right and the accountant is explaining some obscure accounting term to a High D and the D is like, "I just need to know what I need to know. I don't care whether it has this or this should be done this way or that way. I just need what I need." I was actually just having that conversation between a High D and a High C today. Now, you have combinations of these.

Very few people are just one of these. The High D, High Dominant, High Systematic, that's your typical creative pattern and that extends to both artistic stuff and stuff like engineering, software development. These folks are very forceful and very systematic and logical. They're the kind of girls that will go off on a tangent about something, feel really emotionally strong about it. Everybody else is wrong. They're right. Get with the program, almost to the point where you don't even want to trigger them because then you'd be talking with them for an hour about it.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
The High D, High I, so the High Dominant, High Influential person, that's your inspirational pattern. That's the Rich Bransons of the world. They're very forceful and they're also very extroverted, big picture, big idea, is going to force their will on the world. Let's see. The High S, so the High Empathizer, the High Systematic, the High S, High C, this is the perfectionist pattern.

They want things to be done right and they also want people to be happy with their work, and they want people to be happy in general. They put a lot of energy into getting things done perfectly. When I talked about the 80/20 rule, they are not doing the 80% solution. They're doing like the 99, 100% solution.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
It takes them a lot longer. They can be really at risk of hitting burnout because their internal drives are going to be pushing them down that path and it can be really crushing to them when people don't even appreciate that effort because most people don't. They're not even thinking about that. I mean, there's 16 different combinations that you can see in that DiSC test, and the pattern is interesting. When you take it, you get the output, and then they give you a name.

You're the developer or you're the inspirational pattern or whatever. I don't even really look at that. I just look at the intensity of all the different attributes and I look at it like recipes that have these ingredients that are splashed in from this one, this black pepper is really strong, and then you have some cumin, and then you have some whatever. Some flavors don't go well together, so for instance, you rarely find the High D, High Dominant and High S, High Empathetic person because those are two opposites oftentimes.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
The person who's driving to get stuff done is oftentimes trampling on people's feelings, and likewise, the person who's really concerned about people being happy, maybe he or she is not looking at the bottom line and what they're striving for is not actually financially viable. Right? Like yeah, it would be great to give everybody free massages all day every day, but we got to eventually get work done and those things cost money too, so is that actually a viable solution? That's I could see how an S could be insulted by me saying that. I have no S naturally. I have a lot of D as you can hear, so my career …

We'll talk about this a little bit, but I've spent the majority of my career trying to learn how to tone down the D, and then strengthen the S through being more present, being more empathetic, listening more than talking, not saying the first thing that comes to my mouth, focusing on the bigger picture because the really important point to me is no matter what your quality is, this is not set in stone. People are very complex. You can't collapse everybody down into four letters. You can just get insight and get you in the direction of how you can help coach this person or what they're going to be struggling with or what they're going to be really good at for the organization. An example is a High D and a High S can have the same net result, but they go about it differently.

The High D might want to have a really successful company, have a really profitable company, really rock their role, and they realize that if they just trample in everybody's feelings to get to that point, people resent it, and then fight them, so they believe that happy people gets you to the company success. It can be an impediment if you aren't doing that stuff, if you aren't doing the High S stuff. For a High S, they might believe that they want people to be happy, but they know that for the company to be able to make people happy, the company has to be solid and financially viable, but the goal is to make the people happy. Right? They're the same end result.

I mean, in a successful company, both people are happy and the company is successful, but they're going about it from different ways, and that's okay. Both of those things are actually okay. Does that all make sense?

Andy Baldacci:
No, it does, but I'm curious because I think all these insights, all these character types like when you discuss them, someone immediately in real life jumps ahead [of the goal 00:14:55] like he's describing this person and that person, and hearing through it all, I can understand how that shaped my interactions with that person, interactions that they've had with other people and all of that. I get that, but I'm curious like what do you … Oversimplying the question, what do you do with this?

Casey Cobb:
Okay. Yeah.

Andy Baldacci:
Is this just like a Facebook quiz where like "All right. This is me now, but it's [good 00:15:18]", but how do you make it more than that?

Casey Cobb:
Totally not. Yeah. I'll tell you this, Andy. I think about DiSC almost all day every day. I mean, from even interacting with my wife, even interacting with my kid, I'm always conscious of what's going to be effective for them. One of the reasons I'm able to do a lot of stuff is that I'm looking at how I can balance out everybody in my life, and if you're a manager or you're a co-worker of somebody, getting more done through people, it's just going to multiply your effectiveness many times over. Let me give you a couple of examples of things that you can actionably do.

Immediately, upon learning a little bit about this test, the first thing you can do is look at your own strengths and weaknesses, so for instance, one of the observations where you said you're a 7114. That's okay, so you don't have any of that S naturally. You don't have that empathizer quality and you're a High D. I could imagine that in your career, you've trampled on people's feelings a little bit, and then you didn't even know it. You were just trying to get stuff done the way that you thought you could get it done and you've got some push back from that.

Just like I said, I had to because I have no S either. You can do exercises and read certain things and team up with people who are, that do have that S to have the net effect of a High S. For instance, before I sent out emails that I thought could be controversial at the company where I learned how to do those, I would print out the email and take it over to a High S and have them read it and say, "Hey, how has this come across to you? This is insulting." They'd say, "Yeah, this line makes you seem like a jerk."

They'd be "Okay. Cool. Let me go tailor that a little bit and make it a little softer. How does this sound?" "Oh yeah. Great."

It takes a little bit more work, but you get more done from the team. Also, if you're not a super High C, you're not a super High Systematic person, you can do the High C stuff. It just taxes you more, so if you can, when you can, when you can afford to as a business or when you're budgeting or whatever, find somebody on your team or get an assistant or somebody that can help you with that High C stuff, and that person should be a High C. When you're hiring, don't hire somebody who's not a High C because they're going to have the same problems you're going to have. When we do hiring, we look at that stuff and we're trying to find certain qualities to inject not only in the organization, but into the supporting roles that that job is going to be affecting so that the person has the right temperament to be able to effortlessly help on those dimensions, and it's important.

Andy Baldacci:
I see.

Casey Cobb:
It's important to say like you … Yeah. You could find somebody who's not a High C, but is really willing to do that stuff, but eventually, I find that most people migrate into the job that is suitable for their temperament, and that might work itself up, but maybe not in the short-term. Right? They can do it, but eventually, you have to find somebody else to do it anyway, and it's just going attack some more, so they're oftentimes not going to do as good of a job as somebody who's also trying really hard and that is their natural strength.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah, because it seems like there's two angles from a manager's perspective, is one, it's like making sure you're hiring someone with the right temperament for the job just in a [vacuum 00:18:28]. Like this is a customer support and you require these types of qualities, but the other is looking a little bit meta and seeing about how they're going to complement the other personalities on your team. Is that accurate?

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Totally. When we talk about startups, shoot. Finding a co-founder, this is the most important thing that you could probably do, and co-founder selection is look at what you're good at, and then look at what the other person, the potential candidate is good at, and make sure that you guys aren't just both the same person because the really dangerous thing is when I coach the companies I'm involved in is when you interview somebody, you're going to feel best about people that are just like you. That's really dangerous because when you go off your gut, this guy is great.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah.

Casey Cobb:
He's just a clone. He or she is just a clone of you, and you guys are going to now multiply your liabilities, and you're not going to solve the things that you actually need to solve. To the other point to that is that through DiSC, you can find people who are different than you, and you can explicitly understand the challenges that you guys are going to face right off the bat and you can put in place mechanisms to overcome that before they even happen, so you could say, "Oh, you're a High S. I'm a High D. We're going to clash on this. Let's talk about that right away, and let's have some safe words here or let's set up regular meetings where we can talk through this stuff."

Let me give you an example of something that I was coaching somebody today about is that … Do we have time? Is that okay?

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah.

Casey Cobb:
The manager was saying, "Hey, I wanted to give somebody some feedback". I heard this guy. He was talking with one of his directs about something that she didn't do, and he was like, "Hey, can you do this thing?", and she was talking about how all the 70 reasons why she didn't get a chance to do that thing, and he was getting frustrated because he didn't care about those 70 reasons. He just wanted that thing done, and he snapped at her. When you think about this, she is a High S and he is a High D with no S, and when we hired her, we talked.

I talked with this guy about the fact that these kinds of things would happen, like the High D would be manifesting in a certain way, and the High S is going to be manifesting a certain way, and those things can get into a really vicious cycle. For instance, the reason she was saying those 70 reasons was because she wanted him to understand that it wasn't intentional she was doing stuff. She wanted him to be happy with her because she was working hard, and he wasn't thinking about any of that stuff. In fact, he is happy with her. He just wants that thing done, but then, he's upset as a result of her giving "Excuses", and then she gets even less of what she wants which is that approval, and then it can create this vicious loop where if you don't address that, she could walk away feeling really dejected and frustrated.

He does too because he has to just go do it himself because he's so pissed off. This isn't what happened, but you could imagine how that could lead to a path of everybody being really unhappy when in fact, it could have been overcome by just recognizing what was going on there, and then giving that feedback and that coaching so that everybody could come be on the same page. What I spend a lot of time doing is I don't really care about that particular incident. I mean, it wasn't really a big deal, but I do talk with people about the fact that that kind of stuff can happen, and what do we do when it does happen. Then, I talked with the High Ss and say, "Hey, when that stuff happens, understand that this is just that person's temperament".

You should be able to give them feedback about how it made you feel, but know that this is why that happened. It's just a nature of who we are and we can overcome or we can forgive some of that stuff because we also recognize that some of those things that are driving those negative behaviors are also the fruit of some of the most positive behaviors that we have.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah, because when you mentioned that, when you … This is a question I had earlier, and now, I'm still thinking about it because you mentioned hiring so that you can complement the skills that you lack or the temperament that you lack, but inherently, if you have someone like either you are who are High D, if we hire someone who is High S, while that gives us that balance, it also is going to invite a lot of conflict, and because of the … There's just naturally going to be misunderstandings.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah.

Andy Baldacci:
It seems like why you want to make sure your team does have that balance, it really comes down to the communication, the coaching, and all of that to be aware of where that balance may come back to bite you a little bit.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah, and even the fact that somebody's qualities are not going to come together. If you notice that you're a High C or you're not a High C rather, you're a High D, High I, and you want to hire somebody who's a High C to help you with your execution of your ideas, don't get frustrated because that person is not the visionary. Right? That's not what they provide. They provide the boring. Right?

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. That can lead to a little bit of isolation where you might feel frustrated that you've got to be that visionary, but in fact, if you look at this, can you look at how you're creating your organization? That's your job. That's what you do, but rely on that other person to do what they do best and don't be afraid to give … There's some models that you can use for feedback and coaching that in a way, that removes all the personal stuff.

You can get feedback about, "Hey, man. This is what you're here for. This is what you provide, so this is what we need from you." It can be very targeted around results and actual behaviors rather than you're a jerk or you're not pulling your weight or these things that are just not helpful to say.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah. This is making me …

Casey Cobb:
You do need to be mindful. You do need to be present of mind of all this stuff.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah. What does this make me think now is that, and this might be the High D or whatever, but it's like I'm sure there's a lot of listeners who are like, "All right. In a perfect world, I can have all my employees take these test". We have little name tags on us so as soon as I see them, I'm like, "All right. This is your personality. I need to approach you in this way. I need to handle this", but that's a lot of mental overhead that you got to keep track of and you have to always be thinking of.

Truthfully, that sounds like a ton of work, and so what I was going to ask is I understand why this is worth it the more I dig into it, but to someone who is skeptical and says "Things are good enough now", I'm curious to hear from your perspective how much difference can this make? How has this had an impact on your business by really taking this seriously and embodying it in the way you run your organizations and build them?

Casey Cobb:
I'm going to give you two examples. I'm going to give you one concrete proof and I'm going to give you an example that I think I mentioned in the last time we talked, but first one is I'm proof of this. Right? I've got six jobs and a father, and I bike ten miles a day, and I read 50 books a year. Actually, it's going to be closer to 70 this year, and I work 40 hours a week.

How do I do that? How is that possible? This is how it's possible. Right? I spend all my time being super concentrated on what needs to get done and empowering other people, reducing friction, all those things.

Like I said before when we talked that I'm not bragging about this. I don't see there's anything that is amazingly accomplished. It's just the fact that I do work less than you would think that I do work. People are always surprised that I'm doing all this stuff, and they're like, "I'm just barely hanging on with what I'm doing", and this is the magic. This is the secret. I don't hide it.

Andy Baldacci:
For a quick aside from that, what I'm curious about is that I understand how all this applies to the teams, but with your personal productivity, with how you're able to accomplish that much, obviously you're able to delegate the things that you don't do well and you're able to do it and communicate in a way that makes it more like there's going to get done quick, efficiently, all of that, but is there a way where you're using your DiSC score, your numbers, your grouping to … How does that apply on the individual micro level?

Casey Cobb:
For me or for other people?

Andy Baldacci:
For you.

Casey Cobb:
Okay. One example is I don't have a super High C, and I don't want to be bugged down in the details especially unnecessary details, so I hired an assistant as soon as I could afford it at my company at Ricochet, and it's actually a team of … It's two people now, and they go through all my email and categorize it according to urgency and importance on that two by two matrix, and all I do is throughout the day and sometimes throughout the week look at the most urgent, most important stuff. That's five emails. I don't look at anything else unless I have time, and when I have time, I get to the next level of stuff, and then sometimes, I don't look at the not urgent, not important or not urgent/important stuff for several weeks because I don't need to, but a lot of people are going to spend all that time looking at all that stuff and getting lost in all those details.

For me, that's the most boring thing in the world. It's soul-crushing. It's much easier for me to just go through the least important stuff, highlight everything, and then find the stuff that I don't want to archive, and then archive everything, and then just deal with those few that are actually left. That's on the micro level, but I think the example that I gave last time which was the epiphany, the genesis of a lot of my business philosophy now is that at a condo, my wife and I have … We rent out.

The tenant called me and said, "Hey, need a new garbage disposal". I went down and looked at it. I could have just called the company and spend a thousand bucks to get a new disposal installed. I don't know what that would cost, but probably 500 or $700. Instead, I went down there and looked at it. Sure enough, when you flip on the switch, all the stuff on this counter shop shook off. Remember, I was telling you the story like it was really dramatic.

Andy Baldacci:
Yeah.

Casey Cobb:
It looks really bad, and all I did was looked underneath there and just tightened that little … I don't know anything about garbage disposals, but I know that there's a ring that it fixes it or I didn't even know that. I just reached under there and see how it wasn't fixed, tightened it just a quarter of an inch, and suddenly, the garbage disposal was just fine. Everything was perfect. That's an example of where I spent less than a calorie of energy to fix a problem that I otherwise could have worked quite a bit to save up the money to spend the $700 to fix it. Right?

Now, if you take that and multiply that by the thousands of interactions that you have with people in a given week, maybe even on a given day, when things are blowing up, when you're spending all the time to replace the garbage disposal … It's not that simple. There's garbage disposals on garbage disposals on garbage disposals and these really complex systems.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
Things look really dramatic and really crazy and it stresses people out, and it reduces productivity. If you can get back to the basics, get everything built up from the ground up in a really solid way, everybody has a healthy way to communicate, everybody has a good understanding of themselves, everybody has a good understanding of their team and what they're good at and what they're not good at, and how to effectively lay this stuff out in a productive way, you just get people to just glide toward success. It's a natural progression from there. The thing in terms of competition, most people are not doing that.

I would say 99% of the people are not thinking about these particular things. We're just fighting fires at the end of the spectrum. We're replacing the garbage disposals, so if you want the secret weapon, I think this is it. This is it. It's not that hard.

Read DiSC. Learn about. Shoot. Reach out. Talk to me. I'll help anybody about this stuff because I think it really does make the world a better place.

Andy Baldacci:
No. I mean, hearing the passion from you and honestly, for me, it's something where when I think of all the things I've struggled with and I know there is a struggle. I know what I'm trying to do to improve that and where there's so many times where it just feels like you feel stuck and you're trying to wonder why you can't communicate with someone, you're trying to wonder why it's so hard for you to change your own habits. This is the framework to think about, and so I think one of the obvious, big recommendations I'll have for listeners is to take the test, but I'm curious, after someone takes this test if they had the people around them take the test, what is the next step for really embodying the results?

Casey Cobb:
My path … I don't know that the test alone is going to give you the tools to really understand this stuff.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
If you go to … I don't have any vested interest in this, but the test that I use is … DiSC is owned by Wiley Publishing, and it's licensed now to people who resell it, so there's a hundred people who sell this test in different formats. The format that I like the most is sold by a company called 'Manager Tools', 'Manager-tools.com'. If you go there you will find under their products, you'll find the DiSC test and you can buy it and take it. Excuse me.

Then, they also have a bunch of podcasts about DiSC and about each of the letters like the way to communicate with people of a certain type and how to manage yourself and how to … I mean, there's 30 podcasts about this topic that you can just learn to … You can learn all the range of what you need to know about this through those podcasts, and there's not that many books about it. Another alternative is to email me. I'm happy to help. I love talking about this stuff.

Andy Baldacci:
No. It's funny because one thing I was going to make sure to make clear in the intro, what I want to emphasize again right now is you're not pitching this. This isn't your thing and you're trying to sell some training book, and then you're going to have a seminar. No. You're this passionate about it because you've seen the results and you've felt like invested in having people take this test or anything like that.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. No. Yeah. I don't have … What's interesting, Manager Tools is actually a client of my company's because I found them when they first started ten years ago, and one of their podcasts was just about keeping in touch with people professionally, and I did that with them. Then, 10 years later, they became a client of ours. They are a client of ours, but I don't benefit at all from any of this stuff.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
I just I love it. I've had a lot of success with it and I think that more people should be doing this. I think it would improve everybody's lives a lot more to be working in a less friction-generating environment.

Andy Baldacci:
I think that way you just put it, less friction-generating environment, the imagery of that, because that's the thing is you've talked about you can just coast towards success. If you remove all the impediments, if you remove the things that you naturally don't do well that other people can do better, this and that, and if you just set things up so that your mind full of all this then can remove that friction, life can get a lot better.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. I look at it like it's everybody is walking around 200 pounds overweight of their optimal because they're doing things in a certain way. If you suddenly switch to this other diet which is doing the stuff a little bit front-loaded rather than dealing with the fires at the end of it, your life results in a calorie deficit that you lose all that weight, and then what's happened is your muscles can hold all that weight. They don't just need to anymore, so you're leaping down the street. You're very healthy. Your blood pressure is lower.

Andy Baldacci:
That's true.

Casey Cobb:
You're less risk of heart disease and you look great, and you're glowing because now, you're not dealing with this burden anymore, and this is how you get to that point. I've never found a situation where I have a lot of people that come to me and say, "Hey, like you just said, I'm stuck here. Can you help me?" I've never found a situation that by looking at the problem through the lens of DiSC, that the solution hasn't been immediately clear with actionable steps. I've just never found it.

I mean, I'm not saying that that's not the case out there, but regardless of whether … I don't know about the science behind it. It doesn't even matter to me. I just know that everybody that takes the test goes, "Wow. That's pretty spot on for a 15-minute test", and it's not in a horoscope way.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
It's very specific. I mean, each of these profiles is very different. That's the other thing is I like that I can predict that people will be skeptical of the test based on the results of the test, so the High Cs are always the skeptical guys of these types of test, but I can actually predict that they're going to behave that way from the results of the test and say they're a High C which I think is funny, but yeah. I don't have any benefit from this other than just helping people.

Andy Baldacci:
I'm curious. I'm curious what you're ultimately working towards. What is embodying the DiSC test? Taking this stuff seriously, what are you hoping that will help you achieve in the long run?

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. I invest in companies that I see potential for, but really, you look at these business flipping specials on TV and stuff where they're just coming, and then being ruthless 'Businessmen', and then helping to turn around the business. What my long-term, what I'm already doing, but what I'm going to continue doing is I'm going to be applying these principles to work smarter, not harder on business from the products that Project Ricochet is working on and launching. We've already got one, 'Evercurrent.io'. We're going to be doing the big push into enterprise sales for 2017 where I'm teaming up with somebody who knows all about those kind of enterprise sales and I'm going to learn from them rather than me trying to do it all by myself like just another thing, teaming up with somebody who has the DiSC profile to do that and learning from them, rather than reinventing the wheel.

Andy Baldacci:
Right.

Casey Cobb:
Then, my private equity side, I will continue to invest in companies that have a lot of potential, but it's not being realized because they're not doing these things. They have a lot of friction, and I can come help reduce that friction, and then the business is able to scale and thrive as a result of that, and then I can benefit from that, so I'm practicing what I preach. I mean, I don't want to be involved in these soul-sucking, giant venture deals that you drop a couple hundred million dollars into some company, and they just go crazy, and then maybe have an amazing flare out or maybe they become a unicorn. That's not my deal. I would much rather be involved, spend just like I did today a couple of hours with a company that I have an equity stake in, helping to keep them on the course, on the trajectory, and then just keep doing that.

I'll never stop. Right? I'll never stop doing this until the day that I die because I really enjoy it.

Andy Baldacci:
No. It's clear. That's what's so fun about talking to you is this clear how passionate you are about this, how much you do enjoy it, so I want to say thanks so much for sharing that. What I'm going to do is I'll link up all the resources you've said for Manager Tools for actually taking the test. I'm going to personally dig through some of those of podcasts because that's my next step in all of this, but I'm curious. For listeners who want to hear more from you, where should they go?

Casey Cobb:
Every blog post that I do and every interview or podcast or whatever, I put on my personal website, 'Caseycobb.com'. You can see a little bit about the ventures that I'm involved in, and the ideas are down at the bottom. Anybody who has any interest in talking more about this stuff or any opportunities for speaking about these things, I love those opportunities, and then also, I do blog on 'Projectricochet.com', the digital agency we talked about, and there's a lot of really cool content there.

Andy Baldacci:
Awesome. I'll make sure I'll get all of that linked up, and Casey, I just want to say thanks so much again for coming on the show.

Casey Cobb:
Yeah. Thank you. Great chatting.