Episode 114 – Damien Martin

December 14, 2017


Damien’s jazz piano creates stronger client connections

 

Damien Martin has been playing piano since he was very young. He liked it so much, he majored in music at the University of California, Berkeley and was often paid to perform with jazz ensembles when he lived in the Bay Area. While he was studying for his degree, he decided to take a few Intro to Business classes where he began to see a parallel between music and tax. Just like notes on a page, the numbers on tax forms need to come alive to create a unique experience for the audience or client.

In this episode, Damien and I talk about how he felt he didn’t belong at a public accounting firm because he hadn’t gotten an undergrad business degree. He didn’t want to share his passion for jazz and blues because he felt that others would think he wasn’t as qualified. What he realized is that once people found out, it was much easier to network and often times people wanted to come see him play. Now that he’s made that leap, he says, “If I try to separate it, it just doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m holding something back and not being genuine.”

Damien Martin is the National Tax Assistant Director at BKD and the host of the Simply Tax Podcast.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts, Music. He later received his Master of Science, Taxation from Golden Gate University.


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Damien is the host of the Simply Tax Podcast

 

 


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Transcript

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    Welcome to Episode 114 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday, I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion, make them stand out like a green apple in a red apple world. So many of us are taught a false hope, be professional to stand out, you need to get another certification or another degree or memorize all the tax code or be the best technical person in your field but this simply isn’t true and if you want to get ahead in business, because it’s still a human to human interaction.

    Professionalism preaches that people with passions outside of work are maybe less dedicated to their job or maybe not as good at it. When people ask this week’s guest, Damien Martin, what he does, he answer could easily be, “I’m an accountant and I play jazz piano.” They’re both important to make up who he is but it’s the “and” his jazz piano that are going to make people turn their heads and be like, “Say what?”

    Thanks so much to everyone for subscribing or whatever app you use to listen to the Green Apple Podcast. There’s so many great stories of professionals shattering the stereotypes and I don’t want you to miss out on any one of them so thanks so much for subscribing.

    So now, it’s time to introduce you to this week’s guest, Damien Martin. He’s the national tax assistant director at BKD and the host of the Simply Tax Podcast. I know you’re a busy, busy man, Damien so thanks so much for taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Damien: It’s a real pleasure and glad to be here.

    John: Oh, I’m so excited and I gave everyone a little bit of an introduction before but maybe in your own words, just a little bit of where you’re at now professionally and how you got there.

    Damien: Yeah, sure. It’s been kind of a different road I think than some or maybe I guess the traditional route so to speak but I currently work in BKD’s national office. I’m a national tax assistant director and my current role I’m responsible for and I work with the tax directors across our firm and our footprint and I kind of get to do the really cool stuff I guess from a tax guy’s perspective.

    John: All right, okay. Slow down, slow down.

    Damien: It looks like when it comes to this stuff, no, that aspect — some of the quality control aspects, just trying to find new ways to help get the word of tax out across the firm and to our clients and prospects.

    John: Yeah. That’s great, man. That’s really cool. Like I mentioned in the intro, again, that’s Simply Tax Podcast that you have out is really great and a really good way for even people that aren’t in tax to check that out.

    Damien: That was the goal, generally, it really was. It started initially and I’m sure we’ll talk about some of the running here, that’s kind of a recent thing that I’ve picked up but the whole idea was kind of a genesis of conversations that we’d have with our tax directors about some of those generational, I think stereotypes sometimes are that oh, you know, these new guys are just not studying. They’re not paying attention to the headlines. They don’t know what’s going on and which I totally don’t subscribe to by the way but go for the run, come up with the ideas. Hey, we know what we can do, what don’t we do a podcast? That’ll be kind of cool.

    And so we launched this internal podcast to try to really, just educate people so we talk about things like depreciation or whatever it is but try to do it in a new way that was — so they can do on the go, they could go for a jog, they could go — heck, they can listen to it while they’re working if they wanted to. So we got a lot of really great feedback and I think it really occurred to me when someone that wasn’t a tax person listened to it. They weren’t even an accountant said, “Wow, I listen to that and I learned something and I understood it.” And to think I’d never say this but it was kind of fun.

    John: That’s great.

    Damien: The word fun in tax, that’s great, right? That felt good so yeah, we recently got it out to others so that they can check it out and yeah, it’s been a luring experience and a stretch experience for me just on a personal and professional level so I appreciate saying that.

    John: No, absolutely, man. It’s fantastic. It’s so fantastic. I guess I mean that just kind of leads into the question that I love to ask everyone is just how did you get into Accounting because if you’re able to make tax fun, that’s a pretty unique skillset.

    Damien: I try. Again, I’ve always — it actually reminds me of a really funny story when I was probably just become a manager and I was explaining something to a newer associate and she kind of turned to me and looked at me and said, “You think this is fun?” Because I said, “Oh, you know, well, this is the fun part right here.” And then she was so serious and I’m thinking okay, all right. I understand everyone’s definition of fun maybe a little bit different.

    John: But yeah. You got to have and make it fun, right?

    Damien: You got to enjoy what you do and I think well, it comes from I didn’t have that traditional route and still to this day, I introduce myself and say that as an undergrad, I studied Music and you don’t actually see that a lot of times but I think that’s kind of had a lot to do with trying to make it fun, thinking about the fact that at the end of the day, if you’re a musician and in my case, I play the piano and you’re one to entertain people, that’s really where it gets down to, right?

    It’s the experience for who’s getting what you’re giving so if we’re not making tax fun, then I feel like I haven’t done my job of delivering that end product to the user there, so yeah. That’s I think some of where it comes from.

    John: Yeah, but I mean that’s what is so amazing is having the undergrad in Music and then getting into Accounting. Did you trip somewhere or how did that come about?

    Damien: I like that. I went to class one day, I made a left turn by accident. Well, now I’m an accountant. It’s kind of funny.

    John: Right. As long as they don’t count more, we’re all good.

    Damien: That’s right. That was a big step for me. When we got passed the number of B’s in the bar, man, I’m in trouble. That’s right, yeah. Well, I kind of always had this in the back of my mind thinking, oh, I want to be a business major. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with that and maybe I’ll take a few intro classes. That’ll help me if I’m doing this music thing and by the way, I was studying I used to go with the education, right?

    I was looking forward to a career in education, higher education, and yeah, I took the intro class that kind of touched on all subjects and it hit the Accounting section and I’m like, gosh, this stuff just kind of seems easy. It just makes sense, right?

    A buddy of mine, a study buddy of mine, he looked at me said, “What is wrong with you? Why do you like this stuff?” Then we got to the tax stuff, I’m like, wow. I like this stuff maybe even more. That’s really when he kind of looked at me said all right, can we be friends? I don’t know what to say. I was the guy that liked that stuff and it just sort of resonated, it made sense. So kind of at that point, I decided I’ll give it a shot. I got an internship and kind of made the pivot over to the public accounting world.

    John: That’s great, man. I mean that’s so fantastic. Do you feel that that music background, what unique experience do you feel like that allows you to bring to the business world?

    Damien: I think it’s just going beyond just numbers on a page and you’re trying to bring them to life. If you think about performing music, yeah, there’s notes that are on a page, it’s a language just like anything else. I guess you can say that in tax, we’ve got our numbers and our tax forms and all that but nobody goes to a performance just to hear the same thing, exactly the same every single time. I mean that’s really not the point.

    It’s that you’re responding to the moment, and that’s an area of music that I’m particularly drawn to, the jazz and the blues side and just so much of it is in that moment and responding to and referencing something else and making a unique experience for the person that’s consuming it, the listener.

    I think that that’s really helped me to try to think about the user as in the client from the tax perspective to say, yeah, there’s the numbers on the page and there’s the tax that’s doing, we’re calculating all that and of course, I don’t want to overstay and gloss over it. I mean there’s a lot of technical work that goes with that. It’s very important, you got to get it right but at the end of the day, thinking about what keeps the client up at night, what’s on their mind, how can I help? How can I be proactive? I think that background in music honestly has helped me a lot in that respect.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, man. Absolutely. Do you still play the piano?

    Damien: I do. I don’t perform as much as I did. Part of my route, so I grew up in Northern California, went to school at UC Berkeley. My wife and I, we actually ended up back in her home town and a number of years ago made a move out to Chicago, sort of an interesting thing. We were both kind of looking at ourselves saying, how did we end up back in our hometowns? We both had these aspirations to do different things. I was thinking I was going to live in the Bay Area, she was thinking she was going to live in San Diego which is where she has gone to school.

    We had gone to a trip to Chicago and said wow, this is kind of a cool place, why don’t we move here? And we did. Where that kind of fits in is as you make moves geographically, you don’t have the guy that’s calling you would say, “Hey, Damien. I really need someone to play keys this weekend, do you think you can help me out?” I do not perform as much as I do but it’s still a great thing that I have and I love to do it.

    It’s something that I plan to continue to do throughout my lifetime and the kids changed it a little bit too because I will say that I’ve been in a constant decision maybe to put it back on the back burner a little bit more than maybe we’d like but the kids are definitely worth it.

    John: Right, right. That’s so cool, man. That’s so cool. When you were in the Bay Area and doing accounting, you were moonlighting, if you will, playing the piano for bands and what have you.

    Damien: Certainly, yeah. I would have oftentimes, weekends, and I did a lot of weddings. You find that as a guy that plays the piano, singers often like you because it just works as well. You kind of get a mobile set up and you can go play just about anywhere as long as you got a place to plug in. I would do a lot of that stuff and I have rehearsals in the evenings sometimes and it was interesting trying to weave the two together.

    John: Yeah, yeah. That’s really cool. Is that something that would come up at work? Clients and co-workers know that about you?

    Damien: I didn’t lead with it, I’ll be honest. I think, and as I’ve gotten more mature and realized and gosh, it’s your message, John, I got to say. I’ll compliment you on that because it’s something that it’s taken years on my side and maybe I’m still a student of it, still learning that. It is all about being who you are that people like. You can get a guy to do your taxes, to get a guy that’s engaged and you feel like you have a connection with. That’s really what it’s about.

    So owning things like that and I’ll admit early in my career kind of didn’t lead with it and part of it was that I think deep down I kind of felt like well, I didn’t study Accounting so should I even be an accountant? Should I be a CPA? I don’t know. I’m a Music major. There just seems to be a little bit of you get that look, it’s almost like I’m judging you. You perhaps didn’t take an Accounting class which for the record, I totally didn’t take Accounting classes.

    John: Right, right. Yeah. Well, I mean and that’s understandable especially in your case, I mean a little bit of that imposter complex where it’s like oh, I’m not even sure if I belong so I need to try extra hard to be super accountant then the next person because my degree says Music on it and so I think that’s definitely understandable but it’s so cool to hear that once you did start opening up, that really good things happened.

    Damien: Honestly, I think as I did, people say, “Gosh, I love to come and hear you play sometime” and that sort of thing. You think about it. If you don’t leave with that kind of stuff, and I am kind of inherently a little more of a private guy and kind of just if I’m just going to go with my instincts, I tend to not share as much as sometimes would be good to share but as I do do it, it’s a very positive experience and again, it deepens that relationship and you’re sorry that people remember you for the things that you’re doing outside of work.

    To this day, people say, “I remember you play the piano, didn’t you?” It’s kind of cool or you run to the people like I said, I have a distinct memory of running into somebody from the office at this wedding I was playing at and it was kind of like, “What are you doing here?” One of those moments.

    John: Right, that’s hilarious.

    Damien: And then it’s just sort of dumb like well, maybe I should be a little more forthcoming with this kind of stuff so it’s not like it’s confusing to say, why are you playing the piano again? Shouldn’t you be behind the 10-key and the laptop, the computer screen, doing some tax returns? So no, totally.

    John: That’s really cool, man. That’s really cool. Yeah, yeah. I’m here at the wedding, setting up their trust right as soon as they get married, I’m going to set up this so we can — it’s like, what?

    Damien: On the spot tax planning. You just had an event, let’s talk about the implications.

    John: Exactly. “How many kids are you going to have?” Wait, what’s going on?

    Damien: I’m a real hit at weddings, you want to bring me out for a speech afterwards, we can kind of do it on the spot. It’s a really cool process.

    John: Right. That’s so good, man. That’s so good. But it’s so great to hear that I’m not crazy that it’s not just my story or the other hundred plus stories that we’ve heard on this podcast but it’s just so cool to hear real world examples of people that have benefited from that. I think the people listening, they are encouraged to then take action and yeah, like you said, you don’t have to lead with it necessarily but if somebody asks, well, you asked so here you go.

    Damien: Yeah, and something I think that really helped me with that is I got involved in — and I’ve been involved in the State CPA societies in the states that I’ve practiced in and that was really integral. Actually, kind of funny story how I got involved. It was one of those you know, you kind of didn’t know you were getting looped in sort of things.

    So kind of think of typical Wednesday, Thursday afternoon type of thing at the office and I think she was a manager at the time and then she was the one I worked with the most. She stopped by and asked the question of, “Hey, Damien, what are your plans for this evening?” I think at that point in my career, it was probably year 1, year 2, I’d figured out the lesson that you got to be kind of careful how you answer that question because you want to make it sound like you’re willing to help out but at the same time, you got to be careful of what you’re saying.

    I said something like, “Oh, I’ve got a few returns I’m wrapping up but how can I help?” Some way, there’s some work to be done here but I’m still willing to help you out so she quickly said, “Hey, great. There’s an awards dinner tonight for the students that are receiving the scholarship from the California CPA Society, you’re going.” So I’m thinking wow, okay. Well, this is kind of way outside of the comfort zone, I haven’t done anything like this.

    So I kind of didn’t realize it at the time and then I’ll be honest because I really think I did have some of those tax returns or what I had to do and so going to the — gosh, my charge hours and how am I going to get this work done? And oh, gosh. Shoot, I haven’t really done this networking stuff with — because she’s telling me that the board is going to be there for the local chapter and gosh, how was this going to work?

    But I went, I saw some of the great work that the society was doing and I got some of those introductions and then they kind of used that same tactic of like, “Hey, well, what are you doing on this day?” I got looped into the professionals group and I later joined the board and became really involved in the CPA society and I guess where the dots connected for me was there’s a lot of opportunities with the society to do things like practice your networking skills and doing the things out from behind the desk.

    I think some of the first people that were asking me about this whole music thing outside of those occasional run-ins, was through the touches of the CPA Society. I can very vividly remember somebody saying like gosh, I don’t know that I’ve ever met another CPA that has a Music degree and so that just sort of seem to — I guess, come to think of it, maybe that is kind of something cool, unique not like weird unique so I guess that was kind of a touching point for me and a launching point to being a little bit more comfortable and owning it. And saying, I’m a CPA and I’ve got other things and I’m a big believer now as I’ve kind of continued to go through my career of there’s a continuum of things that you’re doing outside the office at some point in time, it’s music maybe like I said, talked about the kids a little bit.

    It changes but it’s all the other stuff that happens but what I do professionally is just so interwoven with that and if I try to separate it, it just doesn’t feel right. You feel like you’re holding something back and you’re not being genuine and I can’t tell you enough that just being able to own something like the fact that yeah, I didn’t major in Music — or I didn’t major in Accounting, I majored in Music. That’s a good thing and this is why. It really feels good.

    John: Yeah. I mean that’s such a great quote right there. I mean if you try to separate, it doesn’t feel right because you’re not being you, you’re not bringing all the skills that you have to the table to benefit your career, to benefit your firm and that’s the thing that I think is so great about this podcast is talking to different people that your hobbies and your passions are allowing you to strengthen a certain skillset that other people don’t have because they’re doing their hobby or passion,

    So that muscle group that they’re exercising or you’re exercising, all of the sudden you come to the office, if you don’t ever use that muscle, well, then that’s your ace in the hole. That’s your benefit. That’s your go-to. So it’s just trying to encourage people that not only does it make you interesting but wow, it makes you really good at a certain aspect of your job so that’s so fantastic.

    Damien: Oh, I appreciate that. Thank you, thank you.

    John: Absolutely. I guess one thing that you brought up is just that encouraging others to open up and what have you, and I imagine that you have to be a really, really, great example for the younger staff. How much do you think it is on the firm or the partners or the leaders to create that culture or lead by example or how much is it on the individual to just kind of create that in a small group on their own?

    Damien: That’s a great question. I think that’s one that I’ve probably, again, kind of going back to this concept of it’s on a continuum, I think there was ebbs and flows of everything but I think it’s a two-way street and if we don’t have traffic going both ways, then we have a traffic jam. Nobody’s getting through this.
    I think really, the responsibility of those that are leading to set that example of doing it right. I’ll say that I may not, that’s why I say it’s — there’s kind of a pendulum to it. I’ve done the logging lots of hours and maybe haven’t set the best example there. I’ll come to terms with that and try to balance that out a little bit because you just feel like that’s what you got to do, right? That’s what a tax account is, right?

    The professionalism, it’s the hours but then you start to think about the value that you’re providing but at the same time, I think that stone’s going to be coming from the top. What I would just encourage and I wish I knew earlier in my career, is to take some of the initiative too that when people say the door’s opened, I know it’s intimidating like I’ve been there to say that the managing partner would come by and say, “Hey, my door’s always open, Damien. Why don’t you come on in? If you have anything on your mind –” and at the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Oh, that guy is just so busy.” He isn’t. He doesn’t have a time for a guy like me, especially a Music major.

    But it’s so important though I think if you put yourself in the driver’s seat of your career and don’t just sit back and wait for somebody to do the right thing and think well, gosh, this moment’s going to come for me. I just got to kind of hang back here and eventually, it’s going to happen.

    At some point — various points in my career, there’s been some doors and sure, you had to kind of lay the foundation to get those doors open but man, when they crack open, you got to have the courage to go through them so I think you being in the driver’s seat of your own career to do that working for somebody in a firm and a group of people that encourages that and really stresses that is important. If you have those two things man, I think anything’s truly possible when it comes to your career, a successful career in public accounting.

    John: No, absolutely, man. I agree totally. I remember when I first started. I was at PWC and they had the phrase, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” That was the phrase they had which of course I mocked to know but certainly, it was true. It’s the same thing as what you’re saying, just be in the driver’s seat and all that stuff.

    I mean because there’s so many people that just sit back and wait and fall in line with what they think the stereotype is and then they get upset when they get passed over for a big project or they get passed over for a promotion and it’s like well, you’re the stereotype. You’re like everybody else. Why would I pick you over anyone else? There’s absolutely nothing about you that stands out.

    Yeah, you have a lot of billable hours, well, so does everyone else. I mean you know, yeah, you passed the CPA exam, well, so does everyone else. That’s what the message is trying to share is just on here, is just that it’s the other stuff that really makes you different and unique and I love how you stepped up and owned it and really found benefit to that. That’s really, really cool.

    Damien: I appreciate that like I said, I won’t claim that I’ve been perfect at it my career. It’s definitely been a learning experience. You had your ups and downs and there’s times you get too focused on one area or another but I think at the end of the day, as long as you’re kind of striving towards what’s going to make me happy, how am I going to do the best work that I can do if you’re always keeping that at the center, I think that for some of the professionals just kind of will work itself out.

    John: Yeah, man. That’s exactly right. I guess one thing that I always mull around in my head is just why is the definition, the stereotypical accountant or stereotypical professional across the board, the person that does work and goes home and does more work, why does the definition exist?

    Damien: That’s a really great question, John. I think that you go back in the history of the firms and I think that you always look at the ones that have succeeded and rise to the top and I think that you know, perhaps, that at different phases of life, different things are possible or different things are the focus and like right now, I’ve got two-year-old twins at home, they’re boy girl twins but awesome.

    It’s been the best of times and the worst of times they say. It’s hard work but man, is it rewarding and I love everything about being a dad but that just means I have to think about and it’s all about making choices. You’ve got a set number of minutes in the day and hours in the week and you got to figure out how that’s going to all work in different points of time, that’s going to mean different things.

    I think sometimes, if you’re going to set out the beginning of your career and say, I want to be that guy, the kids are growing up and out of the house, well, there’s maybe different amounts of allocation of time that he’s spending — that you’re spending at your point in time. So I think perhaps, you maybe get a little too focused on that and say, it’s got to look this way or it should be this thing and I think the more that we think about life and work fit and where we are at life and just be honest about that I think the better, but I think over time, honestly that that’s going to be an evolution — oh, I hope it’s an evolution away from maybe what the stereotype is to say that well, an accountant or professional can be whatever that might look like.

    John: Just a normal person that happens to have a have job, right?

    Damien: Just a normal person.

    John: Right. Yeah, I mean and that’s the thing that I’m trying to prove week after week is that I honestly believe that that definition is wrong and it’s upside down. I think that the stereotypical accountant is you and me and everyone else I’ve had on the podcast but unfortunately, there’s not enough of us gathering to get a momentum. It’s still that old school mindset but there’s a lot of really cool well-rounded people out there that are really good at their jobs also.

    Damien: Yeah. Something that really resonated with me, Tony Nitti was on your hundredth episode. By the way, congratulations on number 100.

    John: Oh, thanks, man.

    Damien: And because you got the Apple Slices in between, that’s really cool.

    John: Right. Well, thanks.

    Damien: Tony Nitty was talking about that if you kind of led on, on Monday morning when you’re around that water core that maybe you were doing something that wasn’t work related over the week and it’s almost like they could smell the blood in the water. Like, oh, I’m going to beat him this week on my charge hours, and I have fallen victim to that I got to say. It’s like you just kind of have this — I found that at times where you just feel like I got to hold back a little bit because I don’t want people to know.

    It’s this competitive thing. And maybe, that’s part of it too as professionals, as accountants, maybe especially there’s a certain element of competitive nature I think that we all have. A little bit too far down that road and then all of a sudden, you got to work the most hours and do the most things and whatever it is but if those things aren’t truly what they should be for you personally, well then, I think you might be doing the wrong things.

    John: Right. Wow, you nailed it right there. Because yeah, I mean if you’re uncomfortable about it or it’s something that you feel like you don’t want the peers to know about and you’re not proud to shout it from the rooftops, then yeah, you’re exactly right. Because if it’s the right thing then it enhances your job, just like you said, I mean yeah, I’m a Music major and this is why it makes me better. Not better than, but better at what I do. That’s what it’s all about. That’s awesome, man. Really, really cool. Really cool.

    Is there anything coming up through your career or maybe a BKD now that firms or companies do specifically to encourage this? Encourage others to open up and share their hobbies, passions?

    Damien: Yeah. I think I’ll speak to BKD I guess first and then kind of go beyond that but at BKD, we have an award where we looked at those that are living our values and part of that is balancing the professional with the personal and so there’s a partnered employee every year that wins this award.

    It’s a very prestigious award in our firm and you’re not getting there if you’re not truly a person that balances and figures out how to do those things because if you get too one-dimensional then you’re not being I think at your professional, and we always talk about being the trusted adviser. I think that word gets around a lot. David Maister’s book, True Professionalism is fantastic but if you look into the weeds on that stuff, I don’t think you get there by just focusing on the charge hours.

    Actually, I know you don’t get there. I mean you just can’t. You got to focus on the relationship, you got to focus on the personal side. How the heck are you going to lead with the personal side if you don’t have a personal side? It just doesn’t work. You can read the book as many times as you want but it isn’t going to work if you don’t have that personal side. I’ll admit.

    I feel like I’m repeating myself but my goodness, there have been times I’ve gone that road and sure, working the hours has opened some doors for me but at some certain points of time, you feel like well, gosh, I haven’t really played the piano here in a while and I need to focus back in on this or I haven’t done this you know, whatever activities to have that ability to talk about something other than, “Well, you know, it was a quick weekend, guys. They always go fast on Monday morning” because I feel like we say, “Well, gosh. I think it’s supposed to be a nice weather this week,” and then we move on because it’s so safe, whatever safe thing we can talk about. Maybe you throw in a little, something else that might’ve been on TV. But it’s rough.

    Getting back to that whole concept of what the firm can do is I think just allowing time for personal growth and being open to that and then I think also just acknowledging those that do it well. And really just brining to the forefront and saying this is what it takes to be successful. The image of success is not just one-dimensional, it’s multifaceted and you’ve got to live in and breathe the stuff as part of your daily life and let’s face it, we all have jobs, we all do work and it all happens in the middle of everything else that we do so we if ignore that then we’re just not being honest with ourselves.

    John: Yeah, man. Wow, this was awesome, man. Really awesome. But I do have my rule that before I fly to Missouri and we break out my trombone and we do a little jazz duet, I do have my 17 rapid fire questions that I need to run you through to make sure that we can hang out and that we’re okay. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to have you buckle up and I’m going to fire this thing up and we can bring it home.

    Damien: Let’s do it.

    John: So here we go, here we go. First one. Favorite color.

    Damien: I’m going to go with blue, maybe more specifically royal blue.

    John: Royal blue. Solid. How about a least favorite color?

    Damien: I’m really not fan of your creams, your taupe’s and that kind of stuff.

    John: Oh, yeah. Wow, I don’t even know how to spell taupe so forget that one. How about do you have a favorite sports team?

    Damien: I’m a Chicago Bears fan.

    John: Oh, okay. All right. Somebody has to be, right?

    Damien: That’s right.

    John: How about are you more pens or pencils?

    Damien: I’m a pen guy, definitely pen.

    John: How about Sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    Damien: Sudoku.

    John: Totally, totally. No doubt. How about do you have a favorite actor or actress?

    Damien: You know, I haven’t watched as many movies lately, I’ll admit but De Niro in Casino, man. That was kind of the epitome right there.

    John: Oh, yeah, right absolutely. How about are you more of an early bird or night owl?

    Damien: Early bird for sure.

    John: Yeah, yeah. How about more Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Damien: I’m a Star Wars guy.

    John: Star Wars, yeah. That’s a pretty popular answer, pretty popular answer. How about do you have a favorite cereal?

    Damien: The Cheerios, honestly.

    John: Cheerios, okay. All right. And it’s healthy.

    Damien: And it’s healthy.

    John: There you go. How about do you have a favorite animal? Any animal?

    Damien: Oh, yeah. I’ll go with a dog. I’m a dog guy. I like dogs.

    John: Okay, just pretty much dogs. All right, perfect. How about a favorite adult beverage?

    Damien: Oh, you know, I’m a tequila and water kind of guy.

    John: Okay, all right, all right. How about do you have a favorite number? You got to.

    Damien: I do. It’s 47.

    John: Why is that?

    Damien: It’s actually the year my dad was born.

    John: Oh, okay. All right. How about a favorite tax form?

    Damien: Oh, 8960, the Net Investment Income Tax, yeah.

    John: Okay, all right, all right. How about do you have favorite toppings on a pizza? You can load it up.

    Damien: Yeah, I’m going to go with what I had most recently that I really liked which was arugula, tomato, mushroom topping.

    John: Oh, okay, yeah. Very nice. Three more, three more. Are you more PC or Mac?

    Damien: PC because that’s what I’ve always used.

    John: Totally, man. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. When it comes to your mouse, more right-click or left-click?

    Damien: I’m left-click.

    John: Left-click, yeah, yeah. The last one, favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Damien: I’m going to go with the running shoes right now. It allows me to get out there and clear my mind, running shoes it is right now.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Can’t argue with that. So thank you so much, Damien. This was really, really great. Thanks for taking time to be with me on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Damien: Absolutely. It’s been a lot of fun. I appreciate what you do and the message that you have and thank you very much.

    John: Wow. That was so great I loved how Damien said, if I try to separate it, it just doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m holding something back and not being genuine. As Damien admitted, it’s not something that came naturally so it’s something that we’re all struggling with.

    If you’d like to see some links to Damien’s Simply Tax Podcast or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com and while you’re on the page, please click that big green button and do the anonymous research survey about firm culture.

    Thanks again for subscribing and for sharing with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, which is to go out and be a green apple.

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