March 21, 2022

Spontaneous Combustible Collaboration: Most important things in any company are people, people, people, market, and product (Podcast Episode #9)


All I hear about lately in marketing is technology…MarTech, AdTech, DataTech, AI, IoT, and on and on.

But here’s what I love about our latest podcast guest – he runs an enterprise software company, and yet what he values most is people.

You can learn from the stories that powered the career of Paul Krasinski, CEO and Co-Founder, Epicenter Experience, in our latest podcast episode.

Listen in to hear lesson-filled stories about Arbitron, Apple iTunes, NASA, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, and much more.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Spontaneous Combustible Collaboration: Most important things in any company are people, people, people, market, and product (Podcast Episode #9)

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

The marketer is central to the success of any organization. Which is why the very first section of the Landing Page Blueprint, before there is any mention of anything on the landing page, is The Marketer.

My latest guest described it this way – the five most important things in a startup or any creative process are people, people, people, market, and product.

That is just one of the lessons from the stories Paul Krasinski, CEO and Founder, Epicenter Experience, shared with me in Episode #9 of the How I Made It in Marketing podcast.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Podcasts | Listen in Amazon Music

Stories (with lessons) about what he made in marketing

Some lessons from Krasinski that emerged in our discussion:

5 most important things in a startup or any creative process – people, people, people, market, and product

Krasinski built The Farmhouse, a 10-acre oceanfront retreat where people can connect. Finding the right vendors was key. It wasn’t just about can they do the job, but can they do the job in a way that reflects the culture Krasinski was trying to build? For example, they went through five solar vendors who were perfectly capable but wouldn’t build the solar project in an educational way for the community until he landed on the sixth – Phil Angell, Solar Consultant, SunBug Solar

Collaboration – there is no place for top-down management when creating something new.

While at Arbitron, Krasinski helped build iTunes audience measurement at its launch. Apple had reached out to request a meeting. The team from Apple was very other-centered. Didn’t throw around their fancy titles and achievements. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of the meeting that he even realized the person he was meeting with was Chris Bell, who was then the head of product for iTunes.

Stand back and let the magic happen

Krasinksi saw something in a member of his team, Hannah Deck Bowman, that she didn’t see in herself – that she could run operations. Now she is VP, Strategy at Epicenter Experience, and Krasinki’s role as CEO is to set a direction, but then stand back and watch her (and other members of his team) shine.

Stories (with lessons) about the people he made it with

Krasinski also shared lessons he learned from the people he collaborated with in his career:

Madge Meyer, Founder & Owner, Madge Meyer Consulting: Don’t take things personally

Meyer was one of the first women to lead missions at NASA. While working at NASA, Meyer – who was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and went to college in Texas – had to use the bathroom in a separate building. She ended up sequestered by security because they didn't think she worked at NASA. She calmly and quietly called her boss of the Apollo 11 mission and told him to come get her at security. There was no commotion; there was simply patience. She realized that creating a scene would only bring out insecurities in the people around her and that would be a barrier to her future interactions with her peers. So, she smiled, thanked them, and returned to work with her boss.

John W. Thompson, Venture Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Chairman of the Board, Microsoft: Humility and curiosity

Back when Krasinski was working out of a tour bus as his office in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, he used to frequent Chef Ming Tsai’s restaurant. Tsai called him one night and told Krasinski he really needed to stop by, there was someone he needed to meet. Krasinski met the guy Tsai told him about and Krasinski talked about his startup. Only at the end of the conversation did this man let Krasinski know he was the Chairman of Microsoft. Thompson was so humble and curious to learn from Krasinski, Thompson hadn’t even talked about himself.

Sean Moran, Investor and Advisor, Carpe Diem Society Holdings: Power of relationships

Krasinski knew Moran since his basketball playing days at Brown University. Moran won the Ivy League Championship 12 years earlier, but he still came back to give basketball advice. Krasinski always tried to keep in touch with Moran throughout Krasinski’s career. Then when the time came, he told Moran his vision, and since they had that relationship, Moran came on board as an investor. When he invested in Epicenter Experience, Moran told Krasinski his secret – he cultivates a diverse network of people, and once he feels comfortable, he relies on these people to help him.

Eddie Vedder, Lead Singer, Pearl Jam: Don’t act like a rock star

Krasinski first met Vedder at the sound check for Pearl Jam’s concert at Fenway Park. At first, Krasinski and his brothers didn’t want to impose by attending the soundcheck, but Jill Vedder (Eddie’s wife) insisted they have the experience. After the concert, Vedder discovered there was a patient from Boston Children’s Hospital waiting outside. He stopped the car right in front of the child and got down on one knee, totally focused on the child in the middle of the madness going on outside the stadium after the concert. Vedder scrounged around for everything of value he could give to this young fan – posters, T-shirts, even “Jim from ‘The Office,’” bringing out Krasinski’s brother John.

Articles, podcasts, and a book mentioned in this episode:

Content Marketing: How to help subject matter experts come up with blog topics

Marketing Careers: 6 reasons to embrace a career in marketing

Forensic Reporting on Marketing Campaigns: Dig deep to replicate your successes (and learn from your failures) with marketing and sales enablement case studies

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks

Don’t Give Clients What They Want: “That’s also the name of a convention for adults who dress as toddlers” – Podcast Episode #6

The Psychology of Blue Jeans: What marketers can learn from 150 years of Levi Strauss customer letters – Podcast Episode #4

About this podcast

This podcast is not about marketing – it is about the marketer. It draws its inspiration from the Flint McGlaughlin quote, “The key to transformative marketing is a transformed marketer” from the Become a Marketer-Philosopher: Create and optimize high-converting webpages free digital marketing course.


Not ready for a listen just yet? Interested in searching the content? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our conversation.

Daniel Burstein: You know, all I hear about lately in marketing is technology It's MarTech, it's A.I., its data, and the Internet of Things. Oh, my gosh. But here's what I love about today's guest. He runs an enterprise software company and yet he told me that the five most important things in a startup or any creative process are people, people, people, market and product. Awesome.

We're also going to hear other stories about what he's made in his career thanks to collaboration and sometimes just standing back and letting the magic happen. I'll discuss these stories and more with today's guests. Thanks for joining me. Paul Krasinski, the CEO and founder at Epicenter Experience.

Paul Krasinski: Good morning, Dan. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate you connecting, and I think honestly, it is if you're not the smartest guy in the room, you can't talk about AI and data and otherwise. So you have to rely on people, people, people and then market product. And in that order, by the way.

Daniel Burstein: That's beautiful. We're going to hear a story. A great exemplification of that in your career and in your life. But first, let's give the people listening and understanding of who you are. A quick look at the background on undergrad at Brown University. You were the team captain and MVP of the Brown University basketball team. Went on to play pro basketball in the Netherlands, as well as going to training camp with the Celtics and playing in their summer league.

You also earned an MBA in marketing from Columbia Business School. You're the SVP of Digital Media and Analytics at Arbitron. There are many, many other roles, more than I can go into. But right now, you are the CEO and founder at Epicenter Experience. So tell us briefly what's going on right now with you, Paul, with your current role.

Paul Krasinski: So first, don't believe the hype. I think all of that is struggle. So, yes, no know, it's always hard to listen to that litany of things. But as the founder and CEO of Epicenter Experience, my day to day is really building the culture, connecting with people really providing inspiration where needed in an ideas and concept stage. Looking at, I get now to work with some of the best people in the industry. And for me, it's the ability to move from being a player to really providing that Treat Rollins player coach mode.

Daniel Burstein: Very nice. And that's again, when we talk about people's past careers, it's amazing how sometimes they take these disparate experiences they have. They kind of put it in a blender, hit blend, they shake it up, and here they are today. These are the things that made them. So, let's kind of break down a few of the things that made you.

As I mentioned, you said the five most important things in a startup or any creative process. People, people, people, market and product. And I think you have something working kind of a side gig that you're doing right now. That's a perfect exemplification that you want to tell us about that.

Paul Krasinski: Yeah, sure. I launched in 2020 during the pandemic. I had an opportunity to purchase a farmhouse, which is a ten-acre estate that is on the ocean and a pond and a pool and a farm. But really, it wasn't about being austere or showing off in any way about me. It actually was selfishly a place to bring really smart and creative people together as there's no substitute for a face-to-face interaction.

And I think having a place dedicated where nature gets blended and you can just stand up and walk outside to either solve problems, get inspiration, provide some hope I thought would really accelerate the process. So, as you said in the intro, being a technology CEO, it's great. Technology is an enabler and it's a powerful, powerful tool. But I also think there's no difference, and no replacement can substitute for a face-to-face interaction. I have been blessed, honestly, to work with some of the most incredible people, creatives, business side, finance, where you actually when you realize bringing people together around one single table, so much more gets done. And so, we wanted to create a place that was very low tech from the outside and very inviting and hospitable, where everyone felt some way connected and welcomed. And so therefore, all guards come down and we can actually bring our best ideas forward to really solve the problems facing people today.

Daniel Burstein: You know, I am an introvert by nature personally. And so, this whole move to you know, right now I'm at home in Jacksonville, Florida. Paul is in hotel in Tribeca New York. We're just so used to this kind of remote work force. And sure, we get to have this experience, but I think something is missed when you don't get that human interaction.

So, I remember actually my wife's father-in-law worked at Bell Labs, and he took me, you know, by for a tour once. And he and he just showed me, you see those like radio telescopes, those big satellite dishes there. That's where I even forget the Nobel Prize winners’ names. That's where they discovered background radiation and this and that. And so just like I can't imagine having been in that environment to just be around those people, what it must do to you. So what have you seen? Kind of just an early day of, yeah, we got Zoom and we got this and that. But in being able to bring people together in this kind of Aspen Institute type of retreat.

Paul Krasinski: Yeah. It's been amazing. And it's far exceeded my expectation, which was initially I said, hey, once we purchase, we really have a white blank canvas to essentially if you think about it in that kind of beautiful mind way, it's a Jackson Pollock kind of throw splatter of paint and each person is kind of that splatter, but you really don't know what's going to happen every day. And that's what's been most energizing for me.

So, I'm walking down the beach with my Vizsla puppy of six months and a gentleman is walking toward me and he said, Hey, I'm your neighbor. And I heard what you're doing at the farmhouse, and you need to meet this guy who's staying in my side house. And it turned out he was part of the Department of Energy working on, you know, solar and sustainable energy, which was one of our key projects that I know we'll talk about a little bit later.

But we literally walked the land with a cup of coffee with a guy who I should have been meeting in D.C. in some agency and very robotic, rigid format. But here it was informal. We both had our Nike's on. We walked around and we said we let our hair blow. And we talked about projects and what inspired him. And I think that's what's been the most interesting is having people come to the place, be inspired and just start spouting ideas. Like, for me, that's the biggest win.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I know. That's something probably I have to work on. A lot of people listening right now, too, is as we've moved to this, probably for many of us, more remote, more technological driven interactions. How can we get this together with humans? Nature is a great way to do that and really kind of share some of those ideas.

But I want to bring up another person too, because it wasn't only it's not only the people coming because, but you also know, you see like a show like White Lotus or something and you see the separation between the people that are actually there and the people working there. But you look also through that same lens of people when you during a vendor selection process. Can you tell me about kind of that solar vendor selection process and how you did that?

Paul Krasinski: Sure. So, one, I think we were introduced solar was new to me. I knew what we wanted to do is have this place be an innovative experience lab, essentially. And so I said we should think about solar, we should think about geothermal and wind energy. And obviously, walking with Wilson from the Department of Energy that morning kind of retooled my whole thinking process, which was great, is when you're open to it you sit back and, you know, open your aperture to new ideas.

So, I was introduced to Sun Bug Solar, which was a company out of Boston, which is where we were from. And they said, of all the companies in the country, you should deal with them. And I said, Is it because I'm in Boston? And they say, no, because they get your philosophy and I said, Okay. So, we met with them, but we had met with six vendors.

All of them were qualified. All of them could install and do the project. However, one of the key requirements that I had was if you're going to work on the project, it's not about an installation. It's actually about educating, teaching and providing the design, the integration, the planning process, and then ultimately the monitoring.

So, I asked Sun Bug Solar, hey, I think you get me. I think you understand the philosophy and collaboration and connection is so important to me. Would you be open to teaching a group of students or adults or just interested parties really as a workforce development play, but also about just people connecting with people. And I always say life's easier when that happens. And honestly, Sun Bug Solar was the first to, knee-Jerk reaction, say absolutely if you would give us that opportunity, we would love to share that. Whereas others said, Yeah, that's not really our gig. Our core competence in solar energy delivery of systems. And I said, thank you very much. But, you know, I think we're going to move on to Sun Bug Solar.

And that's the key is that you have to find like-minded people io surround yourself with. Where out of the gate, you know, that problems are going to arise. But out of the gate, if you're aligned in your thought process and your philosophy and your values, you can have a very prosperous relationship because you always come back to those founding principles in any hard time. But we're excited in that that will start off in fall of next year. And the education process is actually going to go throughout with a time lapse video. So, I'll certainly share it all with you for the content and the follow up in.

Daniel Burstein: That's awesome. Yeah, thanks. Well, and if you're listening, you're thinking like, wait a minute, I don't have a ten-acre oceanfront, you know, state retreat. How does that apply to me? I'll say one first. In any vendor selection I've been a part of in my marketing career, whether that's picking technology or picking an agency likely. There were many vendors that could, you know, fulfill the RFP, let's say.

But you really had to say like, wait a minute, who do I have that relationship with? Who do I have that same philosophy of how we're going to do these things with? Because at the end of the day, stuff is going to go wrong, especially if we're talking about a technological implementation, if we're talking about work with an agency, things are going to go wrong. And you need kind of that same philosophy of how to approach things. So that, I think is a beautiful example.

But, you know, the other thing that clicks off to me when I hear that Paul is, to me it sounds like content marketing. You know, a lot of marketers, a lot of, you know, business owners I talk to struggle with that idea of content marketing. And so, kind of what you did there. Sometimes I tell them, take the Seinfeld approach and what I mean by the Seinfeld approach, if you remember, remember when they were pitching the show to the CBS NBC executive and saying what is this show? And George says, what did you do today? And the guy says, oh, I woke up, had breakfast or whatever. And he's like, That's the show. There's your show. You know?

Paul Krasinski: Exactly.

Daniel Burstein: And that’s what content marketing is. What you did, Paul, is you say, okay, what are the things we're working on anyway? And then how can we just kind of take that wall down from all these systems and processes that no one else would and share it and teach and that is what we as marketers should be doing more and just trying to sell and push less, you know?

Paul Krasinski: Yeah. And it is that, which is you think that there is a process and an ingredient and a playbook and a schematic or a blueprint to being a great CMO or marketing leader. And in reality, I always say it's that idea of spontaneous combustible collaboration. And you have to wake up and think every day, “Hey, I don't know what's going to happen, but let me be reactive and play through.”

And I think what's important about that is the market moves in real time. So, if you're sitting there looking at a playbook all day long, you're missing what's actually happening in your ability to connect with the consumer at street level is difficult. And that's why 60% of companies have that struggle, which is the struggle of, hey, we do not have the tools and process in systems in order to directly connect.

And I think that's an important statistic, which is, hey, marketers aren't alone. If you think everyone has it figured out, they certainly don't. But the ability to connect with people is so important because if you can just sit back and listen, they will tell you and the market will indicate exactly what they want and what they need and when they need it.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, and that's what marketing is at the end of the day, communicating from people to people. That's what we're doing with these brands – this is an artificial construct. But let's talk about also how you do that within an organization. Here's another key lesson from you, collaboration. There is no place for top-down management when creating something new. So, tell me how, well, actually this is a great story where you were earlier in your career and someone that was much bigger and more well-known than you came in and collaborated very humbly, you want to tell us about that.

Paul Krasinski: Sure. Yeah. I think first off, John Thompson has been a good friend and a certainly a mentor and someone I've collaborated with clearly. And he certainly was, is this the one that you wanted to talk about?

Daniel Burstein: I think it's great. You're talking about John Thompson, the Chairman of Microsoft, the Chairman of the board of Microsoft. And if anyone listening, stay tuned because we're going to talk about that a little bit later when we talk about the people you collaborate with. But I want to hear about when you were at Arbitron and a major brand reached out to you to kind of understand that industry a little better.

Paul Krasinski: Oh, yes, absolutely. So, it was interesting. I got a nondescript email in my inbox that I certainly thought was spam, and it was requesting a meeting in Boston in a nondescript location from Apple, who at the time was trying to understand how do we measure and how do we monetize our iTunes radio? And at that point, they were one of the largest audiences and had never marketed the service. So that showed you kind of early days.

And so I arrived at this meeting in a room with a big whiteboard, and there were three people there. And I felt as though I should know what's going on, but it was what I envisioned an interview with the CIA being like. And so we got up, we stood on the whiteboard. We are drawing diagrams we were talking about, you know, the duration and the connections with people and how long they're listening and what genres inform what next music and recommendations and at the very end, I kind of exhaled and said, wow, I got to the end of the race of this gauntlet meeting. And the guy across from me said, hey, thank you so much. Like, this was really, really helpful for me. And this collaboration in this important free form dialog. My name is Chris Bell and I'm the head of product from iTunes.

And I sat there, and I never knew, but it was such a telling moment in my career where he ended the meeting with that versus most marketers or others who are not as collaborative, start a meeting feeling like they have to talk a lot about themselves. And so I thought that paradigm shift was one early on for me that reminded me you are a participant in a meeting that is very collaborative where you don't have a bigger paintbrush, a bigger ballpoint pen, a bigger eraser, and you certainly don't have a bigger megaphone. You're just one person around the table and you don't know where those ideas are going to come from.

So, Chris certainly instilled that in me early on, and it was a really, really interesting experience. But it shows how the most innovative companies operate and how effective marketing leaders have the ability to be secure in themselves and confident, but certainly don't have to project that on other people in order to get credibility or attention. And I think that's really, really an important lesson that I still work in every day and every meeting that I'm in. I remember that moment as one of the definitely milestone telltale experiences of my professional and candidly my personal life.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's a great, you know there are many meetings I've been in and where you can feel with clients or whoever, and you can feel there's a subtle shift in the meeting. There's either the type of leader who feels like that leader, they feel like they’re the smartest person in the room and everyone knows it. And so it kind of stifles creativity and collaboration, versus that very open leader who's, you know, not trying to set the meeting up like he's got all the answers or she's got all the answers and what it brings from the rest of the team.

Because collaboration, it's so key to what we do as marketers. So, the fact I was writing an article about, you know, what is it about marketing? What do you enjoy in your career? And collaboration came up as a key reason. One person said the necessary collaboration with other people to pull off a successful campaign. Right. That's what's going to make us successful. That's actually the whole second half of this podcast.

We talk about what we learn from people we collaborated with.  But let's talk about how you collaborate now as a leader with your own team. And you have a, this is a great quote and a great lesson. You said, “stand back and let the magic happen”. So how do you do that with your team?

Paul Krasinski: Well, I think it's a lot of what we already talked about, which is if you don't feel the obligation and duty to assert yourself or your ideas as a framework or structure in any meeting, and I know that's unsettling for some people to come in and have a very freeform conversation. But I think setting the tone early on, meaning the place, the setting, the time, these are all things that a great leader and collaborator thinks about right. So, if you look at our office, there aren't a lot of desks, there's a lot of couches, there's a lot of collaborative spaces. There's certainly a lot of whiteboards, because the people who collaborate with me know that, you know, I certainly am a visual person, but I also recognize that we're not all the same. So, all those styles have to be different.

So, I very much have white spaces with couches and otherwise, but I think what's really, really important is setting that tone early on of hey, here's what we're going to talk about. Here's the guidelines for the discussion. But more importantly, let it be freeform. And so, when I say sit back and let the magic happen, I think as a leader, an effective leader, is bringing the right people together. The experts that, you know, have an opportunity and an experience that you just don't have. And it's deeper. It's broader.

And then my role is essentially the conductor, right? You know, you have this great orchestra. You know, it sounds amazing. They probably don't need you in the meeting to be successful. But mine is just to instill a little bit of energy, a little bit of creativity and a slight bit of guidance. But outside of that, you let it happen.

And in every case, some people say nine times out of ten, I think I would say ten times out of ten, if you let the right people collaborate and create that connective tissue among each other's ideas. That's true brilliance where I have to say it is something I'm learning over time and I continue to refine and I'm always improving but talk less and listen more in those meetings. And be the one who can try to only connect the dots, to recap and reframe, to make sure everyone's aligned, but let that magic happen.

And I think that's such a great visual as well because you sit there and you think about, alright if I close my eyes, what does just watching the magic happen look like? And I think it can be different for all of us. But regardless of what it is, when you close your eyes and ask yourself that question of what does stand back and let the magic happen look like it should look like that for every single meeting that you conduct if you're an effective kind of marketing leader.

Daniel Burstein: And I think also getting the right people in that room like we talked about your previous basketball career – getting the right people on the team. And sometimes that means going down to the farm system and growing people. And as a leader, that means finding that right talent and mentoring them and getting them in the right roles. So, can you tell us specifically, I think Hannah Deck was someone in your career, that you've kind of helped grow along and get into that right position?

Paul Krasinski: I think Hannah Deck has had me grow a lot, she’s helped me grow a tremendous amount. I'll start with that. But she was a really, really young talent who was coming in from the science side of it. So scientific process and method was her mindset, and she was jumping into digital media and big data and analytics. And I said, right, but at the core you are big data and analytics.

I can't think of more number crunching inside the scientific method. And so we work together one company session in that was acquired by MasterCard, and then I recruited Hannah I think at the time she was 28 years old and I said to her, we started our company in an old Garth Brooks tour bus, which you and I laughed about, and we were sitting in the back production area of this tour bus, and I said, Hannah, you're going to run operations for this company.

And she said, well, I don't really know that that's what I am trained, and my pedigree is in. And I said, right, so you can say that in this room but as soon as we step out of this room, you are running operations. And she said, well, what gives you that confidence? And I said, I've seen you in so many different nuance situations and how you think and how you redefine processes and how you connect with people in a cross-functional way.

I know you can do it. But sometimes it's that little push, like I said earlier, to just guide people gently. And sometimes people need to believe in themselves. And I think Hannah definitely believes in herself. But it was that moment where I was able to say, “Hey, if I believe in you, you should believe in you. So now go forth and do great things.”

So now, you know, she went from running operations to now she's our head of strategy. And I would call Hannah really one of my closest advisors. And it's about having people around you with different skill sets. You mentioned you're an introvert I'm certainly an extrovert. However, you need that check and balance system, that sounding board. So, Hannah's so valuable when we walk out of meetings, she may not have said more than five words during the meeting, but it's what she says after the meeting to me in the car while driving to the next meeting that it's just, what was your perspective? What did you see? What was the body language like in the room? And this is where astute very strong people who are expert at what they do, and it's not what they do professionally. It's what they do personally. What is their makeup? What is their character? That you believe, again, back to the same thing you were talking about, about Sun Bug Solar is there's a lot of people that can do the job, but then you have to pick the people who will walk with you, will not be afraid to tell you a dissenting opinion or challenge you or critique you, whether it's, you know, hopefully my fashion sense always needs to be critiqued, but does it in a respectful way. And that is Hannah Deck.

So now, she runs strategy for me and she's probably going to be a successor, you know, at some point in the future where she says, hey, you know, is this something I can run this company going forward? So it is a great story. It's a beautiful story from a person-to-person connection as well, which is, I think so many people are qualified and so many people look at, hey, here's my resume of experiences and why I am qualified for this job.

But I always say the resume is great, but it's really the person in the three-dimensional view of someone who you see them in different situations. You know that you can address them. You know, they have high integrity and most importantly, they're passionate about the purpose that you're working on together. And so with that comes an incredible stream of creativity of creative brainstorming. It's not always easy, but then it's also you come out on the other end and you're giving a big High-Five or a hug, you know, at times where we're a big culture of making sure we celebrate each other. And Hannah Deck is certainly one of those incredible success stories through the cultures that I've tried to build. And then ultimately, candidly, I sit back and watch the magic happen and they start building the culture that I just get to sit in these meetings and listen.

Daniel Burstein: That's great. I think for any leader looking to build a culture as well. I know, you know, earlier in my career I worked in corporate communications and sales enablement, and these leaders of these global workforces would try to take stories like that, like building a Hannah Deck let's say. But then what do you do? And so I like to call it forensic reporting like you try to take that story, you try to figure out what worked about it, what didn't, and then you share it with the broader team to help grow.

You have that one individual, and then that spurs growth in the entire team and they see how those behaviors can help the organization and how those behaviors can help themselves. So, I think anyone listening to this and hearing those stories also you got to hear how can you do that with the individual and then how can I spread that across my team depending on the size of your organization?

Paul Krasinski: Yeah, and I think I think that's a key point, Dan, that you bring up is the individual. You’ve got to know that every single person on your team is different, has different needs, has different desires, enjoys and is passionate about the purpose in different ways. And as a leader, understanding how to unlock that talent and potential is really important because many things, the motivations aren't the same in different people. So as an effective leader, understanding how to make that connection with an individual or any person candidly, whether it's inside your company or in your community or, you know, in your day-to-day routine, it's so important.

Daniel Burstein: And, you know, one way we can learn that is once we become leaders is learning from the people, we collaborated with earlier in our career who led us. So, let's kind of go to that portion of the podcast now, Paul, and see who you've learned from it. First, I want to bring up a Madge Meyer. Right now, she's the founder and owner at Madge Meyer Consulting. And from her, you learn to don't take things personally. How did how did you learn that from Madge?

Paul Krasinski: Well, very early on with Madge Meyer, I will say I've been blessed to work with some incredible people and a lot of them fortuitous in nature. You know, I met Madge Meyer, and we were talking at lunch about starting this company where people could communicate at scale at scope and share their feedback and information with companies. But we started by saying, yeah, I'm going to start it in a Garth Brooks tour bus.

And she said, I think that's a fantastic idea. There was no hesitation from Madge, and she is one of the most kinetic people that I know. But it wasn't always easy. She wasn't always the head of technology in innovation at State Street or redefining Merrill Lynch's trading technology. She grew up in China and her parents moved her to Texas where she didn't speak any English to go to school. She had the ability to come out after college and be one of the first early developers at NASA, where she worked on both the Apollo 11 and 13 missions. And she told a very key story to me, which literally you can point to moments that you say, oh, that really changed me at a fundamental DNA level. And this was one, right?

So, here you have a woman who struggled, came to this country, didn't speak the language, got through college, had one of the most prestigious early career choices to go to NASA. Which was at that point they were working 18 hours a day, she told me. But she bridged the gap between hard work and don't think take things personally when she said, so one day at NASA, I walked down the hall and I realized there was only a men's restroom. And she said I had to exit my building, walked down to another building, which was essentially a hangar sized building. And I used the women's restroom in the public area. Where people came to tour the facility.

So, she said then as I walked back, I was grabbed by security and brought into this holding pen of sorts, where she essentially said, I'm so sorry, what's going on? And she said, well, you clearly are in places that you shouldn't be. You are not authorized to be in these places. And it showed maybe it was unauthorized as a woman, maybe unauthorized as a employee versus tourists. But that never rattled Madge. She was unflappable. She said, No problem. I understand if you could just call my boss he'd be happy to come down. And so, there was this beautiful moment where Madge explains her leadership team member and I think it's important because it's everything that you and I have talked about.

He walked in and said, Madge, why are you here? And she said, oh, there was a misunderstanding. You know, I went to the restroom, and they didn't think I worked here. But, you know, I just wanted you to tell them that I actually do work here, and I just want to go back to work. And that was so defining because it could have been in this marketing world that we live in. Everyone thinks they're entitled. Everyone thinks they have such influence over the market. And people should, we are a thought leader. And in reality, here's a thought leader who was humble enough and full of humility. To not get animated, to not be negative. And rather said, have a great afternoon. Understood she said that the security guard probably felt lower than low and embarrassed and insulted and horrible.

So, she said, I didn't need to further stoke that fire in that individual. I just knew I got to get back to work. I was working on an important mission that had U.S. lives at stake when we're sending people to outer space. And it was just such an amazing and beautiful story. But that's what it's about. It's the ability to even when the stakes are high, and the stress level is off the charts, and we've all experienced that, I know people listening to the podcast, they've experienced it. It's in those moments where can you collect yourself enough to not take it personally. To see the bigger picture, to not think your idea is so important that you need to push it over the top with some authority. You actually sit back, and you don't take it personally and you watch the magic happen. And literally, I think that's what Madge taught me that day in telling that story. And she was very descriptive and then prescriptive about it.

But in the end, what she articulated was very clear. She knew how the other person was feeling, she knew how she was feeling, and she knew this is an opportunity to make that connection and build that relationship. And she said, and after that point, I essentially walked around that campus without any restrictions ever. And it wasn't because of her badge, it was because of that experience. And that connection with that person. And I think that was something that, again, like the Chris Bell story, Madge Meyer, I took that away and said, may I always not take it personally? And there's, of course, going to be times that we will. And we're not always in our shining moments. But you have to try to modulate that going there. And Madge is such a great example of that.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, you know, that's what I love about this podcast. Getting to hear specific stories like that because we hear these vague aphorisms of, you know, be humble and all these things, but what does it really mean? And I think that's a great example of how to live like that, how to treat everyone with kindness and how to understand that sometimes other people aren't in their best shining moment and to respect and understand where they're coming from and not kind of be, be punitive.

But we want to get to this next story because you mentioned a few times a Garth Brooks tour bus. And this is where this story starts with you working in a Garth Brooks tour bus and what you learned from John W Thompson. If you are not familiar, you know, Paul mentioned him earlier, he's a venture partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners and he's also Chairman of the Board at Microsoft. And you said, you know, kind of continue with the theme you've learned from him, humility and curiosity. So, take us back to working on that tour bus and how did you meet John and learn that?

Paul Krasinski: Oh, gosh. So – one, I think more than any of the accolades, titles or achievements and accomplishments that are a ton for John. He literally could be one of the best human beings, period. So, I challenge someone who's listening to pull forth a better human being, but I will back John Thompson.

So, I'm sitting on the bus working, finished a late night and is part of the bus working on a bus. You have a sure power connection, which actually powers the bus from outside in a generator. So, if you can imagine I'm now closing down the bus, so shutting the generator or closing the electricity off. And yes, this is my office, which I know you people are thinking he is officially nuts, but it was a great way to connect with human beings at a street level for us. And so, I'm shutting down the bus and my cell phone rings and its Chef Ming Tsai, who is a very renowned chef and celebrity chef in Boston. Said there's a guy at the bar drinking red wine, talking those things that you talk about. And I said, Ming, what exactly is that that I talk about? Because I don't know what I talk about anyway. And he said, well, data and technology and analytics and moving things in the cloud. And he said, can you just come over for a glass of red wine I said, honestly, I am exhausted. I just shut down the generator. I think I'm going to head home. But something inside me said, you know what? Here's an opportunity where a friend is requesting your help. And I think that was the first mission that night, which was, hey, jump in and collaborate.

So, I walked over, and I thought I was doing the favor that night. And in reality, Ming was giving me an incredible gift in having this relationship with John who I didn't know at the time. So, I pulled up the stool next to him and we started talking. And I said, Ming told me that you were talking about data and big data and market research. And he said, yeah, no, I think, you know, I work for a company that is, you know, one of the largest consumers of market research. But I don't care about that. What is it that what do you do? Ming was trying to explain what you do.

And I said, well, you know, we're trying to connect people directly with brands because I feel like when people connect with people, life is just better. And here's how we're going to do that. And so I said, you know, just through your responses, it sounds like you're maybe in the industry, or he said, yeah, no, it's very nice to meet you. I'm so sorry. And my name is John Thompson, and I'm the Chairman of Microsoft. And so, if you can imagine trying, you know, I have a six-foot-nine frame. I almost fell off the stool next to him, but I turned, and I said, oh, well, obviously you're in the industry then. And he said, yeah, you know, I think there's interesting things. And I heard you're, you know, raising capital. And I said, yeah, no, you know what? I would rather not take your capital. And what I would rather do is just be able to call you and ask you questions. And he said, well, you know, it's I don't need more mentees I think I have a lot of those. And I said, well, are you sure? And he said, well, you know, look, I'll talk to my CEO, and we will try to you know, figure it out, but I'd love to invest. And so, he called back two days later and said, yeah, so I spoke to my CEO and it's my wife. And she said, it’s okay that we invest in your company. And I said, Wow, that's great. I said, but can I do I still get to call you monthly?

And he said, well, as you need me as an advisor, outside of that, I'm always a collaborator. But what was interesting about that experience, in addition to meeting an incredible person, was John’s curiosity around asking questions. And I'm positive he knew the answers to the questions, but he wanted to hear from me because it was interesting to him, stimulating to him. Maybe he'd get a thread of something that he didn't know. But he kept it very informal, he kept it very curious. He always had a follow up. It wasn't the normal glazed over interaction at a conference where you're thinking about a thousand other things and you know that you're in a place that you have more important things to do, but you have this person in front of you. And yes, I might be daunting at six foot nine and a big shadow standing over. But I'm sure he was thinking, you know, hey, how do I move on to the next thing? But he didn't. He was there and he was present, and he was curious. And I think that's one of the key things about a great marketing leader never says, I know this. I am an expert. And if you hear that, you're probably dealing with someone who isn't an expert where it's always about asking that next question, asking the nuance piece. And what was really interesting about that conversation is he and I aligned on the model of people, people, people, market, product. And in that order and it was we shared a bunch of stories and a bunch of ideas together well before like Chris Bell, well before there was any breathing of here's who I am, who were you?

And I think that was the kernel of, again, a pivotal moment in my career where you sat there and said, we've all run the rat race and tried to promote ourselves and the achievements and accomplishments that we've done personally. But really that's a sidetrack distraction. Really, what is key is building that connection with that person who's sitting right in front of you. And it could be a coworker, it could be someone making your coffee, it could be someone driving the bus on the public transportation that you're using to get to the office. It's building that connection and being curious about what they want to talk about is what's so important. And John continues to do that every time I call him.

You know, he led the LinkedIn deal. He led the, you know, deals with finding the new leadership for Microsoft and Minecraft. He's an innovative leader that has done big things but always has a perspective that he asks you, what do you think? And in reality, you sit there and say, I want your sage wisdom. Can we cut through all the, hey what do you think, and just tell me what to do? And he said, no, that's not how it works. And I think that's what was so great about John.

So, I appreciate you letting me share that story. But he is one of those special people that is truly about people. And he understands that, yes, there's people all behind the technology and the ideas, and it's their creative process that allows them to design and build new things. And I think that's where, again, I keep saying his creative curiosity, but he gets pleasure from being able to think through things with you versus talking at you. And that was a huge moment for me.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I love that. I mean, I've always found out, earlier in my career I learned from a leader named Mary Wells. So, whoever you're talking to in that moment, that's the absolute most important person in the world. You know, you can't, you've got your phone going, you got this, you’re thinking of selling anything, just actually be with that person. And I'm very fortunate in my career. I get to interview interesting people like Paul and kind of have these force conversations.

But I found, you know, an Uber driver or someone in the elevator or someone next to you on a flight or, you know, it's just if you are going to be a marketer, if you're going be a business leader, if you're going to a start founder, if you're going to build things and technology about people, learn about people. And it's great. Not just the people that you think will give you a personal benefit, but anyone that you get to interact with in your life. And this sounds maybe Zen or Buddhist third mindfulness or something, but really that gives that's an interaction. That's a gift you have to learn from that person. And, and, and focus on them and see what you can learn from someone else, especially when they're in a different walk of life, you know?

But let's talk about now that's that inner individual interaction. Let's talk about a challenging thing for many startup founders or business leaders or marketers is networking and having those long-term relationships that payoff. So, you told me about Sean Moran right now he's an Investor and an Advisor at Carpe Diem Society Holdings. And from him, you learned the power of relationships. How did how did you learn that from Sean?

Paul Krasinski: The power of relationships you learn from every interaction. But Sean certainly was that bright, shining light that literally you see it and you say, what is that annoying light in the corner that just is unrelenting? And why I say a light is around, Sean he just has this very generous ethos about him. He, again, like John Thompson, very curious, very interested in connecting and always is asking questions.

But I met Sean actually, while playing basketball at Brown and in freshman year, you realize that there's these alumni events after the game. So, win, lose or draw, you know, you have to show up to a room of alumni. And sometimes you sit there and say, I really didn't play great, and I wonder what I'm going to get asked. And I walked into there, and Sean had graduated in 1986 I believe. So, he was a bit older. I always call him the vintage wine of Brown Basketball and we laugh about that. But at that time as a freshman in college there is no, I'm trying to better my career, you're just trying to survive pass the tests, you know, play basketball.

And Sean and I had that meeting in 1994 and then we kept seeing each other at games. We talk about different things, my interest in communications and media, how I thought technology was going to change and these were all very basic interactions. There was nothing that I could ask him for. I couldn't get a job. I didn't, I was a student. Certainly, he was a better basketball player. So I knew that out of the gate and but what was really interesting about Sean is we’ve maintained that relationship for 20 years. And at the moment where I felt the most uncomfortable, which is what any startup founding CEO feels, is you actually have to go to the people who have been the closest amazing mentors to you and ask for help. And that's a humbling experience. But once you have the trusted loyal people around you, like Sean, like John, like Madge, like Chris Bell, you feel a little bit more comfortable about it. But if you're like me, it is like pulling teeth it's a horrible thing to ask for help.

So, I called Sean in 2016 with this concept for Epicenter Experience and with a passionate you know, feeling of my elevator pitch down to a science. He stopped me and he said, are you asking me something and I said, I am asking you for something. And he said, oh, okay, great so this is, this is a first and I'm in. And it wasn't even, I hadn't finished everything that I polished and prepared and it showed that there was a relationship that had been built over those 20 years in order to get to a point where he had seen me, like I had seen Hannah, in so many different situations. We had talked about my professional career and challenges I had and the thought that I thought my idea was great and it got shot down in you know, in an early stage of my career. And he said all of these things were learning building blocks for you. And I love your DNA and we're investing in you. And so was he was one of the early investors.

But since then, we talk about openly challenges and ups and downs and hey, it's isolating and lonely as a founding CEO. And, you know, why do I have to be the cheerleader every day? And it's that ability to be vulnerable with those people that you really, truly have a relationship with, which is difficult right? We all don't want to show weakness. We don't want to be challenged or saying, oh, I'm kind of dumping on my relationships. But when you have long standing relationships and connections with people where you've been through things together, whether, like you said, a vendor, an adviser or a mentor or an investor, a board member, the person that makes your coffee at Starbucks every morning, you have a relationship with that person, and they know that they have an integral part of your routine.

And so, Sean Moran, really, when I say that kind of shining beacon moment, he was always the guy that was interesting or, hey, how can I help? How can I help, how can I help? And I finally got to the point where I said, well, how can I help you? And he said, oh, you can't help me. And this was in 1998. And I said, well, hey, I'm a senior now, so at some point I'm going to help you. So hopefully everything works out well with Epicenter Experience. And I can say, see, I finally helped you. But I think it's the greatest part about a relationship like the one that I have with Sean is it's bi-directional, right? You're not asking for a lot, but you're giving a lot as well. And I think it's that again, freeform exchange that commitment I think is really important. The integrity and the loyalty in a relationship where both people feel invested in the success on both sides. And again, I talk a lot today about people, people, people, market, product, but it is those connections. It is those relationships that yield so much, not only in the process of creating something, but also keeping you buoyant in those moments where it's not so awesome.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I mean, I love hearing you say that because I think sometimes, we can approach things as our work or our business is built or something. It's something separate, right? We have a life and then we have these things. And really, I mean, it's just what you're talking about is life, right? We're talking about is life. And this just happens to be in sometimes within a business context. And so I think that that's beautiful.

There's one more person I want to bring up. And, you know, with a lot of these, we've talked through people that, you know, in our podcast they've worked with directly and they really collaborate with kind of kind of like Paul’s done here. But Paul told me a story that I just thought was so profound and so interesting that I had to share one more here. And partly it's because I was always, I've always learned a lot from this individual from afar.

So, it's Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam. The thing I've always learned from him, and Paul taught me even more was Don't act like a rock star. And I see, you know, on LinkedIn, a lot of I worked with people in marketing rockstar. I'm a marketing rockstar. I want to read this really quick because I'd read this interview with Eddie Vedder that always stuck with me. And the interviewer asked him, well, what's it like to be a rock star? Because he is a rock star, right? And he said, I have a hard time discussing that because I don't really accept it.

It's not really that tangible. What's really bizarre is how is used as a thing. You know, he is the rock star of politics. He's the rock star of quarterbacks. Like, it's the greatest thing in the world and it's not bad, but it's just different. I don't understand it because I'm going, well, am I that I want to be the plumber of rock stars? And after I read that, that was great. And I see everybody putting marketing rock stars. You know, I want to be the plumber of marketers or interviewers. And so, Paul, you told me this beautiful story of this actual interaction you had with Eddie Vedder where this wasn't just something he said in an interview. This is how he lived his life. I think we could all learn from it. So, can you tell us about that?

Paul Krasinski: Sure. So, I had a very unique and unusual opportunity to see Pearl Jam at Fenway and let me articulate. Growing up, I was not a fan. My brothers were both fans, and one of my brothers invited me to go and we called it boys’ weekend or brothers weekend, and it was to get together for an overnight just to connect as brothers.

And so literally we're going to this concert. And as the door opens, Eddie Vedder's wife says, oh, you got to come to soundcheck. It's brothers’ weekend in Boston. You're from Boston. And my younger brother John highlighted, oh, no, no, I don't want to bother anything. And she said, wait a second, this is something you have to do. So, we got in the car, we arrived at Fenway, and she proceeds to walk over to people who she connected with at a very deep level.

And I'm highlighting that intentionally because she was the bright shining light in that day. When you said OKAY, it could have been Eddie Vedder. But she knew it was important for us as brothers to connect. So, we got mitt’s, we were throwing the baseball out in the outfield in Fenway, which if anyone knows, that's like the Cathedral of Sports in Boston and no one gets to touch the same grass blades that David Ortiz does.

But there we were, you know, three fools from Boston that are throwing the baseball in the outfield. And all of a sudden, the soundcheck starts and Eddie stops. And my younger brother is friends with Eddie Vedder, that's why we were, it wasn’t just, you know, a random grand prize winner inner circle from the from the radio station. But that he stops the soundcheck and says, you guys look like you're really having fun out there. Hold on a second and jumped down and starts throwing with us, which I think in its own metaphorical way was you sit there and say, wait, this rock star jumped off the stage and is now throwing the baseball with us and pitching to home plate. But it wasn't that moment that was even more so. So, I never grew up as a fan of Pearl Jam.

So, I was just meeting Eddie for the first time. We had an opportunity to sit down. He said, oh, so, you know, I looked in and you played basketball, right? You played at Brown and he's like, oh, that's great. And what was your number? And I said, oh, 41. And I said, wow, he's being really nice to pass the time with a friend's brother who, you know, we won't ever see each other again.

And he said, oh, that's great. And so, we return from soundcheck to the concert, and before the show he said, oh, this was so great that you guys came and Paul and Kevin, I got you something. And it was a Chicago Cubs batting helmet. So, he's a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. He also was very close to the GM, who used to be the GM of the Red Sox, and he gave me this batting helmet with my number 41 on it.

So, so first it was all right. This guy jumped down and was throwing baseballs. Then he listened. He recorded it, and he actually produced a batting helmet with my number. But this was the most important part of the night. So, I'm now blown away. I'm like, Okay, great. Now I'm a religious experience for Eddie Vedder and the experience. And it wasn't what everyone else is thinking, which is the rock star and how untouchable. He was so human that at the end of the night, actually his security team came and said, hey, we got to go. It's time to go back to the hotel and unlike a rock star, he was walking, said, so who's outside?

And just think about that for a second. He just crushed it at a cathedral in Boston and he cares about other people. So, the security guard said all the normal people you know, who are looking for autographs and photos and you got some paparazzi out there. And he said there's a there's a kid from Boston Children's Hospital and his mother, and they've been waiting, you know, today and he said, wait, stop. He's like, okay. So, when we go out, the gates are going to open and we're going to stop on Yawkey Way, which for those of you who are not in Boston, it essentially looks would look like Mardi Gras on any given day. But here at a Pearl Jam concert, it was intense, as far as people.

So, I saw the security guard go, but sure enough, we pulled out. He got out of the car; the crowd goes wild. He pulls forward, this son and this mom. So, this boy and this mother and they had such a beautiful connection, which was, hey, thanks so much for waiting. I didn't know you were out here. Had I known we could have we could have had this conversation inside, you know?

And he turned to the security guard. And without hesitation just said, hey, what do we have in the back? Like T-shirts, memorabilia of souvenirs, like, what is it? And he starts donning this boy, but he's on one knee as he does it. So that highlights the connection, the humanity. And then he said, oh, you know what? So, I think Eddie felt so bad that this boy waited with his mother for so long that now he feels obligated to keep the cornucopia of goodness that he's creating. And he said, do you want to meet a friend of mine? He's like, have you ever seen the show The Office? And John got out, and they again had this beautiful moment.

But then we got in the car, we drove off and the conversation in that car continued among us. But I sat there and took note of he’s not a rockstar, he's an incredible human being. Who literally gets his energy, and I think that's also a key moment for me? He got his energy from interacting with people. He got his inspiration and hope from doing that. And here's a guy who probably can't go out most places, but his ability to connect that night was so interesting and so human that we so rarely get to see that part of all of these, you know, this eco system and society that heralds the people. As he said in his interview, it is very hard to accept. You know, you really aren't a rock star. You're a person and yeah, it's great that you can entertain. But what he loved was not the microphone looking out at the thousands of people and lighters in front of him, saying, look at me as a thought leader, a leader, a rock star.

His was this is overwhelming. And my happy place was actually speaking on one knee to this boy who clearly had lifelong chronic health issues and just he was so engaged. It was tangible. It was palpable. And I think that was such a great opportunity for me. And it has been the amazing people that I've been able to work with is even though you think you've reached the apex of your personal life, your professional career, you just say there's people who are bigger, better, more money, more capital, more things, more influence, more and they are human like that. It gives you a really good sense of hope in that people are truly good.

So that's why I say, you know, coming back to the philosophy that we talked about was people, people, people, market, product. And the product that we all need to kind of focus on is us and those relationships with people. Because I'm telling you, if you're like me, you're not the smartest person in the room, so you better surround yourself with a network of really good relationships where you feel okay to be vulnerable and daring and courageous. But also give them the ability to kind of drive the process forward and let you sit back and let the magic happen.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's great. And look, to help and grow those people. So, this is what I want to do. If you've got marketing rockstar in your LinkedIn right now, take it down, put marketing plumber or something like that. And let's just all live this philosophy like once you get a little, you know, growth in a company, a leadership role, you get to be a bit of a thought leader. A lot of us are content marketers right now, right? You do. It is easy to become full of yourself and think you're so important to have someone like that. A true rockstar, someone like the Chairman of the Board of Microsoft can live humbly, you know, can't we? All I got I'm going I'm going to work hard on it now, Paul, and I know that for sure.

Paul Krasinski: I think I just shed a tear. Like, I think you captured it so purely. And I think that's what we forget. And I think it's key to know that here's the key tenants of just being a good human being. And if you're a good human being, you can be a good plumber, a good rock star, a good marketing leader, and most importantly, hopefully, a good person.

Daniel Burstein: Well, and that kind of all leads up to the final question. I want to leave everyone with you. Talked a lot about your stories and what you've made in your career. We talked a lot about the people you've learned from, but what would you leave people with? What are the key qualities of an effective marketer?

Paul Krasinski: Oh, wow. I think we've talked about it a lot. But again, in that people mode, I think one, it's you are looking at yourself. And I read this great book called The Second Mountain by David Brooks. And in that book, they talk about, you know, personal career growth on this first mountain is all about you in these temporal moments of success that give you bits of personal achievement and happiness.

But then you realize that the second mountains are all about living for others. And I think that's a really important bit. So if I was to say, what are the key qualities of a leader and I'll steal some of the words directly from that book is look at yourself life as an opportunity to be for others rather than for yourself in your own small because that small that feel small.

So, I think the sense of self is more about giving, giving as a collaborator, challenging, you know, listening and being open. I think second is vulnerability, right? You need to be able to put yourself out there in situations and relationships, in promises, in client relationships where there is no guarantee of any return. And that's true vulnerability. So whether it's an idea, whether people don't believe you, vulnerability is taking that chance and never knowing whether or not it's going to have any value to you. And what I will tell you is you get it in spades back, but I'll let you guys determine that.

The third one is connection and relationships, right? The connections with people, the being present, the true interest in them, the ability to turn and ask them a question versus tell something about yourself is really where I think the fabric in the DNA that quote connective tissue among relationships where trust and integrity is built, it's around those moments of listening to the other person.

And then I'd say, you know, the joy, really as David Brooks articulates, it's different from happiness. And the way that he made it different was joy is this enduring positive feeling that you get from helping others? And I think that's what true leadership is, is the ability to say, hey, if I've inspired someone through a story or through an experience that I had or, you know, not doing great on the SATs, but somehow still allowing myself to be in a position to go to Brown and to educate myself. And if you are that person, I think, joy, you got to be in it. I heard, you know, I had the ability to sit in with Jack Welch once in a very large amphitheater in Lowell, Massachusetts. And he said, if you spend one day in a role or in a position or in a relationship that doesn't feel right to you and where you don't have the passion and the joy, you got to get out and you have to leave that day.

And the reason, and why he was saying it's so emboldened was that he said you're hurting yourself and you're hurting the company. So, I think that constant idea of understanding and always refine yourself vulnerability to build connections to throw yourself out there to build and invest in relationships, the byproduct of that is joy and your ability really to be a leader for others, not for oh my God, there's the CEO of Epicenter Experience, which I can guarantee you no one says ever. It's amazing what the company and the team has accomplished together. And for me, that's joy.

Daniel Burstein: That's awesome. Thank you for joining us today and being so vulnerable Paul and teaching us so much.

Paul Krasinski: Well, I appreciate you having and congratulations on this podcast. I think this is really great. And as I was going through the catalog, I said, well, I certainly am not at the caliber to be even interviewed here, but I appreciate certainly the opportunity to share a few of my personal stories. And hopefully your audience finds it valuable.

Daniel Burstein: Well, thank you, Paul. Thank you to all of the audience for listening. I hope you learned a lot as well.

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