Daron K. Roberts: "Burn the Box: The Art of Risk-Taking" | Talks at Google
How. You doing, doing well it's good to be here I left Austin, with, 75, degrees and now we're a little we're even less, than seven, opposites good it's good I brought scarves I got hats all the things. We. Have supplied, him with some, Google swag, so. We are really excited to have you here today dad to be here thank you for having me so, my name is Ashley, Chang and today, I'm just so excited, to introduce all. Of you to Darren. K Roberts, Darren. Has an amazing, story, it's, not conventional, in any means Darren. Is a Harvard, Law School grad, turned. NFL. Coach. Turned. Best-selling. Author, and. Now he is. A lecturer, at the University. Of Texas at Austin where, he actually started, a center for sports leadership and innovation he's. The founding director there, yes. It's been fun and I chase five. Little people. Ages. 7, to 7, months so, this. Is great I'm glad to be here, this. Is a break from home it's good good so we'll talk about a lot of things today we'll talk about his book call, inaudible. Congratulations. On your book Amazon. It was one of their number one new releases Sports, Illustrated, said this is one of the best sports business books of 2017. Yeah no big deal right it's been fun it was one of those things I don't know if people, are like me where you have this Google, Doc and. It's. It's been living, for five to six years with ideas, and that was where, I was with this book I've been working on an introduction, for four years and. I finally just woke up one morning and told my wife okay six, days a week two. Hours a day I'm gonna write from, 3:30, to 5:30 I'm. Gonna go to the same coffee shop turn, off the Wi-Fi and, just go and. She's like Godspeed. And we. Did it and. It's. Actually tangible amazing. And I have one too it's my own special copy. Do. You read it before you go to bed at night they do I've already read it and you know I'll read it again maybe after this time you can buy more copies if you need to okay so I can't I can't you know go through you I gotta go through you know better. To go through me and better take but got five college tuition so gotcha we have to support. So. Darren I mean you've done a lot but I also want to mention in his, free time. Darren also. Started. And leads a non-profit, football, camp before is, it high school high school high school students, so these are, not. Blue chip athletes right these are high school, trihard, I, love football, Darren. Types right. And, we, take them for, a week. Forty. High school students, and in. The morning it's yoga and meditation and, reflection, and, then we, play football for about two and a half hours then, it's three hours of a CT prep and, we, built a curriculum, where we have, taken. The a CT math section, and. Translated. It into football, examples, so. Geometry. We teach geometry and algebra using. A football field as a grid, and. Then at night we have a series, of two workshops so social. Media etiquette. Dress. Etiquette, how, to write thank-you notes and it's. Been a wonderful program. We've had, 500. Kids, come through in the last nine years so. It's. Really nice to know that you know you are giving back to commit to the community and teaching. Practical, skills right yes the academic, piece but also, what. What should you wear how can you present yourself, in a way that is the best reflection, of you it was like the social media class oh geez so. I will, go through all of their so. Part of the application process is they have to list, their social, media handles, and then.
We Have a team of people who we, scrub all of their, handles. Platforms. And take, screenshots, of the good the bad and the ugly Wow. They, don't know what's coming and so on day four I can just walk up and I'll, have this dummy slide up about hey how to make a speech, and then, slide, two will be someone's. Post where it's, nothing. But profanity, and, you, know drinking. A beer like. Hey who is this and everyone's embarrassing oh my gosh can't believe you would do that so, now hold on there are two, billion, people out there. On some form of social media why. Would you be embarrassed right. And. So we start there and then it kind of works through how they can present. A good image online that's great I think with with, technology. And with all social media it's so easy to just write something, or post something but, if you were to actually sit like in a stage and have the whole world and maybe, you would say, that maybe, your students or other folks wouldn't actually post them yeah and you know all the research right now is showing that so, much of what we do online is, is, subconscious, so they're showing, people. Tweets. Posts. That they've liked or shared and. Asking. Them if they recognize, them and the rates around 25, percent so. You're. Just scrolling scrolling scrolling scrolling scrolling like, here hard here aren't there and it becomes sort of stream of consciousness and so, really for us we're trying to get, the. Students to be more intentional, and deliberate about their. Move right so when you hit the heart button, we. Say for employers, or other schools that, is an endorsement so you need to think about do, I want to co-sign, on this message yeah, and this is all in his free time right, so. In addition into you, know the fourth and one football camp Daron. Also leads a industry-leading, podcast, and he's. Also the chief of the donut council which my. Favorite part of this talk and will tell, you a little bit more about that later and. Like I mentioned in, some of the comms that you might have seen before we will I've promised, them if it's okay with you we will talk about Kevin Durant, we will talk about donut, yes. Donut, I can do that good all right done is that all right with you all okay. It sounds good so, why don't we start at the beginning okay you're a Texas. Born and raised yes, and, what, did you you know when you were a teenager, kid, what were your dreams so, fifth, generation, East Texan. What. Stood out my dad showed me this map of this. Panola, County where, he's from and it, was a census. Tract from 18 seventy and there's, a plot of land that has a hundred and fifty three acres, and the. Name bill Roberts, and it's eighteen seventy right so he. Points to the map he points to me and, he says this is why you will never have any excuses, I'm. Like what the hell is he talking about like I don't know and, then I find out that my great-great-grandfather. Finds. A way to get a hundred and fifty three acres, in a. County that sent troops to the Confederacy, right. How. Does a black, man in 1870, like how do you do that and so my last book, will. Be this I want to present three, different scenarios in a fictional, way of like what could have happened but, that sort, of set the stage for me of. Okay. I got to pull the top off of my goals and so I want it to be the governor of Texas by 40, I, turned 40 in November, so I took. A wrong turn somewhere yeah. Kind. Of push it out so everything, was was, I, wanted, to be. The. Governor and so I thought that was undergrad. Government, pre-law. Law. School, practice. Somewhere run. For Congress like very linear you know if a didn't be if you didn't see and now. My life is just like you. Know a sketchpad, well, I love it I think it's just a different direction but okay, so let's let's talk about law so you want it to go to law school why. Law school was it because. You wanted to be governor and then was I know you kind of talked about Harvard, there was something, about that school that really drew you there yeah, Gregory, Peck, had a lot to do with it right so I if. I think about the imagery, that really, made me think about law school to.
Kill A mockingbird, comes. To mind and sings where this this powerful figure being able to influence. The. Community, around him, that, was one image that stood out for me and then my dad bought a book of it. Was a, biography. Of Thurgood. Marshall. And, just remember this image of him standing on, the. Steps of the Supreme Court, after brown v board and thinking. To myself I. Want. To be like that guy. And so. Everything. Was channeled towards law school and I'm. At the University of Texas I'm. Student body president, I had great grades I'm just gonna walk in EEZ. EEZ, oh. We've been waiting for you for the last 18 years, welcome. Danny welcome, welcome finally right and I, get the, letter back and it's, the old waitlist, right. So, it's we. Like you we, like. Some more people a lot more than you. Like. You know in the event that all of them tell us no we may call, you back, but. If you have better options don't wait for us that's, worse than a No, yes. It is it, is because it's like you're close I would it's. Funny at the time I thought I wanted, to know. But. In retrospect I think the waitlist was probably better because there's a little, glimmer of hope I could, somehow alter, the situation some, way. But. I got waitlist at four years in a row so Gwyn. Roberts and my mom's like what just, do something with your life right I worked on the hill I went to the Kennedy School and then, the fourth year I got in and. Was it everything you imagined and more it, was worse. It, was worse it was a hell. No. I it. Was it was. Good. I like this was about Salah I was like blatantly lied to myself and looking I was bad. It's. An interesting place right so you have 550. Students come into a class and everyone's, so high-strung you've, got the the folks who are just fresh out of undergrad, so, they're. Going berserk. Every. Single second of the day the Gunners on the front row I worked. For a while so I was kind of chill I had to make sure I got the Dunkin Donuts we're going in a class. Priorities. Priorities but. It was fun I think I read, enjoy being challenged, and. I. Did. Like the grind of like the one out first year you know in that library he kind of stink a little bit you're. Reading stuff you're falling asleep I liked that piece, of it but. I knew there was something something else I should probably be doing in my life and so this talk is all about wrists, and your story. In itself is really. Interesting, right to pivot so, many different times and I'd. Like to know it, was. Your summer internship, right your first summer internship, in law school tell, us about that experience and. How, you felt so, I worked at a, you. Know named, ampersand. Name name name okay, in, DC. And I. Remember. The first day walking in. Working. My way to my office and, recognizing. The fact that no one had smiled. Right. Receptionist. You. Know inserts, first-year, associate, insert. You, know throw your partner well okay maybe it's just a rough time you know that. Was the summer. In, the, highlight, was the highlight. First. Day this, summers this first-year associate comes at hey me what are you doing for lunch I'm like I don't have any plans you're going with me right. Welcoming. We. Go to lunch he's not talking to me he's like on his black but it's, 2006. Was on a blackberry you know and, I'm. Like hey man how's it going we're talking he's like I just love it when you summer's get here because, we get our lunches cops oh my gosh they heated its recruiting. He. Wanted. You there not, necessarily, to talk to you but to eat the lunch yes so. Then I thought wow the. Highlight, of this grown man's life, is. A cop, summer. Intern. Lunch. Like. So. I remember. Going back to law school thinking okay then there's, probably something else and that's. When my buddy the next year calls me to go to work of football camp and. We. Were both try hard players with like, there were no teams beating, down our door in high school saying come come play for us and, but. He was a football coach a high school coach and he said hey come to the South Carolina football, camp so. I get there and. They. Need someone to fill in for a coach we hadn't shown up something again all right play Texas football what's. Going on so, I raised my hand and I killed where. Do you coach I'm like Mount Pleasant high school all right Mount Pleasant high school. You. Have group six yes, sir I'm like what the hell's he talking about group. Six was sixty, sixth graders okay. None. Of whom had any athletic, talent, whatsoever.
Momma's. Had taken them to Academy to get like swooshes, and they were protecting, the house and they were doing it and, could, not backpedal, like the length of this stage. And. They had a coach who could coach. Best. 72. Hours of my life and, I. Just there. Are these very brief moments, in football where. Socioeconomic. Status, goes out the window what's. Out of town you live religion. Like you're just trying to get eleven people on the same page and, I, recognize from. That. Became a new form of public service, so. I, started. The journey. To try to become a coach so. I think many. Of us I'm sure you might agree, oftentimes. We have Inklings, to do things we see, certain passions. But. What was it that got you from feeling, that you love this thing and, shoving. It away as like okay that was a great 72-hour, vision. And then. Turning it into something, tangible, and, deciding, you wanted to coach, football, so. Brene, brown says, she, says emotions, are data and. I. Could. Not get away from the feeling of my gut even. When I left the camp I go back to Cambridge it. Was in my mind it was this uneasy, feeling in my stomach and, I've. Also just, been able to believe my dad's a Baptist minister so. If you walk into the Mount Olive Baptist Church, on a, Sunday, at, 12:24. P.m.. Kurt. Robert is gonna be standing up saying you. Don't know when you're gonna die you. Better get right with Jesus right. And. I think hearing that for so long this. Just. The delicate. Nature of mortality. You don't know we assume so much, I've. Always thought let me try to pull these things and I'm, thinking. About putting off into the distance, I can let me make them let. Me pull them into the present tense because, I don't know if I get to retirement right and people like oh just. Go practice and then you can do that sort of as a, retirement. Job like who, says I get to retirement, right, so. From. That step I. Went. Into Excel which. If this was 2018. I would have given as she. And. I went through every team in the NFL and I found, their address, and every. Coach on staff and I. Went through every bio and. Tried to find some connection are you from Texas and, you're getting a letter for me. You. Know did you study government, and undergrad you're getting a letter for me and I just wrote a letter multiple. Letters to every team in the NFL so that's part of this this is one of my favorite parts of this book I'm gonna read a piece, of one, of the letters um. Dear, coach and. You sounded exactly yes. Dear. Coach I am a third-year student at Harvard, Law School and, I. Want, to become a football coach, after. Just three days of working as a volunteer coach, I realized, that changing, the life trajectories, of young men can be fulfilled by coaching a sport that I fell in love first in high school I, understand. That. You received countless letters each year but, I promise, I will work harder, than anybody else you are considering, for this position and, then, you like went down he said you know some other wonderful things and then ended with please, just, consider me for any entry-level, position. You may have available yes so what you sent this out to many. Many many yes in my you. Know my last name wasn't Belichick, and I. Didn't, have any buddies like I had no there. Was no end so for. Me I, knew.
The Only way that I could, break. In would be to start, it not. Even the bottom like below, the totem pole and. So. What happened you sent this I said this and I got 31 rejection so you, know bill. A check Tomlin, you name it going, down the list John Fox all these teams are, saying no and. It gets to a point to where this is April, this, is two months before I'm graduating, and. But. My classmates, are going into Supreme Court and the White House and insert, banking. I beg here and. I'm just waiting on one yes and, I, finally get a call one day from a guy named Herman Edwards who. Was a Kansas City Chiefs head coach and. He's like babysit her backwards are you talking they're Roberts so, I think it's a prank. And. I'm, I'm, about to say something that was, wasn't. Not gonna get. I'm. Like yes, sir he said hey I don't open my mail my, secretary, put this letter, on my desk, what's wrong with you. Right. So, I, said, well you know nothing that's been documented. I've. Worked this cam I'm telling you like yeah whatever okay here's the deal he's like take out a pen and paper I got. Some in, training. Camp intern yes. No. Pay all. Right gets better no benefits. And. Then he says 18, hour days. So. I'm, going back to employment, law I'm like this has got to be some kind of. He. Was arguing and. This. Three second sort of window and. I. Knew I couldn't ask for any clarifying, information I said yes, he's. Okay graduate, from law school get, here hang the phone up right, so. I drove. June. The 6th from. Cambridge Massachusetts to. Kansas, City Missouri in. A. 2002. Chevy Tahoe, that. I still own because. I'm cheap. It's. Also why I'm a planet fitness, man yes. And, I, was the grunt I was. I, didn't. Sign a piece of paper in six month I was if, you were to Google Darren Roberts Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. Nothing. Would come up I was. Hey Darren. Offensive. Linemen would say hey we need 40 barbeque sandwiches. Yes. Sir I'd go downtown get, the sample just bring it back the, defensive lineman hey we need two, cases, of dip, skull. I'd. Go fine I go to 7-elevens, trying to like it as much dip as I could take. It back I. Slept. At Arrowhead, for, six months I got a twin blow-up mattress and. I. Just wanted to be the first, person. The first face that Herman, Edwards saw when he walked, into the office 4:30. Every morning I was, right there and I was the last face he saw when he left at 11:00 p.m. and. How how. Did you decide to, give up Law. School and I'm sure you know that life, yeah, for, for, this, yeah professor. David. Wilkins who was a really. Great mentor of mine I'm talking, with him about the decision, he says listen. When. You get your diploma, what. You won't find on it is an, expiration date. He. Said I'm just gonna take a wild, gamble. Here and say that. When. You leave the NFL there will still be legal, problems going on, so. If you want to practice you can he. Said let me ask you this how rare, is this opportunity, for you so, like how many times what NFL teams allow you to become a. Coaching. Intern or a training camp intern and so, for me I just thought that, with. Every opportunity that I get I think to myself okay one. Does it kind of flow in with my purpose and that was an easy check and then, how rare is it like will this come around or something like it soon. And if, the answer's no to that I'm taking, it now and then, just just done just from there so. Tell us more about that. First year yeah, yeah. Coaches, wouldn't talk to me for two weeks so, I had all these coaches on staff who were former NFL players and you. Know they had paid. Their dues and they, got this dude, who. Hasn't coached or played in college, just. Around in the corner and a hoodie and. Why'd. You bring him on but, they sort of warmed up a little bit first game we play at Houston, a part, of my job is to to make copies so I make a copy, of the plane manifest, for the flight and, I, see they're, in Roberts seat 40d oh there you go. This. Is on a Thursday. Friday. Chief. Of staff hey. Get. All the manifests throw him away here's. The. Actual manifests, we had to make some changes. For. TD no. Darrin Roberts. So. Someone. In the organization it yanked my name they thought that I had not paid my dues yet, a pretty. High up person in the organization.
So. I said screw it I bought a Southwest. Flight from Kansas, City Missouri to hobby. I'll. Land in Houston I know, where the hotel the team hotel is at Saturday night, I'm, the first person they see when they get off, her. Box and he's like dude this guy was. Like what are you doing. He's, like were you on the flight I was like no I took a flight hey listen I don't want to be in the way I'm just gonna sit in the back of the room if you, needed me he's like we probably won't need you Darren but, just, stay out of the way cool. Special. Teams coach he's like hey. What. Are you doing. I. Could use you tomorrow, because. He, had a lot we had a lot of new players and. I need to be able to find them when we go punt or kickoff, so, could you help me wrangle players I'm like I could but. Don't. Have any credentials can, you kind of yeah he's. Like let me do something by. Midnight I had credentials by, kickoff I'm on the sidelines and I'm, in and. So I was on the flight from that point forward but I think the point is like you really have to barge your way in in. Like a diplomatic. Way right. In. A non-creepy, way which in retrospect that probably was creepy of you so. You have to be somewhat creepy but kind of find this balance I don't know I don't have like a nice. Creepy. Factor right but. I think it's so easy for us to send emails and think that we've done the due diligence like, the email is enough and. You. Need physical presence. To. Separate yourself from. All. The other folks who are trying to get into this position. And. As you. Know today, we want to talk about risk. Taking and certainly your story do, you have tips. For, actual. Things that folks. Listening, and Googlers, here you can take back to say I have, this inkling I really, like to do this yes how can I get. From there to, something. That could be my lifestyle yes, so there's some really good research that's, the. IKEA. Effect so who's shop at IKEA, okay. We've all done it right you walk in you smell. Those you know kind of weird meatballs, and, you're. Walking around it's, kind of odd it's weird anyway, they're, like halfway cooked. So. Everything. Looks so pristine, and like Oh everything. Could go into my apart. I'll. Pick that desk you get. The box and you go home you'd. Realize you don't have any tools. You've. Never assembled, anything since like third grade building. The mocking Liam the volcano, that doesn't go off, and, you build this thing and. It's. A little wobbly and, one of the drawers and really pull out right. But it's, yours, and you built it, we're. Finding that this IKEA. Effect and. Think about it as sunk cost, people. Think, about the fact that they've done so much time and effort into one, course of action. They. Use that experience, and at ownership, to, then talk themselves out, of taking the risk right because. I've worked at Google for eight years and I, started, here and now I'm there, I'm. Not gonna take a chance and now become a chef right. What. We found is the way to get past that is, to. Expose. Yourself to rejection. Okay. So. I'm going to challenge you to. Put yourself in positions, where people, are telling you now okay here's. Another technique, a rejection, resume, should write this down write this down or tweet it to yourself or or. T, mail it to. Yourself or something we have many many many forms. Take. Your resume. And. Under. Education. List all of the schools you didn't get into. Okay. Work, experience, every. Job you did not get okay. Go all the way down for awards and distinctions although, wars and honors that you didn't get take. It and then send. It to all of your friends, alright. So, I knew, some trainings with corporations. And I'll have the. CEO or CFO do. This and then, ask her to send it out right. And first, they don't want to do it yeah okay, and then they do it and then they send it out and it helps to humanize, them, and the organization, so someone's like oh I didn't get, into Berkeley either, it's greater oh I got turned down four, hundred thirty four thirty you know - right so, I think building this comfort, level with rejection, and was, and getting, the no helps.
Because You. Will document. All of your big nose in life and then realize I'm. Still alive yeah like I'm okay and if. I get a subsequent, no from taking a risk I'm. Going to survive because look at all the things that I've been able to withstand so. Really. Going, through in cataloguing, being very, intentional. About hey, what are the times that I've gotten turned down or didn't get the big thing that I wanted and. Comparing. That to I'm. Still in a good position let. Me take that as confidence, to go ahead and take more risks, so. In my class my students they go on rejection challenges, so. To partners. So partners you, have to go to Starbucks and ask for a free drink your. Partner videotapes, you, okay. And I had them do a pre write-up in a post right up and then, we also take some risk seeking scores, right and, they. Are so afraid I mean even the partner like we've got the footage. The. Partner, who's, not even getting rejected. Is like shaking back there, we, take all the footage in and we splice it together and I show it to everyone in the class and. That's usually a pretty interesting day but. They. Go in they get the no on the macchiato. Right, you. Can hear them trembling in their voice trembling and then. You, have these great, papers. Being written when they say it, wasn't so bad right. Like. Beforehand. I thought this was gonna be the worst experience, on, the face of the planet I got. The know wasn't. So bad I think I'm even willing to take a bigger risk in the future so. We're really doing a lot of research around can. We help to build your rejection immunity. By. Exposing, you right, to new strains of rejection. So yeah. And so we I mean we're talking about you, as a lecturer. And as a teacher now right yeah how. Did you I mean you were NFL coach didn't you moved, on to many different teams and then you pivoted again right went, from coaching. In the NFL which was another one of your dreams. Amazing. Work and then, how did you decide okay. Time to pivot let me take another risk let me teach ya, so that's that's all Dylan Roberts, so I was, in Cleveland as anyone here from Cleveland, before I start making disparaging. This. Like this goes out to the world never quite yeah I know I know I know so this is place called Cleveland. So. We get to Cleveland in 2013. We. Went four and twelve which. As you'll know is not uncommon for the. Cleveland, Browns, it, was actually pretty damn good year. Unfortunately. The owner didn't, agree, with that assessment and we. Play at Pittsburgh we, fly, it back into Cleveland. The last game of the season I get. A text from the, owners. Assistant. It says eating em staff meeting. So. We wake up and, go into the office and the owner walks and he says they really. Appreciate, all of your contributions. You're. All fired right. Good, luck. Go. Home and I'm scrambling eggs and my son who walks in and. He's tugging on my shirt so I'm scrambling eggs thinking about where, is the next NFL City. And. He's tugging on my shirt like what's up man, you. Eat breakfast. Like. Yes. Scramble. Scramble scramble.
Tuck. Tuck I'm like what dude, you. Made breakfast, right so. I turned to my wife I, said. Hilary we. Are paying a lot, of money for this kid to go to a private school. And. Is it too late to get a refund or I. Don't. See that something's, not working. My. Wife, raised. On a ranch in Kansas, she said well let me ask you a question when, was the last time you had breakfast. With Dylan, right. Oh he's never seen you he didn't ever see me and I'm like oh yeah it was I. Could. Not pinpoint the time right so, I. Have. A breakdown, eggs. Are, burning in you've. Got alarms, going off like man and just irony for me was that I. Had. Spent. All of my time with other people's sons and my. Own son didn't know me like. Did not. He. Was he was. Legitimately. Surprised. To see me with. Scrambled eggs and, that. Was a problem, so. I decided, to take a sabbatical side. Note if you ever take a sabbatical. The. Equation, is take the time you think and it's, 5x ok. Year. And then I'll come back 4. Years later I'm still in sabbatical from coaching but. It's been great I went back to teach to. Teach at UT some leadership classes the. Ray Rice episode. Unfolds, and. I take this proposal to our president, for us to create a Center for sports leadership and innovation, to. Be more intentional, around, how we teach athletes, to become leaders, to. Manage, their finances and. That. Was in 2014. And. I present the proposal he's like ok you're gonna run it. I'm on sabbatical so, I'm, kind of like here but not it's. Like no you're running it and. December. 2014. We launched so, we've been at it for four years it's been it's been very, very. Exciting I'll teach a class two freshmen. Athletes at UT and. We, start with Bernie Browns work around vulnerability, and empathy. Migrated. Over into Angela, Duckworth and, grit, and Carol. Dweck and mindset. Have. Our failure, management sequence. Where they go and do all these rejection challenges, and then, in with the leadership and financial management and. How many students, have gone through this program so, I've had 850. Students I, teach. The great thing about the class I think, Ashley. Is that we have half. Of the class is. Comprised. Of, student-athletes. Half, are non athletes, so. You have these two worlds. Colliding, you've. Got the receiver on the football team sitting, down with this computer. You know CS, major yeah and one. Of the first thing I do in the first, day of class, I'll have the computer science major come up and put her schedule. Down on the board, and. I'll have the football player come up and do the same and. You'll, see football, player 5a, workout. Breakfast, shower you. Know classes, lunch, practice, tape. Get. Debated ten eleven. The. Coder the coders been up, from. Like 11:00, to 3:00 working. On code. Sleeps. To ten goes. To class. Eat something around 5:00 in back to coding right, and so I say look. The. Football player thinks oh we have it so tough you, know we have so much time that we're putting into our craft I said you've. Got folks who are, coders. In training, they, are spending as much if not more, time than, you are they, just don't have a hundred and ten thousand people cheering them on on Saturdays, so. You're both putting a lot of time into your craft let's, find ways to kind of bridge the gap between student. Athlete Nathan, and non-athletes. So it's, been it's been fun they keep me young, so this this pivot, was more.
So Unexpected. But it's something that it seems to be very fulfilling right. Yeah I think my life is now. Been, I'm. Trying, to find a ways to. Expand. The. Worldviews, of. Athletes. So. Football players for example I tell them you are mathematicians, right, like for, a. Quarterback to throw a ball. 45. Yards. To. Avoid two defenders. Over. The back shoulder of, a person who's running a 4-3. 40 down. A sideline, with, the wind blowing ten miles out of the West that. Kind of precision that is very complex, math. Take. That and. Translate, it over into your algebra class right, and they see these world as being two separate, spheres and. Everything. That we're doing is trying to break down these barriers to, say you. Know when you give the speech at halftime that. Helps your team to come back from a, deficit, that's. Crisis management like, that has an application in, the private sector don't see it as oh. Yeah. This. Is what I would need to do, yeah. Exactly so let's bring, those lessons, for in any, sport really in translate. Those over into life away from sports sure, can. You talk about your story about how Kevin, Durant fits in on all of us yeah so Kevin Durant so Kevin Durant. Spent. One year at the University of Texas was. One and done and. Has. Such an appreciation for that time like and when you talk to him he. Looks at that one-year sort, of as. The. Calm before the storm right. And was. A phenom out of Maryland. In. 2015. He started thinking about how he could have, a better relationship with the University and. So. We're. Having conversations with his age and I said hey how. About you come to campus. Make. A speech. He's. Like now I would rather do a one-on-one conversation, and, so, we did this talk and we just talked through how. Much he loves mom but doesn't think it's incredible, he, talked about the fact that he thinks that, there's. Such a deficit, of love and, people, who are willing to be vulnerable and that. He's trying to help, people build, a comfort, level with that. And, then. He, he. Talked about hey I want to finally used to be more supportive of what we're. Doing on campus for our athletes and so. He's. Been a supporter, wrote. A nice check to us weeks. Ago thank you. Yes. Million, dollars that Kevin Durant donated, to the, center that Darren founded so big. Yes. I got, a little swipe a little stripe thing, so. Yeah it's been great we've been able to really reach a lot of students, and we're. Gonna be a little more ambitious now with some of our offerings and we're, moving into that period when we're scaling beyond, the, University of Texas so amazing. Well. I, also want to let you know we'll. Have some time for questions, so if you want to just line up at the mics have. A few more things test area but please also feel comfortable to, ask him anything you want take take the risk, take the risks. Darren, okay now we talked about Durant, now, our, other favorite topic doughnuts right mm-hmm. What, is. With you and donut yeah yeah, and what is with this donut, counts, so. I. Realized. That, I. Need. To be very intentional about, spending, time with my family. And. I think a lot of people say oh I'll spend more time in that family and then that's, on a Sunday and, then you get to Saturday, oh I haven't spent any time with my family right so. I went. Into Google. Calendar and. Just. Kind of up a temperature level a little bit outside. So. My, family's color code is orange. And. We have every, Saturday. 7:30. I take. The kids and. We. Go to a different doughnut shop in Austin and you said there were how many there, are 38, okay. It's, crazy it's like and. What's happened this has been going on for four years my mom, does embroidery, so, we've got t-shirts I, mean, we walk in and people like Oh doughnut council hey copy. A few you know doughnuts, be sure to pose that's how you ask for a free thing that's right right wear the shirt yeah and now this guy to the point to where. My. Kids are becoming him they're. Kind of becoming snobs, in a sense.
My. Daughter. Last week we're. At a place she goes you know. Cinnamon. Rolls here a bit dry. And. Which daughter is Sydney. Sydney's five I'm like Sydney you're five just eat the damn thing. It's. Like, it's not as smooth as doughnut hole just. Eat. Now. I'm spending a small mortgage. Right it started out Oh. Half. A dozen doughnut holes here have, fun, people. Want you know bear claws and. Chocolate. Sprinkles. So. Yes are offered three now we have five. Thank. You. Seven. Months and he's, just trying to like get. Some of the residue from the donut oh geez. It's also a great time for a, kid bike with, him around 11:00 so. My wife can just go. And be, childless. For a while I mean she works, for. A non-profit and, also helps with kids and so she's it's good to kind of give her some space but. We're at it for four years and it's been it's been fun so if, anyone wants a donate to the donut council. Half. A million dollar half a million dollars will go will go a long, way. Yeah. Yeah. So. Now we're actually thinking. My. Oldest wants to make a pivot to breakfast tacos. So. You gotta have new embroidered t-shirts. From Grandma we have bylaws. I have. Veto authority, I'm one of the permanent members. I'm. Not sure I feel about me we are in Austin Texas right so there's, a breakfast. Taco on every corner. But. It kind of seems a little different different. It's not quite so yeah. So, it's, been a great way to spend time with the kids and. It'll. Be fun because my son, was talking about oh when I have kids I want to do the same thing so we, need to see the grandkids doing, them so. I mean the. Coolest part for me was you know hearing about the donut council and why I wanted, to talk about it today is it's, not just go, eat donuts with dad it's you. Talk about real. You, know lessons, can you share a little bit yeah so, we talked through current. Events I usually pick one current event and then I'll put pick one, character. Trait right and so, a couple of weeks ago was gratitude, and. We, talked about the value of saying thank you and. I'll. Have them kind of think about hey when was the last time you said thank you it's. Sydney. You could tell Sydney kind of runs the house, Sydney, says she got an extra slice of pizza at school, and. She told all the lady, at the cafeteria thank, you right I was like well how'd you get just like because oh well she knows I really like this cheese that. They don't normally have and, she gave me an extra one, you. Know she's very particular about food and. I say well how do you think she felt no she gave me a big smile right, so. We talked about how. There. Are these things called soft skills that, people talk about that's.
Completely, Off they're, hard and these. Are the skills that will get you fired, hired. Governments. Fall countries. Fall right I just truth, and integrity so, they're very important. And they're hard and we have to be very intentional. About you, know talking about them so. Yeah. They. They're. Really now. They have their own topics right. There now they're they're, starting to bring him to the hey can, we talk about. Movies. And how we can get more time on the iPad. Doesn't. Really fit in with the. Skill. So. It's, been it's been a blast so, how do you I mean you. Are teaching students, and athletes, how. To take risks yeah are. You starting to teach that to your children and if so how are you doing that yes. So, I'm. Gonna start this year actually to kind, of going through the, rejection resume, I'm gonna start broadcasting. When I want, to get turned down from things so I paid. I've been going through a two-week cycle with the Harvard Business Review, pitching. Them this article, about, Super, Bowl winning coaches, and focus and how CEOs, can do the same thing it. Got so close and she finally was like no right. What. Say I took a screenshot of the email I thought I just put us out on social media without her information, and say got. Turned down by Harvard Business Review but, you know what it just helps me I think. The thing with rejection is you can't you. Can't take it personal, but you have to make it personal in. The sense of I, have to dissect the entire process did. I give her enough time then I really flesh out the proposal, could. It have been more succinct, and then use that for. Round, number two so. With. That we've been talking about entrepreneurship. And at home and so, my, kids said hey you know how you stuff all those, Christmas. Cards we. Want to start a business where. People will send their unstuffed, cards, to us, right. I've got, like a legion right of hands, and, we'll stuff it for them and and. Mail them off I thought that's pretty good so. My wife and I have talked about having, some sort of entrepreneurial, theme, this year where. We help, them get something off the ground great, yeah well we can't wait to see when you know you do next and what your kids especially Sydney yes, watch, out for Sydney yeah, we. Have a question. There. That. I haven't fully, through. Yet and just wanted to see if maybe something. You've thought about but, how do you address like, this. You, know a person, or you. Know whatever. That's like coming. You know acting like a person who is risk-averse. But. Perhaps their, risk aversion comes, from a place of needing, to be perfect. When. We grew up we talked, about practice, makes perfect, now, I make a deliberate, attempt to tell my daughter like practice makes progress but. I feel like a lot of us were raised to, think, about being, really perfect, and I feel like when I think about myself that I'm very risk-averse but I wonder if a lot of my risk. Aversion, comes, from this like psychology. Of being raised to try to be perfect. Yes. What's. Your name catty. Catty, first, thing I want to steal that practice, makes progress so. If you see it in another form and no I've just taken, it from me. Secondly. So. I was like Amazon, last week and one, of their 14, hope, this is okay one. Of their 14 leadership principles, is a. Bias for action and. I've. Adopted this massive, action theme for the year I deal. With 300, freshmen a year and the helicopter. Parent, phenomenon, is a very, real thing, where. They land at the University, of Texas and it's. Got to be a four Oh highest. Honors president. Of his club in the, right dorm like you know the color. Of the bedsheets have to be perfect, like everything, has to be perfected. So. I'm constantly, talking, about them talking, with him about imperfections. And. And, also trying, to get them the favored action. And say listen all, you, want is more data, so. If you wait to build this thing until you have it all would. You think perfectly. Prepared. You. Have you've. Kept herself from collecting, the data that you would have gotten if people just thrown a beta version out there right. And so I. Think. We do feel like and I think it's sort of this Instagram, culture. Of I need the right filter, and the lighting, and the angle, and then I'm gonna post, we've. Taken that approach and sort, of translated, over into our professional. Lives and, I'm. A big believer and, just throw something out there get. The feedback go. For version two, because, I think that's holding us back, we, have tenure projects, that could have been two-year. Projects, because, we haven't been willing to put something into the marketplace and, just let the market speak, for itself so it's, a real thing I think that the, more, that we can just say this.
Doesn't Have to be completed. When I let, go that. I'm gonna take that data and use. It to make it better you, have, a good point thank, you hey, Darren thanks for coming yeah I'm. Curious about your. Choice to get into coaching versus. Something that might have been like a more natural fit with your Harvard Law background like front-office type work the, goal was to, do something really far outside your wheelhouse or if, you did, consider that and just that was where the passion yeah so, and it's. Interesting you say that your name again, Todd, it's interesting you say that because Todd I had, the coaches on my staff say when. I first walked in the Kansas City oh you, should go the, GM track right. Like you'd be a better you know better suited GM, I, liked. The challenge of starting. Something I played. In high school like I said but, I didn't have any coaching, knowledge, right and I liked, the. Challenge of, having. To learn a new code it's, a language that, was. More exciting for me been sort of doing something that resembled, a bit, of what I had invested three years and. I say like we need to I'm. Constantly. Looking for ways to stay in over my head. And. I thought that the GM track made too much sense I, really. Wanted to stretch my mind in a different direction, I tell, you what when you have, you. Have 25 26, year old men who are 65, 240. Pounds, running 4 3 8 40s, you know flat-footed, jumping 46. Inches. And you, have to tell them the. Route to run on a, certain. Play. It. Takes a lot of courage to look, look up at this guy and saying this is what you need to do right, and, I knew that was gonna stretch me more than the, office side of the job and. The. Last point is. What's. Ironic it's, made me a better teacher. Dealing. With athletes, for seven years has, helped me I think to be a. Fairly. Good teacher in the classroom, so, it. Was a thought but then I sort of dismissed it and went for coaching. Oh. I would agree we were a few of us were just there you, didn't. Call, Thanks. Look you're getting me in trouble Thanks I'm. Sorry you mentioned kind of this idea, of like. When you were talking about the illustration of the CS student and the athlete, and these kind of two worlds combining, of sports and the outside world yeah I feel like we're in a. Place where there's very interesting things happening, with sports technology, and those kind of two fields together I'm, wondering if you've seen, anything happening, on like, UT campus or other campuses, or your program is working with any programs, to not only. Get. The technology into the. Athletes hands to have them using it on the field or in practice but, also teaching. Them about the, technology, so they can get interested, in it and maybe, change.
It For the better to help future at yes, so Cory, great first great tip and then on, the sublime and then great question, so, we're actually in, the. Fall, we're, unveiling a, Sports. Entrepreneurship. Sequence, at the Business School so. We're gonna have twenty athletes, twenty non-athletes. And they, will start it ideation, all, the way to. You. Know putting the thing into the marketplace a year-long course, and. We'll bring in sports entrepreneurs, to, expose, them to you. Know this thing that we call entrepreneurship. I think. You're spot on because it's it's been relatively, recent, that people have kind of looked around and said wait we. Can test. Instead. Of waiting for the data to come back we, can just use the on the field data. From practice, and from training camps to, inform the way that we build products. And you actually have a couple of athletic. Departments, that, are considering, building. In-house, incubators. So. You see this with the, 76ers, for example, where. They're just saying let's just bring this in-house because we have world-class, athletes. To. Get good feedback from, let's. Use this setting as a space where we can ID eight and then, test out new concepts, so I think this is really over. The next few years that this concept, will really really, take off. Thank. You Corinne. Let's. Go over here, hi. Darren my, name is Veronica, and I. Am. Seeing in my field, of expertise, which is employment law that. At the higher levels, of corporate America especially you know we're dealing with like c-suite folks and the leaders in. The. Companies that. The. Soft skills that you alluded to earlier. Directly. Contribute, to the breakdown of and meltdown of you, know workplace, relationships, so. In your talks and, your trainings. With those leaders what. Kind of response. Are you getting from those leaders when you talk to them about skills. Like. Yeah. So. At first you, know they walk in and it's, HR, has, put. This thing together and they've got to go get real mushy for an hour right so they don't, want to be there and. Then. We really, especially, with vulnerability, first. I'll show them the research that says for. Managers, who, score. High on the vulnerability, scale, their. Teams produce, more like all the things you care about revenue. And, shareholder, all. Of those measures go up and it's. Counterintuitive but, the reason is, the. Team members say oh if she has the. Confidence. To. Be vulnerable and there are some limits right but to be vulnerable it creates, this safe space and they feel more comfortable and they, actually produce, more.
And Better products. And ideas and concepts, so. I first have to get them to buy in but there's this there's, this. Very. Real, bottom. Line benefit. To being and using vulnerability, and fee and then, I used that hooked and didn't say hey listen it's also just good as a human, right. Like empathy. The. Ability to, take the perspective of, someone else if. There is anything that's in short supply right now in our country in a world like it's it's got to be empathy right because we're all we. Know the right answers we, know what everyone should be doing it's, a black-white it's. A very binary world, and a lot of us live in but. To be able to stop and say. I'm. Not from the same hometown we're, not the same race or religion but, I can. See how she would arrive at this feeling, or conclusion. I think that's that's important, it's an uphill battle though, I think especially in corporate America. Vulnerability. Empathy are are tough sales but we're, working, ok, so we'll take one last question and. Then you can come in and I stare at a few more afterwards, please. I'm, curious, you, know in the two pivots, that happened they kind of came at natural. Points I would sit as far as you, graduated, and then maybe. Unnatural, but you know you were fired, you're let go, I'm, curious, outside. Of that how, often do you kind of reevaluate. Where, you are whether. There's something else. You could be doing that would expand. Your impact and and moreover, you. Know you've done a bunch of different things you've, you know coached, you know a group of you know say, you know ten folks and your ten guys in your receiver group or whatever and. Now you're directing, this big thing how. Do you you know compare, those different options and evaluate. Impact. In all these different yeah. Man. Zach you just got right to it part, of it. Yeah. That's. The process like right now this is where I am so, I talked, about staying in over your head I am. I'm. Constantly. Thinking now like am i challenging. Myself enough. I. May, if. I get comfortable it gets a little I'm, on edge and I feel like I may be getting that point right. I'm. Also at the point where I have determined for me, that. My life needs, to consist, of. Writing. Speaking. And teaching, and. If I think about the commonality, between coaching. And what I do in the classroom it's the teaching piece you, know that's the common thread. So.
Now That I've identified that, subset. Of what I need I'm. Gonna, filter any opportunity. That comes, across. My plate through those three it needs to go three for three you know I'm gonna be 40 I can't, go two for three like I need a three for three setup. But. I even don't know if I'm if I'm really challenging, myself enough, right now, so. I'm actively thinking about that and. If you have some answers for me I was thinking I'll. Pay you for them but, I think it's a question that. People. Who want to be intentional, about their lives they're constantly, asking that question so, thank. You thank you for that thank you well. Darren thank you so much for spending time actually, sharing. Your story I. Have. One quick, question just really, really, quick, Super, Bowl Sunday oh Lord. Eagles. By three. You. You.