Sometimes it's more than a burger. In this episode of the MarketFoolery podcast, host Chris Hill reflects on breaks, getting clear on your quest in both your personal and financial life, a few of the listeners he met at this year's SXSW trip Fool meet-up, and the wisdom imparted to him by a man running a fantastic food truck in Austin, Texas.
When was the last time you took a break from work? Do you remember? Maybe it's time for another. Tune in to tell when you might be due for a break and why it's so important to not let your purpose get lost in the day-to-day busyness of it all.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on March 28, 2018.
Chris Hill: It's Wednesday, March 28th. Welcome to MarketFoolery! I'm Chris Hill. Wrapping up, it's going to be a short week, we're a little shorter this week, because it's spring break week. Again, I'm out this week so we're taking a little break. And you know what? That's OK! Breaks are good for us. That's one of the biggest things I've learned this year, and I'll share that in just a second. As you probably figured out, it's just me in the studio today. I wanted to share a couple of thoughts, a couple of final wrap up thoughts about the trip to South by Southwest. But, let me start with the taking breaks thing.
I'm taking a little break this week because it's spring break. The kids are off from school, so they're getting a break. When was the last time you took a break? You should take breaks. Dan Pink, who's a best-selling author that I've interviewed a couple of times, the book that is his most recent is entitled When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, it was a real eye-opener for me, and definitely very helpful, both in the broad "how does one think about how they spend their time" kind of way, but also in the very specific, here are some things you can do to help yourself. It's something that I've tried to put in place in my daily work life, which is, and I'm paraphrasing here from Dan -- it's a great book, you should definitely pick it up. Or, Dan probably isn't listening to this, so, you can just go to your local library and take it out. But, the idea that, when you take a mental break during the day, it's basically like a Zamboni for your brain. Taking just a 20-minute break, whether you actually fall asleep or you close your eyes and unplug a little bit. So, again, ask yourself, when was the last time you took a break? If it's been a while, if you have to think more than maybe 10 seconds about the last time you took a break from work, then you're going to need to start planning your next break, because it's been too long.
I mentioned South by Southwest. We had a great time once again. It was the third year that I'd gone, and the third year we had a meetup with listeners, and this was the biggest one we've had. I just want to say thanks again to the people who came out. I can't remember absolutely everyone's name, so I apologize for that, but I did get a chance to speak with everyone who was there, and it was great.
I did mention this in a previous episode, it's always interesting to me to meet people and find out what they do in their lives. There were young people I met who were interested in finance and working in finance. Jamie Cornelius is a very bright young woman who started her career as a financial advisor. But then, there are people like Danny Schmidt, who brought his little daughter Macy, who's adorable. Danny is a musician, and his wife is a musician. And the fact that they're using investing as a way to enable their own careers and do what they love, that's fantastic. Eugene. Dr. Tim Vakris -- I'm going to go with Dr. Tim, because I'm clearly butchering his last name -- thank you to Dr. Tim for talking to me. He's in sports medicine. And I'm going to take one more crack at the Marine Corps Marathon, and he's going to help me get through it. So, thank you, Dr. Tim, for your help. Scott Killin, who very nicely brought cajeta, which is a dessert topping which I have never heard of before, but which is amazing.
And last but not least, I have to thank the three people who came the farthest, it's these three guys from the University of Houston -- Danny, Derek and Dante. I started chatting with them, and they're young-looking guys, so I just said, "Are you guys in college?" They said, "Yeah." I said, "University of Texas?" thinking they were from right there in Austin. And Danny said, "No, University of Houston." I said, "Oh, are you here for South by Southwest?" And he just kind of looked at me and shrugged and said, "No, we're here for this." And I said, "Wait a minute, how far is Houston from here? How long of a drive is that?" And he said, "It's about three hours." I said, "You're doing a six hour round-trip drive so you can come hang out with a couple of Fools?" And he said, "Yeah." That's phenomenal! That's just fantastic! And Danny is one of those people who is looking at a career in finance. And based on my conversation with him, I think he's going to do just fine, because he's clearly very far ahead of the game, certainly much farther than I was when I was his age. And I'm going to go ahead and say he's farther ahead of the game than I was when I was 30. So, thank you to those guys for making that trip, and for everyone for coming out.
We're going to be doing a listener meet up somewhere in the D.C. area in late May. We haven't figured out the time or the date or the location. But other than that, we know it's going to happen. So, once we have details on that, I will make sure we put that information out here. And we're coming to Denver in the fall in October, so we'll be trying to do a listener meet up there as well.
There's one more person that I met in Austin, Texas, and I'm going to share his story in just a second, because it's one of those times where, I talked with this guy for maybe 10 minutes, and I've actually thought a lot about our conversation in the intervening days. His name is Kyle, and I'll share a little bit more about him and just a second.
The -- I was going to say it was the last night in Austin, but it was not. It was the Sunday night in Austin. Producer Dan Boyd and Dylan Lewis, who hosts Industry Focus, and I, had had a very busy day, a lot of interviews that we had done throughout the day. And we were all staying in the same condo. So, we went back to the condo, we were doing some work there, and it was like, we have to get something to eat. So, we found this restaurant in East Austin that was walking distance from our place, not too far away. We go there and it's a 45-minute wait. We're like, "No, we can't wait that long."
By this point, it's about 09:00 o'clock at night, and we just start walking along Cesar Chavez Avenue. And it's one of those main strips in Austin, and we just keep walking, because we know there are restaurants in the direction we're headed. We know there are bars, we know there are restaurants, and we're just like, we're going to find a place, we're going to get a bite to eat.
And as we're walking along, across the street, we see in this small empty parking lot a food truck. And the food truck, the big name across the top, says Excaliburger. Wonderful play on the name Excalibur. Excaliburger. And we look at that and we just comment to one another, "That's a great name. That's empirically a great name for a food truck." And we're assuming -- correctly, as it turns out -- that they're selling burgers. But we're not stopping there, we just keep walking along. And we get past that block, we get a little bit past that block where the food truck is, and we're waiting for the light to turn so we can cross, and the wind shifts, and now we can smell the burgers. And Dan Boyd looks at me and Dylan and points to the food truck and says, "I think we have to go there now." And we did, because it just smelled so good. And also, it was 09:00 o'clock at night, we were hungry.
So, we walk over. There were a couple of women who had already put in their orders and they were waiting for their food, so, it's not like we have to wait in a line or anything like that. So, I go up to the truck and there's this guy, just kind of a laid-back guy but he's hustling back there on the grill, and he says, "I'll be with you in just a second, let me take care of one or two things," and I say, "OK, no problem." So, he comes up and the food truck has this open space on the side of the truck where there are all these drinks. There's bottles of Coke and that sort of thing, plastic bottles of water. So, this guy leans over. And while he's doing his thing, I'm looking, and there's a pretty bare-bones menu at Excaliburger. I was thinking, "Maybe they have a few different things." No, it's really just straight up burgers, and you can get them with bacon or cheese, and that's pretty much it. Which is fine.
So, I'm ready to order, and he leans over, and he has his pen and he says, "Can I get a name?" And I say, "It's Chris." And without looking at me, he's still looking down at his pad, and the tone of his voice changes, and he says, "Chris, what is your quest?" And I'll be honest, it's 09:00 o'clock at night, I'm hungry, it's been a busy, long day, and 40% of me really didn't want to play along with this. 40% of me was like, come on, man, I just want to order my food and start eating. But fortunately, 60% of me was like, this guy is totally leaning until the Excaliburger thing, OK, fine.
So again, he says, "Chris, what is your quest?" And I pause for a second and then I say, "I seek a burger." And he broke into this big smile and said, "OK, all right." And he takes my order, he asks me a couple of questions. He says, "Do you want something to drink?" And I said, "Yeah, I'll just grab a bottle of water."
Dan Boyd comes up next, same sort of thing. Dan has watched all of this play out. He says, "My name's Dan." And same thing, "Dan, what is your quest?" And Dan orders his burger, and he says, "Do you want something to drink?" And Dan says, "Yeah, I'll grab one of these Cokes." And he says, "Would you like me to open that for you?" And Dan says sure and hands it to him. And I had not seen this at this point. This guy reaches above his head and pulls out a sword, an enormous sword, and in one fell swoop pops the cap off the bottle. And we applauded, because that was a boss move by that guy.
Anyway, we get the burgers, they're fantastic. And I start talking to this guy, because again, it's late on a Sunday night, there aren't really more people coming to order burgers, so I start asking him a couple of questions. Eventually, he comes out of the truck and starts talking. His name's Kyle and he's about 30 years old. He was from Little Rock, Arkansas, and he just drove the truck to Austin, Texas and got the requisite permit and just set up shop. And basically, he'd worked in the restaurant industry for his adult life. And there are parts of it that he liked, but there were parts he didn't like. And he said he had a book of ideas that he had kept, and he got to a point, it sounds like maybe about a year and a half ago, where he just reached a point in his -- from my view, young life, with many decades to come -- but he got to a point where he just said, "I have to pick one of my ideas and do it, because if I don't, then I'm going to be old and I'm going to look back on my life and I'm going to regret not attempting one of these ideas, so I just have to pick one." And the one idea that he picked was this idea for a food truck. And it was the name that he had, he thought, "That's a great name for a burger food truck." He was a fascinating young guy, and one of those people who you meet and you learn a little bit about them and you totally root for them.
But the thing I just keep coming back to is that first question, which is, what is your quest? It's one of those things that makes me think, we should all ask ourselves that question, because it's so easy, maybe even easier than ever before, I think -- maybe it just feels that way sometimes, but it feels like it's easier than ever before to just get swept up in the day to day machinations of our lives, because it's so easy to be busy. You can be a student and be in school and you're busy with school, and then you have your social life and your social media life, and you can just be an "adult" who has a job. And if you have a family, that's more time that's dedicated to something else. And having a job is great, having a family is great. And all these things are wonderful. But I think, to go back to Dan Pink and taking a break, I think every now and then it's good to take a step back and not just take a break but take a break and ask yourself, "What is my quest? What am I trying to do in my life, and what am I trying to do in my financial life?" Because those are often intertwined. And they don't have to be the same thing. But, the more you can think about your financial life and what your quest is, it will help inform your actions, whether that is working with an advisor or becoming a little bit more involved in your finances or helping other people in your life or your circle of friends become involved in their finances. But the question of, what is your quest, is one that has stuck with me for a couple of weeks now, and I think will continue to for a while to come.
By the way, Dan Boyd and Dylan Lewis went back a couple of nights later. I had left Austin, Texas by that point. But they went back to Excaliburger, and they brought recording equipment. If you're not already listening to Industry Focus, I can tell you that in the works is a special bonus edition of Industry Focus. It may be coming this Saturday. I think it's tentatively scheduled for this Saturday. But, if not this Saturday, it's coming pretty soon. If you're interested in learning a little bit more about Excaliburger and Kyle, again, they went back, they got another round of burgers and brought their recording equipment. So, I know I'm looking forward to the episode, so hopefully you can check that out as well.
That's going to do it for this MarketFoolery. Thank you for indulging me. Thank you, as always, for listening. It's always great to meet people at listener meet ups, but I know those are rare, and I know that I'll never meet the overwhelming majority of the dozens who listen. So, just know that I appreciate each and every one of you for taking time to listen, because we all have different amounts of money, but we all have the same amount of time. So, the fact that anyone takes any amount of their precious time and decides they're going to spend it listening to one of The Motley Fool's podcasts is just phenomenal, and I can't say thank you enough.
That's it for this week. We're off tomorrow. Hope everyone has a good, long weekend. We'll be back on Monday, as once again, earnings season will slowly begin to heat up in the month of April. And by the way, since I won't be talking before the calendar flips to April, have a great April 1st! That's our holiday here at The Motley Fool, because of course, April 1st is the day that everyone is a Fool.