Family First with Doug Anderson

Boomer Anderson
November 30, 2019
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Boomer sits down with Doug Anderson, his father. Growing up, Doug was always able to put family first even as a busy executive. How did he do it? In this Thanksgiving episode, Doug and Boomer talk a bit about growing up doing competition barbecue, moving kids at a young age, and how Doug made it to all the sporting events.


[2:00] Making the appropriate child development decisions

[5:44] Growing up in the 60s

[7:47] Competition barbecue

[13:57] Documenting and measuring BBQ performance

[19:18] Managing time between work, family, sports, and leisure activities

[22:02] What has contributed to your successful career?


Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Barbeque Society

Episode Transcript

Boomer Anderson 0:09
Alright, superhumans, it is the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, my favorite holiday of the year. And today I want to say that I am grateful not only for you guys listening because you are all epic. But I’m eternally grateful for the family that I grew up in. My mother and father are incredible people. They did an incredible job of both raising myself and my brother. And today, I wanted to do something special. Really, because it’s Thanksgiving. My father Doug Anderson, more affectionately known as Diddy, is on the show with me today to discuss the idea of family and how he was able to put Family First, even as a senior vice president of operation At a mutual fund, he was always there for us. And I wanted to click record on this conversation because I was trying to figure out how he pulled it off, because we’re all under this time constraint. But he managed to figure it out. So this one’s special. And the show notes are at decoding superhuman calm, ditty. But enjoy my conversation with my father. The BBQ champion, the executive. The now retired Doug Anderson. Diddy welcome to the show.

Doug Anderson 1:41
Sheet thank you very much Boom man!

Boomer Anderson 1:45
the warm welcome. All right. This is the first time I’m doing this on the podcast as you know, because it’s the first time I’m bringing anyone from the family on the podcast. But we’re here in lovely Asheville, North Carolina so why the hell not?

Doug Anderson 1:58
can’t think of a better place.

Boomer Anderson 2:00
There’s always been a few questions that I’ve wanted to understand, especially as I enter into this potential season of life where I may have kids in the future. But since we have a number of different people listening to this, who have families, and are really struggling with the idea of balancing work life and all that stuff, but why don’t we passport back to way back when we can either look at Chicago or moving to Kansas City or moving to Philadelphia, any one of those, any of those? How did you and mom kind of arrive at the decision to move and how did you look at it from like a child development perspective?

Doug Anderson 2:49
Okay, well, if I look at since you all were born in Chicago, bears

Yeah, we got that one but since since we’re all are Around the Chicago area was kind of like Okay, what else can we do? So what I looked at when opportunities arose in the industry was is there a better place to raise a family it sounds kind of like really, really bad that many better places. In some cases there are. Kansas City was a wonderful place to get you guys in started in school and doing all of those things. And what could be better than example, go into a chiefs game. No, I magnificent thing to do. Yeah, season tickets to the chase chiefs. That was amazing. family friendly. You know, you could go up you could be in the stands. We had people around us by our seats that were so much younger than we were. And you guys were just Little Tikes. Yeah. And you know what the guys around us language got a little rough. Sometimes they would tell everybody else to shut up and and his do so you know had to buy some brewskis every once in a while they would bring m&ms for you guys to eat.

Boomer Anderson 4:06
It was great day when I ate them.

Doug Anderson 4:09
Well, that’s true. Now they’re like poisonous to you. Yeah, I think but no, those are the kinds of things that that we really got together and enjoyed. And that that was a part of Kansas City Life. That was incredible.

Boomer Anderson 4:20
So let’s talk about Philadelphia then. Because Philadelphia has some notorious sports fans, right? Yeah. Throwing ice balls at Santa. And we were a little bit older. I think Bill was younger than me. But like, we were a little bit older than how did that look in terms of that move? Because I know from a career perspective as a great move for you. Yeah. How did you kind of like cuz child development, I guess is something that comes up when you have kids. Okay. Well,

Doug Anderson 4:47
the thing is, is about Philadelphia was diversification. Yeah. I mean, when we moved there, it was much different than Kansas City back is much different than Chicago was to even though you’re pretty young for Chicago. But trying to find the right fit. We found the right town to move to. That was the one thing quite media

Boomer Anderson 5:10

Doug Anderson 5:13
Couldn’t get him a more common name. Yeah.

But the town was really good. I mean, it was diversified. It was good had decent schools, always a priority. It was schools. Now how good were they? And it was the first place that I can say we went to where people actually looked at, do my kids go to what High School do my kids go to? I grew up all over the country. Yeah, I never had a choice of high schools.

Boomer Anderson 5:44
Can we just because people haven’t heard your story on the show. Give us a sample of where you grew up, because I don’t even think I got the full list of it.

Doug Anderson 5:57
I can do it pretty quick, because it’s It’s Michigan, California, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Kansas, Missouri. Illinois. world So, because North Carolina

Boomer Anderson 6:14
Yeah. And this is all because Grampa worked for an auto, right.

Doug Anderson 6:19
Yeah, well, my, my dad was Believe it or not an accountant. Yeah, but he was a troubleshooting guy. So he used to fix things. He worked for a major automotive firm. Back in the 60s that had a lot of problems. Yeah. And so we moved constantly, and the longest I ever lived in any single house growing up was five years and that was once. Wow. So it’s usually I think we average moving to another home every two to three years after doing that, so got pretty flexible making friends. Yeah, I mean, that’s just the way it is. And you know, people say isn’t that hard? Not really. One was the only thing you knew. I mean, you just had to you had to deal with it. So step up the plate and play.

Boomer Anderson 7:06
Well, it’s funny because you just said being flexible with making friends and I think that is one thing that when we moved from Chicago to Kansas City I’ll be that was very young, but Kansas City Philadelphia, you had to be very flexible and making friends. And that’s something that’s kind of stuck and work we could get into competition barbecue here too. But that’s kind of stuck with you that way with me in terms of making friends in different cultures. And it was just interesting to hear how you went through Philadelphia and that way, why don’t we talk about the competition barbecue? Why not?

Doug Anderson 7:44
Like, why not? Okay, so that was a Kansas City thing. Yeah.

Boomer Anderson 7:47
So when did the competition barbecue come into play? Because I tell people this all the time. And they just say like, Hey, I didn’t Even though competition barbecue existed, some people still don’t. Yeah, it’s on TV all the time. It is it is particularly in the US. But how did you get into the competition barbecue,

Doug Anderson 8:13
believe it or not smoking some ribs on a very tiny smoker on my back porch, drinking beer with a newfound friend from Memphis, Tennessee, okay. And he came by, and we were having some ribs and drinking some beers and having a good time. And all of a sudden he goes, I want you to be on my competition team. And I said, What’s that? Never heard of it before? So he kind of explained me what it was and we did a few competitions after that. And we put together a group of people from our neighborhood, and which was really nice from that standpoint, because everybody was very friendly. So I mean, we would be out on driveways and you know middle streets and doing stuff like that, and barbecuing some great things. And pretty soon we gathered together, I think it was probably about eight guys. And it basically was, I shouldn’t say eight guys, it was eight families, because we always included everybody in the families in those things because it made more fun. And so we just kind of play with that. practice sessions were kind of constant. You know, who’s got the best sauce? Who’s got the new smoking method for this? Who’s got this? Who’s got that? And who was willing to spend some money? Yeah. And that was always a treat because barbecue competition barbecue is not a cheap sport.

Boomer Anderson 9:42
It didn’t seem like it and based on some of the bills that I’ve seen in the past, I certainly know it’s not. Now you went from participant to leader in a way in this field.

Doug Anderson 9:55
I guess you want to call it that. Yeah.

Boomer Anderson 10:00
What made you just say like, Hey, I’m going to take the bull by the horns and learn this shit?

Doug Anderson 10:05
Well, I don’t think I don’t think I ever did anything quite that dramatic. It was more or less of, I would practice. I would make comments on things, I’d say, Hey, I think we need to do this. I think we need to do that. So I was always looking for other things like that. But I wasn’t the only one who was doing it. So there were other members of the team doing doing the same things. It’s just kind of maybe I was a little more vocal. But now

Boomer Anderson 10:29
I can imagine. Yeah, Doug Anderson afraid to speak is not afraid to speak. Yeah. And that’s an interesting family trait there, that’s for sure. So barbecue competitions, just for people who are unaware of what they are, can just walk people through what you actually get judged on and we can use kcbs as an example.

Doug Anderson 10:50
Right? Well, kcbs for all of you out there that have no idea what that term means. And it’s Kansas City barbecue society. It’s It’s the largest bar recued Association in in the US and probably even in the world, yeah. But it was it was put together by a bunch of people in Kansas City. That’s why it’s called can see barbecue society. And they think they’re the aura of barbecue.

Boomer Anderson 11:17
The Mecca if you will.

Doug Anderson 11:19
Yeah, they’re they think they’re at the top of the mountain and quite frankly, they’re pretty damn good. But Memphis debates that you know other other places around all debate that and, and guess what they all have got great barbecue. Just a question of what you like. Then you have to deal with when I guess we’ll talk about Kansas City barbecue sided because it’s really four categories you get entered into Yeah, it’s all blind judging. So you put your product that you come up with in a styrofoam box, close the lid and send it in and it has a number on it on the bottom so that the judges can see where it’s coming from. They mix it all up and do all those things. Then it’s all blind tasting. So they let six judges at a time. Sample a team’s product, and they judge it on a scale of one through nine, nine being the highest score you can get one being you might as well just throw that thing out whatever is submitted. Yeah. And any judge that gives a one or two It better be like burnt or poisonous or something. Yeah, because that is not fair at all. Because guess what, it’s a lot of work doing this stuff. And you’re up in the day, all night long tending to barbecues and all that kind of stuff. Now we all have electronics and other things that help us with that.

Boomer Anderson 12:42
Yeah. So this is pre Internet of Things, devices that would allow you to, to really walk away but and set it and forget it using that Ron Popeil phrase but this is pre internet I just remembered like staying up all night and sometimes failing to stay up all night and letting fires go

Doug Anderson 12:57
at one time.

Boomer Anderson 13:00
Yeah. And so this is just is fascinating to me. And so they judge you on taste tenderness and appearance. Is that right? Yes, that’s correct. And taste is double in terms of this.

Yes. So the way that they did the taste score is doubled. Yeah. Okay.

And so as you were kind of just to give some people some insight here, your, when you’re developing and testing your different sauces, and everything, I mean, I remember notebooks and these kind of things. So have a lot of those. So, yeah, so notebooks. And so the idea of just sort of sampling and this is why I never go to barbecue restaurants anymore. Also, because it’s not the healthiest thing

to eat. But also, I would debate that with you, but

it’s okay. It’s okay. The measurement, the aspect of measurement and how you use it to improve you were documenting pretty much everything I remember schedules,

Doug Anderson 13:57
right, yeah, still have a bunch of those, but You know, they’re all in various forms now of Excel and other things like that. But it was really, I kind of, I will say, my family, meaning you and your brother and your mother. Were kind of the experiment and terror, so to speak. Every Saturday for months on end, maybe even minimum years, I’m not sure. I would do ribs three different ways because I was bound and determined to have ribs perfection. And you were the only kids that we would have when all our friends got together, whatever it is, that had no desire to ever eat ribs again.

Because they thought they were force fed.

Some people would say that was a nice problem to have. Yeah. But you know, others were Yeah, it was a little bit of extreme but that’s just the way it goes. I mean, if you think you had bad your poor mother, you just tap the taste and drive. Everything I can imagine so, and sometimes it took years to perfect something to see if you’re already good. I mean ribs, I think I finally got a ribbon in ribs after about five or six years. And so ribbons being anything 10th place or higher. Yeah, or depending on the contest. Sometimes you got hardware sometimes, you know, you got ribbons, whatever it was, I mean, after a while, when you’ve been doing this for a while, I just say give me a check. Just give me a check for the winnings. I don’t care about that spending so much money already, I need to recoup something. So that that’s why I say if anybody thinks barbecuing is you know, you take your Weber out there and do something and if you walk around a barbecue contest and see what kind of equipment is out there, and what people do some of it homemade, works great. Some of it very extravagant, insulated, steals, all sorts of other things with things that talk to the internet now And do all those things. We have all of that stuff.

Boomer Anderson 16:03
I’m waiting for the artificial intelligence powered barbecue machine, but we’ll,

Doug Anderson 16:08
we’ll see what’s getting closer at the end.

Boomer Anderson 16:09
Sure. We’re on a race to the singularity and I’m sure somebody will come up with that very soon. Let’s talk we’re gonna go from barbecue now to sports because one of the things that

Doug Anderson 16:21
well, I will tell you the one thing everybody goes well if you can’t make any money in barbecue, why do you keep doing it? The one reason I do it and and I probably say the main reason is one yes, you do get to cook some great food. But to the people that do competition barbecue are incredible. Yeah, they are. Some of the nicest people in the world will do anything for you. And guess what? We all have a blast. When we go to the barbecue contest. It’s not just to win, even though that’s probably the main one. But you know, I don’t want to walk into a barbecue contest and say, oh, I’ll be happy with fifth place. No, I’m not I’m I’m happy when I win.

Boomer Anderson 16:58
But and we You going back to that? I guess this is kind of diversity, in some sense state diversity, certainly. But going growing up in this environment where we were essentially spending half the summer in sports, half the summer and barbecue, and going and really, learning how to have adult conversations very early on, has or just participating in adult conversations has definitely served. I know me, and I can certainly probably step on bill here and say that it probably helped him as well. Definitely. All right, let’s, let’s go to sports, because you are a magician at this. And I can’t see I can’t figure it out. Because time is one of those things that we can’t create more of, and I can’t figure out how certain people well, I can’t figure out how certain people create time but as you add more variables into life, time becomes less than Last, one of those things can be children. And they certainly take a lot of time. You had a very successful career, and you were still able to make sporting events. How you want to talk about resilience, you want to talk about energy, you want to talk about upgrading yourself. Well, first, you gotta sleep well, you got to eat well, you got a sunwell. And you got to exercise well, but assuming you have all those things in place, and you want to kick it up a few notches, if you want to go to 120. Well, nootropics may be an option for you. And you guys know that I’ve been a fan of neuro hacker collective for a very long time now. I was an early adopter of the original stack. I still keep something stocked by the way. I use quality of mind caffeine free when I’m traveling, and they’ve come out with some really amazing new products. You can check out Turn us for cellular optimization, but also their energy drink. And since it’s the holiday season, you may want to head over to neuro hacker calm and use the code Boomer for a discount, but I’m sure they’re going to be running some discounts given the holidays. Give us the magic sauce.

Doug Anderson 19:18
Well, some of the magic sauce had to be how I was brought up. Okay, and one of those things was is my father was he was workaholic too. And that’s just kind of that’s it’s in our genes to do that. But heI think he made one of my football games when I was growing up, you know, and that was it. I could be off on that a little bit but not by much. So it was it may I made it a priority is that I won’t be like that. I want to watch you guys play. Plus, you guys are pretty respectable at the sports you played. So it would made it kind of fun. And then you know, you get together with the parents there and everything else and you have a good time. But how I make that happen all the time. I was lucky enough where I was kind of high enough in the process of the companies I worked for that I could select the people in my groups, and everybody had families, and we always made it a priority so that it couldn’t be just me. It had to be everyone. If you had somebody that they had a dance recital, if they had a sporting event, or whatever it is, and you really wanted to be there. We made it happen. It’s like somebody would cover the desk, somebody would cover the phones, what whatever it took. We made it happen so that people could do that because we thought it was really important to do that. And family life is you know, family is first that’s just the way it is. And if you don’t feel that way, well then don’t have a family don’t have fairpoint.

Boomer Anderson 20:55
So, culturally, this is interesting because the family is first asked by does not really that value doesn’t spread across finance, particularly in your in a part of finance that I never wanted to be a part of operation.

But was that a tactical decision on your partner? Was that from? You know, was that already in the organization when you joined?

Doug Anderson 21:23
Um, I think it probably got boosted quite a bit while I was there because I made it a priority. But you know what, you attract good people for that, too. So, if you’re trying to attract the talent, to do the job, the best you possibly can, then you make that world happen. And then people don’t complain that you know, they had to work overtime because nobody else was there. Those guys they don’t nobody complains about that. Right? Because they’ll get their opportunity to do that too. And you just had one you better make sure they get that opportunity. That’s the course. Of course. It’s fascinating to hear.

Boomer Anderson 22:02
Let’s talk about characteristics that because you’ve had by all means, and multiple people have told me this pretty successful career. And what would you say? You’ll probably never admit that but what would you say is kind of contributed to success?

Doug Anderson 22:24
Um, probably just some real common things.

We have a tendency to make things too hard. And it drives me crazy. And I used to tell people I worked with and and others that don’t make it hard. If you can understand it, or somebody else can understand it. What good is it going to do doesn’t do anything. So make it so that everybody understands what it is?

use common sense

Boomer Anderson 22:59
Laughing here because there’s some what we call diyty-isms almost, that are coming up right now.

Doug Anderson 23:06
Yeah. Well, and and the old phrase, which a lot of people use it common sense just isn’t practice anymore, you know, and they’re right. It’s not. And people make things too hard. And you know what? People need to have the ability to listen. And that’s the one thing that gets forgotten. It’s like, if you don’t listen, not just to the words that are coming out, but how they’re being said, when you can do that you understand that person much better. And you can work on if they have a problem, how to fix it, or what direction does the organization need to go into because that makes perfect sense. Because they’re there on the ground floor. They hear it, they see it, they do it. So that combined with common sense, no, it’s not so bad.

Boomer Anderson 23:58
So so we’re at some Felicity common sense, I have one that comes to mind that you kind of instilled in us. And that was discipline.

Doug Anderson 24:08
Well, that’s true. That and dedicate, well, discipline, dedication. You know, if you don’t want to be there, get out of the way. You know, if you want to be there to help, and do the right things for the people around you and who you’re working with, then that’s great, then you’re part of a team, you know, and you can do the silly isms of together each achieves more and all those kind of things. Well, you know, nobody does all of this by themselves. They have to have a team of people to do that. You got it, you got to be good at selecting people. And in the long run some, you know, it’s all batting average. Yeah. So if you don’t, if you don’t have a good batting average, you’re probably not going to do good. But that’s just the way that life is. So this is, this is fantastic.

Boomer Anderson 24:58
Diddy, thank you for making the time. Come on. Boomer Anderson signing off with my father. And then Bobby dad.

Boomer Anderson
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