Adam Torres and David Rech discuss David’s new book.
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Does business and magic mix? In this episode, Adam Torres interviewed David Reich, Business Leader and Professional Magician. Explore how David uses magic to deliver his tactical communication lessons to audiences along with his new book, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips To Success (Business Leaders Edition Vol. 10).
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About David Reich
Multifaceted professional with executive, management and consulting experience in a variety of roles with a passion for growing people and businesses. David’s experience includes an extensive career in technology development and senior leadership. He’s also a professional magician, educator, lecturer, MC and keynote speaker.
David authored 4 books, numerous book chapters, trade press articles and been a requested teacher and speaker at conferences worldwide. His passion is taking his experience in tech and business, combining that with the lens of a performer, lecturer and educator and taking people and organizations to levels they never thought possible.
David has served in many capacities including leading teams from 3 to 300 people, delivering software from startup through portfolios valued well over $250MM. He’s a subject matter expert in numerous technologies as well as organizational and business dynamics.
David has delivered products, client engagements and led research teams in areas including cybersecurity, IoT, virtualization, data analytics, middleware, voice recognition, and software engineering projects of all sizes.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to be a member of our community and join, just head on over to mission matters.com/community to apply. All right, so today is a very. Special episode. I am welcoming back to the show, David Rice, who I’m proud to say, Hey David, we’ve been on this journey for a whole long time publishing this book together.
We’re finally out live. And thankfully because books are hard, but we got it done. So first I just want to say, Hey, welcome back to the show. Thanks for, thanks for having me and all your support, man. All right, David. So we got a lot to cover of course. And for those of you that have not caught some of the previous episodes and work that myself and David have done in the past he is a professional magician, he’s a business leader.
He is a, he’s a tech guy, I say affectionately. And so we’re going to cover a lot of this. stuff, but before we do, we’ll start this episode, the way that we start them all with what we like to call our mission matters minute. So David, we at mission matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts.
That’s our mission. David, what mission matters to you? Communication. People don’t communicate well. At the end. I mean, how do people communicate so others want to hear what they have to say? Not because they have to. How can people be more engaging? You’ve got messages. Everyone’s got messages.
Everyone’s got what they want to say. But how can people communicate better? Cause at the end of the day, it’s not a technology problem. It’s not a business problem. It’s not a politics problem. It is a people problem. It is a communications thing. And that’s what drives me is communications. And as a business leader and magician communications, it.
Fantastic. So love bringing on mission based individuals to share, you know, why they do what they do, how they’re doing it and what we can all learn from that. So we can all grow together. So again, great to have you back on the show. And I don’t want to shows growing. We’ve been blessed. I don’t want to assume that maybe some of our newer listeners or viewers maybe caught some of our previous work.
So maybe just go back in time a bit and tell us a little bit more about how you got interested in magic and really on this path as a magician. Thanks. So like a lot of people I started when I was a kid, I was 12 years old, growing up in New York city. And you know, we got started with some card tricks and I decided I liked it.
It was fun. I got P I got people to laugh and, and I just started doing some things, started doing a bucket of tricks, started doing birthday parties, just like a lot of kids And and, you know, fast forward through a lot of stuff. You know, if I had gone and said to my dad, yeah, dad, I’m going to be a professional magician, he would have locked my room in my room and said, yeah, we’re going to leave you there until that idea is out of your head.
So followed the traditional path. I decided a computer’s pretty good, make good living at it. I liked it. It was fun. A lot of jobs. And that’s what I was doing. And on the side magician, magician magic was an active hobby. And what I, what I wound up doing was in the context of what I was doing in my day job, I was teaching classes, technology classes.
I was presenting and I was peppering all kinds of things with magic. I was going to trade shows and they would say, Hey, go over to that booth and ask the guy for his business card. You’re not going to believe what he does. Yeah. And, and over the years, those things I saw were breaking down communication boundaries.
But I also realized that a lot of my success as a business leader was because of my ability to communicate. And I got that from the way magicians look at the world, the way we look at people. I mean, you know, aside from anything else, I’m a computer scientist and I’m a magician. I am the world’s biggest skeptic.
And being able to see not only how I’m communicating, but what others are saying to me, what they’re trying to get out of me, what they’re really saying, and what, what’s what they’re not saying when they talk and what they’re not saying. And, and I started realizing there was just something there. And then.
About a dozen years ago, I was contacted by Harvard University for a graduate level psych class and they said, we want you to show us how con men do what they do because that’s what we’re trying to do in psychology. And I said, okay, I’m a magician. I’m not a cop. Okay, we can do this. And I put together this, this small program for them, a series of classes.
And I said, this is just it. People don’t teach. I thought this stuff was, was intuitive. I know. And, and I realized nobody teaches this stuff. Yeah, that’s hilarious. Of course it’s not intuitive. It’s intuitive to you maybe, but for the rest of us, like we need to know. Yes. And, and you know, some of the demonstrations that I do in the talks that I give in the courses and the, in the workshops that I deliver, I demonstrate all of these things that people say, how the heck was I missing that all the time?
Yeah. Now. People can be much more effective communicators, the communicator and communicate, and I developed this entire system around it that I call tactical communication, and it’s communication with a purpose and a plan. I mean, sure, you’re going to sit around, you know, a campfire, you know, making s’mores and.
you know, just shooting the bull with your friends. But in business, when you’re trying to deliver a presentation, deliver a message, write a book, tell a story or anything you need to think about all these things, you need to think about your audience. Why am I doing this? You know, one of the things that.
That I decided not to do today was not to do any magic tricks because there’s a, there’s a famous phrase that magician. Come on, now all our audience, it’s going to go from all the people watching to zero. Thank you. No, no, no, no, no. For magicians and magic tricks. Come on, David. Don’t. Because, because joining the Mission Matters community, okay, plug, plug on October 11th, we’re going to do a, we’re going to do a full presentation.
And by the way, hey, check it. Whoops. It’s over there. Check out my my URL. You know, I can, I can do this for any kind of organization, but, but the idea behind this is that when in doubt, leave it out. Don’t do something just because you need to do it. I need to do a magic trick. Okay. But you know what?
It’s not going to work well here. It’s going to work well on October 11th. It works well in all my sessions. Okay. But the idea is, you know, and again, this is part of tactical communication. Just because you need to say it doesn’t mean they need to hear it. I said a big one. That’s a big one. Just because you need to say it doesn’t mean that, you know, they need to hear it.
Like when we talk about Creating value. Or when we talk about creating content or something else, I feel like that’s often a big, it’s a big thought process. And when I’m always, when I’m talking to either our podcast hosts or anyone else, it’s always, well, what, who’s your audience? Like what value does that bring to them?
Like, how does that enrich what they’re trying to do? I feel like a lot of times we get caught up in the, the me, me, me. And we think that everybody knows what we’re doing, but it’s not the case, right? Like everybody’s self interested. Everybody has a. Project or a thing that they’re working on that they care about.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about what you have to say, by the way, it just means in order to get your message apart. And this is that whole tactical component that you’re talking about. Right, exactly. So, you know, I mean, part of this and, and some of this, you know, through my business exploits, I’ll call them Yeah, it’s kind of what they are.
You know, I’ve, I’ve helped that coached a lot of people through a lot of presentations. I’ve been coaching Ted talk speakers. I did a TEDx talk myself a number of years, a number of years ago. And when people are going through and, and showing me what they’re doing and I said, I get it. But take this and move it here.
Take, but no, they need to hear it. I said, no, they don’t need to hear it. This is important to you and it’s, yes, it might be important to them, but that’s not what they need right now. And if you take them through this, you’re going to lose them. And that’s part of the. Tactical again, the tactical component communication with a purpose and a plan.
Understand how you’re going to unfold the story. And this is where some of the, some of the performer in me marry the business side of me and as a performer. When I’m performing just a show, when do I want them to laugh? When do I want them to gasp? When do I want them to go like this and say, I can’t believe I just saw that.
I mean, during my lectures, my classes, my shows, I actually reveal some of the secrets to illustrate the points. Okay, that’s kind of the Penn and Teller part, part of me to illustrate the points and by looking through the lens of a performer, and that doesn’t mean that everybody has to become a performer, but you know, I can open your eyes to seeing what we see and when do you want them to ask that question so that they’re going to want to know the other things that you want to say to them, make them ask you.
Make them do these things. That’s the communication with a purpose and a plan and how marrying the business and the performer. That’s how I got to this one plus one equal three thing. Yeah, because I found that I’m a good magician. I’m not David Blaine. Okay. We share the same first name, right? I’m a really good business person.
Okay. Technology person, customer relationship management, things like that. Okay. I’m not the best there either, but by adding both of those things together, Now I’m better than either one of those things individually, and that’s how I’ve been able to be a lot more successful as a lecturer, speaker, performer, and a business person.
And, yeah, I’m sorry. You mentioned, one of the things you mentioned, David, is that we all don’t have to be performers. And maybe, obviously, that’s a pretty technical word, performer. So when we think about that, we’re all thinking about maybe being up on stage or something like that. But in my mind, I mean, like we’re all on a stage now and we always have been, but maybe our concept has changed.
So whether it’s somebody obviously that’s on a literal stage or they’re leading a team or they’re leading their, you know, a team of two, whatever, or a business as a founder or, you know, or, or leading a family, right. Your kids may be looking up to you as, as they see what, you know, mom or dad are doing. So like, we’re always on this.
Stage. So how do you kind of meld that concept of, of, you know, performance with business, because even in your branding and everything that I’ve seen, and as I’ve witnessed and gotten to know you better, like you do a great job of it. Like, how do you kind of meld that, that crossover, if you will?
Essentially, it’s by always putting your quote unquote, audience first. Now notice I’m using a lot of performance terminology, perform an audience. Yeah. When you and I first met, you were my audience. You were an audience of one. When I am working with a new client. And the, in the business side of my life, they are my audience and there might be one person on a phone call, no video.
I might be face to face with them. And what I’m doing is again, going back to communication with a purpose and a plan. Why am I having this conversation? And you can unfold this and we said we can spend a half a day on this in my workshops because. One of the things also coming from magic is play the long game.
People want to get to something, get a result. We are, we live in a society of sound bites and tick tock and reels and people want instant gratification like that. And like, don’t work that way and people don’t make decisions that way. So whether you’re. interviewing for a job, whether you are trying to sell something, trying to get a project going get your team bought into some harebrained technology idea, whatever it is, you need to think about the end result and the steps you need to get there.
And a lot of times some patients I’ll give, I’ll give you a perfect example. I was traveling with, with some people. Mm-Hmm. . And and I’m gonna give, I’m gonna give away the secret to this magic trick, as it were. Yeah. Okay. We were doing these, we were doing these lectures around the world. We were doing a bunch of technology investigation research, and then we were going around and it was myself and two other people, and we would hit like five or seven cities around the world.
Mm-Hmm. for a couple. Thanks. And we were traveling together. We got to know each other pretty well. And and we were doing this for a few years. And one of the things on the second day we played this game, who am I? And the who am I game was we showed the three pictures of us and then we showed three sets of facts about each of us, but they were all scrambled.
Hmm. Now that you’ve known us for a day, you have to figure out who’s who and one of them said has a tattoo but will never say where it is, right? I knew who I was and you know that and that and that’s cool. Yeah, but He was, he never told anybody where the tattoo was. Wow. And we were in Mexico City. I remember like it was yesterday.
We were in Mexico City. And our, our business hosts had us out to dinner. Okay. And the guy who had the tattoo, he had one of these margaritas that was like that big. Yeah. So he was getting a little tipsy. And somebody said, you have to tell us what your tattoo is. And and he said, I never will. He says, I’ve never told anybody.
Only my wife knows. And that’s it. Wow. And I said, I’m going to do the mentalism, mind breathing thing. Tattoo is, and I started revealing pieces about the tattoo. Yeah, and they were saying, oh, he knows he knows because he’s been traveling. He goes. No, he doesn’t now this guy He was he had the margarita. He was getting a little upset.
Yeah Because I started I started piecemeal revealing it and I said, well, you know could be on your arms It could be on you, you know, I said I’m getting the vision of a shoulder I think it’s one of you I said and it could be like over here, you know, like over here. Yeah And I just went ahead and I milked this thing for like 10 minutes.
Wow. He was losing his mind. He was getting angry. He was screaming. Oh my gosh. And, and I, I got it perfectly. No way. To this day. Okay. To this day, he still doesn’t know exactly how I did it. Oh, okay. And here’s how I did it. About nine or 10 months before we were traveling somewhere. Yeah. And we were taking a cab to the hotel from the airport and it was kind of warm and he had two layers of t shirts on.
Right. Hold one layer of t shirt off and the shirt came up a little bit. And I caught a glimpse of his tattoo.
I waited nine months. I had to find the right time to do it. And it’s an illustration. I mean, look, my mind as a mind reader magician, look, that’s just how it works. Wow. Okay. But that was, that was something that I just, Kept to myself for a really long time. I was just playing the long game. Yeah. I never told another living soul.
Okay. Or at least the people. Oh my gosh. Anyway, about how I did that, everybody knows and I can never repeat it. Of course. Yeah, of course. Can’t do it again in a show. I mean, yeah. Okay. But the point is that you’re thinking in the long game, you always need to be thinking of the outcome and hang on to hang on to that and have that patience.
Don’t push the position until it presents itself. Yeah, right. And, and, and as another example you know, you’re talking about, you know, we were talking about the audience and one thing about an audience or a business relationship or anything about communications is rapport. You have to build rapport with somebody and it’s that comfort feeling even if you’ve never known them All right, and and you know in in a couple of my workshops I do several hours up to a half day just on building rapport because if you think about it for a minute I would, I would meet you.
Somebody says, Hey, this guy, Dave, he’s a, he’s a magician. He’s going to show you something cool. I said, Hey, how you doing? My name, my, my name’s Dave Adam. Listen you want to see something really cool. Hey, can I borrow a 20 bill? Of course you can’t. You’re a magician. I have no trust in you. I have no faith in you.
How do you build rapport when there’s built in? Distrust. Okay. Or even when there’s nothing there. And this is a set of techniques that you can use to, to break down those barriers and create business. And, you know, there’s another one that I did for a local Boston Boston company. I did a whole session for them called success communication in business and in life.
Yeah. Right. Because, you know, it’s how you meet people. It’s how you meet someone you might want to ask out on a date meet somebody you want to do business with, or you just see somebody who might be a good friend. Yeah. Would you say that this concept of tactical communication, so we went over, obviously it’s good for life and in business, is it something that anybody can learn or do we kind of like, like, how does that piece of it work?
Cause obviously you’re a professional at this stuff, right? But is there something that like anybody can learn? Absolutely. That’s a literal. That is literally what I, that’s my mission. Yeah. Mission matters. That is my mission is teaching people through um, you know, if I can, if I can do a keynote for a company, there’s some stuff I can do in an hour that makes people aware of things.
Just some of that awareness. We’ll make some of those changes or I’ll do workshops for companies. I just finished a three day workshop for for IBM. I’m doing a few more of those active communication for technical leaders, and it’s all about the rapport or how to handle and respond to uncomfortable conversations, uncomfortable situations, and how, how you, and, you know, through role plays.
You just get put on the spot. And the thing that jazzes me the most is this particular one. It’s three hours for three days in a row. And the second day when some people say, you know, I tried this. The afternoon that you know yesterday afternoon after we were done, holy cow, it really works So yes, I mean so much of this is just that Awareness or something else that I call sensory acuity once you see it once you’re aware of it You’re not gonna be an expert at it takes practice.
But once you’re aware of it You can then just start applying it and it’s just it’s it’s it really is liberating It’s liberating and it takes a lot of the fear factor and nervousness Factor that people have about communications and it just throws out the window. Hmm. That’s what I find so cool about this I want to, I want to spend a little bit of the time we have left here talking about the books again, thrilled to have you published in our bestselling mission matters, business leader series.
So your topic that you wrote about within the book is the observation of success in business and life. It’s all about people through the lenses of a business leader and professional magician. So one of the things that you wrote about in there that I want you to expand on maybe is know thyself and own.
things. What does that mean to you and what do you hope the readers get out of it? Humility and be humble and do the thing. There’s a quote that I love from Eleanor Roosevelt. Do something every day that scares you and know thyself. It’s really, I’ll give you a perfect example. I’ve been doing this for more years than I will care to admit when I, TEDx talk.
Mm hmm. I would not watch the video for two months. Oh, I didn’t know that. Really? My friends were like, Dave, it was great. And I said, I can’t watch it. I can’t watch it. I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t, I would not have thought of that, David. I would have thought you’d have been right at it. But no, two months.
Go ahead. Yeah. People, you know, I got great feedback. Know thyself. Comes in a couple of flavors. One is just watch yourself. Get that critique. But the other is understand who you are. And that, that, that introspection, it’s, it’s, it’s cathartic in a way. It’s a bit of an epiphany. It’s like, what are you good at?
And what are you not good at? And if you’re not good at something, do I need to really work? Is this a critical thing? Or maybe I don’t have to be. at it. I don’t have to be that, be that 90 percent and above. Maybe, maybe, maybe, you know, 60 percent is okay because I’ve got this over here and this is more important.
And that goes back to the whole idea of Communication with a purpose and a plan. What are you trying to do? Look, a wonderful example is when I do magic performances, when I just go and do a performance, there are styles of magic that I adore and I stink at. I mean, you know, I, I realized about myself, I started doing card tricks real early and I do card tricks and I do some, but there are people who take a deck of cards, you know, and here I got it.
I always carry a deck of cards, you know, and they’re, they’re like, you know, with the, with the car, right. And that’s called cardistry. Oh, I’m horrible at that. Yeah. Cardistry is interesting. I go to the magic castle at least a couple of times a year. And I see people do some things with cards where I’m like, what is that?
I don’t even know. And then, you know, with a multiple flip and, and there’s a lot of magic tricks that rely on things like that. And I just said. I’m not going to do those. Now, when I do a, you know, certain mind rating effects and some other types of things that are in my wheelhouse, I will use cars as prompts, but I don’t do a lot of those fancy card things.
There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not me. And I said, know thyself. I’d love watching it. I’d love for people to look at me and say, Oh my God, look how great he’s doing. Yeah. But that’s not me. And that’s okay. Because I said, for me, I like the cerebral stuff. The stuff where, no, he didn’t just do that.
How did he know I was thinking that? How did he make that thing float? Right? You know, how did that come from over here? And that’s really where that that’s my thing. So know thyself. I said, while I can still love it, I don’t have to do everything because I can be much better at these things. And do some of this stuff and so with a combination of these things about, you know, sitting back in some introspection and some of its hard decisions.
I mean, you know, gee, am I, am I am I inferior as a magician because I don’t do cards and all my friends do amazing. No, it’s just different and getting comfortable with that and what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and then focus on those things that you are good at. And then Use the feedback mechanism.
Watch yourself. Watch the recordings. I’m going to watch this as soon as I can. I’ve gotten, I’ve got to say you’re not waiting two months for this one, right? No, no, no. Gotten over that hurdle. That’s good. Now we do, we do, we do this thing in Boston. It’s a, it’s like an improv for magicians. It’s called the Boston magic lab.
And and we have feedback sessions. The shows are Thursday nights. We have feedback sessions for each other on Sundays, but we get our video on Friday afternoon. And I’m always watching the video now, as soon as it comes out. to do that. But you know, so it’s, it’s, it’s constantly, it’s always being a lifelong learner and that growth mindset.
And here’s the other thing. And this goes back to business. There’s a guy named Tom Peters wrote one of the quintessential business books in the 80s called in search of excellence. He wrote another book called in pursuit of wow, in the 90s. And I got to go see him at a seminar. And one of the things he said, and it stuck with me, Pick a direction and run like crazy at it.
Yeah, keep your eyes open and course correct as you need, but never stop moving forward. Pick that direction and run like crazy at it. And to me, that’s being a lifelong learner, always grown, always learning. And that’s what I, that, that’s my mission. I started in the tech space, like just pure geekishness.
And now. It’s all about people. How can I help people do more, be more? And yes, I’ve got that tech background. I’ve got shops and I can bring that to the table with everything as well in the big business. And that helped me build that. But I’m constantly moving forward. And this is the direction that I’m running at.
It’s awesome. Well, David, I just have to say it has been, you know, great having you back on the show and great really reconnecting and you’re a valued member, of course, in our mission matters community. Appreciate all the engagement, all you bring to everything that you do. That being said, I mean, I just have to ask what’s next, what’s next for you, what’s next for your career as a magician and otherwise, what’s Sure.
So wow, there’s, there is, there’s a lot going on. So, you know, yes, I published my chapter in Mission Matters. You’ve inspired me. I’m probably going to write my own book. Yeah. Okay. About tactical communication and really expanding on everything just on that topic. So that’s something that I’ve started aggressively working towards and in working with mission matters, you know, let me turn it back for a second.
When, when I was, when I was learning a lot of my technology and programming in my mind, the best way to learn how to program something or program in a language is just to sign yourself something and just start doing it. And when I started doing the chapter for, for mission matters, all of a sudden it got a lot of these creative juices going, and that’s what helped me narrow this stuff down rather than just the observationist, it’s the communication, the tackle.
Tactical communication with a purpose and a plan. I sound like a broken record. And and that’s how I can expand on everything. So now what I’m doing is I’m offering a set of workshops around the tactical communication because you can take it wherever an organization needs. A company, a team, a group of sellers college business development, whatever it is.
Yes. So, so where I’m going next is book and tailoring the tactical communication presentations, the workshops that I’ve got, tactical communication for technical leaders, business executives executive eminence or, or personal eminence just for everyone, tactical communication for everyone. People.
Yeah. who just, you know, want to want, want to learn a lot better communication techniques and, you know working on. The keynotes and the speaking and bringing this to larger organizations. That’s really where the, my focus is and I’m continuing my technology group, and I’m doing all this internally in, in my own company and and grow, growing the organization that I’m in.
So David, if somebody wants to, wants to follow up and learn more and connect with you and your team, what’s the best way for them to do that? The best way is. I, you know, the camera’s pointing the other way. Wait, it’s there, there it is. Got it. ? Yeah. Cameras are So david raj.com. You can send me an email at [email protected].
yeah. Or fantastic. Just find me through there. Or you, you know, social, and actually this is one last thing where you’re thinking about your audience. Okay. People say, Hey, what about your social media magic? It’s like, that’s not where the people I’m looking for are. It’s not the people I’m looking. It’s kind of fun.
Facebook and, you know you know, threads and tick tock. Okay. I’m very visible on LinkedIn because that’s where the people I’m connecting and I’m working with are. So I’m all over LinkedIn and, you know, Through through my website. Yeah. Fantastic. So we’ll put, we’ll put all that information in the show notes so that our audience can click on the links and head right on over.
And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with mission matters or engaging with an episode or listening to one, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives, and having them share their mission. The reason behind their mission, you know, why do they do what they do?
Like what, how, what, what gets them fired up to get out of bed in the morning to go out there into the world and make a difference? If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we welcome you hit that subscribe button. We have many more mission based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing.
David, I’m looking forward to the next time we get to work with each other and also to your upcoming event in the Mission Matters community. Thanks again for all you do, October 11th, everybody join the Mission Matters community. We’re going to have some fun.