Dino Cattaneo is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, executive coach, and podcaster. After over 20 years in corporate America, Dino decided to get off the treadmill and chart his path to build a life where success is measured according to what is truly important to him.
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Work Life Balance with Dino Cattaneo
Dino Cattaneo: [00:00:00] If there's anybody among our listeners who is interested in podcasting, starting out in podcasting or actually way down the line in podcasting common goal, you know, getting involved in the podcast movement community, because it's been such an enriching experience. To meet all those people. It really changed my podcasting world.
Jared Easley: starve the doubts. I'm one of your hosts charities Lee. And of course joining me is Ms. Christine, how are you?
Ms. Christine: I'm great. How are you?
Jared Easley: I couldn't be better. And today we were very fortunate because we get to speak with a good friend. Someone I met at podcast movement. It's Dino catenaccio. He's an entrepreneur, a digital marketer, executive coach and podcasts are among many other things.
After over 20 years in corporate America, Dino decided to get off the treadmill and chart his path to build a life for success as measured, according to what is truly important to him. I [00:01:00] think this is going to be a good interview just based on that. Dina. Welcome to the show.
Dino Cattaneo: Thank you, Jared. And hi, Christine.
Thank you. You too excited to be on the show.
Jared Easley: Yeah. You, uh, being a part of this and um, yeah, we'll just start out with one of our icebreaker questions, which is what is the best concert
Dino Cattaneo: that you've been to. So I didn't really need to think about discretion. I am a rabbit concert goer. I started in 1979. So I'm going to cheat my way around.
And before I give you the concept, I want to give you some perspective. I saw Bob Marley in his last store in 1981 at the sincere stadium uniquely with a hundred thousand people. I saw you too. You were in there. The tour, the 1987 tour in court on the day of the edges birthday. When they brought out at the end of the show, you were in party girl, they brought out a gigantic cake and the edge, his wife jumped out to wish him a happy birthday.
I was at the Bob Dylan show. The 30 year anniversary [00:02:00] showed the famous one. She ended up Connor was booed off stage. I've seen a lot of really big shows, but the two that I'm going to say, I remember that,
but for the past 10 years, I've really been going to shows in small clubs, mostly in the Boston air because my wife is a professional musician. And so my favorite show. There was a singer songwriter here in Boston named Dennis Brennan. And he's band has been around for 30 years. It's the dentist brand and band.
He's two guitar players, um, play with Peter Wolf. They play with the J Geils band, but they, if they're not on tour, they play every Wednesday night with him in this club that hopefully will reopen in January. That's called the laser lounge and there's a traditional show the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.
Is a Wednesday night when everybody's obviously on town from not touring. And it's a very special show to see the dentist Brandon band on the Wednesday night [00:03:00] before Thanksgiving, all our, you know, a lot of our musician friends that are part of the scene and this band is phenomenal and you're seeing them in this little room where you're sitting 20 feet away from these incredible musicians.
So that is my favorite show. I also have to mention one of the shows by my wife, because she will get mad. If I say that I applied her wisdom, Dino, I've seen my wife probably over, I've seen her maybe like four or 500 times over the past 12 years because she plays between 40 and 50 shows a year. So the one show that comes to mind is in 2015, she and her band.
At the Spire center in Plymouth, in New Hampshire, in a non-doing Plymouth, uh, which is right on the south shore here in, in, in the Massachusetts right before the Cape. And that was a phenomenal. Or that
Jared Easley: might be not only one of the best, but one of the most [00:04:00] thorough answers to that question
Dino Cattaneo: that we've ever had.
Right. Christine and yeah, you're going
Jared Easley: from Bob Marley to all these other artists. I saw shadow coroner get booed. And then let me mention my wife show. Yeah, we'll play
Dino Cattaneo: Dino. I will.
I just want to make clear. I was one of the people who thought that if you're at above deal in three of your show, you should not be boring. Somebody like Sinead O'Connor you should be at some other show. Well, you know, the reason why she was booed, it's something that Dylan could have done in the sixties.
So it was very inappropriate that the audience
Jared Easley: wouldn't have something to do with the Pope or something like she
Dino Cattaneo: had. So she had, and this is a story she had just, it came to mind because I'm reading her biography right now. A very abusive childhood hurt her mother, you know, and her mother ended up dying in a car accident.
Okay. But her mother had a picture of Pope John Paul, the second. And that's something that she carried away with [00:05:00] her as a reminder of the abuse that she suffered. And so her decision to. In front of television. It was a wasn't she, she ripped his picture. Yeah. Here are the picture of the picture up on Saturday night, live on Saturday night live.
Exactly. And that was partially because it was sort of a way of liberating herself or a childhood. And then the other part is to denounce the church's abuse, which unfortunately, you know, the subsequent years that she wasn't wrong about that. Exactly.
Jared Easley: I wonder if the response to that now would have been the same as it was then, because then it was, I remember there was an outcry and there was people just really, really unhappy with her, but I don't know if that would be true.
I, if she did that now, I don't know if people would make it as big of an issue as it was, but yeah, I didn't mean to get on the tenant there. I was just focused on being
Ms. Christine: out here right here, you know, uh, we
Dino Cattaneo: gotta finish the sentence for you. My
Ms. Christine: favorite memory from [00:06:00] podcast movement
Dino Cattaneo: was blank. Well, that is very easy.
I love the, what is it called? Like the, the matchmaking events. Were guests and hosts common to the short dating where you're going through the room and making podcasts, just because I'm shy in some ways. And it was great. Like the, the people that I met at that event. I'm on some podcasts because of that.
But most importantly, it gave me friends to meet throughout the conference. Cause it was my first time there, you know, it made me able to walk across the room and an event and see somebody that I had met and spent, you know, a few meaningful time with. And then they introduced me to their friends. So that was definitely my face.
Personally vent there. Do you know that's how you and
Jared Easley: I met actually. Exactly. Exactly.
Dino Cattaneo: So
Jared Easley: do you know a full transparency, Christine? I met Dana at that event and then I was like, Hey, we gotta, yeah, we gotta have you on the podcast. Dina was like, well, [00:07:00] I guess I could lower my standards and fit you in. And here, here we are.
Dino Cattaneo: yeah.
Ms. Christine: so there's
Jared Easley: just, I'm sure there's listeners that are like Dino. I don't know. Dino Dino, Jared. How's Dino. Christine's getting to know Dino. I don't know. So let's just talk about you. So you were raised in Italy and then you ultimately moved out to the U S so I want to know a little bit about why you moved to the U S what impact that had on your life, because you got married, you,
Dino Cattaneo: you went to bursty, so on and so forth.
Tell us about that. So I studied economics in Italy and, and I'll give it. Eataly is a small country. Within the global context, I wanted to have a work experience abroad in somewhere meaningful. And I had an opportunity to come and work in New York. And so my plan was to stay in New York for a couple of years, and then go back to Italy.
Obviously the best laid plans never work. And about a year after being in New York, I met [00:08:00] my wife and it started from like, well, oh, you know, this is looks like it's a relationship that's going well. So we need to figure out. What's going on here too. Like, oh, now we're getting married, which was great. And then it sort of became this thing where we were saying, okay, in three years, we'll figure out whether now it's time to move.
And it turned into this joke where like, you know, you will probably end up at 95 in some retirement home in Arizona. And the nurse is going to say, you know, don't mind Dino. He thinks is moving through ITTO in three years. And so that doesn't happen. That didn't happen. I would say, and this is an interesting thing.
I had a couple of other friends who also came to the U S at the time and then ended up engaged. And they tried before they got married to make a decision where they would live longterm and both ended up breaking their engagement. My wife and I have never had a formal conversation about where we're going to be [00:09:00] long-term and I think that's one of the.
Of the success. Just don't talk about it. It's like, no, it's
Jared Easley: not gone. Communication is overrated. You don't need
Dino Cattaneo: any of that, I think is knowing that if the decision had to come. We would have been able to make it together. You know, we had a moment where we made a decision to move to Nashville because I had a job opportunity there and she had another opportunity there and then things didn't work out there and we made the decision to move back here.
And ultimately we made the health and the wellbeing of the marriage, the number one thing. And we had a, you know, you build this confidence that it doesn't really matter where. I mean, it matters in a lot of other ways, but you know, it's like being somewhere where we're both happy is the most important thing.
Ms. Christine: Now, would
Dino Cattaneo: you be
Ms. Christine: [00:10:00] willing to tell us a little bit about
Dino Cattaneo: your experiencing your corporate America? Yeah. Sure. So I've worked, I started out in investment banking at Lehman brothers in the early nineties. And. I think that was, you know, in some ways it was two years of experience that count this for, because it's a very intense environment.
You work about 90 to 120 hours a week, depending on the week, you know, you're in until midnight every day, you get home at 8:00 PM on Friday. So you get the Friday night, maybe work a little bit on the Saturday and then like Sunday at 10:00 AM. You're back on the grind. I learned a lot. It enabled me to.
Apply and get into Harvard business school. I went from there, I went into consulting for a couple of years and then realized that consulting. I love a lot of things about consulting. I love the strategy part, but I didn't like the fact that I wasn't in full control over the final product. And I found a great [00:11:00] place that kind of.
My interest in strategy, but in executer and in digital marketing. And I joined an agency called Digitas in 2000 and sort of as a account managers, less strategists, but sort of was very lucky to be at the forefront of the digitalization of marketing. No, we went from the early days when you were trying to convince a client that instead of coding every page by hand, they should get a content management system.
You know, in 2006, we were doing search for paid search for a very large company. And, you know, had to educate, took us six months to talk them into putting the texts on the web. Which now is something that is standard. And so in those like 10 to 12 years, I worked in every possible tactic, but also work closely with companies about bringing this transformation processes, because you're going from doing things one way to doing them in a very different way, and that causes disruption within your organization.
And [00:12:00] so, you know, there's some of it, which is technical and there's a lot of wit which of it, which is really. Understanding how people align, what it's going to take to get people to change behavior, both inside the company and outside the company. And in 2012, I took a role as a digital marketing officer for a company that was called astonish, which was a marketing platform for independent insurance agents, which was owned by a private equity firm.
And it was a lot of fun, but it was also about 90 minutes away from my house. And it wasn't far away enough that it warranted moving. Yeah. But after a year and a house commuting, and at that point I had spent, you know, a large part of my work. Involved a lot of travel before that, you know, I had a stretch when I was a digit.
That's where my main client was Microsoft. And I would leave on Tuesday night on Tuesday morning at 4:00 AM, fly from Boston to Seattle and come back either on Friday night or on the red eye from Friday to [00:13:00] Saturday. And my kids, my wife had no idea who I was. And when I was at this, at this company, my son started high school.
And there's a very big change in the transition from middle school to high school. When all of a sudden you see your kids developing that independence. And while, you know, as, as a parent, you know that, you know, when your kids are 18, they'll go to college and they'll move away. But it's one, it's a very different thing to know it on a logical way and to start to feel it, which is what happens in high school.
And I made a decision. Like I didn't want to, you know, I didn't want to miss this for years. And, and you know, my daughter is two years younger, so it was like six years where I knew the kids are going to be part of my life and then they were going to move. And so I made a decision to go out on my own and use my network and my relationships to start a digital marketing consulting practice with a very [00:14:00] conscious goal of only working in that world, 60% of my time.
And then the remaining 40%. Would be invested in managing my wife's music career and in being with the kids. And it's been the greatest decision that I ever made and know because I, I traded compensation for time with my family, that I will not be able to buy when I retire, because being able to be at every soccer game of my son, going to the 13 plays that my daughter did costumes and tactful.
Seeing my son ski race. You know, I also, in that time, I love skiing. It's my favorite thing in the world. And I took a part-time job as a ski instructor. There's a little mountain outside of Boston named what you said, where my son's school ski race. So on Fridays, I would go there for the afternoon I would teach.
And then I would see my son race. These are all things that. [00:15:00] You know, were available to me now, but they're not going to be available to me after I retire. And so it was a great decision.
Jared Easley: you've touched on a lot of stuff here that we're going to, hopefully I'll be able to take a little bit deeper dive into, cause I, I think this is, uh, something that's important for people to consider. Uh, one of the things you mentioned earlier was talking about your wife.
Dino Cattaneo: You know what, 30 years now we've been together 30 and married 28.
Jared Easley: So you've been married 28. So that's, that's fantastic. So tell us what are some life lessons that you've learned from your marriage? And tell us a little bit about your wife. You've mentioned
Dino Cattaneo: she's a musician. Tell us about her. What my wife, my wife is incredible. I often say I made a lot of stupid decisions in my life, but the one that really mattered.
And I married the right person and the right partner. Her name is Susan Kotania. She's a, she's an Americana singer [00:16:00] songwriter. She's been teaching songwriting at Berkeley for 20 years. She actually just decided to stop doing it because now that we're both, now that we no longer have the kids and that our jobs are fairly virtual, it will give us an opportunity to travel more.
And maybe for her to two or more assuming that the work collaborates, but I think so there's a few things. Marriage. Like the first thing is that when I look at the amount of work and the lucky things that have to happen for me to have such a successful marriage, I have to say there's a part of me. The things that the notion that people should be should expect to be within the relation with the same person for their whole life.
Like the odds against that succeeding are generally low. And, um, and I consider myself incredibly lucky because I've succeeded at those odds. I think there are two activities that are incredibly important for a marriage to be successful. The first [00:17:00] one is listening and the second one is speaking and you need to do that every day because you need to listen to what your partners needs.
And make sure that you understand them and make sure that you're actively involved in, in helping her or him succeed in what's important to them. But at the same time, you need to make sure that you speak out about what's important to you. Because if you look at where many marriages go wrong, there are something that has been buried for 10, 15 years, and then all of a sudden you can't keep it buried anymore.
And so this communication day to day, Is the most important thing. And, you know, I like the way I think about it is like every morning I wake up and I decide whether I still want to be in this marriage. And the answer is yes, for me and likely it is yes, every day. But because of that answer, then every [00:18:00] day, I make sure that I put in the amount of work in our marriage and it's going to take it for it to be successful.
You know, it's like, I believe, like, I think there's one thing that I've learned across like any activity, right? If you want to be successful at something unique to choose to do it, and you need to choose to do it in a very dedicated way. So I think that there are very few things in the world that you can get a ton out from if like, uh, like if you're married to the right person and the marriage works, it's an incredible experience.
But you need to be willing to put in the work for that to happen. Like the only moment of luck that happens is when you meet that person, everything else is a choice. Like you choose to start dating that person. You choose to marry that person. And then you choose to make the daily choices that are going to make that marriage successful.
And that takes a lot of work.
Jared Easley: And some of the advice that you just gave is also [00:19:00] relevant for working with a podcast co-host
Dino Cattaneo: named Christine right
Ms. Christine: now, you've mentioned a bit about the 60, 40 word balance. Could you, uh, tell us a little bit more about that and,
Dino Cattaneo: uh, how you determined the need for that balance?
Yeah, the, the need for the balance is I want to have 40% of my time for things that are important to me. I think, you know, it goes back to the idea of how do you measure success. And I think. We're trained to measure success on measures that are not really ours. It's either your parents' expectation, your peers expectations.
You know, I went, I spent 10, 15 years in a world where like, you're trained to look at your peer next door, right? When you're in investment bank and your rent, your bonus is based on where your rent and then it's an up or out system. So only certain people get in every class year old and only certain people get promoted and everybody else goes and finds another job.
You know, my classmates at Harvard business school are all incredibly successful and they all come from similar environments. [00:20:00] And, you know, you follow as you, as you're going through school, you see like, oh, you know, such and such is now a CEO such and such as doing this. What am I doing? And if you don't have the discipline to understand what is important to you, you end up measuring yourself on measures that are not a real measure of your success, and you make yourself.
You know, so for me, when I look at like, what does my like life need to be? I wanted to have music in my life. I want to have skiing in my life. And I wanted to have significant and meaningful time with my family. And also it's something that was really important to me from the beginning was understanding that it's very easy when you have kids to end up on a path where, you know, each one of the partners in the marriage.
Working really hard. And then the rest of the time is consuming, taking care of the kids. And if you're not putting the [00:21:00] work in those years, to make sure that you have something in common, when the kids move on. It can be challenging. And I knew that, you know, I love music. My wife loves music, and I think that having the ability to support her in pursuing that dream of ours, which was also an interest of mine, like it kept us close in years when it would be very easy for me to just get sucked into, you know, my clients, my work and come, you know, and, and feel that like, oh, you know, well, I'm doing this.
I'm providing for the family, which is important. There needs to be more for, you know, a life to be fulfilled. And so that felt like the right bile as now. You know, I have to say like most of the time that 60 plus 40 ended up being a total of 120, because maybe it was like 50 plus seven too, but it was important to preserve the two things.
And so an important way in keeping the 60 successful is by being a solopreneur and by not caring. [00:22:00] Overhead. So I don't have to pay for an office. You know, I don't have to pay for employees. You know, I have a, I have a really good network of partners and freelancers that I developed over 20 years working in marketing in the Boston area and in digital marketing.
So it put me in a position where the number of clients that I needed every year to meet my revenue, target of keeping bees at 60% and, you know, having the resources to do what I needed to do was very manageable. And so I think, you know, some of it goes to being thoughtful about how you're structuring your work, you know, and being able to like, ultimately everybody who is at a senior role in a service firm knows that what the firm is charging for your time is while your cost to them is plus a multiple, which is necessary to cover the overhead.
When you have the type of tears that I had at that point, [00:23:00] I was able to provide advice and service to clients at a rate that was more than what they would have paid if they had hired me through my firm. But it was a little higher than what I would have made if I had been employed by a fireman. So the amount.
Compensation that I needed to trade away was less than the time that I got in retail.
Jared Easley: okay. So Dino, I want to, I want to bring this up and talk about the work-life balance part of your life balances that you love to pursue things that you said, like skiing and helping your wife with her music, but you don't just help your wife with your music with her music. You actually have some music yourself.
And you've, you've actually seen a little bit of success with your own amateur. Yeah. Timpsons and so tell the story, because I'm fascinated by this opportunity,
Dino Cattaneo: like you've had, well, let's see. So this is like, this is also about [00:24:00] clarity and it's the clarity of knowing what you want to do with your things.
So when I was 17 or 18, I want, I thought I wanted to be a rock star. And then I realized that maybe I wasn't good enough for that position, but it was important for me to play music. And one of the advantages of being married to a professional musician is that I have. Access to a community of great professional musicians here in Boston and specifically my guitar teacher, Tony Severino, who is a phenomenal teacher and you know, well known session men here in Boston and he has his bed and in his bed, he has a drummer that at some point has played with David Bowie.
Uh, his bass player is a great engineer that produces a lot of people. And so I. Over time, started doing shows where I would hire this musicians just for the show and I would get to play with them. And then the project, I think that you're referring to as when I was, you know, speaking of great concerts that I've seen in 1984, I saw little Steven [00:25:00] on his store to Eataly.
Little Steven at the time had a song about the, at the time current president and the song was called vote, that mother out, uh, which had his political inclination. And I, and I was very excited because at the club in Italy, I was the only one of the few spoke enough English to understand what that is.
And, and I love that song, but the song was really only as a single and wasn't available for a long time. And when little Steven released the re uh, deluxe ratio of these album of the time, the song was in there. So finally I had access to it. And at the last electoral cycle, I decided to get some of my favorite singers and musician in Boston and record a cover of that stuff.
Cool. And one of the singers that I hired, this guy named Chris Cody, who was a phenomenal Boston singer is friends with a DJ in Finland, who is a DJ at the station that carries [00:26:00] the underground garage, which has little Steven's Sirius station. And he heard a song. Yeah. Like two days later, I got an email from my friend, Chris, and he's like, you need to send a copy of the song to the director of programming at Cirrus.
Cause little Steven heard a song and he loves it. He loves your cover and he loves it. And so I sent it and I have a little video recording in my car of little Steven that says a know a little voting advice from disaster and the designated drivers. My alter ego name. And I'm like, okay, I have, I kind of pander to the guy.
Cause I covered his song and I did it in a very topical moment. But now I have Bruce Springsteen's guitar player. I'm announcing my. On the radio. Yeah, that's
Jared Easley: great. Is that online? Can people find
Dino Cattaneo: that yes, people can find it online that can look for disaster spelled D E [00:27:00] Z a S T R and the designated driver vote that mother out and it's on YouTube.
Jared Easley: All right. We'll put this in this, in the show notes.
Dino Cattaneo: Absolutely. And there's a. Fabulous guy in Boston named rich Sullivan, who does the posters for a lot of the musician's ear hole. And he's a great cartoonist and he created some cartoons, you know, I would say a few do not leave. Progressive politically, you may not want to take a look at the video, but
Ms. Christine: well, thanks for that warning.
Um, now, you know, you gotta tell us, uh, who is doing something that interests you and you cannot say your wife is doing something
Dino Cattaneo: that interests you. We already know she's done some interesting things.
Ms. Christine: She's awesome. She's phenomenal. She's the
Dino Cattaneo: winner. So he's number two, somebody that is doing something that interests me is.
There's a site called creating futures that work. And it's two [00:28:00] coaches named harvest after and Fred Mendell. And they have put together a program that uses art based experiential learning, which means teaching people how to actually do art as a way to develop innovation skills in companies, et cetera.
Yeah. It's a fascinating process, you know, in full disclosure, I, I took their class and got certified and I'm probably going to incorporate some of their methods in my coaching, but it's a fascinating experience and a fascinating process. And you know, something that obviously, as you can imagine, I kind of always straggled between the arts and the more traditional corporate world.
It's like, oh my God, here's somebody who was actually putting it together with a really powerful framework. You know, it's based on research that they've done for 20 years. Like I would have invented you if you didn't exist. Nice. Well,
Jared Easley: I'm going to check that out. We have just a couple of wrap-up questions here.
Dino Cattaneo: can [00:29:00] listeners connect with you online? Yes. The simplest thing is my podcast is called authentic leadership for everyday people, but because that is a mouthful, they can type the URL, a. The number four EAP, which is a shortening of authentic leadership for everyday people. So dot com. I'm also on Twitter, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and the podcast is on every possibly magical podcast plaque as it should be.
Ms. Christine: You've been awesome today. Do you have any final thoughts for
Dino Cattaneo: our listeners? I would say this, if there's anybody among our listeners who is interested in podcasting, starting out in podcasting or actually way down the line in podcasting common goal, you know, get involved in the podcast movement community, because it's been such an enriching experience for me to meet all those people.
It really changed my podcasting world. And I [00:30:00] cannot thank you enough for the conference. There's one thing that really. That I really appreciate it, that I think people should know the amount of thought that goes into this event. The event was in Nashville and obviously at the beginning of sort of this unfortunate second rising of dependence.
And the fact that you provided people with this buttons, there was a red button, a yellow button, and a green button that you could wear to indicate the level of comfort that you had in proximity with other people. And the fact that you created a culture where people truly respected those buttons. I was a yellow button where it really like to me, It's sort of symptomatic of the level of care that went into every detail of that event.
And that's what, you know, I, I took so much. I'm sorry to give you the infomercial now people, I am not, I am not being paid. I paid full ride for the conference and will pixel right again, next year chair. [00:31:00]
Jared Easley: You're very kind. Thank you for that. And um, we hope that people will. Uh, instead of voting this mother out that they'll vote till, uh, check out your podcast and support your wife's music and, uh, the other things that you have going on now, we appreciate your time today.
Do you know what she'd have?
Dino Cattaneo: Oh, actually, if people want to find my wife's new music, just reconnecting back to the idea that my last name is really complicated. I bought the URL, Susan music.com and that's where you can go to find our music and it will redirect you to our side. So you don't have to learn my lines.
Oh, that's a smart name. That's a
Jared Easley: smart URL. Good job, Susan. How do you spell Susan?
Dino Cattaneo: Uh, let me think. I don't know. Oh, no, the wrong answer. I spell it. B I S C U E T.
Jared Easley: Biscuit. Yeah. Wait, wait, wait. When, when our former, yeah. When our former, when our former guests [00:32:00] listens to this, he's, it's going to make his day
Ms. Christine: biscuits.
Dino Cattaneo: Like, Hey, I tell the story to see that she was on biscuit, loves music. So she was cracking up when I told her the story of his.
Jared Easley: Yeah. And that name stock so gladly, uh, you haven't had any moments like that. They know, and we hope that continues. Uh, yeah, we absolutely wish you the best. Thank you
Dino Cattaneo: again, Dino.
Thank you so much and have a great day.