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[Perspective Series] The Art of Wonder: Solving Problems Through Magic With Dan Trommater


Dan Trommater

Dan Trommater is a captivating magician and keynote speaker renowned for his ability to challenge assumptions and inspire fresh perspectives. With over two decades of experience, he has graced over 1000 events, including a TEDx talk. Drawing on his 25 years as a magician, Dan seamlessly blends illusion with motivational messaging to empower clients to unlock their potential. He attributes his passion for magic to its power to invoke wonder, which he harnesses to facilitate change and creativity. His approaches have positively influenced executives and teams, propelling them toward unimagined possibilities.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • [02:03] Dan Trommater explains how he uses magic as a powerful communication tool

  • [06:34] The benefits of experiencing awe and wonder for physical and mental well-being

  • [11:06] Dan's technique for opening people's minds to new ideas and challenging preconceived notions

  • [13:06] Asking compelling to help others find solutions tailored to their unique situations

  • [16:56] Why challenging assumptions is crucial to creative problem-solving

  • [23:45] Discovering multiple solutions to a presumed unsolvable challenge through innovative thinking

  • [34:04] The impact of a leadership style that champions belief in the team's capabilities

In this episode…


Imagine witnessing a feat you know is impossible, yet it unfolds right before your eyes. What if this moment of wonder could unlock the potential for innovation and growth? Could the sheer power of belief transform impossibility into a springboard for creativity?


Magician Dan Trommater shares his journey, illustrating how his passion for magic became an influential tool in business leadership and growth. Through the art of illusion, he challenges his audience's assumptions and sparks new ways of thinking. His ability to inspire wonder entertains and fosters an environment where out-of-the-box ideas thrive. Through his storytelling and a remarkable understanding of human cognition, Dan provokes thought and equips business leaders to find unprecedented solutions to their challenges.


In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker interviews Dan Trommater, a renowned magician and keynote speaker, about incorporating magic into professional development. Dan explains how he uses magic beyond entertainment to create a powerful communication tool, techniques for opening people's minds to new ideas and challenging preconceived notions, and innovative thinking approaches to discover multiple solutions to presumed insolvable problems.


Resources Mentioned in this episode


Quotable Moments:


  • "Possibility is a question of belief. If you believe that something is impossible, well then it's impossible."

  • "I think that it's only by venturing into the realm of the weird that we can access some of those innovative new ideas."

  • "Wonder and awe can be triggered in a way that gives similar benefits to looking at a starry sky or watching a bug crawl across the leaf."

  • "Nobody in the room is better qualified to solve their problem than themselves."

Action Steps:


  1. Adopt a mindset where you challenge assumptions regularly: It fosters innovation and helps unearth solutions that conventional thinking might miss.

  2. Create an engaging start to your presentations or meetings, perhaps not with magic, but with an unexpected approach: It captures attention and primes participants for open-mindedness and creativity.

  3. Embrace and cultivate a genuine passion for your work: Passion is contagious and can inspire curiosity and involvement from others.

  4. Consider multiple possible solutions to a problem, even those that initially seem impractical: This practice can lead to identifying innovative approaches that might have been overlooked.

  5. Facilitate an environment of curiosity by asking thought-provoking questions: Question-asking encourages self-reflection and personal application, leading to deeper insights and growth.


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Episode Transcript:


Intro 0:02 

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.


Richard Walker 0:16 

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins, where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win, and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Today is a special episode in my perspective series where I talk to people who bring a completely different perspective to our show. Some of the past guests in this series have included Bobby Steiner Golf Academy, Rocky's Custom Clothes, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.

 

Today I'm speaking with Dan Trommater, magician and keynote speaker. And today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time manually reviewing the forms, Instead, get Quik!, using our Form Xtract API simply submit your completed forms and get back clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate, visit quikforms.com to get started.

 

All right, I'm really excited to introduce today's guests because this could be a lot different than our typical show. Dan Trommater empowers his clients to challenge assumptions so they can see new possibilities and get unstuck. He's a speaker, facilitator, coach and magician who has presented at over 1000 events in the past two decades, including a TEDx talk. He uses his skills as a magician to help people tap into their sense of wonder, so they can find new solutions to their pressing problems. Dan, welcome to The Customer Wins.


Dan Trommater 1:42 

Hey, Rich, I am delighted to be with you today.


Richard Walker 1:45 

We're excited to have you. So for those of you who haven't heard this podcast before, I talked with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they built and delivered a great customer experience and the challenges to grow in their own company. Dan, we want to understand your business a little bit better? How do you help people?


Dan Trommater 2:03 

A number of different ways. Primarily I help people get unstuck, whether that means I'm doing a keynote address at a conference, or I'm doing coaching, or I'm doing a workshop, I'm really passionate about helping people see new perspectives, different ways of looking at the situations that they've looked at for years. And I'm very fortunate to have some pretty powerful tools at my disposal. I've been a magician for, gosh, 25 years. And so I'm really fortunate to have that tool to be able to not only engage people, but illustrate these ideas in a way that I can't with just words alone.


Richard Walker 2:48 

So I have to admit something. My father is a magician, I grew up with magic in my house. I've been to the Magic Castle several times. And I always check out this trick. And it was just this amazement of how did you do that? And I know some of the secrets which we're not going to reveal in this episode. So don't worry. But I think it is an amazing tool that you get to use. What drew you into magic to change people's view of reality?


Dan Trommater 3:11 

It was kind of a natural evolution. So I went to school for photography. And not long after I started to teach photography. At that time I met the woman who's now my wife, and her father is an amateur magician. That's how I got into magic. I didn't become a magician until I was an adult, which I think is an uncommon path for magicians. Usually they get a magic set for Christmas when they're seven and their lives change. So I got a later start. It was a hobby, it was just for fun. But because I was teaching in the classroom, I realized, well, I've got a captive audience to practice on.

 

And I realized, well, if I can start my classes with a magic trick, maybe I'll get people to show up on time. And so I let everybody in the class. Now listen, if you're here on time I do a trick. If you're not, you miss it. And I won't repeat that trick for the rest of the semester. And oh man, my attendance rates skyrocketed. My tardiness went way down. And so I realized, ooh, there's something here. There's something here. I wasn't using it to convey a message. I was just using it to engage people. But I realized there's power in this tool. And it wasn't too long before I realized, I can use this to illustrate ideas in a way that words alone can't.

 

So the first thing I did, because it was a photography class, I was talking about light and the different colors of light. And so I got three different little silk scarves of the primary colors of light, and I made them disappear and reappear and go here and there and change and things like that. And while you could just see in the looks of people, not only were they amazed and impressed and engaged, they started to get what I was actually communicating in a way that it's pretty abstract how light interacts with different colors and little Abstract.

 

This way, they got to see it in real form. And that really changed things. That then led me just slowly over time to start doing magic shows, love to that, love doing magic shows, I left photography to do magic, I moved to LA, I studied at the Magic Castle, which for people who don't know, the Magic Castle is a private nightclub for magicians in Hollywood. In fact, I just got back, I was in LA last week performing again, which is such a luxury. Yeah, so I moved to LA, I really poured myself into the art of magic, learning as much as I could about the skills, the physical skills of how magic work, but also what it takes to be a magician, which is not just the tricks, but it's the communication and the presentation of the magic.

 

Moving back away from LA started doing magic shows, and very soon realized this is too good of a tool to only do entertainment. I mean, I truly do believe that we need more wonder in our lives. And magic can really serve that purpose. And it's a deep and important mission to add wonder to the world.


Richard Walker 6:34 

So do you think, when you say that you people should have more wonder what is it exactly about that? Is it inspiration innovation? Is it curiosity? What is it you're inspiring with wonder?


Dan Trommater 6:46 

That's a great question. I really think that it's too hard for me to answer that. Because I don't know exactly what each person needs, all I can say is what I'm hoping to convey? Well, first of all, the research has shown that the experience of awe and wonder boosts our well-being, it gives us lower blood pressure, it boosts our dopamine, it really has a lot of physical and mental side effects. We get a lot of wonder and awe from nature. But we don't spend very much time in nature. And so through magic, that sense of wonder and awe can be triggered that really gives similar benefits to looking at a starry sky or watching a bug crawl across the leaf.


Richard Walker 7:44 

So Dan, I'm thinking about this in terms of, I typically talk about how businesses are trying to get the best customer experience and customer journey. But part of what I think all people want with their customer is that sense of wonder, I think like a financial advisor, I think we'd be serving a client better if the client cared more, was more interested in the things that they were talking about? And how do they inspire that?

 

How do they get them to say, I want to know more about taxes, which is typically a very boring thing that people don't want to know about. But my gosh, how powerful can it be to change your tax structures. Or if you're selling a financial tool to financial advisors, like a lot of the FinTechs do, how do they get their customers to say, man, I need to think about that. That's what I'm asking about this idea of wonder: how do we inspire more wonder and others? Your use of magic, I think, is really innovative. But what else do you think about this?


Dan Trommater 8:34 

Well, what comes to mind is, so just last week, when I was in Los Angeles, my best friend from university came out to celebrate his 50th birthday with me. And he's not a magician. He's not in that world at all. He's seen me do some magic, but that's it. But he got exposed at a deep level to a lot of magic. We went to the Magic Castle a whole bunch. We went to an illusion builders workshop, we went to one of the largest collections of magic posters in the world. And so he got immersed in this world. And he thinks it's cool, but he doesn't care, right?

 

I mean, he's not like already invested. But by seeing me and the proprietors of these two different collections so enamored with it, and so obviously invested in this kind of obscure, esoteric thing, even though that was not particularly invested in it by seeing somebody who really was, he was compelled to be more interested, like when you see somebody who just absolutely loves stamp collecting and can tell you all about all the stamps and about where this one came from and who designed it and like, you may not care about stamps, but by seeing somebody so in love with something, it makes you realize that there's something more there that maybe you couldn't be interested in.


Richard Walker 10:12 

Okay, you just inadvertently revealed a magician secret. And that is that the magician is so passionate about the craft of magic, they inspire people and draw people and attract people. I mean, you can't get away from somebody who's really, really into magic, because they want to show you the next thing, right.


Dan Trommater 10:32 

Yeah, yeah. Well, there is something very infectious about the passion.


Richard Walker 10:37 

Yeah, there is. So I find that if you have a true passion about what you do, people want to hear about it. I often joke, people don't invite me to come speak at conferences, because who wants to hear about forms. But if you're talking to me one-on-one about the problem you have with forums, my gosh, I'm so excited about it. And it's the most mundane thing in the world. But we can have a great conversation around it. So I want to come back to something else. You said what you help people do is get unstuck. And I'm curious, do people always know they're stuck? Or do you help them see that too?


Dan Trommater 11:06 

No, I don't think people always know they're stuck. Not at all. Occasionally they do. And then that's really easy because where there's a will there is a way if people see that they're stuck, and they don't want to be well, that's a simple problem to solve. Well, so what comes to my mind is a quote from the singer Nikko Case. In one of her songs, she says, it was so clear to me that it was almost invisible. We go along, we do the same things and the same way is because they work. We do them over and over and over until they become invisible.

 

We don't even realize that there is another way. And there's a certain efficiency to that. But in a world that is constantly changing, we have to as well. The way we did it yesterday is great until tomorrow changes. And tomorrow is always changing. So, I think that it's important to continue to do the things that work well. But it's also important to test whether they are still working. Is the right answer from yesterday still the right answer today?


Richard Walker 12:24 

I was having this very similar conversation with two of my product managers yesterday. And at the crux of it, I said we have to constantly challenge the assumptions. Because an assumption was made that I think was leading us down the wrong path. And in talking to a different team member, who's essentially the owner of the product, we realized, oh my gosh, wait a minute, we're ignoring something here because of the assumption.

 

And so that was what our conversation was about, like, how do we challenge ourselves to look at things and say, Is that actually still true? Is that still right? So going back to how you do keynotes and presentations and coaching with people, how do you use magic to challenge assumptions and get people to wake up to that concept of doing it themselves?


Dan Trommater 13:06 

So I have a loose framework for how I use magic. And it's the same framework that I use for any of my sort of communication techniques, whether it be magic or optical illusions or stories. I introduce an idea. I illustrate that idea with magic optical illusion, story, activity, something like that, then I give a brief two-cent interpretation of what I think it means. And then I asked a question, because I know that I don't know anything about the people in the room. I am almost invariably at an event. I'm the weird outsider who doesn't know anything about that industry.

 

And that has its pluses and minuses. So if I don't know anything about the people in the room, well, I can't presume to have the answers for them. So instead, I like to ask powerful questions that allow people to take something from what I've shared, and apply it into their own world, because nobody in the room is better qualified to solve their problem than themselves. True. So as far as why I use magic, I'll give you an example. So this is a 50-cent piece that's an American 50-cent piece from the 1940s.


Richard Walker 14:37 

So those of you who are just listening, you're going to have to get over to YouTube and watch this because he's demonstrating a magic trick with a coin, awesome.


Dan Trommater 14:44 

Right, so I got a 50-cent piece. I'm holding it at the tips of my fingers, and then I'm gonna rub it. I'm gonna rub it just a little bit like so. And it slowly disappears and it's completely gone. And it's actually well, it's not gone, it's invisible. It's actually right there and grabs it like, so when I squeeze it, it comes back. So a relatively simple piece of magic coin vanishes and then reappears.

 

But what's happening is, in your mind, all kinds of stuff is going on, because you know, deep in your bones, that that's impossible can't be done. But it happened right in front of your eyes. And so then that forces, I believe that force is one of a number of different questions. One being, well, if I know that that's not possible, and I just saw it happen, well, then what else do I think that I know for sure. Maybe I need to go back and double-check the things that I think I know, because maybe they're just assumptions. Yeah, and then another thing that's just happening is all kinds of neurons are firing in a way that it's like, what's going on? That is outside of my realm of normality.

 

And when that happens, you're in that sense of, of wonder and awe. And as a tool for me, one of the byproducts is open minds, open minds that are much more receptive to new ideas, much more receptive to questioning the way they've always done it. And then all I have to do is ask a good question. And we're off to the races.


Richard Walker 16:30 

So I love that, let's get this formula. In a way you're presenting a concept. You're using magic as your demonstration. But in that demonstration, you're forcing their brains to be more receptive to be more open to new ideas. And then you plant the new idea.


Dan Trommater 16:46 

Yeah, yeah. A new idea. And then ask a question that allows them to apply that new idea into an area of their life that I don't know anything about.


Richard Walker 16:56 

Yeah. I love that. And honestly, that's kind of the gold that we're looking for when we have a product or a service. How do we present it in a way that people will then be open to it and see it and want it and come ask us for it? Versus just everybody who's out there with some widget, right? We want to change the dynamic. This is why I love the new perspective, or the totally different perspective is like, how do we see this differently?

 

Dan, I want to share a technique I have, because I was really, really poor in college. And somehow I came across this idea that I needed to consider all the possibilities in order to find the best outcome. And so I came up with this, just a simple belief that for every choice I make, there are 43 options I could choose from. Now why 43? Because that's a really big number if you think about it. If you're typically saying yes or no, true, false, white or black 43 is a lot more to think about.

 

The second reason is, is because what we typically do as humans is we come up with the best outcomes first, the positive ones. What about the negative ones? If you don't consider the negative ones, you're missing out on the spark of inspiration that can come from seeing the negative and not wanting it and finding a different way around it. So I'll give you my example. There were many days I'd wake up on a Monday while I was in school, and I would literally and I'm not exaggerating, I would have $5 to my name. And I had to get to Friday to get my paycheck.

 

I had to have gas for the car parking for the spot where I went to work and have food. $5 didn't go very far. Today, it goes nowhere. But back then it didn't go very far. So I'd ask myself, what are the ways I can get money? And I would consider the positives. I could borrow it, I could earn it. But I'd consider the negatives too. And I wouldn't do them. I didn't want to steal. But you know what another negative one is, selling something I don't want to sell or taking the bus instead of driving my car and avoiding parking fees. So I think that if you can challenge yourself just by saying things like, there must be more options that I'm considering. You can be open to it.


Dan Trommater 19:03 

I love it. So I'm curious what with this idea of 43 different answers, would you sit down with a piece of paper and try to come up with 43 different ideas.


Richard Walker 19:13 

Sometimes. My brain works on the ability to hold a lot of information at once. So I can see a spectrum of options very, very quickly in my head and I can run through them. And I can do super-fast. It's just one of my gifts I think are my methodologies, if you will. But sometimes, sometimes I'd write them down. If I'm really struggling to make a decision. I will write down pros and cons. I'll give it weights and I'll start to balance it out. And I'll say oh my gosh, there's so much more in this column than the other column. I need to lean in this direction to make my decision.


Dan Trommater 19:46 

Wow. Fascinating. I love it. I love it. And it has me thinking about this activity that I actually haven't used in my talks for a while. I should bring it back. This is another visual one. But I think if I describe it properly, people who are just listening can go along with it. So we can do this together, I'm going to position myself so that you can see me all right here. Hold your right hand out in front of you. So your elbow is at your side, your right hand is palm up, out in front of you. So the goal is to get your hand palm down. What's one way that we can do that? Flip it over?

 

Right? You just turn your wrist over? Right? Yeah. So that's the easiest, maybe the most obvious answer. But it's certainly not the only other answer. What, how else could we get our palm down? Stand on my head, you can stand on your head. Exactly. So that's another way that might take a little bit of balance. And I love that you immediately went to something that's a little bit silly. Yeah. Because yeah, you got to be a little bit open to say that. So that's a great idea. How else?


Richard Walker 21:05 

Sorry, I went all the way to the negative, cut my hand off and flipped it over.


Dan Trommater 21:08 

you could cut your arm off, turn it over, problem solved. Fantastic. Now you've gone not only into the silly, but into the very impractical, right? But that's okay. So we can continue on with this. And when I do this in a big group, a similar trend seems to happen. I asked how to do it. Everybody says turn your wrist over great. And you can see their brains turn off. They're done. Problem solved. I figured it out. Next problem. And then I push. Well, how else? Oh, gosh, okay, well, we got to come up with more. And it kind of stalls out. And then somebody finally says stand on your head. And that gets a little chuckle. And then we get a couple more ideas.

 

And then it stalls out again, and I push and I push. And then eventually somebody says cut your arm off, turn it over, problem solved, that gets a bigger laugh. And you can feel the energy in the room change, you get like, oh, we don't have to be practical. Oh, we can be silly. Oh, and then we get this torrent of ideas, many of which are really silly, impractical. But some of which can at least contain the seed of something that is really innovative and useful. And I believe that it's only by venturing out into the realm of the weird that we can access some of those really innovative new ideas, because we give ourselves permission to not be practical and to be silly and to be vulnerable.

 

Really, we're talking about vulnerability here. And when we access vulnerability, it's a superpower. Let me show you another way to do it. Yeah, I'll show you another way, then I will try to describe this in a way that everybody can do it together. So right hand palm up in front of you, your elbow is at your side, and you're sitting up straight, without changing the orientation of your hand, raise your hand up to your shoulder. Again, without changing the orientation of your hand, rotate your elbow so that your hand ends up in front of your left elbow.

 

Again, without changing the orientation of your hand, move your hand back out in front of you where you started. Now your hand should be vertical. Again, without changing the orientation, move it up to your shoulder, down to your elbow, and back out in front. Now your hand is palm down. You turned it over without changing the orientation of your wrist.


Richard Walker 21:08 

What happens if we keep going? Oh, wait.


Dan Trommater 23:45 

Yeah, eventually we run into physics.


Richard Walker 23:51 

Yeah, that's awesome. And you're right. This is challenging how people see the world. And that's super important. I think when you're trying to communicate, especially new ideas as an innovator, oh my gosh, it is so hard to bring a new idea to life when people don't see it. And I don't remember how Steve Jobs said it. He said if I listened to customers, they wouldn't get what they want. They don't know what they want. I got to show them what they want, something like that. Right. Yeah, yeah. No, that is amazing. What has been like, I guess what has been your favorite trick to do in front of people and why?


Dan Trommater 24:29 

Oh, it depends on the scenario. It depends. If I'm just hanging around and doing magic for the sake of entertainment, there's a piece of magic that I learned from my friend and mentor, Dean Dill, that it only really works in certain circumstances when people are really settled and focused. And we've got some time because it's a long routine and the outcome is at once expected, and yet completely impossible, it involves dice and cards, and it's complicated and absolutely wonder-invoking.

 

So there's that. But in terms of the work that I do, I think that one of the most powerful things that I do is how I kick off my keynote, and workshop. It's a piece of magic, where I borrow a bill of some sort of $100 Bill is hilarious. The person signs their name across the face of it, it disappears, then the person comes up on stage, they open up a little box that's been sitting there the whole time. Inside the box, there's a bag. They open up the bag. Inside of the bag is a lime, they inspect the lime, make sure it's as it appears to be, we cut it open, and there inside the core of the lime is their signed bill. So it's this classic stunner of magic, it only takes about three minutes to do the whole drink.

 

And then we're off to the races, then we're starting to talk about the fact that there's something that you know is impossible, and it happened three feet in front of you. It's a lovely reminder that possibility is a question of belief. If you believe that something is impossible, well, then it's impossible. Because if you don't think it can be done, you're not even going to try. And if you don't try and do well, what do you expect? But if you do believe it's possible, whatever it is, even just a glimmer of a sliver of possibility, then you're going to put in the work. And you try and you try and you fail.

 

You try again until that thing that everybody thought was impossible becomes a possibility. So when I do that whole thing, it's a lovely message. And I think it's true, it's important, I think to convey. But then I tell this story, because I know what people are thinking, right, it's a lovely message. But I know that people can't hear it because their brains are stuck on, how did that just happen? That's impossible. And that's what the human mind does. Right? When it sees something that it doesn't understand it immediately jumps into problem-solving mode. Yeah.

 

And so until we address that question of how I did it? I know that we can't move on. And so I invite people to share their theories about how I did it. And oh, Rich, the theories that I have heard, holy moly, everything from the person who loaned me the bill and I are in collusion, right, he signed two different bills or something like that to a trick lime, or a trick knife, or, yeah, teleportation or all kinds of things. It's always very fun to hear all these theories. And then I tell this story, do we have time for this story?


Richard Walker 27:58 

You go for it, I have something I want to observe about what you're saying, but gone.


Dan Trommater 28:02 

So I tell the story of how it even came to be that I ask audiences, how did I do the trick, right? Because that is not a normal thing for a magician to do. So the story is, from about 10 years ago, I was doing a workshop for an executive leadership team. And I started the day with this lime trick just to get their attention and to make that point about possibility being a question of belief. And then I moved on, and at lunch, it became clear that I was the only one who had moved on. Because the CEO of this company came up and said, damn that trick with a lime is tremendous. I know how you did it. Really, how did I do it? Oh, it was obvious.

 

And then he told me his theory. And it wasn't a good theory. And I asked him, are you sure? And he looked me right in the eye and he said, well, of course, I'm sure. It's the only physical explanation for how you could have done that. So what I told them, and what I tell all my audiences is that in the last 20 years of doing that trick, I've used at least a dozen different methods, at least 12 completely different physical techniques to achieve the exact same end result. And you could see the gears turning in his head. It was like his mind was exploding with the idea that there could have been more than one right answer.


Richard Walker 29:24 

Oh, my gears are turning. I'm thinking about that, really 12 different ways to do that. My goodness.


Dan Trommater 29:29 

Yeah. And that's just me, right? Personally, I've used at least 12 methods. I know of dozens more than that, that I haven't used myself. So he thought about this. And he said, well, alright, if that's true that there's 12 different ways that you could have done it. And I was convinced that I had the only right answer, then I needed to go back to the audience or I needed to go back to the office and I needed to look at all the things that I and my team believe that we have the only right answer for. We need to question those, I just thought it was a great moment where he was starting to challenge his assumptions about the right way of doing things.


Richard Walker 30:07 

Yeah. So there's something just really, really powerful. I want everybody to get out of what you just said, you presented the impossible and challenged people to think about how it could be possible. That is so important when you're trying to innovate, when you're trying to change, when you're trying to break through somebody's roadblock, limiting beliefs, behavior problems, etc. You get others to think about how this could be possible. So somebody did this to me in my career. We had a need a long time ago, early on in our business, to save forms, they were PDF at the time, save them, come back and work on them. And I kept looking at this problem.

 

And I just kept saying, it's not possible. I cannot think of a way to make this possible, it is not possible. And the person I was saying to is one of our partners, and he said, at one point, like a year and a half into this, you said you have to solve this for this customer. And I said fine I'll solve it. And then I did. Because he essentially said, well, he challenged me in a way, if you want to get me to do something personally, tell me I can't do it. So he essentially reversed it on me and said, well, you're right, you can't do it. I'm like, well, no, I can do it, I will find a way to do it. And then we invented a new product out of it, because we solved the problem.

 

And honestly, Dan, I think what a lot of people miss is that when you tackle the impossible, quote, unquote, and you solve it, you elevate your game, you become a better provider of a service or product. And you actually create barriers to entry, because nobody else is thinking they can solve it. And honestly, I mean, like our newest product I mentioned at the beginning called form extract, it extracts data off forms for solving a problem that people don't even realize is possible to solve. We do it with 99.9% accuracy. And the standard and the industry at best is 85% accuracy.

 

And therefore it's not adopted well, because humans have to keep being involved in the process. But we can actually do it at near 100%, which means humans don't have to be involved. And is that impossible? So I'm so glad you brought this up. And we could talk about this today. And I think this method of asking how it would be possible is what spurs innovation?


Dan Trommater 32:19 

Yeah, it reminds me of back in the olden days, Magic, now you can get Magic Tricks Online, you can sign on to any given website, sign up and buy a trick and learn the trick immediately. Well, pre-internet, that obviously wasn't the case, you'd go to a magic store to buy magic. Well, if you weren't lucky enough to live in a town that had a magic shop? Well, then you are stuck with catalogs. So the Abbotts magic company in Holland, Michigan published this enormous phonebook-sized catalog of magic every year. And it was page after page after page of descriptions of tricks with just simple line drawing illustrations of each trick.

 

And I got lots of friends who started magic as a kid, they couldn't afford the tricks. So they would read the descriptions and think, oh, I want to do that. And they would be forced to think of all right, well, how would I do that? If I wanted to do that, how would I do that? And they ended up inventing methods that had never been invented before, that were as good or better than the method that was being sold in the catalog. Now, this idea of necessity being the mother of invention plays out in both of our examples.


Richard Walker 33:40 

Yeah, for sure. Man, we're gonna have to wrap this up. And before I do I have another question for you. But before I ask that, what's the best way for people to find and connect with you?


Dan Trommater 33:50 

Best way is through my website, dantrommater.com. I'm also on LinkedIn. You can find me there. I'd love to chat.


Richard Walker 33:58 

Cool. Awesome. All right. So my last question is who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style and how you approach your role?


Dan Trommater 34:05 

I'm not sure that I can say the biggest impact because who knows, but the first name that comes to my mind is my mentor from community college, Barry Stearns. I was on a team of student advisors. So we ran the information desk, we ran the orientation programs at the school we were in, we became a really close-knit group, due to the guidance of Barry. Barry had this infectious belief in each one of us that we could do more than we thought we were capable of. I think that I owe Barry a lot in terms of my ability on a stage.

 

I think before that I mean, I've always liked to be the center of attention and all but as far as standing on the stage in front of a whole bunch of people, that was a new thing, and very gently forced each and every one of the members of his team to stand on a stage in the auditorium and lead a session for an orientation program. And it was that belief in me and my abilities that really propelled me to all kinds of success in my life. So I owe Barry Stearns an awful debt of gratitude.


Richard Walker 35:29 

I love that. We are fortunate when we have mentors who believe in us, but that also is a reminder that when we believe in others, we empower them to be their best too. All right, that's awesome. All right. I got to give a huge thank you to Dan Trommater for being on this episode of The Customer Wins. Go check out Dan's website at dantrommater.com. Trommater has two M's in the middle by the way. So dantrommater.com. And don't forget to check out Quik! at quikforms.com where we make processing forms easy. I hope you enjoyed this discussion, will click the like button, share this with someone and subscribe to our channels for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Thanks for joining me today Dan.


Dan Trommater 36:06 

It is absolutely my pleasure, Rich. May you be well.


Outro 36:11 

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.

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