Ep 9. Troy DeVolld
Show Notes / Transcript
In this episode, we meet Troy DeVolld
LinkedIn profiles give business context and our stories share who we are, so be sure to check out Troy’s LinkedIn profile too.
Welcome to the Connection Requested Podcast. I'm Mark Tweddle co-founder of YouTellYours, providing online team-building events to connect your remote team.
This podcast is about making better connections with other humans. I don't know about you, but I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn.
So this podcast is how we are going to get to know them. I think by accepting a LinkedIn connection, it should be more than just permission to send me some more marketing content.
I want my LinkedIn connections to be more meaningful and the best way I know to create that connection, that human understanding, is through storytelling. So each week I get a guest to try some of the same exercises that we use in our team events. Here on the podcast, you get to understand the human behind the LinkedIn profile, so be sure to also check out my guest's profile either before or after listening. So you can find out about their businesses, their skills, and their experience.
Enough explanation. Let's jump right in with our guest's name story. Two minutes to tell the story of your name with no preparation. No one else can tell that story better than you. You are the subject matter expert after all.
So the story of my name my name is Troy Donald DeVolld. The mix of Troy and Donald comes from my mother being a big fan of Troy Donahue and my grandfather's name being Donald. And my father is desired to have a son with the initials TD for when he played football in high school. So that could be Touchdown DeVolld.
TD DeVolld. Did. Not. Happen.
But that's the short version. The wild version is that it's taken me 40 something years to sort of get past that expectation. When I was in high school, I was editing poetry written by little emo girls for the school literary magazine instead of throwing a football around. Which worked out just fine for me.
I like it, it fits me. There's kind of a lyrical goofiness to it that I enjoy. It's not an egotistical thing, I don't think to say thatI like the sound of my own name, but I do rather enjoy my name now. I'm very easy to call out with minimal effort.
The history of the DeVolld name, was I thought I was the last of a line when my father passed away, but as it happens, there are other DeVolld's in the United States.
We're not quite sure what the name was, prior to the 1920s, when in the immigration papers it was listed as DeVolld. We thought that perhaps it might've been altered from something else. There are other DeVolld's that I've found. There's a banker. There is a Marine biologist who is a competitive horseback archer with the same last name. So apparently it's a fun-loving sort of last name.
I know Troy from the storytelling workshops we used to run. We use those workshops to develop the exercises that we now use to connect teams. We met a whole load of interesting people.
I always love to hear Troy's named story because for me, Touchdown DeVolld, it's hilarious.
I can't stand all forms of football. In fact, check back to episode seven with Blake Whealy if you need any confirmation of that fact.
So for the next story exercise, secure in the knowledge that there'd be no route to a football story, I asked Troy to start his two-minute story with, "My first love..."
My first love was always comic art, graphic art, illustration. And up until my late teens, early twenties, I was absolutely convinced that I was going to be a graphic novel writer. I had become a huge fan early on of a man named Will Eisner who created the comic strip called The Spirit and had written some really beautiful pieces.
A Contract With God. Dropsie Ave. Just wonderful, thoughtful pieces, just beautifully executed. I can't begin to explain the connection I had with his artwork. It wasn't just extremely handsome people wearing leotards. It was, you know, old schlumpy men in overcoats trying to figure out how to keep a tenement building from falling over or those sorts of things.
So I would draw and draw and draw.
I did eventually become a caricature artist. I had some weird bookings. In my teens I was the official cartoonist of what they called the Campbells Super Shootout. Which was, again, the football thing come back to haunt me. The NFL had a fundraiser every year where you would pay several hundred dollars and be issued a white leather football. You walk around the room and get all these football players to sign your football. At the end of the night you'd have this great autographed piece of memorabilia.
The first one I did, I had no idea who anyone was. And a man walked up to my booth and he said, "Oh, are you here all night?"
I said, sure. I said, "Go get your stuff signed and come back whenever."
And he said, “I'm Charlie Batch I quarterback for the Detroit Lions.”
I said, "Oh, it's very nice to meet you, Charlie. I'm sorry. I really don't know anybody."
He goes, "Oh, I know, you’ll know this guy." And across the way, smacking golf balls into a simulated driving range was Herschel Walker.
As I said, no route to a football story, and yet he managed it. The more, I try to avoid football, the more it seems to appear.
Okay. Let's hear Troy's story about connection. And let's also pray, there's no more football.
If there's one thing that I would say I excel at it is connecting with people. Other sorts of people I connect with best uh, people who have proceeded me in the game of life. I love nothing more than having a conversation with someone who's 70, 80, 90 years old about their life, their history and their past.
One of the, sort of the jokes among my friends is I have no friends under 100. I was part of a group here called the caucus for producers, writers and directors for a number of years. It's a lot of television producers who were very active in the 50, 60 seventies, eighties, early nineties.
They had an organization that they put together when producers started to lose control of their work and the networks would struggle with reaching to own the rights to everything. It was a really interesting group of men. One of the founders was a guy named Chuck Fries. I was very lucky to get to know. Chuck had basically invented the television movies format, and to listen to Chuck tell the story was always just something incredible.
And whenever I was feeling really down, he would give advice that was a little too powerful for me, as I had a bit of a crisis of faith of the midpoint of my career. I was let go from show because I had this feeling that the show should make sense and that you shouldn't pay things off that you've never set up.
And an executive network gave me the old heave-ho and I thought, why am I in television if what I'm doing, doesn't even have to make sense? Why did I bother to develop the craft if no one cares when it's executed well? It's all about whatever somebody on a whim thinks you should do.
And I had a conversation with Chuck about that.He'd said, "Well, so the first thing you should know is he says you're never gonna have what I have. Because I made all my money while there was still money and television." Which was no great comfort at all. But he also said, "Don't worry about doing your own things, I didn't start my own company till I was in my forties." Neglecting to mention that he had run Columbia and Screen Gems at different points.
So I always felt like that was a little bit behind. But the fact that the older guys loved to tell stories. I always felt that I connected well with Sam and I felt like there was a certain timelessness to a lot of the advice.
When you connect to people like that, you get advice like pick four restaurants, 2 great places, 2 dumps, one on each side of the hill and only go to those places for 20 years! So that every time you walk in, it's like a big occasion that you've showed up. Who ever you're meeting for business, or pleasure, always thinks that you're kind of a big deal. So that's what I did. I'm having dinner at the smokehouse tonight, which is my nice place
Thanks Troy, and especially thanks for the complete lack of football.
When I listened to Troy's connection story, it made me think about where I look for my connections. Sometimes I found myself seeking connection advice from people in the same industry. And it's, not always been so productive. Years ago, I used to work for the UK Ministry of Defense and I found it difficult to connect with anyone who saw it as a long-term career.
It was such an alien environment to me. And the advice I got from them was to stay in my job long enough to make a difference and achieve something that I could put on my resume, but I just. It was killing me there and I could barely stay in each role for more than about 18 months to two years. However, and ironically, I guess it served me well, and I progressed faster than most, perhaps because of my breadth of experience from changing jobs so much.
Maybe if I'd got my advice elsewhere, I could have felt better whilst I was taking that path. So ask you, where do you look for connection and advice? Do you only try to connect to people in your industry?
Maybe the people who will be able to help you the most will be the least like you because they see the world differently from you.
Anyhow, do you feel like you're getting to know Troy?
If you looked at his LinkedIn profile right now and you needed his help or his advice, would you feel more comfortable having a call with him?
I do hope so. If nothing else, I hope that you've learned that Troy DeVolld is awesome.
I'd love to know what you think, and if you have any comments or questions about this podcast, you can let me know via the comments on the show notes at connectionrequested.com or send me a voice message via the connection requested page on anchor.com.
Please share this podcast, preferably on LinkedIn, and keep on having fun making the best of connections.