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Promoting Superior Customer Service, Diversity, and Inclusivity With Dr. Hoby Wedler

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

Hoby Wedler

Dr. Hoby Wedler is a chemist, entrepreneur, educator, and sensory expert. After earning his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 2016, Dr. Wedler went on to combine his love of science with the food and beverage industry as a product development consultant and sensory expert. His work was recognized by Barack Obama who named him a Champion of Change for enhancing employment and education opportunities for people with disabilities. He was also named by Forbes Media as a leader in food and drink in their 30 Under 30 annual publication.

Dr. Wedler is the CEO of Hoby’s Essentials and Wedland Group, Managing Partner and CEO of Senspoint, Vice President and Board Member for Petaluma Educational Foundation, and Chairman of the Board for the Earle Baum Center of the Blind. His mission is to leverage his passion for sensory awareness, scientific knowledge, and education to make the world more inclusive, equitable, and accessible for all.

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

  • How Dr. Hoby Wedler entered the food and beverage industry

  • Dr. Wedler's experience working with Francis Ford Coppola

  • The lessons Dr. Wedler has learned from international business travels

  • Dr. Wedler talks about his work in emotional intelligence and product design

  • How role diversity and inclusivity impact business success

  • The benefits of supporting local communities

  • Dr. Wedler's favorite conferences and software

  • How to live an abundant life

In this episode…

Can diversity and inclusivity drive business success? How can you leverage unique qualities to build a successful company?

As a business owner, one way to give back to the community is by building a diverse workforce. Welcoming diversity into your company motivates your employees to help create and build a successful business model. Show your employees that you believe in them by creating opportunities for them to thrive. As a leader, take the initiative to build a cohesive team and promote a collaborative culture for your company.

In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson interviews Dr. Hoby Wedler, a chemist and entrepreneur, about the benefits of promoting superior customer service, diversity, and inclusivity. They discuss Dr. Wedler's work in the food and beverage industry, the value of empowering employees and supporting local communities, and how diversity and inclusivity drive business success.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.

So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs Rack, Shelving, Carts, Conveyors, or Mezzanines, we help engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations.

Sometimes people don’t even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services.

We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.

To learn more, visit or give us a call at (707) 732-3892. One of the best ways to learn more about our products and services is to follow us on Instagram. And there’s a link on our website to do that.

I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners, so email me at if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:17

Mark Hiddleson here host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing logistics and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce today's guest, Dr. Hoby Wedler, this episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions. Listen, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. And I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse and these racks, shelving carts, conveyors or mezzanines, we help with the design engineering installations, inspections and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. And Hoby, sometimes, people will never realize we can actually help with permanent acquisition services as well. We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually proving your operation. learn more visit Or give us a call at 707-732-3892. I even get my personal email out for podcast listeners. So my email is Shoot me an email if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.Today, we have Dr. Hoby Wedler. Blind since birth, Hoby is a chemist, entrepreneur and motivator of happiness. After earning his PhD in organic chemistry from UC Davis in 2016. We went on to combine his love of science in the food and beverage industry as a product development consultant, and sensory expert, whose work was recognized by Barack Obama when he was named a champion of change for enhancing education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. And also by Forbes Media when he was named 30. Under 30. In the food and drink category in 2016. Always a problem solver. A teacher is someone who encourages everyone around him to elevate their happiness and live life with a positive attitude. Hope he will he'll be welcome to The Tao of Pizza Podcast.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 2:24

Mark, it's an honor to be here with you, man. And I know you said you don't look that old and I would agree you don't look a day over 20

Mark Hiddleson 2:30

coming from him it means a lot.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 2:35

Good to hang out with you. I love the idea of the show. I love you know the fact that you're in the logistics and warehousing industry, but you you like to talk to people that just have have interesting backgrounds and different careers and really appreciate all that you do. You know, we're we're right here and in Northern California together. I'm just over the hill in Sonoma County. I think you're in Napa. Right?

Mark Hiddleson 2:59

Yeah. Right. From our first conversation. I knew we were brothers and in a certain way, and you know, we enjoy this Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, or the wine country. People always asked me if I'm in the wine industry. And I say, mostly on the consumption side.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 3:16

There you go. Well, we're brothers of the 707. You know,

Mark Hiddleson 3:19

exactly, exactly. It is and stuff. I want to make sure I give a big thank you to Dr. Jeremy Weisz of Rise25, who introduced us. And I wanted to add one of the first things I want to ask you is how did you meet Jeremy?

Dr. Hoby Wedler 3:34

Oh, that's a great question. So I actually it's the answer. And first of all, thanks to Dr. Jeremy for connecting us. He really really has introduced me to some amazing folks like yourself. I met a guy during a pandemic by the name of Justin Breen. And Justin is a really good connector connected me with Jeremy's business partner, John. John connected me with Jeremy and being entrepreneurs and kind of scientists, you know, he's a chiropractor and, and now an entrepreneur, focusing in the E commerce business. We just hit it off. And we did a really fun show on his, his podcast, the Inspired Insider. And I said, Man, when you come across interesting folks that want guests, you know, let me know because I always like talking to interesting people. And you are, you're a great example of that, my friend.

Mark Hiddleson 4:23

That is awesome. Yeah, Jeremy and John. They're the founders of rise. 25. They help businesses develop their top clients referral partners and strategic alliances through podcasts. Yeah. So cool. Well, I'll have it in the show notes, but I'll put their websites Rhys 20 Perfect. Yeah, that's awesome. So how, how did you get involved in the food and beverage industry

Dr. Hoby Wedler 4:50

specifically? You know, that's a great question. So growing up in Sonoma County, which is one of the winegrowing capitals of California for sure. I He was always fascinated when I was a kid with things that were being done in my community and then had greater impact outside my community. So this whole fact that I sort of knew that grapes were being harvested from fines, almost literally in my backyard, and then, you know, sold turned into wine and then sold as a premium goods throughout the world just fascinated me. And I don't know what it was. But I always had an interest in in that aspect of the wine industry, not really in the tasting aspect. Of course, they're still good. But when I when I got old enough to really start getting into wine and taste wine, I just I loved the combination. And I still love the combination of flavors. And what I realized when I started tasting wine and experiencing wine is that, you know, it's for me, it's all about understanding flavors, and knowing what flavors are and kind of being able to describe them and think about them. So I didn't realize I was doing this at the time. But I've always loved to cook, I've always spent time with my parents in the kitchen. And I think it was for my 10th birthday, my parents bought me a 42 quart, so 10 and a half gallon soup pot. And one of my main chores, and it wasn't didn't feel like a chore It was a fun thing to do was to make big pots of soup that they would free us and take to work for lunches, they didn't want to, you know, eat out unhealthily. So they take take these delicious soups, and I would play with flavor, and texture and aroma. And what I realized is that I was kind of working as an artist who couldn't see. So when I taste a complex wine, or an interesting food or something like that, I literally see flavor. And I think it's the closest to how you might perceive when you look at a beautiful painting or a nice landscape, how you might see it, I can taste it. And I have a good understanding of how flavor aroma and texture can meld into form their own language. And I have a couple of different avenues that I work a lot in, in the food and drink industry. One is with helping with product development, that can be a product that's just just getting started or someone's product that's already been on the market. And they need help scaling it up or changing it around. And my passion is developing great products without creating huge costs of goods. So it's a really fun line of work. I also have a line of work where I explain and work with groups to better understand waivers or almost in textures that they're tasting. We can get into that in a minute.

Mark Hiddleson 7:35

Yeah, yeah. So by doing the chore and like you said, it wasn't, it wasn't a chore is one of the things I've tried to make my chores into something I enjoy, because it has to be done. Right? You gotta you gotta you gotta there's a saying called you chop wood and carry water. So to make it fun experience, and so he saw you since you had this gift for four flavors and being able to identify it. So you turn that into business. That's, that's pretty, that's pretty awesome.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 8:07

You know, it's just fun to take something that people see as a disadvantage, like being blind and figuring out okay, where where do I have skills that maybe other people don't have?

Mark Hiddleson 8:16

It? Yeah, and they can open doors that we didn't even know that were available to us. And that's what I I love about it about your work. And I like you to,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 8:27

you know what I want to I don't mean to interrupt you. I just want to say that's exactly what you do in the logistics industry.

Mark Hiddleson 8:32

And which is and how are you? How are you seeing that?

Dr. Hoby Wedler 8:39

I just see you as creating possibilities and opportunities for your clients that you know that they maybe didn't see before and you sort of help guide them to the solution that's best for them. And you know, you took something like the warehousing and logistics industry and made it your passion and made it what you do and you probably are one of the world's experts on it so you can help people

Mark Hiddleson 9:03

discover what they don't know. It that's a great that is one of the greatest descriptions I'm glad that we have Asante because it's so true because a lot of there's very few companies that have somebody like me and some big companies like Amazon, they probably have you know, one or two market Wilson's on staff for every project, but most clients, most business owners can't afford to have somebody on staff. And so we're kind of a plug and play and what it doesn't advantages. I'm in so many different industries, the beverage industry, construction industry, third party logistics, and we can kind of bring that so that's a great, great description. So I'd like you to share a story about a client that you work with as a consultant. And you're truly blind tasting experience tasting in the dark.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 9:55

Yeah. So I love to cook 2011 I got a super random call from Francis Ford Coppola is teen. As you know, he's a film director and producer to the Godfather and a few other few other movies. And, you know, he's his love was actually his love for art started when he made wine as a kid with his uncle in the basement of their apartment building, and just fell in love with the fact that you could transform something relatively boring white grape juice into something interesting and complex like wine. So he knew that he wanted to find a way to make enough money to open a winery. And he did that with the with the film industry. But he had just attended an event in Asia that he really liked. That he felt was a little bit gimmicky. It was where people wore blindfolds. And then were asked to walk across a room and find a tree, or, you know, these kind of slightly silly things. And he said, I want to do this in more wood, more reality, and more sort of authenticity at my wineries. And I want a blind person to lead the experience. So he through a friend of a friend actually who knew him, his team reached out to me and I was asked to design and innovate tasting in the dark for Coppola and his his wiener is as a hospitality experience. And when for Francis Ford Coppola asks you to do something you say yes. And you say, Oh, my God, what did I just agree to? Yeah. But he really gave me the reins within let me build this experience out into a really dynamic experience that started in the in the wine industry. But everything started as a hospitality experience for him, but soon was picked up by his national sales team. And we go all over for them as a consultant, but also have expanded the tasting and the dark and truly blind tasting experiences to food products and beverage products all over the all over the world. So we've done some really fun work, staff development trainings with the French Laundry and, and we've done a really exciting PR launch with Barilla, the pasta company with some of their sauces. So we just had a really good time exploring and, and using this experience to pardon the pun, but open people's eyes, to what they're missing when they taste, flavor and experience flavor. Because I think that when we have our eyesight, which is a great sense that we should definitely use if we have it, it sort of dominates our other senses, right. So studies show that we use our eyesight to obtain 85 to 90% of the information from our surroundings, which means that we have four additional perfectly good senses only to take in 10 to 15% of that information. And, you know, when we're not distracted by what our eyes are telling us, it's amazing what our brains perceive. So I am constantly amazed. And it's interesting for me, because I've never had eyesight, no light perception, my eyes are acrylic. And I've been totally blind with virtually no light perception since birth. It's always fascinating to me to put a blindfold on people, and see how they understand the world differently. And connect with it differently. So that's a, that's a little bit about, about tasting in the dark. And we worked with all sorts of clients will tell you that tasting in the dark, is a really powerful experience in two ways. It works great for suppliers, mostly in the food and beverage industry, who want to present their products in a very unique way to stakeholders, where they're going to be moved from just number three at five in the catalog to Okay, when I taste Coppola wines, or whatever the brand may be, or when I hear about that from a distributed distributor or a salesperson, I'm going to immediately think about this whole experience that I've had, and people remember it for years following the experience. It's also really powerful. It's an off site experience for corporate clients. So people who come to wine country or or often go to them, they want to do some exciting team building activity and one good way to do it. And this tasting has proven to be a really fun offsite experience for people. So clients tend to be either either food and beverage suppliers or companies wanting to do something really fun for their employees. Yeah, and

Mark Hiddleson 14:29

you're traveling all over the place. You're not just doing this in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley here. Because I know it took us a while I think it took us a couple to couple months was my bad. I'm really well. It's just I we had a few conversations early, but I'm really glad we connected but I know you were in different countries. I forget where but where are some of the places you've been in the last last few months?

Dr. Hoby Wedler 14:53

Oh, man. Yeah, so we had a client not with tasting in the dark but a product development client in New Jersey. So spent a lot of time in New Jersey. And then we were just in Italy, actually presenting at an international wine business conference that was a tasting of the dark, and Verona, Italy, revolving around all Italian wines. And there's just a lot of fun. It was a great, it's exciting. We've done them in, in Asia and Korea, in Australia, you know, really around the world,

Mark Hiddleson 15:24

we love it in water. So I love travel as part of business, most of our businesses in the United States, but I will, I love going out of country for business conferences, because in automation, in some of the stuff in logistics, Europe, is miles ahead of us as far as technology because their cost of labor, and capital is higher land, there's not as much land there. So they've had to be more creative, innovative in automation to, you know, be competitive, and global. No,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 15:56


Mark Hiddleson 15:57

So what are some of the things you've learned from traveling that you've had been able to apply to your business?

Dr. Hoby Wedler 16:05

That's a great question. Um, you know, I really, not the customer service isn't good here in the United States. But in other countries, I find much more attention to detail, and attention to what the client really wants and needs. And my motto, and in my work every day is legendary customer service. Because if you don't provide good customer service, what's the what's the point in working with with that company? You know, and I feel like the generation that is sort of my generation and younger, maybe weren't necessarily taught that I sound like an old curmudgeon here, I'm sorry, but, you know, weren't necessarily taught the value of really excellent and superior customer service. And I feel like, you know, there really isn't any of that, for instance, which has spent a few weeks in Italy, as I said, and you know, even people a lot younger than I am, in their work in their jobs, provide really good customer service. And that is just interesting to look at that, that sort of model an aura of how much better does it feel to do business with someone who genuinely they're not just putting on a face, but they actually care about the business you're giving

Mark Hiddleson 17:20

them. That's a great example. And the other culture, it's changed when I was younger service stations, it was called us the gas station was called the service station. And they would wash your windows and stuff like that. And my parents grandparents started out in that room. I interviewed somebody on the podcast, a few milk Tandy, who's the president of wire crafter is one of our best suppliers. They do security cases, like wine has high security items, so we can convert like racking to security keys. But anyways, he's the president of a company, but 40 Something he's been there for 42 years, but the president of the company at that time, had him from the service station, he was a service station client and just the way he claimed the guy's windows the way he took care of him. He said, hey, you know, son, what are you up to? He's like, I just graduated from college. And he's like, I would you like to come to work for us. But that, you know, the thing of service. And, you know, now we kind of take for granted getting gases, just stick your card in there and do it yourself. But I love that in in Europe, you're they're saying you got a feeling that they care, to hear, take things for granted.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 18:34

And then when you eat food in a restaurant, you noticed like it was actually made fresh, and they're not cutting corners, I feel like one of the things that that we need to be really careful of as entrepreneurs and business people in the United States is that we remember the sense of being thorough, and not cutting corners, and really stepping in and putting yourself in the shoes of your client and, and giving them the best possible experience they can have. Because if you do that, this is this is sort of this interesting, subconscious thing that I think about and work on as a sensory expert and really is an emotional intelligence expert. If you make someone feel cared about and good, you are giving them a positive emotion that feels I know that sounds really primal. But you're creating a psychological positive experience. They feel happy, they feel cared about. They feel nurtured, they feel loved. And who's not going to go back to that. The minute the minute that we feel like someone is just doesn't care and and we're not that important to them. We're going to feel, frankly not cared about and whether we think about it and internalize it or not. That makes us it puts a mental block in our mind. Okay, I'm never going back to that place where I didn't feel cared about.

Mark Hiddleson 19:59

Yeah, it You might not even know what it is. But you know, you're not going back there was, No, you're right. And I'll be able to name it. But it will be like a feeling like you're not going back to that.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 20:10

We also designed products is another hat that I wear, I do a lot of a lot of work in the emotional intelligence space, and we design products and product packaging, with sort of a twist of hate, you know, most designers are focusing so much on the visual and what people see. And not nearly enough time and effort on, you know, how does the packaging feel? How does it sound, you know, so, you know, if you make a bag that chips are in, for instance, and you make that bag really crinkly and loud, people are going to hear it and be jarred whenever they go grab a chip. And frankly, they're going to feel more guilty because they're reminded more glaringly whenever they're eating a chip.

Mark Hiddleson 20:52

Yeah. A fun, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah, it is. And you do think of that with the bag. And some, especially if there's not a lot of other sound on you go to the open that bag. The sound is it can be overwhelming. Yeah. Yeah. And then is there anything else because I'm fast the emotional intelligence piece is I'd love to hear more about the emotional intelligence and product design. What else can you share? Yeah. It's,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 21:24

it's just something that I'm so passionate about is creating. And I don't do this for the sake of, of wanting to make people psychologically happier. So they're coming back for more, even though that does that sort of a happy byproduct of it. I do it because I want people to live more fulfilling lives. Like my goal is to have people live the best possible life while they're here and be as happy as they can be, is what's life worth living? If we're not happy? And we're not? We don't feel satisfied and appreciated, right? So I think that we can, we can build and design and create experiences that give people a really positive outlook on life. And I'm actually co founding a company right now with offices here in California, and Balsamo, Italy, which is in the far northeastern part of Italy, called emoji to tech, which is all about emotional intelligence. I'm not going to say the name of that company, Mark. I mean, that's right. Yeah. But you can actually founded co actually co founding a company right now, with offices both here and in California. And also in Bolzano, which is in northern Italy, based all around creating high end products and experiences that use emotional intelligence as the lens to do our design work. So I can't reveal the name of the company yet, but we literally hear Human Centered Design and thinking about People First, emotional intelligence with a little bit of artificial intelligence and technology to enhance the design work that we do and create experiences that are more meaningful, and more emotive meaning more not like emotional in a sad way or anything like that. But more the emote more, they affect our way of thinking about things and, and make us feel more, if you will. And we actually work with folks in the applied neuroscience space to look at brainwaves using electroencephalograms, or EGS. To figure out when people are experiencing those positive and those negative emotions, to come up with tendencies and trends, you know, when we're designing so that we can design to make our experiences that much more positive and intriguing to people.

Mark Hiddleson 23:46

That's fascinating. Because I know in your most people are like me, like you think, well, we're logical people in the decisions we make is based on, you know, mental, cognitive, you know, weighing out options and everything. But the truth is, like, 90%, or more as we're motivated by our emotions, we are Yeah, we are. That's fascinating.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 24:06

What tastes good, what feels good, what sounds good, what smells good.

Mark Hiddleson 24:10

Yeah. Does it looks good? I love that project. I want to tell you, it's, it's almost a great segue into my next question, because I really want to ask you about this, because I feel like as entrepreneurs, we both gonna share the model of doing well, by doing good, you know, you mentioned it, you're not just doing it just to get more business like you're doing. You know, he wants to do his thing, do good things for your community, like make the world a better place. So I wanted to ask you to share some of the ways I mean, you got you got an award from Barack Obama, in so share some of the ways that diversity or inclusion is it's not just doing good thing, but what are some of the ways it actually increases business success, as well? Yeah,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 24:57

I think thank you for that question. I mean, first and foremost, back I think the most important thing we can do is to make a positive difference in the world by, by, by being the people that we want to be seen as, right, so not putting on a front, but just bringing our true self, to the to the business every day. And if that person isn't a good person who also wants to give back, that's kind of an issue as well, right? We need to, we need to really care about that give back and that, that help that we, that we give to the world, because without, and I'm not saying like, we need to be stewards of just giving and good Samaritans and this sort of thing. I want to get into the, to the business case of this, which is that by giving people opportunities, and believing in people who might come from a different background than we think of as typical, you know, we're helping people, giving them believing in them, and giving them those opportunities to let them go into business, whatever their career may be, and succeed and thrive because of it, and add a different perspective and add a more diverse opinion, to the, to the problem solution, right? Because what are we what are we doing in business really Mark except for solving problems. And that's when I think about my life as an entrepreneur, I am not in this for the money I that's obviously, it's a good, it's good when we when we make money, because we have to pay our bills. I mean, this because I love helping people by solving real world problems. And when we bring a more diverse workforce in and more diverse people on our onto our team, we're giving ourselves that ability to solve problems from a more unique perspective. I mean, if you imagine a room with a blind person, or in with someone from a high and a low socio economic status, someone of a different ethnicity than us, someone from the LGBT community, you know, whatever the case may be, we're we have a pool of solution that is so much broader in that life experience, and that cultural upbringing, all go into our ability to think about something and come up with a viable solution. If we're one dimensional, in our in our population that we that we have, it's harder to make those really good decisions and drive, you know, positive decision making. And I, I believe in believing in people that maybe are often believed in, and giving them the opportunity not only to survive in business, but to thrive in business. And to that end, for many years, actually, while I was in graduate school, I had a nonprofit that led the annual chemistry camps for blind high school students. And I did this because I had a lot of people who believed in me and gave me all the chances I needed. I knew that there were a lot of other students that were told that sciences to prac to impractical because it's so visual, how can I bridge the gap and take down those frontiers and empower instead, know what the possibilities are in the world. So we did all sorts of hands on high stakes laboratory exercises, heard lectures from professors, mostly at UC Davis, who believed that our students really could enter their fields. And that's what that's what President Obama recognized was just that we're taking these kids at a young age and helping them find a path for a career that maybe he wouldn't have found.

Mark Hiddleson 28:46

Yeah, so like, for you before that, it wasn't even a possibility. But now and you and because of because you're blind, you've been able to actually improve on things in ways that that other people wouldn't have been able to do that. You got it? Is that right? Is that so you got

Dr. Hoby Wedler 29:05

it? Yeah. And think about things differently and approach problems differently. And again, we talked about this earlier in the episode, but people think of blindness as a disadvantage, how can we turn it into an advantage? And how can we help others who we might look at and judge actually, you know, become people that we never thought they could become? So I've got a book I'm working on called, it's not what it's not what it looks like. And it's all about not judging people by how they look or first impressions. And before we make our judgments, really getting to know people getting to know who they are, how they think what they do. And, you know, so just reserving that, that tendency, it's always super easy to judge someone you know, you look at someone on the subway platform, you say, Oh, God, I don't want to be near that person. But that person probably is not a bad person. And if they are, it's gonna come clean pretty pretty quickly. Yeah, you know, so just not judging people for what we think they are, but really, truly getting to getting to know people and, and getting to experience them. And I really think that if more people didn't judge so quickly, we we reduce racism, we reduce these these barriers, these artificial barriers that go up for people who step into the workplace and try to earn jobs but have a really hard time doing so. Not because they're not excellent at what they do, because they're, they're judged. And by the way, a lot of people who might look like they fit the fit the physician fit the task, well, might be lazy, they might really not be the right employee. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. A blind person is someone who's totally colorblind. It's kind of fun for me. I don't judge people by what they look like.

Mark Hiddleson 30:53

They have that that's another advantage. Yeah. I don't

Dr. Hoby Wedler 30:57

want to ever judge people by what they look like. But frankly, I can't, anywhere.

Mark Hiddleson 31:02

Yeah, yeah. That's a great. And then just what you mentioned about diversity in teams and better and being better able to solve complex problems. Read a book recently called the watchman's rattle, had heard of it. But it's Rebecca Costas, she's an author, and immediate person and other books on the verge, but she is talking like to solve the complex problems that we have is not going to be like one great individual, you know, like the ones you know, everybody voted for, it's not going to be a Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk, even though they're doing great things, it's going to be teams of people, because the complexity is happening so much faster now. And like you said, artificial intelligence, and all these things that we're using to solve problems. We need multiple, like a multidisciplinary view, to even scratch the surface of solving some of these things. I love what he said,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 31:57

the other thing that we need to do, just to add to that, you need a good team. But in order for a team to work well, and be able to really add their opinion, we need a culture of collaboration. And I think so many people forget that in business, and I have a business partner and we pretty much work in our company. We work with contractors, so we're sort of the only full time employees so to speak, but like creating an even even when you're working if you're a solopreneur working with clients, creating that collaborative culture is such an I don't want to see forgotten, but it's such an important part of doing really excellent business.

Mark Hiddleson 32:38

It really is. And most companies are our company's been the same way. I mean, I started I was until five or six years ago, I was a one man band and we subcontracted everything. I mean, we subcontractor engineering, we subcontract the installations a lot like anything that I could have somebody else do. And then I was working with owners, you know, instead of working with 30 employees, I'm working with 15 different owners, and then they all have their employees. But those types of relationships. It takes a different kind of energy, it takes a different kind of collaboration, you have to make sure your values are aligned. I mean, there's a lot of things that goes into collaboration, you know, because people and we've had people that didn't fit in the culture, because some people think, well, they don't work for us. So I can't be their boss. And it's our culture is kind of they're our boss, and we're their boss. Exactly. Nobody's know anybody's boss. In this, we just need to focus on getting the job done. So it's fact one. I love it. That's what you said, is perfect. That's on the money. You and that's doing well, by doing good. It's one of the reasons Dr. Jeremy Weisz introduced this is that we've, for the past, I want to say 10 years has probably been more we've supported the Napa has a local. I call it a bicycle race. My wife always reminds me it's not a race. But I've never come close to winning, but it's an event called cycle per Site. Site. And I think you're familiar with with that, right? Oh, totally.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 34:07

Yeah, i i Actually, I'm the chairman of the board of the Earle Baum Center of the Blind in Santa Rosa. And we sent it to him to cycle for site every year. It's a it's a great program, it raises great money. And one of the groups that's just outside of Napa, it's actually the enchanted Hills camp run by the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco's and other clients and dear friend of ours, and just we do anything we can to support them because we love them like crazy. But if you've been up to that point to Enchanted hills,

Mark Hiddleson 34:36

I haven't I haven't I heard that. It's It's amazing though.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 34:39

It's 311 acres of woods near the top of a very tall mountain just outside of Napa called Mount Veeder. I mean, it's very tall compared to the plains of Napa, not very tall compared to this year. It's like, I think our highest point is 1500 feet. But it's this amazing place that's now built out into it. We're still finishing can struction, but it's going to be a beautiful retreat center for anyone to use, but designed first and foremost by blind people and for blind people. So I don't know, it's just love, I can't get enough of giving back and helping out. Because it just when we know that our work is I, by the way, where I don't like to help out and give back, because when I'm just a stamp on something, it's like, oh, yeah, you're on the board of this organization. It's doing a lot, a lot of work. It's not fun, I want to, I want to feel like the work that I'm doing is really helping and transformative. And when I when I support mural Balance Center, the enchanted Hills camp with the lighthouse, I just, I get that feeling that that we're helping people be better people and live happy lives.

Mark Hiddleson 35:52

Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 35:54

And I can tell that, you know, by supporting cycle foresight, and all that you do, you You love this stuff, and you totally believe it.

Mark Hiddleson 36:04

Yeah, it is. Yeah. It's in the group of people that are involved. It's a great, it's a great group. And I know they've been involved in what's the name of it? I'm gonna have it in the show notes here. The Enchanted Hills camp is what it's

Dr. Hoby Wedler 36:17

yeah, the enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat, which is a part of the is owned by the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco. Yeah, they're their directors that dear, dear friend of mine, Tony Fletcher, always puts together a great cycling team. So awesome. Love loves supporting in any way we can. So are you a biker yourself?

Mark Hiddleson 36:40

Yes. cyclist? Yeah, and I like Melvita. When you say Melvita is steep. Anyone who doesn't believe it should try to ride their bicycle. Like, think it's more at least like 1800. But yeah, it's been on like, it was 1500. But, you know, I think the top of its 1800 feet. Yeah. And, and that's great. And we're we're almost out of time. And I wanted to make sure that I asked you, if you have any favorite conferences you go to or favorite tools and software. That is? Yeah,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 37:14

you know, I love any conference put on by the Culinary Institute of America. I work as an adjunct faculty member there. They have a campus in Napa, one in St. Alena and one also in Hyde Park, New York. I love in the food industry. I love supporting, supporting them. Anything also done by the Small Business Administration, as a small business owner, myself, I really, I really support that. And in terms of software as well, my computer talks to me, I have a text to speech software called JAWS for Windows, produced by a company called Freedom Scientific. So I use that a lot. But in terms of in terms of like, project management software, I love using Asana. One thing a lot of people don't know about Asana is that the founder of the company's dad, he gets his father was blind or his blind. So he had made a point to make it accessible. I really liked that. And the other thing from a social media perspective, I know I'm gonna sound like a young kid here. When I say this, I went from the old curmudgeon to the young child. I don't want anyone to discount the relevance and importance of getting on tick tock, you know, we all know about about Facebook and Instagram. I've actually had a lot of success in reaching out to people that you're reaching out to my audience on tick tock. So don't lose sight of that don't lose sight of these new trends that are so easy to just sort of say out that's not important that you'd be surprised. So think about that.

Mark Hiddleson 38:45

Yeah, those are great. Thank you. Thank you for sharing those. I mean, we that's a question I've been asking people. And those are some great responses. Well, we just started using slack. Yeah, off the checkout asana and then that's,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 39:02

I'm not dissing slack or anything. Asana is just a lot more accessible to

Mark Hiddleson 39:06

Yeah. Yeah. In the tools you mentioned. And I will say, it's been seamless. I'm amazed. You know, we've been able to I've had to automate my calendar. And just we've been able to communicate whether it was phone or computer email. I'm just amazed that we're, you were totally able to, I mean, we're 100% on track with with scheduling. So cool. Yeah. So those are some great the insights and the content. We love the CIA with the ones here at copia that's a Napa that's just a few blocks from my office and then the castles in St. Halina. And then what's the one in

Dr. Hoby Wedler 39:45

Hyde Park, New York is actually I think that's where they were founded. Yeah, well, it's it's another. It's another beautiful place. Really, really cool place to hang out. You know, one of the things that I just want to share with with your urine VNC before we close is that, above all, you know, we've talked about business. We've talked about all sorts of things today. But the most important thing is that you open your mind and let yourself live with a truly abundant mindset, where you don't hold yourself back and where anything is possible. Because the biggest roadblock, I'm convinced that the biggest roadblock we all face is our minds. And if we can open our minds, and let ourselves move forward freely. Let me tell you, you can do anything you want. And don't forget that while you're doing all this to be happy, happiness and finding joy in life, it's so much more important than money. It's so much more important than things just remember to be happy. And do something nice for someone every day. Wow,

Mark Hiddleson 40:51

that is awesome. Hovey didn't, you'd summed up my show better than I could have. myself that's it's beautiful, folks. It's Dr. Hoby. Wedler this is a great conversation OB I'm so appreciative that that you joined us.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 41:12

I'm so excited about this. And I want to I want to let you know Mark that people should feel free to reach out with me anywhere. I am at Hoby Wedler on all the social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, tik, Tok, LinkedIn, that's Hoby, as in boy, Wedler, or reach out through my website, And also, I'm gonna give out my personal email, as well as the link at

Mark Hiddleson 41:37

And then we put that in our show notes, too. So thank you so much for sharing that. I had such an emotional response to I forgot to ask you that. You are awesome. Dr. Hoby, I thought I was awesome, man. That was thank you so much. That was new.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 41:58

Yeah, so much fun for me. And I, I really mean it. I love the concept of your show and in your business. And you know, we it's so funny how you and I can be in such different industries, but yet so aligned in so many ways.

Mark Hiddleson 42:12

Yeah, what you said at the end, there was just beautiful man. And thank you, man. Yeah, I can't. I mean, I agree with you. 100%. And then then it's sometimes hard to get across the people that you're not just saying it but

Dr. Hoby Wedler 42:23

totally. So it's a life. It's a way of life and I can tell you know, with your business with your everything you've done, you've been able to open your mind up and realize the possibilities of an open mind.

Mark Hiddleson 42:36

Yeah, cuz it's not the worst one of being in my own life.

Dr. Hoby Wedler 42:41

We all are. I am bad, too. But the reason I say that is because I'm terrible at it.

Mark Hiddleson 42:45

Yeah, he's totally hear you say it, because it's like, yep, yep. That's it. Yep. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you again. I can't say thank you,

Dr. Hoby Wedler 43:02

Mark. Yeah, and I can't wait to I can't wait to see how the show does and be in close touch with you.

Mark Hiddleson 43:09

Yeah, I'll stay in touch. That is an honor.

Outro 43:13

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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