#634 – Don Faul, CrossFit CEO

Don Faul (00:00):


Sevan Matossian (00:01):

Bam. We’re live. Don, uh, good morning. Below you is Kayla Beaver from an undisclosed location. I suspect you maybe have been <laugh>. And, uh, and Matt Suza, the owner of CrossFit Livermore. Um, I should have asked you before we, uh, is it okay if we start four minutes early?

Don Faul (00:20):

Absolutely. Let’s do it.

Sevan Matossian (00:22):

Oh. Oh, that room is awesome. The acoustics. I like this room that you’re in. All

Don Faul (00:29):

Right. All right. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (00:31):

Off. Good start. Yeah. Furniture, couches, blankets. It, it stops the echo a little bit.

Don Faul (00:36):

I moved all the furniture on this morning to make sure the acoustics were perfect. You,

Sevan Matossian (00:40):

Man, <laugh>. Hey. In that, in that other room, there’s like this huge machine behind you. Is that like a, that’s like a copy fax machine, scanner, the whole,

Don Faul (00:48):

Yeah. Yes. That’s the complete, the aesthetic is the, the Big H HP printer there. So

Sevan Matossian (00:54):

Look how hard I work is that thing from 1987. Um, It is. That’s so, it is.

Don Faul (00:59):

I get, I bought like 7,000 toner, uh, so I’m just milking that thing forever.

Sevan Matossian (01:05):

<laugh>, that, that’s like the size, It’s like in jugs in your garage.

Don Faul (01:09):

<laugh>. Exactly. I make my kids refill it. It’s great.

Sevan Matossian (01:13):

Three kids.

Don Faul (01:14):

That’s right.

Sevan Matossian (01:16):

Um, I I, I watched so many videos on you in the last few days. 5 79.

Don Faul (01:22):

Correct. Wow. Impressive.

Sevan Matossian (01:24):

I was like, what if they got older? I have, uh, two five year olds and a, um, eight year old.

Don Faul (01:32):

Okay. Boys, girls,

Sevan Matossian (01:34):

Boys. All three boys. I’m kind of in the same boat as you.

Don Faul (01:38):

So you had the, you had the twin boys after the first one, huh?

Sevan Matossian (01:42):

Yes. I, I have the same thing as you, but I have the dumb version of humans, the man version

Don Faul (01:47):

<laugh>. Well, yeah, I think you’re gonna be getting the last laugh in about five years when I’ve got three teenage girls. So we’ll see.

Sevan Matossian (01:55):

It’s gonna be amazing. Uh, and you’re just up, you’re just up the road for me. You’re actually kind of equally distant between, um, where I live and where Matt Su lives. I’m in Santa Cruz and he’s up in Livermore.

Don Faul (02:05):

Oh, perfect. Yeah, I’m, uh, right up on the peninsula. So not far. I’m down in Santa Cruz two, three days a week now.

Sevan Matossian (02:12):

It’s funny cuz I looked up your neighborhood, uh, yesterday to check out your commute. It is, it is a, um, I mean, you’re going the opposite direction of traffic, but you have to go over the 17. That’s a, um, that, that’s a, that’s a little bit of a tedious hall every day.

Don Faul (02:25):

You know what, it’s, it’s, uh, if I leave at the right time, it’s like 40, 45 minutes door to door. So it’s not bad. And it’s a pretty drive. As long as there’s no accident on 17, it works out nicely.

Sevan Matossian (02:35):

And, uh, what Don is saying is very valid, as long as there’s no accident that place, it’s basically, uh, two lane highway each direction, super windy through the mountains.

Don Faul (02:46):

Yeah. And there’s zero alternatives. So if that thing shuts down, you’re just sitting in it. So

Sevan Matossian (02:51):

I, I was actually, I kind of fell down a rabbit hole yesterday and I was looking, the original road that came over the hill was the road called Old San Jose Road. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was built in 1853 and it was made of, obviously of dirt. And I was just imagining coming over that pass on a horse and buggy.

Don Faul (03:08):

Wow. Yeah. That would’ve been pretty intense.

Sevan Matossian (03:13):

I watched all, everything I could find on YouTube about you.

Don Faul (03:17):

Well, there’s not much. That’s

Sevan Matossian (03:19):

Good. There is. Hey, there isn’t that much. Um, but there was a, there was a talk, um, from about eight years ago that you did at a conference. Um, and I think it was about eight minutes long and it talked about, I think you were at Pinterest at the time.

Don Faul (03:35):


Sevan Matossian (03:36):

And you talked about the challenges of, uh, growth there, which I thought were really cool. And the differences between the group that starts a company versus the group that kind of carries it into the next phase was, it was a really good talk. Your, your talk with the guy. Um, it’s some sort of military podcast. It’s about 50 minutes long and you basically are giving advice on how to transition outta the military. That actually, of all the ones I listened to that, that one’s money. Good on you for doing that.

Don Faul (04:05):

Oh, thank you. Well, I was, uh, I was super lucky. I got active duty in 2004 and I’ve got actually two younger brothers, both marine veterans as well. And the transition’s kind of brutal. Like, it, it’s uh, you go through this thing of getting excited to get off active duty and then you have no idea how to think about it. You know, what, what to do, where to look, how to talk about and communicate what you’ve done. So I was super lucky to, to talk to a bunch of folks when I was getting outta the Marine Corps, who were super helpful to me. And so I’ve always felt, you know, bit of a responsibility to, you know, try to pay forward and help other folks as they go through their journey.

Sevan Matossian (04:40):

Um, tons of insecurity, right? Because you’re basically working in this bubble, even though you might be highly skilled, you might be highly competent. Basically in this video you talk about, you’re so insecure cuz you’re not sure how these skills are gonna translate to the real world. But really you have no reason to be insecure. You have insane skills.

Don Faul (04:57):

Yeah. It takes you a little while to realize that. Like, I went to, you know, it’s lucky enough to go to grad school and I remember, you know, starting a business school and sitting next to all these folks who have been at investment banks and consulting firms doing strategy X, Y, and Z and half the classes we went through, I had literally zero context around it. I remember this overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome and holy shit, how am I possibly gonna be successful? I don’t even know what the professors are talking about. And it takes a while before you realize that actually, like all of the hands on leadership experience that you’ve had is, you know, one of the most important things. And most of the folks around you have not had an opportunity to do any of that. So, um, but it can be, it definitely can be a bit, bit of a daunting transition initially.

Sevan Matossian (05:42):

Uh, it’s kind of in the vernacular too, right? They start using all, they start using all of the, it’s kind of like that for when I first started working at CrossFit, I was surrounded by mill guys, surrounded by them <laugh> and, and I couldn’t even understand what they were, were saying the vernacular. But, but it was the same thing when I would talk to other guys and I, I’d been a, at CrossFit Media for 15 years and I would speak to the head media guide at the ufc. And because our culture is so different at CrossFit, I didn’t understand any of their vernacular. I mean, we weren’t allowed to use words like marketing when I was there. Totally,

Don Faul (06:15):

Totally. None of it’s exactly right. And when you eventually break it down to simple language in simple terms, you realize it’s not as complex as you thought it was. But the, the vernacular can be intimidating.

Sevan Matossian (06:26):

There was this thing I learned from working with people. The the mill guys, uh, specifically I’ll choose the one that still works there now, Dave Castro. There was this thing now that people project onto ’em that the, that um, he doesn’t behave professionally mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And maybe that would’ve been my perspective when I first came there, because I was the dirt twirling hippie from Berkeley. And I believed in all the political correctness stuff. And I believed in, in, in just a certain protocol. You know, are you sure this is okay? Is this, does this bother you? Is this, But after working with Dave for five years and a ton of other male guys, Jimmy Letford, Andy Stump there, you, I mean the names go on and on Todd Whitman, uh, I realized that the script was actually flipped. They were the real professionals. And the definition of profession that I would use is their decisions had the utmost important because it would, they were, they, they were, they were used to making decisions that were life or death. Are we going to eat tonight? Are we gonna live tonight? Where are we gonna sleep tonight? Who’s gonna shoot at us tonight? And I’m like, holy fuck, These are the real professionals. But, but the rest of the world wasn’t, hadn’t, um, they were looking for the suit and tie.

Don Faul (07:37):


Sevan Matossian (07:37):

And, and the, uh, in the salutations and the niceties, but the actual effectiveness was with, with, with these guys. It was weird. It was, it was a tough transition for me.

Don Faul (07:47):

Yeah. Yeah. No, I, I get that. And, and one of the things I appreciated about my time in the military that I think is, is, you know, pretty consistent theme with the veterans is you learn really early there that your decision makings are always oriented around, you know, we used to say the Naval Academy, they’ve taught us ship, ship made self, Like it’s always about the mission. It’s always about your teammates next, and then it’s about yourself last. So it’s never about your own interest and your own priorities. And, and I was super grateful to learn that. And I think that’s a pretty consistent thing that you see in veterans who are about, okay, what is, And you know, I think Dave emulates this, like, Hey, it’s about getting it done. It’s about, you know, putting all of our efforts towards what’s more, most important for the collective, not the individual.

Sevan Matossian (08:30):

Uh, your, your, uh, your path is kind of nuts. It’s kind of like, it, it’s kind of like you were made for this. Um, a and as I watched all these videos, um, it, it made me, it made me really happy. It’s, it’s like you, you talk openly about how this is your dream job. You know, I, I’ve never heard like someone become the CEO of Coca-Cola and be like, Oh, that was my dream job. <laugh>. I mean, I’m sure they’re excited about the paycheck and the equity, but, but you, you were pretty open and giddy that you got this gig and you’re open about your nervousness during the application process. It was really cool. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Don Faul (09:10):

Oh, thank you. Yeah, I mean I, uh, I have definitely had a little bit of a weird, bizarre background kind of every step. You know, I grew up in this little town in New Jersey without much military legacy in my family and was lucky enough to kind of discover the military, make the decision as 17 year olds go to the Naval Academy, having literally zeroed idea of what I was getting myself into. But, but that 10 years, you know, being my time at Navy and then my time on active duty was so formative for me. Uh, gosh, what a privilege. I learned so much surrounded by such amazing people. And then to go from that to, you know, the valley and going to an early stage consumer technology company, I mean, going from Google to the Marine Corps, it’s like one end of the cultural spectrum to the other.


They could not have been more different, which was amazing for me. Cause I got to learn a whole host of completely new things. And then, you know, super lucky and fortunate to get a chance to work at some cool companies. And then serendipity comes along. And the opportunity with my last company Ethos, which started to make the bridge from tech into sports performance, fitness, health, which has always been an interest of passion of mine. And then CrossFit, I mean it’s, you know, it’s, I think the takeaway for me is like, you can’t, you just can’t script your career. When I talk to people all the time, like, you can’t look 15 years out and, and map your way. I think the best you can do is try to make sure you’re in a role that you love, where you feel like you can have an impact and help the people around you. And then, you know, when the opportunities come along, hopefully you have a chance to jump on it. And so yeah, this is, I mean, I never would’ve imagined I’d be here when I started CrossFit seven, eight years ago. But yeah, really amazing and, and kind of funny how my respected experience is, I think a line up to hopefully put me in a position where I can really help in this role.

Sevan Matossian (11:00):

Uh, born in Al Allendale, New Jersey. Uh, obviously did well in high school, end up going to the Naval Academy from there, enter the Marine Corps some, somewhere. You pick up rugby in 1998, you’re named an All American in, uh, rugby. So, so right off the bat, like, hey, this guy is a glut for punishment and there’s no laziness in him. Are your brothers older or younger?

Don Faul (11:30):

They’re younger. So they’re twins five years younger.

Sevan Matossian (11:34):

Oh shit. You’re a natural leader. And the first porn’s always the leader <laugh>. Yeah. Do did they, do you remember them looking up to you as a kid?

Don Faul (11:42):

Uh oh, you know, yes. Uh, you know, we were, you know, we had that age where we were five years, so until I was probably 16 or 17, you know, we hung out. But, but we mostly battled, Right? It was that, that, uh, sibling, um, dynamic. And then when I went to college, they started to get to a point where we went from like younger, older brother to super close friends. And, um, you know, my, it’s funny, my brother, one of my brothers grew up absolutely from the age of 12 saying, Hey, I wanna go into the military. The other one went the other direction, went to University of Colorado, of the three of us, actually had fun in college, had a great time, and then surprised this all senior year and said Marine, Marine Pilot.

Sevan Matossian (12:30):

Youngest one. The one that went to University of Colorado,

Don Faul (12:33):

Correct? Yeah, he’s the oldest that two twins. But yeah, he was the one who surprised us. We thought, you know, he was having a great time in college, zero interest whatsoever. And then senior year said, Hey, this is for me. Ironically, he ended up staying in the Marine Corps of the longest. He did about 10, 11 years.

Sevan Matossian (12:47):

I don’t mean to be confrontational with you so quickly in the podcast, but the opposite of the Marine Corps’s, University of Portland, if there is one, Not the University

Don Faul (12:55):

Of Colorado. <laugh>. Gotcha, gotcha. Uh,

Sevan Matossian (13:00):

Uh, Yeah, I apologize for being contentious or No, I

Don Faul (13:02):

Love it.

Sevan Matossian (13:03):

Uh, so then from there, after, um, a after that you get out and you, which is, I’m, I’m reading through the lines here, but to hide, you go to Stanford, it’s a fucking weird place to hide, to buy yourself some time to kind of assimilate back to the public would probably be more accurate. You choose to go to one of the most difficult schools, uh, in the world.

Don Faul (13:29):

Well, I, you know, it’s funny, when I got outta the Marine Corps, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I went from this moment of like, yes, like, I’m gonna be out of the Marine Corps. I can start the

Sevan Matossian (13:39):

Next, Why did you get out, Don? Sorry, Why did you leave?

Don Faul (13:42):

Its a combination of Yeah, for sure. Uh, there are elements of it I loved and I was in, you know, when I got out, I was in, what for me was like the dream job in the military. I was at this called first company. I was, it was the dream job. There were two things I knew most likely I was not gonna be a career guy, you know, if, if you end up staying in the career for the folks who do it, you have to check a bunch of boxes and you have to go from an operational job to administrative jobs. And I, I just didn’t have passion for that. I, I love the operational elements of it, but, um, I didn’t really have, uh, interest in, uh, some of the other roles that would’ve been necessary. And I knew at some point that I wanted to have a family. And as, as you know, as is obvious, especially during that timeframe, you’re deploying once every 18 months or so. It’s really, really tough. The big driver though, honestly, was I had a boss, um, in the Marine Corps who was tough, uh, just a, uh, really tough person to work for, um, uh, ethically, bunch of issues from a leadership perspective that made it really, really hard. And it had, I didn’t have the love and passion shown up for work every day that I had had had. It was, I was super bummed. I, I, uh, Cause

Sevan Matossian (14:53):

Again, that fits that, that fits that motto where they, or that line, that tagline, People don’t leave jobs. They leave people.

Don Faul (14:59):

A hundred percent. Yeah, a hundred percent. And that was absolutely it for me. I would’ve stayed in at least another year and a half, two years. So, and

Sevan Matossian (15:06):

You’re, you were tip of the spear Marine recon. There, there’s the, right, there’s seals, there’s para rescue, um, there’s rangers, there’s Delta force. I mean, you, you, that Marine recon, once again, uh, you know, all American and rugby, uh, Stanford, and here’s another example. You were a Marine and then you had to be like, Hey, I’m gonna choose that path. And you went the hardest path, right?

Don Faul (15:29):

Uh, yeah, that’s one. Yeah, certainly one way looking at it, it was, you know, for me, you know, I guess I’ve always been somewhat motivated by kind of what’s the next challenge? What’s the next hard thing? And, and you know, as much to prove to myself like, can I do it? I actually like grown up, I was not a great athlete. I was an okay athlete, but I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because I had no, um, no path coming outta high school to play in college, even though I desperately wanted to. And so I think I came outta high school with a little bit of a chip, like, Hey, can I prove to myself that I can actually, you know, get to that level? And so yeah, Force Recom was another kind of step on that path and, and a chance to work with who I perceived to be, you know, the most elite, the best Marines in the Marine Corps, uh, within our, our domain.

Sevan Matossian (16:16):

I, I had a guy on here, uh, Roger Sparks the other day. He’s a little bit older than you. He’s, he’s 50 and he was, he was marine recon and he chose Marine recon because his dad was an enforcer of the Mongols.

Don Faul (16:31):


Sevan Matossian (16:31):

But these are two common stories I’m hearing of the boys that go to the tip of the spear that something else wasn’t working out, but they were gonna show you. And then the other group of boys was like, Fuck this, I’m out this lifestyle. Like home, Home was hard.

Don Faul (16:48):


Sevan Matossian (16:48):

Yeah. And, and, and they still wanna be bad asses, but home was like, home. Was it like gonna be a dead end? Like you, you were go, you were headed to jail.

Don Faul (16:56):

Yeah, no, and I was, I was fortunate I could not have come from a more blessed upbringing. Uh, amazing. So for me, it was this little growing up, probably a little bit of a chip to like, Hey, can I prove that I can do this?

Sevan Matossian (17:08):

And, and, and you that can be squandered. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like, like, like the, I mean, I mean we, we see it all the time, right? People who, who you’re saying you had this blessed upbringing, but that doesn’t, that doesn’t do anything for you except, I mean, the opportunities still have to be taken.

Don Faul (17:28):

Yeah, no question. And, and you know, I,

Sevan Matossian (17:32):

You could have a crossword gym right next door to you, but if you don’t sign up, you’re not getting fit <laugh>, right?

Don Faul (17:36):

Yeah, totally. And, and I think it’s actually quite easy. You know, my, I I look back and think I’m really grateful to my parents because I, I, we didn’t want for anything. And yet, you know, my parents taught us that the value of hard work and perseverance. And so I think it’s easy, you know, if you grow up in a, in a blessed upbringing, it can be easy to not develop, you know, that muscle to, to not face adversity, to take the easy path. And so I feel really lucky that I had this great upbringing, but also came out of it with a real hunger to try to prove things to myself.

Sevan Matossian (18:07):

Like that you turned that, you leveraged that chip, you leveraged your ego

Don Faul (18:12):

A hundred percent. Yeah. It’s an interesting, my wife and I talk about it all the time cuz she had a similar, my wife was much better athlete than me, you know, much better student than me. Much better on most dimensions. But she also lucky upbringing, but also came out with this, we have a little bit of this, we kind of have joke about it, like irrational competitive streak that comes out in all sorts of weird ways. But I look back and I’m super grateful for it cuz I think it led to a lot of opportunities for both of us.

Sevan Matossian (18:40):

Um, yesterday, uh, I don’t remember what I think I was, I think, oh, I think we were at like a, a tennis tournament or something and then she was gonna take them somewhere else and I had to come home and prepare for Don fall. And I, I actually felt a little competitive. I said, Oh shit. She goes, What? I’m like, You might be a, the better parent today. Like, I wanna go to bed every night being the better parent. It was weird. She looked at me like I was crazy. But it’s good. Say that again.

Don Faul (19:05):

I said I get that look a lot. You might crazy. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (19:09):

But, but it’s good when you see those things cuz you can leverage those things for a positive. You, you know,

Don Faul (19:15):

E Exactly. And you know, and now I think I’m at the point in my life where I can also be aware of there are ways that it can manifest some ways that aren’t the most constructive. Um, and so being a little bit more conscious of that as well.

Sevan Matossian (19:27):

Um, Don, can you do these, uh, we reached out to Don, Can you do the podcast? He said Absolutely. Then we said, how about 7:00 AM Pacific standard time? And Don says, uh, I prefer nine. I have to deal with, I have not deal, I mean, was a nicer word than that. I’m working with my daughters in the morning and I need to get a workout in and I’m like, Oh man, this is, you want ’em over right then. Oh my, this is so good because that’s, I mean, that’s why I get everything out of the way first thing in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day with my boys. Like, I, I need that time and working out. I have to work out, even if it’s one in the morning, I have to go to the garage.

Don Faul (20:02):

Yeah. You don’t want to be around me if I’m missing workouts. So it’s not pleasant.

Sevan Matossian (20:07):

So, So you’re being serious. It really is. You need that mentally, physically.

Don Faul (20:12):


Sevan Matossian (20:12):

A hundred percent. Check that box.

Don Faul (20:13):

100%. Yeah. I, uh, you know, it’s interesting, when I got, when I got out of the Marine, started working at Google, Facebook, I actually got in a path where, where, uh, I was working too much and not taking care of myself. I was eating my shifts. I was not working out, not training. And it was a bad spiral. It

Sevan Matossian (20:30):

Was a bad Did you get chubby? Did you

Don Faul (20:31):

Get I did. I did. I did. I remember, you know, one of my friends at some points we had posted, I was, I was still doing triathlons at that point, but one of my friends made some comment. I was like, Shit, I need to get my house in order. Uh,

Sevan Matossian (20:44):

Art friends great, aren’t friends great

Don Faul (20:47):

<laugh> for sure. I mean, especially my, you know, my military friends like mince no words. Uh, so, which I appreciate.

Sevan Matossian (20:55):

Um, I, I, I, a few weeks ago I had sent Dave a text saying, Hey dude, long time buddy. Like, what’s up? Like you just vanished off the face of the earth. What? Your new job got you busy. This fucking guy comes over last week and texts me and goes, Hey, your garage door’s open. That means he’s pulled up to my house. I haven’t seen, I’ve seen her talk to him. I opened the gate and he goes, Fuck you got old. I mean, I’m like, at least Dawn can lose some weight. What do you want me to do? I can’t, I can’t turn back. I can’t turn back the, the clock. That’s your way of bonding after I send you a nasty text,

Don Faul (21:31):

<laugh>. That’s how we show her, uh, affection. I remember my mom, the first time she met my friends from the Naval Academy. She heard us hanging out for a while, just giving each other shit. And she said, Wait, Don, these are your friends.

Sevan Matossian (21:41):


Don Faul (21:42):

Mom. This is how we show our affection for each other. We carry each other down. So

Sevan Matossian (21:46):

It’s your love language

Don Faul (21:48):

<laugh>. Exactly. It’s our love language.

Sevan Matossian (21:50):

Dawn, what, what do your parents do or what did they do?

Don Faul (21:53):

Um, so my mother, um, my mother was a nurse and, um, she was actually, she, um, up until she, she had me, um, was kind of full-time professional nurse. Um, and when, um, when I was born basically kind of put that all to the side, put her career to the side is was often the case, I think for a generation. And she raised me and she raised my brothers.

Sevan Matossian (22:15):

She sounds smart.

Don Faul (22:16):

She yeah, smart. And she definitely took the harder path. Zero question about that. Didn’t, didn’t recognize that. But now having, having little kids, um, my dad was, um, uh, he worked in environmental engineering, um, and had a law degree. So he worked at companies really early on in the, uh, early eighties when the EPA started cracking down on, on kinda super fun type stuff. He worked at a firm that would take toxic waste and help companies. Uh, and did that for a long time.

Sevan Matossian (22:45):

And you went to engineering school, Naval Academy?

Don Faul (22:48):

I did, yep. Studi did engineering there.

Sevan Matossian (22:50):

And, and in one of the interviews you said something about, um, your parents wanted you to serve. What does that mean? They wanted you to serve? If I’m, if I’m a parent, I’m scared to death to send my Sistine Chapel my greatest piece of artwork off to

Don Faul (23:07):


Sevan Matossian (23:07):

Sure. In harm’s way. What, what does that mean? They wanted you to,

Don Faul (23:11):

I, I think for my parents, it was about teaching us that we had a responsibility to give something back.

Sevan Matossian (23:16):

Peace Corp. Peace Corps. Peace Corps. Yeah.

Don Faul (23:18):

And that could be anything

Sevan Matossian (23:19):

Actually. <laugh>. Yeah. Not marine rego. Peace Corps military.

Don Faul (23:22):

Totally. And I think if my brothers and I had chosen that path, they would’ve been a hundred percent okay with it. Or if we had chosen to volunteer in our town, or if we had done whatever it is, I think there’s a million ways. But my parents wanted us to know that like, hey, yes, we live in this. We were blessed growing up. We live in this amazing society, the best society on the planet, and you, we as members of that society have a responsibility to do something and give back. This does not all come for free. And so that manifested in, in military for us. But I think the, the broader issue and the broader notion was about giving back about service.

Sevan Matossian (23:56):

How, how, how happy are your parents? They probably don’t even know what you’re doing right now. You are now in the leadership position, and obviously I’m biased, but all by side, you’re now in the leadership position of a company that, a community, a community, I don’t know what it is, a movie that, that could have the greatest impact the planet’s ever, the planet’s ever seen in terms of just what, making humans better, Letting the, letting humans, setting humans free, making humans comfortable with themselves, letting them live longer. It’s nuts. Does she know? Do your parents know? Do your parents do CrossFit?

Don Faul (24:39):

They don’t. I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

Sevan Matossian (24:42):

Um, it’s hard, it’s hard to get ’em to, I got my mom to, but, and she cries to this day, like she can’t believe she does it. And my mom’s not a crier at all, but she’ll be like, Thank you for introducing me. Sorry, go ahead. Do your parents know? Do your parents know like what, where you’ve landed?

Don Faul (24:58):

I think on one dimension, I think they see and hear from me how happy I am. And you know, they know me well enough to be really happy about that, obviously. And as, as you know, as a parent, you are with your children. I think, you know, and I think this is in general, like if you’re not inside the community, it’s hard to get it even for folks who work in the fitness industry or

Sevan Matossian (25:20):

If you’re in the community, it’s hard to get, It’s

Don Faul (25:22):

Hard to get it. And totally, I mean, this is like one of our biggest challenges. Like how do we communicate this thing that we all feel that is really hard to put words around and really hard to internalize for folks who haven’t experienced it themselves. And so, um, you know, I think my parents absolutely can see how energized I am despite how insanely busy things are. They’re really excited about that. I talk, I talk a lot about it, you know, my brothers actually, when I got the job classic, they said, Great, you’re gonna talk about it even more now. Um, but uh, you know, it’s, i I think it is hard for folks to kinda fully get it if you’re, if you’ve not experienced it yourself

Sevan Matossian (26:00):

From the outside. I have a, uh, devilish enjoyment of trying to watch people come in from the outside and figure out what the fuck this thing is <laugh>. And to be honest with you, as you probably know, I work very closely on the inside for 15 years and, and it probably still took me 10 years to start really understanding like, oh shit, this is not, this is something different. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and people come into it, um, working here or even from the outside, the things that you hear people complain about CrossFit about, like, it, it, it doesn’t even make sense. It would be like if someone said, Hey, this Apple is the worst piece of meat I ever had. Like, they came to a preposition that it was meat and that’s why they’re fucking completely clueless, right? They’ve yeah, they’re they’re not even in the conversation. It is, it’s, um, I, I don’t leading this thing is, is nuts because I don’t know if there is a case study. I don’t know if it’s the church, the Catholic church or I don’t know if it’s like Charles Manson or I don’t know if it’s the Hell’s Angels maybe. But this thing isn’t, um, okay, it’s McDonald’s, it’s November guys, time to set up, put out your Happy Meals. Okay guys, it’s, um, it’s, it’s October, it’s time to do chicken wings. There’s no, you’re massaging and it’s a small business miracle, right?

Don Faul (27:25):


Sevan Matossian (27:26):

I mean, the whole thing is just like, how do, how do you, um, what do you, what do you look to, right? I mean, Burger King can look to McDonald’s and be like, Oh, that’s smart. They changed the rappers to yellow and their hamburger sales doubled. Like, is there,


Do you have any case studies, do you think, is there anyone you look at and be like, Okay, this, these are some of the things I want. I mean, obviously the chain of command that you learned in the military, Sorry, I gotta throw this in there too. When, when the mill guys came in and they, they kept chain of command at CrossFit, we, it was crazy. It took me forever to get a grip on that. But once that was in place and everyone knew their duties and there was trust, and I’ve heard you talk about that once everyone got out of the leadership, like people like Dave would give you your orders and then get outta your way. We, we exploded. Yeah. And then in 2018, they tried to make the company flat. And, and I hear a lot of people tell you that in 2020 is when everything got fucked up. That is not true. In 2018, we were the best employment brand on the planet. Every single person wanted to work there. And then we had a cultural collapse in 2018. Bizarre, right? Yeah. And they tried to make the company flat and everything just scattered.

Don Faul (28:37):


Sevan Matossian (28:39):

Um, so, so there’s two big, huge pieces and I, and I, and I’m, I’m so happy to hear you say that you want to fix the culture internally because it really used to be every single person there, you didn’t even have to tell them what to do. Totally.

Don Faul (28:53):


Sevan Matossian (28:53):

Cause everyone wanted to be like, it was like probably in the Marines, you knew you got up in the morning, you did this, this, this, and this.

Don Faul (28:58):

For sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, it’s, it’s, I I think on the first point, you know, how do you look like, what’s the proxy? I I think actually on the cultural side, there’s a lot of places that we can look to because I think ultimately, you know, one of the things I’ve learned having worked in like very different environments, right? Marine Corps technology now, CrossFit, like at the, I think at the end of the day there are some universal truths as it relates to people and what puts them in a position to do their best work and love what they do. And CrossFit had that, and, and as you mentioned, we’ve lost our way a little bit, but I think there is a path to getting back to that with, with, you know, clarity. Like clarity of vision. What are we working towards and is that something that people actually truly believe in? Can we articulate that clearly? Do we have a culture internally where we have a shared set of values? Do we have a structure that, that clarifies ownership and responsibility? There are a set of things that, that we can do that we’re working on that put people in a position where they can show up every day and just run as fast as they can. And.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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