Steadfast FinancesMaybe a Little Obsessive Compulsive Behavior is a Good Thing

Maybe a Little Obsessive Compulsive Behavior is a Good Thing

Filed in Career , Entrepreneurship 16 comments

Many people treat someone with a “disorder” with a little bit of hesitation, or perhaps avoid them all together, because the subject matter makes them uncomfortable.

That may be the wise thing to do in some situations, but I happen to think individuals with a healthy dose of obsessive compulsive behavior are among the most interesting people in the world.


Because they can be some of the most devoted, focused and down right knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to their obsession(s). Not only can you learn tons of useful information in a matter of minutes, but you might also get a glimpse into how happy they really are by doing something they love.

If we all could be so lucky!

(Please note: I say a “healthy dose” of obsessive compulsive behavior with some reservation because actual clinical cases of OCD can range from minimally impacting everyday life to a life crippling condition.)

The Soda Pop Stop

Perhaps what I like most about this video with John Nese, the proprietor of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, is the fact that you can honestly see how happy he is as he’s talking about his soda pop business. His body language and micro gestures are dead giveaways, but you can also get a sense of just how passionate he is just by listening to the tone of his voice as he’s talking about the individual characteristics each independently bottled soda has, as well as the little details that folks like myself wouldn’t know… and probably never take the time to find out!

Plus, you have to admire anyone that has to the cojones to actually say on camera:

Thank you very much Pepsi Cola for reminding me that I own my shelf space and I can do anything I want!

If you’ve never been to a soda shop like this, I would encourage you to get together with a group of your friends, buy a half dozen bottles each, and hold a soda tasting one lazy summer weekend. It’s just like a regular wine tasting, but unlike wine, it’s kid friendly, you won’t need a designated driver and you’ll have a new appreciation for the small scale independent soda bottler and the excellent products that you’ve (probably) never tasted.

The Perfect Minimalist Pizza

I’m not a pizza purist, but I have firsthand experience dealing with a Neapolitan who always insisted that real pizza is baked in a wood oven and that “stuff passed off as real pizza” baked in a conventional oven isn’t worth the cardboard box it comes in.

Obviously, the same goes for this gent who owns Una Pizza Napoletana. After watching, you might honestly think he’s got a little bit of a control issue considering the exactitude his cooking instrumentation (primarily the authentic wood oven) must have and the fundamental quality of the ingredients that go into his pizza. Not to mention, it’s rather odd in today’s culture that a pizza shop will only have four pizzas on the menu.

Nevertheless, even if you consider his behavior borderline obsessive or find his purist menu somewhat restrictive, I bet he makes a damn fine pizza!

Going Off Grid with Offal

Ever tried lamb heart tartare? How about authentic southern style chitlins? I have, and while they’re definitely not the must have menu item since contemporary culture dictates we get our meats in tidy, clean plastic wrapped packages, there are a few places in the world that still consider these sorts of dishes normal, and maybe even a delicacy.

While I personally wouldn’t call Chris Cosentino of Incanto Restaurant obsessive, I’m guessing some people probably would because he’s strayed pretty far away from the mainstream by using offal (cuts of meat most people would never eat) as the backbone of his culinary creations.

Not exactly the place you would want to take a first date (unless you’re like me), but definitely an interesting small business owner when you consider that he had the courage to go against the grain.

Ever known anyone, or done business with, a person who you suspected had a healthy dose of OCD? Did you find their condition help or hurt the relationship? Ever known anyone with a clinically diagnosed case of OCD, and still done business with them?

Did you find that it benefited them, or you, in any unique way(s) relating to their success?

Like anything in life, there are pros and cons, so I’m curious if anyone has used personality traits that some people might label as obsessive, or what professionals would call a full blown disorder, and then use these personality traits to their advantage.

Hat tip to for the excellent video series.

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Posted by CJ   @   23 January 2010 16 comments
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Jan 23, 2010
9:34 pm

What a great message to relay!

I’ve often admitted to my OCD ways. When I gain an interest in something I cannot get enough. It drives my wife crazy but the tendency has definitely been more a benefit than a curse!

I got a trip to Cali coming up in a few months, I’m stopping at Galco’s!

Jan 24, 2010
9:52 am
#2 Matt SF :

Same here, I’m “a little” OCD when it comes to anything that needs to be tracked for performance related purposes… total Excel and spreadsheet junkie!

I’ve haven’t been to Galco’s, although I wish I had known about them since I spent two years working in the LA area, but there are a few little shops like these in most cities. Once you find one, walk in and pick the shop owners brain on what he likes. Much like knowing your butcher or wine merchant on a first name basis, soda pop store owners can really make a good meal become a great meal!

Personally, I love the cream soda flavors or maybe a cherry soda with a good ol’ fashioned cheeseburger. Just like a good beer, a good soda can make a meal pop.

Jan 23, 2010
11:54 pm
#3 Tracy :

It’s funny, I was talking about this earlier with coworkers. I know a man who runs major college athletic events. He is superb at it. He will run a football game at the Rosebowl and be able to tell you the smallest detail of the operation down to the cleaning staff’s names. Athletic venues all over the country wish he worked for them. He is even consulted by the organizers of the Superbowl. Today we agreed that it’s an awfully good thing he channels his OCD for good instead of evil.

Jan 24, 2010
10:05 am
#4 Matt SF :

Ahh the Dr. Evil and OCD joke! Love it!

I have a friend of mine who, aside from being brilliant with computers and networking, makes the occasional joke that he could take over the world with a set of mini wire cutters and a set of mini screwdrivers given access to the right buildings.

Interestingly enough, I stay very quiet when he makes that statement because: 1) I fear he might take any negative jokes I make as a dare, and 2) I believe he could probably pull it off.

Kinda reminds me of Office Space but in a less humorous way!

Jan 24, 2010
2:10 am

Loved this post! What I see more the OCD traits is the strength of conviction.

I love, love, love, when people have an opinion and then become master artists or craftsmen to demonstrate that the are right.

I wish there was more of that in the financial planning industry. People who care, people who have an opinion about the “right” way to do things and then stick to it. It will mean saying NO to some people, maybe even a lot of people, but that makes the “YES” so much more powerful.

Thanks for sharing this!


Jan 24, 2010
10:17 am
#6 Matt SF :

Thanks Carl! Conviction is a great word to describe the borderline OCD crowd.

I think that any industry could benefit from harnessing their strengths by allowing them to work their magic. After all, they’re usually the ones that get a mention in the history books by creating the prototype that quickly becomes the game changers or the new normal.

Jan 24, 2010
10:07 am
#7 Kyle :

OCD is definitely one of those things that can go either way. I also agree that a lot of people who are the best at what they do are that good because their passion is their obsession.

Jan 24, 2010
10:57 am
#8 Matt SF :

Yeah, definitely a condition that qualifies as a double edged sword.

I think the big thing is recognizing that if you, or if someone you know, has OCD or OCD-ish tendencies, they can manifest themselves as an overwhelmingly productive personality trait, but can rapidly escalate into something much worse if they don’t achieve their predetermined positive results after multiple failures.

Then again, one could argue that many of the world’s best inventors were probably a little OCD — Edison, Tesla (definite had issues in later life), Ford, Garand, Gates, Wozniac — so from my completely nonprofessional viewpoint, there is definitely a fine line between obsessive disorder versus certifiable genius.

Jan 24, 2010
12:19 pm

Excellent highlights! It’s clear you see the passion in all these entrepreneurs eyes. Well done. Will highlight in tomorrow’s Katana wrap!

Jan 24, 2010
12:26 pm
#10 Matt SF :

Thanks FS! I’m thinking watching a few videos like these should be required course material for business majors or entrepreneurial related courses because it’s attitudes like these will help get them through the initial “lean” years when they might be working for free.

Jan 24, 2010
3:31 pm

That’s actually a really good idea, Matt. If I ever get the opportunity to teach business classes I’ll make this mandatory viewing. It’s rare to see people with this much passion for what they do, and with that kind of attitude I’m sure they get lots of repeat customers (like the Soup Nazi).

I honestly can’t say the last time I encountered someone like this in a business but I’ll be looking for them now.

Jan 25, 2010
10:25 am
#12 Matt SF :

Oh man, how could I have forgotten to include the best example of an obsessive small business owner?

Thanks for reminding me! Loved the Soup Nazi episode!

Jan 25, 2010
4:39 am
#13 alsters :

I think that any industry could benefit from harnessing their strengths by allowing them to work their magic. That’s actually a really good idea.

Jan 25, 2010
12:27 pm
#14 Craig :

It will help keep you more organized and on task with whatever you are planning. Sometimes that’s what you need with your finances.

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