The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Bryan Balin

October 11, 2013
Bryan Balin | UncommonGoods
Bryan Balin, UncommonGoods Data Scientist

My home town is…
Riverside, IL

I’m inspired by…
People who go against the grain, and have pride and gusto in doing it (hopefully, they’re vindicated at some point…). I’m a big fan of Larry David and Winston Churchill, both of which have/had the gusto (and some say, chutzpah) to be themselves, even if it sometimes raised a few eyebrows. And, they both enjoy wearing silly hats in public. Which is cool.

My favorite food of all time is…
My Grandma’s Rocky Road pie. It’s totally manufactured, with high fructose corn syrup and plenty of Cool Whip, but it’s soooo good.

Within the next 10 years, I hope to…
Buy a condo! I’m sick of this whole “my New York City rent could pay for an entire palace in France” deal.

My guilty pleasure is…
Watching Scooby Doo.

My most humbling experience was…
My first week of college. In high school, I was at the top of my class, but when I started at Johns Hopkins I wasn’t. It really taught me that you can’t just assume success because you are smart, because there are plenty of other smart people out there. Your drive, personality, collaborative skills, and values help define success as much as your raw intelligence.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’ve been married three times, all to the same person! No, I’m no male version of Liz Taylor; I got married in Bulgaria this summer, where you have a religious and civil ceremony, and then in the U.S., because New York didn’t recognize my marriage.

Would you rather…Have a whole year to do nothing but read OR start a successful company that employed hundreds of people and produced worthwhile and helpful things for the world, but left you no time to read, ever?
Depends on what you mean by “read.” If it’s “read novels,” then it’s easy—I’d start the company! I can tear through academic papers or the Economist, but I haven’t read a novel from start to finish in years. If it’s “read interesting things”… I’d still start the company. Hopefully it’s a text-to-speech company, so the software can do the reading for me.

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