Alex Demczak is a Columbia, MO author and speaker who has co-authored a book with Jon Gordon called “The Sale.” The book is a fictional business fable that teaches four lessons about integrity to create lasting success. Demczak is a former quarterback for the Missouri Tigers who has gone on to be a keynote speaker and entrepreneur, most recently co-founding Streamline Books. His first book, “Thrive U,” is an inspirational collection of stories from 100 collegiate and professional athletes from across the country. He was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed via email.
Daniel Boone Regional Library: Like the main character in the book, you were in sales for several years. How did those experiences inform this story?
Alex Demczak: When Jon Gordon and I set out to write “The Sale” together, we wanted to create the main character (Matt) to be as relatable as possible for the reader. As you read about Matt in the story, he is a guy who has big dreams and hopes but he struggles to follow through on his commitments. He has so much talent but hurts others because of his lack of integrity.
My first real job after graduating college was in sales and I learned so many great lessons from jumping headfirst into a sales role. In our book, we tackle the issue of integrity and how it is a competitive advantage in business, sales, and in life.
DBRL: Can you explain your connection to Jon Gordon? How did the co-authoring experience work between you two?
Demczak: As a student-athlete at Mizzou, I had the chance to watch Jon Gordon speak to the athletic department and I was amazed at the motivational message he gave to the hundreds of people in attendance. I remember telling Jon that I wanted to do what he did for a living. I asked him if I could be mentored by him or work for him. He asked me if I was willing to work for free. I said yes, and the rest is history. I eventually started getting paid, and for the past seven years I have been on his core leadership team. Last year, we wrote and published “The Sale” together!
It was great to work with Jon on our book because he is one of the top authors in the country. So many organizations, professional sports teams, and school districts utilize his books and he is a wizard when it comes to creating great stories. It was fun to create the story together, especially when the message of the book was so meaningful to both of us.
DBRL: Do you think integrity is harder to maintain today than in the past?
Demczak: Super Bowl champion football coach Tony Dungy says, “Integrity is doing what is right versus doing what is convenient.” If we are all honest with ourselves, every single day we have the opportunity to take the easy path or do the convenient thing. But the question is, will we do the right thing? In “The Sale,” we highlight the story of someone who does the right thing and the long-term implications of his decisions through a captivating story.
In today’s culture, leaders who lead with integrity set themselves apart. People trust them and want to work with them. A quote that I love is, “Talent sets the floor, character determines the ceiling.” Talent might get you to the top, but your character keeps you there.
DBRL: I was surprised to learn that the Dillons Pizza mentioned in the book was inspired by a real-life store of the same name. Why were you inspired to include that detail in the book?
Demczak: Randy Setterlund has been a mentor of mine since I was in high school. He is the owner of Dillons Pizza in Springfield, Illinois. It is a real place and it is by far the best pizza you will experience. The next time you are driving through the “Land of Lincoln,” make sure to get a slice at Dillon’s! It was only fitting that I highlight Randy in the book, because he is a real-life mentor in my life.
DBRL: Recently you co-founded the publishing company Streamline Books. What helped steer you towards starting that company?
Demczak: As a keynote speaker, I get the privilege of traveling the country and speaking to amazing teams, companies, and schools. I meet so many great people who have stories that they want to share with the world. It was clear to me that I needed to start highlighting these stories and in 2022, I co-founded Streamline Books with my business partner, Will Severns. One of our three-year goals is to have our first in-person office in Kansas City, but as of right now, we are a fully remote company.
In our proven 20-week process, we help individuals write, edit, and publish their book. Anyone interested in learning more about us can visit our website at www.WriteMyBooks.com.
DBRL: Read anything good lately you’d like to recommend?
Demczak: I am a big fan of author Jon Acuff. He recently wrote a book called “All It Takes Is A Goal.” It is a great book that has encouraged me to rethink the way that I plan out the different goals in my life.
DBRL: Where can readers get a copy of your book?
Demczak: Readers can get a copy of “The Sale” anywhere books are sold and they can check it out for free from the best library in town, Columbia Public Library! 🙂 If you enjoyed the book and would like to have a speaker for an event or for your team, you can reach me at www.AlexSpeaking.com.