Skip to main content

Insights Through the Rearview Mirror, January 8, 2021

This content is restricted. You need to subscribe to watch/listen.

Show Headline
Insights Through the Rearview Mirror
Show Sub Headline
David Marchi: How to Turn Disability Into Ability

Insights Through the Rearview Mirror with Jon Kramer and Paul Kramer

David Marchi: How to Turn Disability Into Ability

Today’s guest acquired the skill of an artist, making him internationally renowned, as a direct result of a broken back from a boat accident in 2015. As he shares his story, it quickly becomes clear that his refusal to allow external circumstances to dictate his path makes up a large part of his decision-making framework.

We address:

How can I look past my weaknesses and capitalize on my strengths?

Why does embracing challenges and adversity tend to lead to unforeseen breakthroughs?

What lessons can I take from the past to inform my decisions in the future?

Paul welcomes visual artist David Marchi. He shares the decision-making framework that led him down his unique and storied career, going from being a highly successful, world-class marketer to becoming one of the most innovative and artistic painters in the world today.


  • When in doubt, be honest and authentic and just put everything out on the table. When he came out as gay to his wife and children, a huge weight was lifted off David’s shoulders and that decision propelled him into the next stage of his life. He initially planned on laying out his intentions in “phases”: to come out first, then to speak about divorce, etc. But he found that the best way to maximize understanding and empathy between all parties is to simply tell the truth, and tell all, right away.

  • Turn your disability into ability. Always find a way to push past your limitations (perceived or otherwise) and focus on fulfilling the potential you, uniquely, are capable of fulfilling. On the more extreme end, David helped Jack, a young boy with autism, to paint for the first time by dipping his paintbrush in his favorite color. “If you give someone a chance, and if you give them the tools, you can be a big part of where they may go.”

  • Thoughtful decisions are based on previous decisions. Look back at the big decisions you’ve made in the past, as well as those smaller ones. Evaluate, with an objective eye, which of those decisions have led to success and which have led to failure or disappointment. The lessons you extract from these varied experiences will help you create a structure for the decisions you make today.


  • David’s decision-making framework [03:52]

  • Entering the marketing world [06:11]

  • Leaving the advertising industry [11:50]

  • Being President of Ryan Partnership and collaborating with well-known brands [20:50]

  • Working with Pepsi [27:15]

  • Moving to TracyLocke [35:19]

  • Coming out as gay after having a family [40:47]

  • Becoming a world-class artist [45:34]

  • Finding out about his acquired savant syndrome [50:30]

  • Painting with Jack and Max [53:30]

  • David’s parting advice on making more thoughtful decisions [56:51]


David is the son of an Italian immigrant mother and a father with roots in Italy and Argentina.

The methodology to David’s art is a spiritual and subconscious process. He dreams the colors and painting structures first, imprinting the image in his head. In his studio, he sits on the floor, looks at the negative space and starts to pick the colors from the shelf leading to a thoughtful completion.

His passion for painting was the direct result of a broken back from a boat accident in 2015. Prior to this, David never painted. In 2019, he was diagnosed by Dr. Darold Treffert with Acquired Savant Syndrome. This is where dormant savant skills emerge after a spinal or brain injury or disease in previously non-disabled persons.

Today, David's life is his painting. He is currently studying with Larry Poons and Peter Bonner at the Art Students League in New York City and has traveled to Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Sao Paulo and London to paint with other artists.

His work is collected world-wide and is currently being critiqued by Pulitzer prize and New York Magazine art critic, Jerry Saltz. Through his art, he supports Positive Exposure, The Human Rights Campaign, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Recently, he started the "Smile" Campaign, raising money to support our front-line nurses during the Covid0-19 pandemic.

Insights Through the Rearview Mirror

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Insights Through the Rearview Mirror

During the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, marketing executives, and brothers, Jon and Paul Kramer were discussing the decisions each had made in their lives. The good, bad, big and small and how each of these decisions had informed and transformed their lives.

Out of these heartfelt conversations came the idea of helping others make more considered decision in their lives. And, while there are literally thousands of books on decision making, they started to discuss how to improve on these “how-to” text books to make the art of better decision making easier and more gratifying.

An ongoing theme was “If I knew then what I know now…”

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Insights Through the Rearview Mirror” is a journey through the decision-making process of interesting people. The question we will attempt to answer is there a decision-making framework that can lead to a more successful process? A way that will help you make better decisions.

In each episode, we will talk to interesting and intriguing guests about the decisions they have made in their lives, exploring the constructs they may have used and the learning that they have found in their very own “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” journey. Through these discussions, we will illuminate and amplify better ways to approach decisions and help you avoid deciding for the wrong reasons.

0 Following