📽️ Adam Lisagor. How one Sandwich video caused millions.
One day a film student from NYU changed advertising forever. In a few short months Adam became the man who did it all - he was producing, casting, directing and starring in for the ads of the most recognizable names in tech. Square, Airbnb, Airtable, TrueCar, Slack, Webflow, Groupon ... the list goes on forever. The story of Sandwich video and how to run a successful business and have a family too, it is all in this episode of Rad Dad.
Welcome to the ride that show broadcast,
where we have intelligent conversations with successful Dad's Today.
My guest on the show is Adam.
Couple of years ago,
Adam took Silicon Valley by the storm when his company send Mitch video start making advertising.
But the biggest names in Silicon Valley,
I guarantee you've seen at least some of his videos.
Adam will share the secret of what it took Doreen,
then advertising and how he became the face of the startups in Silicon Valley.
We also talked about his family and kids and how he's actually running a company where work life balance is important.
If you have young Children or planning on starting a family,
I highly encourage you to stick around to the end of this episode,
where Adam shares the story of how its first child put a bit of a pressure on the relationship between him and his partner and what it took for them to move forward as a happy and successful couple. By the way, if you're hearing noises during this episode like trucks going by people laughing or applause, that's because Adam and I are recording this episode outside of a conference hall in Portland, Oregon. The setting might be a bit unusual, but as always, you're gonna hear from stories, laugh and cry and have a great time without further ado. Adam, welcome to the show. You know, I really wanted to chat with you because I remembered time in 2012 when I was in Silicon Valley and your videos just went viral and everybody wanted Thio basically record with you. And I think it wasn't It wasn't so much. Well, it wasn't just about doing a really cool started video. It was also about doing started video specifically with you. Do you remember that
shirt like the glory days, Glory days? Because it was there weren't a lot of companies doing it already. And, uh, I don't know when you discover a certain space where you can excel and other people haven't quite excelled yet that we definitely established a brand and like a reputation very quickly for for being effective. Like I don't even say I don't even need to qualify it further. We were just effective at doing these type, this type of work where there was suddenly a lot of need for it. And so removing some of the friction between needing a video and getting a high quality video. We just happened. Sandwich happened to be in the right place at the right time.
But how did that happen? That you were the face of pretty much every successful startup in Silicon Valley?
I wasn't but there because I was I did that spokesman role for the pitchman role for a significant number of thes.
Then it just became recognizable.
And it was again.
It was only because I was really lucky and in the right place at the right time.
And because the anecdote that I always loved to share is that it was Jack Dorsey who made that decision for me.
It wasn't me.
It was when when I went to go make the first pilot launch video for Square,
and I thought I was gonna sit Jack Dorsey down in front of the camera and have him talk about square.
And then he said,
I don't want to do it.
I want you to do it.
And then that just like,
sent everything off in a different direction because them my next handful of clients said,
We like the way you are in front of the camera because you're sort of this everyman bearded,
disheveled startup guy that represents a lot of our users,
and it doesn't seem like I mean, the subtext of it was that I was uncanny ra pitch man, but I didn't seem like I was lying to anybody. And I think that's the biggest distinction between what I was doing and what people were accustomed to. And if you could never have subvert expectations like that, then you've created some value. I think for yourself
and correct me if this is wrong. But I remember all these videos and I think even I was going through y Combinator at the time and I remember conversation of people saying like, Oh, yeah, this'd is the guy I want to do video with And I think part of it was it was gonna be a great video, and the other part of it was you explaining somebody's product basically gave it that sticker of value right and just said like this product is going to succeed because you were doing that video. Did it feel like that from your point
of view. It did feel like that probably a distorted way because I wasn't I don't think that I had an ability to see, like, successful products before they happened. I just happened to be in the luxurious position of getting approached by a lot of companies that were doing cool things. And other people of you know, other, like either incubators like y, C or V. C's had already pre vetted for millions and, you know, headed some capital to so that they could afford one of our videos. And so, like, the pre selection process had already gone on quite a bit before they got to me. But it's why it made sense for me at some point to start looking into participating. You know, an upside from making these videos financially.
What was the start of sandwich like? How do you decide you're just going to go make videos for start ups and then get Jack Dorsey is a first video?
it was It was a lot more organic and not planned than that.
It was exhilarating,
because it happened sort of quickly,
and it happened as if,
as a result of Thean turn et allowing people like me without an audience to suddenly sort of gain this reputation,
have an audience,
and it's stories you hear from a lot of people here where we are at x o x o is you have a voice,
you develop some confidence using that voice,
and suddenly you discover that there are people who want to hear you use that voice.
if you're lucky,
you discover that there are people who want to pay for,
You want to pay for you to use that voice.
Um, and that was exhilarating because it's on validating, that's all. Like all that any of us humans want is on this planet is love and to be loved. And that kind of validation is a suitable in some ways. Substitute for love, you know, are simulation of love. So where I had being on my sort of like journey as like, I don't know, a cz Ah, a person who wanted to do creative things for a living, but not having quite that validation. Uh, you know, that's that could be really hard emotionally on a person to want to do something to create things to be to create things that make people responded,
Appreciate those things essentially, for the end goal of more love in your life and not have that happened. And then So it can be, you know, you can experience sadness and depression and loneliness and all those things that come from not having that, like achieved any of that, that success that you envisioned for yourself and then when it comes hell, yeah, it's the best thing in the world. It's the best thing in the world if it happens and you can control it, which is really hard, you know, you can't control it, not let it. You are not. Let it get ahead of itself that it could be a really healthy thing to develop. And because I've been literally 10 years since that started and I've been able to sort of like slowly and deliberately build this thing that I enjoy doing, I don't think that it's ever gotten the better of me.
One thing I've noticed here it XO XO, that people who have been successful publicly still have a lot of for better, a lot of insecurities where, you know, you may think that everything is going great with them, but in reality, they're always questioning themselves
better. Yeah, is yeah. Insecurity is universal. It's gotta be, especially if it's an ingredient key ingredient to making great things.
So you're still feeling that on occasional base
is 100%? Yeah. I mean, like I said, like you got it. I have it under control in order to sort of keep thriving. There are ties. Rick feels like insecurity is going to get the better of you, and then you're gonna be just like, crushed under the weight of your own self doubt. But you build those muscles and you build that strength to be able to sort of push through it, no matter what those insecurities air telling you. But one thing that every person in the audience at a conference like this, every person out there watching the work on the Internet needs to know is that all of the interesting people out there making anything that they find interesting are also experienced those experiencing those same insecurities as they are.
So how do you remind yourself that your public success is worth it? And your security should just go away or what do you do personally to deal with that? I find that fascinating, right? With so much success that you would still have serve internal struggles with that success and how, how, how you deal with that.
I think I understand,
how do you How do you conquer that stuff?
keep it at bay so you can keep yeah making?
Which which one is it?
I think you just keep proper perspective and there are times when and this goes for any of us,
If you make something and then you hear 100 people say that it's good,
but you hear one person say that is bad.
You're gonna let that the weight of that one person over come over power that the 100 with positive feedback.
I think that you learn strategies to not do that anymore.
You learn toe,
listen to that one person,
but not let them take up so much space as they did before.
So it's like little things like that. It's keeping proper perspective. It's not letting every negative experience you have with somebody who maybe has an idea different from your own. Um, it's so funny because, like I went to South by Southwest so many years ago, probably 2008 or nine, and and a friend interviewed me, sort of in a setting like this. We were outside of a cafe table talking about failure and my position on failure at the time. And this thinks we laughed so much. I had made, like, five videos. At that point, I was already getting some recognition recognition for them.
And he said, How do you deal with failure? And I said, I haven't failed. I haven't failed yet And honestly, that this arrogance, I thought I was hot shit. And I thought that I was just figured out a formula to not ever making something yet that was going to be displeasing were unsuccessful to the client, the audience, whatever. And then I learned very quickly thereafter that that wasn't true. It wasn't gonna be true. There's no way to not fail, and failure is part of success. It's just like part of growth on. And when that happens,
the first failures that come along field devastating, absolutely devastating proportionately to the body of work. Let's say, made 10 videos and one of them was for Cora, you know, Maura dot com and the client who I had approached I'd said I'm hot Shit. I made the video for square in the video for flipboard of these job own videos like, Ah, I'm hot shit and you want to work with me And they said, I guess Sure, I guess. Cool. And then I said, Here's my idea And I made the video and they didn't respond for two weeks. They responded and said, Yeah,
we don't like it we're not gonna use that was devastating to you because proportionately it took up so much negatives, You know, space in my world. And over the course of 10 years, I've learned that that kind of failure doesn't have to be so devastating. You can learn from those opportunities. It's okay to fail. It's okay to fail. Incorrect course. I've had these amazing opportunities with a couple of my clients where we've actually got out and made something for them, and it failed and it was bad. And then they said, You know what? Let's do this again. Like what? What do you mean?
Do this again? Like, are you serious? You want to put more resource is and to course, correcting. They said Yeah, and way went out and did something great and like, the more you get used to because ultimately what is Is it extent existentially threat? Failure at first is an existential threat. Because what you think is if I fail, I'm going to go away. All of this is going to go away. Nobody's gonna love May. I'm gonna cease to exist. I will die. You fail and he still live.
And people still love you. And everything is sort of okay where you fix it. And when you see that happened a few times, It's a proof of concept that you don't. That failure is actually gonna be okay. And I think it's just like that kind of lesson, those life lessons that happened on Lee by experience, that sort of, ah, you know, synthesized into like on ability to deal with insecurity. Like I said
so in a way, the highs of your success balanced with the lows and they teach you how to make each side better.
Yes. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. And I think that's why if you rise to quickly, you don't get any evidence of the opposite of lows. That could be devastating for a lot of people. I mean, we're not talking about like people who do what I do mostly thinking of just like child actors or celebrities who who like crashing burns. Yeah, you know, like complain too close to the sun. I just feel like you always got to be grounded. I wish there was a way to institutionalize formalized that that less it is just like keep your head down on Earth, you know? I mean, that comes from parenting, too. Well,
we'll get to parenting shortly. But another thing about sandwich videos and I think you is a person right sandwich came out with videos that were different. They part of the reason they were so appealing. They were different. They were they were in boring, but they they were honest. It was an honest review oven, honestly, good product, and that was very different from everything else that existed. It wasn't marketing. It was like the best marketing without any marketing. Is that kind of who you are? How did you even thought of doing that as
it wasn't progess?
But it is honest,
like you said That's my favorite.
What you just said is my favor,
recapitulation of what it is,
what we do it.
It's my favorite model of understanding what sandwiches,
which is not its marketing without marketing.
It's speaking honestly to the honestly good things.
it just happened.
It happened because I think it happened as a function of,
like generation that I came up,
came up in watch growing up,
knowing life before the Internet,
it after the inner knowing life,
sort of before DVDs and, you know, before DVDs and after DVDs. Knowing life that was difficult and then easier, saying the media sense in a media landscape sense. Knowing what bullshit looks like and knowing what truth looks like, you know, because there's always It was always just so funny to me that that people tasked with selling things to me as a kid. We're not kids, that they were adults who thought they knew how to talk to kids. And I think a lot of my generation became wise to that earlier than before because I came of age in a generation where you would see it suddenly see blockbuster movies that were targeted towards kids towards teens or whatever, and teenage culture was suddenly prioritized because of its business opportunity. But it also it became a central focus of a lot of like pop culture was how do we speak to young people so that we can, like, sort of get the most value from them, but also like seeing that in the attempts to do that they were doing it wrong and then recognizing those things that we're wrong and then trying to figure out how to do them right, you know. So advertising to my generation always felt and looked and sounded smelled like advertising, so it would just It just seemed like a fun opportunity to do advertising that didn't feel like that.
Yeah, you were the right place in the right of the really right concept. But then that worked
out really 100% look all the
way. I think we should talk about this and how the world is changing. So you know, your kids and my kids grow up. They gonna be able to make videos for people of their age, right? There's no there's no reason that an eight year old can't make something for other eight year
olds without any barrier.
Right? Without you, just pull out a phone and just do it as you were. But let's pivot a little bit and quickly talk about you becoming a dad and how it was like to be. I mean, should we call sandwiches startup? Because, yeah, you know, it isn't entirely owned by you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Best kind of outside money. Yeah, but you went from just yourself to know. So 17 people, That's a lot of people. That's a lot of payroll to cover. And, you know,
it was helpful that it went in that direction of, like, feeling responsible for the lively hoods of a couple people first and then going into parent. You know, being I feel like it was that it was an interesting way of preparing for that idea of of that responsibility. How old are the kids right now? My son is five years old, five and 1/2. My daughter is turning to next
week. Too. Nice. Yeah, that's a good time apart.
Yeah, three and 1/2 years. It's really It's a nice spread.
It's when you start to sleep again and you feel like, Well, my first kid is really good. I should have another kid and you have another kid. You're like,
Whoa! What was that? What did Ideo exactly? It's hard all over again. Differently.
How hard was it being a startup founder and having kids?
I think being a founder and apparent wasn't is hard to do because I always prioritized work life balance in my in my company,
no matter what.
I just wasn't ever Somebody was willing to do that amount of sacrifice Put that amount of sacrifice into my vocation.
I did in my twenties while I was learning everything.
And there were,
there was nothing to lose.
sometimes working six or seven days a week and not leaving the office until 11 or 12 was it was just something that you do because you need to.
You need to prove to yourself that you could do it the best.
you need to show that,
that you care enough like it sze useful toe like spend your twenties putting in that amount of care.
And then by the time that I was able to start my own company I knew what that experience was like bootstrapping and getting off the ground. I certainly put in those hours. But it was off, you know, I took the risk and I got the reward on then when it got to a certain point where it was self sustaining, not self sustaining, that he didn't have to do anymore. But it didn't feel like it was going to go away any time soon. Then eh? Figured out how to ease off the gas pedal a little bit and not have to work weekends and let some of the people around me do some of the heavy lifting as well, to the point that it sort of worked out perfectly when I was ready when my partner and I were ready to have kids, it wasn't the right time because we had a comfortable income. I knew that I wasn't gonna be working so hard that I wouldn't be a part of that with journey of raising our kids that I could sort of balance each, whether it was balanced successfully. That's up. You know,
I would have to have my partner weigh in on that, too, because I really think it wasn't with my first. When my son was born, I had decided I was gonna take four weeks of paternity leave off of work. But I had just shot three commercials for Igloo of, and I apologize, have a little a little congestion, but I just shot these three commercials for Igloo. They needed to be edited. So I brought my work computer home during my paternity leave, and there's a picture of me. A time was actually Mac World came and took a picture like and did a little article about me, and I just looked like hell. I looked like I was like New Dad, and I was sitting in front of my work computer,
and it's just all of my memories. The memories of my first month as a dad are tied to like sitting there in my work computer instead of like being attentive newborn, and that was a big mistake. I should not have, like, probably work, Computer
said the second time around.
By the second time around, I had the right the right pipeline in place so I wouldn't have to have done that anymore.
It's interesting, right, because you recognize the fact that you wanted to be there with the first kid and that you fixed it and that that's the right thing to do, and it's a good thing to do. And yet you make videos for companies in Silicon Valley, where in today's world is still about working 80 hours a day for no pay so that maybe one day you can get some kind of reward. And it's amazing. I hope people listen to you and say, Well, this guy's successful in this guy's making my videos right so that I could be successful but like he didn't get to be successful by just like not living. Adam's got like to
You I don't know.
You want us.
I'm not very,
like predetermined about anything I d'oh,
I don't like set a goal and then achieve that goal.
I think I just course correct very quickly along the way,
So it feels like I'm getting burned out in one capacity than all well,
he's off in all Well,
just try to make it better,
not try to fix it,
but just like trying to make it better,
make those little decisions of life that we all make like,
I've got heartburn.
Maybe next time I won't eat the spicy thing.
You know, like those little decisions that don't have to be about using an app to, like, you know, track all of your intake or anything like that. That's more my style of living is like, try to be very, very aware and mindful of what is feeling wrong in your life and then be inventive with how you make this feel not wrong anymore.
Is this how you run your business project? Super valuable lesson and especially in the way. Once again, you're doing what? The start ups always striving to do the whole ship quickly and reiterate that's exactly what you're doing. You know, you're not even doing software in your business. That's amazing, right? Yeah.
I've always wondered whether there were systems that could be put in place and the I mean,
you got to do the basics like,
make sure that you bring in the right people and not the wrong people,
and that you make sure that all the basic needs are provided for to make those people thrive and,
make everybody feel safe.
able to do their best work.
But beyond that,
I never figured out how to systematize what it is we do.
So the only alternative is to be very quick to react in response to anything that feels like it might be.
An issue that comes along comes up,
and my my team is very attuned to that as well.
I think that they know that that's how our company culture works.
And so they also like, embody that that idea and they that's how we communicate with each other is like, Let's do what we know how to d'oh as we've done it before And if anything special comes up which it are always does, then we figure out how to deal with it. We don't try to. We were never so like I would call it arrogant t think that we can see the problems, you know, way before they happen. We try to get ahead of things that we think might be. I mean, that's just that's that's responsible, like we we, uh when we shoot a commercial and we we rental location for thousands of dollars that maybe a nice house in L. A. You see the problems happen before they happen. And you?
So you hire a company called Matt Men to come in and lay down floorboards and protect all of the ah, protect all the walls that they there's a company that we use all the time. And that's all they do is they show up to set early all the shoot day. And, you know, a number of burly guys come out and they just spend, like, a couple of hours rolling out all the protective stuff. And why do we do that? Well, it saves us from all the problems that come on happen later on. I remember not doing that early on because we couldn't afford it. Thio we couldn't afford t do this kind of preemptive protection, but invariably, like every third shoot, so grip would drop something and it would damage the floor.
That then cost thousands of dollars to repair, which, with the, you know, insurance would cover. But it would affect our premiums and that stuff you learn like you learn to take the precautionary measures just like you do. I like sorry to keep looping back to parenting, but parenting is seeing those issues happened before they happen so he could protect your child so you could give them the best path forward.
Well, that's the topic in itself. Because you could you could be protecting him from everything. But then, at some point, you have to let them go, and you have to make
any reactive than here in the near term. Right? React quickly, Odo, like, Yes, I want my son declined That climbed that tree. I'm not gonna tell. I said not to climb that tree, but Oh, shit. It looks like he's gonna fall. And he might break himself. So I'm gonna go over there quickly t to see how I could mitigate
that. Yeah. You know, just for people who might be interested in the whole video production aspect. Can you tell me more about your process? What? What's included in your commercial? Where does it starts, and how long does it take?
A good question?
I'll say it again.
I kind of pulled on the court.
so it always starts with ideas.
It starts with getting on the phone with our client.
Most of our clients are not in l.
Sometimes when we sit down a person and we go over things but almost like 99% of our clients interactions air remote and so we get on the phone with them.
We talk through everything often.
They'll give us a brief that says the basics of everything. They want to say that we break away and we decide how we want to accomplish whatever the goals are. Sometimes we lay out those goals ourselves. Sometimes they tell us what the goals are, but there's some about a strategy involved, like it's really just sitting and thinking about What is this product? What is it means people, wherein lies the value. And then that we put our storytelling hats on and say, OK, so how do we convey this with some sort of a linear story that effectively communicates the values of this product or this experience? Yeah, that we, uh, we usually, like write a few ideas if we put them into some sort of a presentation.
Ed. Ah, wait. Is that better? We put them into some sort of a presentation, like a pitch deck or something. It's sometimes we present them live Sometimes we just send them along to our clients to respond to. But their clients hopefully get a good sense of what we're thinking and how we how we like for him to the model for what it is, the method that we want to tell the story. And hopefully, if we've done it well, if we've communicated those ideas well, which is central to our our purposes a company, they believe that it will be effective and successful. They will get so sense of how it will look and feel, and then they'll sign off on it and allow us to move forward.
And moving forward means that we start putting all the pieces in place to actually execute the production. And that means getting all the people involved crewing up, going out, finding the best DP for the job production designer wardrobe, hair, makeup and the talent. You know, the actors, the locations, all this stuff that goes into just the traditional methods of making commercials or production, which are actually quite fun, like, you know, you see, that's why I went to film school is to learn about all that stuff. That's why people go and learn about like how movies are made because the nuts and bolts is really fun to do.
It feels like Plato. So there we go off and do that. We shoot, we have. We have three in house directors myself included. Two of the other two are here with me in Portland. Um, we have a number of outside directors that we work with over and over again, and it's all up bringing the best people for the job. And then we go, we shoot and that right away we go into post production. We have a post like a post facility in sandwich in the in the company, and we edit that process you call the offline at it. Oh, which means rough cuts and everything is gonna look messy. No color,
no sound mix. Uh, it's just like it's it's it's edited, but it still looks and feels a little bit raw. And then we get the client to approve that lock the lock, the cut. We move into the online at it, which means putting the proper color and finish music and sound mix and all that that we end up with. However, many quote unquote deliver Bols that we've been scoped out to produce meeting 32nd commercial that maybe like a 15 2nd cutdown of it or a longer version. You know, whatever the client needs, whatever is gonna they're gonna be able to make best use of. Sometimes they go out and put it on broadcast TV. Sometimes it's just for digital, but that is basically the process.
Well, that's fascinating. Really long for commercial, Right? Uh, did you do it all by yourself when you just started when you were the face of
sandwich and, uh I mean, yes and no, I like I didn't have any employees, so I was I was definitely doing, like, arranging the body with the clients. I was definitely writing the script. I was definitely, like, bring in the people toe, help shoot, which was a revelation in itself, because I like I shot the first couple by myself of that. And then, as soon as I like had a little bit of buddy that I figured out I could actually go and pay somebody to help shoot, I got it. I got in contact with cinematographer who had gone just 10 while you with and for those first handful of jobs. She came in and she shot these projects with me and gotta
love It's real life, Yeah, I mean, that's why we're doing it out of doors. It's Yeah, it's juicy.
It's it's wrong.
So she It was a revelation to me because she I discovered that if you bring in somebody to do something that you don't know how to do,
and they're really,
really good at it,
that it could,
it could just elevate your whole game.
It could make it so much more valuable.
It turns out that that person who had brought in to shoot those first few commercials with the and has and then subsequently,
probably 2020 more she shot the movie Black Panther.
And she was the first woman nominated for the Oscar for cinematography.
I just never told you when you started.
She was just is exceptionally kind and generous person who became a close friend.
And she was.
Her attitude was always her name's Rachel Morris,
and she was.
Her attitude was always,
whatever it is, I just love to shoot. So let's go make it happen, even if it was like very little money she was always down to make something great. And if I could use that as like a teachable bullet that is after her talent. Plus that generosity as an artist is absolutely why she is so successful because she does. She wanted to work and she wanted to do the work. And like she's, she's famous now for like operating a camera with while the baby was pregnant. Not that I was pregnant, you know. She just had her second child a couple weeks ago, but she's working up until the day she delivers, and she's because she wants to be working. Finding like that was just like such an early, fortuitous lesson that I got was that you could find people out there who are world class and if you could somehow convinced them that your mission is worth following if you're if you're worth working with that, they're going to make your work so much more valuable and that everything gets easier from their own.
That's it. It's a great listen, and her and you and lot of successful people. I think if you kind of average everyone there, never arrogant or you know, a holes. People just usually kind hard working and really excited about what they do. And that's the people you really want to work with the most and that what propels your success
And it's interesting that in some ways I feel like this conference were is okay to talk about.
We're XO XO,
which has been started in 2012 I think 2013 Ah,
I feel like it was It was It was formed around that idea that,
like the lies to each other,
is important to doing good creative work,
which South by Southwest,
had definitely gotten away from that idea of,
like that important key ingredient of Of like,
being nice to each other.
like just the very idea that they were sort of vetting people who came to this festival based on the pre qualification,
that they're nice people,
that they're doing so that's good for the world,
about that for the world,
and then bringing together under that under that pretense pretext was very was very unique to this this conference as a movement and it feels like we're at that time. It is a fractured time in history, but we're at the time where it's like It's like, you know, light of the sand there. People who are interested in doing good for the world while making buddy, you know, evolved while doing commercial stuff. But also just like the primary importance of being
good, right? And it's like a new wave of art is, um, business right where people are. You don't have to be making product with your hands, but you making it in the same way like craftsman used to make it before with care. And Julia
Yeah, with a focus on, like you said care and a focus on humanity and I don't know, I like it. It seems like before, Certainly, in the entertainment industry, it wasn't so focused on that on the humanity side of things.
Well, it's people like you are making it a comeback or in our new wave, right, And you can build. I mean, give it 5 10 years. You know, you're gonna be in Hollywood making a remake of Jurassic Park. Just kidding.
You know, who knows why we got there now? But I have a feeling it has something to do with generationally being brought up with, like, you know, different emotional intelligence, you know, being raised to sort of, like, think about how does the other person feel when you hit them or whatever? Like, you know, like our parents. I thought about that stuff in ways that their parents hadn't thought of, that I thought about it. So just like the importance of that awareness of others, I think in very small ways over time, just like like pebbles culminated in caring about each other.
So this is excellent. So tell me, what do you think about differently? That you parents either didn't think about or had a completely different opinion about a CE for us life and parenting. And where you gonna go in the future and how you're gonna educate and inspire your kids,
I think it mostly has to do with your kids feeling like they have agency of life,
because I don't think that was a priority before,
that the kids are independent independent thinkers and they're they're they're ideas matter.
I don't know the best way to formulate these ideas,
But I just get a sense that when my mom and dad were brought up,
they were not.
It was not highly encouraged to be free thinkers and independent thinkers and,
like weigh in on decisions with the family or be prioritized as people in that way.
And I don't necessarily think that when my mom and dad brought me and my sister up that they were necessarily like deferring to us for our opinions on everything.
But they certainly made us feel like we were important enough and had a voice to be somewhat like some greater percentage empowered as a presence in the family.
Now I think that just that tread of like,
being respectful of the fact that our Children are capable of thought and the's Early's decisions that we make on their behalf are going Thio culminate in like Who they end up as people and,
I don't know. I think it's just a difference as different type of prioritizing. Yeah, uh, we are God. It's such a complicated, multilayered question. It's, you know, about privilege and what goes on. What goes into the making of a human nature versus nurture and, like, how do you prepare your child for the best? How do you put them all the best best path forward and how much is too much and how much is not enough. And all this stuff and the parenting style that my partner and I have laid it on is a little bit more laissez faire that I think most of the parents around us. It's a little bit more casual.
Certainly it's more casual that might my upbringing in terms of the involvement of, like, the regiment and structure of of upbringing I think I was my operating was very a lot more regimented than my Children's. But I have now coming to find out that that's okay. Lately is not gonna all blow up if, like their bedtime moves around a little bit, you know, whatever
I'm curious to You went thio, was it? And why you for film school, right? Yes. And then you ended up with the company of your own. How you gonna teach your kids or you know what kind of past that you're gonna inspire them to move towards two as they grow
I think that that they could make make stuff that could be valuable to them and to other people of my son is just becoming aware that there are people who make movies,
which is very exciting to me.
I took him to see The Incredibles,
because there was a little bit a little featurette before the movie where it shows like the voice actors like in the studio like we're Doing right Now and showed some people drawing pictures on the computer that go into making an animated movie.
He started connecting the dots a little bit that these movies don't exist of their own.
You know their own volition that that animated movies don't exist in an animated world.
It's because people in our world made them and animated.
He's becoming aware of that,
and the first thing he said when we left the theater was I want to make it Incredibles movie like he wants to do that because he draws pictures all day long.
But suddenly the act of him drawing the active in like illustrating the world that he imagines and creating these little things little images kidnapped means something different to him,
and I think they like you,
could do it in a very soft and loose way to encourage your child to appreciate that the things around them that have been made with intention.
You know that,
like parks don't just exist because their parks,
you know, they didn't grow this way with you with the earth came to be like people planted that tree. People made that decision like every everything around. He was decided it with intention by somebody. So you know what? You could be a part of that decision making. And how cool is that? Uh, that is not e. I mean, it's like a hugely powerful idea, but it's such an easy idea to convey. Uh, I just think that's so cool. And part of it is by virtue of the tools that we have around us now that allow them to do that, it is incredible to be
Do you and your partner actually actively encourage it? Or it just happens naturally because you're so laid back and you let them explore?
it happens pretty naturally.
We didn't decide for him that he was going to be drawing a lot of pictures every day.
He just kind of like he found a blank piece of paper and a mark already started drawing and they found another piece of paper and then we started buying a ring.
Reams of paper,
markers to draw,
draw all the time.
And I think that's the best way of letting things happen.
You can sort of like all you could do is expose them to different things and see what they respond to write.
Like I thought I thought my son was going to be a musician You can't like.
You can't force them to take music lessons.
You can't force them to love it instrument.
But you can let them know that a musical instrument exists and see whether they have any interested touching it,
making sound with it.
My son asked me to take him to the accordion store the other day because he's he's really into pirates lately. And why the accordion? But because he saw he saw a pirate playing an accordion. So I think, somewhere so he asked if I could. If we could go to the accordion story went to Guitar Center. They don't have Accordions. Tickets are center, but But I found it accordion sore. Glendale called Dave's accordion. We went there last week, and the nice old lady sat down with it like showed him how the accordion works and for whatever reason, he sat there, and I've seen him dick around with musical instruments before. And it's just like a child. It's just like I'm very interested.
But seeing him strapped into the accordion like, you know, making it, I don't know what it's called. It's like a billows, but making it work and making sound come out of it. He felt like a grown up boy for the first time in my eyes, it was such a beautiful thing. And so what am I gonna do now? Yeah, you encourage him by going on Amazon by a $20 toy accordion so that he could continue to experiment like you don't want to over indulge that that kind of curiosity and just like because that's got its own set of problems right of giving your kids too much. Then they don't you know what's the old the old like? The old adage is that they don't appreciate anything to give him everything. It's always balance, right?
Do you see your parenting style change from the first kid to the second? Yes,
It's it's actually tricky if I could cop to something first couple of years air very hard for be.
I don't know if this is common with fathers.
I will throw this question to you if you could weigh in.
But like not having for not forming the bond with your child in the first couple of years before they really start using language,
that the mother forms with the mother,
my partner for that maternal blood,
And she can offer them so much more.
They understand each other so much war with both kids.
And now that my son is maturing to a certain age and not letting over,
his emotions overtake every interaction were really forming a bond,
which is incredible to me.
Like this is the stuff of parenting.
This is the most important stuff where I feel like we're two humans, kind of coexisting together rather than a human and a lump of clay. Ah, so I think that that has been consistent with both my kids and my daughter, who's almost too, isn't really. She's not really stringing words together yet she says words, But you know, not conveying much meeting yet. And so I feel like what? That's just like that milestone to reach before I really, like, form that special bond with her start becoming that much more engaged in our relationship. Whether that's controversial, to say aloud, I don't actually know.
I don't think it's controversial.
And I actually heard more dads feel that way in fact,
a link to the episode and show notes.
But I have an episode with Alexey,
who talks about it in depth and how he was basically depressed for two years because he was expected to play with a child who he didn't really understand.
And in fact,
as soon as his kids started to talk back,
it closed the feedback.
Look where all the sad here allies allow.
Like everything we've done actually internalizing that human,
and now it's coming back at us.
But it's Yeah,
I guess it's maybe it's something people should really know ahead of time that it could happen for two years.
You might feel like,
there's no feedback from this child,
Um, but personally, I think it helped to spend more time with my kids, and they may not be talking to you, but you can recognize a lot of things that happens to them. just is a short example. You know, we went camping for three weeks with kids. They're three and one and had a blast. Swore outdoors most of the time, and we came home the first day at home, playing at home. My one year old. She can't talk, but she looks at me and she just points at the door. You know how the monkey of family guy points.
It's stuff that was that kind of like and I was like, Oh, well, of course she just wants to go play outside. So basically spending time with your kids, you start to pick up signals like that. Anything that helps. But what you're saying is definitely not uncommon is just We're still in the society where it's not me. It's totally okay. But people feel like it's not okay to talk about these things. And, you know, in fact, I think of like we knew everything there is to know about parenting. You think twice about having your first child. It's right,
like correcting for long, but it's it's incredibly time consuming. It's it's challenging, at least for the first year because you're not sleeping, you know, it's like you aggravated your You know, you probably like it too much and gain weight and all sorts of things changed, like everything about your life changes. So you also have to know that going in. But the thing everything you felt is definitely common but not spoken about.
that's great to hear on the other,
the other like issue that that creates of that sort of the imbalance or the lack of feedback is that your partner often has that feedback loop that closed that closed loop right where they do know how to,
they know how to interpret the needs of the child and provide those provide for those needs in a way that I don't.
So that creates a whole sort of,
like other dynamic of resentment between you and your partner.
And that's the thing that,
whenever I talked to dads,
To be or new dads is is like the sort of the insight that I can give them,
is like share my experience where if you don't kind of get ahead of it with your partner,
it can really wreak havoc on your partnership.
It can really just like set it off in a different direction.
You like a negative direction that you weren't expecting.
What I try to tell new dads or dead's to be is to really think differently about their relationship with their partner and make sure to make it a priority and make sure to make it a priority to stay connected with them.
Even that, even if that means like trying to capture, recapture some of that thing that goes away first, which is the time that you spend in each other's company just focusing on each other. When you have a child, all that goes away very suddenly, and if you don't have that time carved out for each other, where you just like together appreciating each other and listening to each other, then your relationship is gonna change very quickly for the worst, I think that it happens pretty consistently in relationships with, I don't know, I might be incorrect. It certainly happened in my relationship with both of our kids, to the point that, um, sorry when we when we were pregnant with me when my partner was pregnant with when we're expecting our second child,
we knew enough about the first time around that if we did it again, way might not make it through it like the rough patch of the first of the first year or two years. So we sort of did some work on ourselves and like together to try to prepare for it. And I'm so glad we did. Ah, we made we learned tools to listen to each other and understand each other a little bit differently. But just we're not people who had ever been through this kind of work before. Just to give you an idea of the extent to which the first child kind of like inflicted harm on er on our couplehood. So I think like date night is so important. It was going out to dinner, find a sitter if possible, and spending time with each other and figure out how to connect with each other and communicate the way you used to. As a couple. It's so important it's gonna make everything better, because ultimately you're there together to provide for your child or your Children. If that goes away that you know, if you're couplehood goes away, then you're not able to necessarily do that in the same way for your child or it gets harder.
You just talk a bit more about the tools that you use to connect with each other, how you approach that conversation to begin with, because it's probably very difficult than maybe more so for a lot of dads and moms. But I think it's also easy to assume that one of the partners has problems or, you know, wants to talk about something. But in reality, both people really want to share something. But how do you connect that?
It's really learning how to listen to each other,
but also just appreciating that it's going to happen.
It's more like it's more than likely that you're going to resent each other for things that you didn't know you were doing.
your partner might you know if your dad,
might resent you for not being as present in the in the child rearing as they are,
and there might be a number of practical reasons for that right there.
There might be tons of reasons of valid,
That doesn't mean that they can't be heard that there that resentment,
is going to grow and metastasize and become damaging to your relationship and you as,
as a father who was only used to prioritizing your own needs.
you might grow to resent your partner for no longer being as president for you as they were before the child, because now they're devoted so holy to their child that I mean, like, I don't even think that's that's rare. I think that that can feel hurtful if you're a new dad and your partners and there for you in the same way that that they were your he's as you've No, they're your entire relationship. So as long as you can sort of see those things coming, then you can sort of learn to address the very least, address them and not be resentful. For them, it's the lack of communication or a lack of Acknowledgments of those resentments that is the most damaging thing because it grows it because bad. So I think like like all phase good communication about this stuff is of primary importance. Yeah, I wish I had more tool sets, but like that's all therapy kind of stuff about a qualified, licensed therapist.
Well, I've actually had a therapist that gets therapists come on a show, too, and his mentioned that, you know, if you need it, you should get it because it's important. Like, I wonder if you know we have such a high rate of divorce because people, in fact don't talk to each other, and it boils down to where you like, can't stand each other anymore. This is you've probably just saved thousands of marriages by saying this,
I hope so.
And also how important it is not to measure yourself up against what you think the ideal vision or the illusion of a parent of parenthood or partner Hood is based on Instagram.
the instagram pictures of the people you follow like that is not real life.
What Israel life is.
Every single couplehood on parenthood co parenthood experiences these kinds of things,
and we need to be aware of that and not stigmatize them way don't mean stigmatize those issues and think that we're doing something wrong.
If we don't fulfill those like that,
that illusion of perfect parenthood instagram is a lie.
it's a beautiful line,
because it's all filled with joy because we capture the best the best evidence that we can of the positive things in our lives,
and we share them on Instagram.
And that's why I love this instagram in ways that I will.
I never loved Twitter or anything else because it's a positivity engine.
It's it's like for people to brag to bragging Lee,
show their best Selves. They have the best evidence they have. Um, but that is not real life. And that is when you're judging your own experience of parenthood against other people's illusions of good parenthood, you're you're gonna be failing yourself. So that's why I'm so grateful that podcasts like this conversation's like the one you and I are having exists. Is that so we could just be public and not spoken about the fact that this shit is our and it mostly goes back and it feels real bad, and you can, like, suddenly find yourself hating the person that you love most in your life. You can suddenly lose your best friend. But just like I said before, with production stuff running my company, the best thing you could do is react to it quickly and respond in real time. As things start to feel not so good anymore. And the worst thing you could do is just sit with it, sit with it and not do anything and let it go bad. And then suddenly a figure out child support, right?
Well, I'm glad you guys got through this. Figure it out. You know, you're gonna have, like, super awesome. Happy to kids. Last thing. What was probably the most joyful part about being a dad so
it's seeing my partners and my sense of humor exhibit it exhibited in our kids and watching them laugh at the same ship that we think is funny.
That is why everything,
like family jokes are so important.
I think my favorite times,
absolutely without question are sitting in bed.
The four of us,
sometimes their dog is up there,
14 year old dog is up on the bed two and the four of us were just,
laughing at the stupidest dumb things and the kids were dancing on the bed.
And my son is like pulling his pants down, putting his butt on their face. And Lumi, our little one is like doing a funny voice where she sounds kind of like a monster and nobody knows why she could do this voice. And we all just crack up. And it sometimes is like first thing early in the morning. Sometimes it's at the end of the night. But like when you feel that idea of a family unit all moving in the same direction and appreciating the same wonderful thing about life, which is smiling and laughing, that's what that's what it feels like. Real life.
That's why we're here. That sounds amazing. Also, like a mattress commercial. It's right,
you're so right. And when my clients tell me that when my clients tell me we want to recreate that emotional experience, I say Go fuck yourself, it doesn't exist.
I can see a CZ. You talk about it. I could see that in front of my eyes
like this. There's a movie unfolding. Yeah, you know what it is? I think when it's that riel, then there's no way to capture it and sell it to people for mattress.
But it sounds great, and I'm really happy to hear that it's working out for you guys.
Yeah, who knows? We'll see. We just do the best you can. That's all any of us can do, right? But
on a scale of 10 parenthood, it's everything. It's 100 ten's 100. Excellent. Well, thank you. Look at all the
applause. It's all for you. They like they did. Yeah, Yeah. You know, the one thing that I've always said, Like I realized it as soon as, um ah. Soon as actually we were in Portland for the first XO XO when my my partner was pregnant. And it was then at the hotel in the shower that I realized how freeing it is time for me to not have to be the most important important person in my life anymore. That as soon as that new human comes out that new human is the most important person in my life and to be absolved of that responsibility of thinking about myself all the time, he's the best thing that comes from. Apparently, in my opinion,
do you think parenting is for everyone?
Oh, I don't think I'm I think it's for people who think they can do it. Yeah, I mean, it's so hard to say, because it's like is living for everyone because in a biological sense that feels like that's what it's like. If we have a job to do here, it's like, sort of biologically that right? Um, I think people can choose not to be parents, and that's so completely, perfectly okay. Ah, and I think that if you're someone who believes that you're not going to be able to prioritize your Children above yourself or that that's gonna suck, it's gonna ruin your life. Then you probably shouldn't be apparent. I think a lot of times it happens. That was even if you think that you're not gonna be able to somehow it just works out that you surprised yourself and you are able to you are able to actually prioritize that person more than yourself.
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