📰 John Cook. Joys and challenging of starting GeekWire.
Rad Dad, hosted by Kirill Zubovsky
Eight years ago John co-founded GeekWire.com and had a kid at the same time - Although life hasn’t always been easy, the only thing he regrets is not doing both ealier in his life. Follow along and learn a bit about both entrepreneurship and parenting.
In this episode
- 00:41 - What is GeekWire?
- 00:43 - Who is John Cook ?
- 03:44 - What are the pros and cons of remote work for new parents?
- 06:25 - What are some tricks to getting quality family time when working on a demanding schedule?
- 13:22 - What type of attitude does John's son have towards him with so many work commitments that can, at times, dominate John's time ?
- 17:10 - How hard was it for John in the beginning stages of GeekWire and has that changed ?
- 19:58 - With the media landscape changing, how is GeekWire responding?
- 21:33 - How can GeekWire merge traditional journalism with the digital media?
- 23:27 - What happens when you report about a company and they don't like it?
- 25:26 - How do you get access to the best sources of information?
- 29:42 - What would John teach his son about life knowing how the world is today and how is it changing ?
- 32:32 - What is a key priority of John's regarding what he would like to teach his son ?
- 35:37 - How does John see the world of work shifting ?
- 36:56 - What are John's thoughts on health in the midst of the chaos of busy seasons ?
- 43:20 - What are some learning experiences regarding parenting?
- 49:38 - What additional advice would John share with listeners ?
- 51:33 - Why does John Cook of GeekWire love the media business ?
- 52:11 - What is the current state of the free press in our society ?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
What is GeekWire?
Geekwire is a Seattle tech publication that covers the intersection of technology, culture, innovation and all things related to the geek world. They launched on March 7, 2011.
What are the pros and cons of remote work for new parents?
John Cook loved the the flexibility of remote work while starting Geekwire, but he also admits it was a constant battle to not be distracted in front of his family.
What are some tricks to getting quality family time when working on a demanding schedule?
Find time wherever you can.
John Cook's wife, for example, handles their son's morning routine, while John works. The extra time then enables John to walk his kid to school. Then, John and his wife walk to his office together, for some extra quality time.
What type of attitude does John's son have towards him with so many work commitments that can, at times, dominate John's time ?
He likes aspects of his dad's career and then there are elements that are bothersome to him when his dad cannot always be present.
How hard was it for John in the beginning stages of GeekWire and has that changed ?
Right now, GeekWire has many new opportunities ahead, which has made the current season nearly as busy as it was in the beginning. Media is a hard business and an ever-changing business.
With the media landscape changing, how is GeekWire responding?
Flexibility and moving fast are key in the new media world. Geekwire has the benefit of being an online platform that is not dependent on overhead like a traditional newspaper would. There is no printing press, no trucks delivering physical papers. The platform that they have chosen allows Geekwire to tell stories in various creative ways.
How can GeekWire merge traditional journalism with the digital media?
John and Todd (co-founders) come from traditional, news-driven journalistic backgrounds. While there is baggage with their legacy media background, their "new school" thinking and commitment to high-quality journalism makes for a desirable combination.
When you are committed to high quality journalism, and your platform is flexible and nimble, it is possible to build a community with high level of trust, and to create an experience that people love.
What happens when you report about a company and they don't like it?
John says that if people aren't getting mad, it means they are not doing their job well enough. Journalist's job is not to be a PR person or a marketing department for a company. Their job is to produce honest and factual reporting.
John Cook and Todd Bishop have been rooted in the Seattle startup community for a long time, and in many instances they have been connected with the founders for a long time too. People respect their role as a media organization that tells an honest story.
How do you get access to the best sources of information?
Keep working on the relationships. Your greatest enemies today could become your best sources of information tomorrow.
What would John teach his son about life knowing how the world is today and how is it changing ?
GeekWire has an interesting perspective since they work on the front-lines of entrepreneurship. Much of what they write and talk about (artificial intelligence, space travel, etc.) are things that may come to fruition during his son's lifetime. John wants his son to be exposed to all of the cool things that GeekWire covers by taking him on assignment and allowing him to participate.
What is a key priority of John's regarding what he would like to teach his son ?
John wants to instill a work ethic in a deep and meaningful way as his parents demonstrated for him. He hopes to stress the value of entrepreneurship and being a constant learner.
How does John see the world of work shifting ?
John Cook sees dramatic shifts and anticipates that work will look much different in 20-30 years compared to now. Our society is becoming more entrepreneurial.
What are John's thoughts on health in the midst of the chaos of busy seasons ?
John remembers working non-stop and not eating had detrimental impacts during the 2 year period of starting GeekWire. He began playing soccer in the middle of the day, running some, drinking smoothies every morning and realized he was much happier. Healthy body and healthy mind go hand-in-hand.
What are some learning experiences regarding parenting?
Start earlier in the process. Don't let fear and the potential of change hold you back. Mix things up an do not become too comfortable.
What additional advice would John share with listeners ?
Keep perspective on what you have been given. Do not let satisfaction come from things.
Why does John Cook of GeekWire love the media business ?
He finds it fascinating and loves telling stories and connecting people through those.