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👨‍✈️ Matt Shobe. How a team of founders made millions while raising their kids at the same time.

Rad Dad, hosted by Kirill Zubovsky podcast.

April 03

Matt Shobe is a father of 3 boys, a serial entrepreneur, a private pilot and a rad dad, who came to the Rad Dad podcast to talk about startups and what it takes to have a happy family while you are busy building a rocket ship.

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Who is Matt Shobe?

Matt Shobe is a startup founder and entrepreneur. He was previously a co-founder of what Might AI, Feedburner, and Spyonit. He is an alum of Purdue University and is currently residing in Seattle, Washington.

Matt is an entrepreneur who successfully co-founded and sold a number of companies and throughout all of that time, he was a dad, raising children while also making waves in business.

How long? Welcome to Rad Dead Show, a podcast about parenting, where we talked to Dad's about their experience raising the Children and hopefully learn a thing or two. Today we're joined by my friend Matt Schaub, who's currently a father of three and the chief product officer and co founder of a software company called Mighty I, where they do artificial intelligence for self driving cars. Matters Entrepreneur who successfully co founded and sold a number of companies and throw it over the time he was a dad. So he's quite used to working in stressful environments while still raising kids and spending a lot of time with them. And today he's gonna share some of that experience with us and tell us how it is possible to be a great dad and at the same time focusing your work and get things done without further ado map. Welcome to the show. Could you introduce yourself and tell us what you do for a living who you are and tell us about your kids?


Some father of three and they are 18 15 and 11 old boys different, Um, and it's just been sort of parenting and start upping have always been happening at more or less the same time, with some breaks them that there was a time spent with Google and some other companies. But, yeah, I don't know. It's some folks I've heard talk about. Well, I don't know how you could ever raise kids while doing a startup, and it's definitely difficult, it think is difficult to raise kids, period. It's just what else is going on in your life? Adds various degrees of difficulty. Andi, I don't know.

It's like it's faras how you know, we I don't know. This is going in a direction you're you're looking for, but it's like, you know, it's hard to say that I know anything special or if I have any secret formulas are anything like that. I feel sort of fortunate that a lot of what's going along with being in a startup has involved, at least for me, not a ton of travel. And so that's allowed me to be, you know, at home, seeing the day to day, turning with week to week and month month with the kids and not feel like I really ever missed out on any major strings or Siri's of moments or any big, particularly big events. I know I miss stuff here from time to time.

In fact, that Google I traveled a ton, um, was going at least once a month every month. I worked there for almost four years for various and sundry things. And, um, but somehow in, you know, building small companies, it allowed for a lot of sort of local routine, which actually was actually pretty compatible with being a parent and being present. That really helpful thing there is that my wife has been truly the commander in chief of the House. And if she'd decided to pursue a parent being apparent full time instead of trying to do the dual career thing, that's what I know. It's a really difficult decision for,

ah, lot of working moms to make and whether to commit full time or try toe balance career in parenting. And she made her choice, and it's definitely made it easier for me to not feel like, feel like Okay, you go pursue your career or whatever it is that you're doing full on and balance parenting a CZ you see fit without worrying about, Do I? You know my striking the balance, right? Am I giving her enough of my time? Are we doing a 50 50 deal here? So it's funny, that sort of ability to specialize and know that I'm gonna be the main outside income earner And she's gonna be the main inside the house manager and, you know, family product manager program and adrenaline helps to put it right. Eyes has been a really good split has


been a really good split for us. We just say you're a full time or part time that


I think you have to. I mean, I'm working, you know, 8 to 6 every day and have been since forever. So I can't say I'm a full time dad. I'm just not. But I'm as involves. That can be a certainly on the weekends and helping with homework out, you know, at night. And, um tryingto trying to just keep up with what's going on. And yeah, I know what is you like were full time in the things that burn that were interested in. And it's just how you how you spend that time kind of has to be balanced between between work and family, and I think,

I don't know. One of the things that I've figured out is that you, the whole work life balance thing, you really just need to set your own barriers, are guidelines and say these things, the hours that I'm going to be on for work and I'm gonna be 100% available for work. And then these are the hours that I'm pretty much drawing a line. And unless it's an emergency, or unless it's something really critical, I'm going Teoh. I'm gonna be fully focused on family or outside interests as much as I can. That doesn't mean I'm always if it's if it's important and urgent. I'm I'm on the case. But in general it felt like it's taken me almost as many years as three kids have been around tow. Finally, figure out that you really have to draw that hard line in order to be the best and most present parent parent that you can be,

but also be the most clearly accountable and responsible co workers that you could be and they're kind of two sides of the same coin because if you're distracted or your half in one world half on the other near ones getting the best of you. And I think people that really try to juggle multiple things at a time, the whole thing we'd like put this value on multi tasking that isn't really there, that to be able t o a lot of podcasts out there. I can't remember which one it was that I was listening to. You talking about deep work or the concept of being really deeply involved and single track and single focused on doing something exceptionally well by being really deeply involved in. I don't know how I could do that without again that split that my wife enabled for us, where she would handle all the day to day minutia of getting kids to school, helping with things that are going on just in the logistics of moving three boys around our community, first in Illinois and now here in here in Seattle. And, um, just having permission to be like, Okay, I can be all in on whatever is going on at work. If there's an emergency on either side,

you know I'll flip to hell. Flip to that is necessary, but in general I can go deep on one and then the other, and not both at the same time or worrying about being split is it's a huge. It's a huge burden off my mind.


Interesting. Actually heard this from another friend of mine who's going through a divorce right now, and now he gets to see his kids less. But he said he's actually getting much better quality time with them because when he is with them, he's 100% present. He puts away the device and he's with them actively engaging, doing something together. So I think that's that's right on there. But let Sze pause for a second and think of the time when your first kid was born. Do you remember what that was like?


Oh, yeah, very clearly. I mean, the day your first child is born. You really remember details about it like it was scheduled. C section actual isn't scheduled. C section I didn't have until the second and 3rd 1 but eventually went from natural labor to a C section in the middle of the night. It was one of the classic, bleary eyed, groggy and the e. R type of situations, but everything went well, thankfully, and but It was a muggy June night 1999 in Chicago and one morning I guess it would have been. And, you know,

we were in the middle of on the start upside we're in the middle of remember where exactly? We were getting this service called Spy on It going. And it was basically one of the first alerts platforms. Tell me when Something I care about changes on the Internet in real life. It was the idea there. And so that was going on. But was and my co founders and I all roughly the same age. Dick, Eric and Steve and Dick was a few years older but had his first daughter just a year earlier. And Eric and Steve, they were starting down the same path to we all had our first Children within 2 to 3 years of each other, more or less so we all had similar mind sets, and I think that would mean that definitely was hopeful, because you have the empathy of knowing what the other person is going through. And it's not like there's this generation gap or even just sort of experiential gap between you mean same generation, some have kids,

some don't, and it's like they people. Kids have no idea how much physical and emotional exhaustion can cause. And, you know, when Austin my first was born, thankfully was perfectly healthy, there were no extended issues. I think it went home, You know, it's a C section, so it takes a little longer for my wife to recover. But I forget we went home three or four days later, whatever the normal amount of time was for that. And when I got back to our drove home and our Passat, I think it was fancy car.

Yeah. Fancy silver Passat with the kid in the rear facing back. You know, child seat doing exactly what you're supposed to. Dio has always been very calm. Kitty was at least What's that? Yeah, well, I mean, just three days old, right? Like, I have no idea what's gonna happen and driving him home. Perfectly quiet. No howling, no screaming.

You know, like, just sit in the back sleeping. Are just watching the watch of the buildings passed by. We get to our place. We unpacked the child carrier from our from the card, come up from the basement to our third floor condo. Put the kid down on the kitchen counter. Look at each other like, well, they didn't give us an instruction manual. I have no idea what we're supposed to do next. I hope we don't break this somehow and literally. You don't know what you're gonna do next. You're like I'm gonna feed this kid. I'm gonna change him.

I'm gonna, like, pay attention to him, but I don't know. Am I doing all this in the right order? Is there something I'm missing? I must be doing something wrong. I'm screwing him up for life. I don't even know it. And we just look at each other, Just kind of, I don't know. And well, 18 years of I don't know later, he's applying to college. He's been a state championship swimmer and he's he's genuinely good,

dude. So somehow we did it right. But I have no frickin idea exactly how we did it. Andi, obviously the story is not finished yet. But looking back on that, you really you just have the sense of helplessness. I think as a brand new parent where there really isn't a guide for you, you've seen everybody else do it before. Like if you have an older brother sister and then go through junior high and high school, you can look at them go. Okay, so that's how I was an only child. So I only have to look at other people's older siblings and look at that and say, OK, there's a pattern of behavior that gets you through school and makes you look successful or makes it look like you were having a good time.

I guess I'll do that. Or your parents. Of course, they do things a certain way and you emulate them because your parents are cool up until they're not. And then their tour. They're horribly un cool. I don't know. Maybe Austin hasn't flipped that switch yet or isn't It hasn't had the heart to tell us. But if we've entered an un cool phase, he's been easy on us. I'm sure we have. I'm sure we entered that face when he was like to, but anyway, yeah, it's yeah, you talk a lot in start ups or just life in general about pattern matching and this whole idea that Okay,

I see this generally of doing things, and I I recognize that and riff on it or do something different or adapted a reply to my own life. And I guess we all do that. His parents we just pick up on all these cues. We read all these books what to expect when you're expecting And all these other classic you know, what happens when your parenting and their 10,000 books on how to be a good parent? I've probably been given 1/2 a dozen of them. I don't ever read any of them. I don't know. So I'm bad. I'm a bad


dad. Oh, no, I think you're a great dad. But that's exactly why I'm doing this podcast, cause I remember when we were expecting our first child. My wife, She loves reading. She read every book there is to read on birthing and everything that happens before you get the child. But then our daughter was born and you just look at her. You like Wow, I I haven't read anything about what to do now. I guess I'm gonna have to wing it.


And this child is demanding. Service is right Now. What


do I do? Right? And if you go online you can pretty much find any advice that you want, but a lot of it is conflicting, which is actually a lot like in start ups, right when you get a lot of advice from your investors, friends and supporters, and then it's your job to figure out what's the right thing. Except here. It's your actual child human being, and you really don't want to screw that up.


It is not gonna turn into eight lessons. I learned about start ups while parenting, right? That's great, because everybody loves it when you try to tie everything back to startups. Hey, I don't


see why not. Raising a kid is like training and a I algorithm.


Well, I guess I trained in I, you know? I mean, that's what that's what being a parent is is training and I And if that I reflects you and how you view the world, I guess you've done your work. I guess you provided enough training data enough learning by example. Enough. Well, do as I say. Not as I do, son. And then they go. Did you tell me that? And anyway, but yeah, it was a fun time.

I mean, that was literally our first solo act together as a group way. I mean, we didn't know much. Was kind of raising a kid. Right? See, there I go. Startups start of parenting. Not really. Wave patterns. We match them and we built a thing, but we build the thing we wanted, and that definitely was helpful.

How did Shobe and Co start SpyOnIt and startup life in the 90s?

The team was consulting to pay the bills while working on their startup. Meanwhile, startup bubble was growing. Napster just hit its prime, Webvan was going full speed, T1 internet line were the bomb.

But we gaze consulting at the same time.

How did Shobe and Co start SpyOnIt and startup life in the 90s?

The team was consulting to pay the bills while working on their startup. Meanwhile, startup bubble was growing. Napster just hit its prime, Webvan was going full speed, T1 internet line were the bomb.

We consulted the bootstrap. It, you know, it put just enough money together to rent an office and pay ridiculous fees for t one line. Good times. Good times, like 10 megabit down or 1.5 mega that it was basically like your phone on low battery saver mode. Level of bandwidth is what it felt like. I mean, what it was compared to what? It felt like a time Just like we're rich. We're kings. We've got a T one line. We can download all the Internet. It wasn't that much of it then, I guess just before the wait. No,

just after spina. That Napster happening? Like what? 96 97 98 late 19. Yeah. Yeah, I think. Yeah, I think Napster kind of its primal what, 97 99 time frame, and we started spying it in late 98. Early 99 like during the peak of dot com, 1.0, craziness is a little less crazy in Chicago. Then maybe it was in the Valley or Boston or New York or any of the other coastal hubs, but it still was frosty.

Everybody thought they had it all figured out. And, you know, Web Van was gonna be the next great thing and Cosmo was gonna deliver all my stuff and all those fun things that actually happening now that just they were all a lot of those were just misfires. They weren't quite ready.


So the Silicon Valley was going through the gold rush. And where you guys working 100 hours in order to be the competition and win


no. Occasionally, like there was a period during the consulting part while I was sleeping at the office, which was stupid because I was so unproductive and Steve came in one morning. It was just like I'm taking out for breakfast. I was like, What are you doing? I'm taking off for breakfast. So when I got an omelet and then I went back to work on whatever. I think I was working on this like a thing called No gimmes. We were trying to do this like Gulf fantasy sports app. It was It was It was crazy. It wasn't even that it was this concept we're working on for this other guy. For whatever reason, I was trying to coat up the entire front end and I was doing a terrible job of it, but we were also behind or something. So it's about the only time I can remember during this particular period of ever working all nighter type,

college style hours. Once I was out, out in the wild. And that was sort of lesson one of Guess what? You're human. You're not going to be any more effective than anyone else if you keep doing this. So stop doing that. That was actually I think just before either were pregnant with the 1st 1 or we're about to start. It was just before parenting happened. Yeah, or well, kids happened. I should whichever same thing. And so I think that was kind of a correlation there that I realized. All right, I'm gonna need to start building a little bit of the wall Between the time I spent at work and time,

I spend not at work so that I can actually be helpful at home. And, you know, we figure out the balance of our mother, mother, mother and father relationship with with the kid. And, uh, yeah, I think none of the other guy, the other guy. I mean, we all worked hard. You can't get anywhere without, you know, First,

you If you're not doing work, you'll be exposed. If you're four guys in a van like we were, then maybe we were five employees by then. There's nowhere to hide your either contributing you're adding value or you get hit in this hit the bricks. So just being smarter about how you do that and I think is a co founding team. We worked really well together because we had great sort of overlapping skill sets. We all cared a little bit about each other's business, but we all ultimately seated that business to that person. Is the specialist Eric Cto technical genius all up, occasionally really interested in and pushing back on U X approaches? I had to making the technology platform. He happened. He had in mind happened is user experience was great. He's opinionated but me and he lets me make the call. I'm certainly gonna let him make the call about what's the architecture?

How's that happen? But I might be opinionated about. Well, here's the system model. What should the user's mental model being? He's ultimately gonna say you go? That makes sense to me. Just keep this this in this in mind. Dick and Steve then also way all kind of represented. I think the standard Poles or set roles and responsibilities. Seen a startup Dick CEO, decisionmaker money Tree shaker. You know, ultimately, the guy who would go out and raise whatever rounds that we were gonna raise. He was helping lead that process.

He was coding at first, but then realized his time spent the code base was not his time. Best mode, most well spent. So he would remain. You know, he and Eric would have some arguments or occasional discussions around some architectural stuff, but in the end it was just like, I've got to get out of here. This is not making any sense for me to be in here on Dhe. Besides, if I really want to show you who's boss would just go play FIFA 98 for a while. I'm just gonna bang on the keyboard. Yeah, Hey, there,

though. Those early editions of FIFA I mean, those are pretty great. That's that's how that franchise got started and 98 was a good one. But anyway, way specialized. And because of that, you know, And I think we all learned, learned a new howto laugh at each other's jokes. I've said that elsewhere you need sort of some common cultural ground Thio really jealous a small team way found ways to do that and found ways to then be, as you know, is productive and really focused on doing the best we could for each other and ultimately for the business on Doll. Having kids at the same time realized well, we got to just figure out how to balance this out and cover for each other when stuff's going on in our lives or when everything's okay, just strike the best balance we can.


It's interesting to me because I've experiences myself where start of people without kids don't actually understand that, you know, a dad might want to go home early and be with their kids because other folks in the officer just playing video games, foosball, drinking, beer, socializing, whatever, because they don't have anything to go to on do at home. And that makes me realize maybe it's actually good for parents to find co founders who are also parents, because that's gonna put everybody on the same page.


I think I think you'll find in general you'll have a more focused 68 hours of effort out of those folks. It'll be more defrag than I think. You might see it with somebody without kids, because I was the same way when I was in my mid twenties. I think I've just spent more time doing whatever.


All right, so let's you guessed it a highly effective team. Everyone had kids. And did you guys sell to go start up spying it? What happened


to it Way did sell the company Thio Canadian Company that tried to then turn it into a mobile banking on alerts platform to sell the carriers to plug into there. You know, infrastructure is this is the alert service that we've got and you know dot the dot com crash happened the company's business strategy. Ultimately, wasn't that sound and enterprise sales cycles being what they were taking this pure consumer service and adapting it to then become this enterprise system that you actually had an installer on top of it could install this onto a server in any way with a whole bunch of repackaging three year lock up. I mean, it was the longest. It was a long three years. Keep working on the same thing, and we couldn't wait to start working on something else by the end of that, and, you know, it was a good experience in knowing how, What, you don't want to negotiate in a deal and how much time, you know, from the time and money perspective And so, you know, lessons learned and locked away for the next run. We took it something which ended up


being feed burner. So once the lockup ended, did you guys jump right into your next start up with the same


team? Yeah, way held together as a team. Nobody got distracted and went off to do something else. Um, we all took kind of a summer off between the dissolution of our you know, our lock ups with the Canadian company and then starting something new. And then that fall, we got back to it and started doing the consulting thing again. And I'm trying to think What year was that? 2003. So I had a four year old two year old at that point. So I don't know if this didn't quite line up with the other three guys, but basically had a kid during each phase of the three startups that my first was born during Spy on My second was born during that interim company. We were working for 7 24 and then my third eventually was born in 2005 during the absolute height of madness for Feed Burner and the service was really exploding. Podcasting had launched and we caught right on that edge. And here I am,

doing my first podcast ever 12 years later, I wouldn't be surprised unless there's some better analytics platform out there or distribution platform. I don't know. I honestly don't know how. Google's not how Google's ever gonna shut down feed burner without causing a whole lot of trouble. I mean, maybe it just all in plugs and nothing happens, but there's so many feet burner you are Elle's out there floating in the wind, floating in the water, in


the weeds. If we next start, I'm just working some royalties and make sure you're always getting paid.


There's totally a great royalties deal on all those dead girls. Let me tell you, I go to the bank with all those every every Friday. Now it's just funny to think about how sort of enduring the that part of the service has been. I mean, I stopped working on feed burner in any meaningful way, like eight years ago. Barely worked on it once we were inside of Google about a year's worth of most.


This feed burner was your second startup, and you already had kids. Was your life any different now than it was before?


We worked hard on fi burner. One thing with um, that was I was living in Chicago and had a pretty regimented commute, and I know this is not the case for people that don't live in big urban areas or ride like, you know, itinerant commuter rail. Like I rode the suburban rail for most of our feet burner time, which I had this 7:48 a.m. train that was the right one to catch to get to the office by 8 38 40 something right when things were really getting going and there was a 5:47 p.m. In a 6 30 year six. So something you think I would remember this? It was like 6601 p m. That we're the best trains to catch going home. So they really put a solid cap on what was my day in the office Didn't mean the work stopped. I mean, you know, I took a laptop home, I would work on the train. I would work late at night on this,

that and the other. You know, when I felt like I could I could get away with it, but that it's funny those those little enforced routines make a difference in terms of how you structure your life. And they actually think that give you permission to create the space you might need otherwise. And I don't know, like if you just parking in some parking lot and you're just leaving and arriving whenever traffic lets you, Maybe you could argue like Seattle traffic or L A. Traffic or pick your city traffic has it's rush hour peaks that you want to avoid and you know when those are gonna be like and getting back from Kirkland to Mercer Island here, leaving at 5 30 was insane. Leaving it's 6 30 is quite a bit better, at least back when I was back, when I was still commuting by car. Maybe, I don't know. It's probably worse now.

That's why I ride a bike to work. So I rode a bike in Chicago. That's one. And when I lived in the city, can you give you almost complete predictability? Thio, Yeah, extra way. Make fun of me and my electric bike and whatnot. But you know, if you don't think if you think the electric bike is a car replacement, not a not a cheating bike, then it makes a lot more sense. And I have really I tried to get on that thing whenever possible. I mean, commute around.

If I have a meeting, if I work downtown and then have a meeting after work in South Lake Union, north of the north end of the city where Amazon is or something like that. I'll just ride the bike over there because I'll get there faster than taking an uber or taking a streetcar or anything. I mean, certainly faster than walking there and continues to be one of the best hacks in any city that I can think of. And then I'll block that bike up. Hope it's there when I come back after the meeting or the happy hour or whatever and ride it all the way home 78 miles because it eats up the hills and then is really great to ride in the flats. And so I know you don't want this to be a bike podcast, but it's just, I guess, getting back to that point about like having something that allows you to have a more predictable routine and be able to set up the right guard rails for your work and you're not work. Life is a good thing,


all right, so let's see the predictable routines actually worked out for you quite well, you guess ended up so selling feed burden to Google, and since then, while working at Google, you had not taken a single day off. Tell us more.


I guess. I mean, I took I took vacation time at Google. The one you want. Irony, Googles. You know, maybe not irony one missed opportunity. Let's call it that. I'll let your audience decide if it's irony Google had ridiculous paternity leave policy, right? Like it was equivalent to maternity. I think it's six weeks, six weeks off. Maybe not quite six months, but six weeks at least. And we were done with kids just about the time that we got acquired.

And then I became a Google employees and it was not like, Oh, just to get six weeks off, we should have 1/4 kid. I don't ever work Wade already mentally committed or fully committed. Thio. Okay, three and done. And so there we were. But yes, so the one time in my career that I could have had, like, all sorts of extra infrastructure toe have the time I need to be, you know, more engaged parent or just have more time away from work. That's guaranteed.

Also, it's a bigger company. You feel like they're more people who can cover for you. When you're gone, you're working on fewer things. You feel a little less perhaps essential thio the business the way you would with a really small start up where you are 1/4 or 1/5 for 1/8 of the thing or whatever the ratio is. Yeah, didn't happen, and all our kids were starting to grow up by then. So, yeah, I took vacation. I feel like I probably didn't take quite enough vacation because, well, I don't know what I have had 14 or 15 days in my bank when I left, so that's kind of dumb.

I should have spent actually actually use them on was working, but I never felt that Google. I was felt like I was running my eight minute mile pace. You know, it was a comfortable but spirited pace. I never felt like I was running flat out. There were company of who's a week or two here and there where there's a lot of stuff going on. But there was a week or two in three and 1/2 years where I felt like I was really running are the rest of time. Just felt like, you know, my half marathon shooting for a buck 45 or faster and just running through the flats and a couple of pills here and there. But just keep in pace is kind of how the place felt so, and it has nothing to do with parenting kids. Also at that point, where upper middle single digits, so interesting age is starting to experiment with sports and schools.

Still pretty straightforward, obviously, you know, your 2nd 3rd grade kindergarten and all of that. So it's not like that the academics are super difficult or anything like that. Yet you can't help you kids like right now, every now and then. My son came home with some Java loop code stuff from his high school, and I actually like, fired up the inspector and like, tried to write some Java script for it was like, God damn it, how does this work? Do I have to Rikers here and I'm over there swearing away in my office? And he's like, Dad,

I just need help with his homework. I just need this. Looks like I finally found some code said here. I think this is generally how this works is like I already got it. So parenting failure right there is. I internalized the problem and made it mine instead of actually trying to help him think through it. But I was just like, Okay, code problem. Go solve that. Yes, that was kind of dumb. But at this point, we're talking about background to be better. There was a lot less of that would be traveling a lot with going to Mountain View. Were going in New York doing stuff on Google there and then heading,

Come back to Chicago, are coming back to Seattle once we moved. And, uh, you just enough time had elapsed that I felt like, you know, like in two or three days I didn't miss the big story, but I usually had to kind of catch, get a recap or digest from my My wife, Amy would tell me, Here's what happened this week. And you know, there's this become soccer this weekend, comes this other thing that we're gonna be doing and what we're gonna you know, we're gonna take a trip that Christmas, what we're gonna do,

And, um, yes, I was just kind of the wheels turned. There wasn't anything particularly dramatic about it. It's just again. It's funny that with all the chaos, that and zaniness that went along with the smaller companies. That's when we decided to have all of our kids. And then once things finally smoothed out and we're a little bit more predictable, you know, the kids were just doing the growing up thing, and we we were done building or extending the family.


You know, I think like you're really engaged with your kid's activities. You go to a swim, meet soccer practices, volunteering and all those other things. And I actually find them really stressful because that's the time when you are around your kids. But you're not fully participating with your kids, so it feels almost like the time you shouldn't be spending with them because you're not actually with them.


Yeah, there is a lot of that on Dhe. Staying I've spent less time at practice is that I haven't games, I think because in general practice is air going on on weeknights or even during weekdays. And that's where my wife is in charge. And is the Sherpa moving people in goods around the island or the suburbs or wherever it is we're living? And yes, I've been there for the more or less the event, so I get it, I get to be there for the fund competitive and interesting part, which is fine. It's more like spectator sport for me, but being you know, it's being at those events. Even that's important, too, because you want the kids to know you care that you know they're trapped they're trying to achieve and that they're trying to do well at something that you introduced them to or that you gave them a choice to go be a part of.

That's one thing, as we have in general, put sports and other activities like band. And what instrument gonna play in front of our kids is choices, but not as directives. You know, like you will be good at violin or Tubo trombone or actually, itself. I think we got three well, three trombone players and to trombone players in a piano player. In the end, My wife's musical, I'm not. I mean, I was fine, a rock band,

but I was only played sax for a few years in middle school, then pretty much quit on that tried terribly to pick up guitar in college, so I was useless at it, but decent pitch, but who cares. I can't play an instrument, but the kids can and they've chosen to do that to some extent. In the end, none of them ended up in the marching band ER, in a band band. But it's early yet that could be it could happen, college or something. Goofy comes out of the woodwork like that, and I don't know where we're going with this. But I choices. He had directives.

Yeah, like we've just given the kids a big menu of choices and let them naturally way basically said, You're gonna have to make some choices and stick with them. You can't just sit around and refresh Instagram, but you're gonna, But we want you to at least have the likeliest thing for you to be interested in and pursue be the thing that you pursued. My parents gave me a bunch of choices. I slam, I played baseball. It played soccer. Swimming was great, but when we moved when I was a kid, I used as an excuse to get out of going to swim practice. Five days a week we moved from Miami to Dallas and then in Dallas. I played soccer and play baseball and eventually just fell in with baseball is a game that I like. Playing the most is a kid,

and that's what I stuck with. We've kind of taken the same model with our kids. Is not simply baseball, it turns out across our rec soccer swimming have been the things that have held up for them, and I just think the more you can make it clear that it's a choice for the kid, the better your chances are that they're gonna really dive in deeply and say, This is something I'm I've chosen I'm interested in and I want to be. I want to be good at And that's not just sports. I mean, it also goes to like it's a music or other interests that you put them in front of and get me. I'll go to a code camp goto some volunteering. You never know where an interest is gonna come up or where


it's going to be found personally, Jen and I very hippy, as far as it comes to giving kids choices and to do that, though, I think you need a lot of time and you need a lot of patients and you need to embrace your kids is fully grown adults who are able to make choices. But you also need to wait for them to make those choices. And you need to be prepared if they say no, if they want 1/3 option right between the two things we gave them, and it's much like you and I were giving something to do that we don't want to do, we're gonna put it off till later and later and later. And kids would also not want to do something that they don't find valuable. But just give him something that's really interesting to them and they're just gonna run with. We've


been deliberate about giving them a menu of choices here, these three or four sports here, these band or school activities, you're gonna have to at least give this a try during this period. Your life. Sorry. Them's the breaks where the parents were calling the shots so you can't just fully free range on that. I think I think you want to provide that structure. But inasmuch as you were in a school district or in a community where those choices exist and I know their communities where they don't, and that's that's obviously it's a shame, but you do the best you can that where you have the opportunity to put those choices in front of the in front of the kid. It's remarkable how curious kids can be and how clearly they'll communicate what's interesting and what's not so interesting to you. And in some cases, like with our youngest, you have to read them. You have to each kids a little bit different and, you know,

they each have their own take like our youngest is. My wife has characterized and I hate it. I hate it. I love it. He will absolutely put up hellfire and damnation to say that this is the worst thing you were the worst parents ever. I can't believe you're making me do this, you know, first time skiing or first time playing lacrosse or first time, I'm trying to think, What was the other one most recently, uh, that something on a vacation? I don't remember, but it was he He's totally that guy. He will just absolutely pitch a fit. You'll have to,

like, push him off the chair, left, so to speak, or practically put him in peril toe get him toe snap to And then once he does, especially if it's a physical sport of some kind. He's just got great hand eye coordination and his like will repeat the hell out of anything. Like he He goes out and shoots baskets for like, an hour just to like, because because he was playing a little bit of like an N b a video game and, you know, yeah, that was one of them. Like basketball. No way. I absolutely don't want to do that.

He had a lot of fun with it. Hasn't stuck with it is a sport. It's the same thing. Meanwhile, the others were just like Okay, sure, I'll give it a try now, that wasn't very cool, but they won't pitch the same fit that the youngest will and he's probably always gonna be that way. Is just gonna be, like obstinate about Nope. This doesn't fit my world view. Not doing it somehow cracks the glass on that and goes and does it and then realizes, Yeah, this is pretty great. So how you sometimes you have to look past that sometimes have to call the kids bluff,

I guess is what I what you might call that and pull your player parenting cards Say no. You're gonna do this, and you may not like it, but you're gonna have to again. This is I know I just said give kids choices, But in some cases, you realize that there's a better opportunity for the kid to learn and grow in a given scenario. And that just sheltering them or just saying no, no, it's fine. It's cool. We don't have to do that isn't actually gonna force them to make, you know, take a risk. You're still giving them choices. You know?

It's true. You know, you're gonna get a scholarship in this, Are you know, or are you gonna keep trying? Yeah, but sorry. You're gonna have to try this, like forcing sampling of new experiences. Time immemorial. We've been doing that for as long as there've been new experiences, right? I suppose his parents and finding your own way to do that. I think every parent child dynamics gonna be different about how they manage that. But if you have more than one kid realize that they're probably different in their own ways, you're just gonna have to,

you know, find the right ways. Thio motivated the kids differently and, you know, based on who you know, who they are and how they present. Like our oldest was like and I'll try whatever. Yeah, sure, I'll give it a try. Mom and Dad, cause you said so you probably tried darn near anything once and then be like Hope didn't like that, but it's totally


wet Clay at first in almost anything new in 2017 it's really hard Thio again. It's it's appearance to do that, right? But it's so easy to just shove and I have in front of the kid and say, There you go, just do Facebook or write A lot of people do that. Yeah, so much They're full right? Like when you get tired. Your kids were screaming all sorts of things. Yeah, easy to just give up a cartoon and say Just watch it. But yeah, but you could also just give him a book and eventually, like school about it, but eventually, probably right. Yeah, but that's parenting choices.


Yeah, certainly put the iPad in front of the kids from time to time traveling, or it was kind of scenarios, it's it's definitely convenient. Do you have my regrets about, like, how much? How how much of that time has really been quality or how much of it's just been, you know, junk, where there's a lot of junk wear out there and how much actual learning are growing is actually happened on digital screens? Probably as much as is any of us would like.


So it sounds like you guys did a lot of imitation of your parenting. You saw your parents


didn't like some of them. Yeah, I mean, the technology and the circuit social circumstances. Technology changed a lot, but social circumstances probably not that different than a lot of participation sports. There are more of them now, but they're still like Here's the school thing. Here is this after school thing. Here is this extracurricular thing. You should find one of these and I'll get your home. By the way, get your homework done. You know Andi have some responsibilities around the house, so yeah, we're probably playing off of our parents playbook. More or less classes like as adults, you mean new, like those parents


on how to be better about being parents like mounds That class. My wife signed me up for his, uh, you know


how to basically respond to your kids if they know I never took any, like, attended classes, type things. I might have read up on a couple of things here and there. But like I said, most of those like how to be apparent better parent books that have gotten when I was a new dad never really cracked the cover on it. I guess that explains a lot. Well, it seems like it's working out your kid's air. Yeah, we're still alive. That's the That's the benchmark, haven't you? Yeah, I feel I do feel good about that. We somehow have a family dynamic that works well. We actually want to go on vacations together. And you know, all of that that you might take for granted might not be the case. So based on


everything you know, that happened to you in your kids. For what advice? Seriously, advice would you give to new parents expecting parents and maybe things that worked out well for you, things that didn't work out well and high inside, like something that you would have done differently people.


It's a fair amount. Unpack for the new parents. I mean, I think, you know, we did do some. I vaguely recall doing Cem, you know, new parenting classes with my wife, and I remember there was a separate dad's thing. I would say, um, take advantage of those resource is your your hospital, your school or community center wherever that you feel as a couple will help you prepare because again, the whole coming home with the new bundle of joy and not knowing what the hell to do is a universal reaction. But you can prepare, and you could be in better shape to know,

like, how How will I work is how we've split this up as parents. In fact, I think maybe I'll be more precise. We had my wife and I had, I think, a pretty clear plan. She was a school social worker. She was tenured, could have stayed in that district and kept working and being that it's a school district with lots of parents or teachers who are parents. It would have been completely reasonable for her to keep working, but she made it clear somewhere during that first pregnancy. That's like I think I'm going toe leave and probably not go back. I think I wanna be dedicated to the kids full time and was clear that she made that is her choice and that we would then need to agree as a couple. Okay, That means you,

Matt, are going to go be the breadwinner full time and be the best bread winner you can, because we're not gonna have a second income. At least not from her working directly for for some time to come. And her social work licenses or certifications, registrations, whole bunch of that. That once you lose that, it's like, really annoying to get back. So, like her resetting to become a social worker, getting a career would be like, maybe after the kids were all out of the house. So knowing going into that, it is very clear you're the guy.

You go be the career guy. I'm gonna be the full time homemaker. You can flip the gender roles on that. Do it. However you want is a couple 11 parent going full for the household and the other going full for the career. That's one choice, both mixing it up or well. you know, like trying to share parental duties while pursuing full time careers. That's another choice. I don't know what the other other choices at that point, but I have a choice. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Haven't had a very clear agreement. Have a very open conversation about Like, what happens after this kid gets here. What do you really want to dio? If you don't know, that's cool. But if one distinct possibility is you're going start raising these kids full time and not pursue that job you got. And if the the white happens to be the bigger bread bread earner than the husband and wants to become a full time mom, I could see it would be like a big tension thing. And it was like, Well, how are we gonna you know, your income is pretty fantastic. How are we gonna fill that hole? Well, maybe you're not just gonna have to figure out some other plans.

Save differently. Um, happy. So on and so forth. I just think the more communicative you are about that the more open and honest your disagreements are, um blah, blah, blah started life lessons, You know, you talk about transparency and like founders or leadership team, like having at it, you know, and being very clear, like they're not happy with each other. Rather have that happening out in the open, then in some secret of room somewhere.

And so I could see the same thing happening with parents like you, Khyber Harbor. This gradually, you know, she's gonna give up her job and it's gonna stock. I'm gonna if you just like internalizing that it just feels like death. It just feels like it's a really bad for the relationship. And somehow I've been lucky enough Married to a woman who's very good about being extroverted about like, this is not good. This is great. And let's have a conversation about it. I'm like, Yeah, OK, let's talk about it. I probably more likely to internalize my feelings and be like the grumble grumble guy,

but she pulls it out of me eventually. And fortunately in this case, that was never grumble. Grumble we were like having a competition. Well, what's gonna happen? We have this kid. Well, I'm probably working with it. Okay. All right. I guess i'll go. Just falling on this started. We're doing now. And if I have to go get a regular job someday, I guess I'll go do that. And somehow I just never quite got a regular job. I did, but I never I just I just kept doing more of what I was already doing. It's wonderful


to hear because I've seen new parents were like people who are planning to be parents asking, you know. Well, how do we How do we maintain our relationship


better? Yeah. What books should we read? Or she would go to counseling the responses. Sometimes you get a shrinking like I would start with talking to each other. And then if you need counseling, it might just show up in the conversation. But we never needed any counseling. I didn't feel like I mean, we just had a couple of shouting matches here and there, but that was a few and far between the rest of time. It was like, Yeah, okay. We're gonna do okay, I'm I'm on board. Blood signature just got it.

Okay, move on. Next. Why is there a big wheel on driveway onto the more minutia of the thing? At that point, it's like its transparency is the biggest thing. Yeah, and I think the kids get it from you two is like they know Mom and Dad are likely to have more open conversations about family matters. They feel more involved, and I have a better sense of what's going on. And, you know, there was never any ambiguity among our kids about like, Okay, well, Dad goes off and does this thing with this company.

I don't quite understand what that is, but, um, but Mom is the one way no is gonna be schlepping us around town, and we'll always be the one. The primary one who's at a, you know, a practice or an event. And dad, meanwhile, will be less frequently at those things. But you can hopefully count on him, like in 20 minutes. Carol, I have to leave to go, you know,

schlep kid to soccer. But that's something I could definitely do and enjoy doing on Sundays, especially. It's a nice, sunny Sunday like this one. Well, I'm nothing if not punctual. Well,


last question. How did you guys wrist? You know, kids are challenging. They take a lot from


you. It's easier now that the kids were pretty self directed. It is not that everybody goes in huddles with their digital screen, although certainly that happens. You know, I think we just we finding time. We don't absolutely jam a calendar with activity all the time because there's gonna be no, there's going to be a sports league here. And then there's going to be that D I destination imagination, this sort of forensic and intellectual and physical activity competition that my saw sophomore sons doing and then swim Team's gonna be crazy for my senior. They're just gonna be these waves of activity with Kit and then, like spring across the youngest is gonna be. I know it sounds like sports, sports, sports all the time with us, and I guess that's the age right now. But it wasn't always that way.

There's always something going on, one way or the other. You just you just gotta find find the time. And I think I think probably it's led to us having probably less of a inter fam familial social life like, I don't know that we spend as much time like going two nights out with other adults or going to other social activities like my wife and I have basically taken, I think, one weekend or two weekend away type trips with none of the kids along and, you


know, in a year in


the last I'm talking about since we had kids. Yeah, one trip to Vegas, one to side trips kind of sorted Thio London and Dublin. But they were very quick side trips that were part of other things, like we've never just been like, Oh, I got to get away from those kids So I think there's maybe like a fundamental difference between us and some other parents there, and I'm not saying we're better. Anything. I just feel like we just don't have this desire to, like, gotta get away from the kids or got unplugged from and not be a part of the kid's lives, like every now and then, like getting a Friday night away or something like that. It's easy for me to say, too,

because I take these business trips I'd be going from Tuesday through Thursday. Come back on Thursday night. I'm like what's been going on around here? I'm genuinely curious to know what did I miss? But I also went and worked and hung out and New Yorker somewhere some other city. And did. My dad goes to work thing and that's fine. But in the end, when we come back, the time we spend together is generally time spent together as a family and even though flying five people somewhere, it's a pain in the ass and more expensive than flying to people somewhere. It's what I signed up for and I don't know. Yeah, I know,


I said. That was the last question. But maybe this one is the last flying. Yeah, really curious. It was really fun to play with you that one time. You know you have three kids and a wife. Flying is


less dangerous. You know you're doing that. You have seen this dangerous. See, I know it's just I don't know. It's It's What is it by actual highway or travel or Miles traveled? I think highway travel or quite a bit more dangerous than flying so that you know, it's one of these Nate silver type things where the stats show one thing and public perception is totally another. It's just this whole idea that you're in what amounts to a 40 year old automobile. 3000 feet above the ground. What happens if that engine gonna conks out? Are you know, why don't you take off? I don't know. There's always gonna be that perception around it. But I will say, you know,

my kids are bored like they don't want to fly with me. Marcus is just like we're not doing anything, dad. And like so if I fly him somewhere for breakfast, that's a pretty good incentive. My wife just fundamentally has been never liked. Flying Period doesn't like flying commercially, so she's never flown with me. And I respect that. I know that it would take attention getting a much bigger plane or a much smaller plane. Like just the 10 You'll see Plane takes off and lands and stays right on the water or something that doesn't feel as scary is flying over trees or houses or what have you? Maybe she'd be more interested in that. I don't know. It just works because you people who are like, oh, take me at work or,

you know, any time I offer for people to go flying, like when you went flying with me, they have a great time, and it's unlike any other way of seeing the world that you live in, like flying over your neighborhood in spotting your house from the air or you know where you work or anything like that is just a completely different perspective, literally. And people, people are more like kids when they're up flying with me than they are in most of the other interactions we have. Just like, you know, the whole sense of Wonder thing is totally, really just like, Well, I can't believe you can see the world from up here like this. Oh,

and we're gonna fly right over the airport. Yeah, because the airport lets you do they ask for permission to let you fly right over it. So we fly right over, you know, see tak and look down. And there's a 7 57 landing right underneath us because that's you know, you understand the system, you know howto work within it, and you get these cool experiences like that. It was like I say, flying for what the pilots call $100 hamburger flying an hour. It's that's actually that's that's that's short changing. It's It's more like a $200 hamburger, depending on Where you going? But yeah,

that's that's just it is. It's It's the thing I love most about flying. Sharing that experience and like flying solo is it's fun. And it's a nice mental break. But there's nothing quite like taking somebody new up or somebody's kid up for the very first time. I've taken some daughters and sons up looks on their faces when they get out of the plane, you know, it's like That's that's that's what any pilot I would hope would try to shoot for us to share. Anybody loves doing a thing and can share that thing would shoot for that and end result. Hey, once you once you get in a booster seat, it would totally work. So yeah, yeah, sure. I don't know if this is what you were looking for. Fun and interesting, right?


And I'm gonna put some links. If people won't ask questions, then I'll, uh, thank you to them. Okay, We'll do another.


Oh, boy. Just what you want more advice from that? Well, all right. Cheers.


Thank you for listening to the rad That show if you enjoyed this episode, please go to our website Rad. That show dot com and subscribe to our menus later to get notified when the next episode is up. If you have any questions, concerns the comments, you can also leave us a note on the website. I'm looking forward to hear from each and every one of you. Thank you, and I'll see you soon. Your host Carol's above ski.

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