Fatherhood

Naturally, there are a lot of things one does not learn in school that any responsible parent wants to teach their child or children.

This started as a conversation with friend Steve Aranda, and has evolved over time. In addition to the major topics below, responsible parenting includes 1,000 tiny battles, in which one cannot “give up” on the kid i.e. continuing to put the child ahead of one’s own humanity, set aside any anger or frustration, and help him or her to make the right decision.

In the end, we parents end up with 0% control.

Get used to it. Maybe at best we keep the relationship healthy and maintain some influence. Currently my son is 11 – I have about 5 years to train him to make good decisions.

Therefore, my own parenting approach (comments welcome) is along the lines of training the kid to make great decisions in the few years before a dictatorial approach becomes ineffective via teenage rebellion.

So, here’s my on-going list of major things to teach a child outside of school:

This is a continuously evolving blog post – comments welcome.

  • Survival
    • Self Defense
      • How to fight if needed
      • Ways to avoid a fight
      • When to avoid a fight, which is 99.99% of the time. If commenting, please spare me any “war is not the answer”, or claims that violence never solves anything – he’s definitely taught to never throw the first punch. That said, anyone thinking this is a simple clear cut issue I invite commentary.
      • Appropriate level of response. If truly life and death (i.e. stranger kidnapping), it’s no holds barred – vs. a playground scuffle.
  • Success
    • Money
    • Unconditional Love
  • Critical Thinking
    • Trusting authority vs. breaking rules or intentional noncompliance
    • Ethics
  • Legacy
    • The meaning of life, which is whatever he creates it to be.
    • Making a difference to others or a cause.

In greater detail – specific resources and topics as I find them below…

  • Survival
    • Self Defense
      • Psychology of Fights & Deflating Fights & Avoidance
      • Martial arts classes, specifically starting with disciplined traditional approaches (Tae Kwon Do), later ground styles (Judo, Jujitsu), finally military style after maturity is demonstrated (i.e. Krav Maga, Spetz Nez). Teaching a kid to break kneecaps before mature is irresponsible.
    • Swimming
    • Wilderness Survival
  • Success
    • Social Skills. Note: He’s currently in middle school, and the political battlefield of kids determining social hierarchy is well underway.
    • Critical Thinking
      • Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Influence
      • Integrity vs. Perceived Integrity
      • Win the Battle but Lose the War
    • Money
      • Principles of wealth – i.e. Arbitrage, Leverage, Transformation, Scaling
      • Being a Producer vs. Consumer

I hate internet marketers. Here’s why:

First, this is the basic rule of internet marketing:

How to make $1,000,000 OR MORE with Internet Marketing in 2 Easy Steps:

  1. Always hold something back

There you have it. Ok, send me just 3 payments of $97.

Everyone wants to sell information. It’s easy. It’s instantly transferable, carries whatever value your marketing can put on it, is infinitely scalable, and often costs almost nothing to produce.

To be precise: most internet marketers are out to make you unhappy. That is the role of advertising – make you unhappy so you buy something. Pour lemon juice on any open wounds, then sell you aspirin.

This isn’t to say some tips aren’t valuable, but at the end of the day, marketing is conceptually very very simple: it’s (1.) Irresistible or compelling offer + (2.) Eyeballs of potential buyers – attention. That’s it. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

Are there awesome new whizbang ways to get eyeballs? Sure, sometimes, and that’s worth money… but usually, it’s this recipe:

  1. All your problems in life are because you don’t know secret X.
  2. I have learned secret X, and will sell it to you.
  3. Once you know secret X, your wildest dreams will come true.

Call me crazy, but I want to make the world a better place, not just sell you some junk. It would frankly be better to to copy some internet marketing “guru”, but does the world need another person taking money from idiots?

If you keep buying internet marketing products and not implementing them, then yes – I said it – you’re an idiot and will soon be parted with your money.

It’s all traffic and conversion. Everything else is BS – so tune out the noise and focus on the basics of your business, whatever that is for you. Hone your offers, and get potential buyers to see it.

The 1 Hour CEO

I’m CEO, but only for 1 hour per week.

This all started a few weeks ago, when I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. I’ll spare you the humblebragging claims to busy-ness, but  that day in particular had significant demands on my time, each with serious repercussions if not filled.

So, I stepped back for a few minutes and blocked out my time, for the week, and it provided a sense of relief.

It freed me up to NOT do 99% of my
workload at that moment.

As a small  business owner, I wear a lot of hats. All small business owners do, and the process of growing your company means progressively giving those hats away. If you do your job correctly, you’ll be left at the end of the day with no hats, but still having a profitable company.

This is also the easiest type of company to sell – one that doesn’t really depend on it’s owner / founder. Until one gets to this point, I maintain one hasn’t truly built a company, but has simply built a “practice” or a job.

Anyway, by blocking out my week into chunks, including top-level sales, marketing, customer service, HR, and even specifically scheduling personal time to work out and get some sunshine, Dad time with my son, “float time” for catch-up and interruptions, it provided me clarity, because I then had license on what I should _not_ be doing at any moment.

As Paul Graham pointed out what many knew instinctively but hadn’t fully carved out, “maker time” requires deeper thinking, and without license to block out the world, I wouldn’t get anything meaningful done.

To implement this yourself, try a David Allen style Brain Dump, categorize it into the hats required of you, figure out about how much time per week you need on average, include some “slip time” each day (like office hours for college profs), and block it out.

Tips:

  • List of hats common in small business / tech startups is below
  • Include time to be a human, and some fun time regardless of how motivated you are. For you tech startup Type A people: Engineer for your own limits. I have about 70 hours a week blocked, but some of that is for being a father, husband, exercise, sunshine, personal admin (i.e. home improvements, taxes, etc.) – so actual worked hours is really only about 45-50… crazy work weeks aren’t sustainable long term without cost – my record is 104/hrs week (7x 14 hr days actual work), but it was frankly sort of stupid: I ended up not working at my highest and best use, so working hard was actually inferior to working smart even on a pure results basis, not just life-enjoyment basis, not to mention “wife? what wife?” basis. Tim Ferriss’ awesome 4 hour workweek is a reminder of doing just what matters and delegating the rest.
  • Polyphasic sleep is awesome if you can swing it socially. I average “everyman” or siesta during the week, then monophasic or segmented or siesta on weekends, depending mostly on parties and my social planner’s schedule (wife Lidia Ryan)

Roles – just a sketch here to get you started.. your week consists of…

  1. HR // team-building, retention, management
  2. being CEO // the big picture decisions, implementation in overview, raising funds if not bootstrapping, monthly reports, etc.
  3. Operations // aka “the product” for tech startups. This is a big one for me, as we’re mostly into product-market fit still. As we hone this, things like growth hacking get more important – til then, it’s water in a leaky sieve.
  4. Marketing // I break this out into outbound, inbound, traffic, and The Offer i.e. CRO
  5. Sales // getting the $, blend of this varies by your business…
  6. Accounting // even if you delegate, you need to know these numbers as CEO.
  7. Customer Support. // I talk to real-world clients every day and think it’s essential to startups, but that’s opinion.
  8. Food: I cook a lot, and find it meditative. I solve big code problems while cooking, and it’s fun to work on something physical.
  9. Exercise. Skip this, and you’ll regret it sooner or later.
  10. “office hours” – free time to deal with slipping deadlines, interruptions, calls that weren’t planned, etc.
  11. Personal admin – laundry, etc.
  12. “Sharpening the saw” – even if just a few minutes per week (tip: overlap with exercise via Audible.com audiobooks), this is worth it.