What are the most important lessons you've learned from founding that you're teaching your kids? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I repeat "Focus-Listen-Respect" to our six year old (our oldest) son almost everyday. Our father-son duo have gotten so used to this trilogy that these days, we simply raise three fingers to silently communicate how he could do better in a certain situation. And now, it's such an important part of my vocabulary that I constantly invoke it at work when I talk to myself. So in some sense, learnings have flown in the opposite direction -- from parenting to business-building. The need to focus on, listen to, and respect our employees, customers, and partners, in that order, then becomes the true north.
As we grow to become a larger company, complexity creeps in, and we tend to start managing a portfolio -- of employees, customers, and partners. Each individual becomes a statistic. Growing companies have a propensity to (a) stop focusing on individuals, and instead focus on averages, (b) stop listening to individuals, and (c) start to value Wall Street over Main Street, not realizing that Main Street delight will automatically take care of Wall Street.
In the same vein, lessons on patience have flown from parenting to company-building. The more patient I am as a father, the more patient I tend to become at work, chaos notwithstanding.
There is one thing, though, which I am teaching him, based on my lessons at work. I am a Simon Sinek zealot. Much to my wife's chagrin, I am teaching him that he's "born free," and that he should question things ("Start with Why"). Also, some early concepts of serotonin, and how Vitamin D, drinking milk, and happiness are all intertwined! And some tidbits on EDSO, even though he's too young to remember such profound names!
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