Interview: Parents In Tech

I spoke for more than an hour last month with Morgan at ParentsInTech.com — then he was tasked with winnowing it down to a blog post of a reasonable duration.

http://parentsintech.com/rob-whelan-cto-of-patients-know-best-and-dad-to-juniali-and-rumika/

I have somewhat mixed feelings about it — what comes across the most is that I’m bursting with advice about parenting; lessons I’ve learned, things I’ve noticed.. I’m fascinated by the evolving relationships between parents and children (and where they go right, and where they go wrong), and I could talk about them for hours.

I didn’t talk as much as I should have specifically about how to be an involved parent in the tech startup world in general, and in particular how our work environment at PKB enables that… I’ll add more thoughts here, briefly.

Mostly: challenge constraints, and cut down the ones that are just “how it’s done” but aren’t actually needed.  In other words, apply the same problem-solving skills we use for technical problems to human problems.  (Or course: not a new idea, but we keep forgetting to do it…).  They are not at all boring — not when you’ve understood them enough to untangle the depths a bit! — and a hard-nosed, reality-based approach really works.

I.e., asking “but is this working here, now, for us — and how do we determine that?” over and over, instead of “is this what other people are doing”, or “does this look good”, or “have people I trust told me this is a good idea” or even “does this sound like the right solution”.  Just: “is it working?”.

It’s a very rational process, but absolutely not about ignoring or powering through emotions; they get weighed as well. I’d even say how we’re feeling is the most important indicator of “is this working”.

I’ll try to expand this with specific examples (rather more useful…) when I can come back to this.

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