Episode 1 - Ed Sullivan - Lessons from Parenthood to Entrepreneurship

Learn more about Ed on his LinkedIn page.

Show Transcript: 

Young Han (00:29): Hey Ed. Thanks for joining me on my show today. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Ed Sullivan (00:32): Thanks young. I appreciate it. Thanks for inviting me. I'm really honored.

Young Han (00:36): Awesome. I'm really glad to be able to get to know you better as well, because you're actually my first guest that I actually don't know too much about on the personal side. I actually only know you from the professional side, so I'm really, really excited to unpack this with you as well as with all the listeners that are gonna hear about your parenting journey and how you balance it between your professional endeavors. So just to kick this off, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do for a living so everyone can understand and why I think you're amazing person to talk to about this.

Ed Sullivan (01:04): I'm managing director of a company called partner ready. We are a collection or like a consortium of independent partner professionals that have all been executives or leaders in technology companies. And we are basically creating a company that is, we are a company that is made up of FRA. We do fractional leadership. So we go into smaller tech companies, people that might not be able to afford us as a full-time employee. They're able to buy a fraction of our time and then we're able to take our brains and actually use it, use our experience and, and knowledge and connections to help them build their partner programs or build their ecosystem strategy. So we work around the globe. Now we have partner professionals in North America, in Europe, and we're now opening up Asia Pacific hub as well.

Young Han (01:58): It's awesome. Yeah. I mean, I know when I first started talking to you, I felt like we were on a similar journey from the exterior in, and then as I got to know you more, I'm like, no, this guy is like a thousand thousand miles ahead of me here and he's working at a speed in a velocity. That's very, very impressive. And I think that it's super cool. How big you think about this problem? And it's also really cool the thought leadership that you're putting behind kind of the future of work. You and I have had many conversations around this whole idea of moving towards gig economy and the ability to like parse out those things. Do you mind kind of unpacking that a little bit? 

Ed Sullivan (02:30): Yeah. And we're seeing a bunch of different trends and, you know, we, we started, you know, I like to say we, we started pre COVID, which is kind of an interesting thing, but we were seeing a lot of trends happening over the last five or six years and they've, they started to kind of push us in the direction of where we are today. So my co-founder and I, we, we had worked together. We had been in, in several technology companies together, worked on the service provider side in, in one of the large digital agencies. And, and we got to see some endemic problems that were happening, that the, like a leadership void that was happening with a lot of the early stage companies and early stage, meaning anyone from like seed to series B where they needed to have a strategy, they needed to have somebody that was yeah, a professional. I mean, they, this is a, this is a profession and, you know, they needed a professional to come in and just like you would do with marketing or sales, you know, you need a, you need to have a plan and an infrastructure and a process. And we were seeing this void happening. So that was kind of the, the, the, the first trend that we started noticing is, and as technology companies, it's becoming hypercritical to be, to work with others and to interconnect and to not have that critical role in the company was we saw as an opportunity. I think the second thing that we started realizing was that as you go up the food chain in terms of experience and title and everything else, you kind of age yourself out. So if you are specialist that works in early stage companies, I'm not 25 years old. I have, I have a family to feed and, and, you know, I've gone up, you know, through the ranks of, of corporations. I'm, I become real, an expensive person. And so my options, I can go work for big corporation, which I don't, it's not my skillset to go work for big corporation, or I can find a different way to work with these early stage companies and be at a price point where they could afford me. So we started looking at this whole idea of fractional leadership, which fractional CFOs and CMOs have been doing for five or 10 years now in, in Silicon valley and elsewhere. And we said, you know, in our profession, there is this opportunity to bring the same thing. So that's, that was that part of it. Now you're seeing trends with COVID of this people rethinking their whole lifestyle and how they wanna work and what is, what do type of work they want to do and where they want to do it. And you're getting this touch of this gig economy happening at the executive level now. And so I think we were the right place, right time from that perspective, you know, it wasn't, we didn't predict COVID coming down. I don't think anybody did, but we've seen it a huge acceler. And in our business, since COVID happened, both from the partner professional side, people, you know, rethinking their lives and wanting to do this as a profession and companies that had the desire to actually, instead of hiring that full-time employee doing without they are, you know, bringing us on board so they can accelerate their business model. 

Young Han (05:44): Yeah. It's a really, really unique concept. And I, I love that you're getting market validation from it. I mean, proof is in the pudding, right? I mean, I think you, you're getting that validation literally through your experiences and you applying different, different thesises into the marketplace, cuz you're getting traction on both sides of the equation here. And I think it's also so cool that it fits in so nicely with what you're trying to achieve in your personal life, which is a great, great segue, cuz that I'd love to learn more about you on the personal side, I feel really bad. I've never even asked you how many kids do you have and what are their names and how old are they? Tell us a little, little bit about your kids. 

Ed Sullivan (06:16): Well, yeah, so I have two daughters and so I'm on the, I'm on the other end of the spectrum in terms of the life cycle of our, of children. So I have a daughter who's 21 and she's actually graduating from college this weekend. So, so that's one, one side of it. And then the other, one's a sophomore in college as well. So we have, I have a semi empty nester type of mindset at this point in time. Yeah. You have two college kids, two college kids. Yes. Wow. They're both girls and they're both girls by the way. So that, which I would never, never trade that in a, in the world. 

Young Han (06:53): It's like the scariest thing in my opinion. And also the best thing in, in, in the world. Right. It's like this scare the best thing all at once. I don't know how it's possible, but yeah. I have two young girls, so I'll definitely be pinging you for some advice as they go through the stages. Do you have a, do you have a dog by any chance or any pets?

Ed Sullivan (07:07): No. I'm allergic to dogs. So I, I have fish. You can see in the background. Yeah. A little oil maintenance than, than a dog or I'm more of a cat owner or a cat lover that I am a dog lover. Nice. But it mostly cause I'm allergic and I avoid dogs at all possible

Young Han (07:25): <Laugh> so yeah, no that makes total sense. If I was allergic, I'd be the same way. And I think that I have a lot of questions for you later on, as, as we get through the different stages with my girls as well too, cuz there's a lot of things that I'm curious about what I'm supposed to do as they get older, but <laugh>, now I know who to call, call you ed, because you've already gone through it all. So it'll be great. 

Ed Sullivan (07:43): I'll give you one, one data point, you know, like that please. Lots of advice, lots of different ways to do things, but I'll happy to share my experiences.

 Young Han (07:52): That'd be awesome. Yeah. I'd love to start actually by asking you a couple of questions about what your childhood is like, and if we can even start back then, because I feel like in my quest to learn about how people are navigating parenthood in a professional career, I feel like, you know, the best, best thing that kind of tells why a person thinks a certain way or they, how they value work in parenting themselves comes from the, their parents and their childhood experience. And so if you don't mind sharing, I'd have to just kind of hear, you know, what your upbringing was like and what your, what your childhood was like and, and how that's obviously impacted you as a parent yourself. Yeah.

Ed Sullivan (08:27): I've reflected on this quite a bit. It has, has had a big impact. So I grew up outside of Boston in a, in a city called Brockton. And you know, when I say Brockton, people get different reactions to it, but so a rough and tumble city it's, you know, industrial, it was an old industrial city that out of Boston that has seen better times. And so it's, it's a, it can be, it can be seen as a tough town. I guess my parents, blue collar, blue collar individuals, they, they both worked. My mother took some time off when we were really young, but then needed to work and she worked part-time so she could raise us. And my dad worked third shift and he worked in factories and he did all sorts of jobs to make sure we had food on the table. So no, no easy life whatsoever.

Ed Sullivan (09:20): But the interesting thing is we never really wanted for anything. It was, we never felt like we were poor. We never felt like we didn't have what we needed or wanted. There was, you know, always just this, you know, nurturing environment that we're around and it was never even like a consideration. I, I look back now and I'm like, I, it was a tough environment to grow up in. I just never really didn't know any different at the time. The couple things that really I think stand out and you know, my parents are, they're both retired now. They both live in Cape Cod they've, you know, had, they're trying to enjoy their, their, their retirement, their, their empty nesting, but they were, they were always there for everything. They were always there for school events. They were always there for sport events, sporting events, and, you know, they would make serious sacrifices.

Ed Sullivan (10:14): And I never realized and appreciated those how much effort they went to go see us play sports. And I have two sisters, two younger sisters, and they went to, my parents were at everything. They, you know, I remember as a kid, it didn't even Dawn on me that that wasn't the way it was supposed to be. But I did notice kids whose parents were never there. Some parents never showed up. I, I didn't even know these, these kids' parents. So it was really this, this participation parent participation process that they went through. And there were times that they couldn't maybe couldn't get there or whatever, but those are the times where exceptions more than, than, than the rule. And that was one thing that I carried forward with me. It's one piece of advice I would absolutely suggest is do what you can to make sure your kids know that you're there and they may not acknowledge you.

Ed Sullivan (11:16): I mean, I'm not sure I acknowledge my parents when they were there, but it, it does, there is a, some something that happens to you later on, because I know that as my kids were going through, you know, their sports or their things that they were doing, I went outta my way to take time off of work or have a flexible schedule just to make sure I could actually, you know, see them play and them make them, make sure they knew I was there. And that had, I know that that carried on my parents nurture, you know, nurturing onto, onto my own girls. So that was one thing. And then the second thing that it was super important, I think growing up was my house was like home base for everybody, all my friends like it. And it's weird to think about it, this, like, don't think I realized this till later on in life, but I don't even know most of my friend's parents.

Ed Sullivan (12:10): <Laugh> like, I, I really didn't know. Maybe half of them, I knew their parents and maybe 20% of them. I haven't spent any time at their houses. Everybody was at my house all the time. We, they were always there to swim in the swimming pool. They were always there to play basketball. They were always there to eat our food and my parents without even having a, a ton of money, you know, always had a full cupboard and anybody happened to wander down the street and walk in the house. It was not like unexpected. Everybody looked at my mother as, and, and my father as like their own parents, like, you know, surrogate parents or whatever. And later in life, I started realizing that I, I just didn't know a lot of my, my friend's parents that I grew up with. And it was kind of a weird thought when I thought about that. And so I, I, I, I carried that all. I tried to carry that along as much as possible too, because I tried to make sure I understood who their friends were and everyone was always welcome to our, at our house, you know, for my kids. So those are maybe they're old fashioned ideals nowadays, but I still think they're that like, kind of the fabric of society that might be missing out there, you get so caught up in the now, right? Like, and maybe things were the same back then as well too. But I feel like, and then they probably are the same, right? Every, they were, your parents were probably super busy as well, trying to like debate between how they are to their, their needs and successes, but also really just balancing their time. And they chose to spend it in a certain way. Right. And that's probably no different even with the advancement of technology and the speed at which we're moving now. I bet you, they still have to struggle with those same decisions we're struggling with now, because for me, that's like the biggest revelation I'm taking away from this conversation is that like, I struggle with this so hard, you know, balancing between being present for my kids and, and the activities that they're doing. And then also being at these important meetings or these important pivotal moments in my business.

Young Han (14:09): And it's literally the reason why I even started this podcast is because I wanted to talk to other people about how they're struggling with it and how they make those decisions and how they parse out, you know, their decision matrix for this, because that's literally the contention that I'm facing right now is these two massively visceral desires to succeed at both. And they keep con they keep conflating and, and imploding and, and bashing against each other. And really, really curious. It sounds like it's impact you a lot, but have you now made like a hard fasts rule or are you, are you fairly loosey goosey about it or, or are you just, what's your, what's your take on, on your parenting style? Like, were you there for all your kid's stuff?

Ed Sullivan (14:51): My wife at the time and I am divorced. So I'm just, it's part of you that I don't think we've ever talked about, but I am divorced. And, and my, my, we made a decision early on that my wife would stay home and I would, I'd be the sole breadwinner or the family, which, you know, cuz we wanted to give that opportunity for our kids to have of, you know, somebody there and that had a, a good, a good, a good impact, mostly a good impact from the perspective of that. We, she was able to be, there was a bad impact from trying to keep up with the Jones's perspective, cuz she left the workforce and we had to make sacrifices just like my parents had to make sacrifices. So we don't have the fanciest car, the fanciest house, but we made sure that they had the nurturing environment and, and that was a conscious decision we made. And that's like from a very early on family decision point of view, you know, the second piece of that is the types of jobs that I'd took and how I actually tried to construct jobs or my way I worked out in the marketplace and, and I, I was an entrepreneur. I started a company actually. I started a company at the same time that my first, my first daughter was born and I ran that company for six and a of years. And it got to a point where I was traveling all the time and when I was traveling, it me, it meant I could be on the road for like, you know, Monday through Friday or, you know, Monday through Thursday or a good part of the week. And as they, I, I, you know, I tried to balance out this need to run a company and take care of my customers and you know, work with my team.

Ed Sullivan (16:40): And I had, you know, I had a whole team of people that were in my company and this same problem of like, how do you make sure you're spend your time to be there for your kids? So I got to a point where I just said, okay, this, this has been, but it's not the lifestyle I'm looking for. I wanna do something different. And I ended up, my partners ended up buying me out of the company. I, I decided to switch my career altogether. And that's how I ultimately came into the, through, through a little winding turns. That's how I got into the tech industry. But as my daughter was about six, you know, six and a half years old, I realized that I needed to do something different. If I was going to have the same impact that my parents had, where I could beat around for the sports and, and things like that.

Ed Sullivan (17:26): And that's a really hard decision to make. Like that was a life changing decision in some way. But then it forced me to think through what are the types of job odds that I could have that could give me the flexibility and, and, you know, literally changed my career overnight. So threw away my old network threw away. My old comfort zone went and switched industries altogether started from scratch and built myself back up in, in another industry. But it gave, it gave me the opportunity to one work remotely I've been working. You know, this is, this COVID thing is not new to me. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> from our work work remote thing. I've been working remote for 15 years. Nice. When COVID hit, it was just like, okay, just another day in, you know, in my life type perspective when everyone started working from home. But what I was looking for was this ability to be in a position of responsibility where people could economy and trust me, but I didn't have to go, you know, log into a, a cubicle somewhere.

Ed Sullivan (18:32): I needed the flexibility to, to be able to work wherever I needed to. And that fit with my, my lifestyle and like what I was I was looking to do. So that was kind of a, a long story here, but it's basically getting to what you're, you're talking about. Like how do you make those really hard life to decisions to put the environment together that you're looking for? And it was not an easy decision to leave a company that I started. Yeah. It sounds weird. You know, leave a company that you started because you, it doesn't work for you anymore. I don't know how many other people have done it that way. But, but I, I sat down of my business. Partners said, I just don't wanna do this anymore. This is not the way I intended to intended it to be and build something great here.

Ed Sullivan (19:21): Good luck. You know, and that was, that was a hard decision to, to make. And it did end up for me. I felt like it was a good decision because I look at my kids now and they're you they, they have felt the love. They have felt the, like that we've been there for them. And in, when I look around at other other people's kids and I'm like, oh, these kids are like way off the rails. You know, I look and you can look like a little bit at how much were the parents involved with their lives? Well, that's why they're off the rails, you know, type of thing. I think if we look at society and not to get too philosophical, but we look at what do we need to do to have a foundation for our kids so they can grow up to be good members of society. There's gotta be some love and nurturing in there. And that's translating from my parents to, to my own world. 

Young Han (20:15): Oh my gosh. That's amazing. It's, so that was really deep. I don't know. We should just go like go home now at this point. No, <laugh> I know like, no, like we gotta take, we gotta start a whole nother episode just for that conversation. Cuz the whole thing that you're talking about is, is so deep and it's not just deep in the sense of like you taking it from your family and what you want out of it, but you're talking about it like systemically how we can also like make it better for basically our society in general. Right? Like some of the things that we're actually probably emitting and or lacking in the current day and age, right? Like in this kind of new digital era where, you know, everything is shared on social and, and all these kids are growing up with so much depression. And these kids are growing up with so much peer pressure and everything is so much more public and we have no idea how this is gonna impact them as they, as they become adults.

Young Han (21:02): Right. And, and then this next generation of kids, like my kids that are super young, like growing up, even on the tail end of that, with all this new stuff, it's just wild. Like, like my parents are like, oh, you know, parenting is easy. I used to do that with like double the amount of kids with less resources. You're lucky. And I'm like, you don't, you don't understand the world is so much different than it was when you were raising us. Yeah. I, I, I love what you said, but there's like two major things that I'd love pack a little bit further is one is this whole concept of like, you knew what you wanted and you had to come to a point where you said, Hey, this is the decision that I wanna make for my kids. And then you quite literally broke down everything about your life and then you rebuilt it to serve that purpose. Yeah. That is unbelievably wild to me, me. Yeah.

Ed Sullivan (21:48): It wasn't like an overnight thing. I mean this took, I mean, this took a lot of time to think through and, and, and by the way, like those days on the road that I had, like I was like in airplanes and airports and hotels, you have a lot of time to think to yourself and you, you can do your me personally. You can do different things with your time. You can work while you're traveling, you can go hang out at the bars and get SLO you know, sloshed all the time. Yeah. But you can also spend that time yourself, people talk about meditating or, or being reflective when you have a lot of time to like on an airplane, just sitting there thinking is actually a very meditative time. I never thought of it as meditation. I just thought thought I was just thinking about things, but, but you have time when you're by yourself in, you know, for long stretches of time to like start thinking through and writing stuff down and, and, you know, just kind of like packing, unpacking your own brain a little bit.

Ed Sullivan (22:44): And that's been one of my like superpowers is sitting down and being able to unpack my brain. Like I have a lot of weird stuff going on in my head, you know, business ideas and everything else, but taking time to be a little reflective on from all angles and not just business is like something I've just intu intuitively done to your point. It like, it's a tough decision, but it's also something you have to like really think of like, what do you want to get outta this life? And I, and I always go to this philosophy of first of all, you only live once, you know, like, so we're, we're only going around this one time. So like, I need to make decisions for the moment that not passing at my, my children's childhood. I was, I'm not gonna get that second chance. There was not gonna be a re on that.

Ed Sullivan (23:31): I had to start making decisions, like do, what do I really wanna do? Do I wanna be there and see them do something and be involved in their life? Or do I want to do just be purely business and purely successful? And you know, I have a lot of business ambitions and you, you, you and I have talked about that, but I also reflect on like the quality of my life, a lot in that, in that regard. And that's part of the reason I got attracted to the tech industry was there's always conversations about quality of life and balance of life and working in Silicon valley and tech companies and people are always thoughtful about what is this quality of life balance and that I've always everything I do. Even now. I'm always thinking about what's that balance between working my off and making sure I also get some downtime. So I, you know, don't have a nervous break out in the process.

Young Han (24:26): Yeah, no, it's totally right. And, and then one common thread that I've noticed is I map out what success looks like for me. And it sounds like you were intuitively doing this without even realizing. And now that you're, you're older and wiser, for lack of better words, you, you know, that this is the right thing to do, but I've found that a lot of successful people, the common thing that you do is give themselves the time to think it's about making sure that you're taking the time to like really think through yourself, be introspective and actualize what your goals are and what you're trying to do. Cause I think that just like in business will help you actually achieve those goals. If you're more, or I'm sorry, you're able to more clearly articulate what success looks like for you. Yeah. Right. And then the second thing I just wanted to unpack is that there's a lot, there's a lot, but the second thing I definitely wanna unpack a little more is how you parlayed that into your business, in this new stage of your life, because now your kids are graduating. Yeah. Right. So is that still the same? Like, are you still with them and like in all their different, different things that they're doing at this point or are now able to kind of focus more deeply and like, are you able to kind of move that barometer a little bit to, to business?

Ed Sullivan (25:52): So I, I think that the, the, the key things that my life right now, I I'm definitely at a different stage. So my, so I did bring my props since you like to wear hats. I, I brought my props, so, oh, wear this hat for, for a few minutes here. Love, I have one daughter that goes to school in Alabama. She goes to Auburn. So like, I don't see her all the time, but I, I do, I do one thing for both kids and I do it every day. Whether they respond to me or not, I text them every night, say, say goodnight to them. Sometimes they respond my older daughter's better at responding than my younger daughter <laugh> but I, I let them know every day that that I'm thinking about them. And I, I take the, the opportunity to say goodnight now, you know, they're going off in the, in the world and doing their own things.

Ed Sullivan (26:42): And they're at they're at themselves are a different stage where they don't want, you know, they're they wanna, they wanna be, have their own life. And I went, you know, I had the great fortune to go to college as well. And, and I knew like what it's like to spread your wings and get out there. And you don't want your parents looking over over your shoulders the whole time. So, you know, I've given them, me, you know, me personally, I've given them plenty of space. They always know they can come to me if they wanna talk about something, but we're at a, definitely at a different stage than you are at this, at this point. And it's a hard, and that is actually a hard transition for a lot of people. And I started preparing myself for that couple years before it actually happened. So my, one of my advices to you is to, you know, be thoughtful and, and be mentally prepared that your kids are eventually gonna get up and go off to school or move away or whatever the case may be.

Ed Sullivan (27:41): So it's gonna happen. So enjoy them now. And that's why you make those decisions now on as, as, as you see, as you see fit. So yeah, my life is definitely much different now, from that perspective, still a proud father and, you know, nice to hear when they're willing to, when they're willing to pick up the phone and call me, or like my younger daughter called me, she doesn't usually call me. She called me yesterday and just wanted to say hi. And I was like, wow, I had a tear in my eye. Like, <laugh>, she actually wanted to talk to me type of thing. So that's great. My life's definitely different now, but I, I think also what we could tell about this a little bit deeper, but as they get to be a little bit older and they under starting to understand things more, you know, you start having semi adult conversations with them.

Ed Sullivan (28:34): And like, I have a great piece of advice I wanna share with everybody later on this. You know, when you've asked me a certain question, I guess I'll, I'll figure it out. But you start having like semi adult conversations to let them start taking ownership of their own direction. And it pays off in dividends later on give them choices. And you say, you have this choice or this choice, which, which direction do you want to go think about it, not, you know, it's not always a split split decision, split second decision, but think about it. And here's the pros and here's the cons or here's the, the pros of one way, here's the pros of the other. And I started doing that personally, like when they were 11 and 12 years old and like started to like wanted to, you know, I don't wanna overwhelm them with adult decisions and I, they don't have the brain power to really understand everything.

Ed Sullivan (29:27): But if you start having some early convers with them, the decisions they make later in life could end up being, you know, have, you know, you can, you can have an impact on those decisions. And I could tell you both my daughters, whether they realize it or not. And I, don't not, I'm not sure they fully realize it, but my watching them and watching the reaction to this, they started making adult decisions and they've made good decisions because they had the little bit of owner of making decisions as you go through different phases. I guess what you have to do is like, understand what chapter of the book you're actually in with your kids. And there's no book out there by the way, you have to like, sort of figure out the chapters on your own, but you have to know that they're in a certain chapter, the chapter's over you can't dwell on it. You have to go to the next chapter. And that's them going to college right now is like the next chapter. And I had to flip the book over to the next page. 

Young Han (30:29): There are like randomly brief moments as I like play with my girls where I like just daydream about them leaving for college or even getting married. And I literally start crying. Like I get so emotional and it's like, I just like wanna punch it. So then I just like punched it outta my mind, but like, I try not to like daydream about it at all. Cause it like makes me like very emotional even thinking about them, like not wanting to talk to me or, or being too cool for me or going off and doing their own thing. It just like makes me so deeply sad, you know? And so that I like immediately brush it off. But what you're saying is, is like kind of embrace it and, and get ahead of it. Right? Like, and really think through, cause you're talking about something that's really complex here, cuz you're actually talking about pivoting yourself to be what they need the best and the moment that they're at.

Young Han (31:16): Cause you're talking about assessing their readiness level and their current stage. I mean, I'm not a child development expert. You're literally talking about assessing them and then adapting to what they need, what you think they need the most at that moment. And cuz right now you're describing even being a barometer of a coach and a support versus a teacher and a directive. Right, right. You're almost like making this kind of gradual switch as they start to grow older. And you're wing that in a little bit earlier so that, you know, you're helping them figure out their decision matrix or their decision making protocols or skills. It's really interesting. I, I wonder how much of that goes into your work? Do you treat any of your employees? Like you treat your kids, do you have that same kind of nurturing mentality?

Ed Sullivan (31:55): Like I always say I'm a better leader than a manager. Like kinda suck as a manager actually. Yeah. Anytime I've led teams, I've I believe in that servant leadership kind of mindset where it's my job as a leader to set the stage for whatever we're trying to accomplish. And then if you want satisfied team members gonna give them a level of ownership and say, here's what we need to accomplish. Here's your part of it? Tell me what you wanna do or what you can do. And, and then let them go at it. And I, I learned something a long time ago and it was actually, it was actually probably something that happened as a kid or something. Basically I learned that if you ask somebody to do something, let's just say you're emptying the dishwasher and use something simple and you don't like the way they did it.

Ed Sullivan (32:48): Well don't, don't criticize them because they did it their way. They figured it out. And what was the goal to EMP empty the dishwasher. It wasn't to, to do it your way. And so that's a little deep concept, but it's this idea that you, your job is there to coach them. You may give them advice about how to do it next time, but you're not still not gonna dictate the way that they do it because you want them to learn. And I've been given many opportunities. You know, I had a great, a great boss and he, he said, here's what I didn't wanna accomplish. And that was all he gave me. He said, whatever resources you need, whatever timetable you need to do it in. You let me know. I just need to get to X, Y, and Z.

Ed Sullivan (33:36): And he pretty much left me alone. I didn't talk to him for four months. Wow. After that first, first, you know, white boarding session or whatever we did. And I spent the next four months trying to sort out, how do we get from point a to point B? And when I, and I would, I went out and had like this amazing opportunity to be entrepreneurial inside a tech company. I finally called 'em up and said, Hey, do you wanna see what I've been up to? And <laugh> like, he didn't even ask. I had to call up say, Hey, you know, do you wanna have a meeting? I wanna show you what we're up to. And he was like, wow, he's like, this is better than I thought it was gonna be. And so I felt fulfilled because I was given the leash to go get something done and, and the resources, you know, that I needed to go get it done.

Ed Sullivan (34:26): And, and, and then there were no parameters. There was like, I had to make it up. I had to make up the rule book on my own. And that, that was very satisfying as an employee. And I remembered that. So when I get into leadership roles and I had to manage people, I actually said, okay, let me turn these tables back on other people. And I, I, I think if you went and pulled, you know, most people that have worked for me, they've been like, ah, I loved working with ed and I'm not looking for the accolades. So I mean, if they say it that's great, but, but I do know that they, you know, any one of them would, would work for me tomorrow. Join my team tomorrow. Matter of fact, co-founder and I we've worked together several times. He's been on my team in two different companies and yeah. And now we work together and we have like this implicit trust because we had that same kind of working environment.

Young Han (35:21): Yeah. That's incredible. I, I love that. I love the parallels that you just parlayed between parenting and work. Right? Cause I mean, I think those same characteristics of how you live your life is the values that you live by. And it doesn't, it doesn't end up being constrained because you go to the workplace or you go to your friends or house or whatever your values are, your values, right. And like how you wanna live your life, just gonna permeate through everything. And so I think it's super cool that you have such a visceral look at it. You're basically applying it very intentionally. It's, it's a really good way to live. Definitely. I'm gonna take some notes on that. Really rethink how I can be more intentional about my life. Having your value structure is definitely important.

Ed Sullivan (36:04): Like I went to a military college since that's something for you to know. Oh wow. So we live by an honor code. We live by, you know, they taught us certain principles of how to be, how to be a man or a woman and how to treat people properly and, and things like that and how to be polite and courteous and everything else. And they teach you about values. I mean, it's a, it's a conversation. It's, it's not something that just happens. They talk about values all the time. Like what your values are. I've had my own like values structure in everything that I've my life. Whether I think about it or not, I have a value structure and I don't violate my values. It's the, my code of conduct, honesty and integrity, treating people like I wanna be treated and treating people well and smiling at everybody and think, thank you to everybody work.

Ed Sullivan (37:01): If you say you're gonna do something, it doesn't matter if you, what it, what it's gonna take to do something, you know, get it done. And, and then being committed to your ideals. So whatever your ideals are and things like parenting and my ideals were, I wanna make sure I'm there for my kids. So that was an ideal that I made sure come hell or high water. I was going to you be there. So those are, you know, those value, those little value conversations seems like a very cliche or something, but it's like, that should be everything that should be your bedrock.

Young Han (37:30): Yeah. It's everything. No, I, I love that. And that's actually a really good segue to the, the last part of this, which I, I just wanna fire off four questions that I wanna ask everybody. So there's some symmetry to the, the, the inner reviews and the knowledge that we're imparting upon this process and podcast. But before I get into it, I, I just wanted to make sure I, I made this comment before I forgot, but can you make sure your kids watch this afterwards? I'd love to hear their response. And then I kinda want them to come on the show. I actually kind of wanna interview them now to like, get the, get the opposite. End of the story. That be kinda interesting thing. It's just something that pops into my mind. I'm like, oh man, I'd love to cause they're adults and they'd be able to like actually engage in a conversation. Right. And so, yeah, it'd be fun to hear like what they perceive parenting as, and the difficulties of, of raising two girls and bringing them to college, like all that good stuff. So just outta curiosity, just a random moonshot idea came up with, let's get into the last four questions. Okay. All right. So what advice do you have for other parents and soon to be parents, first

Ed Sullivan (38:30): Of all, of all, soon to be parents enjoy, enjoy the moment. And I, I brought this picture on and this, this was actually, I, I took this off my refrigerator, but I don't know if you can see that, you know, that that's, that's my older daughter just after she was born. Amazing. And so like, so enjoy that process, especially your first baby. It's, it's a once in a lifetime thing and the second baby comes along and it's, you know, it's still exciting, but it, you kind of know what to expect. So the process and, you know, the memories are precious and you're gonna be sleep deprived. You're gonna be, it's gonna be a lot of recreations and things happening. Just take, take a chill and make sure, make sure you realize it's not about you anymore. So second thing for parents of all age is like, I kind of talk about the chapters of the book.

Ed Sullivan (39:28): I always try to make sure that I was really appreciative of every moment that was happening. So like I did like try to store away my memory. I took a million. I mean, I still take a million pictures. So any, I don't know if anyone ever gonna look at these pictures later after I'm gone or whatever, but for me it's a trigger. It's a trigger of different moments in my life. And I can, I can literally write up a visual book of my life right now, take a lot of pictures and just put in, appreciate your, your child when you're there. When, when you, you have those moments, you know, they call it floor time. There's all sorts of like crazy books and stuff like that. Like <inaudible>, or kind of hokey and in their own sense. But some of them have some nuggets talk about floor time.

Ed Sullivan (40:16): Like I used to come home from work and just, you know, change my clothes and just play on the floor with my kids, play, play with blocks, play with different toys and just get into spending that time. Like, there's work time, then there's the, then there's your family time. And just gotta make sure you take that time. And the sad, sad part for me. And I actually like, this is something which you have to, you know, it's like my burden is I can remember all these amazing moments I had when they were really little. They don't remember again, <laugh> so, so, you know, you just kinda have to get over that part, but I, I have the memories. And so you just gotta keep those and cherish those. And I think, as I said, each chapter of, of life, you just gotta know like where you stand and that life is gonna go, you know, you're gonna, there's gonna be a point in time where they're, they're gonna wanna be hanging out with their friends and they're gonna wanna be hanging out with their doing different things.

Ed Sullivan (41:17): They're not gonna wanna be with you. That's okay. You just gotta eventually get yourself into, into that mode. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing, just one before you had kids, what would it be? Have more kids. I dunno. <Laugh> have more kids <laugh> we, we, we were happy to stop at two kids and give them a good time. But you know, I think having kids is definitely a special time and absolutely, I don't think having more kids actually solve my problem, I solve it. But I think if I was given one piece of advice, just do exactly what I did. I, I have no regrets. I, the way I did things. So yeah, Young Han (41:56): That's really the, the reality of the question that I'm asking. So I like that you parsed out what I'm actually asking for. So that was great. Just shows you what an astute businessman you are. The third one is what is your all time favorite business book?

Ed Sullivan (42:10): I don't know what all time favorite. Cause first of all, I do read a lot. I do listen to a lot of books on tape and I'm always looking at fresh ideas, but so I don't know if I have a favorite book per se, but there's one where I'm reading right now. And actually I just I've really just started getting into it. So I love innovation and I love seeing what's around the corner. So I, I got this book that I'll create the future by Jeremy go. I dunno how I pronounce name Gucci. I dunno, it's the innovation handbook and it's talking about how do you look ahead? How do you purposefully create innovation? And I think one of my skill sets is I'm, I'm probably not a partner person per se. I I'm more of like a chief strategy officer mindset. Like I'm always trying to think of where's the world fit and you know, it fits into the ecosystem mindset that I deal with, but I started digging into this book and I, I really like the concepts around it, but I'm a consumer of a lot of different viewpoints. So I don't know if there's any one favorite book that I, I can turn to. 

Young Han (43:19): That's awesome.I like that you read so much. It's fantastic. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself becoming a parent?

Ed Sullivan (43:26): Patience? Yeah, I think having patience is a something that I, I learned I think. Yeah. And I, and actually I'll tell you what I really think here's, here's even deeper, like empathy. I think empathy is, I, I, I don't know. There's lots of to say that, especially guys, so a women ignore that nor my mm-hmm <affirmative> man versus woman conversation here. But you know, as a guy it's like, you know, you're a dude and you're just like, you don't like care about anything up yourself. And in some ways, like, that's like just part of growing up. And, but as soon as I had, you know, my daughter, I like, I was like, wow, wow, this, like, I may not have ever appreciated anybody else's kids. I may not have ever appreciated something bad ever happened to, to some else's there was an accident or something like that.

Ed Sullivan (44:22): And, and I was also never, and we talk about girl, you know, girl, daddy here. I was never really like thoughtful around the man versus women's sports and things like that. And so having a daughter and having two daughters, one, I became super empathetic. I hear something bad, happens to somebody's child. Like I'm extremely emotional about it because like, I, I can't even imagine something I'm very fortunate. I'm blessed that my kids are healthy and they've been able to go through life without any problems. And, you know, I hear something happening and I'm like, I I'm a, a wreck because I put myself in that other person's shoes. And I can't imagine the pain that they're feeling or stuff that they have to endure. So I've been, become extremely empathetic. Wow. A as an adult and I've become a lot more thoughtful, I think, which, you know, I wouldn't have given myself the credit of being that thoughtful early on, but I've a lot more thoughtful about life in general and how other people interact and like that.

Ed Sullivan (45:37): So I, I think those are different things. And then when you get into the woman's, you know, called the woman's equality or things like that, like I'm a, a male athlete. Like I've, I, it was easy to go be an athlete doing something. And I didn't realize the difficulty, you know, women's sports. They, it doesn't get the attention. It doesn't get the, with title IX. It's like balance out some of the stuff, but it's, you know, definitely not as, as well supported. Yeah. And like, until your daughter's an athlete, like you realize that know that there's problems like that in the world. And so I've become a much more it's in like the qual, the quality of women athletes. I mean, they're, they're much better athletes than a lot of guys I gotta, you know, totally. And, you know, so, so those are things that I become as a, as a dad and as a, a father of girls, I see perspective that I may not have otherwise had. I love by two boys. I may not even, you know, still had this conversation be totally different.

Young Han (46:43):  That's right. I love it. Yeah. It's like giving you a peek into another realm of society and life and people and all those different things because you're exposed to it. That's really great. I love that. I hope I get more thoughtful as I start to become a more experienced girl dad parent. I feel like I'm still struggling with that, but those were really great things to, to share. So I appreciate you sharing those last questions with me. I just wanted to say, thank you so much for the time Ed. I have no other thoughts or questions at this point, but I I'd love to actually take you up on the, the idea that I had about interviewing your kids. Cause now I think it's actually a real...

Ed Sullivan (47:21): I might be kind of scared about that. I'm not sure <laugh>

Young Han (47:27): Maybe I'll only share it with you, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking this time and sharing your experiences and what you think about life and business and kids and parenting. And I think it's been really, really insightful for me. And I hope that it was very insightful for a lot of the listeners.

Ed Sullivan (47:42): Yeah, absolutely. And I'm gonna do this just so I don't get in trouble with my second daughter. I need to switch over because if she's gonna watch this, she's gotta feel equal time. I know this is like always an issue between two kids. That's like, so you gotta do my, you gotta do my street cred here. Thanks for having me on this was like, when you invited me to this, think what did I wait? Like 30 seconds. Yes. So first of all, I love, I love talking to you and, and respect that hell outta you. And I was really honored to have you, you know, reach out to me and, and talk about this. And you know, I'm really proud of my daughters. And so I am happy to share my thoughts on this.

Young Han (48:21): Oh my gosh. Thank you so much, Ed. Appreciate it. Have a great day. 

Young Han (48:26): Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time.


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