Episode 5 - Mihir Pathak - The value of patience & learning to have some


Learn more about Mihir on his LinkedIn.

Episode Transcript: 

Young Han (00:00):
Welcome Mihir. Thank you so much for joining me on my podcast.

Mihir Pathak (00:32):
Thanks for having me Young. This is great. I'm happy. 

Young Han (00:40):
That is dope. I love that. Where'd you get that?

Mihir Pathak (00:43):
I think it was last father's day. I have two daughters, so I have a older one. She just turned four and the younger one just turned one within a few months of each other and it was, it was the younger ones first father's day with me. And so my wife did the work, but the kids get the credit.

Young Han (01:02):
No, I love it, man. That's fantastic. I don't even have a girl dad shirt just yet, but I'm actually in the process of making a bunch of these girl dad shirts. So I'll get you, I'll get you one for the the show as well. And I'll make sure that you get another one, so you can have more girl dad swag. But I love that because now I just know, I just know that you have two, two girls that are similar ages me and, and I think that's gonna be a really fun episode to talk to you about that because we have so many similarities and we're like basically kind of in the same stream, both professionally and kind of personally, but I, I kind of wanna jump right in before we get into any of the, the parenting stuff. Like, do you mind sharing with the listeners what you do for a living?

Mihir Pathak (01:38):
Yeah. Yeah. So I'm the chief operating office of Mayvenn. That's spelled M A Y V E N N. Mayvenn is a hair extensions company. We have a digital platform. We mostly serving black women for their hair needs. We're talking weaves wigs, extensions, clip ins, basically the whole Anada. And then, and then most recently we've opened up a offline store. We're in one Walmart in Houston right now and, and the opportunity to really scale that there's some interesting things happening. So so I'm really excited. And then, and I love it so far. I'm about three weeks in I'm loving it.

Young Han (02:24):
Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, you're, you're like a, you're like green just wet around the ears in this new company, but you're already, you're already branching into retail distribution. That's really

Mihir Pathak (02:36):
Exciting. We wanna be where the customers are. We really care about serving our customers, our community, and that's what we care about. So we're gonna go where they are and we're gonna, we're gonna serve that.

Young Han (02:48):
That's amazing, man. And then just, just so everyone has context, cuz I, I actually know this about you, but I think it's important that everyone understands just, just the, the, the, the volume of random and successful things that you've done in your career. Do you mind kind of just like sharing with the listeners and kind of like just the, the, the wide range of things that you've done in your professional career?

Mihir Pathak (03:11):
Sure, sure. I'll I'll do the quick version. How about that? Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Young Han (03:15):
Yeah. It's more about parent. The podcast is about parenting, but I do want them to understand that like, you know, like why I'm, why I'm interviewing you and why it's like, you know, it's like, it's like interesting to see people like, you know, struggling with the same thing about like building this, you know, career, but also trying to be a good parent, you know?

Mihir Pathak (03:29):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I started out relatively technical. I have a PhD in cryogenic physics from Georgia tech, so super duper nerdy stuff. I was working on various base applications, worked very closely with NASA. I was actually traveling to different NASA centers doing my experiments. I would do. I work with my advisor back at Georgia tech to do simulation and theoretical work. So I was like really into search and, and, you know, I, I actually really missed those days. It was, it was a fun time, but it wasn't, it, it wasn't necessarily my calling. So eventually I went to NASA headquarters to serve in a policy role. It was in legislative affairs. I literally sat between NASA as an agency and Congress as a whole. And I would do a lot of new liaisoning back and forth. We're talking like strategic plans, missions, budgets, you know, hearings, things like that.

Mihir Pathak (04:29):
So that was really cool. And the, the head of NASA at the time was major bold, you know, general bold, I should say. Sorry about that. General Charles bold. And, and on several occasions, I got to sit in the room with him and prep him for a hearing or go to hill with him. And you know, how read those on CSPA? You might seen, they read from a binder, you know, whether it's a S state or they read from Congress. I actually did work that went into that binder. Like it was my job to make sure that binder made sense and had things in there and all that. And then, and then sometimes they kinda peak back and they ask questions to you know, some people in the shadows. I was the shadows.

Young Han (05:22):
So if I, if I go back to CSPAN, are there any cams of you, like kind of in the background, like try to like her answers back and forth? 

Mihir Pathak (05:29):
Maybe. I don't think I don't think I was in, I don't know. Maybe, maybe somebody could find me or definitely that's awesome on my team

Young Han (05:36):
The internet is forever. Rather the internet is forever. We'll, we'll find you we'll find you.

Mihir Pathak (05:40):
And then I had the opportunity to go from, to, to work closely with president Obama. I was in the national economic council in the white house there. The goal was to serve as a policy arm for the white house. So now I stayed in policy, but moved from, you know, science policy at NASA to economic policy at the white house. I think they were really looking for good, you know, president Obama is all about diversity and inclusion and different perspectives and new ideas and innovations. So I had the opportunity to go there as sort of a, like a thinker type and, and, you know, I, I learned various things the way around economic policy and, and who was there. We had some brilliant people on staff. So that was a really cool experience. My portfolio was around entrepreneurship and small business. Really supporting sort of the backbone of, of America did that for a while.

Mihir Pathak (06:32):
As, as president Obama, second term was ending. I was like, maybe time for me to leave government. I dunno, what's gonna happen. <Laugh> so I left I also wanted to make some money and I ended up going to McKinsey that moved me from DC to New York. I was in their, they called the McKinsey investment office, basically their investment practice did that for a while. That was that was you saying? Good, good learnings there again. Wasn't, wasn't really my calling though. And then as I was sort of figuring out what to do next, I had the opportunity to work with Joel Slosky, who's the founder of stack overflow. He also founded Trello and glitch and a number of other things, but he's, he's like a OG and the tech world. And I didn't really know him well at the time. And as I got the opportunity to work with him and travel with him and stuff, I realized the impact he's had on tech and you know, how many like fans he had and stuff like that.

Mihir Pathak (07:31):
So it was, it was really cool and he's, he was like a really cool mentor, challenged me to think about things in a different way, but it was getting back to you know, entrepreneurship and, and launching ideas and scaling stuff. So that was, that was super interesting. So at San, I actually stayed there for quite a while and worked my way up to being the executive vice president of strategy and transformation. So yeah, I did that, but it's, it's interesting. And I love the theme of this podcast cause you know, I've had these great opportunities, but when I think back about where it all started, I mean, my, my parents immigrated over here had like $20 in their pocket. I remember the apartment that, you know, I was born in and grew up in was like sort of this one bedroom space. And I, it was like maybe five or 10 of us there at any given time sleeping on the floor.

Mihir Pathak (08:24):
My dad was delivering Domino's pizza, you know, like it was, that's how those were my roots. So we didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love in the house. Like, you know, that, that, that was the thing. And coming from those roots and being able to see the hustle in my mom and the hustle in my dad and you know, them, them starting little side things here, inside things there, I, I felt like I grew up with that entrepreneur gene embedded in me, and then it was cultivated because of the environment I was in. And then as my family marched into the middle class over almost two decades, or maybe maybe one and a half decade as they did that, they instilled a value of education in me, knowledge, you know, working really hard, all those things. And then, you know, it kind of just took off from there.

Mihir Pathak (09:13):
So I'm really us to have those opportunities. They get a hundred percent of the credit, like <laugh>, you know, if they didn't know how, if I got stuck on a math problem, they didn't how to solve it. They would ask like whoever they could in the, the apartment buildings or like whoever they're working with, somebody was gonna teach me this thing. And, and that told me to never like say I can't do something or give up on something. And those, those fundamentals are, are what I've carried with me along and, and what I hope to teach my, my girls.

Young Han (09:43):
Wow. That was awesome. I, I actually don't know if I've ever heard the full breadth of work. So that was really cool to hear you, like are a literal rocket science or no, you're a cryogenic scientist. <Laugh> and and then you went to law and legal and politics and then to one of the most technical tech tech companies around that's fantastic. So it's, it's really cool too, because you landed in a company now three weeks ago. That is also very, very different in true, true fashion. There seems to be a cycle here with your, your work choices. You just like a Renaissance man. You're like looking for learnings and new things that you've never done before, because this is completely different than the other three things that you just, you know, like went through.

Mihir Pathak (10:30):
I think what, what I was really hoping to find was the kind of business model where you, you kind of do something good and, and move the needle on, you know, we're, we're living in a time with so many major issues. You talking about economic empowerment and climate change, and so many things going on in the world. Can you make some progress in any one of those areas, but at the same time, have a healthy, sustainable business, make some money be able to provide for family, all of those things. And the Mayvenn business model is beautiful because the more we support our customers, so people that actually buy and, and need services and the stylists that, that install the hair and, and maintain it. The more we support our stakeholders, the more money we're gonna make and the more money we make, the more we're able to support them. So the beautiful, the business model is beautiful. Like it, it's just kind of compounds the impact you can have while at the same time being a scalable high growth of business.

Young Han (11:35):
So cool, man. I, I, I, I love, I love hearing the story cuz it's like, it's the journey that you've taking. I think in any one of those as aspects of your professional journey, people would say that that's a huge accomplishment and success and it's almost like you're like trying to overachieve and, and make everyone feel bad about what they do because you literally have done it over and over and over again. And you're like yet again, going into another sector or industry and you're, you're conquering it. So I, I, I love to hear that level of drive and ambition. And thank you for sharing this story about your, your parents and your upbringing. Cuz I find that as like, as I start to figure out who I am as a profess and as I try to figure out how to grow my career, cause I don't wanna stop.

Young Han (12:15):
Right. I wanna keep growing and I wanna keep learning and I wanna keep you, I wanna keep being better at what I do. And, and constantly like excelling, right? Like, and growing that and I keep coming into this contention with, you know, being a good parent, cuz there's like very, very different skill sets that are needed for that as well as like this conf of like skills, values, all these other things that don't parlay necessarily perfectly over. And then the more direct aspect of time. Right. You know, and it's been really, really hard for me. And I, I love that you started talking about your parents cause I'd love to actually talk a little bit more about that. I, I, I feel like as I get into this parenting thing, I start realizing how much more and sound like my mom and my dad <laugh> ha have, have you, have you done, have you realized that at all about yourself or are you, what, what have you gleaned about your upbringing.

Mihir Pathak (13:02):
Yeah, yeah. It, it comes up, you know, this, this whole idea. Like <laugh> definitely, let me say that. It it's, you know, when I'm doing something like having breakfast with my a daughter or helping her brush her teeth or something like that, I I'm catching myself going, come on, go faster, come on. We gotta do the next thing. You're taking too long. And I'm just hearing my parents saying that to me now it's a little different cause my dad worked daytime. My mom worked nighttime or vice versa side, any given point in time. So like you're on a fixed schedule and I live in this world where and I'm fortunate enough to work at a place where it it's flexible and, and we're, we're trying to be cognizant of like work life balance and all those things. So I have a flexibility that my parents never had, but I'm still finding myself doing the same thing. So that's probably like how to stick to a schedule. And a routine is probably the, the number one thing that I can see in myself that my parents who are trying to do to me. And I think my wife would say the same thing. Yeah. Yeah.

Young Han (14:09):
And then what do your parents think about your, your progression of work? Like, I mean, it's, it's gotta be, it's gotta be like confusing for them. Yeah. You know, like there's like the jumps that you've made and, and, and like, how do you, how do you, how do you yeah. Talk to me about that.

Mihir Pathak (14:24):
They're they're really proud. I mean, they're, they're they never thought that they would, they would financially be in the position they are and, and they're like regular middle class family. Right. But they never could have, imagine that, you know, coming over from India and, and coming to this country, they didn't know the language, nothing. And so they always said their success is like educating me and my brother, you know, us having good jobs getting married and having grandchildren for them. Right. Like those are the things that they really value. So when, when my parents see me moving up in my career, I mean, they're, they're super proud. I think the proudest moment though, was a couple years ago, I got the opportunity to bring my family to meet president Obama. Oh man. I remember when my mom was entering the west wing and we entered his office and she like was face to face with him. And she, she was so overcome with like, I know where she came from. I, I saw where she came from, where she is today. And when she was in that moment, she just looked at him and he did his whole thing and he's very social and, and great. Yeah.

Young Han (15:37):
I see. Has so much swag. Yeah. He's like so cool.

Mihir Pathak (15:39):
Yeah. At the end, at the end, you know what happened? He goes, can I ask you something and my face, what's she gonna say <laugh> and she goes, can I give you a hug?

Young Han (15:57):
<Laugh>

Mihir Pathak (15:57):
Oh my gosh. She looks right back at her and smiles and says, even presidents need hugs sometimes. And he gives her a huge hug. Oh my gosh. Such a beautiful moment. I think, I think that must have been like really, really special for her in terms of like stuff that probably the most memorable thing.

Young Han (16:16):
Oh my gosh. That's an amazing story. Like cow <laugh>, that's incredible. Like, and I mean, I'm gonna get a little, I'm gonna bring the race thing in a little bit into it, but like, you know how, like, you know, Asian parents love to brag about their kids. I mean, you have the ultimate, like your parents have the ultimate right there. They just like went from immigrating over here to meeting the president of the United States. Geez, Louise man, save some for the rest of us. Goodness gracious. That's that's an insane accomplishment. That's great. How do you think that having kids has like, changed your mindset about work though, based on the fact that like you now have kids, what is the main differences that found in yourself and, and how it parlays into work? Right. Is there no difference?

Mihir Pathak (16:57):
Oh, there's definitely a difference. I, I would like to say like, I guess, because of how I grew up, there was always this element of like having street smarts and then when you enter the workforce and, and especially on the leadership level, you call it EQ <laugh> right. Yeah. I know there's some differences there, but essentially that, that ven diagram overlaps heavily. And I think good leaders have really good EQ, but in your home life, when you're constantly managing that EQ because of children and talking to them on, on sort of their level, inspiring them working with them, but also like observing the them and learning from them as well. And what they could teach you about life. If you could carry that into your EQ funnel, I think it actually makes you a much, much stronger leader, not to say like time is, how do you spend your time?

Mihir Pathak (17:48):
If, if I'm gonna leave my children to go do this work thing for money, <laugh> I wanna make sure I'm doing the best job I can. I'm happy doing it. They can look, look at me and be, be, you know, see some pride in, in what I'm working on. And that's why I think it's so important to, you know, my resume looks like I jumped a lot, but really I was just trying to find myself and find, you know, where I'm going. And to some degree, I'm, I'm extremely happy. It's still a question mark. I found myself, you never know until, you know, that's a lack of indicator, but but that, that's what I think it's all about. And I think that, you know, having children really grounds you that way helps you understand people better, really builds up that EQ to a level that you couldn't think possible with before kids. And and then how you use your time and making it as valuable as possible.

Young Han (18:39):
That's the that's wild. So you think having kids has actually made you a better leader, it's actually increased your EQ and you think EQ is like one of the major components of being a good leader. So in essence, the kids have made you a good leader, a better leader.

Mihir Pathak (18:53):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. What, what about it though?

Young Han (18:56):
Because I mean, I, I believe you to a certain degree, but there's a part of me that needs to understand this a little better, because I feel like it's so hard to like apply the same level of like EQ to my young kids. Cuz, and I can talk to you about this cuz you have the same age kids as me. They don't underst stand what I'm saying, you know what I mean? And like you have to get down to the level and it's like a huge amount of patience and this huge amount of like directness that you have to like play with them. Even play is very, very direct. It's like, Hey, we're gonna do tag or we're gonna play this house and then we're gonna do a make believe. And like it's very, very direct. And like, you know, when you, when you're at a leader, you're always trying to figure out like the balance of like inspiration versus directing. Right? And so it's fascinating to me hear that. It's fascinating for me to hear that you think that it actually improves your EQ.

Mihir Pathak (19:41):
I, I think it, a lot of it also comes down to communication. If you're a leader and you're sitting in the office and looking at spreadsheets and in meetings all day and you're meeting with an, a visual contributor that's, that's like doing a lot of the grind and hard work for you to articulate what you're saying to the individual contributor audience. You have to meet them on, on their level to some degree. And, and if you want to grow them and do create development and stuff like that, you have to grow them from where they are some baseline and, and with some vision in mind and, and in some ways that parallels parenting you, you know, your kids are at some level, you know, in some cases it's physical, some cases emotional, depending on the age of your kids, but you gotta meet them where they are, understand where they're have the patience <laugh> at times to deal with them where they are and then, and then really work with them and grow them together.

Mihir Pathak (20:35):
It it's very, in my mind, it's very analogous to how you would lead a team and, and not to mention, I mean, there's like, there's things you have to do. Like you gotta feed your kids, you gotta make sure they sleep. You gotta make sure they shower all those kinds of things. And then there's the things that you really want to do. You wanna expose 'em to different activities and stuff. You want them to, to learn a lot, right? If they could learn multiple languages or they could learn faster, whatever it is, you, you want to expose 'em to that. Similarly, if you're are running a team or running a company, you wanna do, you got some things you have to do. Like you have to set expectations and you have to give feedback and you have to have goals, but at the same time you want them to accomplish the goals. Right? And so you have to work with them and you have to grow them. And, and development is like key to success.

Young Han (21:27):
That's wild, man. I love that. <Laugh> I love that. That makes a lot more sense now. So it, I mean, it's like taking the opportunity of like, so I guess what I was saying was I wasn't thinking about it deep enough, cuz I was saying like, well the, the level of depth I'm going to, this is not, is not the same as doing it at work. But you're saying it's the concept of having the exercise of going to the person's situation. And the kid is just a deeper situation. So I was separating the two things, but you're saying no, it's the same idea. Meet the people where they're at to be a good servant leader.

Mihir Pathak (21:58):
I, I think so. And I, I think it's it, it's hard to imagine unless you really sit there and think about it because on the surface it's like two different worlds <laugh> yeah, totally. If you were able to take like a snapshot of how you were pre-kids and how you talk to people and thought different about different things and, and how you communicated and all those things and then post kids. I bet you there's a massive difference there.

Young Han (22:23):
Oh, I can already tell you. Yes, absolutely. There's a massive difference here. My judgment on people is D increased in like significantly. My, my EQ was definitely much higher, right? Like I have so much less judgment. I didn't even realize I was so judgemental until I had kids. And now I'm like, so beaten up emotionally and physically that like, I don't judge anybody anymore at all. Like cuz I just like, they must have kids or like, or they must be around kids and they're just tired. <Laugh> like, I just have this higher level of empathy for people now that I have kids. Cuz I just like, it's such a, it's such a onerous task, you know, to be a parent or to be a good parent. Right. If you want that responsibility of being a good parent. So yes. I, I completely agree with you. It's a completely different change. So you're right. My EQ has gone up. Thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you for letting me see that. <Laugh> What were you gonna say? Sorry, cut you off.

Mihir Pathak (23:12):
I would also say your entrepreneurial side or your hustle side and how you think about the world. A lot of that has probably changed too. And, and it's like, who are you surrounded by? Well, when you see your kids like taking their first steps where they're in a room full of, you know, you get 'em in new toy, you open the box and they're trying to play with the box more than the toy. And you're like, how does this make sense? But they're literally like literally no pun intended or maybe intended. They're thinking the creativity at its fun, you know? And, and that's what you need. You need to be surrounded by people that think differently. And who's, who's better than that than your own kids that are learning, you know, the basics of life right in front of you.

Young Han (23:57):
That's amazing, dude. I love it. And I also love that you said something that I've never actually heard before. You're like, oh, what can I learn from them during this process? And it's actually a really interesting point cuz it kind of goes back to the whole like concept of like God, good mentorship. Have you ever heard of that terminology? Good mentorship is never a one-way streak. It's actually a two-way streak two-way street, right? Yeah. And so you're applying that same concept in methodology that people also have a hard time grasping to something that's even never been compared to four by at least by me that you're also learning from your kids cuz that's actually a really good point. It's like taking each opportunity to learn something and, and think about things in a different way and yeah, who knows? I mean like my kid might be, you know, bigger, better, more successful or more accomplished than I am like you were for your parents. Right. And so like that could be the reality and, and that's a really good point <laugh> man. I hope I don't like mess up my kids. Jason now <laugh> so I'm like, no, I'm like nervous.

Mihir Pathak (24:51):
I'm sure you're good that I'm sure you're a great dad actually. Great dad.

Young Han (24:55):
Oh thank you man. I, I definitely am trying really hard. Right. Like I take it pretty seriously probably too seriously. I I'm taking it so seriously that I started a, a podcast about it just to like research how other parents are doing it. But yeah. So I definitely care a lot and I definitely wanna do a good job being the best at it that I can be. And I think that it's, it's like super interesting the way that you're you're you're conceptualizing parenthood. So how do you qualify success? Like just to like get more direct about it. What do you think a successful parent is at this stage in your life?

Mihir Pathak (25:24):
I think to some degree it's like happiness or, or joy. Right. I, I think there's a tendency for some parents to over index their kids on like, like career success or in other ways financial success or in other ways maybe like if you get married and have kids you're successful. Right. And the way I like to think about it is kind of like the life portfolio, right? Like maybe not any one of these things will completely make you happy, but the combination of a bunch of different, just like you make a financial portfolio and you diversify, I think you gotta live life that way too. You know, your work is part of it. Your, your family's part of it, your, your friends, your hobbies, all these different things that you do are part of that life portfolio. And I think happiness is kind of like managing that emotion through that portfolio.

Mihir Pathak (26:16):
So it's kind of like the thing you're optimizing for to some degree, but the best way to optimize it actually just manage it. So I think on a high level, I would say, if you're happy, you're living your life. You're, you're like, you know, you, you set some goals out, you're accomplishing them. You know, you're just full of joy. I think that's what that's what any parent would want for their kids. And to the degree it's holistic and your life portfolio is doing well. And that's the thing, driving happiness. I, you know, that's a, that's a sustainable way to maintain it long term. It's not tied to one individual thing, but really this holistic approach to, to life. So I think that's the answer. But to be honest with you, I have no idea. I don't know what it means. You're always gonna be a parent when you have, but the degree at, with you're involved in their growth and you know, you're, you're kinda working yourself outta a job.

Mihir Pathak (27:09):
You wanna build them up, you're self sustainable. And then maybe you start entering that phase of you could be a parent, but also a friend when, when the time comes, you could be a parent, but also a mentor, right? Like you're, you're viewing a different, so I hope that I equip my girls with as many tools and as more knowledge and stuff as possible. So when they're in a situation and they really need to make a decision, they're not really reliant on calling me or my wife, they could figure it out. And I think that's, what's gonna make me really proud that they could really figure it out. And, and, and they're doing that in order to optimize for their own happiness. So that's what I can hope for, you know?

Young Han (27:50):
Wow. That's a really good barometer of success. That's amazing. And it's, it's, it's really, really specific. And you've actually thought about this. You've thought through this a little bit. I know it's like a tough question, but it sounds like you, you actually have been put wondering this, well,

Mihir Pathak (28:05):
It's one of those things you think about at 3:00 AM when they won't go to sleep, you just walk, batting their backs and you know, it's like, you really think almost existentially about all of these things and life in general. So maybe some of that came up, but I don't know. I don't know what the answer is. That's you <laugh>.

Young Han (28:25):
Yeah, no, I, I hear you on that too. Right. And it's like, it's so funny because like, I gotta, I think I said this earlier too, but like every year I get older, I, I realize the less I know, you know, and it's just like, you keep like realizing that like in your youth you have this like unbelievable confidence in how the world is and what the world looks like. And then you get older and older. You just like, I don't know anything. And you're like, oh my God, I know less even about stuff. And, and then I have kids and then my judgment decreases and now like, I'm like too tired to even care and have an opinion. And, and so like everything just seems much more muted, you know? And you're just like much more open to just accepting the fact that, you know, you're just a much smaller piece and in a much bigger and complex world.

Young Han (29:06):
And yeah, it's really funny to say that, but it's also, doesn't stop me from trying, trying to figure out what the best thing is. And it kind of goes back to this thing of like, do you set, do you set the example for your kids by being a certain way, you know, or like, you know, showing them like what kind of person you want them to be? It's like the whole nature nurture thing. Right, right. Like, right. Like, do you, do you enact that or do you or are you actually like, just directing it? Cause like, I think that I learned a lot from my, so I'll give you some examples. Like, like I, I grew up in, you know, in a fairly, you know, traditional Korean family that, you know, first generation immigration immigrated over very similar story to you actually, you know, humble beginnings, all that good stuff.

Young Han (29:48):
And we didn't have as many luxuries in the beginning, right. To like actually do extracurriculars or learn things. But inevitably when we did, you know, we were immediately put into piano and I'm Korean. So we did Tew do. We had to do that, you know, like the standard stuff that you have to do, all these like specific things. And, but then like, you know, in the middle, middle school and high school, like my parents were very like open ended about it. So it'd be a lot, a lot less nurture and much more nature where they're like, yeah, if you're interested in something, let's go explore it. And so I chose music, you know, and I ended up learning like a handful of different instruments and my pay parents just paid for it. They're like, yeah, it's a good investment. And I mean, what I know is expensive, but it's like an interesting balance between like what you're doing and what that's gonna mean for their life. Right. How much do you control that and how much you don't? How, how, how are you, how are you handling that? Especially with your four year old as, as I'm sure she's starting to like, do what my four year old is doing is starting to like understand herself and wanting to she interest in different activities. Yeah.

Mihir Pathak (30:44):
Yeah. It's, it's a tough thing. I think I think exposure at this age is probably exposure to a lot of different things. And then if, if I recognize that she has an interest or she wants to go in a particular area, I'm in a position where if she wanted to, into the music, let's get our a couple instruments and you know, there's great stuff on YouTube, but in this colored environment, you know, our traveling and stuff like that has really taken a hit. And so what, what, what could we do at home or around home where we could cultivate some of those interests, maybe as grow at some point, the exposure moves into, you know, they're, they're really honing in on, on some specifics similar to, to what you said, maybe your parents' strategy was good, like expose 'em to everything. And then when he, or she gets old enough, let's let's, let's support that. Right. So I think, I think that's a good way of doing it, but I know at this age, like I haven't quite crossed that bridge yet, but at this age I'm trying my best to do as much exposure as possible.

Young Han (31:49):
Yeah, I think so too. I mean, I think the other polarity for me is that like my wife and I want different things from our kids, you know, like I, I want them to play music cause I have like this secret desire. It's not that secret. It's actually pretty public. I want them to play music with me, you know, and I want to be a YouTube of sensation, singing songs with my two beautiful girls. But <laugh>, I don't know, I'm making, I'm making facetious jokes, but my wife wants them to say again, what's that? Thank you. I appreciate <laugh>. It'll just be you <laugh> but I'll still appreciate it. I'll still appreciate it. And I'll be like, thanks brother. And my wife, you don't want them 'em to be outdoorsy. You know, she, she loves the outdoors, she loves to garden and she loves sports.

Young Han (32:28):
And so like, she wants them to be athletic and, and be outdoors and yeah, I mean, I'm okay with that as well, too, if that's what they want. I just, yeah. I just feel like, you know, there's like, there's certain things that I feel like we're gonna be able to learn and do well in. And there's certain things that people are naturally gonna be successful in. Like, I think we're all unique and different in that way. And I think that finding what you're naturally good at is going to be very helpful for you to be more successful. Like for example, there's things that you have to work incredibly hard at to be moderately good at and things that you could just like kind of half-ass and still be like in the top tier top 10%. And it's like, it's like, I, I feel like being a successful business person is all about finding that out about yourself and experiencing as many things as you possibly can to figure out what that thing is, where, you know, you don't have to like try hard to be in the top. And so if you actually, I hard on those things that you're naturally good at, you'll literally just like catapult yourself. Yeah. Right. Do, do you, do you agree with that concept of like doubling down on your strengths and figuring out what your strengths are and your passions are in work, in the work growth?

Mihir Pathak (33:31):
Yeah. I, I think I generally agree with that. It reminds me of like time when they're like, you know, I was a little stronger at math than it was on the verbal. And it's like, no matter what I do my verbal story wasn't really going up significantly. But, but if I focus on the math score, I could at least nail that, you know, and not make any dumb mistakes or something like that, that, and then just do the best I can on verbal. And maybe that combination would be a high enough overall score. So that was my strategy there. And I think inherently, I was, I was trying to go for what you're saying, like, you know, when you can recognize thoses and, and you have the ability to like really boost that it will CATA you that's on weaknesses and stuff like that, but it's like, where do you wanna, and what brings you that? I think a real, real struggle would be like, if you're really good at something, but you really hate doing it. That's right. I dunno what you <laugh>

Young Han (34:29):
That's right. That's right. That's a really good point. That's a really good point. And I think I've actually had those moments like once or twice in my life, which is probably why I have so many jobs as well. Like you as well. Right? My, my concern here, this, and this is probably gonna sound very evil of me as a, as a parent. And I hope that none of the parents will judge me, actually. I don't, I think that the non-parents will judge me more than the parents will. I worry that my kids are not gonna be athletic. Does that make sense? And I, and I'm pretty sure they're if they have my jeans, they're gonna be much more in tune with math and like naturally good at it. Like I just just know it and I can already like, kind of see it, like, you know what I mean?

Young Han (35:04):
Like, like the way my, my oldest calculates very quickly and she can, like, she can like process information a lot faster. And my, my younger ones, not quite as quick, you know, but my older one is a lot like quicker and you can like tell, you know? And so like, I don't, I don't, I don't know how to say it, but like to my wife, but I'm like, I'm like pretty sure we need to like, do something that's like steeped in like math, you know? And so, so that she can Excel in it naturally, which would be, you know, music would be a great one, cuz music, if you break down the composition of music and you know, the, the, the anatomy of it, so to speak, it's really mathematical. Yeah. And you can break it down into math sequences and, and obviously there's art behind it on top of it.

Young Han (35:45):
But the found foundational layers of it's very mathematical. And so I feel like she has an inclination for it. She has an interest for it. And I just, and this is me like totally like dictating her passionate life, but I just feel like she's just gonna Excel at it. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so then I, like, I, like, I fight with myself all the time. Cause I'm like, my wife wants her to play like baseball or like, I'm like first off, like what could, what is she gonna do with baseball? There's like, not even a good women's like softball, like softball league. Like I don't get it. Like, is that even gonna be a career? So it'll just be a that we spend time and money. It's like, I don't know. Maybe I'm being too Asian and like, like long term, like you could just be fun and passion, you know? But like, I don't even see the end in that, like, what's the end point for that. Right. And, and then for me, I'm like, at least with music, even if she doesn't become a professional musician, it's something that you can always do. Right. Right. No one's ever gonna be like, you play piano. Oh. You know, they're gonna be like, oh, that's awesome. Regardless of whatever you do. Right. Right. And so anyways, that's me like hedging bets and kind of like a little bit of a dictator to my <laugh>. 

Mihir Pathak (36:50):
I mean I dunno, I think expose them to everything and see where they go. Right. Cause some things you, you don't have to do for some like end game, right. You just do it for fun. If, if shooting hoops is something that, you know, she just enjoys to blow some steam off and helps manage some stress and stuff like that. That's a great way to, to have an activity that does that. And then if, if she were to go and, and do some other activity that is more consistent with a life goal, like she can be better at it because she blew off some steam and maybe music is the outlet or maybe baseball is outlet or, or whatever it is maybe is neither of those things. And she has a whole 30 that you don't even know about.

Young Han (37:30):
That's right. That's right. No, I know. That's what I mean. This is the conundrum man. This is the conundrum. This is why I get stressed out. Cause I'm like, crap. I'm like literally impacting this kid's life, you know, just by existing. And I'm like, so like Lafa about it when I need to like, think about like, Hey, like I gotta be more gracious and empathetic and open to this. Right. And just like be okay with like them figuring who they are. And so I I'm admitting it. I'm telling you that I'm yeah.

Mihir Pathak (37:57):
I've like loosen up a little bit on so, so there may be some things that I want her to do or a way I want her to do it or whatever my wife has has something. But what I'm trying to do is loosen up on that kinda thinking and just seeing what she wants to do. So for example, if we go out and get the mail and say it rained yesterday, and there's a puddle of water, I know she wants to jump in that puddle <laugh>. Yeah know. And I also know, so if one side of me knows that I'm like, it would be so much fun for the other side of me is like, oh my God, it's gonna take an hour to get showered and ready. And bedtime is coming up and you knows up more flexible there and just say, you know, I'll do the, just see the, maybe I can make a connection between that and like something in physics or something in, you know, you know, whatever weather or, you know, why, why is the rain? Does the sun not come there? Why does the backyard have sun in the front yard? Doesn't you know, like maybe there's ways to like tie stuff in. That's just like, but it's from their little point of view where they wanna have in their own way, again, not for an end game, but just from an exposure and curiosity thing, like let's, let's go deeper into whatever you're thinking about.

Young Han (39:23):
Holy dude. That's where you went with that. I thought you were going somewhere else. That's amazing. You would, you would try to take the parallel of jumping in a puddle and try to go a way to teach them like science. <Laugh> that's incredible. It's amazing.

Mihir Pathak (39:41):
I don't think you scared about like ma like right now, if I tell my daughter what's three plus two, she might not the year she'll like count or whatever. I have three cookies and I have two cookies. How so? She knows it. Like, like it reminds you Kevin from the office, like he can do publicated math in terms of pies or case, but when it comes to just raw numbers, it's like that kinda thing. OK. Let's explore it that way.

Young Han (40:11):
Yeah. Find your, find the motivation. And you're like, basically that goes back to the same thing you said at the very big, it's all about EQ. Cuz you're meeting them where they're at, you're finding their motivation and then showing them new things through that, through that model. And I totally know what you mean. I know what you mean about the cookie thing too. We do cookies as well. Like we count things <laugh> it's like amazing. Yeah. It's like so much better than just doing math. Yeah. Oh that's awesome, man. So cool. So can I ask you a personal question? Yeah, let's do it. Yeah. So do you have a favorite?

Mihir Pathak (40:43):
No, <laugh>, That's more with one over the other, but I don't have like a favor, but it's also probably related to age and stuff like that too. Your older daughter, like I can actually talk to her and we can, you know, have conversations that we can do imaginary, like games and stuff that, whereas with the younger one who's just now learning how to walk and, and put words together. I just love like, like in a playful way, just like tackling her and hugging her and you know, like doing that kinda fun. So it's it's but when my older daughter and I did that when she was that age. So I think it's just like based on where they are in life, different things. No, man, I don't have a favorite one. <Laugh> you favorite one either. Come on.

Young Han (41:40):
I honestly, it's so funny. It's so evil, but like up until about last year, I think I did <laugh> I may not openly admit it, but now I guess I just did in this, on this very, very open public setting. But up until last year I total did. Right. Like, and, and then now obviously I'm bonding with my second. So it's like, you know, much better, but like, I feel like guys, especially dads have such a hard time bonding with their kids the first year and a half, almost two years of the first, you know, they're like, so mom dependent and, and, and I mean, I, I don't know if you did breastfeeding or not, but like even when we were doing the, it was like, it wasn't the same. They like, they really needed it. Wasn't that connection. And I think it's also cuz like maybe it's me too.

Young Han (42:20):
Or maybe it's just guys in general, like the stereotypical guy, but like we, we need more like call and response where they just like, they're just so needy, <laugh> it sound like I'm complaining, you know, it's that age they just want, want, want, and they need, need, need. And like, you know, there's no reciprocation where at least when they're like three and four, like my three and four year, like we're like bantering, we're having fun. There's like a give and take. And it's like, it's like, it's like fun, you know? But like I'm, I'm just terrible about I'm terrible at like reading what I'm supposed to like, like, know what they want. Do you know what I'm saying?

Mihir Pathak (42:53):
It is, it is true. Like at a, at a younger age when they're first born and they're newborns and stuff, the mom is like, maybe the mom is always more important, but definitely way more important in the beginning. Right? Yeah. I think there's data that suggests like there's still bonding that happens with the dad and stuff. So definitely guys take your parental leave, but you're right. Like the over. So at like, I was more with my older daughter because my balance a lot, like that's right. That's right. Yeah. So maybe where you spend your time or the type of things you do, but from a love perspective, I know you love both.

Young Han (43:45):
No, I love both. It's just a funny thing, cuz I'm like, oh, cause you have like the, you have the same dynamic as me. So I just wanted to know if it was any kind of parallels in that. The other question that I'm not asking, anybody else that I wanna ask you cuz you have two, two girls, same age as me. Have you noticed that? Like they're, it's very challenging. Like they, like, you're like the most popular person in the room. Like everyone loves you like one minute and then literally an hour later, like everyone's mad at each other <laugh> and everyone hates you. <Laugh> have you noticed

Mihir Pathak (44:12):
That? Oh yeah. Oh absolutely. Absolutely.

Young Han (44:15):
Like wife and wife and included, like I have no idea. Like they're all like all the girls turned against you. Like, I don't know how nowhere have you that

Mihir Pathak (44:23):
The, the, the wife was doing that before kids, so <laugh> OK. There's nothing changed there.

Young Han (44:30):
Okay. Got it. Okay, cool. Cool. Cool. That's fair actually. 

Mihir Pathak (44:34):
Now that I think about it in hindsight, I think that's the same for me too. Yeah. It brings up an interesting point. It's it's it's like let's not take life too seriously. Like sometimes when I, I see my daughter, right. And she's in one she have like maybe a tantrum or she's about something or she's really upset about something that means the world to her. And for us it's like some what, like the cartoon wasn't on like what, what was the problem? Right. But in the second they can move from that emotional state to like laughing and happy and playful and all that. And it just to tell you that they're like to some degree, you know, they're, they're still developing their emotional maturity, but to another degree, I think adults have this thing where like they get too emotionally invested in something and, and they get stuck and sadness or anger or whatever they can get outta it.

Mihir Pathak (45:26):
And they're pivot. Kids are able pivot so quickly. It's amazing. It's actually a big lesson I learned from them. Like I'm in control of my own happiness. If I'm feeling sad, I should not dive deeper in it or explore it. Maybe there's some degree of healthiness to that, but at some point you gotta get it. And matter of fact, the you it and get it the quicker you'll into this happiness. And you can literally see that experiment right in front of you with your kids. And, and then the underlying more foundational layer is like, just don't that seriously? It's not that important. <Laugh> you like more you the, you actually know. Right. It's like, so I dunno. I dunno.

Young Han (46:15):
I, I love that, man. I, I love it. Like so cerebral about this. It's like, so in incredibly fun to interview you, because I think like you're very similar to what I, how I'm tackling it. You take it like you're treating it like a business venture or like some sort of like new venture and you like want to Excel at it. And so that's the same thing I do. I like look at it from a macro. I look at it from a mid, I look at it from a micro. I ask other people like this whole concept of even this podcast is so that I can like research how other people think about it, but it's really fun. But you take it like really far. You really like think through like the macro of it all like philosophically. It's very, very, it's very interesting. And I, I, I love how you like are compounding like these kind of macro level thoughts with the micro, but also like just, it's almost like you're trying to figure out the middle, like you're, you're equalizing it.

Young Han (47:00):
You're constantly trying to equalize it. Like you're, you're creating like the, the be well, like the diversified value. That's what you just said right earlier, diversifying your life and then trying to instill that into your kids. It's very good. I just heard your 10 minute notifier. So let's get you on ask four questions and get you outta here. Cause I know you're a busy man. Okay. Thank you for doing this. So let me, let me fire off these last four questions and I'll let you get outta here. Okay? Okay. So I'm asking these four questions to everybody I interview. So I'm hoping that this will create some symmetry to all the listeners that are listening to this in across different interviews. Okay. So I'm gonna fire 'em off. What advice do you have for other parents or soon to be parents

Mihir Pathak (47:36):
Soon to be parents enjoy the time you have together now, because as soon as kids come, everything changes in a good way. Mostly a good way. Enjoy like the boring things now, like watching movie, whatever, just do it. Cause it's gonna be so hard to do it later. And then existing parents just like play with your kids. Like just, just take a time out and, and get on the ground and just play with them. Do what they want, play candy land or play kitchen or, or, you know, whatever it is that they like to like, just do it and be a hundred percent in it. Not only is it good for your kids, but it's good for you. You you'll find another source of happiness. I think it, it really connects you with your kids in a different, so just get into it and play with them.

Young Han (48:27):
Amazing. I love both of those answers. If you Google, I can tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would it be?

Mihir Pathak (48:35):
A value of patience? I've I've not been a very patient person for a lot of my life. And I've had to develop that skill over time and you know, the, the things that the mother goes through especially during and C and, and afterwards and when the baby's here and then the first, you know, six months to a year, like just, just have some patience there and understand like you're not, you don't know everything <laugh> so just accept that. You don't know what you don't know. And as a result, just have some patie be a little bit more thoughtful and, and just be cool. Like don't, don't like rush the judgment or get upset and all those things, just check your emotions a little bit and be cool. That's more free, I guess, than dads, but you know, that's my, that's what I would tell. And I went back in time, just chill out a little bit.

Young Han (49:30):
Cool. My last for you, what's the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself about parenting?

Mihir Pathak (49:38):
Just I guess like the things that I thought brought me joy actually didn't to this degree, like, it's weird to say, obviously I love my life and my family and my friends and all that kinda stuff. But I didn't know, I could love someone or something so much until my daughter was born. My first daughter was born and just immediately the emotion that hits you is like, oh my God. <Laugh>. And I didn't know. I didn't even know what that was like that, that parental love, you know, that that was a game changer. I there's nobody that could have ever prepared me for that or described it to me like that, that was the thing that I learned about myself just to have that that was crazy. That was really crazy. And it probably opened up all this stuff interviewed years ago. I, I dunno,

Young Han (50:37):
A monster, just a pure monster. Yeah. Heart is a, yeah. Heart is a rock sharp as a knife, right? <Laugh> oh, man, here. Thank you so much for taking the time outta your busy day to talk to me about parenting and just your life in general, man. That was really, really great. And I really appreciate it. Thank you so much, brother. I'll talk to you soon. 


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