Fatherhood Advice from 5x Founder David Cancel

david cancel family

David Cancel is a 5X founder, former CPO at Hubspot and currently the CEO of Drift. Wonder how he does it while having two young children? Well it’s not balance thats for sure, he is not a believer in balance. Oh yeah, he wakes up at 5:30am, rarely travels and brings his family into his office on occasion. David brings some ultra practical advice on founding companies and being an intentional father.

You can also find David dropping knowledge on his business podcast over at SeekingWisdom

show notes (time stamps are approximate)

4yr old son

10yr old daughter

married for each of all 5 of the startups, daughter part of 3 of the startups

4:00 David doesn’t believe in balance and most people that strive for balance try to achieve it each day which is impossible because life is a constant ebb and flow. Balance is more on a macro scale.

5:40 Schedules are unpredictable and nights especially, so he focuses his energy on being present and spending time with his kids in the morning. He does not travel much because he would miss the morning. Has breakfast with them and drives them to school. He’s intentionally offline during this time.

7:00 He gets up by 5:30am

7:30 His family is super involved in many ways but he does try and shield them from the ups and downs of a startup. He has his team over for dinner and brings his family to the office.

8:50 the first thing he asks a potential hire that has a spouse what their spouse thinks of the job and the company

9:30 he would label himself as more conservative and its his wife that encourages him to “go for it” in many situations

10:20 both parents immigrated to the US and would attribute his work ethic to his upbringing amongst his parents being business owners, they give him the “ultimate perspective”

11:40 all you can do is try and do a little bit better with your kids then your parents did with you. Once you have children you realize that its 99% nature and 1% nurture and its about fostering their personality.

13:20 the most important thing they do with their kids is promoting the ideal of the individual, letting them learn from their mistakes and not step in to help them too much. Let them learn at their own pace.

14:45 biggest failure with his kids is patience, constantly wanting to step in and teach his kids in the way he learns. Attributed to his personality of a founder, he’s more prone to want to step in and take charge.

15:30 understanding personality if huge with children as well as in a team, relating to different personality types the way they want to be related to and not the way we want to

17:30 advice to the first time father – talk about the founding of the company and if its the right decision. Also try and test new things and

19:45 spend time with other startup dads and trade ideas. Be intentional!

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Source: 2 Cent Dad