What is Family Founder?
Family Founder is the survival guide for anyone masochistic enough to build a company while raising kids at the same time. If you’re up before the sun reading this, or if your idea of a “break” is responding to email while your child quietly watches “Cars,” then Family Founder is for you.
I publish as frequently as life permits. Read on if you want a better idea of what that means.
It’s 5:00 am and I’m squinting into the glare of a laptop in an otherwise dark house. It’s the only time that I can get any writing done, or have any time to myself for that matter.
Sometime in the next hour, a three-year-old will shuffle into the living room performing his one-man “Toy Story” routine and the babies - yes, plural - will start shouting into the void of Monday morning.
My peace is broken. The race is on.
Change diapers, make breakfasts, pack a lunch, entertain kids, put the babies down for a nap, shower (if I’m lucky), head to the garage office for nine hours of Zoom calls, give the babies baths, bottles, stories, put the babies to bed, another bath, more stories, put the three-year-old to bed, eat dinner, do all the actual work that I couldn’t get to during my ‘work’ day, clean the kitchen, collapse into bed, worry about the product roadmap being right, think about the consequences if it isn’t, feel sorry for myself, go to sleep. Repeat until...I don’t want to think about it.
Building a company while raising kids can feel impossible. It’s like a video game when your character is about to die. The screen is flashing red. The monsters are closing in. Frantic, you search for a health pack while fending off the onslaught.
But you never find the health pack. There is no cheat code to save your ass. And those monsters never quite finish you off. You just squeak by and survive.
When I was a kid, faced with similar challenges, I turned to the pages of Nintendo Power. I poured over any issue I could get my hands on, absorbing the latest tips, tricks, and maps to solve the most vexing non-girl-related mysteries of my young life. It was the survival manual for our prepubescent tribe.
Similar guides exist for startup founders today: Twitter, podcasts, Medium, Substack (👋), books. There are plenty of smart people doling out wisdom on how to build a successful company, optimize your life, get rich, and ride off into the angel investing sunset. It makes for fun reading and, if you’re a parent, a bit of harmless fantasy.
“Yes! I really could optimize my performance if I slept for 8 hours each day!”
Most of this advice isn’t written for people like me.
I’m not going to move in with my friends and stay up all night in a Red Bull-fueled ideation frenzy. No, I’m going to stay up all night right here in my living room, returning emails from last week with the occasional break to help a crying baby fall back asleep.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Professional ambition doesn’t stop when you have kids. I still want to build companies. I still love making products. I’m still hungry to learn.
But I’m also going to wake up early and make pancakes. I’m going to ignore this nagging jiu-jitsu injury to my shoulder and throw squealing kids into the air. I’m going to unplug for the occasional weekend to connect with my wife. Family is the bedrock of who I am.
I’m going to find the balance. I’m going to win the game.
This is my startup trip. Maybe it’s yours too. If so, then Family Founder is for you. Think of it as Nintendo Power for people who don’t have time to play Nintendo.
We’re in this together. 🤜🤛
My name is Derek Browers and I make things for a living.
In 2010, I helped launch a SaaS startup called MomentFeed. I went on to invent our first revenue-generating product and have been Head of Product ever since. Today, MomentFeed’s software is used by marketers at some of the largest brands in the world.
I’m married and am the father of three young kids. Which means...well...I don’t sleep much.
Have a question or feedback? DM me on Twitter @DMBrowers.