Despite the fact that Guy Kawasaki had been interviewed so many times before, this is a rare gift. Why? Because previous interviews were more on business, marketing, and blogging. But in this exclusive interview, Guy reveals his life as a father of four children and shares his insights on parenting.
In case you’ve not heard of Guy Kawasaki, he is a well known venture capitalist, author of many books such as The Art of the Start and Rules For Revolutionaries, and the former chief evangelist of Apple. He recently launched a new website called Truemors.com.
1) If there’s only one thing, what would be the best gift you could give to your children?
When they’re growing up, the answer is clearly “time.” That is, being with them all the time and not focusing on this fiction called “quality time.” It’s pure and simple the amount of time—it doesn’t have to be on a beach in Hawaii.
The second best gift is the belief that they can accomplish great things if they work hard at it. This is the most important life lesson that a parent can pass on to their children.
2) What’s your biggest parenting mistake and what did you do to rectify it?
I let our kids play a lot of electronic games. I often wonder we should ram piano, other languages, and extra math classes down their throat so they can be over achievers like every other Silicon Valley parent strives for. It’s a fine line between under-parenting and over-parenting.
3) You are a venture capitalist as well as an author. How do you balance between your business ventures, your writing and your four children? And what are the activities you like to do with your children?
Who says that I balance everything? It’s very difficult. I just try to do what I can–for example, when I’m not traveling, I try not to spend too much time in the office. I love to play hockey and baseball with my older kids and take my younger kids to the park on almost a daily basis. I’m 53 years old—work means a lot less to me than before.
4) What’s the best way to teach children about business and money?
I struggle with this issue. If you pay them to do chores, then they learn the value of work. But they should also learn the intrinsic value of work and how they are obligated to contribute to the family. I think the answer is to establish a baseline of stuff that they have to do and they get paid for efforts above and beyond the call of duty.
5) What’s the biggest problem you ever faced so far as a father and how did you overcome it?
It’s hard to know when to draw the line: do you let them explore, rebel, etc or keep a tight rein? Is too loose a rein going to cause them to go off the deep end? Is too tight a rein going cause them to rebel later–so you win the battle, but lose the war?