What I Learned About Work, Money, Life, and Family

My answer to the Make Me Smart question from the podcast of the same name. I am addicted to Marketplace and all of their shows, this one is new and a particular favorite of mine. You can find more at marketplace.org/makemesmart

Full Transcript

Hey Kai, Molly, love you guys, love the show, especially the new, Make Me Smart one, but I listen to almost all of your podcasts, honestly. I was super excited when, the last episode I heard, while I was hiking today, was you were asking your audience, us, what our answer would be to the Make Me Smart question, and I was actually going to send this over anyways, but I'm excited that you're asking because it's something that I've thought about for a while. It really made me try to think what do I know now that I didn't know before? The answer I have is something that, I guess, I share with, I do a lot of speaking and I get up in front of budding data scientists, and web developers, and software engineers at these different boot camps, and people that are just learning these things, and I try to share what I've learned. I've been in this tech industry for 17 years now, a full half of my life, and one of the things that I've learned in the recent years that I never even imagined before was that the way you get paid should have a longer effect than just the time you put into it. So maybe a simpler way to say that is, if you just go to work and come home and you're just exchanging your time for money, just one-to-one exchange there. Now throughout your career you'll maybe advance in your positions, and you'll get raises, and you'll make more money, but you're still just transitioning that one-for-one. But the thing I learned, and this happened to me when I had my son a year and a half ago, was I realized that the most valuable commodity wasn't money, but time. And more and more money didn't really seem to give you more and more time. So I started looking at avenues and ways of generating income without me having to give my time. So I give my time once, and then I continue to make money, even if it's just a little bit, for well into the future. So I spent the first year of my son's life really trying to build that up and then I was able to actually quit my job, and a lot of people thought I was crazy. I had reached one of the highest levels, I was the Chief Data Officer for a extremely popular, growing startup. And it, by all means, was the pinnacle of success for my corporate life. But by no means was it at all my happiest moment in my overall life. So by learning that finding ways to get more time back and the way I found is to do things that generate residual income, such as making videos, or online courses, or podcasts, or whatever, that is the lesson that I didn't even know that I could learn. It was something that I feel like I know now, and it is just a great focal point. For example, I get hit up all the time to do consulting gigs at different companies and stuff, and the answer is always no unless there's some kind of upside to it, maybe equity share or something else, but generally companies aren't interested in that. So I find focusing based on this principle has really helped me get back a lot of that time. Now I only work about three days a week, and I spend the rest of that time with my wife and my son. Regardless of how my bank account looks, or portfolio is, or this or that, none of that matters, because I am far richer than I could have ever been before following my old way of thinking. So there you go. I hope you watch this, I mean, at very least it's just nice to connect with you and you see me as I listen to you and watch you guys all the time, so keep doing what you're doing, I love it, and I'll check you out on the podcast soon. Thanks.