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All in the Family

Meeting I Never Miss

M.I.N.M: Sunday Night Meeting

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Who: Craig Forman, cofounder and CEO, myprimetime.com

Email: cforman@myprimetime.com

Players: “My family — my wife, Cecile; our seven-year-old son, Elliot; and me.”

Frequency: “Every Sunday, without fail, at 6:30 PM.”

Why I Never Miss It: “This ‘meeting’ brings us together and gives us the motivation to attack the week. It’s an anchor for all three of us.”

The biggest problem with living in a 24-hour economy is that it leaves so little time for, well, living. By the time you’ve met your commitments to your customers, your colleagues, and your investors, there aren’t many hours left in the day for your family. That’s why Craig Forman, 38, the CEO of myprimetime.com, a Web site that helps baby boomers make better use of their time, schedules a weekly meeting with his wife and young son. He wants to make sure that his family’s priorities don’t get lost in the frenzy of Silicon Valley’s startup culture.

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Every Sunday at 6:30 PM, the Forman family sits around the kitchen table in their home, in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, to discuss the details of the coming week. “My week doesn’t have a beginning or an end,” Forman says. “I live the startup life: I travel a lot, and I carry a bunch of cell-phones plus an Internet pager. This family meeting allows us to come together and update one another about what’s on tap for the week ahead.”

Guiding Principle

Quality time. “We don’t have as much time together as we’d like, so we make the time we do have meaningful and productive. We start each meeting by digging into the issues we’re facing that week. We’re a bilingual family, and Elliot has always attended a French-speaking school. When we moved across the country and Elliot had to switch schools, we wanted to make sure that his French was up to snuff. Whether or not we should get him a tutor was an issue that we raised at one of our meetings.”

Best Practice

It’s the family business. “Our family meetings are like my company’s project update sessions. They really matter. Nothing — not friends, phone calls, or TV — interrupts them.”

Talking Stick

“We take turns telling one another what’s on our schedule for the coming week and what’s been nagging at us. The meeting also provides an opportunity to teach Elliot about what I do — which is important, since I spend so much time doing it. For example, when myprimetime.com was closing one of its investment rounds, I explained to Elliot during our meeting that money was being deposited in our account but that, because it was a weekend, we wouldn’t see it until Monday. I used that time to teach my son how cash flow works.”

Postgame

“We have great conversations, but the real point of these meetings is to affect how we spend our time. For example, Elliot loves in-line skating. My wife and I realized how important it was to him when, at one of our family meetings, he just blurted out, ‘Why don’t you guys finally learn how to do it?’ So that’s exactly what we did.”

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