Daniel Mintz, 40, the New York - based cofounder and managing director of Olympus Capital Holdings Asia, an investment-management firm focused on companies in Asia.
Making time for face time with employees as well as with clients is a challenge for busy executives, especially those who spend a lot of time on the road. For Daniel Mintz, the pressure to connect became particularly intense some two years ago, when he took on another job title: Dad. Call it baby face time. Mintz was naturally worried that his young daughter, Noa, wouldn't feel connected to him while he was away from home for up to two weeks at a time.
Mintz had heard too many painful stories from his friends about the "stranger treatment" they got from their young kids after their return from a business trip.
Mintz introduced Noa to videoconferencing when she was only 4 months old. She was slow on the initial uptake — barely noticing the strange man waving at her on the screen. But these days, Noa claps, flaps, and paws at the screen when Mintz appears on the home computer. Now when he's on the road, Mintz holds a videoconference with his family every couple of days. The sessions last about 10 minutes — which can add up. Mintz says he spends roughly $200 on videoconference calls each trip. But the digital connection seems to be working. Noa doesn't hold grudges against Mintz after he returns home from a lengthy trip. When she sees him, her eyes widen, and she smiles a delighted grin. "She gives me the same sunny, 'thanks-for-stopping-by' look when I come back from a business trip that I get every other morning when I pick her up from her crib. Travel is an integral part of my job, and it clearly has a cost. But at least I use whatever tools I can to stay in touch."
A version of this article appeared in the November 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.