Diving into the deep end of family planning, finding the right parenting footing with your spouse, and applying the concepts of integration and setting boundaries, Sriram shares both his and his wife’s experiences with their two girls, aged two and a half and 9 months old.
Sriram is the Director for Sales Strategy and Operations at Salesforce. He leads a multi-faceted team spanning sales strategy, sales operations, and go-to-market strategy. Before Salesforce, he began his career at McKinsey before joining Dell as the Director of Global Operations Strategy and Digital Transformation, and finally Salesforce.
In this episode, Sriram shares his parenthood journey, and how he is supported by the people around him. He also talks about parenting mindsets as having more empathy and patience, and also describes parenting as a team activity rather than a ‘helping’ one.
He also shares personal anecdotes on his transition to fatherhood, particularly on learning how to compartmentalise, how to integrate both family life and work together, and how to set boundaries.
To get in touch with Sriram Ved, find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sriram-ved/
Thanks for listening to the Parents in Tech podcast with me, your host, Qin En. We hope you were inspired on how to raise kids and build companies. To catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www. to join our community of parents in tech. There, you can also drop me a question, idea, feedback or suggestion. See you next time!
[0:06] Introducing today’s guest, Sriram Ved
[1:18] About his wife
[1:58] On deciding to have kids
[4:18] The transition to parenthood
[6:42] The challenges his wife and all mothers face
[9:12] Tips on how to support your wife
[11:25] The mindset shift
[13:02] On raising another child, the second time around
[14:20] Confidence on both ends
[15:10] From zero to one and one to two
[17:20] The concept of recovery
[19:56] About the ‘terrible twos’
[22:51] Schooling and environment
[25:35] Parenting as a team activity
[27:53] Work-life balance versus work-life integration
[31:37] The challenges of parenting
[34:45] Resources and safe spaces
[41:06] Connect with Sriram Ved
Qin En 0:06
In this episode, we speak to Sriram, Director for Sales Strategy and Operations at Salesforce. Sriram began his career at McKinsey before joining Dell as the Director of Global Operations Strategy and Digital Transformation. He's a passionate problem solver who loves building teams.
At Salesforce, he leads a multi-faceted team spanning sales strategy, sales ops, and go-to-market strategy. Sriram is a father to two daughters, each two and a half years old and nine months.
Hey, Sriram. Welcome to the Parents In Tech podcast. To begin with, can you tell us a bit more about your family?
Sriram Ved 0:49
Yes, of course. And thanks a lot for having me here.
I'm super excited for this initiative that you're driving. I personally enjoy the podcast a lot, so really, thanks for having me here. A bit about my family: So I have the privilege of being a dad to two beautiful girls. I've got a two-and-a-half-year-old and a nine-month-old. They keep the household very vibrant and very busy, and I’m really enjoying it.
I also, I'm married to a mom in tech, so that keeps the household discussions pretty interesting as well.
Qin En 1:18
Okay. Okay. So let's start off from the beginning. How did you meet your wife?
Sriram Ved 1:22
Oh boy, this is an interesting story. My wife is Vietnamese, so we're pretty mixed and pretty, I would say, diverse family—if I can use that phrase. We met in Singapore so we're both originally not from here. I'm from India. She's from Vietnam. We met in Singapore, we kind of randomly ran into each other in Chinatown. We joked that we were both too busy to date other people, and we only met on the weekends and we ended up being together.
Qin En 1:51
That's beautiful. So when did the topic of having children? How many children? When to have children? When did those come about?
Sriram Ved 1:58
Kids were always something that I think both of us wanted, but we didn't explicitly discuss it for quite a long time. So we dated for about four years before we decided to get married.
And during the process, we started living together and we had a lot of kids around in our condo. And we would really enjoy just watching them play in the swimming pool or you're trying to join them for some small games. And I think that's kind of how we figured out that both of us wanted kids.
As they say with kids, there's never a right time. So when both of us stopped being so busy in some of the project work, we were like, “Hey, why don't we just try to have a baby?” And luckily, things worked out pretty quickly and nine months later we had a baby. So that's—we sort of got thrown into the deep end and we've been having a lot of fun with it though.
Qin En 1:51
That's wonderful. That's wonderful. And of course, with two young daughters, two-and-a-half and nine months, it must be quite a busy, but also quite an enjoyable time. So maybe tell me a bit more about the past? Let's say the past two and a half to three years. How has life changed for you?
Sriram Ved 3:10
That's a very interesting question.
So three years seems, you know how they say that the days are long, but the years are short. And I think that is probably the easiest way to describe what it's been like for the last three years. Going from zero to one was a huge learning curve in terms of many different areas that I'm sure we'll get into in a bit.
But that's been a huge learning curve just from, I would say, the hard skills of being a parent. But going from one to two, the entropy just multiplies by manyfold. I would definitely say that a one plus one is not equal to two in this case. And that's basically how it's been for the last three years.
Qin En 3:55
Okay. I would definitely want to unpack a bit more on that because I'm going to go through that phase—or rather I'm in the midst of going through that with a 17-month-old daughter. So definitely want to lead, but perhaps let's go for the beginning. When you first welcome your elder daughter into the world, what was perhaps the biggest surprise that you had? Transitioning from that to becoming a dad.
Sriram Ved 4:18
Yeah. There were a few things that you know we, being the dedicated corporate employees that we have been on all our lives, read a lot about it. We interviewed a lot of parents who were there before, who’s been on that journey. But I think there is nothing theoretical that can really prepare you to be an actual parent.
The thing that surprised me most though is it's a bit counter-intuitive, but I feel like I have better integration between my work and life after I've got kids. And I always worry that it would be quite the opposite. I've heard horror stories about how, you know, kids feel neglected, parents feel really guilty. But for some reason, I feel like I am able to compartmentalise better ever since I became a dad.
Because when I'm with my girls, I'm there with them a hundred percent. And that is the only time, to be totally honest, that I'm not thinking about work in any way or form. And I feel like I come out energised after playing with kids as opposed to, you know, I try to do other hobbies.
Like even when I go for a run, I'm still thinking about work somewhere at the back of my mind. But with kids, it's quite the opposite. So that's been really surprising.
A couple of other things that have also—I was surprised that it led to the kind of evolution that it did—in the sense that I look at my wife who is extremely driven and who is constantly trying to balance her career with being a great mom every single day.
And I think I have become much more aware and conscious of some of the challenges that working moms face that I might have not been aware of in the same level of detail in the past. And I just want to say, like, it is just incredible watching and admiring some of the things that she's able to do in her career.
So I think those are some really important, surprising things that I found myself transforming in.
Qin En 6:28
That's wonderful. And the fact that you are able to observe, acknowledge, and recognize it’s so important. So maybe could you share a bit more about what were some of the challenges that you observed that your wife had to go through and how did she overcome it?
Sriram Ved 6:42
Yeah, I think, and this is just me not going through it myself so I'm totally aware that there's a lot more than what I could possibly observe. But with that caveat in place, I think in general, I found that she felt the guilt of not spending time with kids every single minute. A lot more than I did, in all honesty.
I think she—every single minute that she was not able to feed the kids or heard them cry when she was in a meeting, it really, really took a toll on her. And being the great professional that she is, she probably didn't let any of our teams see that, but I could see that being behind her webcam on the other side of the computer.
So it is definitely that in terms of constantly juggling the time, but what has also been a challenge in my observation is there is a lot of, even though we live in a pretty advanced society and we've made a lot of progress, there's still a lot of preconceived notions of the wife being the primary caregiver of the kid.
And that is a notion that is hard to shake off. Even people who genuinely care about you and your extended family can have notions about what you're supposed to do as a mom, and those notions don't always apply to a dad. And I was unaware of how stringently some of those notions could play into people's careers and then how they view the number of hours they put into their work.
So I've seen her grow into all of these and she probably worked harder than a dad in a similar situation would have, to overcome some of these, right? So I wish there was an easy answer to like, how did she overcome this. Unfortunately, the answer in most cases is to just work way harder than others would have to.
Qin En 8:42
Yeah, definitely. I think that, unfortunately, while things are changing, it's too slow. It's always a gradual process. And yeah, I agree that it does seem very much. It's the stereotype.
But I guess from your perspective, also, as a husband, as a dad, what are perhaps one or two things that you felt you did to support her, especially in the transition as new parents a couple of years back that were particularly helpful, right? Looking back, you would do it again and you would suggest fellow dads and husbands do.
Sriram Ved 9:12
Yeah, definitely a couple of things that I have learned, and a lot of these things that I've learned are totally by trial and error. And I think I would like to believe that I've become better with my second daughter than I was with my first one and learned along the way.
The first thing that I would say to that is to try to educate yourself as much as possible about what your wife is going through. As much as you're becoming a dad, she is not only becoming a mom but possibly undergoing a pretty big shift in terms of how she views herself as a person. And not to mention the biological changes that she's going through.
So I would say have extra empathy. Be super patient. Kids can be really, really hard but just having that mindset, going into it, is really helpful. In terms of specific things that I found myself doing is I just let go of a lot of, you know, things that, for example, like a lot of the changing rooms, just very practically, are right next to the women's washroom and you wouldn't see much changing room inside men's rooms. Right? And you just have to like muster up the cards saying, I need to change my kid. So I'm going to go in and do it. Right?
Or I see, I mean, this is less of a problem in Singapore, but if you need to wear whatever funny-looking bags that you need to wear, while you walk around the city, holding all this stuff, do it. Right? And as you become a dad, you start wearing it as a sense of pride, more than trying to shy away from people.
So I think a couple of those small things go a long way and just have a lot of empathy and patience in general.
Qin En 11:03
Yeah. I love that. We're at the part about not being afraid of our identity, literally not being worried about getting your hands dirty, changing diapers at all. That's wonderful. Definitely need to see more of this. I think it's already happening as you have shown, but is always progress and a journey that we can continue to take.
Sriram Ved 11:25
Yeah. And I think just related to that, I mean, talking about the mindset shift earlier, I found that a lot of the parenting books, even the well-meaning parenting books, only address a mom and they don't address a dad. Or they primarily address about like, “Hey, like, you know, she needs to do that, or she needs to do that.” Whereas, I feel like as a dad, a lot of those things still apply, even though they're written from a mom's perspective.
So, that is another mindset shift that I went through and I encourage all my new dad friends to also do. And finally, I think one mindset shift that also happened during the course of this is not just about helping the wife. Because help automatically implies that it's one person's job and another person's doing a favour.
I think just losing the word help from the dictionary helps a lot. No pun intended, but it, it really goes to—it's more of a partnership than someone helping someone do something else.
Qin En 12:32
Yeah. Wow. That's so powerful. I fully agree. Right. The frame of the mind, the way the context is being said. Truly, it makes a lot of difference and it still reviews a lot of the potential biases that we carry.
Now, Sriram, you also mentioned something that's pretty interesting. You say that you felt that you were a better dad to your second daughter than to your first? Tell me a bit more about those differences. What were things that you did not know the first time around, but the second time around, you're like, oh, okay, I got this.
Sriram Ved 13:02
I was hoping you wouldn't catch on to that. I think in a lot of ways. You know, when you're a dad for the second time over, I think you're just way more confident. At least I was. I was way more confident in terms of not just taking care better care of my daughter and knowing what, you know, being aware of her needs and how to generally handle a tantrum or how to know when she's having a meltdown or when she's teething. Like all those things you definitely gained more experience.
But what I think I've also learned the second time around is I can do way more than I thought. Like the first time, I was really scared. As like,” Hey, should I do this? Or should I just let my wife do it?” I don't know if I can handle the kid for four hours. Right. But the second time I've been a lot more comfortable with her, with my wife, just going out with her friends for a day and just having the kid. And I feel like I could have done that the first time—I was just really scared.
So I think as a dad, that confidence really helps. And it helped my wife in turn have a life outside being a mom for the most part.
Qin En 14:20
Yeah. And you know, you say that and I think it's so true, it's so important sometimes for wives and moms to also have some time of their own. Especially working moms, moms in tech, they feel like after work and my wife goes through this after work, they just want to be with the family all the time.
But you being able to take care of the kid to give her that space, to hang out with friends, or even just go out to do something of her own. That’s so precious, and the confidence that you have is wonderful.
Sriram Ved 14:47
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's interesting that confidence goes both ways. I think with the first one, my wife was probably pretty nervous to just leave the kid with me all the time.
Now, I think she doesn't feel the need to look at me in the camera or like call me every 10 minutes to make sure you're not, I'm not burning things down to the ground. So I think that confidence goes both ways.
Qin En 15:10
Absolutely. Also earlier, you wish to share a very interesting entropy multiplier, from zero to one and one to two.
So I'm going through the process now, but I would love to hear what that meant for you? To describe it. And also of course, how are you dealing and managing?
Sriram Ved 15:28
Yeah. I will try my best to sort of look at this from a more logical perspective. It's really hard to bring logic into this, but that's probably how my brain thinks anyway.
But if you think about, you know, past life, your kid is probably going through a meltdown, there's throwing food on the floor, or, you know, blank laying themselves down and crying down in a shopping mall, things like that. Those are really the stressful events that you go through.
And then you've got a bunch of moments where they're either sleeping or they're really happy. And they're well-behaved and that's the moment when you have recovery, right? So you've got constant moments of stress and recovery, stress and recovery, and now you, and that you started figuring out a rhythm and every kid is different and you figure out how your kid works and, and you learn how to become a good parent in that context.
Now, when you have two distress and recovery periods, they keep overlapping in various strange ways. And you will find that the recovery period of your first kid is when your other kid might give you a moment of stress. So it's very easy to fall into this trap of having like this constant stress line that sort of like cumulating on top of each other.
Another concept that I realised is the concept of accumulated fatigue. You know, you just, it just keeps piling on every day. And we're not even talking about work. This is just kids. Right? So that's why I think the entropy really multiplies and grows exponentially because there's an effect of time.
There's an effect of continuity where you're not getting those recovery cycles that you did as a parent in the past. And there are ways to overcome it. But that's why I feel like, you know, one plus one is way more than two.
Qin En 17:16
So what does recovery look like for you and your wife?
Sriram Ved 17:20
I think in a lot of ways, recovery is the way we are trying to do that. And probably recovery is a bit of a drastic term on my part, but we try to find enjoyable activities that we can do as a group of four.
And that has been, we feel like we've made progress ever since the second kid has started sitting up, starting to crawl around, playing small games and the older sister fully evolves into her role as an older sister, although she's only two and a half years old.
That I think has been a huge change in terms of how we bond together as a family, how we take away, minimise some of those stressful moments and try to, you know, create shared experiences that will all make us feel better for it.
Qin En 18:13
Yeah. The part about the older kid evolving to be an older sibling, I think it's one of the magical things, especially when the age gap, it's smaller. Tell me a bit more about what that looks like. It doves off her stepping up, almost in inverted commerce to be the eldest, even though she's only two and a half years old.
Sriram Ved 18:33
Fortunately, I think in my case, I think she always felt extremely secure, and partly there is COVID to thank for that.
She's never seen us go off on business travels. She's had both mom and dad with her every single day of her life so far. And we did travel a lot as a family before COVID struck. A joke that she's probably one of the youngest Chris fliers, silver members out there.
She's been on travel, but she's never had us away from her. And I think that helped her a lot because she knew that even though we had to take care of the second kid, we were always there for her. Even though she didn't see us for a few hours, we would come back. And I think that that made her adjustment period to having another kid in the house fairly less stressful than what could have been if we were absent from her life for extended periods of time.
And I think she also saw one of the conscious choices we made is for her to get started in a preschool before the kid was born so that she doesn't associate the two events that, you know, now there's a new kid and by the way, I'm being sent away to school.
So I think that that was a really good piece of advice we got from another parent who went through a similar journey as us. And I think that really worked.
Qin En 19:56
That is good advice. It's so important, right? The timing. Especially when they're young, they might not know how to dissociate these things. And so it might be—I think that's a good move. That's a piece of advice I, myself, have nothing to go. So telling me a bit more, is the terrible twos a thing?
Sriram Ved 20:13
This may not be a surprise, or maybe I'm gonna say something that you may not like, but I think terrible twos is definitely a phase, but I think it's, it's more than twos. I think it's a range of age between anywhere between one and a half and four—it’s based on what I gathered. And there is no science behind my answer, but this is what I gather from talking to many friends of mine.
And obviously, it's a wave. And the way I understand from observing my daughter is she's just trying to make sense of things. And a lot of times she's trying to set boundaries.
She's trying to figure out what can she push to get what she wants? And our approach to this, as painful as it sounds, is to not react. To say, “Hey, if you're just gonna cry and lay on the floor, you're not going to get what you want.” Like, I know you're really stressed. But also more medical aid talking to some of my, medical friends and acquaintances, their brain is going through an inherent, incredible amount of change. And we just need to let them deal with it.
It's like someone told me it's like teething, but for the brain. And I think that makes a lot of sense because you just need to let it go. You just need to let them have their moment and acknowledge that you're going through a tough phase and I will be there for you. But it's gonna end.
Qin En 20:41
So do you have any advice or tips for someone who's gonna have a kid that enters that phase, that the lower bound of that definitely is very soon? Yeah. What are some of the things that you’ve learned?
Sriram Ved 21:53
I think my biggest learning has been is to just let it play and try not to suppress it, let them have the moment where they are stressed and they're trying to go through that tantrum and let it play out completely.
The second thing that I try to do is just make them feel really supported through the process. Saying that “Hey, daddy's not gonna like be angry at you because you're going through a tantrum because it's not your fault. Right. It's biology playing out and we'll let it play out and I'll be there for you.”
And I think the third and final thing is, I've sensed that ever since my daughter's been having more kids also, thanks to like COVID getting a little more relaxed and being allowed to meet other families and stuff, she became more social and she's, you know, started making friends of her own at school and otherwise that has really, really helped her control her emotions and get a grasp over how to express herself better.
Qin En 22:51
Yeah. Got it. Got it. And on the topic of school, right, we live in Asian culture. Both you and your wife. Different but the commonalities we all Asian and, you know, there's a huge emphasis on schooling. Was that a difficult process for you guys? Or was it relatively straightforward?
Sriram Ved 23:11
In terms of like putting her in school or deciding when to put her?
Qin En 23:14
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Finding a school, picking, finding, yeah. Finding the school, when to send her, and all of those things. I guess in when to send her you sort of figured it out that it should be before the second when comes up, but it’s the picking of schools, right, that can be quite an undertaking from what I hear from some. What was it like for you guys?
Sriram Ved 23:30
Yeah, I think we sort of blame it on the lack of time that we didn't really put in as much effort as we probably would have in any other piece of work. But there are a couple of principles that we try to stick by. One, it was very important for the kids to have an outdoor space.
We live in a condo and we don't have the amount of outdoor space within the house as we did growing up in our respective countries. And it was very important for both of us to have outdoor space. That quickly knocked out like all the schools that are inside malls and buildings and stuff like that.
So we were left with a pretty short list. And then we made a very intentional choice to live next to the preschool. So the place that we are staying right now is within walking distance of where my daughter goes. I didn't want her to spend a lot of time on the bus.
So. Very simple, basic criteria. That's all we used. And the best school that we found with open space and a nicer area to live around there is where we picked.
Qin En 24:37
Gotcha. So it's basically a process of elimination, right? Outdoor space, somewhere that's close, has open spots. And pretty much tell us this school that you’ve found. That’s wonderful.
Sriram Ved 24:45
It’s interesting you mentioned open spots because usually, that's the only criteria that end up working because of the amount of demand in Singapore.
Qin En 24:53
It is ridiculous. I might say like, I'm surprised for a start, there are so many schools. And I guess even before I became a parent, I thought, yeah, I wouldn’t be an issue? Right?
Like, it seems like every other corner you turn, there's a, it's a preschool, but it seems like people book those slots even before the child is born. Which is, yeah. Got it. Got it.
Now let's shift gears if that’s alright. You talked about work and how work-life balance actually became better for you after you became a dad. Were there any moments where you felt like potentially you had to slow down in terms of your career? After you started a family or were there a few such concerns?
Sriram Ved 25:36
That's a very interesting question because not a lot of dads get asked this question and I'm very glad you asked it. Because a lot of people believe that slowing down is somehow related to getting pregnant.
And in my family, at least, my wife and I always discussed that. We look at parenting very much, as a team activity. And I think it's a very pertinent question. It's something that I've definitely thought about and probably played a part in me, moving away from management consulting, where I was travelling close to a hundred percent of the time, or as many days as you could, as a visa allows you.
So I was travelling a lot and I have definitely cut down on the amount of travel that I did. That was probably driven by the fact that we were hoping to have kids at a not-so-distant point. But other than that, I always tried to not balance work and life. I felt that that, that worked in a certain, you know, probably 10, 20 years ago were before our time.
But, I think with how things are being done right now, especially in tech, I very much tried to focus on integration. However, what it doesn't mean is, that I don't try to let work permeate every part of my life. I'm very much about setting boundaries and, you know, trying to be my best within those boundaries.
And what I've also found, especially in my consulting life, is a lot of dads who were trying to be an exceptionally high performer at work, who eventually got burned out and felt very disconnected from their kids. Then one of the saddest things that I've ever seen is a dad being away most time of the week comes back on the weekend and the kids don't really want to play because they don't know the dad very well.
And that was, I witnessed that in person and that's when I really realised that boundaries are important. Right. And I've always drawn those boundaries and I've tried to integrate work around those boundaries.
Qin En 27:53
Okay. So I'm going to put you on the spot here, Sriram. Work-life balance versus work-life integration. Can you just help us explain? From your perspective, of course. What's the difference?
Sriram Ved 28:02
Yeah, I think the key difference is flexibility, right? And let me try to explain a bit more of how I think. And the answer is obviously different for every family circumstance and the support system that people have in place.
The context for us is my wife and I live here. We have no family in Singapore. We obviously have a lot of help from other sources, but, pretty much, the parenting job is something that we don't outsource. We do it between the two of us and we approach it as a giant sport. So if you look at it as work-life balance versus integration when I think about balance, it's about there are two things weighing on either side and you're trying to not tip the scale in one direction or the other, right. That's like the textbook balance.
And I think that is a very difficult equation to solve, especially given all the entropy that we talked about just now. So I think of it in a slightly different sense. When you think about integrating two things together, they don't need to be equal parts and they don't need to be equal parts at all times.
And that takes away a lot of the stress, right. You're trying not trying to achieve a precarious balance that you don't even know if it's a theoretical balance that exists somewhere. But when I think about integration, I think we all have, well for most families, you have levers you can use to integrate.
One is time. I strongly believe that we need to look at a longer-term horizon when we talk about integration. And because we need to prioritise differently on different days, right? Some days work is very sensitive. You've got big presentations, you've got travel or meetings, whatever, and you give it all to work.
And then there are some times when you've got milestones kids, families. So it's very hard to integrate on a daily basis sometimes, but you might be able to do it on a weekly basis. You might be able to do it on a monthly basis. You might be able to do it in different ways. So one lever that you have is time and how you look at it in terms of how long you have.
The second thing, you have a lever, you have families that are fortunate to have both parents who can contribute to the parenting, is teamwork. Right? You will have these peaks and troughs in work as well as in life. But if you are able to stagger that between the two parents, then you can make sure that one parent is always available for the kids. And that is a really beautiful thing if you're able to achieve it. And it takes a lot of dedication and a lot of practice to get there.
We're definitely not perfecting it. But the promise that we made is one of us is always going to be with the kids every single night. We're never going to be in a situation where both of us are on a business trip at the same time.
So I was out in New York City recently. I was out for 10 days. And my wife was there a hundred percent with the kids. And I look forward to doing the same for her when she has travel.
Qin En 31:04
Time and teamwork. It couldn't be said better, right. In terms of how we need to look at things from the long-term perspective and stop trying to over-optimize that each second, each moment, each day because things are just so hard to control and the sort of, part of our teamwork where they really complement it. Well, that's really good.
Based on everything that you've shared so far, it really sounds like you have figured a lot of things out, which is incredible, but maybe share one or two challenges that you are currently facing. And how you're thinking about approaching and managing it.
Sriram Ved 31:37
Yeah, I think it's hard to pick one or two challenges when you're on parents because cause there are a lot of them.
I think one of the biggest challenges that I constantly think about, and this is less about the day-to-day activity of parenting, but something which is a bit broader than that is how and when do I start introducing technology to my kids? And that is something that I always keep thinking about.
And as parents, we actually have a lot of roles in defining the healthy relationship between kids and technology. And I'm not just talking about mobile phones, I'm talking about like technology in a broad sense. And there is a window of opportunity where we need to play it and play it right. Because if not, technology will get introduced to them by someone else and maybe not in the right way.
I'm probably making this sound very scary, but the way I think about it as there's a really great opportunity for us to use technology as a source of, you know, information, knowledge, and talent multiplication for our kids. And, you know, help them build up their knowledge instead of using it as a distraction or an addiction.
So that is something that I constantly think about. And especially with my two-and-a-half-year-old. She's very drawn to screens and we try to keep her as having a healthy relationship with technology as can, as we could.
Qin En 33:01
Got it. Got it. That's definitely such a challenge because I feel like, oh, so two and a half years old, but I'm not there yet. But based on what I hear, tech and screens can sometimes be quite the pacifier, right. Especially when you are busy, you got things to do. All you need is to pop an iPad or turn on the TV. And immediately the attention is drawn. But to be able to navigate that, it’s always a challenge and it seems like kids figure out how to use screens and technology a lot faster than we did. Right? So not sure what it's like.
Sriram Ved 33:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we always discuss that, you know. Millennial parents, in the broad sense of the definition, are the last generation who actually knew an offline world. In its entirety where the Internet was not everywhere. And we're probably the last generation that'll ever notice.
So we are in a very unique position to instill certain things in our kids that might otherwise get lost, but also like not to sound very ominous and black Mirisch on this. But you look at AI, and you look at Metaverse, and you look at where things are going in terms of how engaging technology can get and how real it can become. With like deep fakes and all the other technological advances that are happening today.
It is a lot more than screens, right? And the role that technology will have in getting integrated into our lives is a lot more seamless than it has ever been. Which is why I think it's a very pertinent topic to tackle and tackle it early.
Qin En 34:35
You shared a lot of great advice and perspectives as a parent, as a leader, Ssiram. Where did you get your resources, your learning, from? Is it books, people you speak to, podcasts? Tell us a bit more about where you learn.
Sriram Ved 34:48
Yeah. It's actually a combination of a lot of those things and probably a bit more.
So we definitely read a lot, both my wife and I, we take every opportunity to read everything. All the way from newsletters, to books, to magazines. We love the libraries and we're there all the time. But what I think really is interesting is I learn a lot when I paraphrase and summarize and draw insights from what I read and shared with someone else.
So we have a pack that my wife and I share and paraphrase everything that we learned to each other. And a lot of our dinner table conversations and not to sound very geeky, but sometimes our date nights are also focused on things that we learned that other person might appreciate, and just keep us intellectually stimulated.
So I think that's a pretty positive feedback loop in terms of keeping each other, you know, stimulated in an intellectual way. But I mean, beyond the reading, I think, there’s just being a number of resources that just helped me along the way. I've been incredibly fortunate to work at three companies which probably have the best work culture thatI can imagine across McKinsey, Dell technologies and our Salesforce. And, as cliche as it sounds, I mean, for me, the people that I've met there have fundamentally shaped me to be who I am.
I've got a very long way to go, but I've had amazing managers, colleagues, and many of these are close friends. Long after I left those companies. So it's always been about the people where I've learned from the most. The reading, and the podcasts, and the insights have been great, but I've learned most from the people.
And over the years, I've also had like an interesting personal board of mentors that I've managed to… You know, I look at them as my BOD, right. Who sort of helped me cover my blind spots and I owe them a great deal in terms of career and learning, just on a day-to-day basis. And I often joke that my wife is a chairperson of that board, but there is a lot of truth to it.
She's been very, very instrumental to my success. And she probably knows me better than I do myself. I probably wouldn't be anywhere without her. So, I think that those two things in combination, like the reading and having people that you can share, internalize the findings with, and having a personalised board, is what has probably helped me with not just knowledge, but also career.
Qin En 37:25
Yeah. First, you learn it, then you own it and apply it. And you even have a group of people that really support you. That's really nice.
So to wrap up our conversation today, Ssiram, if there’s one lesson you have learned as a parent in tech, what might it be?
Sriram Ved 37:39
Oh boy, one lesson. One lesson is… let me, okay.
Qin En 37:43
Okay, you can go home.
Sriram Ved 37:39
Okay. Okay, cool. Alright. Let me start with the first thing that comes to mind. I think it, this is not, this is not my phrase. I think it's a US Navy seal who said this first, but he said that calm is contagious. To be calm is contagious in a very positive way. And it really stands out to me as a very important lesson because parenting can be extremely stressful at times.
And for all the professional skills that we think we learned at work, sometimes they can't help with any of the parenting stuff. So becoming a parent, I think the biggest lesson has been to be calm, to embrace empathy, and having grace under pressure. And having grace under stressful situations, that has been the biggest learning.
AndI think that learning permeates, work permeates other situations that you might run into in life.
Qin En 38:40
That's, that's such a great, like, lesson to sum it up. Calm is contagious. I think I need a piece of that too. When dealing with the churches that my daughter is starting to show. Okay. There, there was one, I guess. Are there any? Any more?
Sriram Ved 38:57
This is not so much as a learning, as much as a shout out, but I just feel like we are incredibly lucky to be in Singapore. And a lot of us, you know, before we become parents, we talk about Singapore's infrastructure and how amazing it is. And it definitely is. But I have started observing a lot more of the less obvious infrastructure.
And I'm talking about things like parks and playgrounds that are in every neighbourhood. I'm talking about safety. I'm talking about nursing rooms. I'm talking about changing stations. Washbasins that our kids' height. I mean, come on, right? This is amazing. And I'm talking about things like the library and super grateful for things like esplanades where they're all the time, every weekend.
And I think it really helps us be better parents and have the kids have healthy habits, love for the music and arts, and love for reading, and all of those things. So I think the lesson in all of this…
Oh, and before I forget the concept that you can get a helper. That is incredible. And not helper in an abusive way, but I helper in a way that someone who can truly support and integrate into your family.
And as cheesy as it sounds, we try to extend a lot of the corporate benefits that we have to our helper. And we've been very intentional about it. We've work on wellness days. We do family mindfulness together, and she's invited to all of them. So the learning and all of this is… there are a lot of resources, especially for parents in Singapore, if you're listening to this. There are a lot of resources that you have there, more resources than you have.
It is easy to think of society as a stressful society, but there are a lot of resources. And if we manage to leverage this and use it to our advantage, there's a lot of help that we can get.
Qin En 40:49
Absolutely. Wow. This is so refreshing to hear because it just helps us to be grateful, right? Instead of complaining about the GSD increase, really be grateful for the things that we have and the resources that are around here.
It's such a joy to talk to you, Sriram. If some of our parents would love to connect with you, how can they best do so?
Sriram Ved 41:06
I think LinkedIn is the best way to connect. I do really enjoy connecting with a lot of not just professional contacts, but parents in general on LinkedIn. My wife and I are always looking to make new friends. So please feel free to say hi.
Qin En 41:22
Sure, we’ll link your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today on Parents in Tech. It takes such a joy to speak with you.
Sriram Ved 41:28
Thank you so much for having me. It's been really fun.
Qin En 41:39
Thanks for listening to the parents attack podcast with me, your host, Qin En. We hope you were inspired on how to raise kids and build companies. To catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www.parents.fm to join our community of Parents in Tech. There, you can also drop me a question idea, feedback, or suggestion once again, the website it's www.parents.fm.
That's all for this episode, folks.
See you next time.