24 Hours In Las Vegas With My Dad

Last night during my two mile post dinner walk from the Hard Rock (where I had an awesome dinner at Nobu) to the Venetian (where I subsequently had a very short night of sleep), my mind wandered around about the great time I had with my dad at CES.

My dad and I have developed several annual traditions including a really delightful father-son weekend.  Our annual 24 hours (usually more like 30) together in Las Vegas every January for CES is another one.

My dad is a retired doctor.  He’s also a computer nerd – he has loved playing around with computers since I got my first Apple II computer 32 years ago.  He’s an endless tinkerer and a gadget guy – always curious and excited about the latest, greatest (or not so great, but still brand new) technology gizmo.

My Foundry Group partners and I have been coming to CES together for the past few years.  We’ve discovered new investments at CES (such as Cloud Engines – for the long version of the discovery process check out my dad’s post on it titled I Love My Popoplug!!) as well as have companies we’ve invested in be at the show such as Orbotix and Sifteo this year.  We keep it short (two nights, one day) but have a lot of fun together.  And my dad tags along.

Each of the two nights we are there we have a great dinner with a bunch of the execs in companies we’ve invested in as well as friends of Foundry Group (other VCs, some journalists, angel investors, other entrepreneurs who are friends.)  The first dinner is always somewhere fancy (this year it was at Bouchon).  The second night is sushi orgy at Nobu.

As I walked home from the sushi orgy, I kept thinking how lucky I was to completely adore my father.  With the exception of several months when I was in seventh grade (and was a complete pain in the ass), we’ve been best friends.  I have enormous respect for him, have learned a ton, and even when I get frustrated with him (as any son will), I usually end up in an semi-amused state about whatever is going on.

And – as far as I can tell, my friends and close work colleagues also love hanging out with him.  This is icing on the cake, because I know he’s having a blast with them and vice-versa.

Dad – thanks for coming to CES again this year – I love you.

  • Brad, nice post. You are lucky to have a Dad and Mom like them. Give them my regards and enjoy every moment

  • Brad, Excellent post and from the heart. Enjoy your Dad and every moment you spend with them. Both my parents are gone and I miss them everyday. The one thing I enjoy about your posts is that you’re real and are not afraid to show emotions. Even though I have met you on occasions, for those that haven’t they will feel connected.

  • Brad,
    It is awesome to hear a grown man state how much he admires and loves his father, after all the years. I hope someday that my son writes something similar about me.

    Thanks, you rock!

  • It’s cool having hip dad, but hanging out at CES together is a whole different level!

  • Daniel Feld

    Yeah, your Dad is pretty awesome! I dig him too! Glad you guys had fun in Vegas.

  • nice post Brad, for a long time I used to regularly play golf with my Dad, it’s just great to be able to do stuff together.

  • I have a similar tradition with my dad. The past few years we’ve met up in Vegas and had a great time walking the floor together. Something about endless rows of gadgets, bus rides and food makes for a good (and rare) opportunity to catch up one on one.

  • You are super lucky. You mentioned that he was a retired doctor. Did you guys see any of the medical tablets at CES

  • Daniel Kopyc

    Wonderful, Brad… thanks for sharing these paragraphs.

    I know I would’ve never ended up with you and the rest of our “mad-scientist clan” at MIT without my own dad feeding my insatiably knowledge-hungry young scientist mind everything he could. I’d excitedly ask him each day when he got home from being in field-service at Burroughs Corp. what “parts” he had brought home for me, as this was when mainframe rooms were discarding amazing pieces of electro-mechanical computing machinery. Talk about a wonderfully tactile way to get a kid excited about electronics (!!) — in my room I had everything from optical card-reader assemblies to nixie-tube displays, and TTL flip-flop modules the size of your fist. Yes, for just ONE flip-flop! 😉 [laugh]

    This shared love for science and engineering is indeed what cemented our relationship from square one… and which fueled it through even the most difficult times of my young adult-hood. I know we are fortunate in this way, as oft times father-son bonds are typically prone to break-off in the pursuit of “manly independence” (yes?) — and sadly for many other sons, that rift is never quite undone even decades later. Additionally, my dad went through his own mid-life crises too… and so I think we were both quite surprised at how by the time I reached my 30s, we actually were able to “swap story” again — this time sharing the deeper lessons of the heart and soul, as well as those we’d always had in common, of the mind. Indeed, we were blessed with an even richer layering of our relationship during the past twenty years.

    Today, my dad struggles poignantly with Parkinson’s — and our visits now are more and more often a complete role-reversal. Checking his meds, finding his wallet five times a day for him — stepping on dropped reading-glasses where once we accidentally crushed pins on a CPU. 😉 Yes, visits with dad now involve a raw range of emotions — one moment it’s frustrated rage and anger at the cruelty of that imprisoning disease… and next the tears well-up, facing our mortal helplessness. Graciously, though, somehow, some “wisdom of the years” kicks through it all, and I know we’re both soothed when I can muster just simple, tender, tacit compassion. A basic human caring for one’s “alpha wolf” elder — indeed, at the time they need it most in life. Of course, I can’t do as much as I’d like to (none of us ever can) — but I know that I’m still lucky to have him, and the great memories of adventure that we’ve shared.

    And you know, I love the man most when he’s having his crabbiest days… as I’m always proud to say, “Hey, that’s my Dad”! (so amen for that, right? 😉 [grin]

    Thank you again for sharing here the simple joys that you continue to share with yours, Brad…
    and best wishes for the New Year,

    as ever,


    • Thank YOU for sharing your wonderful thoughts. I just spent the day
      with Underkoffler and Kevin Parent and I’m spending the weekend with
      Dave Jilk (and of course Amy) so the old gang is never far away.