Monthly Dinner With My Brother

Last night I had dinner with my brother Daniel, one of the partners at Slice of Lime, a Boulder-based web design and development firm. He and I were at TechStars at the end of the day where I gave a talk on “How To Be A CEO.” Afterwards, we had a nice dinner together at The Cheesecake Factory (his choice – I don’t think I’d been there in a decade – and it was surprisingly good), a great talk, and dynamite brother hang out time.

We do this once a month and have committed to each other to try to do this every month for the rest of our lives. For the first 25 years of my life we weren’t that close. While I don’t remember being an asshole older brother, I’m periodically reminded by Daniel about things I did that, while they fall in the “typical older brother” category, also could be consider major asshole moves. We became very close when he moved to Boulder 15 years ago (less than a year after I did) and we’ve never looked back.

We’ve modeled our relationship after our father (Stan) and his brother (Charlie). I’m very close to both my dad, who is one of my best friends, but also very close to Charlie who introduced me to computers when I was 11 and has been a great mentor to me, always inviting me along to meetings with major companies like Lotus, Microsoft, IBM, and DEC when he was the CIO at Frito Lay in the 1980’s. In 2000, Charlie and I became business partners when Mobius Venture Capital invested in The Feld Group and I joined the board. Over the next four years, I worked closely with Charlie and his partners at The Feld Group as they built the company before selling it to EDS in 2004.

While I’ve always viewed my relationship with my dad and Charlie as special, part of what drives that is their incredibly close relationship. My dad is older by about the same amount that I am older than my brother and, while there is the typical older brother / younger brother entertainment, these two guys completely have each other’s back, no matter what. Whenever my dad tells me he’s heading out to Charlie’s farm to hit baseballs (Charlie has a baseball diamond on his property), I can hear the joy and excitement of the kid from the Bronx who taught me how to hit a baseball in his voice.

So Daniel and I try hard to emulate the relationship and take it to another level. While we talk plenty about business stuff, we also spend a lot of time talking about our lives, what is driving us, what stresses us out, and what we strive to do better. We talk about things that only brothers can talk about and instinctively know when the other needs help and support. Often – we just hang out.

As I sit at my desk at my office in Boulder at the end of a Friday of another intense week, I think about how lucky I am to have role models like my father and his brother, both for themselves as individuals and for their relationship. Daniel – thanks for being an awesome brother. And dad and Charlie – thanks for leading the way!

  • http://twitter.com/brianylim Brian Lim

    As a father of 2 boys, I hope they will be able to enjoy such brotherhood. 

    You mentioned how your dad and uncle were great role models. Does anything else stand out from your memory that your father did to help you and your brother get along? 

    I’m following your example and blogging about the dad experience. http://dadlyninja.blogspot.com/

  • Joylie06

     Wonderful blog post..!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      My dad never put pressure on us to be friends, but encouraged us to spend
      time together and always was very inclusive of both of us in stuff we did
      growing up. He also regularly expressed his love and appreciation for both
      of us which mattered a lot.

  • Otter

    “There must be something we can eat

    Maybe find another lover

    Should I fly to Los Angeles

    Find my asshole brother

    There’s no sex in your violence

    ~  Bush – Everything Zen

  • Anonymous

    Brad:

    Great post!

    I read your post with tears in my eyes since my brother was two years younger to me and just as close. Last year I lost him to cancer! Nothing else matters you realize after a loss like that!

    I wish you thousands more such dinners with your brother for you!!

    Regards
    Nari

  • Anonymous

    Brad:

    Great post!

    I read your post with tears in my eyes since my brother was two years younger to me and just as close. Last year I lost him to cancer! Nothing else matters you realize after a loss like that!

    I wish you thousands more such dinners with your brother for you!!

    Regards
    Nari

  • http://donaldryan.net DonRyan

     For the first twenty years of my life, I thought my older brother was an a-hole (probably because he was). Somewhere into our thirties (and now forties) we became good friends. Our travels allow us to share dinner about once a month and I think we’re better for it. Glad I’m not the only one sharing that relationship with my brother.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      It’s amazing how many “I hated my older brother until I was 25 – 30″ stories
      I’ve heard over the years. I regret being a lousy older brother as a kid so
      I’m going to make it up now!

  • Rich

    Great post. You’re fortunate to have had people around you in your chosen industry to help blaze a trail.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Indeed – both my dad and Charlie were great mentors for me. Even though my
      dad was a doctor he was able to help me with business in general. And some
      of his patients, like Gene Scott, were incredibly helpful mentors when I was
      a teenager.

  • Allanrjohnston

    Inspirational and heart warming post Brad. Has Dan ever been to your place in Homer ? Since 43% of the world’s wild salmon come from Alaska you should be able to share a healthy meal with him :) . Was Charlie an owner of Feld Technologies when you were considering opportunities in Anchorage ?
    Regards,
    Allan

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I don’t think Daniel has ever been to Homer. But my folks have.

      Charlie was never a shareholder in Feld Technologies, although my dad (Stan)
      was as he was on our board. I, on the other hand, was an investor in
      Charlie’s company The Feld Group (and on his board). At some point I stopped
      naming things Feld X because it was too confusing to me.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    My older brother (five years apart) and I battled (represents our warring well) for the first 15 years of my life. At one point while destroying furniture (poor folks) he got slightly hurt, and at that point I realized we were done fighting. 

    Since then we’ve been best friends, and I couldn’t imagine having a better big brother. It’s amazing how fast time flies by and you and your bro witness the world whip by as you both grow older and wiser.