Family

When One Parent Is a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist and the Other Is a Stay-at-Home Mom

Featuring Kaden Hyatt, age 13, grade 7.

The Hyatt family.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos courtesy of the Hyatt family.

In this series, kids (and not-exactly-kids-anymore) review how well their parents balance life and work. To nominate a potential subject ideally between the ages of 5 and 17, email humaninterest@slate.com.

Kaden Hyatt is 13 years old and in the seventh grade. He lives in San Francisco with his dad, Nabeel Hyatt, a tech venture capitalist at Spark Capital, and his mom, Megan Hyatt, who is currently a stay-at-home mom.

Rachelle Hampton: Can you tell me a little bit about your relationship with your parents?

Kaden Hyatt: My dad is a venture capitalist and my mom just takes care of us, so my mom generally picks us up from school and drives us around, and my dad is generally home at night three out of five weekdays. The days he’s not there are because he has work dinners and such. Every night that he’s home he reads to me sci-fi books, like Snow Crash for instance, that I couldn’t read on my own, but he kind of tweaks it and makes it appropriate for my age.

What exactly does your dad do for work?

Basically he helps ideas come to life and become a business. He helps entrepreneurs through the process of creating a company in the very beginning steps.

Do you think your dad likes his job?

Yeah I think. My dad, when he was in college and stuff, he didn’t expect to be a venture capitalist at all. He expected to be a programmer, a graphic designer, an artist, or a painter. Something kind of artistic-y. But then he discovered being a venture capitalist and he really liked it.

Why do you think he likes it?

I think he loves hearing about new ideas. He worked at Zynga before he was a venture capitalist and he was a programmer there and he made new games so he kind of knows what it’s like having an idea and trying to make it a reality.

What do you think stresses your dad out the most about his job?

He really takes it as his responsibility that once he’s invested in a company, if they have a problem, it’s almost his fault because he’s supposed to be guiding them through it.

What kind of problems do they run into?

For instance, staffing, or they’re preparing to send a contract or something and someone is saying, “Oh I was part of the company. I was one of the founders. I should get a cut.” Stuff like that.

Do you have a Facebook account? Are your parents strict about social media?

I’m not on any social media, I’m not on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat. I don’t really care or particularly want to be. The only one I slightly would want is Instagram, but that would be to look at pictures of golden retriever puppies.

That’s a great use of Instagram. Are most of your friends on social media?

So I go to a really small school, my class is seventh and eighth grades combined, and it’s seven kids.

Oh, wow.

So it’s really tiny and only two of them are on social media.

Are most of their parents involved in the tech world?

No, I don’t think any of them are.

Do you know what they do?

Well one of my friends, his parents are musicians. And another one’s parents are architects.

Is your mom the one who takes care of you when your dad’s working?

Yeah, and me and my brother have fun with each other and keep each other entertained and stuff.

Can you tell me some more about your mom?

So before my mom was taking care of me and my brother, she worked at a company called Internet Soccer and that’s where she met my dad. She was the financial something, kind of like a financial adviser but I don’t remember what the name was. She was an accountant.

What does a typical day look like for her now?

She wakes up at 6:30 and then all three of us, me, my brother and my mom, go downstairs. She would make us breakfast and then drive my brother to school and then get groceries, go on walks with her friends, and then pick us up and then bring us to after-school activities and such.

What do you think your mom enjoys the most about taking care of you and your brother, and what do you think stresses her out the most about it?

I think she really likes talking with us and hanging out with us, and then what really stresses her out is when me and my brother argue and get mad at each other.

My mom has to manage tons of things and then take care of people. I would actually say that my mom’s job is a little harder than my dad’s, but they’re about equal I would say.

Does your dad ever ask for your opinion on companies he’s thinking about funding?

Yeah, sometimes, not always. For instance, there was a company, Zūm, that he was thinking about investing in and it’s like a kids’ Uber. It’s really cool and I had already been using it so he had asked me my opinion about it.

What does your dad’s office look like?

It has a front desk and a big open room where everybody works and then there are meeting rooms as well. And there are big meeting rooms where they can video chat and things with other companies. And then there’s also a smaller floor upstairs that has a door outside, which has a little garden and also VR headsets for him to test new games and such.

Have you ever been to any of the other big tech-company headquarters, like Google or Facebook?

I have been to the Google headquarters to test Pokemon.

What did you think of the office?

It was big and it was really cool.

What made it really cool?

I don’t know, kind of that it was open and it had a lot of parks and greenery but also places to work and it had a big cafeteria.

You said you were testing Pokemon. How did that happen?

When I was probably around 7, some friends at school were playing Pokemon, so then I asked my dad about it. And then he looked up the rules of Pokemon, and there was a really nice older woman who ran a Pokemon League at a comic book shop near our house who taught us the finer details of how to play, and it was kind of like a spark that started a huge bonfire, almost. Now a few weekends a month, we drive to Pokemon tournaments and then seven or eight times a year we fly to bigger Pokemon tournaments.

Facebook and Google are known for having crazy perks in their offices like a video game arcade and a barbecue place. What would your dream office look like, if you could design it however you wanted?

It’d all be in glass with greenery and grass outside it. And then a big library, a big area with books because I really like books, and also the second floor would have a big TV and VR headsets and video game consoles and such.

Do your parents ever talk to you about Silicon Valley controversies? Like the drama around Facebook right now, for instance?

My dad doesn’t as much talk about problems outside of the companies that he’s invested in. The first time I heard about the Facebook controversy was when I heard about it on the radio, and then I asked my mom about it while we were in the car and then she explained to me what was happening.

Does your dad travel a lot?

He work-travels. When we were living in Boston, he traveled to San Francisco for like a week every other week, which was a lot, but now that we’ve moved to San Francisco it’s almost never. Maybe once or twice a year for a Spark retreat thing where all the Spark people go and have fun together.

Do you like San Francisco better than Boston?

Yeah, it’s amazing. The weather is awesome. The food is awesome. Everything about it is awesome.

So your dad’s company was an early investor in Oculus. Has he told you about that?

Yeah, because he knows that I really like new tech and stuff, he told me about Oculus and how they were making virtual reality headsets, and I had never heard of virtual reality so he had to explain it to me. He even got one of those Google cardboard things just to show me and it was really, really cool and I loved it.

Do you think VR headsets look cool or lame?

I really like the design of the HTC Vive headset, the little dock on the outside. They could’ve messed it up really bad. A majority of them are either black or white and I think that’s a good design for them because I don’t love it when they have patterns or something on them. The PSVR for instance has little lights that glow on it. I feel like it draws attention and it just looks weird on your face. That’s a fact.

What does a typical day look like for your dad?

Generally he wakes up, I would say, between 7 and 7:30 depending on whether he has meetings and such. He comes back home at probably around, it really depends, anywhere between 4 and 5, and then when he does that he talks to us and stuff, and we have dinner at like 6 and then he reads to my brother first and then to me.

Also now my mom is correcting me and saying it’s more like 6 to 7 that he stops working.

OK, that’s an important correction. Good to know. When you grow up, would you ever want to be a tech VC?

I personally don’t think I would find my dad’s job very fun just because it’s taking a lot of risks and it feels in some ways you’re asking the same questions over and over for each company and sometimes it’s even the same problems that companies are going through.

Who is cooler: Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, or your dad?

OK, so yeah I would rather be a venture capitalist than an entrepreneur. I do think I would like my dad’s job more than being an entrepreneur, and I think it’s cooler.

What do you think you’d like to do for work one day?

As of probably a week ago, I wanted to be a radiologist. And that started because we were skiing with one of my dad’s high school friends and he’s a radiologist and he told me about it and it seemed really cool and fun, but I don’t really love blood or needles or stuff so I don’t think I should be a radiologist. So probably an architect or an actor.

Read more from the Slate series My Parents’ Work-Life Balance.

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