in the Family
Illustrations by Marcellus Hall
appeared: Fast Company issue 32 page 72
I Never Miss
Sunday Night Meeting
Craig Forman, cofounder and CEO, myprimetime.com
"My family -- my wife, Cecile; our seven-year-old son, Elliot;
"Every Sunday, without fail, at 6:30 PM."
I Never Miss It: "This 'meeting' brings us together and
gives us the motivation to attack the week. It's an anchor
for all three of us."
problem with living in a 24-hour economy is that it leaves
so little time for, well, living. By the time you've met your
commitments to your customers, your colleagues, and your investors,
there aren't many hours left in the day for your family. That's
why Craig Forman, 38, the CEO of myprimetime.com, a Web site
that helps baby boomers make better use of their time, schedules
a weekly meeting with his wife and young son. He wants to
make sure that his family's priorities don't get lost in the
frenzy of Silicon Valley's startup culture.
Sunday at 6:30 PM, the Forman family sits around the kitchen
table in their home, in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of
San Francisco, to discuss the details of the coming week.
"My week doesn't have a beginning or an end," Forman says.
"I live the startup life: I travel a lot, and I carry a bunch
of cell-phones plus an Internet pager. This family meeting
allows us to come together and update one another about what's
on tap for the week ahead."
time. "We don't have as much time together as we'd like, so
we make the time we do have meaningful and productive. We
start each meeting by digging into the issues we're facing
that week. We're a bilingual family, and Elliot has always
attended a French-speaking school. When we moved across the
country and Elliot had to switch schools, we wanted to make
sure that his French was up to snuff. Whether or not we should
get him a tutor was an issue that we raised at one of our
the family business. "Our family meetings are like my company's
project update sessions. They really matter. Nothing -- not
friends, phone calls, or TV -- interrupts them."
turns telling one another what's on our schedule for the coming
week and what's been nagging at us. The meeting also provides
an opportunity to teach Elliot about what I do -- which is
important, since I spend so much time doing it. For example,
when myprimetime.com was closing one of its investment rounds,
I explained to Elliot during our meeting that money was being
deposited in our account but that, because it was a weekend,
we wouldn't see it until Monday. I used that time to teach
my son how cash flow works."
great conversations, but the real point of these meetings
is to affect how we spend our time. For example, Elliot loves
in-line skating. My wife and I realized how important it was
to him when, at one of our family meetings, he just blurted
out, 'Why don't you guys finally learn how to do it?' So that's
exactly what we did."