Sep 7 • 1HR 0M

Fostering interests in your children, maintaining friendships and pandemic tradeoffs | Ryan Johnson (father of 2, CPO at CallRail)

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Adam Fishman
Adam Fishman interviews executives, entrepreneurs, and company leaders in technology companies who are also fathers. We discuss the tough aspects of work, parenting, family, the mistakes made and lessons learned along the way. It's heartwarming and hilarious.
Episode details

Ryan Johson is the Chief Product Officer at CallRail a marketing and AI technology company. He was an early pioneer in the AI industry doing fascinating work on computer vision for anomaly detection in videos and images. Ryan is a husband and father of two kids and a fellow Midwesterner.

In this episode we discuss:

  • His Midwestern upbringing and the work ethic that instilled in him

  • The challenges of maintaining friendships with parents who have kids at different ages than yours

  • The worst parenting advice he's ever received

  • How to foster interests in his kids without coming on too strong

  • How he and his wife navigated the decision for one of them to step back from the workforce during the pandemic

  • Muckle-Wells Syndrome - his daughter's rare autoinflammatory disease and the process for figuring it out and getting her treatment

  • Mistakes he's made as a dad and lessons learned

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Where to find Ryan Johnson

- LinkedIn:

- Twitter (aka X):

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In this episode, we cover:

[1:47] Ryan's professional background

[5:56] Ryan's Midwestern childhood

[8:54] His family's influence on his career

[10:30] How he met wife and an introduction to his kids

[11:45] Maintaining friendships with parents of different aged kids

[14:20] Worst parenting advice he's ever received

[16:05] About Becky, his wife

[18:00] Why his wife stepped back from work during the pandemic and the conversation around that decision

[23:00] Their decision to start a family

[24:08] His earliest memory of being a dad

[26:04] The most surprising parts of being a dad

[27:46] Which of his kids are like him or his wife

[28:23] Fostering kid’s interests in art, sports and other creative pursuits

[32:08] His daughter’s auto inflammatory disease

[41:44] Where he and his wife don’t align sometimes

[43:44] Sacrifices he's made as a parent

[46:12] His version of work/life balance

[48:50] Mistakes made and lessons learned as a dad

[51:00] Rapid fire round

Show references:



General Motors:

University of Michigan:

Albion College:

Muckle-Wells Syndrom:

Mario Kart:


The NoseFrida:

Saginaw, Michigan:

Production support for Startup Dad is provided by Tommy Harron at

Episode art designed by Matt Sutherland at