Meet Later Dad Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman

AGE: 44



CHILD’S NAME/AGE: Jessa, Age 4

Peter Shankman is a multiple-startup founder with several successful exits under his belt. He’s a best-selling author, focusing on the customer economy. He’s the founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO,) the world’s largest source/journalist matching tool, and he runs ShankMinds: Breakthrough, a private, online entrepreneur community with hundreds of members around the world, as well as Faster Than Normal, a leading ADD/ADHD podcast, focusing on the benefits of being gifted with ADD/HD. He can be found at

What was your road to parenthood like? It actually was a road – I was on the DC Metro when I got a call from my then wife who flat out told me “so I’m pregnant.” I remember looking around at the other six people in the subway car, asking myself, “should I give them cigars?”

How does being a father influence your work?   It definitely changes how I perceive things. I’ve always tried to do things for the greater good, i.e., what can I do that will help people, that will make things better for the world? To that, I now add, “is what I’m doing going to make my daughter think highly of me?

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?  I have massive ADHD. Because of that, I don’t do things normally. I don’t sit and do the 9-5 like everyone else. I simply can’t. I don’t have that ability. I can’t moderate. I have two speeds: “Namaste,” and “I’ll cut a bitch.” Because of that, I need to make sure that I’m doing things that work for me – that make me happy and allow me to work to the best of my ability. Sitting in an office and having a “regular job” wasn’t one of those things. It never was. Entrepreneurship called to me because of that, 19 years ago.

Can you share more about how ADHD  has impacted your life?  I always knew I was different. I realized I could use that to my advantage probably around 20 years ago, when I recognized I thought faster, reacted faster, and didn’t care so much about what others thought of me. That helped me tremendously, as it allowed me to simply “do things,” and if they worked, awesome, if they didn’t work, no worries, let’s try and do something else. Easy enough.

What advice would you offer others with ADHD?  Life is damn short. Why waste it worrying about a bunch of boring, hypothetical, what-if BS? Go out and do what you want to do, find something you love and work really, really hard at it. You have the ability to do anything you want, as long as you believe in it. It’s truly that simple.

How do you balance parenting with other pursuits?  For me, I spend my time with my daughter, and I work/focus on myself. It’s really a full-circle life. When I’m with my daughter, I’m having fun with her and trying to be as present as possible. When I’m working/working out/doing something to reset my brain, I’m all about that. Again, only two speeds. It’s why I skydive and compete in Ironman Triathlons. Life is too short for golf, as far as I’m concerned.

Are you a risk taker, and is this something you’d like to instill in your daughter?  I consider myself a calculated risk-taker, because the benefits of taking those calculated risks far outweigh the drawbacks. The benefits include allowing my brain to reset, allowing my head to go back to a good place, allowing myself to be happy. Without that, I’ve got nothing. So yes – I hope my daughter follows in those footsteps. There’s a huge difference between taking calculated risks, and being “risky.”

What are the positives and challenges of having a child over age 35?  Positives: I know more. I don’t get so bent out of shape when things don’t work. I’m fine with problems, as I just work on fixing them. Negatives: I have to work twice as hard to make sure I’m healthy enough to continue playing with my daughter. :)

Has anything about fatherhood surprised you, and what do you hope for your daughter?  I always imagined I’d be one of those fathers with the shotgun waiting for a boy to try and talk to his daughter. Actually, I’m totally cool with it – I want her to experience all forms of life, including getting hurt – That’s the only thing that’ll make her stronger.

(Peter and his Mom)

What are your thoughts about parenting in this electronics age?  We’re not built for to be “present” people, and the whole “live in the moment or you’re not really living” thing is bullshit. I live in the way that works for me, and you live in the way that works for you. I like sharing things. That’s how I get my happiness. I don’t see anything wrong with documenting life as it happens. Nothing wrong with that at all. I want my daughter to know there’s a whole world out there, of course, but I believe there can be a symbiotic balance between online and off.

What do you most want to teach your daughter?  I want her to be kind to everything that lives, and I want her to understand the difference between kindness and weakness. In other words, I want her to be a good person who doesn’t take any shit from anyone, either.

Has anyone shared parenting advice that resonated with you?  It was advice I got from a skydiver, not about parenting, but about life, that fits here: If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.” Life is too short trying to seek approval from people who don’t matter to you. I raise my kid the way I think is best, you do the same for yours. Massively good advice.

Any strong feelings about your own upbringing? My family always laughed. We were always a team. We fought, sure. But I NEVER doubted that they had my back, that they were always there for me, no matter how stupid I was. I still don’t. :)

What advice would you share with those contemplating fatherhood over age 35?  If it’s truly what you want, why does age matter? If you think you can be a good dad, and raise a kid to be a good person – why wouldn’t you? I I LOVE being a dad. I couldn’t imagine life any other way now.




  1. 2 Responses to “Meet Later Dad Peter Shankman”

  2. Beautiful blog! I love that you will teach your daughter to be kind, yet not take anyone’s shit. Perfect. We must teach our children this. My first born son, I taught to be kind. I witnessed him being bullied, he never fought back. My daughter, that I had at age 42, not so much! She is kind, but nothing like her brother. I have a male friend that became a dad at age 55!

    I will re-read your blog, it’s filled with wisdom. I like your style, frank and to the point.

    By Lori Loesch on Jun 15, 2017

  3. Thanks Peter! My grandson will benefit from your interview.

    By Joy Montgomery on Jun 16, 2017