Peak Support Q&A: Jonathan Steiman
Jon is Peak Support’s very lively and down-to-earth CEO. What probably sets Jon apart from other executives is his openness to accepting feedback from team members, no matter their title or position in the company. He is a fishing aficionado who enjoys heading out into the sea whenever his schedule permits it. Jon lists “The Big Lebowski” as his favorite movie and even uses quotes from the film such as “It really ties the room together” and “Look man, new things have come to light.” When he’s not busy running a rapidly growing company, you can find Jon listening to Bob Dylan, Neal Young and the Talking Heads. But when Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga or Beyoncé comes on the radio, he won’t hesitate to turn it up. Learn more about Peak Support’s amazing CEO in this fun Q&A blog.
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far?
When I was 22 years old I was diagnosed with osteo-sarcoma, or bone cancer. I did 11 months of chemotherapy and 2 surgeries. This was a challenge, obviously. But it was also a blessing. Coming through that experience defines who I am today. I’m more appreciative. I’m more empathetic. And, of course, a little more neurotic.
If you could describe fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What-goes-around-comes-around…that’s one word, right? As I father my two sons, I think about my relationship with my parents, Hannah’s relationship with her parents…and I project out and envision what type of relationship my boys will have with their kids.
Give us your top 5 tips for surviving a long drive.
1. Dunkin Donuts, large, just cream.
2. A clean and tidy car.
3. No screens – Look out the windows, kids!
4. Howard Stern shows downloaded.
5. Plenty of windshield washer fluid.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
1994 Pink Floyd Division Bell Tour. It was my first concert with just friends. It was at Foxboro Stadium on a glorious June evening.
If you could be a guest on any TV show, which show would it be?
It would be the Howard Stern Radio show. I love Howard. He’s gotten me through so much, from my battle with cancer to my commutes during my early career to the start of Peak Support.
What’s something that you do that you think other people might find weird?
I don’t think it’s weird by my wife does. At the gym, I use the hair dryer to dry my feet and warm my socks and shoes. If you’re not doing this, try it!
What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard a child say?
My three year old now says, “I’m not into XYX anymore?” Just imagine offering your 3 year old an avocado and he says, “I’m not into avocados anymore.” DIVA
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 18 year old self about life?
You never feel like you’ve arrived. I’m doing pretty darn close to what I wanted to do my whole life: build an awesome organization from the ground up. Perhaps because there is still so much more work to do, I don’t feel like I’ve arrived.
What do you do or where do you go to distance yourself from negativity or stress?
In the summer, I go out to our small backyard and weed the lawn and garden. Or I tidy the house; I love cleaning. I’ve started to do “Adult Coloring Books” and have found those helpful. And if things are really bad, I walk to the stationary store and buy a new notebook. I have a lot of notebooks!
What’s the one exotic food that you’re afraid to eat but have always wanted to try?
I still have not tried balut (/bəˈluː/ bə-LOOT, /ˈbɑːluː/ BAH-loot; also spelled as balot – is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell.) This comes up every time I’m in the Philippines and I will eventually try it!
What do you do to stay physically fit?
I love my Apple watch because it forces me to walk, so I make certain to get my 10,000 steps. I swim; in the winter I enjoy the gym pool but it’s really to get ready for open water swimming at Walden Pond in Concord MA. I used to love running; I’ve run 5 marathons. Now I get bored doing more than 4 miles.
If a genie could grant you just one wish, what would you wish for?
Die in my sleep at 85 years old.
Who do you think are the greatest athletes in the world?
Oh, this is a great question. I want to say Tom Brady because so dominant – 6 for 9 Super Bowl Wins and still playing! I love Tiger Woods but will he ever match Jack Nicklaus’s major wins? I would love to see Ali vs Tyson in both their primes to determine the world’s greatest heavyweight. And of course, you cannot forget Serena Williams!
Which cartoon character closely resembles your personality?
I would say my favorite character is Donald Duck. Not sure about resemblance.
What’s the longest distance you’ve ever walked?
22 miles. Back in 2004, I did a 15 day hike with my very good friends: Pete, Pablo and Robin. Day 10 was the hardest day; we made a high elevation pass early in the season so there was tons of snow. During the elevation pass, Pablo hurt his knee. So around day 12 or 13, we took the weight out of Pablo’s back-pack and hauled 22 miles real fast.
Which non-physical trait do you think most humans need more of?
Empathy. You need to be able to step into someone’s shoes and see the world from their vantage point. Until you are able to do this, and do it quickly, you’ll struggle to effectively build great relationships and make informed decisions.
If you had the opportunity to perform live with any musical artist/band, which singer/band would you choose to have a duet with?
Bob Dylan. I love Bob! Back in the days of CDs, I collected every one of his albums.
What’s the one thing that you almost always tell yourself before you go to sleep at night?
“We live to fight another day.”
Name something from the 80s that you will never get tired of?
The Talking Heads – an American rock band from New York City.
What’s the first thing you usually pick up at the supermarket?
Whatever fruit is in season. Right now, it’s early autumn so I’m devouring pears.
Which actor would play you if your life were to be made into a movie?
Total humblebrag, but people have said that my Hollywood look-a-like is Bradley Cooper.
If you could be in someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be?
Back to empathy, I would love to step into the shoes of each and every Peak Supporter to see how they see our company, what they get excited about, what they struggle with. With this info, we could make an even better organization.
How should people handle criticism?
Calmly and with an open mind. Criticism, when done fairly, is the best data point.
What’s the one thing in your closet that you’ve had for a very long time, that you just can’t get rid of?
I’m pretty good at throwing things out. In fact too good; I knowingly throughout the leaf of nice dinner table and now need a bigger table. I guess, art – we have a lot of interesting, original art from the prior generations homes. It’s tough to throw out or even donate art.
Complete the sentence: I am where I am today because _____.
Of my partner Hannah.
Check out our other previous Q&As below:
Illustration by Rhea Avanceña