I didn't have a good frame of reference on parenting before embarking on this attempt to build a human from scratch. I never really had a pet, except an anole in the 8th grade that I kept on my shoulder constantly. Unfortunately the little lizard lasted only a few weeks as he was unable to hold on during a roller-coaster at King's Dominion. (I plan to treat Kaden a little more gingerly, and they wouldn't let me take him on the ride at this age anyway.)
So really other than that very brief encounter, my closest reference on what it's like to grow something, take care of it, and try to make it work are the start-up companies I've helped build. There have been four companies so far, and although managing a balance sheet is certainly different than raising a human, there are similarities. In both cases you can take the same set of founders (parents), they can have two kids, and life will somehow make them entirely different from each other. Also, by the time you get to your second or third, you are a lot more laid back about the whole thing.
But of course a company is just a company, and if the problems get intractable and you lose enthusiasm, you can leave a start-up. After four years building my last company, I've decided to move on to the next challenge. The first three companies I helped start were successful, and much like with a kid who leaves to explore the world my hope is they will flourish and grow more successful than I imagined. Then of course I can overstate my share of the credit for their great achievements.
Although I will likely be founding or joining another start-up momentarily, this is also a great opportunity to spend a little more time with the kid growing so quickly in front of me. I only hope some day to found a company that is 1/10th as engaging as Kaden is. Perhaps then I will be driven to grow it over decades instead of years, offering a place for a Kaden to try his hand at shepherding as he gets older.