We’re so excited to introduce you to Bill Brady, a father and the founder and CEO of Troomi Wireless, a 2023 NAPPA Award winner. The Troomi mission is to provide kids with a safer smart phone. The device gives parents an easy and flexible set of parental controls to help eliminate the pull of social media, addictive games, pornography and incoming access from anyone outside of the approved list of contacts.
Please tell us a little about your company’s mission.
At Troomi, we believe in the limitless potential of every child to learn, do, and become anything. Our mission is to help kids discover their talents and encourage and safeguard them along the way. We do this by providing solutions that empower children to pursue their dreams vigorously through a safe, balanced relationship with technology.
What made you want to start this company?
As the father of five kids, I’ve always been extremely cautious and intentional about the introduction of technology into our home and our kids’ lives. This caution probably came from my background as a marketer, where, over the course of 20 years, I really got a good behind-the-scenes look at the incredible power and risks of social media and other technologies. I want kids to enjoy the benefits of technology without the dangers that inherently come from being online.
Did you have a mentor growing up? And what role did that person play in your life and your career?
I’ve had some important mentors in business as an adult, but as a child, I was especially influenced by my parents. My mother drilled into me from a young age that I could accomplish whatever I set out to do. She believed in me without equivocation, and that engrained in me the confidence to take risks in trying new things and starting businesses. My father taught me that people are more important than things, that there is something to learn from everyone, and that honesty and gratitude are the most important virtues to live by. Both of my parents left an indelible mark on my life.
Best life advice you received growing up?
My brother is six years older than I am, and he had a formative influence on me. Through his example and through some poignant teaching moments, he taught me that a promise made is a promise kept, whether to a team, an employer, a friend, or yourself. The advice to be trustworthy and always keep my word has proved invaluable in marriage, fatherhood, and business.
How has parenthood changed you?
My wife and I are the parents of five incredible children, ages 19, 16, 13, 11 and 7. I have often told friends and acquaintances—especially when they’re nervously anticipating the birth of a first child—that parenthood adds love, beauty, and richness to life that is not available any other way. Parenthood has helped me increase in patience, has taught me that the simple things in life are the most important, and has deepened my gratitude for my own parents.
When not working, where will we find you?
The mountains are my happy place. I am extremely grateful for the benefits of nature to renew me and keep me centered on what matters most. During the spring, summer, and fall, I typically camp with my boys a couple of weekends a month.
What would you tell your middle school self?
I would let my middle-school-self know the mantra I live by today, a quote from Harry S. Truman: “Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time.” Things don’t have to be perfect to be successful, so just do something! On top of that, even “failures” are usually the process learning and of dots being connected that will lead to greater things. Everything will work out in the end!
Best advice on parenting you’ve received?
Before my wife and I had kids of our own, we attended a multi-day family reunion with her side of the family. Over the course of several days, I watched some incredibly kind and polite brothers and sisters who were unusually considerate toward each other and got along really well with everyone. I went to my wife’s uncle and asked, “What on earth have you done to raise such wonderful children?” After a thoughtful moment, he said, “I say ‘yes’ as much as possible so that when I say ‘no’ it means something.” I took that advice to heart in my own parenting style and have found it to be a great recipe for preventing rebelliousness by extending as much age-appropriate trust as possible to my children. As a good example, this has proved to be an invaluable dynamic as my wife and I have explained to our kids why we don’t let them have social media accounts until they are close to leaving home.
Best advice on creating and running a business focused on families and kids’ well-being?
Never forget the mission! In the midst of the daily grind and minutia of starting and running a business, it could be easy to lose sight of the reason you started in the first place. Make the mission of helping families and kids the center of your culture, the yardstick by which everything is measured. The greatest joy of what we do at Troomi comes from those instances when kids reach out personally to let us know how Troomi has blessed their lives.
What do you enjoy doing most with your family?
We love being outdoors! Lots of hikes in the mountains, walks around the neighborhood, and playing in the backyard. And we love working together, whether tending the yard or doing Saturday morning chores. And of course, family movie nights with popcorn and ice cream are our kids’ favorite.