Rhythm: So Simple, a 14-Year-Old Can Explain It!

By Patrick Thean

dateThu, Dec 14, 2023 @ 11:58 AM

At Rhythm, we have a Core Value called “Family Is a Blessing.” We celebrate this core value by giving our team members two weeks off at the end of the year to enjoy time with their families. It is also our way of thanking our families for being on this journey with us. 

A couple of weeks ago, my team stumbled across a project that my daughter Nicole did during her summer internship for me when she was 14. She is now pursuing her engineering degree several states away at my alma mater, Cornell. She will go on to do many great things much more important than interning for her dad! But I will never forget how awesome it was to watch her start and complete her internship project. 


How It All Started

I remember how excited Nicole was when she came up with the idea. She showed me a creative explainer video she had made at school using time-lapse photography and her own drawings and illustrations. “Daddy, I want to build videos like this for you!” she told me excitedly. I got excited too! 

“Okay, Nicole,” I told her. “Here’s what we should do. Read my book, Rhythm. Then build a short video just like your school project.” She was getting more and more excited. I asked her to add narration to her video, but apart from that, she had artistic freedom. I added: “I do not want to review or approve your script. I really want this from the perspective of a 14-year-old, and I am not 14. So if I edited your script, it would defeat the purpose of your project.” 

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Setting Nicole Up for Success

I wanted to keep her inspired while providing just enough management oversight for her to deliver her project on time. I knew that once summer ended, she would go back to school, and this project would become a burden if it was not finished. She had to finish this project and end with a great sense of accomplishment and pride. I wanted her memory of working at Rhythm Systems to be a joyful one. Therefore, it was important for her to learn how to manage scope, be accountable for delivering on time, and have lots of fun doing this project.

To achieve this, I assigned Barry, one of our consultants, to be her manager. He would guide her and make sure that she had the tools to be successful. He would also teach her how to manage the scope of her project and keep her accountable to deliver it on time. I told Nicole that Barry would manage her work and help her whenever she got stuck or needed advice in any way, except in writing the content and script for her explainer video. I asked her to be careful not to allow anyone in our company to overly influence her script. After all, it had to come from a 14-year-old’s point of view! 

She also learned how to set SMART goals as we used our Red-Yellow-Green process to visualize and agree on what success was for this project before she began. Along the way, she recruited her older sister, Joy, to be the voice talent for this video. Nicole ended up building us a great video that many clients have enjoyed. 

Family is truly a blessing. I hope you enjoy this video as well. 



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Patrick Thean


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