Ayinde Alakoye, CEO, Hitch Radio, and Steve Nunez, Vice President of Human Resources, Penske Motor Group Talk Talent and Employee Hiring

Date: October 22, 2013

To hear the entire show, click http://tiny.cc/talenttalk_alakoye_nunez  

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues. 

Today’s guests are Ayinde Alakoye, CEO of Hitch Radio; and Steve Nunez, Vice President of Human Resources at Penske Motor Group.

A common thread among Alakoye and Nunez stems from the idea that people both need and crave different ways of interacting, whether in the workplace or in their personal lives. Today’s guests both solve for this in different ways.


As someone who moved frequently as a young kid, Alakoye says, “The only constant in my life was…radio.” It’s no surprise then that he’d pursue a radio career and in fact become the top salesperson for D.C.’s #1 station at the time.

A self-described romantic, Alakoye really missed east coast radio stations when he moved to Los Angeles.  So, in 2003, he launched a platform to bring radio stations to your cell phone, but the market was too premature to adopt it at the time. Several years later, he created Hitch Radio to “index every station on the planet in real time so you can search for anything you want to listen to, find it playing on a station, hitch a ride on that radio station, and then share it with your friends in real time.”  Today, Hitch Radio has 20,000 radio stations on their network. For Alakoye, one of the most exciting aspects of Hitch Radio is the ability for people around the world to connect around songs they love.

Radio & Beyond

In honor of his work in new media, Alakoye recently received the 2013 “Emerging Emancipator” award along with the likes of Mark Cuban and Reverend Al Sharpton.

Beyond this, Alakoye found himself as a speechwriter to President Barack Obama during the president’s campaign. He happened to share his ideas with senior Obama advisor David Axelrod,  and these ideas were later used by President Obama in a public address.  At the time, as investors doubted his business concepts, this experience was a huge boost to Alakoye’s confidence. 

Perseverance & Patience

Alakoye played volleyball in college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue it professionally. He recalls a coach once advising: “It takes 10 years to get good at anything.” This lesson in perseverance in fact became Alakoye’s biggest leadership challenge. In fact, particularly as he pursued ideas that were ahead of his time, he ran into many frustrations. But Alakoye offers the following: “I believe everything happens for a reason.”

Don’ts of Startup Hiring

As Alakoye built Hitch Radio from the ground up, he has committed many of these sins himself, and so he advises others:

  • “Don’t hire somebody and then move into their office. You really have to pay attention to territory.”
  • “Don’t hire based on pedigree. The most important thing is that there is a fit in your team and in your chemistry.”
  • “Don‘t bring someone on full-time when you can bring them on in a part-time or on a consultant basis to test the waters first.”

What are you Reading?

Alakoye is now reading Rodney Sampson’s Kingonomics,” which applies the principles of Martin Luther King, Jr. to economics and business.

How Can I Connect with You? Alakoye can be reached at www.hitchradio.com or find him on LinkedIn.


Nunez serves as the vice president of HR for Penske Motor Group, a privately-owned company with locations throughout California. Having worked for large companies such as Hewlett-Packard and The Quinn Group prior to Penske greatly shaped Nunez’s own leadership. “The biggest thing I recall working for those organizations is that there is so much talent…it really motivates you to do your best and to stay on top of your game.”

Modern HR

Communications is the most drastic difference Nunez sees in HR today. “A lot more communications is required in this day and age than in the past. We have to be good in all methods of communications…because at end of day everyone learns in different ways.”

In today’s job marketplace, he also sees the extreme need for talent that can stretch and adapt with an organization. He is looking for new employees who can perform the job they are hired to do, but who can also do the job that may be required of them tomorrow. “To me, that’s what talent really means,” offers Nunez.

Talent Tune-Ups

“Our organization has been around for 40+ years, and we’re proud to say average years of service is 10+ years,” continues Nunez. Over time, however, such a highly-tenured workforce can cause talent to get a little stagnant. That’s why Nunez tells tenured employees: “We need you more today than we ever have. Just because we’re number 1, doesn’t mean we’re going to be  number 1 five or ten years from now.”

What are You Reading?

Nunez is currently reading You’re Not the Person I Hired!” – a great lesson in “not shooting from the hip” when it comes to recruiting.

How Can I Connect with You?  Nunez can be reached at www.penskemotorgroup.com find him on LinkedIn.

Employee hiring can be an enormous challenge.  All of our guests on TalentTalk provide great insight into what makes a successful hire.  Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.