Entrepreneurial Leadership: Hong Bui, CEO/Founder, Polkast and Nina Ries, Esq., Principal, Ries Law Group

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 and entrepreneurial leadership. Today’s guests include Hong Bui, CEO/Founder, Polkast; and Nina Ries, Esq., Principal, Ries Law Group.  To hear the entire show, click http://tiny.cc/talenttalk_bui_ries

The interviewees both drove home the notion that enjoying what you do is an absolute essential.  In fact, they both argue that being passionate about your work directly affects your business outcomes.

HONG BUI entrepreneurial leadership
Bui has a 30 year career in the high-tech industry with companies such as Apple and Amazon.com, but his entrepreneurial leadership is what drives him.  Polkast is his latest venture, which allows individuals to build their own private cloud networks. 

While Apple and Amazon are both powerful companies built on big ideas, Bui observes that Amazon is a service company catering to consumer needs, while Apple seeks to “build the most amazing products and then builds the market out of that.”  Bui adds: “For me, to build my own company, I have a blend of those two philosophies.”

Particularly as a business owner, Bui argues that loving what you do absolutely drives your success, pushing you to “work harder, longer and give you the courage to try again when you fail.”  That is what entrepreneurial leadership is all about.

Hire for Smarts

“Once you mix in sub-par individuals is when your company starts to iterate to the average,” Bui warns. “That places the responsibility on the manager…to make sure people are screened appropriately.”

Bui acknowledges that not all prospective talent bring the whole package that certain roles, such as product management, need. “Amazon does the best job of developing those talents.  They hire the smartest person they can because they know they can train them.”

Innovation is a Process

Over the years, Bui has come to rely on process to guide innovation.  It is only through process that “you can measure yourself and performance of your company, and come up with areas you can do better.”

And innovation is essential in an industry that grows roughly 50 percent per year.  To compete, companies “need to be smarter, need to be more efficient, need to learn more…and hire the right talent.”

Honing the Art of Communication

Communicating is a skill Bui has honed for the past 25 years, not only as a shy person who adopted English as a second language, but as an innovator who needs to translate abstract ideas to others – and get others excited about them.

What are you Reading?

Bui recommends Good to Great by Jim Collins.  “I’ve read it five times already but I learn something new each time.”

How Can People Connect with You? Please visit the Polkast website at www.polkast.com


NINA RIESentrepreneurial leadership

Ries started off as a litigator and eventually created a “one stop shop” for companies of all sizes in business and real estate.  It was her entrepreneurial leadership that pushed her forward.  Because she is an entrepreneur herself, Ries finds: “When I counsel my clients on legal matters, they are more open to discussing business problems.”

“You spend far too many hours working not to be passionate about what you do.”  Further, Ries asserts that when you’re passionate about what you do, “you take more pride in your success, and with that I think you’ll really have more success.”

More Than a Leader in the Law

Ries has gleaned lessons learned from current clients, other businesses and previous employers. She also looks to quintessential leaders for best practices that can translate across industries.  “As a business owner, you’re constantly…growing, and every day provides an opportunity for education.”  As a leader, Ries comments: “I try to be hands off, set very clear expectations, and let people struggle on their own…to see what results they can arrive on without my help.”  

She also incorporates different voices into her decisions.  “Everyone brings their own point of view to the table.  Perspective is a very important thing, especially in my line of work where you have judges and juries making decisions.”  Her entrepreneurial leadership has been framed and helped along by these different leaders.

Legal Factors in Talent

“Here in California, non-compete agreements have been struck down as invalid,” Ries says. “Confidential and proprietary information can be deemed protectable trade secret information if it’s been treated as such by the company.”  Putting the proper guidelines and practices in place not only protects information from use by competitors but also ensures employees inclined to leave understand the protections around it. 

As for her own recruiting process, she shares: “It’s almost impossible to know if someone is going to be problematic from single interview.”  Thus, she involves multiple interview rounds with others on her team and ask questions directed at weeding out disinterest, laziness and intellectual dishonesty. 

She also needs talent who can work with her to think creatively about legal problems, a key value she brings to her clients. Ries’ individual creative style starts with diagramming the legal problem visually and then switching gears for a while and returning to it later.

What are You Reading?

Ries tends to read social science works such as Social Animal by David Brooks.  She’s currently also enjoying Sandra Day O’Connor’s Out of Order.”

How Can People Connect with You? Via her website at www.rieslawgroup.com.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Date: September 17, 2013