Tough Things First Podcast
The Tough Things First podcast is where you receive short bursts of Ray Zinn’s leadership, executive and entrepreneur’s wisdom. Tough Things First podcasts are typically five minutes long, giving you one important concept to ponder for the rest of the day.
Think of this podcast as a weekly pep talk from the managerial godfather.
Ray Zinn, Silicon Valley’s longest-serving CEO, dishes out five-minute doses of wisdom from his career with Micrel, a chip company that profitably navigated eight major downturns in global markets. Though his life is the stuff of tech legend, his advice is applicable to anyone with an ounce of ambition. Discipline, focus and leadership are frequent topics.
—The Six Fifty
- Mar222017Read more
Some call it a top priority for businesses in 2017; Be focused more on Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, but is it always possible? In this Tough Tings First podcast, Ray Zinn talks about the basics of AI and IOT, and how to make them part of your business plan.
- Feb152017Read more
Product start-ups inevitably face questions about costs, and wonder if it could be cheaper to move manufacturing offshore. There are upsides and downsides. Do you know the risks? Ray Zinn has experience and answers no entrepreneurs should go without. Guest host Rob Artigo returns for another addition of Tough Things First.
- Feb082017Read more
As an entrepreneur you want to get going … but sometimes it is hard to get started. You may not start like you think you would have started. Make up your mind about your starting path.
- Jan252017Read more
You want to get things done, you have no time for sweet talk, you are a go-getter. Are you leaving splinters in your path? You may want to reconsider a different approach.
- Jan182017Read more
The truth can be so blunt it hurts, or is it your delivery? Consider the delivery and the amount kindness in your message.
- Jan182017Read more
Are you willing to take the hit? You are the leader and the leader takes ownership and responsibility along with the consequences. If you are not willing to take the heat, don’t think about leading.
- Jan042017Read more
“Not Invented Here” is usually uttered with contempt and sarcasm. What does the NIH bug do to an organization? It isn’t pretty and you need to watch for it.
- Dec142016Read more
The pool of workers is a constantly changing mix of people with differing values and perspectives. The millennial generation is here and ready to work. How do you attract talent? You have to adapt to their world view.
- Nov302016Read more
Communication is the heart of an organization and the heart of relationships. However, there are time we try not to listen to one another. Learn the signs of when listening leads to bad results.
- Nov232016Read more
What is a good lifestyle? We carry the lifestyle choices we make like baggage. Choose your lifestyle well and live it, today, tomorrow and into your golden years.
- Nov162016Read more
Can you create your own truth? Are your observations truth? What is the truth? Do we actually know the truth? Your truth and your customer’s truth may be different, so learn how to take care in creating your story.
- Nov092016Read more
What are the criteria for a hero? Simple habits make a person a hero in the eyes of those who surround them. Learn how to turn your team members into heroes.
- Nov022016Read more
Looking for employee inspiration, education and motivation? In this week’s podcast, Ray Zinn talks about the “Friday Talk” technique used at Micrel. These talks were successful in generating and sharing multiple points of view and subjects and helping to condition and reinforce values within every part of a company.
- Oct142016Read more
This presidential election has demonstrated the lowest levels of common decency and the most disgusting form of vulgar communications, disrespect. Many of us are so confused and upset at the latest attacks that we’re left wondering if we should even take the time to vote. In this podcast, Ray Zinn openly discuss our challenging feelings and ultimately the importance of voting our voice and believing that no matter what the outcome, we have a tremendous country.
- Oct122016Read more
David Greer — an entrepreneur, angel investor and business coach — discusses with Ray Zinn why corporate culture is so important, and the steps Ray took to create a culture that drove the most consistently profitable semiconductor company in Silicon Valley.
- Sep142016Read more
David Greer — an entrepreneur, angel investor and business coach — discusses strategic corporate planning with Ray Zinn, who ran the most consistently profitable semiconductor company in Silicon Valley.
- Aug312016Read more
Life and work are marathons, not sprints – regardless of what too many startups believe. But few employees are marathon runners. One of your jobs is to keep the momentum going throughout your organization so that employees don’t fade out or leave the company.
Ray Zinn, the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley, with 37 years heading the most consistantly profitable semiconductor company, knows a few things about keeping employees engaged, happy and productive over the long haul.
- Aug102016Read more
Ray Zinn knows adversity. He went blind during his company’s IPO, yet stayed at the helm for another 20 years. Learn whey when the going gets tough, entrepreneurs get tough too. Start treating adversity as a growth opportunity to gamifiy success.
- Aug032016Read more
Angie Carrillo, a student at Draper University and co-founder of Liks.co, interviews Ray Zinn about funding startups. The wide-ranging discussion covers what founders need to think about when they seek money to get things going.
- Jul202016Read more
Greg McKeown, the New York Times bestselling author of Essentialism interviews Ray Zinn to discuss discipline and how is makes leaders more effective.
Greg McKeown has dedicated his career to discovering why some people break through to the next level—and others don’t. The definitive treatment of this issue is addressed in McKeown’s latest project: the instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Ray Zinn is quoted in Essentualism and now the two discuss their mutual interest about doing more by doing less.
- Jun222016Read more
Policies. Nobody likes to write them. Some employees refuse to live by them. But Silicon Valley’s longest serving CEO knows how they work, and how they occasionally don’t. In this episode of the Tough Things First podcast, Ray Zinn discusses how policies can actually cause problem within an organization.
- Jun152016Read more
Ray Zinn has some specific thoughts about the topic of immigration, enforcement and the U.S. economy. With 37 years running a very successful semiconductor company, Ray has seen the impact of bring in talent from abroad as well as the rampant offshoring within his industry, so his thoughts on immigration will be multifaceted.
- Jun082016Read more
What are some daily practices for developing self-discipline, or for organizational discipline, and how does a leader transfer his own self-discipline to other people, and in turn have them carry the mantle? Ray Zinn answers a listener question from Episode 2 concerning discipline and the organization.
- Jun012016Read more
We all lose when an atmosphere of anger, hostility or contention prevails. Ray Zinn’s company, Micrel, was built in part on a culture of respecting the dignity of every individual, which led to Micrel having an employee turn-over rate half that of his industry. Micrel was somewhat legendary as a civil place to work. In this episode, Ray discusses anger, hostility and contention between people, where does it come from, how it hurts an organization, and a what leader can do to mitigate it to create a win-win situation.
- May182016Read more
The American economy is moribund. This has a direct effect on businesses and an indirect effect on employees. Until the economy escapes the doldrums it has been in over the last eight years, everyone prospects look bleak. Today we talk economics and elections with Ray Zinn.
- May112016Read more
Money is not the motive we have for lifting weights and jogging on treadmills at the gymnasiums. But it is a piece of something bigger. In this episode, Ray Zinn discusses what are the true and largely non-monetary motives great entrepreneurs have, and how to make those visions part of every employee’s outlook.
- May042016Read more
Entrepreneurs must stay focused, keeping their eyes on the horizon. Doing so makes seemingly insurmountable obstacles look like fun challenges. Ray Zinn, Silicon Valley’s longest serving CEO, discusses how to keep focus when the life of a business leader seems to be one distraction after another.
- Apr272016Read more
It doesn’t matter how disciplined a CEO is if that same discipline doesn’t find its ways through the organization. Ray Zinn, founder and CEO of the most consistently profitable semiconductor company in Silicon Valley, discusses how a leader drives the discipline to execute well to every employee.
- Apr202016Read more
Entrepreneurs cannot be just “big picture” people. They have to dig into the details of every part of their business. Ray Zinn, the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley, and founder of Micrel Semiconductor, discusses why digging into the minutia of business is actually exciting for entrepreneurs, and how to get excited if you are not.
- Apr132016Read more
Why wouldn’t a Silicon Valley entrepreneur take venture capital? Because doing so could kill their business. Listen to Ray Zinn, who founded his semiconductor company without VC money, discuss how venture capital can knock a founder off track, cripple the development of an enduring corporate culture, and drain enthusiasm from the entire organization.