Do You have what it Takes to Lead People? Lessons I learned from Bill Walsh

By Brett Fox | July 22, 2014

“I was so distraught that I broke down and started crying.” Bill Walsh I was fortunate, in the 1990’s, to take a continuing education class on leadership at Stanford University. The class featured 10 speakers including Stanford’s provost and Stanford’s head football coach. The provost was future United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and…

Does Everyone Need A Consigliere?

By Brett Fox | July 15, 2014

I’ll never forget the moment I gave up my freedom. I did what we all do: I confided to my friend Steve at work about a work problem I was having. After all, he was the friend/co-worker I could tell my troubles to. What I really did was complain for an hour about someone just…

Should Firing People Always be Difficult?

By Brett Fox | July 8, 2014

I was up the whole night. I knew I had to do it, and I knew it needed to be done. That didn’t help me fall asleep in the least. It – an insomnia-inducing feeling of dread – was the feeling I had the first time I ever had to fire someone. My heart was…

Is Micromanagement Really Bad?

By Brett Fox | June 30, 2014

Micromanagement. The mere hearing of the word sends chills down your spine. You certainly don’t want to be micromanaged, and being labeled a micromanager – well, that can be a career killer. Just one question: is micromanagement always bad? Hardly. Full disclosure: like most CEO’s, I have been accused of being a micromanager. I’ve also…

The Best Performance Reviews Are Not Reviews At All

By Brett Fox | June 24, 2014

Every year you go through it: the dreaded performance review. What’s in store for you this year? A raise? A promotion? What does your boss really think of you? How will rate versus your peers? Good performance reviews are not performance reviews at all. They are a continuation of the ongoing conversation between you and…

If I were 22: Advice from My Dad

By Brett Fox | June 10, 2014

Like many sons, my Dad was a tremendous influence on me. A tough, no-nonsense individual who loved me and my brother dearly, he would do anything to help us. My Dad and I share a lot of similarities: he was an Electrical Engineer like me. He started his career in the semiconductor business like me.…

Leadership Put to the Test: The Hardest Speech I Ever Gave

By Brett Fox | June 4, 2014

My company was in a tough position. We were raising money, and that’s never an easy proposition, but it’s really difficult for a semiconductor company. We had a term sheet, but one of our existing investors wanted an additional new investor to join the syndicate. We had four new potential investors that were closing in.…

The Four Keys to Hiring Exceptional People

By Brett Fox | May 28, 2014

I’m constantly interviewing people. You should be too, whether you are a CEO or a manager. Arguably, it is the most important responsibility you have because hiring exceptional people is how you build an exceptional company. I’m human, so I make mistakes. (Lots of ’em, in fact.) When it comes to hiring, every mistake I’ve…

How to Steal Netflix’s Company Culture in Six Easy Steps

By Brett Fox | May 21, 2014

“Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal” Pablo Picasso We unabashedly stole our company culture at Touchstone from Netflix with a little bit of Zappos and Sandy Koufax thrown in. There. I’ve said it. We were thieves and robbers, but I’d like to think we were just being smart. I’ve always felt you can take inspiration…

Should Money Losing Companies be Allowed to IPO?

By Brett Fox | May 14, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I have always been fascinated by the stock market. I lived through, and survived, the 2000 tech bubble. Now I feel like I’m watching a sequel to that movie, albeit a smaller one. That’s when a crazy thought hit me: “Should money-losing companies be allowed to IPO?” Okay, I’ll…