Tough Things First: Leadership Lessons – Ray Zinn

Tough Things First:

Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley’s Longest Serving CEO

Zinn tells you  what it takes to succeed in a world where markets are constantly changing, new technologies are emerging and small startups are going head to head with industry giants. How to connect your mind, body and soul to get the job done.

• Find your vision, set your goals, and make them happen • Build your business like you’d train your body: with heart, soul, mind, and passion • Master the psychological disciplines that will sharpen your focus and drive • Create a corporate culture that engages employees and inspires confidence • Put people first and push them to achieve their personal best • Tackle the tough jobs today―and ensure your success tomorrow.

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ecomtechpubli-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1259584178&asins=1259584178&linkId=BR7273EG5ZETGMME&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true In addition to his legendary career in Silicon Valley, Ray is best known for creating and selling the first Wafer Stepper (an industry standard piece of semiconductor manufacturing equipment), and for co-founding semiconductor company, Micrel (acquired by Microchip in 2015), which provides essential components for smartphones, consumer electronics and enterprise networks.  So, from smart watches to drone technology and how the microchip has evolved–for better or for worse–he can also discuss how America now ranks 12th among industrialized nations for startups. Economics and public policy have stacked the deck against people who might otherwise start new businesses and bring new innovations to market. Being an “entrepreneur” for many has been redefined as subcontracting to Uber. Zinn can discuss:

Evolution of microchips – from smart watches to drone technology.

  • The bad news: startups are dropping and that is bad for innovation and entrepreneurialism.
  • Discount the theory that subcontracting is entrepreneurialism and explain why.
  • Why startups are important to a nation in a global economy.
  • Why and how America can do to reverse the trend.
  • The Fed’s artificially low interest rate make saving unappealing. This keeps people from building a base from which that can take entrepreneurial chances.
  • We don’t teach basic business in high school, and thus never encourage entrepreneurialism. States should make it part of the standard curricula.
  • Politicians need to better show that the growing wealth gap is tied to the falling rate of startups. Owning a business is the traditional and fast way to intergenerational wealth creation.
  • Government at all levels need to get out of the way – taxes, regulation and mandates. The more barriers you raise to starting a business, the few will get started.

Zinn’s approach to life and business and his philosophy on people, servant leadership, humanistic management and the ethics of corporate culture are credited with Micrel’s nearly unbroken profitability, deeply loyal team and life-changing corporate culture.  Raymond D. “Ray” Zinn is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the longest serving CEO of a publicly traded company in Silicon Valley. He is best known for creating and selling the first Wafer Stepper (an industry standard piece of semiconductor manufacturing equipment), and for co-founding semiconductor company, Micrel (acquired by Microchip in 2015), which provides essential components for smartphones, consumer electronics and enterprise networks. He served as Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of its Board of Directors and President since Micrel’s inception in 1978 until his retirement in August 2015. Zinn’s philosophy on people, servant leadership, humanistic management and the ethics of corporate culture are credited with Micrel’s nearly unbroken profitability. Zinn also holds over 20 patents for semiconductor design. A proud great-grandfather, he is actively-retired and mentoring entrepreneurs.  More info can be found on Zinn’s social media pages: Linked In (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rayzinn) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Ray_Zinn_) and at ToughThingsFirst.com. His new book, Tough Things First (McGraw-Hill), is available for pre-order at ToughThingsFirst.com, Amazon and other fine booksellers until its release.

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“Tough Things First is not a typical business book about a market success or effective business methods. It is about the success of one Silicon Valley startup company, Micrel, which has been run profitably by the same CEO/founder for 36 years. It is about how a founder’s dedication to basic principles is required to make any startup successful. The precise recipe for success may change ― for example, my 32-year-old company, Cypress Semiconductor, used venture funding, while Zinn preached and achieved financial independence ― but Zinn shows how startups must have and truly practice their core values to succeed.”
-T.J. Rodgers, President & CEO, Cypress Semiconductor Corp

“Ray Zinn has chronicled the discipline, the cultural foundation blocks and the tough decisions required of a successful start-up. Ray explains how, “discipline defines success” under his four principles: Focus, Short Time Frames, Frugality and Being the Best.”
-Michael Shepherd, President and CEO, Bank of the West

“Ray Zinn’s journey is not only a genuine Silicon Valley success story but also a remarkable life story from which nearly anyone can draw important lessons. In Tough Things First, Ray explores not only the “how-to” aspects of building a company but also the mindset and character traits ― discipline, intense focus and attention to detail ― needed for lasting entrepreneurial success. Most importantly, in an era when success is too often defined by publicity, speedy “exits” and financial windfalls, Ray reminds us that the fulfillment of building a thriving, enduring enterprise is the reward that a true entrepreneur seeks.”
-Balu Balakrishnan, CEO, Power Integrations

“The disciplined pursuit of what is essential is ten times harder than the undisciplined pursuit of the nonessential but it is a hundred times more valuable. This is brilliantly illustrated in Tough Things First.”
-Greg McKeown,
Author of the New York Times bestseller Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.


“If you stitch Ray Zinn’s life together and look at what he’s achieved, despite the odds or the skepticism or the impediments that have been presented – doing a start-up business [without venture capital], his sudden vision impairment, the ups and downs of our industry. It’s a very uplifting story about what a determined spirit can achieve in the world, particularly in Silicon Valley and in the United States.”
-Rick Crowley, CFO, Intersil

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Reviewed by R.G. Richardson