Tag Archives: tech leadership

Steve Hoffman: People Skills for Founders



Joanie has a conversation with Steve Hoffman, CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup accelerators. Steve has trained hundreds of startup founders and corporate executives in the art of innovation and provided consulting to many of the world’s largest corporations, including Qualcomm, Huawei, Bosch, Intel, Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC, Gulf Oil, Siemens, and Viacom. Steve is also a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of several award-winning books, including “Surviving a Startup” published by HarperCollins. Steve has also worked in the television and gaming industries and has some great tips and stories to share.

Highlights:

Q: Steve, you’re known as Captain Hoff in the gaming world. Tell us about your work in the television and gaming industries, as well as what games you play.

Steve is known in Silicon Valley as Captain Hoff because he’s a game player and designer.  He started out playing Dungeons and Dragons, RuneQuest, and almost any board game you can think of, as well as video games of all kinds.  He worked for Sega on Sonic the Hedgehog, and eventually started a company and created the award-winning strategy game, Gazillionaire, and many other games that are still available on Steam.

Q: What skills did you have learned along the way to expand your ability from developing to lead teams and companies?  How did you learn to manage people?

Steve learned the hard way.  He was an introvert and extremely shy.  Even though Steve comes across as an extrovert now, he said it was all trained.  He said he started out being really bad at presenting, interviewing, making sales pitches, and so on, but just did it.  He said the way he learned was to notice every time what worked and what didn’t and never do the same thing twice.

He learned how to go from telling people what to do to asking them what they think they should do, what problems they are facing, and what they need.

Listen to the podcast to hear how Steve came to start Founders Space, what some of the most common challenges he see tech startup founders running into, and what kinds of barriers technical founders create for themselves.

Shout Out:

Steve’s book called Surviving a Startup: Practical Strategies for Starting a Business, Overcoming Obstacles, and Coming Out on Top.

Words of Wisdom:

The only way to meet a challenge is head on.

Don’t sell people on what you’re doing; figure out what they want.

You cannot motivate people by standing over their shoulders and nitpicking them.

Get people on board by asking them what they should be doing.

Instead of convincing yourself that you’re the best, ask yourself “how can I be better?”

Contact Steve Hoffman (Captain Hoff):

Founders Space: https://FoundersSpace.com
Books: https://FoundersSpace.com/books
Podcast: https://www.CaptainHoff.com/
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/groups/FoundersSpace
LinkedIn: https://LinkedIn.com/in/FoundersSpace/
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/FoundersSpace/
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/FoundersSpace/


Lydia Chiu: The Importance of Communication in Web Design



Joanie interviews Lydia Chiu, a partner at Jub Jub Interactive.  Jub Jub is a web application development company based in Orange County, CA.  Lydia has over 15 years of programming and web development experience.  She has a deep understanding of content management systems and enterprise application development.  Listen to the episode to hear Lydia’s stories on how she became a web developer, how she developed as a leader and how communication has been core to her success.

Highlights:

Q: How did you develop an interest in web design and become a partner at Jub Jub?

It’s not the typical story and it involves an interesting pivot and an unusual partnership.

Q: What challenges did you run into early on as a team lead and how did you overcome them?

It included a feeling of imposter syndrome, a lot of learning, and good communication skills.

Q: How have you evolved as a leader over the years, for example as a partner at Jub Jub?

Learning how to groom new leaders and employees who could interact effectively with clients.

Q: How do you understand your clients’ businesses and needs and what skills did you have to develop to get better at that?

Lydia’s early work in customer service while in high school was an important experience for her to develop communication skills and comfort in delivering bad news.  Delegating is an ongoing challenge.

Q: There aren’t many women who do what you do.  What has been your experience as a woman in the field of software development?

Lydia has had great female role models but has also encountered some unfortunate situations with clients who respond to her differently than her male counterparts.  Listen to the podcast to hear her stories.

Words of Wisdom:

Mom was always right.

No matter what you’re doing, writing and coding are fundamental skills for success.

Anytime you start a business with partners, there’s a huge amount of trust that you need.

Knowing you’re going to work through conflict is key to a successful partnership.

Contact Lydia Chiu:

Website: jubjub.com

Email: lydia@jubjub.com

Twitter: @lydiaatjubjub