About RAY ZINN
Bio: Raymond D. “Ray” Zinn is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the longest serving CEO of a publicly traded company in Silicon Valley. Zinn is known best for conceptualizing and in effect inventing the Wafer Stepper, and for co-founding semiconductor company Micrel (acquired by Microchip in 2015), which provides essential components for smartphones, consumer electronics and enterprise networks. He has served as Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of its Board of Directors and President since the Company’s inception in 1978. Zinn has led Micrel profitably through eight major downturns in global chip markets, an impressive achievement. Many chip companies weren’t able to make it through one downturn and very few have survived through all the major downturns. Micrel has been profitable from its very first year, aside from one year during the dot-com implosion. Ray Zinn holds over 20 patents for semiconductor design. He has been mentioned in several books, including Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running and Essentialism by Greg McKeown.
Bio Courtesy of: http://toughthingsfirst.com/about/
Alan Olsen: I’m visiting here today with Ray Zinn. Ray, welcome.
Ray Zinn:Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be here, Alan.
Alan Olsen: So Ray, for the listeners, can you give us your pathway in life of what you know, what brought you up to where you are today. And then what you’re currently working on?
Ray Zinn: Well, you know, I’m a consummate entrepreneur, and always like to invent things and, and share with people knowledge that I have. And, and so my background of course I graduated as an engineer and with a master’s in business, and I started Micrel, my company that I founded in 1978. So that’s my big achievement other than being married to my beautiful wife and having 22 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. But at the end of 2014, I was invited to write a book, and a little bit about my experience and leadership skills. And so the book was called, “Tough Things First”. It’s published by McGraw Hill and the primary purpose of it is to teach entrepreneurs how to run a company. Nine out of 10 startups fail during the first three years. And I wanted to get that down to at least 50-50. So that was the purpose of doing tough things first. And, and so then subsequent to writing the book, Tough Things First, I started writing these musings thoughts that I have, that are leadership skills. And so I wrote my first book Zen of Zinn, which we brought out about a little over a year ago. And then I brought out my new book, Zen of Zinn Two, that I brought out in just the last few months, and I’m just finishing Zen of Zinn three, which should be published this time next year. And it’s a collection of thoughts on how to run your life, you know, leadership skills. And so what I try to do is really help people and, and kind of give back because I had a very good life and a long record, Silicon Valley’s longest serving CEO. And I just thought there was a way I could give back so I teach at like six universities that have a program called Zenstarter, which is like Kickstarter for universities. I give money to the students to help run a company. And then we mentor them. They use my book Tough Things First as their background material. And so it’s just my way of giving back to the world as you would, and my skills on leadership. And so, you know, Tough Things or Zen of Zinn Two is really just a compilation of my thoughts on how to, to run to lead your life, live your life, it applies to anyone, whether you’re a child, whether you’re a student, or whether you’re a father, mother, you know, this, this book is applicable to anybody. And it’s just some thoughts like you, you would say it, put it on your refrigerator and say, here’s what I’d like to focus on today. So, in the book, there’s 500 of them. And so now that’ll give you at least a year and a half worth that you put on your refrigerator. To just reflect on,
Alan Olsen: And then you also have a weekly podcast,
Ray Zinn: We produce a weekly podcast, I just finished a series on the history of Silicon Valley. I did that that’s been released. And now I’m doing a series on effective leadership. That’s another series we’re doing. That’ll be finished in probably another month and a half. We’ll finish that series of 10 podcasts. I think the history of Silicon Valley is like 15 podcasts. And they just interview different people. And they interview me and, and it’s something like what you do, Alan.
Alan Olsen: So, we’ll put a link to the podcast, but also the audible app. How do they reach that podcast? Is it off SoundCloud? .
Ray Zinn: Well they get you on any of the standard Apple, Stitcher or any standard way you would listen to podcasts. You can go to our website, toughthingsfirst.com. We’re also on LinkedIn, Facebook, and on Twitter.
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