Want the Job? Tell Him the Meaning of Life
Published: June 18, 2010
This interview of
C.E.O. of YuMe, an online video advertising firm in
Redwood City, Calif.
was conducted, edited and condensed by
Every Sunday, Adam Bryant talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and
Do you remember the first time you were somebody’s boss?
Yes, my first management job was at
, and I went from being an individual contributor
to managing a small team.
How old were you at the time?
Late 20s. I’ve always been pretty confident in my ability to do a job, so I kind of had this
fearlessness. If I’d known what management was all about, I probably would have had a lot of
fear, but going into it, as a young kid, I figured, “I can do this.” There was some apprehension
because I’d never really managed a team before. So I had to learn very fast.
I think part of the reason I got the job was really my personality, which is about, how do I make
everyone around me better? What can I do to help make people more successful? And I always
thought that if I do that, it will ultimately make me more successful. So the transition was
relatively easy because of that perspective.
I never had this management style where I would order people around. It’s really about, what’s
our goal, and how do we, as a team, collectively make it happen? So my first management job
was really treating myself not as a manager. I may happen to be on the organizational chart
above you, but think of me as a colleague and how we can help each other be successful.
How did you learn that lesson at a young age?
My parents were immigrants from Haiti, and both of them are doctors, against all odds.
They’ve persevered, and the lesson they taught me was not necessarily humility, but that the key
to success is to wake up every day and do the best you can do.