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Episode 82 of 91

CEO ZoomInfo, Henry Schuck: This Job Is Not Supposed to Be Fun

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Every year, ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck writes a memo to his executive team, which is made to look like a letter to the board of directors. Even though he founded DiscoverOrg — the company that bought and became ZoomInfo in 2019 — Henry pretends in the memo to be a new CEO who has just been hired to clean up the old guy’s mess. The reason, he explains, is simple: It gets everyone focused on the problems that have to be fixed.In this episode, Henry and Joubin discuss the difference between wearing a hoodie and a suit; the nuances of Henry’s background that aren’t obvious from LinkedIn; how he has encouraged his employees and shown them (and their families) his appreciation; The CEO’s biggest fear: “Is this it?”; injecting tension in an organization; the gap between monetary and professional validation; ZoomInfo’s COVID IPO; and why the work of a founder-CEO is not supposed to be fun.In this episode, we cover:
Being emotionally vulnerable as a leader, and the limits of Henry’s openness (02:46)
What his single immigrant mother taught him about hard work (08:54)
The competitor to which Henry tried to sell DiscoverOrg — before beating and buying them instead (16:10)
The relief of taking ZoomInfo public after years of making promises to employees (19:42)
Getting passed over by venture capitalists, and why Henry sold half of the business to a private equity firm (27:40)
Learning how to work with a board of directors, and Henry’s overwhelming desire to not lose (32:11)
The “existential threat” to the business that gave Henry a panic attack (41:27)
Going public during the darkest days of COVID (48:34)
Why Henry writes a memo to his executive team every year, pretending to be a new CEO (55:29)
Being happy, present, and maintaining discipline between work and personal life (58:31)
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