Joe Chen is the CEO of Chime Technologies. Joe is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Joe provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Chime Technologies. Joe Chen joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Chime Technologies with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Joe join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview and our popular “speed round” as well.
Joe, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. What is the “elevator pitch” for Chime Technologies?
We are the industry’s first all-in-one sales acceleration platform assisting real estate professionals’ marketing and sales technology needs.
2. What is the key to your company’s success?
Rapid, customer-centric product development. Our CS (Customer Success) team serves our customers by listening intently to customer feedback and strategically implementing technology changes in weeks, if not days. Being able to innovate at a faster pace is the key to our success thus far.
3. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
In addition to being an entrepreneur, I am a venture investor as well and have invested in 60+ tech companies globally in different stages. The most important decision an entrepreneur can make is to ensure sure he/she is going into a sustainable business, a business that is riding on a wave of disruption that will last for many years. For example, Chime was founded because we saw one thing: the rise of mobile and its massive technology penetration among real estate professionals. Real estate agents are time strapped and typically on the go. With Chime, when a lead comes in through the app, a busy agent can quickly browse the customer info and click to call. Technology adaptation in the residential real estate industry has been mushrooming because of the proliferation of mobile and the match with mobile work style of real estate agents.
4. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
We are not yet as successful as we would like to be and we continue to face growing pains. But I am committed to the vision of this venture and believe an entrepreneurs’ conviction level is very important. This goes back to my advice on the importance of pursuing the right product and vision. If an entrepreneur is fully convinced of the vision, he or she will find ways to solve most of the challenges. After all, no pain no gain. If a venture doesn’t endure challenges, I have a hard time seeing the venture as a highly valuable one.
5. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Chime Technologies, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
A superb product with a mediocre customer service team will receive mediocre customer satisfaction. On the other hand, a mediocre product with a superb customer service team will make it hard to ensure customers are truly happy. To delight the customers, you need a great product and great CS team. When you have both, customers will refer other customers and your Net Promoter Score (NPS) will shine.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
I read a lot and do a lot of “First Principle Thinking,” a business problem solving paradigm coined by Elon Musk. Like Elon, I am a physics major and I look at many business objects through lens of physics: natural business laws that governs how these objects moves, similar to that of Newton’s Law of motion that governs the physical world. To solve a business problem, for example the differentiation of a new product, I take the problem to an abstract level and ask myself seemingly generic questions. These questions generate a lot of surprising good answers because they have been asked from a higher abstract level.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Chime Technologies?
I have a few start-up businesses that I am leading at the same time. What excites me every day is seeing the potential positive impact we can have on our customers’ working lives. For example, Chime helps agents expedite the sale of a home by understanding the behaviors of their clients through AI. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
I grew up in China and there were not many great books to read as a kid. One day, however, I went to a bookstore and found the book “Star Wars” and it changed me. I discovered all kind of interesting characters and their magical weapons and capabilities. Their conversations were humorous and entertaining. I saw myself as Luke Skywalker – destined to spend my life embarking on adventures as opposed to staying with my uncle growing potatoes on a desert star.
9. When communicating with your staff, can you tell us the most important thing you do so that they are able to carry out the objectives that you set forth at Chime Technologies?
I communicate our goal to our employees very clearly. Last year we experienced significant growth. This year, we want to continue this growth and increase our NPS, which is the customer satisfaction yardstick. To do so, every month we track our progress, compare with past projections and make adjustments where needed. These simple yet ambitious goals keep us motivated and humbled at the same time.
10. Can you explain what leadership means to you?
Leadership for a start-up means a few things to me.
1. Making sure whatever product and/or service you build/offer makes sense, can withstand the wave of disruption, and solves a critical problem with innovation and ingenuity.
2. Make sure there are enough resources to carry out the mission: raise more than enough money and spend it carefully.
3. Hire great executives, which is easier said than done. In some cases, you need to learn the trade well enough yourself to be able to hire great people. In doing so, you become a boss who is observant and keenly understands the day to day, putting you in a position to effectively help and coach your team.
We would like to have some fun and do a “speed round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, what makes a successful CEO?
Rationality, passion, humility
2. Describe your business in one word?
3. Describe your customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about your company?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
Create, build, contribute
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Perseverance, humility, creativity.
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Chime Technologies?
Challenging but successful
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Much needed humility
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English language?
Joe Chen, thank you so much for sitting down with us for our DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Chime Technologies, nothing but the best.