Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
I am Naji, your host for this podcast joined today by Semyon Dukach, Managing Partner at One Way Ventures, the venture capital fund backing exceptional immigrant tech founders who are building great companies like Brex, Momentus Space, and Chipper Cash. Semyon is a refugee from the Soviet Union and formerly the Managing Director of Techstars (Boston). Prior to Techstars, he was a prolific angel investor and a friend of the startup community. Semyon has made over 100 angel investments, including early investments in Quanergy, SMTP.com, and Wanderu. Xconomy lists Semyon as a top angel investor in New England. His philosophy has been to focus on helping his founders at all costs. Prior to becoming a full-time angel, Semyon co-founded several technology companies including Vert and Fast Engines. Fast Engines was sold to Adero in 2000. Beyond startups, Semyon is known for leading one of the MIT blackjack teams in the early 90s to beat the casinos. Semyon earned his B.S. from Columbia University and M.S. from MIT, both in Computer Science.
Semyon – it is such an honor to have you with me today.
Semyon Dukach: Thanks for having me.
Naji Gehchan: We would love first to hear your incredible personal story from immigrating to MIT beating casinos in blackjack and now being a VC focused on impact investing in exceptional tech immigrants. It feels like a full circle, but we’d love to hear more about t from you.
Semyon Dukach: Yeah. You know, I, I started some companies and then I gravitated fairly early in my career towards investing. I realized, Uh, the customers I wanted to serve were the startup entrepreneurs and that I enjoyed being involved in multiple things in parallel, um, and was also fairly good at the, actually making money at it.
Uh, so, uh, I basically started gradually investing, um, more and more of whatever money I had. And as I started doing better as an investor, I had the exits and I rolled it all over. Um, to where, yeah, eventually, uh, maybe, um, 12 or 13 years after I started move, being an investor, I was like one of the most active people, uh, in the part of the world in New England.
But then actually I didn’t just immediately go to the venture fund. I was recruited to run the Techstars, uh, accelerator here in Boston. Um, uh, which at the time was quite early, but it was still already very successful. Had a great track record. It was a much stronger program than other programs like it.
and I was, you know, surprised cuz I’ve never, never had to work within any larger organization. But it was a little bit of a franchise and that, like the Boston group, uh, operated somewhat autonomously at the time. And, um, I took that on. And so that was actually my first kind of semi institutional investing experience we had.
I, I guess I ran four, uh, four groups, um, over three years. Um, A total of about 48 or 50 companies. Um, and those have done well as well. And there I really learned more about like, mentoring not just individuals, but doing groups of CEOs, working with the venture capital investors and connecting, you know, people making it more likely that they can tell a better story and raise money they need.
Um, and, uh, it was a little bit of a public facing role. Now there’s demo days, you know, it’s, it’s a large, large gathering of the whole community, uh, every year. Um, so, you know, it was fun. And that’s when I first dabbled a little bit with, uh, not just taking local companies, but bringing some companies over from Europe.
Um, which had mixed results, I would say. But after doing it for a few years, I, I felt it was a little too comfortable for me. It wasn’t as challenging, you know? Um, I wanted to do something of my own from scratch, something more global or something with a, with a mission and impact that I really cared about.
Cause I think, I think any kind of investing organization like any other startup needs to have some purpose other than how much money it’s gonna make. I think it’s really, it’s a good thing to, to have, it helps motivate your team. It helps keep people, you know, going through the hard times. . Um, and um, ultimately if you really believe in what you’re doing, you’re probably gonna do better than than folks who lack that belief, right?
You’re gonna work harder, you’ll be, you’ll have an easier time recruiting, you’ll have better deal flow. So, ended up, uh, picking this, uh, focus on immigrants because, I mean, I am, uh, an immigrant, or at least my parents were, you know, I was young when I came here. We were refugees. Um, I found most of like, um, most of my friends, but also a large number of the startups I invested in as an angel had immigrant founders.
Anyway. and, um, it just seemed like the right time. I mean, Donald Trump was just elected and, um, there was a bit of a backlash against people coming in. Right. So it, the time seemed right to, to make a stance and to say, you know what, we’re only gonna invest in immigrants cuz immigrants are more likely to build big unicorns than.
People ho born here, right? It’s a very strong filter. When you’ve gone through what you’ve gone through in order to move to another country, learn a cultural language, you know, rebuild your network. It’s predictive of resilience and future success. You’ve gone through more than someone in an equivalent position with an easier path who was already born here.
Um, in a sense, you know, immigration is almost like your first company. It’s like an entrepreneurial thing, right? Like getting yourself re-situated is, is quite a task. Um, and so yeah, we, we built the whole fund around that concept. We raised, I left Techstars, we raised, uh, first 28 million was the first fund, and we invested that and had a bunch of interesting outcomes and were able to raise a second fund that was twice as big as 57.
Um, and we are about halfway through investing that one at this point. So that, that’s what I did today. I, I typically, like the angel phase is long over. I, I don’t write angel checks. I’m full-time capital investor, uh, right now.
Naji Gehchan: Well, thank you so much, Samuel, for share sharing, uh, your story with us. Uh, I I’m gonna double click immediately on the VC impact and specifically for, um, for immigrant exceptional immigrants as you.
You shared a little bit about the philosophy behind it, so I’m interested if you can give a little bit more, uh, your, your words insight, how you ended up really thinking immigrants, and I can relate. Um, you know, I’ve been immigrant couple of times, so, uh, I’d love to get your insights on this. And really when you started and had this idea where you said, I’m gonna move and only invest on immigrant startups and entrepreneurs, Uh, you, you said you had good funds, uh, joining you.
Was it hard for people to believe it? I’m interested in the reaction about this, because you said you went through the stance in a moment of even like some tension, you know, politically or beyond, so I’m interested how you managed to convince people around
Semyon Dukach: it. I, I suspect it was probably easier because the, the people who didn’t.
What the administration were doing felt angry and they felt strongly and they, they, uh, knew that America was built on immigrants really. And what America’s success at attracting people from all over the world is largely, uh, related to, to how, how wealthy and successful America is today. Right. Um, people know that.
And so, They were frustrated and I think it was easier to get their attention. But at the end of the day, like we decided not to make an impact fund for the purpose of helping the people we invest in, right? Like of course we help because that’s what we do as investors. We help the companies, we give ’em money, you give add value, so they pick your money and not someone else’s.
But, um, and because that’s the fun part, but the act, the selection itself, the act of writing the. It’s fundamentally not a philanthropic exercise for us. Like we are not a fund that, uh, invests in people because. They’re under capitalized because they have trouble raising money from others. We’re not there to help people who struggle struggling with fund fundraising.
Right. Uh, on a contrary raising, think, you know, we have our beliefs, we have our passion. We love investing in immigrants. We wanna see a world that’s more open. We ideally want to see that any person, regardless of where, wherever they happen to be born, should be able to like switch their passports at will and join whatever country they want to be a part of.
And all countries should be open to everyone. Uh, I mean, obviously not the people who come and, you know, commit crime or whatnot, but you know, you could, you should be able to police crime the same way for new arrivals. As for existing, uh, people like it. I, I would like to believe. The random paperwork that you happen to have received when you were born is completely outside of your control.
Just like your, your race or gender is outside of your control. And so opportunities should be the same for everybody. And so, you know, we don’t like the idea of asking, uh, whether these tech immigrant founders are good for America because they create a lot of jobs. Just doesn’t interest me at all. Like, I, I, I don’t actually care about the fact.
These immigrants create a lot of jobs for America. I mean, it’s nice. It’s good that the jobs are created, but that’s not an argument for why we should allow them to enter the country. The reason we should allow them to enter the country, in my view, is because we believe in the quality of opportunity. We believe in human rights, and who the hell are we to ask whether the arrival of this person.
Gonna benefit us economically. It’s their right to come and do whatever the hell they want. As long as, you know, they’re not harming as long as they’re building, creating, you know, working like everyone should have the same rights. It shouldn’t matter where you’re born, right? Because that’s outside of your control.
That’s, that’s a core part of what we believe. And then we think globally, of course, in general, uh, we tend to, you know, our companies tend to have offshore development because they have come from a country where they understand the culture and it’s easier for them to set that up. Um, and there’s a lot of other, uh, advantages to it.
Um, but basically we have, you know, with our philosophy, uh, we were able to attract some really top immigrant, uh, talent, uh, like top founder. Uh, became part of our deal flow. Like the people sent us really interesting companies, even the ones, you know, the ones that maybe the immigration experience was some time ago and maybe they’ve already had a successful, uh, outcome and they’re like in hot demand and everybody wants to invest.
And often we get allocation in those rounds because we are the only fund who who is defined around this concept. And, you know, a strong immigrant founders just love, they remember how hard it was for them when they first. They love the idea that, that there’s a fund for immigrants, right? Like that they boldly state that like immigrants aren’t just as good.
They, they like better, they’re significantly better. They’re the single strongest group, right? Uh, for the purpose of determining your probability of building a unicorn, you know, really outside success, which is the only way to get good receiver returns is to invest in those unicorns, right? So, um, it’s, it’s been, you know, a really fun journey.
Um, Uh, you know, I’m sure some luck was involved as always, but, uh, I think, um, I think the mission has been really important. Like our founders are more likely to help each other because they all share this mission. We have a lot of limited partners. We, we didn’t go to institutions. We raised money from like, basically entrepreneurs who had exits, who had money because they sold their companies.
And we have 230 of ’em altogether. Um, . So that’s a pretty strong network of people who, many of whom, if not most of whom are pretty engaged. They wanna meet the founders, you know, they want to like us. They want to get excited about, you know, , high energy, younger people who are super smart, who are changing the world, who are very passionate, like doing something interesting.
Like it’s, it’s really fun to be around, uh, the kind of startup CEOs that could race sizeable rounds, right? Um, so it’s a fun job and it’s a fun community to be a part of. And so that’s, that’s what we do with one.
Naji Gehchan: and with high impact, and I really love how you framed that opportunity should be the same for everybody.
You know, like some would call it the genetic lottery, uh, actually where you get born and how, and, and what you’re trying to bring is really, really this equity or ac at least equitable access, uh, for people to be able to thrive wherever they were.
Semyon Dukach: Yeah, and you don’t do it, but like, just giving the VC check to every immigrant, obviously, like we, we look for extraordinary people who are building large in disruptive businesses.
Most of the companies we invest in, like their competitive rounds, and they could, they could get their money anyway from someone else. Uh, not all, but most of the time. Um, So
Naji Gehchan: I wanna, I wanna double click on this savian, because you, you talked about, uh, obviously, you know, immigrants, the grit. You talked a lot about resilience as an immigrant already, and this is kind of why, why you define those as your top, not top-notch entrepreneur.
Uh, I’m intrigued. What else do you look at and do you look for, in f in founding teams when you are ready to invest, uh, is there any key leadership trades capabilities within the founding team or the lead team of those companies that you really look for to
Semyon Dukach: make your final call? Well, of course, I mean, you know, there’s no shortage of immigrant at startups.
It’s just a, it’s just an initial filter for whether we’re gonna take the meeting, um, or even look at it. Like we don’t take, we only take one out and 50 meetings that come at us, even from immigrant founders. Right. And then we invest in one of 20 of those or whatever. Um, so one of the things we look for, it’s, it’s similar to what other investors look for, the seed.
We have seed investors. It’s usually the second round, like there’s a pre-seed round and then a seed round. Sometimes we do pre-seed. Um, at that stage, the, the CEOs, by far the most important factor, right? Like it needs to be a large market for sure has to be a large opportunity. Uh, hopefully in market that’s, it’s not too, too difficult to, to grow quickly in.
But then, uh, we really. The kind of, uh, leader who has a vision of the future, who has a thesis, has a belief, a strong belief about how to serve their customers, how the world will change, what their customers really need. They care about their customers, and they care about their team. and, uh, they’re able to articulate this belief, like explain it in a way that could make sense.
And, uh, when you challenge them, they listen pretty closely to your questions. They don’t agree with most of what you say, but they, uh, show you how they think. And how they take that stuff that you’re saying into account. Hopefully they, uh, usually they know much more about their business, their space than, than we do.
Just by definition, even the spaces we focus on, we still don’t know as much as a person, you know, spending all their time on one business. . Um, so we have these conversations we look at and then we look at the team, we look at who they’re able to recruit. Like we expect people to, to bring on like incredibly strong talent.
You know, the kind of people who could themselves be c e o and raise money from other VCs. Not the kind of people who just have like high paying jobs, but like really strong people. Um, and that those people wanna follow. This leader just for equity. Um, this usually minimal salaries in the beginning stages, you know, there’s some, but um, so this ability to inspire others right is, is really important.
And the ability to maintain a, a real vision while also like listening to skepticism and. And processing it and under, and like taking it into account, like not having a blind vision where you just don’t really want to hear anything where you think you know it all already. Like you have to be cognizant of what you know and what you don’t know.
So those, those kinds of characteristics. And then sometimes when it’s like a full sea round, sometimes there’s already some revenues, there’s always some customers. Even though there’s no products, no revenues, there has to be customers of course. So we talk to the customers when we are leading around and we, these days, we usually lead, we we wanna speak to the customers and try to understand, you know, how big this could be.
You know, how big a need is it? How many other people in the industry might need it in the way that they do. Uh, just get a sense for, is this gonna be a venture scale story cuz like, at the end of the day, right, like, uh, very few companies actually appropriate for, for significant venture capital. And while I found the small, the model is to, to back unicorns, which usually means that they’re gonna raise very large rounds from other people later.
So we do need it to, to be, you know, Defensible. Like ideally there should be some, some ip, some founder market fit, like the founder in addition to just being great has to be somehow a good fit for what they’re doing for the space that they’re in. Um, yeah, those are some of the, some of the factors look at.
Naji Gehchan: Thanks for that. Uh, I, I’m gonna take you back in time if, if we can talk for a couple of minutes about blackjack. Uh, I, I’m, I’m intrigued and interested. Uh, you know, it might have been like cut off your, one of the first entrepreneurship journey you had and you’ve built company yourself, uh, obviously as, uh, along the way.
Uh, is there like a common thread or key learnings from those experiences that you took with you? as you build companies and as a leader today within your
Semyon Dukach: vc. I mean, of course women Blackjack was my first company. It was also my first fund in a sense, cuz we, it was more like an investment fund, right? We had investors and then players who kind of managed that.
Uh, we had to keep track of stuff. We modeled probabilities, we generated results. Uh, we, we had. Pretty good, you know, returns, it was like around under 50% a year kind of returns in blackjack.
Naji Gehchan: Wow. Can, can you give maybe our audience who don’t know you much, like a little bit of a backstory of the blackjack we’re talking about?
Semyon Dukach: Yeah. I mean, it was the, that was part of this m I T team that figured out how to beat the casinos of the game and made a few million dollars around the world. I ended. Uh, leading one of the two teams who split off into a couple of groups. And I, I was sort of the defacto president of one of those groups.
Um, learned many, many things, uh, that applied to my later, later funds, uh, how to work with people, teams, how to keep people motivated, you know, how to think quantitatively for sure. Like, I think I have a pretty, pretty quantitative way of approaching most decision. For example, when we, usually, when our companies raise later stage rounds, we usually, you know, co-invest for our pro rat rates.
We’ll, you know, either out of fund reserves or we run PVS when it’s larger checks. But even though we usually invest, I always, every, every single time I actually consider selling rather than buying to me, it’s almost, you know, it’s almost like I should be doing rather than other, I rarely wanna maintain my position.
I either wanna buy the sell. So I’m trying to like, uh, be a little bit more, uh, objective and less emotional. , the initial decision is quite emotional cuz you have to decide if you trust the, the founder too. You have to decide, you know, uh, the gut. You often have to listen to a gut. Um, but, uh, over time, you know, uh, thinking Ally is very helpful I think.
And also I think blackjack taught me. You know, very few things are impossible. Like even if conventional wisdom says, you know, you can’t beat the casinos, obviously, like that’s a known fact. Well, we could, we could, if we, if we can prove why we can, if we can write a simulator and show that it could work well, it can actually work no matter what it is.
So when a founder tells me, um, uh, that’s something, you know, they can do something that everyone else says can’t be done, and I have some initial reference calls. , you know, this cannot work. It’s the physics, it’s not gonna work. It’s impossible. It’s bullshit. And then, you know, I’m like, are you sure? Why don’t you, why don’t you actually talk to the founder?
Like, just double check and then turns out that there is a way. Um, so just thinking that, that this first principles kind of thinking nothing is impossible unless you can prove it’s impossible, right? Actually the master will prove, um, and I’m sure many other things, um, Uh, we even had investors like it was a fund in the sense that there were investors who were just investing.
There were people who managed it. There were people who actually played. So it had all those attributes. And, um, yeah, I think, uh, what it didn’t have, like, it didn’t really create value. Like we, it was more of an arbitrage. Like, we beat money, we beat the casinos for money, and we spent the money and like it was our, like, we didn’t.
The casinos never thanked us for meeting them, right? We didn’t have customers for whom we created value, so we were more like, like traders or like some kind of hedge fund in or whatever in that sense than than tech investors. So it’s much more gratifying, of course to invest in companies where you can actually help ’em with advice.
So connections and whatnot, and you feel their gratitude and you feel a little bit. Of the responsibility for their success. Of course, 99% of it lies with the, with the team and not the investor. But still, um, you can make a meaningful impact sometimes, and that’s a very good feeling. Um, but yeah, it was my first, uh, my first company and my first fund.
And then, you know, I’ve done okay with my companies. I had like a pretty reasonable exit that got me started in invest. But, uh, I did way better as an investor than end of the day. And, uh, you know, basically when you all on all like 15 years of Angel, I was doing like, I dunno, 35, 30 8% per year returns in terms of actual exits, you know, like cash and cash returns, which for a long period of time, you know, was difficult to pull off.
And so far with Techstars, with the, with one way, I believe I’m maintaining that rough level, which, you know, it’s challenging. You can’t, you can’t take that for granted. Evaluations go up like crazy. Now you have wonder if it’s gonna work anymore. Well, now I’ve gone back down. So that concern is out of the way.
But, um, you know, it’s an, it’s more of an art in the science for sure. The venture capital. It’s a, it’s a craft and it does, I have to say, I got, I think I got pretty lucky a few times in the beginning because, um, it, it takes years and years to really know if you’re doing the right thing. Like, cuz the company can take, uh, more than a decade to actually.
Generate true value. Like there’s early indications, they might raise a bunch of money from someone else, but that could just be a fad. And you know, you only really know when you return capital to your investors or to yourself if you’re an angel. And that’s just with that delay, you sort of. You know, you gotta lose for 20 or 30 years to have a couple of cycles of feedback really.
So, I mean, I, I know some people are natural, some people are younger and they’re still able to have this amazing, uh, sense for it. Um, but generally it’s, uh, It’s a very long, it’s a long game. And building a venture capital brand, like one way, you know, it’s not, it’s not like a lifestyle kind of fund that’s like, me and my partners wanna run it, and then it’ll land when we get old.
That it’s really important to me that it succeeds, that it grows, that it becomes like a globally, like well known strong fund. Because I, I want, I want people to know that by investing in, I. we got, we were able to build a large fund, have above market returns because I think that could be an argument in, in discourse everywhere about, uh, how open should borders be about how welcoming countries should be, uh, to others, right?
Like, uh, I want our success in and of itself to, to, to make, uh, potentially apolitical point. Um, but yeah, meanwhile we are just focusing on, of course, generating the best possible returns for our investors and, you know, investing in, in the very, very, very best immigrants and not, not necessarily the ones who need our help, but also like, I guess I mentioned that a couple times now.
So I do wanna say that, uh, there’s a place in life for, for, for like helping people who need help. Specifically. Venture capital is not it, in my view. Um, I. Do have a, um, charitable foundation that, um, I’m a part of that, I’m on the board of that. My wife actually runs full-time and right now it’s focused on refugees, uh, outta Ukraine.
but in general, it’s gonna be refugees. I think in other parts of the world, people who fled from wars and, you know, people like that, they need help. You know, we don’t invest on them. You, you just give them money and, um, hopefully not for too long so they can get back on their feet. But, but there’s, there’s an aspect, there’s a place in the world for, for just philanthropy and, and helping people who need a hand.
And sometimes immigrants do need an extra hand, but one way ventures isn’t that it isn’t. Yeah. Well
Naji Gehchan: thanks for kind of separating and really differentiating both and, and what you’re doing with your, uh, VC and investment fund is really also, I, I love how you’re framing it towards this bigger purpose of, of really showing the word, this purpose that you have on, on immigration.
Um, and I love your leadership, how you’ve put things. Into contrast like quant, but also some, you know, gut taking decision, uh, some luck leadership vision, but also like going with the flow. You talked a lot about your, so it’s really great learning and I’ll, I’ll give you now one word and I would love actually your reaction to it.
And the first one
Semyon Dukach: is leadership.
Um, leader. Well, uh,
effective leader, someone who inspires people to be better than they otherwise would be. You know, the people want to follow a leader because following that person makes them be better people. Right? Um, people want us inspiration. Um,
I mean, a leader has to have strong views. They have to have vision, and they have to listen to the people. So for following them and stay in tune with ’em. And not lose them. What about equity?
Equity? Uh, like as in, in, in companies and, or you mean like equity, like fairness or equity? Like equity, like fair. , like kind of equity? Um, I think there should be equity of opportunity. I think people should, uh, be, shouldn’t be limited, uh, from doing whatever they can effectively achieve. They should be judged based on their.
They’re their results. Um, you know, there’s obviously other fault, prejudices of in the world, and generally I feel that, um, you know, we need to overcome them by, by letting people do what they want, not, uh, and not necessarily in other ways. Um, , you know, I’ve already spoken about, about borders. Uh, of course you have to come in peace, you know, having been very involved with the war in Ukraine.
The last thing I wanna suggest is that like Ukraine not have any borders. You know, with Russia, like clearly they need much stronger borders, but like much bigger walls, uh, you know, people are gonna come in and roll their tanks in and, and, you know, rape and murder people. But, um, but as long as people. Um, want to, uh, you know, interact peacefully, interact in a way, uh, that benefits everybody.
That’s, that’s based on freedom and, you know, voluntary contracts. Um, I really think everything should be, should be open. Um, And as far as equity, uh, the other equity, I don’t know. You didn’t ask about that one, but you know,
Naji Gehchan: as I was asking, I was sure your VC mind will, will go into equity, so I’d love to hear your thoughts
Semyon Dukach: also on it.
equity versus death. I mean, I think. . Um, the best part about when work, when it works well, the Capitalist Society allows for easy formation of new businesses and people who work with big companies and don’t really own them, they just get cash bonuses or whatever. At some point. There’s nothing like owning something, nothing like being ultimately responsible for success and getting the full benefit from its success.
it’s very motivating. I think generally people, uh, do best when they act as owners of whatever it is that they’re involved with. So I, I certainly believe that new companies should spread that ownership broadly, that like probably ev every serious employer of, of a company should have some equity, some stock options, some way to, to benefit from, from the real upside.
I think it’s very important. . The third
Naji Gehchan: one is Breaking
Semyon Dukach: Vegas.
Breaking Vegas. Well, I don’t know if we actually really broke it. You know, I think we just nibbled the edges a little bit. You know, I mean, we won a few million bucks, but like they make billions every year. Like it wasn’t that big a deal. Of course they hated us cuz they, it humiliates them to think that someone can actually beat.
But, um, did,
Naji Gehchan: did they do a good job relating it in the movie
Semyon Dukach: for you? No, the movie was, the Kevin Spacey movie was quite fictionalized, but there’s, uh, not other films in the history channel that are more accurate. But even the Kevin Spacey movie, well, the characters have all changed. You know, it captures the essence of what it felt like for.
It definitely captures, you know, the sense that we are doing impossible. We are a team, we are the good guys, they’re the bad guys. Like all of that was definitely part of it and I’m really glad I did it. It was an interesting experience. I. Kind of regret spending three or four years on it. I think it’s would’ve been a better three or four months experience in my life.
Just cuz you know, it was cool, it was neat, I learned something. But there’s more interesting things to do in the world, like built tremendous value for your customers, uh, than just, uh, you know, proof, proof that you was smarter than a bunch of casino people who are particularly smart, right? Like, yeah.
Naji Gehchan: And, and the team, like follow up question on this, I, the team has all ended up being successful entrepreneurs, right? Like there’s always this entrepreneurial spread within what
Semyon Dukach: you’ve been doing as a team. I, I wouldn’t say all of ’em, uh, but people are in different walks of life. You know, one woman is a tenure professor, one, a couple of people are still playing or whatever, like, but the, the number of like very, very successful entrepreneurs that came out of the team.
Is impressive. Like I’m not the most successful person that, you know, I’ve done really well, but like there’s people who’ve done better. Uh, there’s people like John Husick who started some very, very large successful companies like SolidWorks, like I don’t know Chen. There’s a few of these people who just built really big businesses.
Um, but I think, I don’t think any of ’em are really regret doing blackjack. I think they all felt like they learned a lot and had fun and, you know, it was teamwork. So. .
Naji Gehchan: Uh, and the last one is, uh, spread love in
Semyon Dukach: organizations.
No love makes the world go around. Uh, you know, uh, yeah. Organizations are to consist of like, you know, ties between people who deeply care about each other, who, who, um, you know, bond. Not indifferent if people shouldn’t be totally formal. I mean, yeah, you can keep your, your friends social circle separate from your work circle if you want.
But, but the work circle should also have, have, you know, real emotional, personal meaning to you should, you shouldn’t be indifferent to the people with when you spend much of your life, uh, and you got a love your customers, I mean, you’re not gonna really ever get anywhere if you don’t love your customers. They can feel.
Naji Gehchan: Any final word of wisdom for leaders around the world?
Semyon Dukach: The leaders don’t need any of my wisdom and the people who, who are hoping to get my wisdom to become leaders are unlikely to, to transform themselves into leaders. I think some of it just comes from then, um, I mean, there’s obvious advice. Like, you know, you don’t want the, the, in the, in the military, the, the leader is in the front, not in the back.
Right? Like the leader, the leader leads and, and inspires and does, doesn’t just stand behind and tell people what to do. But I think those, those little cliches at this point, um, so, you know, I think you have. Figure out what’s important to you and what you believe in and sort of run with it and, and sometimes the leadership just naturally happens.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you so much, Semyon, for being with me today and for this incredible chat.
Semyon Dukach: You’re welcome. It was nice being here. Thank you.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to spread love and organization’s podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
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