Chief Executive Officer Greg Young of Luxtera Inc. knows that his company stands out, even in a town full of technological innovators. Luxtera was recently named a finalist for the San Diego AeA High Tech award. This may seem especially impressive for a new silicon photonics company, which just had its first major product launch, in a town already full of successful technology companies. But according to Young, “Luxtera is so far ahead of the rest of the industry that we’re influencing the way the subject is taught in universities.”
Young does not attribute Luxtera’s success to his own management. “The best thing a manager of innovation can do is to pick the right team, followed by helping the team to pick their goals, periodically monitoring the progress, and staying the heck out of the way.”
Essential business philosophy: Hire talent and focus it on important problems.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Commit to what you will do, not what you have already done.
Guiding principle: Lead by example.
Yardsticks of success: Market measures and team retention.
Goal yet to be achieved: Initial public offering.
Best business decision: Bet execution on an obvious but hard-to-reach technology transition.
Worst business decision: Listening to a manager say he can’t, letting up and not pushing a team hard enough.
Toughest business decision: Letting go of an underperformer.
Biggest missed opportunity: Broadcom, before the IPO.
Mentors: Everyone I meet.
Word that describes you: Expedient.
What you like best about your job: Impact.
Pet peeve: Slow thinking.
Most important lesson learned: Because people don’t change much, you need to focus on placing people to maximize their talents.
Three greatest passions: Family, business and kite surfing.
First choice for a new career: I have it.
Most influential book: “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently,” by Marcus Buckingham.
Favorite status symbol: Impartiality to status.
Favorite vacation spots: Yosemite and the Caribbean.