Episode 176
September 19, 2023

CEO Has a Nice Ring to It

with Tom Hale, CEO of ŌURA

About this episode

Today, Lee sits down with Tom Hale, CEO of ŌURA, which delivers personalized health data and guidance to make wellness and recovery part of your daily practice. Tuning in, you’ll find out how Tom went from growing up with dreams of becoming a train engineer to discovering the OŪRA Ring and writing a letter to the board about why they should hire him as CEO. You’ll gain some insight into Tom’s journey as a leader, which started with executive positions at Macromedia and Adobe, to becoming President of Momentive, where he set enterprise strategy and led product growth. Join us as we discuss Tom’s leadership style, why he says it’s lonely at the top, how he got a crash course in fundraising from raising $40 million in less than a month, and so much more!

This episode is sponsored by

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AWESOME CX by Transcom provides high touch, personalized customer experience services to consumer brands of any size! Email Lee at lee@stairwaytoceo.com to learn more about their award-winning services and Awesome Coffee Chats.  

 In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

•   [02:29] Tom’s upbringing in a “dusty town” and his love for trains (and Dungeons & Dragons).

•   [08:21] What sparked his interest in the impact that business and tech can have on society.

•   [10:42] Some of Tom’s early jobs, including computer consulting and summarizing scripts.

•   [18:54] The importance of learning on the job and how he went from Adobe to Second Life.

•   [24:23] What Tom learned about the gig economy from his time at HomeAway.

•   [26:27] How losing sleep led him to discover the Oura Ring and how it improved his health.

•   [36:49] The story of how Tom went from a customer of Oura to the company’s CEO!

•   [44:05] Challenges facing newbie CEOs and the value of having a leadership mandate.

•   [46:07] Little-known realities of being CEO, including the loneliness that comes with it.

•   [51:44] Oura’s company values, which encompass a spirit of collaboration and aiming higher.

•   [53:35] Viewing the fundraising journey as a lesson in what investors find compelling.

•   [55:42] Insight into Oura’s vision for the future: from sick care to human care.

 To Find Out More:

ŌURA

Tom Hale on LinkedIn

Tom Hale on X

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Stairway to CEO

Stairway to CEO on Instagram

 Quotes:

“Pulling on the threads of technology, its impact on society, how people change because of technology, and [my experience] with personal computers – it came together and led me on the path that I’m on today.” [0:10:24]

“They put me in [a product management job at Macromedia], and it was probably my [biggest] learning-on-the-job moment, figuring stuff out. I remember some moments of high anxiety because I was like, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing!’” [0:17:45]2

“Early in your career, if you’re at a company where there’s more work than there are people to do it – you can move up really quickly in your career.” [0:19:17]

“[When] I went to HomeAway, I was captured by the idea that you could rent a property to someone over the internet and they would come and stay in it. It was an interesting confluence of what we today call the gig economy.” [0:25:22]

 “For me, during that period of losing sleep, [the Oura Ring] really changed my life.”  [0:27:57]

 “That kind of power, giving your body a voice, is central to what Oura does.” [0:36:40] 

“It was all very rational and logical, but there was a strong intent behind [my letter to Oura]. Sometimes, you get that intent coming through and people say, ‘Here’s somebody who’s motivated.’ And motivation counts.” [0:38:53]

“I get most excited about working on products that I can understand, touch, and feel and [that are] relevant and relatable – on a really human level.” [0:39:43]

“The role of a CEO sometimes is to go against the grain.” [0:47:14]

“Our big vision is: how do we become part of the behavioral change that improves health outcomes, that transforms the healthcare industry from one where it’s about sick care to something we call human care?” [0:56:14]

Read the transcript

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