74: A Multi-Billion-Dollar Midlife Crisis: Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral founder and CEO

 
 Vlad Shmunis was doing well as an engineer in the tech industry when he decided he was bored, and needed to start his own thing.

Vlad Shmunis was doing well as an engineer in the tech industry when he decided he was bored, and needed to start his own thing.

Vlad Shmunis just wasn't an enthusiastic employee. Didn't like following directions. And he had ideas – lots of ideas. Eventually, something had to give. So the entrepreneurial engineer took a leap, even though family members said he was nuts. 

How'd that work out? Well today, Vlad Shmunis is the founder and CEO of RingCentral, a Silicon Valley company at the intersection of communication and cloud. The company went public just under five years ago. Today it's worth more than $5 billion. 

If you're a long-time Fortt Knox listener, you're going to sense a pattern. Vlad is the third CEO I've had on who grew up in the former Soviet Union and eventually found his way to the U.S. There was Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn, and now Vlad. Their stories are all pretty different in key details, but similar in some important core ways, when it comes to education, values and … please listen for this one … the family's approach to risk. 

If you or someone you know is thinking about taking a leap to start your own thing, but you're not quite sure, listen to Vlad's story.