Billy Hult: 27 Years of Compounding Growth Leading to the Market Leader with $1.4BN in Revenue|E1134

Billy Hult: 27 Years of Compounding Growth Leading to the Market Leader with $1.4BN in Revenue|E1134

Billy’s Career Journey (00:01:03)

  • Billy Hult excelled in subjects he was interested in but struggled with those he found uninteresting.
  • His challenging first job as a betting clerk in the South Bronx taught him valuable skills in quick thinking and interpersonal communication.
  • Billy emphasizes the importance of focusing on one's strengths and pursuing passions, as this leads to better outcomes.
  • While following one's passion is crucial, it's also essential to consider one's abilities and willingness to work hard.
  • Billy Hult held traditional jobs as a bond broker and a sell-side bond trader before starting his own company.
  • He found these jobs unfulfilling, possibly due to a lack of passion for them.
  • Being CEO was a different experience for Billy compared to his previous roles.

The Path to CEO (00:06:22)

  • A CEO's role involves managing people, considering their egos, opinions, and personalities, and finding effective ways to motivate them.
  • As the external face of the company, a CEO represents it at the highest level, sets the strategic direction, and ensures its execution.
  • While hiring great people is important, a CEO should empower them to excel in their roles and make a positive impact.
  • Engaging with key investors, clients, and industry leaders can help a CEO become a difference maker for their company.
  • Effective communication and valuing others are essential for a CEO's success.
  • People reveal themselves for a reason, and it's important to believe them and observe their growth over time.

Leadership and Management Insights (00:12:30)

  • Billy Hult, CEO of Tradeweb, emphasizes direct communication and setting clear expectations for employees.
  • He believes in authenticity and understanding, while acknowledging the challenge of balancing decision-making between individual intuition and seeking input from others.
  • Hult values consensus-building and input from smart individuals, but ultimately makes the final call when necessary.
  • Tradeweb's success came from organic investments and growth rather than mergers and acquisitions, highlighting the importance of embracing change and making transformative deals.
  • Hult encourages using ambitious language and pursuing big goals, comparing the process to the awkward feeling of adjusting one's golf swing during a lesson.

Cultivating a Talent Brand (00:20:15)

  • Billy discusses the importance of employer branding and attracting top talent, particularly in the competitive tech industry.
  • Tradeweb aims to enhance its brand recognition and exposure to attract skilled technologists and business professionals.
  • The company's history as a private entity has provided advantages, including a low-key profile that allowed it to navigate the complex dynamics of its clientele.
  • Tradeweb's success lies in its ability to understand and adapt to the hierarchical structures of its clients, prioritizing their prominence over its own brand visibility.
  • As a public company, Tradeweb recognizes the significance of increasing its brand presence while maintaining its focus on delivering value to clients.

Strategy in Positioning and Branding (00:23:53)

  • Billy Hult, the CEO of a company, discusses the challenges of managing his ego in a competitive business environment.
  • Hult emphasizes the importance of balancing confidence and humility in leadership, ensuring that a casual approach does not undermine the perception of results.
  • He acknowledges the need to check his ego and maintain self-awareness to avoid complacency and ensure his leadership style does not create a perception of casualness that undermines the company's achievements.
  • Hult discusses the concept of pressure and how it can affect individuals, particularly in terms of feeling distracted and unable to relax.

Work-Life Harmony (00:31:35)

  • Billy Hult feels guilty when he goes home because he is not interested in conversations about everyday topics after being mentally stimulated all day at work.
  • He struggles to maintain engagement and feels like he runs out of gas at the end of the day.
  • He is aware of the details of his business issues but struggles to remember personal details like the name of his daughter's history teacher.
  • He admits that he has not been the father he would have liked to be due to his commitment as CEO of a public company.
  • He missed important events like his daughter's basketball games because he prioritized work.
  • He questions whether his overwork was necessary and suggests that pressure may have influenced his decisions.
  • He acknowledges that he may never know if his sacrifices were worth it and expresses regret for missing out on personal moments.

Parenting with Ambition (00:34:09)

  • Billy's parenting style has evolved over the years.
  • He tries to balance providing love and support with encouraging his children to be ambitious and independent.
  • He believes in teaching his children the value of hard work and personal achievement rather than relying on inherited wealth.

Valuing Money, Fame, and Power (00:37:37)

  • Billy ranks fame as the least important of the three.
  • He believes that power is important but should not be dismissed or underestimated.
  • He prefers to prosper below the radar and avoid excessive attention.

Wealth’s Influence on Leadership (00:38:28)

  • Wealth can remove downside fear, allowing leaders to be more courageous.
  • Richer leaders may have more wisdom and credibility.
  • Steve Schwarzman, a wealthy investor, advised Billy to enjoy his success and not lose sight of his hard work.

Public Company Pros and Cons (00:41:19)

  • Being a public company CEO can be challenging, with time spent on corporate governance and regulations.
  • Public companies have a higher profile and can attract interest and connections.
  • The stock price can serve as a daily measure of a company's performance.

Stock Performance and Well-being (00:42:49)

  • Billy finds it challenging to separate his mental state from his company's performance since there's no ticker for his company.
  • He feels down when his company is down and struggles to detach from its performance.
  • Billy tries to differentiate between market repricing and subpar business performance when his company's stock is down.
  • He acknowledges that while his company has generally performed well, there have been moments of negative reactions to their business.

Betting on People as a Leader (00:43:54)

  • Billy Hult, the CEO, emphasizes the significance of investing in people as a key strategy for the company's growth.
  • He takes calculated risks in building relationships, including hiring decisions and board member selections, with an estimated 50% success rate.
  • When bets on individuals don't work out, it's often due to misaligned expectations, chemistry issues, or pushing people beyond their comfort zones.
  • Hult stresses the importance of clear communication, direct feedback, and collaborative dynamics in these relationships.
  • Replacing individuals who don't fit can be time-consuming, involving removal, finding replacements, and onboarding new hires.
  • The time to recognize a bad bet varies, but there are instances where individuals turn things around.
  • Hult believes in second chances and pushing people to reach their full potential, seeing qualities in them that they may not recognize themselves.
  • He sets high standards and is demanding but fair in his approach.

Young Generation Work Ethic (00:49:53)

  • Billy believes the younger generation is entitled and prioritizes work-life balance, making it challenging to replicate the demanding work environments of the 80s and 90s.
  • He acknowledges the benefits of hustle, grit, and perseverance, observing that exceptional individuals show early signs of exceptionalism.
  • Billy explains that he prefers unwavering hustle over unwavering intelligence, emphasizing the importance of offset skills.
  • Billy prefers to invest in individuals who have demonstrated consistent success throughout their lives, rather than those who achieve success later in life.
  • He believes that those who have experienced challenges and setbacks are more resilient and motivated to succeed.
  • Billy is attracted to highly intelligent individuals but is cautious of those who are overly intelligent, as they may lack other important qualities.

Balancing Hiring Strategies (00:54:28)

  • Billy made hiring mistakes by initially focusing on pedigreed individuals and then switching to inexperienced and overly ambitious candidates.
  • He emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between experience and hunger, as well as grit, resilience, and street smarts.
  • Billy reflects on the decline of the "old-fashioned" ethos that valued these qualities at Bear Stearns.

Financial Market Challenges (Assigned to Luca) (00:56:12)

  • Billy compares current economic concerns to past crises such as 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and recent shocks to regional banks.
  • He acknowledges the fragility of the current financial system and expresses concern about geopolitical tensions and global instability.
  • Billy discusses the impact of geopolitical events on Tradeweb's business, particularly in emerging markets like China.

Quick-Fire Questions (00:59:23)

  • Billy Hult, the CEO of a successful company, now believes that Trump will win the election.
  • Despite geopolitical challenges, Hult remains optimistic about his company's future and personal growth.
  • Hult recommends Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" as the best book on financial markets.
  • Hult advises new CEOs to set boundaries and preserve time to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Hult envisions his company as a high-powered global marketplace in ten years, emphasizing the importance of customer focus.
  • Continuous growth and innovation are crucial for maintaining market leadership, warns Hult.
  • Hult is determined to prevent complacency and office politics from hindering idea generation and company culture.

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