Tak Nguyen, Head of People at Care/Of, on His Phone Detox

Plus the book that changed his life.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Tak Nguyen: Spend some quality time with my partner, before we both rush off to our busy days.

TG: What gives you energy?
TN: Working out during my “lunch” break. I leave feeling super energized and excited to finish out the workday.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
TN: Reminding myself to smile during those moments when I really do not want to.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
TN: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Growing up in an immigrant family that never knew what to do with the little money that we had, this book really changed my perspective on the importance of financial literacy.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
TN: It used to, both literally and proverbially. In the last 12 months, however, I’ve been slowly detoxing my phone of all the clutter: app notifications, email alerts, Facebook. Removing Facebook completely changed my life. I’ve been so much more productive and reading more than ever!

TG: How do you deal with email?
TN: To be completely honest, I am a constantly checking. But I’m working on dwindling it down to 3 short sessions a day.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
TN: Call my mom or dad.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
TN: I was trying to help a mentee handle a conflict at work. When she continued pointing the finger at everyone else, I became impatient and asked her challenging questions to help her “get there faster.” As soon as the conversation ended, I knew I had overstepped. I failed to recognize that she was in a vulnerable state at that moment and she didn’t need a mentor for advice. She needed a friend to listen to her.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
TN: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

Thach “Tak” Nguyen is a UCLA graduate and HR leader with expertise scaling fast-paced, hyper-growth technology organizations. He is currently the Head of People at Care/Of, a start-up disrupting and bringing transparency to the vitamin supplements industry. Prior to Care/Of, Tak was a Global HR Business Partner at Airbnb responsible for leading all HR processes and programs for a 650+ global organization, including but not limited to recruiting, performance management, compensation, org design, and diversity. Prior to this, he served as a Recruiting Manager for the company, leading a team of Recruiters and Sourcers supporting the second largest business unit in the company. Prior to Airbnb, Tak held a variety of recruiting roles spanning different industries, including as a Recruiting Consultant for Google and an Executive Search Recruiting Manager at JCPenney as a part of Ron Johnson’s (former Apple Retail Chief) corporate turnaround team. Additionally, Tak has significant experience in high growth, start-up environments. He served as acting “Head of People” for Leap Motion, a cutting edge San Francisco based AR/VR company. He also founded and built the 501(c)3 non-profit organization “Swipes for the Homeless”, with the mission of bringing excess food on college campuses to local community homeless shelters.“Swipes” has expanded and continues to operate on 10+ college campuses nationwide. Tak was invited to the White House and honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change” for his work with this organization.

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