Episode 32

From Product Counseling at Apple & Meta to the Crypto World: Nguyen Vu, DGC, OKX

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Nguyen Vu, Deputy General Counsel at OK, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world.
  • Forging a career in payments, fintech, and product at Apple, Facebook, Bolt, and T-Mobile.
  • Starting a new role and managing an international legal team in the dynamic crypto and web 3.0 industry.

Beginning your career during the Great Recession: 3:21

  • Feeling the fear of graduating law school without a job offer.
  • Getting into telecommunications regulatory work in DC through persistent networking.
  • Dealing with the daily tension of working at a large firm in an era of mass layoffs.

Moving beyond telecoms law: 6:10

  • Exploring marketing legal at T-Mobile and writing social media.
  • Relocating from DC to the Bay Area to work as a tech attorney.

Landing a dream role at Apple: 7:07

  • Applying to positions through internal referrals, being rejected and catching the attention of internal recruiters.
  • Submitting your application even when the role doesn’t feel like a perfect fit.

Coming into your own as a product attorney: 11:44

  • Considering your product through a global lens.
  • Launching the first multi-payment plan for iPhone and releasing the Apple credit card.

Defining the role of a product counselor: 18:45

  • Bridging the gap between business goals and the legal regulatory landscape.
  • Identifying a wide variety of legal issues and bringing in the right lawyers to solve each one.
  • Becoming a “mini GC” for each product and recognizing data, funds, and user experience.

Joining Facebook’s digital currency project: 20:10

  • Leveraging consumer credit experience to enter the fintech market.
  • Carrying post-law school anxiety about unemployment through your career.
  • Failing to launch a program because of extreme scrutiny from regulators and politicians.
  • Working on the project that initiated crypto regulations around the world.

Getting off of career plateaus and joining Bolt: 25:06

  • Breaking out of the independent contractor cycle by joining a start-up and growing out a team.
  • Becoming a better lawyer by learning to have tough conversations.
  • Offering “feed-forward” instead of “feedback.”

Navigating the difficulties of managing a legal team at a start-up: 28:43

  • Maintaining an entrepreneurial mindset and advancing towards business priorities.
  • Considering legal as a marketing tool.
  • Charting short-term success to keep your team motivated.

Encountering “Big Company Bias”: 31:34

  • Finding that start-up legal teams don’t think lawyers from major tech companies lack flexibility and an ability to work with fewer resources.

Becoming deputy general counsel at OKX: 36:33

  • Moving from crypto-adjacent role and speaking engagements to one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges with international scope.
  • Jumping from a deputy role to another deputy role, and reevaluating your career priorities.

Book recommendations: 40:10

  • Going Infinite by Michael Lewis

Advice to your younger self: 41:36

  • Ensuring that you showcase your strongest work to key people you can move your career forward.

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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Nguyen Vu

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