In this episode, I will be hosting Brian Wong. The latter is a Canadian Internet entrepreneur. In 2010, Wong co-founded Kiip, a mobile app rewards platform that lets brands and companies give real-world rewards for in-game achievements.
1- How did you kickstart your career?
Answer: I first moved to San Francisco in 2010 and started a brief stint at Digg.com - a social news website. I was given a break to start working in business development - which was the best way to start working in a startup. It was all about building relationships and locking down partnerships for the company - which gave me permission to meet a lot of people and to attend a ton of events. This was how I began to learn the Silicon Valley landscape and to meet the right players.
2- What would you say is the #1 key to success in your business?
Answer: Perseverance - the person who is able to make it through the hardest obstacles. Are you able to stay that extra hour - send that extra e-mail - and go that extra mile - just to get something done. The only difference between someone who succeeded and failed in most part is the person who refused to fail.
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3- What's your advice for newbies and fresh graduates?
Answer: Relationships are the most important in pretty much any career. Build them early and remember that these things are designed to last a lifetime. Don't burn bridges and try to understand everyone from their motivations and perspectives. People aren't around just to give you your dream job. Your dream job must somehow benefit their desire to get to their dream job. Can you help them get promoted, save time, make more money? What can you help them do?
4- What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?
Answer: There are very few rules written around taking the initiative. In fact, taking the initiative to do something defies a lot of rules. Always take the initiative.
Building and creating vastly outweigh true innate knowledge. The more you use the knowledge you have to show people that you can execute (i.e. hacking on a product, building a side project) the more respect you will gain.
It is important to communicate. If you're not able to communicate your ideas, it doesn't matter if you've invented the most amazing solution.
5- How do you deal with failures?
Answer: Don't look at them as failures - but fortunate opportunities to learn something that otherwise you wouldn't have been able to learn if you didn't make that mistake. Just don't do it twice.
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6- How do you keep yourself motivated?
Answer: Knowing that there is so much to learn out there. Every day is a journey on its own - and that you'll never get bored as long as you realize that you're always dumber than the next guy.
7- What are your success habits?
Answer: Being thorough in everything that I do. No cutting corners - there is no easy way out.
8- Who is your inspiration?
Answer: I'd say any of the people who shaped humankind (and dared to shape) in their inventions - Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc.
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9- If you could go back and do anything differently on this career path, what would you do?
Answer: Get out of my comfort zone earlier. In fact, I would have been quicker to re-evaluate my path and to not be afraid to take a hard right or a hard left to course correct. At some point, I was too comfortable with my path and felt anxious about messing up the momentum.
10- What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Answer: Moving to New York - leaving HQ and coming out to the east coast to continue to build our ads business.
11- What's your plan for the coming year? Is there any new project that you're working?
Answer: Just taking time off! It has been 9 years of non-stop.
12- How can people contact you?
Answer: You can reach me at http://www.brianwong.co/ - there are more articles about how to succeed and get ahead there as well!
At the end of this interview, I would like to thank Brian for giving me this exclusive and exciting interview.
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