ASIAN AMERICAN PERSONALITIES
DOG STARS OF ASIAN AMERICAN BUSINESS
hen the calendar flips to the Chinese year 4704 on January 29, we will be observing human nature at its most inspiring. Dog people are almost too good to be true. They would rather die than betray family and friends. Some would rather die than tell a lie. They live by the noblest of human ideals. But these very same tendencies make them seem stubborn, self-centered and, frankly, a little odd. How can the less high-minded among us possibly understand what drives these uncompromising creatures?
But it's precisely that enigmatic quality that makes dogs so intriguing and charismatic to others. They inspire us to trust them and to follow their example to live by a higher standard. In short, dogs have what it takes to turn ideas into real-world products and services. As these profiles show, dog people make some amazing business leaders.
ack in China where she was born, Ping Fu aspired to become a Chinese literature professor. It was a remarkably noble ambition for someone who had received no formal schooling while growing up supporting herself since the age of ten. Even more remarkable is that today Fu is the internationally admired co-founder and CEO of a company that helps giants like GE, Disney, Harley-Davidson, Honda and 3M apply computer technology to the efficient design and testing of sophisticated components like turbines and auto engines.
The most remarkable part of Fu's story is that for five years she resisted taking control of Raindrop Geomagic even as hired executives proved incapable of turning a profit from its sophisticated geometric modeling software. Why? The dog person's most distinctive characteristic: loyalty. It was only when the company was on the verge of shutting its doors in 2001 that Fu took control. She then displayed another of the dog person's central traits: honesty. She told the remaining employees of the company's dire financial straits and secured their informed support. Within a year the small but highly motivated staff turned around Geomagic's fortunes. Between 2002 and 2005 the company realized a 2,105% jump in revenues as more clients saw the advantages of developing and testing on digitally rendered components instead of costly hardware. Today Geomagic is a darling of the North Carolina tech triangle and Ping Fu is a guru of the booming digital shape sampling and processing (DSSP) field.
(November 22, 1946)
enneth Fong displayed the dog's characteristic honesty early in his career: he decided he didn't have the creative talents to become a first-rate biotech researcher. So he set his sights on helping other researchers. His solution was Clontech Laboratories, a biotech company that wasn't trying to develop miracle drugs but to make the tools that helped other companies carry out cutting-edge research in areas like cloning, genetic engineering and gene-mapping. Clontech's products were typically tiny 2cc vials of solutions used by researchers to manipulate genetic material.
Before Fong sold out Clontech in 1999, it had become the largest Asian American-owned biotech company and one of only a handful of leading suppliers to U.S. biotech labs. Today Fong uses his money and experience to help others seeking the kind of success he enjoyed with Clontech. As chairman of Kenson Ventures, LLC, Fong provides venture financing and strategic consulting to biotech startups. Some of his energies are devoted to helping to establish state-of-the-art biotech industries in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.
ahoo! has been the ultimate dog star of the internet, leading the way toward a world of instantaneous information and communication. It was co-founded in the year of the dog by Taiwanese-born Stanford grad student Jerry Yang and roommate David Filo. The site's first offerings were humble: Yang's name in Chinese characters, his golf scores and a brief list of his favorite sites. What few know is that Yahoo!'s growth from startup to global internet giant was funded largely by a Corean (Korean) Japanese Berkeley grad named Masayoshi Son, the tech boom's trans-Pacific Asian boy wonder.
While studying economics at Cal the entrepreneurial Son made money by importing the Space Invaders arcade game and placing it throughout the campus. After graduating he returned to Japan and used his savings to start Softbank which ultimately became Japan's top software distributor and the angel who financed much of Yahoo's growth from startup to the internet's most promising IPO. By 1997 Softbank owned 37% of Yahoo! stock, more than Yang and Filo combined. In the decade to follow Yahoo! became Son's personal piggybank as he sold off shares to finance his dream of outhustling giant NTT to build Softbank BB into Japan's leading broadband services company.
“The most remarkable part of Fu's story is that for five years she resisted taking control of Raindrop Geomagic even as hired executives proved incapable of turning a profit from its sophisticated geometric modeling software.”
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