What led you to start your own company?
Growing up in China, I aspired to be a successful business person, just like my parents. At USC, I was a student club founder. That led to an introduction to James Chen, the owner of a multimillion-dollar apparel business, Soho Apparel Group Inc. I built his website; then we formed a joint partnership venture running his e-commerce department.
Where did you get the startup money?
With the money from developing the website.
What was the biggest challenge?
The cultural differences. I’m a computer scientist by training, but not an expert on Western business operations. So I supplemented my USC computer science degree with a degree from the school of hard knocks.
What was the most important lesson you learned?
Teaming with the right people is the key. That’s why I had to interview more than 200 people to pick out my team of 10.
How many hours a day do you put in?
Including the time I lecture at USC, I work about 15 hours a day. That occasionally means I’m working on Saturdays and Sundays.
Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers?
Our whole team is made up of young professionals and college graduates – an average age of 24. But we sometimes feel awkward trying to network with older business people.
Will you start another company?
If I could find that idea and the right people, I wouldn’t hesitate to start another company.
Could you ever work for someone else?
It would have to be as a partner.
What do you do to relax?
I practice badminton. I have also started golfing, for relaxation. Besides sports, I travel with my wife a couple of times a year to explore the world and to celebrate life.
YUANBO WANG, 24
Bozway, an e-commerce website development company, downtown Los Angeles
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