November 14, 2013

An interview with Brian Wong

Born in 1991, Brian Wong (his Twitter) is probably the youngest entrepreneurs interviewed in this series. He is the CEO/Founder of Kiip, which is a mobile rewards network that enables brands and companies to prompt consumers for commercial offers on virtual achievements. Kiip is currently active on more than 1100 apps installed on 75 million devices. This interview is from 2011. 

Lessons learned
  • His first minor entrepreneurial project was designing images with Photoshop for $10 each. He learned how to do it through forums. He argued that playing counter strike with a mouse decreased the time it took to make a design.   
  • He skipped 4 years of school and begun studying at the University at age 14. He decided to move from Canada where he grow up to US.
  • When he had just moved to New York, he didn't know anyone. To get to know venture capitalists, he emailed them and to find out the email address, he guessed by adding as many combinations as he could to each email. That's how he came in contact with Fred Wilson, who is a famous venture capitalist. Brian Wong wanted just 15 minutes of his time and he got it. After the meeting, he could brag about how he had met Fred Wilson so he could impress other people to also meet them.
  • Brian Wong had to leave Digg because of the company's financial situation, so he decided to found his own company. He saw how people played games on their smartphones so he decided to start an idea within the area. He began thinking about ideas and it took him 30 days to come up with the idea behind Kiip. 
  • Every single successful person in the Valley broke rules because he/she didn't know what he/she was doing. Brian Wong compared it with a poker game where an amateur can win because the other more experienced players don't know what the amateur is doing.
  • Try to not create the illusion that you know everything - it's often better to know a little bit and say that you are unsure about the rest. Other people will now be more motivated to help you with "the rest."

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews