A moment of self reflection

I attended David Rose's talk today at WWW Firenze, and he started the chat with his family history of entrepreneurship in NYC. It got me thinking about my family as well and what led me to my current path.

  • My paternal great grandfather left China and was an comprador for what is now ABN Amro. He subsequently invested in real estate all over Hong Kong and set up a management company to hold and manage the assets.
  • Paternal grandfather started his career in the banking industry, and then joined the family business managing real estate. My maternal grandfather left Shanghai during the war and started his property development business in Hong Kong.
  • My dad quit his lucrative private banking job in Hong Kong and started a laser disc store in Sugar Land, Texas.

    Coincidentally a young man also asked me over email today:

    You have obviously made some smart choices in your career to get to where you are now – I wonder whether you had the plan in place while you were still at university? I would love to learn more about how you made it, and to ask you how your career developed from being a strategy consultant into a VC deal maker.[quote]

    To which I replied:

    My singular focus has been to optimize the learning experience at every single stage. If I couldn't work/study with the top two or three firms, I did my own thing. I wanted to learn Econ and went to the best, I wanted to learn leadership and went to the Army, etc etc.

    I attribute both my entrepreneurial spirit and my singular focus to my family. I honestly don't think I would have been an entrepreneur if I didn't grow up with the above stories and worked with my dad. Nor would I have had this incredible passion to work with the best if not for the strength and will my family taught me at an early stage.

    I am what I am because I stand upon the shoulder of giants.

    [PS] it turns out David asks about family history and life/career progression as an interview question. Good to remember.