“Starting a company makes you learn, but only if you’re determined.” — head of Google Mobile Solutions consultant
Translated by 半月
We are pleased to participate in “Entreprenneuship forum: Make Things Happen” held by Innovation & Entrepreneurship Club at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU-IEC), Taiwan, in collaboration with AppUniverz. Two alumni of NCTU gave talks on entrepreneurship and innovation.
The first lecturer was Victor Shen, who has worked for IBM and co-founded multi-media cloud service provider Ubitus. Today, he is Google’s Asia Pacific Senior Technical Consultant, who is always interested in helping startup groups in Taiwan.
Should I create my own business or go for a job in big companies?
At the very beginning, Victor talked about a question that bothers most fresh graduates. “I decided to do what the destiny lead me to. I did firefighting for five years as my civil service. Then, I went to work for IBM.” After that, he had the chance to found Ubitus, a company providing multi-media cloud service that later invested by Samsung.
“Starting a business is like falling out of a valley in Jin-Yong‘s (a famous ancient Chinese chivalry novelist) story. Usually, the guy would not die. After some time of hard-work, he’d become much stronger than before. Indeed, I got stronger in a very short period of time.”
Everything begins from college.
“In collage stage, I found out that teamwork is crucial.” Victor took Liu Bang (the first emperor in Han dynasty in China) as an example. “Liu was not as a good fighter as his counterpart, Xian Yu. However, Liu had a good team and they worked well together. At the end, Liu won the final battle and built the Han dynasty.” But besides this, he mentioned that “It would be excellent to cultivate at least one skill as competent as Xian Yu’s fighting skill. You may be good at English, mathematics or presenting. All of these count.”
“At first, I put my project in the hard disk without thinking much. At some point, I thought it might be interesting to participate in competitions to see what happen.” After these competitions concerning technical details, he went on to participate in YEF to see whether the ideas were commercially worth trying and got the chance to present his work in the United State to foreign people.
After all these competitions, he still confused about future. Many people might feel the same. “Every bit of work you have done could become your opportunity in the future. It’s like sowing seeds and waiting. Some day, you may get to harvest.”
2007, Victor received a mail from one judge of the competition which introduced him to one guy who had just sold his company and wanted a brand new start. It was indeed the seed he sowed becoming a low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked. That, was how Ubitus was born.
Three things learned from creating a business
Ubitus focuses on multi-media cloud service and provide cloud computing solutions. They have released the first commercial cloud gaming platform in the world. Clients included equipment manufacturer, wired/wireless communication service providers, telecommunication service providers and digital content providers. Today, Ubitus has more than 200 employees with offices in the US, Japan, Korea and China. In May 2013 (He left the company before this) got 15 million USD funding from Samsung. Looking back on the 3 years in Ubitus, Victor concluded three things really important.
“Determination is really the key. When founding Ubitus, founders came to the conclusion that each person should invest 2 million NT dollars. There was literally nothing in my bank account after this. You might have guessed, my father was furious and almost broke a table at home. You know, it was like jumping off a cliff. But I learned a lot in the valley.”
The second thing is communication. “I remember once presenting to the president and vice president of a Japanese company. They said ‘はい、はい、わかりました (Yes, I got it)’ all the time. I thought that meant my demo went well, however, it turned out that was just their way of being polite. Japanese people do that even when they don’t understand a bit. After this experience, I learned to adjust my presentation to different audience. For example, for Japanese clients, I would be very polite and make sure they got me. If my audience is American, I tend to speak faster.”
“Finally, change is necessary. At the beginning, we provided cloud computing solutions to multi-media format issues. But after a while, cloud computing became more and more efficient. Image processing problem, which is more computation demanding for mobiles, can be solved by using servers. Thus, we decided to expand our service to gaming, like Assassin’s Creed. Change is important to constant growth.”
It’s like raising a child, you let company fly away when she matures.
Three years afterwards, Victor left Ubitus for Google. When asked about why, he said “Creating a company is like raising a child, you let her fly away when she matures.” (But actually, it was because I started to have conflict with colleagues about software and hardware development. He said.)
So looking back on his path after graduation, he went first to work in a large company. Then he went on to create his own company. Finally, he was back to work in a large company. “Both working in large companies and creating your own require the courage to face the unknown. For me, working now for Google is a whole new challenge, in the domain of mobile solution.”
“Finally, I would like to emphasize the importance of attitude and interpersonal communication. We are in the era of exploding information that is easy to acquire, attitude and communication are really keys to success. It’s not just about English proficiency. It’s also about team building and conflict resolution. For all of you coming for this lecture in the rainy cold day, I think this is definitely the attitude to success.”
中文版連結Cover photo from NCTU-IEC