Brian Wong | Founder and CEO at Kiip
Brian Wong is the co-founder and CEO of Kiip, which has been listed by Forbes as one of the 4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List, and been named to the Dow Jones FasTech50 List. Brian received his Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia at age 18, after skipping four K-12 grades, and shortly after became one of the youngest people to ever receive venture capital funding. He has been received many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including: Forbes’ 30 under 30; the Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada; Business Insider’s Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley and 18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising; Mashable’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch; and the AdAge Creativity Top 50.
My Definition Of Success | I define success as creating many successes for the people around me – my investors, my employees, my customers, etc. However, the curse of ambition is you’re always happy but you’re never satisfied. Satisfaction from succeeding is not something you will attain at any level because you’re constantly going to be climbing higher and higher.
My Highlights | One highlight was landing my first job in Silicon Valley at Digg by forging my own connections (I knew no one previously and built my network from scratch). Another of course is starting my own company, Kiip, and seeing it solve a real need in the mobile advertising space.
The Difference Between good And Great | Most people neglect to ask the people who are great at what they do how they became great. Regardless of your age and experience, asking for help is a great way to learn and grow. I think asking for advice is very underrated today.
My Key Talent | When I interview people, my go-to interview question is “What’s your superpower?” By that, I mean what is your biggest strength, what really sets you apart. My superpower is getting people really excited about stuff, and I think that energy and enthusiasm has helped our employees, partners, investors and the industry buy into our vision. You can’t fake passion and people notice that.
Find your superpower, build your personal brand around it and use it well. It could be anything from “reading people” to “having a killer gut instinct” to “dealing with high stress”. Whatever it is, identify it and own it.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Being prepared is important but it doesn’t necessarily come in the form of a 20-page business plan. Roadmap your own vision your own way. Remember there’s no one-size-fits-all startup playbook.
Dealing With Doubt | I was laid off my first job in Silicon Valley at Digg five months in. I went back home to Vancouver and told my mom, who informed me it was the worst Mother’s Day present she’d ever received. As you can imagine, it was difficult to not see that as a failure. But I realized in retrospect that my experience at Digg was an important step along my career path; they were the reason I was first down in Silicon Valley, which allowed me to meet a lot of people, including Courtney Guertin, one of the co-founders at Kiip. I would encourage other young people to not be afraid of failure – learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do.
Performing At My Peak | To keep my energy and creativity high, I like to travel and listen to music. Music is a safe way to give you adrenaline and travel is an awesome way to get away and to be inspired. My job puts me in the air a lot, and I find long flights are always a great way to ideate in peace and scheme on big things.
The Best Advice I’ve received | “When you ask for money you get advice, if you ask for advice you get money.”
Advice on Getting Rich | The truth is, you’re probably not going to get rich by doing something that seems too easy. If it’s tough, it’s usually worth the fight – and there will be fewer others around you that have also emerged victorious.
Useful Links |
Watch below as Brian Wong talks about his life, education and Kiip.