Read the original post at The Washington Business Journal.
If you are active in the entrepreneurial or venture capital communities here in D.C., you have undoubtedly heard of Tien Wong, currently the chairman and CEO of Lore Systems. If you haven’t heard of Tien, here’s a brief summary:
— In 1991, he co-founded and served as CEO of CyberRep, Inc. and
grew it to 2300 employees and $80M in revenue before it was acquired in
— He was the recipient of the 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Greater Washington
— He serves or has served on boards of organizations such as the Association for Corporate Growth – National Capital,
the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s
Robert H. Smith School of Business (the best business school in the
world – at least in my opinion!), and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, to name a few.
I invited Tien to speak at the National Capital Region Entrepreneurs Club September luncheon and in case you didn’t feel like showing up, here are some of the things he shared with us:
1) Tien hires people with passion, integrity, energy, and the ability
to execute. As an investor, he looks for those same characteristics in
CEOs. He shared with us that he liked hiring people with restaurant
experience because they work hard and they understand customer service.
2) You need to be ready to pivot and change your plans in order to
handle opportunities that come your way. This ability to pivot enabled
CyberRep to turn small deals into big deals with Pepco and Cable &
3) CyberRep was very attractive to acquirers because they had lots of
long-term contracts (generally, the more predictable the future cash
flows, the greater the value of the company). This wasn’t easy, but
because the company had a reputation for providing the best service in
the industry, CyberRep was able to insist on the long-term deals.
4) Over-reliance on one, large client can sink your business. At one
point, a large company was responsible for over 50% of CyberRep’s
business. Tien personally had to work hard to mitigate their risk.
5) Build and implement good processes. The processes they used at $8M were the ones they used at $80M.
Some final takeaways:
1) Do the right thing always. It can be expensive, and it takes courage, but it’s the reason behind Tien’s success.
2) Build relationships.
3) Never, ever give up. CyberRep lost their largest client twice and almost went out of business twice.
4) Think BIG. You hear this a lot, but do you really understand what it means? Make no small plans.
5) Be consistent with your great actions. Ultra-successful people are consistently great.
What are your thoughts? How about sharing them as a comment below?