2 Lessons from Founding 1 Startup

Gong Ke came to America at age 13 with little English. Yet, barely a decade later she had graduated in computer science from MIT and was working at one of America’s iconic startups. Later she started her own consumer company which achieved impressive growth.

While doing all this she also married and had three children.

Google and Harvard Business School followed. She now works full time at Trip Advisor while sharing her business building experience with others at Mass Challenge, the Wily Network and Tech Stars. This remarkably dynamic young woman narrated compelling stories to illustrate her hard-won lessons. She provided three sterling bits of advice to founders, delved into what makes immigrants so successful as entrepreneurs and presented an excellent example of strategic thought in her career planning.

She advises founders to really understand why they are founding the company. It needs to be a reason that will sustain them when things are really bleak and failure seems around the corner. This brought the discussion around to "Unleash your Inner Company" by John Chisholm who provides the best treatment of founder motivation I have seen.

Gong Ke also advises founders to talk to everyone they can about their startup. It will get them feedback which will improve the idea and it will bring out resources they did not know were there. Ben Littauer (Ben Littauer's Podcast Page) also advises the same thing. To people who object that Google will steal the idea he says "you should be so lucky".

Catch this infectiously dynamic interview at: Gong Ke Gouldstone's Podcast Page You can also listen on iTunes and Google Play. Do subscribe so you don't miss any episodes.

Among the topics covered were:

  • Gong Ke Gouldstone Bio
  • Gong Ke Gouldstone at Akamai – 9/11 Happens – Danny Lewin Tragedy Inspires a Lot of People
  • Hard to Raise Money for Tech Startup due to NASDAQ Crash – Decides to Do Bubble Tea Startup
  • MIT Grad Selling Tea; Parents Are Horrified!
  • Learned a Lot Working Behind the Counter – Degrees Don’t Matter – Listening to the Customer Is What Matters
  • Gong Ke Gouldstone’s Startup Was Profitable on Day 1
  • Amy Chua, alias Tiger Mom, “Triple Package”
  • Gong Ke Gouldstone’s Advice to Founders – (1) Know Why You Are Doing It & (2) Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Everyone About It
  • Motivation for Being a Founder – “Unleash Your Inner Company” by John Chisholm – Best Treatment of the Subject
  • Gong Ke Gouldstone Goes to Google to Learn What It’s Like to Work for a Big Company
  • Gong Ke Quits Google to Go to Harvard Business School
  • Gong Ke Goes to Her Current Position at Trip Advisor – The Other Side of the Table from Google
  • Is an MBA Necessary for Entrepreneurship?
  • Wily Network
  • Boston vs. Bay Area as a Place to Start a Company
  • Gong Ke Gouldstone’s Favorite Founders