Today we are talking to Tien Wong, the CEO of Opus8, a private investment, advisory, and conference management firm. Long before that, Then was a co-founder and CEO for CyberRep, Inc., one of the 3 largest private contact center companies in North America. After 12 successful years, CyberRep was acquired by Affiliated Computer Services in 2003. Tien walks us through the process and how he treated his team of, 2300 employees right through the transition.
Chasing The American Dream
Tien’s parents were both immigrants that came to America to chase the dream. His father owned a Chinese restaurant, while his mother had a travel agency. While in high school, Tien spent a lot of time working with his dad. When he went away to college, Tien knew no other way of life than to work for your money, and so he was involved in 3 businesses. After college, Tien joined a startup that never made it off the ground. That’s when he decided to give corporate America a try. After about 3 years of working for the man, Tien was tired and ready for a change. That’s when he and two friends founded CyberRep.
The three founders weren’t thinking in terms of institutional growth or product market fit, they simply wanted to match the salary they were making before without having to work for someone else. For the first 7 years, the company was run and grown with their own money before Allied Capital came along to back them. They credit having institutional money with helping them to select a good banker later down the road. The banker they ultimately went with was one that they had met at a conference.
Knowing What You Know Now, What Would You Tell Yourself Ten Years Ago?
Tien says the main lesson he has learned is that everything is harder than it looks and takes longer than it looks. He stresses the importance of never overestimating your own skills and knowledge. In addition, he says to always be working on building your network, it’s something that no one can take from you.
What Tien Is Working On Now
Currently, Tien is working to acquire a platform company in the CRM space. At Opus8, he spends most of his time helping clients to raise money through their network of investors. Tien also spends a lot of time as a host for the CONNECTpreneur Forum. It’s a group of business leaders and entrepreneur forms around the world that produce unique content and events for other entrepreneurs and business leaders. In 10 years, they have done 66 events. They have 8 in-person events planned for this year. All virtual events are free and can be found at www.opus8.com. If you’d like to reach out to Tien, he can be found on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.