What’s been the steepest learning curve on your career journey so far?
Probably the switch I made from consulting into operations at Microsoft. Usually a company like Microsoft would only bring a consultant into a strategy role, and I found out very quickly why in my first role there. Consulting does little to prepare you for the real world of operations. Those first two years at Microsoft were invaluable for my career. What I learned has helped me immensely in later roles and I believe has made me a better investor.
Which technology trend in China are you most excited about at the moment and why?
I absolutely believe China is at an unprecedented moment in time where the Chinese Enterprise IT sector is finally on the rise and will, within the next five to seven years, become the largest in the world and produce global leaders in selected sectors. National security concerns have created a favourable and massive blue ocean market, enticing the unprecedented migration of Chinese entrepreneurial and world-class commercial and technical talent trained by the best MNCs and technology firms in Silicon Valley. Part of the reason I joined Eight Roads was because of Fidelity’s global reach and its position as the leading technology adopter in the financial services sector. It provides a distinctive platform to help evaluate and add value to firms aspiring to be a part of this China based global leadership wave in information technology.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Years ago, as I was transitioning from consulting, I was advised not to go directly into the investment arena and instead get some operational experience, something I was told was then sorely lacking within the China VC industry. So, I took an offer to join Microsoft. The years I spent there, and later with Cisco, provided invaluable operational and technology exposure that I believe makes me a more distinctive and a far better investor than I otherwise would be.
What is the company you wish you’d backed and why?
I’m more concerned about the companies that I do back. I don’t think you can dwell too much on the companies you didn’t have sufficient conviction in, even if they end up becoming enormously successful. It’s the companies you do back that you need to learn from - what makes them successes or failures and what lessons can you take on to the next investment.