Last year when Allen and I were invited to speak to a group of DMZ alumni about our experience in Wattpad, Allen talked mostly about the founding story of Wattpad. I am not going to repeat it here because it’s his story to tell. So what did I tell the DMZ alumni at the time? I spoke to them about passion – founders need to be passionate about building the right product for their users first. Success will then come naturally.
After graduating from Engineering school in University of Toronto in the 90s, I joined a software startup called Delrina as a Quality Assurance Engineer. We aimed to build the world’s best fax software. We did it and we dominated the market. Most people don’t know what fax is these days: it is an ancient technology that scans and transmits printed material – both text and images – through a phone line from one fax device to another fax device on the other end LOL! Not only did I caught the startup bug during that experience, but I also became passionate in building great products for users. I was told that I was the spokesperson for the users before the users even laid their hands on the product. Therefore, I relentlessly hammered on the product on its quality front, hoping the users would enjoy using the product. In all my other roles in my career, that has always been my guiding post.
Fast forward to my time at Wattpad. When I joined Ivan and Allen in 2009, I was tasked with whatever Allen and Ivan didn’t have time to do. I was tasked to look for an office space, keep all accounting records and most importantly, take care of our users. I spent most of my time engaging with them, analyzing their behavior and worked very closely with Ivan to incorporate their feedback into the product. During the four years I spent in Wattpad, we grew the user base from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions. The success of such growth is really rooted in our passion in building a product that users would love and enjoy.
Recently when I was introduced to the folks in ENGINEERING.com. They have a very successful business already. However, they would love to do more. They wanted to connect engineers and celebrate the amazing things that engineering has brought to the world. Here, I see the same passion, the passion in bringing the engineering community together and unleash the collective power to make the world a better place.
My experience in building the Wattpad community, coupled with my engineering background allows me to serve this company in a very unique way. Today, I am thrilled to join ENGINEERING.com’s Board of Directors (news release). Knowing that ENGINEERING.com wants to celebrate engineers who make things that make a difference is a very important cause I am proud to be part of. I can’t wait to share with them my experience and help mobilize more than 100 million global engineers who do amazing things.