Well this blog post will officially kick start my latest series of posts, Orientals in Advertising. As much as it pains me to say this – as some of you know I have a series coming on Indians/Paki’s in Advertising also – and the response time for Orientals has been unequivocally without a doubt been 1000% BETTER. No wonder they have their own time zone – IST (Indian Standard Time).
All kidding aside – I am truly pleased to bring this first one to you on Steven Truong, Co-founder of Tracking202. Admittedly, I did not know of Steven until my boy Rodney Granderson of GrandersonAvenue.com brought him to my attention (more on him later).
Steven Truong is an Asian-American serial entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Tracking202. Truong is currently the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Thync. Prior to Thync and Tracking202, Truong successfully created and built, as well as invested in, several other businesses both online and offline, and is a real estate investor. Truong currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Here is his story:
Steven, tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry.
I assume you mean affiliate industry. My previous co-founder, Wes, and I had known each other for a few years prior to starting Tracking202 together. We had met through a mutual friend in college although we had lost touch for quite some time and it wasn’t till around mid-2006 did we start talking again. I can’t remember exactly how we got reconnected but I think it was me messaging him on Facebook being surprised that we both had the same birthday. From there, we just started catching up. A few of my other friends were heavily into real estate investing at that time so I got interested. I was running a few side projects but nothing major. I decided to learn about real estate and everything there was to know and what I found out was Wes was also looking to get into real estate investments. Long story short, we started talking frequently and learning real estate together. In early 2007, the market began to collapse. We decided real estate wasn’t going to work out and wanted to do something else.
At that time, Wes had a friend he had met 3 years prior through an online forum. His friend at this point was making $50,000 per day doing affiliate marketing. Interested, Wes got in touch with his friend to learn more and we both began our affiliate marketing career together at this point.
Do you think being an Asian in this industry has hindered or helped you achieve the level of success you currently have or anticipated?
Not at all. I don’t think it had hindered or given me any advantages in any way. I think if you work hard and test and learn, you can be successful in any industry.
What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?
Not in any particular order but I think it’s a mix of luck, positioning, and surrounding myself around smart people.
How important is it to you to communicate with your readers? Is there a particular message you are wanting to convey?
I think it’s very important to be involved with everyone, your team, your partners, your business relationships, users, readers, etc… I think the key is to be real friends with everyone. Most people approach others with a business intent and I think that if you focus on delivering value to them more than to gain value and to be good friends, you’ll go much further.
Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry.
I think there is a lot of shady stuff going on in the industry and I don’t fault anyone for choosing to do what they want to do but I think many affiliates on the CPA side of the industry could really clean up what they do and be more open to other affiliates. I often find that too many people are too concerned with hiding what they do rather than really collaborate and share with others. And I understand that in the affiliate industry, there is certain knowledge that gives you an advantage and if you give that away, you fear you’re building your own competition. Truth is, that exist in any industry but often times I find that you gain more out of being open than being closed.
I also believe that the way the industry is headed, a lot of things are going to change for the worse legally unless people are more conscious about how they run their campaigns.
You are well known in the industry, who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?
I don’t think any one person has been a huge driving force or inspiration to me. I think it’s collectively a lot of people I’ve been fortunate to have gotten to know over the years and various bits and pieces have rubbed off in a good way. As I’ve said earlier, I think it’s important to surround yourself around good people.
What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s generation? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?
I think new media is great. I don’t think it’s being leverage effectively and certainly not for the betterment of the industry. A small minority maybe but certainly not the majority I’ve encountered.
Being a minority myself, there are constant stereotypes that I have to overcome, have you ever experienced this?
I’m sorry about that. Personally, maybe I’ve been lucky but I haven’t experienced that or at least not that I can think of.
What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?
Today, I’m more of a startup entrepreneur and less so of an affiliate so a lot of what I do or use reflects that today. I write a lot of stuff down on paper and plan a lot of stuff that way; I find that it sticks better than keeping a typed log. A lot of stuff I use to keep organize are just services like various Google services like Docs and Calendar, and I try to keep everything recorded in my iPhone or a simple to do list on sticky notes so I don’t forget. Nothing fancy.
If you had a money tree in your back yard and could purchase anything for your business tomorrow, what would it be?
Not sure. Probably more laptops and monitors for people I would be hiring, but I don’t really know.
Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into this space?
Limit how much you read and focus more on just testing and getting results you can optimize. Don’t let fear of any kind hinder you from trying to learn. Network with people at industry events, be open, and try to have fun along the way.
Trackbacks and pingbacks
No trackback or pingback available for this article.