The Austin Chronicle

Your Path to Tech Success

A CEO at 25, Brian Wong helps plan your million-dollar idea

By Dan Gentile, March 10, 2017, Screens

There's nothing more jealousy-inducing than the young and successful. In today's world of accelerated everything, it seems that if you don't achieve your dreams by 25, you might as well resign to a lifetime of mediocrity. Brian Wong will be the first to tell you that's not true.

"Never use someone else as your yardstick, always compete against yourself. If you tomorrow is better than you today, you're winning!" says Wong.

Even so, Wong is a case study in professional jealousy. A CEO by age 25, he founded a successful start-up called Kiip that combines mobile gaming and advertising in a surprisingly not-annoying manner. This year at SXSW he's promoting his book, The Cheat Code, which reveals the strategies he uses to succeed at levels far above his birth age.

Although his book is nonlinear, and he insists there's no hacks to avoid hard work, we pieced together a rough road map to early-onset success based on a wildly inspirational phone call with him. Follow these nine easy steps, and maybe you'll be the next person we call for advice.

Step 1: Find your superpower
"Go Sherlock on your history as a person growing up. What seemed effortless? What were you obsessed about?"

Step 2: Double down on it
"There comes a point in your adulthood where you stop focusing on fixing your weaknesses and focus on making your strengths great."

Step 3: Learn everything using Google and YouTube
"Access to information is at an all-time high. 30 or 40 years ago, it was hard to get access to information. That was a dividing tool. Now there are no excuses."

Step 4: Put yourself in the right environment
"If you have an eye for fashion, you wouldn't move to Chicago, you'd be in New York or Paris. I had nerd tendencies growing up; at the time I wasn't going to be a successful tech entrepreneur in Vancouver."

Step 5: Ask for help
"Asking is like a magic wand. You just ask and then things happen to you. It's not like your life is going to be any different before you ask it. If they say no, it's the same. If they say yes, magic!"

Step 6: But don't be too thirsty
"People can smell desperation. When you meet people, don't treat them like demi-gods or a business case, you treat them like a human being."

Step 7: Allow for free time
"I always try to keep 20 percent of my time open to serendipitous experiences. It also helps to have entire days where you literally have nothing to do. You want to have mindspace to properly reflect."

Step 8: Jolt yourself
"If you feel like you're rotting, go travel somewhere. Intentionally stimulate everything. To feel inspired, the simplest path is just to go to museums, because museums are a collection of greatness – ideas, concepts, history."

Step 9: Remember the three Ds
"Every morning, delegate, defer, and delete. Then you're left with the things that you actually have to do."

Step 10: Write a book about it!
"My superpower is getting people super excited about stuff! In general my book is framed around the fact that technology has infused so much of society that the timelines of achieving what you want has been shortened. From building new products to getting promoted, it just doesn't take the same amount of time to get to where you want to go."

Brian Wong Booksigning

Saturday, March 11, 10:30am, ACC Level 3 Atrium Landing

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