Lore Systems’ Tien Wong on Leadership, Tenacity and Driving Early-Stage Business

Lore Systems' Tien Wong on Leadership, Tenacity and Driving Early-Stage Business - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Tien Wong
Tien Wong
Tien Wong

“I first learned about entrepreneurship from working in my dad's restaurant from the age of 11. It was a Chinese restaurant in New Jersey and I learned the lesson of hard work.”

That’s how Tien Wong, serial entrepreneur and chief executive and chairman of Lore Systems, began his introduction for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship‘s “My Story” series.

Wong started several businesses as he went through his undergrad years, selling custom-printed painter hats and Chinese food out of his dorm room, “after midnight when all the restaurants were closed.”

While the $70,000 in business the painter hats brought in each year was an impressive start, his first venture in the business world failed after a year.

“The key learning there was that we focused too much on product and not enough on sales. The bottom line is, if you don't have sales you don't have a business. Period end of story. You have to sell.”

And while he the business acumen he gained helped him launch CyberRep – which over “12-years of a long slog” became one of the largest domestic CRM customer care companies – he says you cannot overvalue hard work and persistence.

“We could have failed so many times. We lost our COO to the dot com. We lost our head of IT to a dot com. We lost our biggest customer two times. We also went out of business, we had trouble making payroll many times and, really, it's the intestinal fortitude, the eye of the tiger, and the real stuff that entrepeneurs are made of that my team and I were able to get through all of this.”

Check out his full speech below.


Wong also serves as chairman and chief executive of Opus8, a private investment and advisory firm that has entered into more than a dozen transactions at between $250,000 and $2.5 million per transaction.

When he spoke with the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies about how he elects to deploy angel capital, Wong elaborated upon his perspective the strength of personal traits is a core driver of success.

“We focus not on technology, we don’t focus on markets, we don’t focus on geography: we focus on people… (and) the leadership of a team.”

“We look at two main characteristics. We want to see how experienced are they? Can they execute? And by execution, we’re talking about their sensitivity and obsession with customers and customer care and whether they are really attentive to the customers needs.”

“We’re also looking for personal traits of people. We want humble, coachable, open-minded leaders, because one thing’s for sure: whatever business plan you make, day one the business plan is going to change because something is going to happen to your start up that’s going to amke you change course.”

“If you’re not open to different ways of thinking, you’re going to probably lose out… I think its worse to be completely focused without any flexibility than to be too flexible and have to learn how to focus more.”

Watch his whole presentation to the Maryland iSchool below.

Watch Lore Systems CEO Tien Wong Gives Guest Lecture at University of Maryland iSchool (Part A) in Educational & How-To

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