By Jenny Chan (Founder, Speed Daytwah)
I was driving while Ping Fu came on NPR. My passengers, which happened to be two white males, were busy making fun of the name “Ping Fu”; I shushed them and turned the volume up. She was on the radio talking about NCSA and her company Geomagic. I got home and immediately googled “Ping Fu” and her Wikipedia page turned up.
What intrigues me about her that she does not fit into the typical entrepreneur profile, but an Asian American female. Also, the fact that she grew up in the Mao’s Cultural Revolution really intrigued enough that I decided to read her biography Bend, Not Break.
Her biography is a page-flipper! Exile, gang rape, survival, and separation from her parents were only part of the story. Success, innovation, and Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. are the other part of the story. Being exiled from her country, she was strong enough to leave the past behind. She focuses on the future for herself and builds an innovative company shows us the strength of resilience.
Her ability to pursue freedom in this country is a really powerful message. Most of us in America are privileged to be free, but many of us take freedom for granted and are not willing to execute our dreams. This quote from her book really sent me shivers down my spine: “Nature does not operate according to principles of constant growth, because infinite growth is not possible in a finite world. One tree trying to grow high enough to touch the sky does not make a forest. Rather, nature excels in constant movement. It is infinitely creative and adaptive.” Ping is calling for more innovative entrepreneurs. American dream stands for a community of hardworking citizens who are willing to take risks and adapt to their environment creatively.
The quality I found of her that is really empowering is resilience. No matter what happens, she keeps going. Even at the times her company was experiencing a net lost instead of a net gain, or when she was facing lawsuits by other companies due to miscommunication, she survived and thrived. In fact, she mentioned in her biography that she excels in challenging situations. She is really like bamboo that bends and not breaks, and is adaptive to her environment. She is an entrepreneur by nature and environment, and she was an entrepreneur before entrepreneurship was cool.
As a founder of Student Association for Social Entrepreneurship, I had connection with Paul Magelli. Upon reading Bend, Not Break, I immediately sent him an email and asked if he had connection to Ping Fu. Paul was so delighted to share stories about her entrepreneur journey and how University of Illinois really provided her resources to support her. In fact, Ping was invited as a speaker at an MBA event at the University. I wish I would have a chance to meet her in the future.
If you wish to make an investment in yourself with only $12.99, spend it on her book, Bend, Not Break. I promise it’s worth it!
Photo credit: pfly on Flickr.
Women 2.0 readers: Have you read Bend, Not Break? Let us know what you think about the book in the comments.
About the guest blogger: Jenny Chan is Founder of Speed Daytwah. Hailing from San Francisco, Jenny now lives in Detroit and entered a program called Challenge Detroit. A recent graduate from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a degree in Economics with a concentration of Applied Statistics, Jenny has worked at Regional Economics Applications Laboratory. Some projects she worked on include High Speed Railroad connecting the state of Illinois, unemployment rates and impact analysis for the Ford Motor Company. Follow her on Twitter at @jenny4det.