James Wong is a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of three successful companies. He is co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies (www.avidian.com), the creators of Prophet, the world leading CRM software built in Outlook. James is a thought-leader, sought after speaker and writer on CRM, Sales Management and groupware applications. He was a regular writer for PCWorld and has been featured in PC Magazine, Small Business Computing, Inc., Entrepreneur, CRM Magazine, Washington Post and other publications. In 2009, he was named by the SLMA as one of the “50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professionals.”
Under Wong’s leadership, Avidian was the winner of the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award, honored for excellence in management, employee relations and community involvement. Avidian also won three years in a row as one of Washington State’s Fastest Growing Companies and three years in a row as One of Washington’s Best Companies to Work For.
Here’s a transcript of Wong’s comments during an interview with the International Examiner:
I was born in China and immigrated to Seattle when I was 10 years old. We are a typical first generation immigrant family—my Mom worked as a seamstress in a sewing factory and my Dad was a restaurant worker. Since I came from poverty and as an immigrant, I’ve always been interested in earning money. And for me, even as a young kid, sales was the best way to earn money. I owned a paper route at the age 10, and sold the Beacon Hill News along 15th Avenue. I walked it rain or shine. And I learned that if I treated our customers well and knocked on their door–instead of them just giving me a $1 (dollar) for ordinary service—if I treated them super well and made sure the newspapers were dry, inside a plastic bag and I addressed them with a Mister or Missus, I would get $1.20 (a dollar twenty). I would get 20 cents (twenty cents) tip.
So most parents tell you to study hard, go to a good college, get a great job. For me, I thought, “Why stop there?” Getting a great job was not enough. I wanted to actually have the freedom to go DO what I wanted to do… which was to build a business.
Avidian Technologies was the third business I founded and I love this business. I’ve been running it for over 11 years now and I can see myself working really hard at this and retiring from it. When I first started Avidian, all we really cared about was selling more software. However, as we grew—and we were growing so fast, the sixth fastest growing company in Washington state—with all that growth, I think we lost focus on the customer. But now, we’re focusing on what’s important: our customers. We live and die by happy customers.
Why I love Avidian Technologies is it’s all about our people. We have amazing people who really care about the success of the company. I enjoy coming to work every single day and talking to our customers, to our associates, to our vendors. We feel like we are doing great work around the world.