CrowdInk just had a chance to sit down with Jennifer Xue, an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in San Francisco Bay Area. Born and raised in Jakarta, Xue now commutes between SF, Jakarta, and Singapore regularly and has published 2000 articles and 100 ebooks under several pen names and “staff writer” designations. She has taught 50 college-level essay and paper writing courses for a US-based online private university.
She has experienced the ups and downs of the global economy and after experiencing a painful divorce, she’s now back on track to hack the growth of her businesses. She has started several online businesses and her latest is an online publication called SiliconValleyGlobe.com, which focuses on startup businesses around the world (not limited to those in Silicon Valley, despite its name) and the delicate balance between technology and humanity.
In 2003, she started StyleCareer.com, which brought her to meet the legendary (the late) John Casablancas of Elite Modelling. Her other clients included Laila Ali McClain and several other celebrities who bought her ebooks/reports on starting fashion, cosmetics, and other beauty and art-related businesses. StyleCareer.com is now being revamped for its second coming.
CrowdInk: What is the inspiration behind SiliconValleyGlobe.com?
Jennifer Xue: I’ve been reading many online publications and most of them are too monetized with SEO keywords and all kinds of ads. While it’s nothing wrong to make a lot of money, I believe that the main purpose of an online publication is to inform, educate, and empower.
I’m based in San Francisco Bay Area, which is the hub of high-tech businesses. Many tech magazines are dry and don’t touch values that remind us to be human. I saw something missing here and that was the lightbulb moment.
Personally, I’ve been advocating for human rights through my writings, lobbying the US government regarding the mortgage crisis (2008-2009), and supporting a free-tuition school for gifted children in Indonesia, so I was able to “sense” the missing “human touch” element. With advanced technology, human beings have a greater responsibility in making the world a better place. You can view some of interview with The Record and Jakarta Globe to learn more about the blog.
I expect SiliconValleyGlobe.com to fill the void and bridge the gap.
“Balancing technology with humanity” is our motto. In short, SiliconValleyGlobe.com is designed to be a place where you can read about startups around the world, technology, and humanity. Why “startups from around the world?” Because most news articles only cover startups founded in Silicon Valley.
It would be great if SiliconValleyGlobe.com becomes the vehicle that symbolizes the embrace between startups based in Silicon Valley and those elsewhere, as I believe in embracing everyone despite his or her geographical locations.
CI: What has been the biggest challenge to date in setting up your business?
JX: Setting up a publication requires more than grit – it requires focus and workable strategies. Many people have all kinds of ideas, but only a handful can actually execute them well and make them a reality. I’m grateful that I can follow-through my ideas, which explains my preference for being an entrepreneur.
I mostly work alone with the help of several assistants and researchers, so I execute most of the strategies based on my own considerations. I do, however, have a couple friends who are startup advisors and professional writers, whom I occasionally brainstorm with.
One of them is an Australian named Luke Fitzpatrick of Ghacklabs, advisor for various non-US startups. The other is Brian D. Evans whose company was named an Inc 500 company and is based in Los Angeles, California.
CI: What is your number one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
JX: First things first, keep the prize in your mind and consider it done. What you need to do next is creating the path brick-by-brick to the destination that you’ve reached in your mind and heart; it may require several revisions but that is totally fine.
Just like when I’m writing a column, I already have the whole column in mind. I just need to type them down with ten fingers and 100 words per minute by using my 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro. In an hour, the column is all typed up and ready to be revised and edited.
I use the same approach with life. I was already a millionaire long before I made my first million several years ago. Once I had made the decision, I worked on the path by paving it brick-by-brick. Now, after two years of depression due divorce, I’m back on track to earn back what I’ve lost.
CI: What is your best tip for startups looking to drive traffic to their website?
JX: I believe in content marketing both online and offline as a cost-efficient and effective method. For this, you’d need to be able to explain things in details. The popular term for this is “storytelling.” Most ads use this approach, but we don’t want to use ads, because they aren’t credible and are often pricey.
We want to tell our story the way we tell it to our friends. Remix your stories and retell them in various formats. Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, James Altucher, and Michelle Georgina Mone (the creator of the Ultimo bra that Julia Roberts wore in Erin Brockovich, the movie) are all impressive storytellers. They’re well known not because they’re successful. However, because they’re well known, they’re so successful.
CI: What book are you currently reading?
JX: I read several books simultaneously. I’ve just been provided with a copy by Regan Arts, the publisher of Khloe Kardashian’s Strong Looks Better Naked. Also, I have just interviewed Lisa Sugarman, a syndicated columnist, which required me to read it. I love both ladies’ positive outlook on life.
I’m also reading Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg. I learned a lot about how our mind works and what we can do to optimize our lives through adopting productive habits and reframing thoughts. I’m always in the process of optimizing myself, because like Mae West said, “We only live once. If we do it right, once is enough.”
CI: What do you do for fun (hobbies, interest)?
JX: I love painting abstract art with acrylic paint. This activity brings peace to my million-mile per hour brain. When I’m pouring colorful paints onto the canvas, it’s as if time has stopped. I can look at the flow of the paint for hours and usually feel refreshed afterward. Just like the feeling after visiting a spa.
CI: How can people connect with you? (Social media, website etc)
JX: SiliconValleyGlobe.com would be the way to contact me, where you can also find social media information and email address. Please send your comments on what you’d like to see there, because SiliconValleyGlobe.com was created for readers just like you. We always strive to find a balance between technology with humanity, right?