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Fireside chat with Guan Wang, CTO of Stealth Startup

Who is Guan Wang?

I’m a Chinese American technologist and entrepreneur. I came to the US in 2008, first visited the bay area in 2011, and I’ve been living in the bay area since 2014. I’m a son, a husband, and a father. I like traveling, cooking, and exploring world mysteries. 

Tell us more about your role in Stealth Startup?

I’m a cofounder and CTO of the company. The company’s goal is to use AI to understand brand relations and help key eCommerce players, i.e., sellers, brand owners, to boost their efficiency. 

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

As in many early-stage companies, I think being able to execute efficiently given the huge amount of uncertainty is very challenging. In startups, when the resources are scarce, you not only could not make directional mistakes but also not execution inefficiently. Given the moving parts of technology, product, user behavior, it is hard to design a roadmap that puts everyone together, from a day-to-day progress perspective, to believe the vague long-term goal as well as deliver high quality near-term product. The experience is very different from my previous roles as tech lead or individual contributor. It is making me more detail-oriented while generating the big picture for the company as we go, so it’s quite interesting. 

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Not really. As early as 2008 when I first came to the US for my PhD study, I chose to study AI. Later in my career, I have been applying AI to different industries, problems, and under different computing platforms, e.g., cloud and embedded. My role changed from individual contributor to CTO in 6 years after my PhD graduation. My career path is very much aligned with my vision of how technology would move forward in the real world. I’m glad that I could project the career path this way at an early time and be persistent with it.  

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

First, we start small and aim big. And this reflects how we target users, design products, hire people, and everything else. Second, we do everything with the “first principle” in mind. That means we don’t do things because some other companies are doing them but rather we need to. Third, we really emphasize company culture even at a very early stage. If employees don’t love their vision, the product they build, or the working experience, our customers will never do. 

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

The pandemic has been impacting everything in society. Fortunately, not all aspects are absolutely bad. People have been exploring and adopting more efficient ways to communicate and get the work done. Technology, especially AI, is having accelerated progress in the near future. I believe that our business will be booming in a more technology-driven world. 

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

AI and big data are still the largest driving factor of the business. A lot of product features were not possible 5 years ago, but now they are within our reach.  

What books do you have on your nightstand?

I’m fascinated by the universe, extraterrestrial life, etc. A few books I’d recommend are “brief history of time”, “abducted to the 9th planet”, and “the earth chronicles”. 

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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