Ping Fu is an artist and a scientist whose chosen expression is business. She talks about the 3D imaging and 3D printing technology she created as co-founder of GeoMagic – and how from Invisalign braces to NASA space missions – she has “entrepioneered” the way products are designed and manufactured worldwide. Listen to why “Bend Not Break” is the mantra that’s guided her from the terror of gang rape in a Chinese prison to the fearless flow state of Burning Man.
You wouldn’t think Invisalign braces have much in common with space travel. But then you don’t know Ping Fu.
Ping is the “entrepioneering” innovator of 3D printing and 3D imaging, cofounding GeoMagic in 1997 after having created with Marc Andreesen the NCSA Mosaic software that lead to Netscape and Internet Explorer.
She shares with WINGS host Melinda Wittstock her “Bend Not Break” mantra that has guided her through the terror and trauma of gang rape at age 10 in a Chinese “reeducation” camp to arriving in the U.S. with $80 and a dream to study literature. Without much English, computer science proved a better major, and the rest is history.
And if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, “know who you are and why you want to do it”. It’s not enough just to want to make money or be your own boss. Have a passion, solve a problem and don’t let anyone tell you “no”.
Here are some of Ping’s tips for entrepioneering women:
- On Innovation: Magic happens at the connection or cross-fertilization of different ideas. “Its about keen observation and listening skills” to observe the connections.
- On Mindset: Install a “Mental Cancel-Delete Button”. Ping offers this advice: “Recognize that you are in the mood of fear or judgment, or ego, and when you recognize it just drop it. Without any analysis. Don't spend any brainwaves on it. When you recognize it, just drop it. And then just act from the point of love and loving yourself… Be kind to yourself, loving people around you, loving the earth around you. And you feel better. Don't spend brainwaves to say I can or cannot do. Just say, ‘This is not what I want’. And drop it.”
- On Teambuilding: Learn how to delegate, which can be difficult for women. And make sure you get the right people on your team: Ping describes how she gave famous venture capitalist Marc Andreesen of a16z his big break. Ping was at the University of Illinois working on movies like Terminator 2 when she hired the young student Marc. The result was Netscape.
- On “Bend Not Break”: Ping shares its important for entrepreneurs to “be the bamboo” or why the entrepreneurial journey requires flexibility as well as resilience.
- Her Message to Girls: “Coding isn’t Math; it’s a Language”: Arriving from China with only $80 in her pocket and a desire to study literature, her broken English forced her to study computer science instead.
Read the full transcript here:
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