'It was 1994 and everyone was talking about IT'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2006, 12:00am

NAME: Kevin Huang Jiunn Jin, aged 31.

JOB: Chief executive of online advertising company Pixel Media.

What did you study in secondary school?

My first secondary school was at home in Kuala Lumpur, then thinking the education quality was better in the US, my parents sent me to school in upstate New York aged 15.

How did you feel about being sent away at 15?

I stayed with my aunt, but it was scary not knowing what to expect so far from home.

Did your family have career plans for you?

They saw me becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant.

Did you have your own ambitions?

I come from an entrepreneurial family. My father runs an insurance company and my mother a video store. That made me want to do it too, and be the most successful.

What governed your choice of university course?

I chose to do a degree in computer information systems at Pace University in NYC. I didn't really know what to do but it was 1994 and everyone was talking about IT.

Was there a defining moment during your education?

Nearly three years into my four-year degree I decided this was not for me. It was very technical, mainly programming and writing software. I was more interested in business and marketing.

Did you graduate?

Yes, but I knew I didn't want a career of sitting writing code.

How did your first job help you switch?

I was back in Malaysia in '97, it was the economic crisis and my father was fed up with me sitting around. My aunt got me a job in an internet company and when offered the choice of doing the technical or business side, I chose business.

It was early days for the internet?

Yes and my next job was another start-up, DoubleClick, an online advertising company.

How did the DoubleClick move happen?

They were global and poached me to help set up their Kuala Lumpur branch.

What are the advantages of start-ups?

You learn so much doing everything from receptionist to sales, it's great preparation for running your own company.

How did you wind up here?

In 2000 DoubleClick moved me to Hong Kong, which led to the chance to realise my early goal to run my own successful company.

When did you go it alone?

A management buyout opportunity arose in 2002. I was blessed with support from the other founders, we came together and said let's make it work.

Where did you get the money?

Savings and loans from family and friends. We renamed it Pixel Media, we believed the online advertising industry had a bright future.

How are you doing four years on?

We're expanding, have 22 staff from the original four and have recently gone public.

Any advice for someone considering an internet industry career?

Love what you do and have a goal. Then you'll know which way to head, even when you make mistakes.

Any recommended courses?

It doesn't matter where you study, but if you want to be in online advertising or marketing, a degree in advertising or marketing is a solid foundation.