I had a ball in the 1960s hanging out with dozens of kids from the 25 or so other houses in the cul-de-sac where we lived in middle class Bloomfield, New Jersey. We ranged from six to 12 years old and life was a full-on street party. It was middle-class American suburbia, not quite like The Sopranos but certainly with a lot of those kinds of characters. We'd come home, practise piano or whatever, then pile out on to the street where we'd play ball, produce shows and staged our own Olympics. There was even a professional baseball player who'd help to coach us. Even though my 11-year-old has grown up in Hong Kong, his favourite place is still that street which we return to. He does exactly what I did there, even down to sitting on the kerb and eating pizza. I mean US$2 for a slice of pizza - that's a great night out. Of course it wasn't all a breezy ride. A friend Tim died of leukaemia and it was like something out of a Hollywood tearjerker because his brother Robin had been linked by tube to him to keep him alive. I've kept a lot of friends from those days which reflects the importance of that time in my life. Elementary school was Catholic, a place of high learning and high discipline. The nuns looked 100 years old and had iron fists. I didn't toe the line and wasn't the best kid so I felt their wrath. We'd arrive at school where a nun would ring a big bell in the playground and we'd freeze on the spot then march into school with our class. At the end of the day, we'd line up and the nun would be like a drill sergeant. With a clap of her hands, she'd signal school was over and we'd scream and rush away. When it came to high school I went to the local state one. After Catholic school, this was an edgier place and I wondered if I'd be cool enough. I was into sports and music, and played the trumpet and drums in bands but I was no football jock. I learned that you should do what you like and feel good about it. Don't do something just to claim a certain spot in the social order. I'd take photos, make movies and worked on an unauthorised radio station. We even got the school to start an ice hockey team. I liked history and English, and became interested in the media by reading the newspapers on my paper round. I left school in 1973 and thought advertising was for me. Darrin Stephens in the television series Bewitched was in that line and he had a nice home and foxy wife. In the event, I went off to New York to study journalism and the media and hit the ground running. It wasn't so much what I learned in university but working outside writing for sports papers, working on a radio station, and even for the New York Yankees. All this was achieved through contacts and extra work. I'd always had this thing about Asia and a headhunter approached me to work for a company that at that time represented BusinessWeek. One thing led to another and I ended up at Turner. It's been great witnessing the rise of the Tiger economies of South East Asia and the progress of China. I've also worked with some brilliant people. God gives you certain talents. Whenever you touch them, you know what's happening inside of you. You feel energised and can work at something for hours. I love what I'm doing because I'm happy that I've found my way. Stephen J. Marcopoto is president of Turner International Asia Pacific Ltd and chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He was talking to David Phair.