I was born in Oklahoma in 1966 to Taiwanese immigrant parents. I spent my childhood and adolescence in suburban Chicago, competing in speech tournaments and listening to rock radio stations. After high school, I attended Cornell University, graduating with a bachelor's in communication and minors in gender studies and social psychology. While at Cornell, I worked in the news department of WVBR-FM, a local radio station.
Between 1990-1996, I worked as a reporter and anchor at KQED-FM, northern California's NPR station in San Francisco.
For KQED and National Public Radio, I've covered hundreds of stories, including visits from presidents, Silicon Valley, and weird stuff that happens in Berkeley. My favorite reporting included sound-rich stories on new media and pop culture (back then they were two different things). I've also done voiceover work and some television.
The Society of Professional Journalists awarded me its "Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year" honor in the mid-'90s.
It was my interest in new media and the excitement of the Internet revolution happening in Silicon Valley that drove me to a career in the Internet.
In July 1996, I joined Channel A, a web start-up in Silicon Valley devoted to bringing the "modern Asian lifestyle" to a Western audience. We had a great idea and ran out of money.
In the spring of 1998, I joined Infoseek as a producer. Life at Infoseek was exhilirating and exhausting.
Then in '99, The Walt Disney Company acquired Infoseek and also Starwave, a Paul Allen-backed startup in Seattle. The next year and a half was merger hell, as Disney combined Infoseek and Starwave and re-branded infoseek.com to go.com. Resignations, re-orgs, and retreats followed. Hilarity did not ensue.
Fast-forward to 2001 and I was promoted to Vice President of Entertainment at The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG). I managed teams at MrShowbiz.com, Movies.com, and WallofSound.com, which were sites owned and operated by WDIG out of the company's Seattle offices.
In 2001 I was promoted to Vice President of ABC.com at ABC headquarters in Burbank, California. So I left broadcast media for the Internet ... and ended up coming back to broadcast media!
I left ABC in 2006 to join Evite as its Senior Vice President & General Manager. Evite is owned by IAC, the same corporation that owns Ticketmaster, Match.com, Citysearch, and many other Internet properties. I enjoyed working on a service that millions of people (mostly women) love.
Near the end of 2007 I left Evite to return to Internet startups! I became the CEO of vertical-search engine Zig.com in Santa Monica California. We spent 2008 attempting to raise venture capital financing. What timing! In 2009, I became the CEO of Lottay.com, a VC-backed startup in Ventura California. Lottay.com is a gift-giving service that runs on PayPal. In 2010, I became CEO & President of Taaz.com, a VC-backed startup in San Diego California. Taaz technology is "computer vision" applications. Taaz powers virtual makeovers and virtual hair styles for many companies' web sites. I left Taaz in April 2011 and look forward to its stellar exit!
Today, I am Executive-in-Residence at Idealab in Pasadena. I also advise several startups.
When I'm not working, I enjoy watching movies (cinema and DVDs - my friends say I'm a walking IMDB), listening to music (MP3s but I miss CDs!), and talking with our friends (in person, over food preferably). On the more physical side, I enjoy bicycling and wished I did more camping and yoga.
By far the most important part of my life is raising my young son, Ryder LiuLin. My wife and I strive to infuse his every moment with love, wonder, and happiness.
Our family lives in a century-old Craftsman house in the Los Angeles area.