JEFFREY NG, CEO AND FOUNDER OF ZORPIA.COM
CROSS-CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF TECHNOLOGY-BASED EDUCATION IN EARLY YEARS OF CHILDHOOD
STUDENT AT SAINT LEO UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ONLINE LEARNING
MAJOR: BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, MANAGEMENTSPECIALIZATION
Interviewer: Hello, Jeffrey. I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview. I know you are very busy. Your company which you founded in February 2003 is Zorpia.com. I’ve always seen it as an international social networking site. You hit a big milestone in 2011 - 20 Million registered members, correct? Jeffrey Ng: Yes.
Interviewer: How many do you have today?
Jeffrey Ng: Around 24 million registered members now.
Interviewer: How many countries does that include?
Jeffrey Ng: All the countries you can name.
Interviewer: Now, you were, at one time, a Program Manager Intern at Expedia and a before that a Summer Intern at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications? Jeffrey Ng: Correct. NCSA is the computer department of university of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. They are basically the beginning of the internet, Netscape and many other internet technologies were started there. Expedia is a spin off from Microsoft, having interned there allowed me to learn how things worked in a large internet corporation. Interviewer: You got your start with programming pretty early. How did you develop that interest? Jeffrey Ng: I started my first Japanese music website when I was 13 years old. It started with my love for a Japanese celebrity Namie Amuro, who is still very popular in Japan now. My music sites grew and so I decided to write a music search engine to search for music files on the internet. In order to do that I had to rewrite some open sourced search engine and eventually picked up coding on my own. At the beginning I wasn't able to understand any computer programming books so I just jumped into the code, started modifying what other people wrote and eventually learned Perl the programming language. I'd spend all my night time to code at high school. I'd also print out the open sourced code to study during normal academic classes. I managed to do pretty well with school work too but at the same time I found my passion in Internet technology. Interviewer: Was your interest an influence in your education? Or was your education an influence in your interest? Jeffrey Ng: It was my interest that influenced my education. My dad was a medical doctor and I had always aspired to be a doctor myself too. However, my websites had done so well - my Japanese music search engine turned into the most popular place to find Japanese music back in 2000 with hundreds of thousands of visitors per day. A close friend told me I'd have wasted my talent in the internet field if I had gone for Medicine instead. Therefore, I decided to apply for colleges in the states, wanting to be closer to the origin of the whole industry. Luckily I was accepted by U of I which is one of the best engineering universities in the states. Interviewer: This study is really focused on early education – the before High School stuff. Can you tell me about your earliest education? Where you went to school and the types of studies that you had? Jeffrey Ng: I went to a local primary school in Hong Kong. Hong Kong education system is extremely rigid. Everybody takes the same classes for the first 9 years of education and are expected to do well academically.
I remember when I was 11 years old, at my secondary school, my class teacher picked me up one day and questioned me out of the classroom. She said it was important for me to focus on my academic study and learned from my mom that I was taking two painting classes afterschool per week. She asked me to reduced the amount of these extra-curricular activities and I talked back, "You are my class teacher, you should be encouraging me to expand my horizon and discover my interests. How can you ask...