Bowen Pan: building a career to change the world

"I want to touch and improve the lives of millions of people around the world, empowering them to create a better quality of life, stronger nations and a better world. "-Bowen Pan
 
Bowen Pan’s career has been larger than life in such a short space of time. Driving start-up businesses whilst pursuing an exceptional academic record at The University of Auckland in New Zealand, he is now building a future in business whilst tackling an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In a very cool interview Bowen discusses his current adventures, life, why apples are his tonic and how Steve Jobs has made a big impact on his ambitions!

Where are you currently based? I am at the moment based between Shanghai, China and Wellington, New Zealand.
 
You career has been an epic adventure from studying, building businesses and working through corporate! What are your current plans/projects? I’m working in Shanghai as an entrepreneur-in-residence at MyLuxBox, a fast-growing Sequoia China backed web start-up that sells luxury samples online through a monthly subscription. I am also, together with my co-founder Maya Shino, simultaneously working on a non-profit legal Q&A website, LawSpot.  In September this year, I’ll be on my way to Stanford Graduate School of Business, where I won a place in the MBA program. (FirstStep.me says nice and busy!)
 
Are you always working or do you actually have time to sleep? Sleep is actually really important to me – I subscribe to the philosophy of work hard and play hard (and get proper rest!)
 
So a lot coffee then…(FirstStep.me runs on Coffee!)? Nope, apples do the trick for me!
 
What are your career aspirations and how will you achieve these goals? I want to touch and improve the lives of millions of people around the world, empowering them to create a better quality of life, stronger nations and a better world. I believe creating a world-changing technology business is the best chance for me to realize this vision, it will allow me to combine my passions for technology and entrepreneurship.
 
I've always wanted to live and work at the heart of technology innovation, and undoubtedly, that is Silicon Valley. Stanford Graduate School of Business and Silicon Valley are Siamese twins. I strongly identify with Stanford’s mission of producing leaders who are positive change agents for the world. A sense of infectious idealism pervades the school and Stanford alumni inspire and support one another to reach their dreams. I believe that an MBA from Stanford University will give me the international networks, leadership, and business education to create and lead globally successful companies. (FirstStep.me says good ambition!)
 
In terms of youth business, what advice do you have for young start-ups looking to enter the business market? I think this quote from Steve Jobs summarizes how I operate quite well,
 
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”
 
In short, it’s always better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Go out there, and do it.
 
You are now entering into a full-time role at Stanford, what adjustments will you make to cater with the change into study mode? People who go to Stanford generally have an innate desire to change the world and they have amazing talents, incredible drive and ruthless execution to ensure their dreams come to fruition. Failure is seen as a natural part of the process, the important thing is to think big, start small, fail quickly and scale fast.
 
So in short, life at Stanford is not about being in “study mode”, it’s about how to best leverage this incredible platform to set one up as a positive change agent for the world.
 
You can find about more about Bowen and his adventures on his blog!