Photo credit: Jonathan Fredin
Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in technology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the President of the United States.
Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the abuse and chaos. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and a few spoken English words: thank you, hello, and help.
Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new homeland. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repairing NASA spaceships.
Ping’s story is an account of her journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. Her courage in the face of cruelty is unmatched and provides a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.
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