When you travel to 15 countries and interview entrepreneurs about their advice on management, culture and leadership, you’re bound to come away with some useful insight.
That’s exactly what TINYhr CEO David Niu did two years ago, buying a one-way ticket to New Zealand with his wife and 10-month old daughter. Not only did the six-month trip inspire him to start a company, but now the Seattle startup vet is sharing what he learned with everyone else.
Niu today announced his first-ever book, “Careercation: Trading Briefcase for Suitcase to Find Entrepreneurial Happiness.” The NetConversions and BuddyTV founder will release one chapter per week for free to readers, who can learn more than 200 tips from 30 entrepreneurs living in places like Australia, China and Hong Kong.
When Niu arrived back in the States after the trip, he felt re-energized and was compelled to start a business based on all the research he had just done abroad. Thus was the birth of TINYhr, a company that helps leaders gain quick insights into the mindset of their employees.
Niu likely could have made some money off his new book given the vast amount of information he has collected (you can still purchase it in its entirety). But Niu told us that he’s offering the book up for free as a way to give back to the entrepreneur community.
“The people I spoke with were so gracious and selfless with their time, even though I didn’t know most of them until I interviewed them,” he said. “I learned a ton while chatting with them and didn’t feel right about making money on their advice. Therefore, I wanted to share and amplify their tips so other entrepreneurs can learn from them like I did.”
So why did Niu decide to sell everything he had and take his family around the world with no return date in the first place? While most people called him crazy, Niu knew he needed a re-charge. He just got married, had a baby girl right after and realized that he was simply burnt out with work.
What came out of the trip is pretty remarkable. Not only did Niu find the inspiration to start TINYhr, but he also realized what is most important about running a company.
“I learned that it’s all about people and culture,” he said. “In fact, culture is a sustainable competitive advantage that can’t be copied. Plus, if you’re going to improve it, you better start measuring it — especially if it’s the most important part of a business.”
Niu said aside from the tips and advice, he wrote the book is to encourage people to “pursue their dreams and passions.” It’s also going to be a way for his daughter to remember what the heck her mother and father were thinking when they brought her halfway around the globe less than a year after birth.
“She won’t remember any of it, so this is like our family diary that she can always refer back to,” Niu said. “On top of that, I want her to know that she should follow her dreams and pursue her passions regardless of what society and others expect of her. We did it and we’re so much better off.”