Seattle entrepreneur carries on family success to a new level

Seattle entrepreneur carries on family success to a new level

By James Tabafunda / Northwest Asian Weekly
Nov. 17, 2007

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CalvinTang  co-founder of Newsvine.com.

Entrepreneurship runs in the Tang family in Bellevue, and so do the uncommon personal qualities of patience and resilience.

Whenpatriarch Gordon Tang arrived in the United States in 1949 as a17-year-old from Taiwan, he had a “tremendously tough life for most ofhis time here until he was about 38,” according to his son, Calvin.

It was 1970 when Gordon finally started his own business in real estate development and property management

Gordon’slong-term patience paid off because his business became successful,owning, at one point, “a majority of the University District.”

Bornand raised in Bellevue, Calvin Tang is the youngest of Gordon and wifeLinda Lee’s four children. He has two sisters, Debbie Tremblay, 40, andMimi Tang, 38. His brother, Jason Tang, 33, studied pre-medicine andreceived a bachelor’s in biological sciences.


Asfor Calvin, 30, after graduating from Seattle University in 2000, hespent six years traveling around the world and working on differentbusiness projects. He learned through working with his father todevelop professional relationships and maintain them.

Choosingnot to follow the typical professional career path of working for a bigcompany right out of college, Calvin admits he felt behind where he andothers closest to him felt he should have been at the age of 27.

Calvinis confident and articulate, qualities apparent from the combination ofa good education with a savvy gained from both his father’s mentorshipand his world travels.

Hesaid, “I feel I carry forward wisdom in each thing I try.” So far,those things include working as a scuba diving correspondent for atravel magazine based in Southeast Asia and inventor of a door securitydevice with his father in 1999. Six years later, they began producingit in China.

Bettina Carey, Calvin’s friend, said, “He has the intuition and gut instinct of an older, wiser man.”

“Ialways came back to the same idea of putting together a venture andtaking the risk and seeking out that reward,” said Calvin. Withbusiness in his blood and patience of his own, he now enjoys a hugefinancial reward.

Two-and-a-halfyears ago, he co-founded Newsvine.com, a social news Web site. Newsvineis one of many sites involved in “community journalism,” creating a newway to distribute news. It encourages “highly engaged participation”among its 1 million unique visitors a month by having them contributecontent, link to their favorite news of the day and submit comments.

OnOct. 5, MSNBC Interactive News, the publisher of msnbc.com, acquiredthe site from Calvin and co-founders Mike Davidson, Lance Anderson andMark Budos for an undisclosed amount.

Oneof the biggest media companies in the world, MSNBC selected Newsvine tobe its first acquisition in its 11-year history. Calvin and hisco-founders will continue to run it from their corporate headquartersin Seattle, not from MSNBC’s office in Redmond.

“Iam just absolutely thrilled at working at an organization like MSNBC …I’m looking forward to being able to push the boundaries of a space inthe news media business that we created by putting forth our venture inNewsvine and taking it to the next level,” he said about MSNBC’s offer.The reaction from Newsvine’s users: Most were in favor, though somewere “very unsure.”

AsNewsvine’s chief operating officer, Calvin is in charge of such areasas business development, finance, accounting, legal and humanresources. He also moderates its content, even meeting with some ofNewsvine’s users in person, saying, “Relationships are something that Iplace a great value on.”

And he no longer feels behind other people his age.

James Tabafunda can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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