Esther earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and after that, she got her Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law. Esther is also a member of the California State Bar, which is responsible for managing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law, investigating complaints of professional misconduct, and prescribing appropriate discipline.
Esther has been invited to speak at the University of Southern California, National University of Singapore, Music Matters Conference in Hong Kong, Midem in Cannes, France, and many more on the topics of entrepreneurship and media to inspire the young generation on their future orientation.
In 2004, Esther has founded a number of successful startups, and first started working in Vietnam. Her first company, started in 1998, was a beauty and health e-commerce company. She sold the company in 2001 to move on to green technology. Her latest venture started in 2007 when she founded POPS Worldwide in Vietnam. After 8 years of development, leave all the intended projects behind, she is now became the CEO of POPS Worldwide, a leader digital entertainment company in Southeast Asia.
Esther shared her story why she decided to come back to her motherland and ran her own business to us. She has already been traveling to Vietnam quite often since 1994 with her family, and has been fascinated with the vibrancy and energy of the country. She knew early on she wanted to be a part of the growth of the country. In 2007, there were a few factors that really pushed her to move to Vietnam. Firstly, she found that the young people were so friendly and eager to learn, and she wanted to work along side these young people; secondly, the government at the time was allowing Vietnamese overseas to start local companies, making it easy to set up a company; and lastly, a few great successful entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who believed in her and funded her startup.
Difficulties and challenges.
Speaking about challenges she had to face back to 2007, she arrived in Vietnam, alone with two suitcases, barely able to speak Vietnamese. The start up ecosystem was quite non existent then, so there was not a community of other entrepreneurs or advisors to tap into to ask even the most basic questions. There were no co-working spaces or networking events for entrepreneurs. So she would say lack of support from others would have been the biggest challenge.
Another challenge when she first came to Vietnam for business was language barrier. Although her family speaks some Vietnamese at home, her proficiency in the language was still pretty basic. She had difficulties communicating with the staff without them laughing at her.
Besides the struggles with language, she also faced several “make or break” situations. One was a cash-flow problem where she almost failed to make the payroll. The other problem was the inability to monetize her startup. The typical telecom collaboration is a 70-30 split, with the telco taking the majority. This didn’t leave much for her and the artists she works with.
Despite the many challenges, she persisted and overcame all of them. One of the biggest impact which POPS has made on Vietnam that it completely changed the way how the industry looks at intellectual property rights. They were building a business based on placing a value on intellectual property rights, unlike our competitors. POPS had to educate not only users, business partners and artists alike about why they should care about piracy and place value on intellectual property rights. Fortunately, their perseverance has paid off, not only has POPS changed the industry, but has the largest portfolio of licensed music and video rights in Vietnam so far.
7 major channels
- POPS Worldwide network content can be recognized on Apple iTunes, Amazon.mp3, Spotify, Deezer, Guvera, Facebook, Google Play, Dailymotion and YouTube
- Most recently, Turner has entered into a partnership with POPS Worldwide to distribute Boomerang’s content on POPS Kids
To learn more about Esther’s journey from startup to success, please visit: