Alumni Speaker Series: Deron Quon '82-'86
Alumnus Deron Quon '82-'86 is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor to several tech start-up companies in Los Angeles. Earlier this spring he spoke with Mr. Flagg's LEAP class to discuss his unique path, and shared some invaluable advice about what it means to be part of the ever-changing, fast paced world of start-up entrepreneurism.
Deron explained that when it comes to starting your own business, failure is a part of the process.
He noted that:
The path to success is perceived as a straight line, but in reality it's much more convoluted. But as you grow up, don't compare yourselves to others. Everyone has a different path: with a different set of skills and strengths. Failures should be accepted, and even embraced. The key is to learn from them.
Deron also mentioned the power of the mentor/mentee relationship on both sides of the equation. While the benefits from a mentee's perspective might seem obvious, Deron stressed the significance of the relationship from the mentor's perspective, saying that:
Real value in life is created when you help people, genuinely.
He advised our students to not only seek out those who have more experience and expertise for advice now, but also encouraged them to do the same for the next generation of budding entrepreneurs, when the times comes. Above all else, he encouraged our students to never stop learning, because:
When we stop learning, we cease to grow as people.
Deron Quon started his first company, Menus.com in 1999 with fellow Mirman classmate Jack Li for their love of food. Menus.com built the largest database of restaurant menus at the time and pivoted to become Datassential, a market research firm. Datassential is one of the leading foodservice research firms, servicing Fortune 500 companies like Nestle, Kraft, Coca-Cola, and Tyson Foods. These big brands and chain restaurants rely on Datassential for food and flavor trends, testing new product concepts and understanding consumer dining behavior.
Deron also co-founded a call center business, Collective Solution, with over 1,500 employees in the Philippines and Honduras. Collective Solution provides customer service and data services for many types of companies, including mobile phone companies, e-commerce companies, and web apps.
He graduated from Mirman in 1986, graduated Harvard-Westlake in 1990, and earned bachelors of arts degrees in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale University in 1994. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation for asset managers.
This past January Deron gave a talk at TEDx Culver City about the outsourcing industry and the importance of treating the customer service people with dignity and respect. Check out the full video here.