Experience is the ultimate teacher and I’m glad we’ve been through what we’ve been through.
At 21 years old, Kenny Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Big Fish Presentations, a presentation company that specializes three things: presentation design, presentation consulting and commercial video production. By selling experiences, the company abides by the mantra of, “turning presentations into experiences.”
With more than 30,000,000 presentations given a day, Big Fish Presentations works nationwide with clients that range from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses. Their focus is to end the “death by PowerPoint” era that has plagued audiences worldwide, and to help the world’s brightest minds and companies present their stories and ideas. By combining creative storytelling, simplistic design and passion, Nguyen and his team help their clients enchant audiences worldwide.
Last year, Kenny competed as one of the top college entrepreneurs in the nation at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards semi-finals in Times Square in New York. Kenny and his team have also been recently featured in Business Insider, Forbes, and Inc Magazine as one of “2012’s Coolest College Startups.” His presentation strategies have been featured on popular blog websites such as EO Overdrive, Upstart Business Journal, American Express, Open Forum, Work Awesome, Mo.Com, YFS Magazine, and Under30CEO.
At Louisiana State University, he founded I Am Entrepreneur, which has now rolled into the university’s Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization program. In its first year, it was recognized by LSU as “2010’s Best New Student Organization” for its mission to connect students with CEOs.
What are you working on right now?
I’m creating a proposal for a project about beavers. I feel like I know more about beavers now than I do about humans.
Where did the idea for Big Fish Presentations come from?
I was at the point in my education where I was sitting through a lot of lectures and presentations. The presentation that was the catalyst for Big Fish Presentations was one I had been thoroughly looking forward to. Unfortunately, it lacked luster like the rest of them. I knew then that I wanted to break into this niche market.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up, eat breakfast, work, attend meetings, do more work, have dinner, hang out with my buddies, sleep and repeat.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have a design process and customer experience checklist that helps us maintain a consistent process when working with clients. Also, having an extremely creative staff that understands my vision for our clients and company helps to develop my ideas.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
It might seem random, but the trend of molecular gastronomy really excites me. I’m a foodie, and restaurant concepts like Alinea and Moto always pique my curiosity in terms of how you can combine science with food and presentation. They’re doing some incredible stuff in those restaurants, and I can’t wait to check them out next time I’m in Chicago.
As you can see, I love every concept of presentation, and I believe culinary arts is one of the most powerful art forms. Think about it: it’s the art that’s remembered the most through the senses but disappears the fastest because it’s consumed. It can even be thought of as an international language that can speak for itself without ever saying a word.
If we can constantly replicate the concept of this art form through our presentations, we would definitely be able to end the “death by PowerPoint” era. Side note: I wanted to be a chef growing up, but ultimately decided that I couldn’t wait to start a business. Despite the stress, I’m so glad that I made the leap.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was 15 years old I had a brief stint at Quizno’s, where I attracted people to buy sandwiches as the giant dancing cup mascot. Keep in mind this job required me to be outside during hot and humid 110-degree, summer Louisiana weather. It was hell on earth. In retrospect, while it’s definitely the worst job I’ve ever had, it was also, in a sense, my best job. I understood the concept of “paying your dues.” I never wanted to do manual labor again, so I learned that every job I had from then on should lead me to my goal of playing by my own rules with financial freedom.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Nothing; experience is the ultimate teacher and I’m glad we’ve been through what we’ve been through. If I had to pinpoint something, though, I might choose clients more wisely, despite the money factor.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
My goal is to keep my team and myself motivated. I want to always be excited about work, and I encourage my staff to continue learning new things that can help us grow as individuals and as a company.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The concept of time management. Being a college entrepreneur, it has helped me so much to have a daily to-do list and to remind myself of the three most important tasks for me to get done each day, whether I’m in school or doing business. By identifying my goals for the week, month and year, I was able to structure my to-do list to best impact my productivity and time management. To be honest, my business partner, Gus Murillo, is even better at time management.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Most of my clients come to me after seeing me present at conferences or via recommendations. Credibility equals cash after all!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I want to eliminate all mind-numbing presentations by turning them into experiences for the brightest minds and companies. I am proud to say we’re helping change the world through what we’re doing now.
Tell us a secret.
If I weren’t the CEO of Big Fish Presentations, I’d be at culinary school training to become a chef. I’m a foodie at heart.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Wave Accounting is online accounting software that is geared toward small businesses. It’s very intuitive and easy to use. No prior accounting classes are required.
- Asana is a great project management system that sends updates to our teams when projects need to be changed. I can’t believe it’s free, too!
- Clock Spot is a great way to keep time logs of how long we spend on projects. We use it to clock employees in and out. It definitely helps us measure productivity much better.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish is an excellent read. Harnish explains how priorities, data and rhythm are the keys to building a great, sustainable company. If you’re ADD, you only have to read the intro chapter and you’re set.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @BigFishPresco is our company blog, which you should follow if you want to stay updated on presentation tips and tricks.
- @Ted_Com keeps you updated on the world’s most inspirational talks.
- @TheYEC is a great nonprofit entrepreneur organization that is helping shape America’s youth entrepreneurship scene.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
When I discovered our videographer had been secretly making a blog about our copywriter and his first time doing things. It’s hilarious and ridiculous. Please follow it here.
Who is your hero?
My father is my hero.
What is a quote that you live by?
“Be so great that others can’t ignore you.”
What’s your favorite hobby?
Traveling. I love exploring new places, trying new foods, and meeting like-minded entrepreneurs who are looking to make their marks in the world.
Kenny Nguyen on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kennynguyen1
Kenny Nguyen on Twitter: @bigfishkenny
Big Fish Presentations’ website: http://bigfishpresentations.com/
Kenny Nguyen’s email: Kenny@bigfishpresentations.com