Vince Han – CEO and co-Founder of Coach Alba

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Vince Han - CEO and co-founder of Change Anything

By our very natures, entrepreneurs have to be optimistic and at times, suspend reality in our minds to move forward. However, this characteristic causes us to greatly underestimate how difficult our task can be. So, after painting the vision for the team, I go to great pains to map out a very detailed execution plan so that we make day to day decisions based on reality. So, create a vision based on overcoming reality, but create your plan based on reality.

Vince Han is CEO and co-founder of Coach Alba, the leading platform that helps people change their bad habits to good. Vince has spent his career successfully starting and building innovative online media-based startups. While earning his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management, he was an “Entrepreneur-In-Residence” (EIR) at Battery Ventures, one of the premier Venture Capital funds with more than $2B under management. At that time, he raised more than $20M to co-found Ruckus.com, the largest provider of digital media serving the U.S. college market, which served more than 1 billion downloads per month at its peak. Ruckus.com was later acquired by Total Music, a joint venture between Sony Music and Universal.

Following Ruckus, Vince founded Aha.tv, a company which automatically indexed and programmed more than 3 million online videos. He also served as President of Adswizz, the fastest growing streaming media ad insertion company in Europe. Vince is on the board of Reptide Media, the leading ad network for the college demographic in the United States.

Vincent was recently named one of Utah Business Magazine’s 40 top business leaders under 40 and is an avid marathon runner.

What are you working on right now?

Intelligent text messaging technology that helps people overcome the daily temptations that keep them from their personal goals. Right now, we are focused on helping people with weight loss goals.

Where did the idea for Coach Alba come from?

We’ve been working on applying proven social science techniques to technology for years. We discovered that instead of focusing on helping people create better plans, the need is greatest when people are tempted to deviate from their plans.

How do you make money?

Coach Alba is a monthly subscription service. Right now, it’s $5/month after a free 14 day trial.

What does your typical day look like?

Up at 5:30am to run, I train to run marathons. Then some reading to clear my head. Send the kids to school and in the office at 8am. I usually take lunch at my desk and stay as productive as possible until 6pm. Dinner and evening activities with family and then get a few more hours of work in until 10:30pm.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I like to actively socialize ideas with friends and smart colleagues and get their raw reactions, both good and bad. That process will always refine ideas and make them more focused and better. You can also see, if by talking about the idea a lot, your energy and excitement grow about it enough to start actually working on making it a reality!

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The continued accessibility and affordability of internet connected devices to the under privileged. I’m a big believer in innovation that comes from activities that are focused on improving lives.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve liked every job I’ve had.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Trust my instincts with greater conviction.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

By our very natures, entrepreneurs have to be optimistic and at times, suspend reality in our minds to move forward. However, this characteristic causes us to greatly underestimate how difficult our task can be. So, after painting the vision for the team, I go to great pains to map out a very detailed execution plan so that we make day to day decisions based on reality. So, create a vision based on overcoming reality, but create your plan based on reality.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

For one of my previous startups, I had raised a $1M angel round only to have it fall apart on closing day. I overcame it by having an incredible team who plowed forward anyways. We had remaining angel investors that went ahead with their funding commitment even though the round ended up being less than half of what we had planned for.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think the comment sections for articles on news and popular blog sites are too noisy and filled with people with extreme views. I’d like to see a service where I can “bookmark” an interesting article and then proactively select friends to comment on the article. They would receive my invitation to read and comment on it and only the people I invite would be able to see the conversation.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

Reduce the sensationalizing of extreme and uninformed ideas. We need to create the same level of urgency and value for even keeled people to stand up and act to match the natural energy that comes from those that are emotionally charged. This could be my next startup.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I used to be a vintage clothing dealer.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Moqups – great and easy online wireframing tool to create product concepts without needing a designer or an engineer.
Asana – it took me a year to really believe in it, but now it has become a vital part of my team’s productivity.
Evernote – Love that my notes are synced with all my devices.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Crucial Conversations. I think much of our happiness and success at home and work can be greatly aided by our ability to control our emotions when we are upset or disagree with others.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@jherskowitz – If you love music and technology
@SteveCase – He is doing a lot to foster entrepreneurship at a policy level
@jennalinds – College student whose tweets always make me laugh

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

My team gave me a gag gift: https://twitter.com/vincehan/status/280714512447979520

Who is your hero, and why?

The dedicated father is my hero. Any man that takes full responsibility to nurture their children is standing up in the face of many forces that are pulling him in the opposite direction.

How do you find balance in your life?

Trust your instincts. You want to live without regret. It is cliche but true — no person has been on their deathbed wishing that had spent more time in the office. Learn to work really hard when you are working and unplug to take care of your family, friends, and community when the time comes.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love long distance running. I first started running seriously 4 years ago. I have lost 55 lbs and have run a marathon in a 8 minute mile pace. My goal is to run a marathon in 7 minute miles, or just under 3 hours.

Connect:

Vince Han on Twitter: @vincehan
Vince Han on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/vincehan

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