Susan Taing – Founder and CEO of bhold

[quote style=”boxed”]Prioritize. Over and over again.[/quote]

Susan Taing is the founder and CEO of bhold, a design house using new technology to create lifestyle accessories that make your life easier. She’s a designer and maker based in New York with experience spanning creative, tech and manufacturing. Prior to bhold, she spent 7 years at Google in Product Marketing working on consumer and partner products. Susan Taing is an MIT and Stanford graduate.

Within a span of one year, Susan has led bhold to gain significant momentum and traction in both the maker and design spaces. bhold won an Editor’s Choice award at Maker Faire, was invited twice as Shapeways Designer in Residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and was selected for the Product Design Showcase at 3D Printshow. bhold is part of design incubator NYDesigns in Long Island City, Queens, and is a member of the American Design Club where they have been selectively featured at industry design events. bhold was a selected designer at NYCxDESIGN to host the 3D printing studio space at Industry City, a workshop-oriented portion of premier design event WantedDesign.

Where did the idea for bhold come from?

bhold comes from merging together my background across tech, manufacturing and creative. One day I came across some inefficiencies working with the overseas manufacturing process and thought, “What if we could just 3D print all of this?”

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My day is split up between product creation & development, meetings and email, of course. To structure my time I keep a regular work schedule during weekdays so that I can get the most out of the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

They usually start out as problems to solve and once the possible solutions start to take shape, are 3D modeled, printed and tested. I take us through this product development cycle as many times as needed before arriving at a final design.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

There are so many. I love that art and science are merging, that people are no longer “choosing sides” and over-simplifying both by putting them in separate corners because together they can create wonders. I love that makers are seeing more support than ever and look forward to seeing this movement create a new generation of not just thinkers but tinkerers. And I love modern minimalist design, the less the better, which I feel is becoming more accepted and widespread across physical objects, UI interfaces, interior spaces, you name it.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I explore, in person. When I can I check out a new museum exhibit or travel to a new densely packed cultural destination where I absorb and learn. And make sense of it all later.

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

My worst was a programming internship when starting at 4pm or sometimes 3:30pm the entire office would start counting down the minutes to 5pm. They then line up at 4:45pm to wait to stamp their timecards. I knew I wanted the opposite — to love my job. What’s the point of spending all of those hours every day feeling miserable?

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

While there are lots you know later in hindsight, you still just have to go for it. I would have started earlier.

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

Prioritize. Over and over again.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Clear communications is important when there is so much going on in the world. You need this in order to stand out.

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

There are all kinds of failures along the way but you just learn to be flexible and try different solutions.

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

We need a learning resource for those wanting to get into 3D modeling and 3D printing!

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I am afraid of water and worked to conquer this fear in phases by learning to swim, to snorkel, and most recently, to scuba dive.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google Apps. Makes my life so much easier.

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

My favorite book of all time is The Tao of Pooh 🙂 It has lessons for everyone, in every field.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

In the design world, John Maeda (@johnmaeda) and Stefan Sagmeister (@sagmeisterwalsh). Brands I love are Muji and Alessi.
In the tech and entrepreneur world, both Larry and Sergey have been inspirations. Elon Musk (@elonmusk) as well.
In terms of life and life philosophies, I follow author Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) and zen and yogic teachings.


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photo credit – Alyssa Kirsten