Audrey’s Spring 2014 Cover Revealed!

Audrey’s Spring 2014 covergirl is none other than singer-songwriter Yuna!

“[At first] I didn’t have the courage to think about going to America. But in the end, because I had all this English music that never made it in Malaysia, I knew that I couldn’t discover my own true strength until I gave it a try.” 

Get your copy of Audrey Magazine‘s Spring 2014 issue here. 

 

AUDREY’S WOMEN OF INFLUENCE | Ping Fu, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of 3D Systems

Story by Ada Tseng.

 

While speaking about her new memoir, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, a story that follows the author’s disgrace as a “black element” during China’s Cultural Revolution to her rise as a successful tech CEO in the U.S., entrepreneur Ping Fu often wore a pair of eye-catching, hot pink platform heels to interviews and publicity events. The shoes, made by 3D printers and designed by Janne Kyttanen, creative director of 3D Systems, were lightweight, machine-washable and customized to fit Fu’s feet perfectly. One of the pairs even had a special pocket on the side to hold an iPhone.

“Shoes are the ultimate science-meets-art object,” says Fu, a pioneer of 3D imaging software technology. “We all like shoes to be beautiful, but they are also, scientifically, very difficult to make. They have to have the perfect balance, shape and form for how each individual walks, things that are very difficult for a computer to interpret. But because everyone can relate to them, they show that life and technology are not two different things. Technology must transcend humanity to touch people’s lives.”

In addition to shoes, Fu often wears 3D-printed jewelry and carries 3D-printed bags, not only because she embraces being a female executive in technology, known for being a young man’s world, but also because the 50- something believes that you have to live and experience what you create in order to know how to take your creation even further.

While 3D printing has been around for decades — Fu started her company Geomagic in 1997 after seeing a 3D printer print a solid object for the first time — it’s only been in the last couple of years that the industry has exploded into the mainstream.

“This is the most exciting time for advanced manufacturing,” says Fu. “Not a day goes by where there isn’t news of another major company using 3D printing to enhance its business model.”

This is not the first time Fu has been at the forefront of technological innovation. While working at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in the ’90s, she was part of the initial team working on the software project NCSA Mosaic that ended up becoming Netscape, the first widely used Web browser that made a tech star out of Fu’s colleague, Marc Andreessen. When Fu decided to build her own company, she opted out of starting a then-trendy dot-com, instead searching for a project that would utilize her background in visual computing.

“I was really hooked by the 3D printers,” says Fu, who believes her interest in manufacturing goes way back to her pre-teen and teen days building radios and making car parts in Chinese factories. “I did some research and realized there were a lot of 3D scanners and 3D printers, but what was missing at the time was some sort of 3D software that fit in between. That was the beginning of what I thought Geomagic should be.”

At one of her first investor conferences, Fu asked the crowd to imagine your kid printing out his first sculpture; an orthopedic surgeon printing a 3D model of your prosthetic knee a week before your surgery; walking into a shoe store, getting your foot scanned and returning the next day for your custom- fitted boots. Soon enough, others had visions for how this type of technology could help their own industries.

“All of these were just ideas, and I said that Geomagic would turn these ideas into reality,” Fu remembers. She laughs. “Frankly, at that point, I did not know that it could happen. Little did I know how long it would take to turn the very difficult technology into reality.”

Now Fu believes that 3D printing is even bigger than the Internet. While the Internet changed how we display and share data, 3D printing would allow us to use data to make tangible objects. With the trifecta of 3D scanners, software and printers becoming more and more accessible, mass production (which has long been outsourced to factories abroad) will be replaced with mass customization (which will be distributed locally, near customers).

“In the next few years, I believe that we will fundamentally disrupt how things are designed and manufactured, and this will have an impact on everybody’s lives,” says Fu. “Products will be more customized, service more personable, manufacturing will be distributed and products made locally, and it’ll be more green because we’ll make less of what we don’t want and we’ll ship fewer things overseas.”

In fact, in 2010, she was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship run by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and one of her current goals is to focus on how 3D printing can help create more jobs domestically, while simultaneously opening up a more genuine cultural exchange internationally.

Back in 2005, when Fu was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, some advised her to take advantage of her initial hype and sell Geomagic to the highest bidder. Instead, Fu elected to take her company to the next level, and it wasn’t until February 2013 that she sold Geomagic to 3D Systems, founded by Chuck Hull, the inventor of the first 3D printing machine. It was a homecoming for Fu, as it was Hull’s presentation that had inspired Fu to start Geomagic in the first place.

Now the chief strategy officer and vice president of 3D Systems, Fu continues to “write software for the future not yet imagined,” as she first fantasized when she decided to study computer science as a new immigrant in America. Fast forward to the present: “Today Invisalign, an orthodontic treatment without wires and brackets, is printing 65,000 custom aligns per day,” she says. “Soon enough, we’ll be ordering our own customized shoes.

“It’s going to come quickly, like a fresh wave washing up the shore,” says Fu. “And I just think it’s really exciting.”

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WHO INFLUENCES PING FU? When asked who influences her, Ping Fu rattles off a long list of names, from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela, Sir Harold Evans to Michelle Obama. But it’s Chuck Hull who she calls the greatest mentor of all time. “Thirty years ago, he printed the first 3D printed part,” says Fu. “To put it into perspective, at that time, Macintosh had not been released, and there was no direct connectivity of 3D modeling software to 3D printers, so the fact that he could even print a part was a miracle. And he’s still in the company! Talk about resilience and tenacity. Chuck is the hero. Without him, we would not have this technology today.”

 

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

AUDREY’S WOMEN OF INFLUENCE | Laura Lee, Director of Entertainment East Partnership at YouTube

Story by Teena Apeles. Photo by Conan Thai.

Overseeing more than 150 television, film, new media and original entertainment partnerships for YouTube is no small feat, especially when they involve striking deals with networks as big as NBC Universal, as cutting edge as Vice, and as treasured as the Discovery Networks. Welcome to Laura Lee’s world. As head of YouTube’s Entertainment East Partnerships since 2007, 38-year-old Lee is the highest-ranking Asian American woman at YouTube and is one of the highest-ranking Asian American female executives across all of Google. And, she will tell you, her job is certainly no cakewalk, but it is thrilling.

“No day is typical for me,” says the New York-based Lee by phone, whose territory includes the East Coast and all of Canada. Not only does she work with TV networks, she also advises top magazine publishers, like Time, Inc. (Time, Sports Illustrated, People) and Condé Nast (Vogue, Vanity Fair), on what kinds of video to produce for their channels.

One day Lee could be meeting with Jimmy Fallon and his production team, brainstorming about how to expand his YouTube audience en route to becoming the king of late night. (She notes that his channel hit a million subscribers recently.) Another day she could be working on an initiative like Ignite New York (ignitenyc.org), which Lee and her team conceived to make sure that all local creators — whether in news, music, education or sports — understand how to fully utilize YouTube. As a native New Yorker, she is particularly passionate about this project. “What we are trying to do with Ignite is not just for film or TV, but for any kind of creator … to let them know that through YouTube they have a platform to become a global brand.”

Lee says that one rewarding aspect of her job is helping a brand “give birth” on YouTube and then charting “their progress to adolescence.” Lee points to the hipster magazine Vice as an especially inspiring success story, which went from print to a “multiplatform creative juggernaut.”

“Some brands have made the transition effortlessly, but some of them, they need a little bit more handholding. But that is part of what I do,” says Lee. “It is really talking to all these different brands and making sure that we are getting the best of their creativity [so] that we can broadcast that to the world.”

A quick review of her enviable résumé reveals that Lee is good at getting original content to the masses. She was vice president of business development and operations at MTV, has produced an original series for VH-1, and oversaw the development of sports projects at Spike. The interesting thing is, Lee first started her career as an investment banker — while spending nights performing at nightclubs with her R&B group.

“I think that I always walked that fine line between being the subdued Asian daughter, but on the other hand wanting to make sure that I always engaged and nurtured my passion,” she explains. “My problem was, do I really take the big leap and try to do the singing thing 100 percent, or do I go to business school? And my parents said, ‘You are going to business school.’”

Lee did finish business school, albeit without a job because she couldn’t let go of her desire for a more creative endeavor. But look at her today. No longer the “subdued Asian girl,” Lee says that not a lot of people expect to encounter an assertive Asian female in the workplace. It’s something Lee and her Asian American friends in the industry are quite cognizant of. “We joke around about that bamboo ceiling and that we are experiencing breakthroughs,” she says. “But we would like to see more, and we hope that it is our generation that does it.

“Each company has a different rhythm,” she continues, “and to be successful in any company you have to be able to adapt and fall into that rhythm, hopefully without sacrificing your own personal style,” she says. Indeed, Lee went from wearing torn jeans at her first YouTube meeting (someone commented that she looked like a kid), to more grownup attire. “I love wearing dresses, and I love wearing heels,” she says. “I just feel more confident.”

So how many hours in a “no day is typical” workday does it take to break that bamboo ceiling and become the highest- ranking Asian American woman at YouTube? “I don’t want to scare people,” says Lee, laughing. “The honest answer is that I am a work in progress.”

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 Issue. Get your copy here