I didn’t know it at the time, but the Hyundai Electronics press tour in 1994 saw the start of two special relationships in Asia.
You’ve already heard from Young Sohn, founder of InComm and our partner in Korea for the early years.
The second person was Olive Ting, whose firm Era PR pioneered tech PR in Taiwan. When I say Era was a partner, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. She cared about our success. We cared about Era’s success. We made regular trips in both directions, further strengthening the ties.
Along the way, Heather and I became friends with Olive and her husband, Stone. One of our more memorable vacations was in Taiwan with Olive and Stone playing tour guide in Taipei and Hualien, home to Taroko National Park.
When Ogilvy purchased Era in 2002, the business relationship changed, but the friendships remained.
Today, Olive is a best-selling author, professor and speaker on entrepreneurship as well as communications.
Intersection of East (Taiwan) and West (Silicon Valley) Transcends Business
Wow … inconceivable, it’s been 20 years?! I completely lose myself thinking of such an amazing journey
It recently occurred to me that Era and The Hoffman Agency’s relationship has lasted more than 20 years. Time flies … yet, the entrepreneurial spirit never fades.
The 1990s were an age of booming technology. Three tech PR agencies — Era in Taiwan, InComm in Korea and The Hoffman Agency in Silicon Valley — were established at almost the same time and grew rapidly. We became affiliates just like a brotherhood, often sharing personal stories and experiences. My English really sucked at that time, and Lou was a genius to understand what I was trying to say.
I remember clearly that Lou invited me, my staff and my client to visit his office in San Jose. He was so selfless in providing training, sharing various case studies, and guiding us on up-to-date tech trends. Lou treated us as valuable partners by expanding our vision and knowledge of the industry in the U.S. I sincerely appreciated Lou’s efforts to give me an opportunity to learn more about the Western world.
I have such great memories of that visit. Heather took us on a picnic, hosting us in her very warm and enthusiastic way. We visited her home, met her children, Elliot and Grace; they were so young then. That was my first impression of the U.S. culture and lifestyle. I was deeply touched by the Hoffman family connection and warmth.
With Silicon Valley being the center of the global high-tech industry, Lou was very generous to refer some of his clients to us. He was quite the visionary foreseeing Asia Pacific as the fastest-growing market in the decade to come. (And he turned out to be right.) With his progressive strategy, he started working more closely with Era and InComm, and we became strong partners in Asia.
Lou and Heather also visited me in Taiwan. We went to a pottery house, and I introduced them to some famous Taiwanese snacks. Heather was always full of curiosity and willing to try new interests … good memories.
A few years later, Era and InComm were acquired by WPP (Ogilvy) and Brodeur, respectively, and we lost contact for a period of time as we went in different directions. However, Lou established several offices in Asia Pacific, and he moved forward as he planned. Now that The Hoffman Agency is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Asia Pacific, I am happy to see Lou’s efforts rewarded and his dream come true.
My sincere congratulations to Lou on his success with all his perseverance, persistence and generosity. He deserves my deepest respect and gratitude. He is a true leader and a benchmark for the PR industry. I look forward to another prosperous 20 years for The Hoffman Agency.