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Working Geek: Renaissance woman Anna Hong is a rocket scientist, entrepreneur and nonprofit founder

Anna Hong at an event for GirlUp Entrepeneur, the nonprofit she founded.

Anna Hong has worn a lot of hats over the course of her career.

After interning for Microsoft Research’s Asia division, she took an aerospace propulsion engineer position at the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), a leading rocket manufacturer in Beijing. She climbed the ranks to become the CALT CEO’s chief of staff but eventually, her entrepreneurial ambitions took her in another direction.

Hong moved from Beijing to Seattle about four years ago and connected with Microsoft engineer Michael Koenig. In 2014, they co-founded SapphireView and launched its flagship product, FrontRow.

FrontRow uses a multi-camera system to record professional sports from different angles, “transforming how people experience events beyond what ESPN, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix offers,” Hong says.

Hong serves as SapphireView’s COO and takes a hands-on role in product design and engineering. On the side, she runs GirlUp Entrepreneur, a nonprofit community to dedicated to mentoring women in business and connecting them with fundraising opportunities.

We caught up with Hong for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for her answer to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Seattle

Computer types: MacBook Pro

Mobile devices: iPhone 7 Plus.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools:

  • Onenote (Love it, use it every day)
  • Slack (Love the channel feature, use it every day)
  • WeChat (Have more than 3,000 friends, business and personal, use it every day)
  • Zeplin (Great collaboration app for UI designers and front-end developers)
  • Sketch (Great tool for UI design)
  • Meitu (Photo editing app)
  • Amazon (My favorite shopping app in U.S.)
  • Taobao (My favorite shopping app in China)

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “We cram seven developers in a small office space and work collaboratively. We use our open business lounge for our sales and marketing team. As we grow we want to find a space with a stage and half a basketball court so we can test our product daily.”

Hong’s development team at SapphireView.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Make sure you have a five-to-10-year long-term goal and every day, make sure you are doing the most important things in order to achieve your goal. Being a startup founder, new mom, wife, and daughter to my parents is very tough. Here is my solution: I send my daughter to day care, and I worked with my parents and husband to have them help take care of the home and our daughter. Before my daughter wakes up each morning, I begin doing work. I send her to school when it is time, then I go to the office. My husband picks her up in the afternoon. We spend the evenings together as a family until our daughter goes to sleep. Then, I work again.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “I use LinkedIn for business in the U.S. I use WeChat for talking to Chinese suppliers and investors.”

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? 0

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 8, try to keep the meetings time as less as possible.

How do you run meetings? “I would like to have an agenda ahead of time, and try to keep every meeting short and efficient. My goal is to solve at least one or two problems during each meeting.  To-do lists and follow-up communication are important.”

Everyday work uniform? “Most of the time, I would like to do business casual dress, sometimes jeans.”

How do you make time for family? Make sure every weekend has one full day for family. Usually, Saturday is family day but if I have to work on Saturday then I will use Sunday as a family day.”

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Dance, my favorite hobby. It is the best way for me to relax. I keep practicing to improve my flexibility 30 minutes per day.”

What are you listening to? Dance music or an audio book, like “Lean In”

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? GeekWire, Crunchbase, and WeChat Official Accounts

Night owl or early riser? “Both! My husband always jokes that I don’t really need sleep.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “One way to get my best ideas is talking to people. I like social networking. A lot of my friends are successful entrepreneurs and I really enjoy talking to them. I like the quiet moments when I driving or every night right before I fall asleep. I give myself a chance to clear my head and lucidly reflect on things.”

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Helena Morrissey, she is an amazing female entrepreneur.”

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