In 2001, Gary Lin founded Glispa Media in São Paulo, Brazil. Here's how he did it.
As told to April Joyner
Industry Leader: Advertising & Marketing
Three-Year Growth: 8,140.2%
The Internet has knocked down the traditional geographic barriers to marketing, and Gary Lin is taking full advantage. Glispa, his New York City-based agency, hit $25.5 million in 2007 by courting clients on three continents.
Mother's occupation: She worked in the pricing department at a dairy company in St. Paul, when I was in high school.
Father's occupation: My father owned a company that manufactured an antireflection technology for glass in picture frames. We had dinner together every night, and he'd tell stories about his day at work. He ran a huge factory, so he had to deal with many different problems.
Previous jobs: In 1999, I took a job at Beyond Interactive, an ad agency that was opening an office in New York City. After a year, I went to Hong Kong to help with business development for both Beyond Interactive and its parent company, Grey. Then I went to São Paulo, Brazil, to head a team there.
Its origins: In 2001, Grey needed to trim costs, so the São Paulo office closed. I stayed in Brazil and launched Glispa, which manages online advertising campaigns. Our first clients were health care and pharmaceutical companies. That's where the name of the agency comes from -- Glispa is the Navajo goddess who brought medicine to the world.
Why it's growing: We only get paid if we deliver an online registration or a sale, so there's little risk on the client side. When we started, this kind of cost-per-acquisition agreement was rare. We were ahead of the curve.
How I Work
Where I get my inspiration: I always look forward to the next destination. I like working with Germans -- they're diligent and very polite -- and then turning around and working with Brazilians, who have a good sense of humor and see advertising as an art form.
What I lose sleep over: I'm always preoccupied with new ideas, but at the end of the day, I'm pretty exhausted, so I have no problem falling asleep.
The best part of my job: Being able to pick my partners, staff, and clients
The worst part of my job: The hours. When I'm in Berlin, I get up around 8:30 or 9 and finish work around midnight, when it's still only dinnertime in New York. But I won't compromise on sleep. I get a full seven hours so I can function, and I never drink coffee.