Back in 2004, with two successful tech start-ups under his belt, Lee Chen was looking for a new challenge. He decided to do something all but unheard of in the computer hardware industry: teach engineers how to excel at customer service. That simple idea led to the launch of A10 Networks, which makes and installs networking and IT security products in San Jose, California. The hardest person of all to train was Chen himself, who says he was initially more comfortable around numbers than people. But his hunch paid off. A10 Networks counts Microsoft and Subaru among its customers and does business in 10 countries.
From the September 2011 issue of Inc. magazine
NICOLE CARTER is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine. @nicoleckinc