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Rick Nguyen – Biography

Rick Nguyen is a first generation Vietnamese American who came to the United States with his parents when he was 13 year-old. He spent his high school years at Homestead High school in Cupertino- incidentally, where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak went. His favorite teacher is Mr. Larry Vosovic, who taught Rick the revolutionary Bloom’s Taxonomy. The thinking model inspired his passion for cognitive science and sparked his curiosity for machine learning/AI.

After high school Rick attended University of California, Berkeley with the goal of becoming a cognitive neuroscientist. During his studies at Cal he hypothesized that the brain doesn’t just exist on its own – that is, to understand the brain, we must study the brain, the mind, and the world around it.

After his Sophomore year, Rick decided to create his own major so he can take interesting classes from both scientific and business fields without having to take lower-level requirements. He pitched the idea to his college advisor and was accepted. Rick got to take an amazing  breadth of courses from neuroscience to probability statistics to advertising. At Cal, Rick participated in many extracurricular activities, such as Army ROTC, Toastmasters (President) , and Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity (Philanthropy Chairman, Social Chairman, President).

Rick wrote his senior thesis on Charismatic Leadership, examining how Charismatic leaders influence and manipulate the masses using both cognitive and political science framework. Case studies include Adolf Hitler, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Rick Nguyen graduated University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Interdisciplinary Science Fields (ISF).

Right after college Rick volunteered to work at Ho Chi Minh City’s department of health to inspect and analyze data to help clinics serve patients better. After 2 months of volunteering, Rick was recruited as an assistant marketing director to help a local supermarket rebrand.  He increased their profit by a large margin and was promoted to run marketing for the entire chain within 3 months. Le’s Mart is currently one of the top luxurious supermarket brands in North Vietnam.

Rick Nguyen training Le's Mart Employee on customer service

Rick Nguyen training Le’s Mart Employee on customer service

After 6 months in Vietnam Rick returned to the United States and decided to start a new adventure in America. He honed his sales skills by going door-to-door selling solar panels with Sun Run though a sales contractor, Solmentum. Feeling more confident about his new found skills, Rick set out to test himself by joining his first technology startup ever, Specialdeals. At Specialdeals, Rick learned the startup game and was promoted to sales director within a month.

Rick Nguyen representing Specialdeals at Mountain View art and wine festival

Rick Nguyen representing Specialdeals at Mountain View art and wine festival

He built a 10-person sales team that continuously exceeded quota with half the industry customer acquisition cost. Specialdeals raised $2M total in funding, but competition was fierce with Groupon and Living Social. Their massive marketing budget simply crushed smaller companies.

At Morocco's Mountain View Opening Representing Specialdeals, picture with mayor Siegel

At Morocco’s Mountain View Opening Representing Specialdeals, picture with mayor Siegel.

Undeterred, using what he learned, Rick Nguyen started his next venture – QR Pitch. Rick joined up with Christopher South, a brilliant mechanical engineering student he met at Specialdeals with the goal of revolutionizing video analytics. Rick essentially locked himself in a room, learned how to code, and pushed out a crappy prototype in 2 months. It helps QR Pitch raise its first $50k in angel funding and get the momentum started.

Rick Nguyen & Christopher South at GMIC

Rick Nguyen & Christopher South at GMIC, representing QR Pitch.

Since then, QR Pitch changed the name to Spot Trender, received additional funding, expanded the team, ran enterprise pilots with multiple companies – including rocket scientists. Spot Trender is being adopted by video marketing experts to gather and analyze viewer response , such as at the Reel Summit.

Rick currently resides in Sunnyvale, California. As Product/Insight Cofounder at Spot Trender, Rick Nguyen creates and refines enterprise solutions for professional advertisers to win hearts and minds. In his spare time Rick enjoys various projects to promote STEM education and advanced science in the United States.

…and the story continues…