Shenzhen is a wonderful coastal city in the South of China, located directly across from Hong Kong, connected by both bridge and underwater metro train. Shenzhen is the electronics component capital of China, as well as being part of Guangdong, the province with the highest GDP in the entire country.
I was hired by a good friend of mine to come to Shenzhen and complete a web application for his new start up. I had previously worked for him at his first start up company and was excited to help build his second brand.
I left Daymon Worldwide, where I worked as a graphic designer of private label brands for the San Francisco bay area. With the blessing of my then manager, I left Daymon and traveled to Shenzhen in the south of China, to help with my friend's second start up.
The site was quickly developed in a matter of months and I could either return to the bay area, or stay in China and figure out a market there.
I stayed in China and quickly learned that the biggest emerging market for foreign talent was English language training. I taught many students and shortly after started Woodard Education, an online language academy, focused on both Chinese and Korean students in the Shenzhen area.
Woodard Education grew to teach and accomodate over 300 K-12 students and 30 post-graduate and adult students. The online model of Woodard Education allowed students to study course material online as well as ask study questions to instructors via an internal messaging system.
After collaborating with a few Chinese business students, it became apparent that an underserviced sector of students in China was post-graduate students and those who wished to switch industries or learn crucial entrepreneurial skills. Their ideas formulated into a company called Xiaozao, where I served as Sr. Web Developer for their first proof of concept, as well as first deployed production application.