Bamboo Ceiling? Not anymore.
At least, not for Greystripe cofounders Michael Chang and Andy Choi. Although there have been several stories about the Bamboo Ceiling and how it plagues immigrant Asians because a lack of self-promotion, now there’s a happy ending: Andy Choi and Michael Chang, founders of the mobile ad network Greystripe, have taken the helm of the digitization company YesVideo.
The pair’s new company focuses on the digitization of old videos and photos, creating what could be the throwback version of Google’s “Dear Sophie” video. This move follows a massive payout of $70 million once Greystripe had been bought out by ValueClick.
However, is the picture really this rosy?
In the corporate, non-startup world, the Bamboo Ceiling still exists. Asian Americans typically view their companies less favorably over time, and have a hard time moving up the ranks. While Choi and Chang should definitely be lauded for their self-starting attitude and vision for the future, they might also serve as a sign of the still-ailing status of the corporate world for minorities.
Would they have worked in an office, given the choice? Or did they feel pushed away by the hierarchical limitations that many Asian Americans have felt?
Both Choi and Chang started their careers in the tech sphere, with Chang at a storage networking company and Choi at a telecom OSS company. Yet, both left this to found what was to become the startup Greystripe.
Their departure from the corporate world could very well be because of a multitude of reasons. For some, it’s more enjoyable to work in a smaller environment than the hustle and bustle of an established company. For others, riding the leading edge of technology puts a smile on their faces and makes them want to go back to work day after day. Perhaps this, or a similar reason, could explain why they chose to leave.
But there still exists the possibility that, until they were in charge of their own company, they felt burdened by the Bamboo Ceiling.
Maybe the shift is a optimistic omen, showing that Asian Americans are on their way up in companies, especially startups. But I’ll be taking this with a grain of salt until there are more signs of cracks in the Ceiling.