It wasn’t long ago that Boxed CEO Chieh Huang was running his startup his parent’s garage. Today, his wholesale ecommerce company generates north of $100 million in annual revenue.
“I bet he won’t bring anyone with him. If he does, it will only be his publicist,” I said to my assistant, as we sat in the green room of USA TODAY’s studio overlooking Broadway in New York’s Times Square.
My assistant shot back “Are you kidding me? He runs a company valued at over half-a-billion dollars, and his net worth is somewhere close to that. He’s coming in with an entourage deeper than Wu-Tang clan!”
Less than 10 minutes later, Chieh Huang, CEO and co-founder of Boxed, arguably one of the hottest young companies in the retail delivery industry, arrived for the first taping of Uncommon Drive, an interview series at usaandmain.com where we talk to founders, creators and others whose stories can provide motivation and inspiration. Huang has built Boxed to more than $100 million in annual revenue in five years.
He walked in alone.
I jokingly asked where was his entourage. “Those are too expensive,” he replied.
That was the first in a series of lessons Huang, whose company sells bulk items that range from paper plates to sparkling water online (it has been called the digital version of Costco), would teach on the importance of being a frugal leader. I pride myself on being able to spot the traits of successful leaders after having spent nearly a decade working for billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Enver Yucel.
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