Denter of the Week: Eric Ng

EricNgEach week from now through December, we’ll pose several short questions to a member of the Dent family and share their answers with you. This week’s featured Denter is Eric Ng, VP of Marketing for smart transportation startup Via

Say it in a sentence: Whether you’ve met your biggest goal or it’s still ahead of you, how would you like to be known for having dented the universe?
I’d hope to be known for bringing together people to solve problems, small and large.

What would I know about you after we’d worked together for a year?
When developing brand positioning or shepherding creative projects, I like to gather a lot of input and take opposing sides. The process is messy, but if I’m doing it right, the results are focused and clear.

What world-changing innovation from history do you find most interesting or inspirational?
Of course, there are too many to list. A topical one: Toilets. They’re deceptively simple as they elegantly hide the complex infrastructure needed to run them effectively at scale. India’s PM Modi recently pledged to give all Indians access to toilets (2.5b people still live without proper sanitation, including 600M in India). We’re fortunate to have them.

What quality do you appreciate most in your colleagues?
I love their commitment to solving the existential problem of traffic/congestion, while at the same time, focusing on things that are more tangible, like creating an incredible customer experience. Plus, I like that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

Who else is doing interesting, universe-denting work right now?
Here’s someone famous who I don’t think gets nearly enough credit for innovation: Stephen Colbert (and his team). Things like his creation of a Super PAC and his approach to election sponsorships really extend well past the boundaries of satire. Sad that the character won’t be moving with him when he takes Letterman’s seat.

Question from previously featured Denter, Roem Baur: When you look in the mirror, what surprises you about yourself?
I’m surprised that I feel lucky to work on tough challenges.  In the fantasies of my youth, my future self would solve issues effortlessly—but I don’t want that today.

What question would you like to ask next week’s featured Denter?
If failing is a key to success, what was one of your most substantive failures and what did you learn from it?

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Eric Ng recently joined Via as VP of Marketing. Via is an On-Demand Transit system offering rides in truly shared, premium vehicles for low flat fares. To accomplish this, Via developed an algorithm that routes vehicles more effectively than anyone ever before, and supports it with a great customer experience.

Prior to Via, Eric was VP and Head of Marketing for IMG Worldwide. There, he developed proprietary methodologies for building the brands of culturally significant events and celebrities—including work for NCAA/College Sports, Novak Djokovic, The Indian Premier League, Danica Patrick, X-Games and many others. He was also responsible for building and repositioning IMG’s own brand. In 2014, WME and Silverlake acquired IMG. Earlier in his career, Eric managed advertising accounts at TBWA\Chiat\Day and in 1995, co-founded Student.Com, a startup that was backed by AT&T and others.

Eric is currently the Chairman of ioby.org, a crowdresourcing non-profit. He is a graduate of Yale University, and occasionally writes about branding and marketing at BrandNg.com.

Dent the Future is a conference series that tackles the art and discipline of visionary leadership. The next Dent The Future conference is coming up March 22-25, 2015. Register here.