Alan: Welcome back! We have with us today on the show, Steve Cho, Steve is the founder of a custom software system here in Fremont California called ASCC.
Alan: Steve, welcomed to today’s show.
Steve: Thank you for having me.
Alan: So Steve, can you give us some of your background? Where you got, how you got to where you are today?
Steve: Well, it all started being born and raised in LA in what I call the better part, growing up, South Central if you know anything about LA.
Alan: That's the good side of the tracks
Steve: That’s the good side of the track, right. It brings back fond memories, but I’d much rather be up here. I went to school in St. Louis, Washington University for my undergrad and came back to USC for my graduate school. Received a bachelors in mathematics at Washington University and a Masters in computer science at USC. Following that, I was working for Pacific telephone at the time and after I finish my degree I made, proposed a question to them, what have you got for me?
Alan: And so, what year did you enter the, the field of going into business for yourself?
Steve: Probably by 1978.
Steve: So the computers were just starting to come into, you know, the automated systems, and “78” is really a little bit before the PC.
Steve: Way before the PCs, PC’s didn't exist back then. Most systems were being run on large mainframes and minicomputers were just starting to take hold as an alternative to having to run on the mainframe.
Alan: So, you went out and said well, I think I'll go put a computer company together. You bought yourself a minicomputer and…
Steve: Well, because my wife and I share the same background in terms of education, we decided that we were both young enough to try something on our own. She worked for IBM at the time as I said, I work for Pacific Telephone. We didn’t both leave our jobs at once, she left first while I continued to, to at least earn a living. And as it turns out, we decided to try it on our own and we were both young enough to go back into industry if we do not succeed.
Alan: What advice would you have for a person getting ready to start a business today knowing what you know and having traveled the road that you traveled.
Steve: Well, I would say that it’s not for everyone but if you have a desire to be your boss make your decisions and go where you think you may be able to make a better life, go for it! You know, that's what we thought, and we tried it and we have not looked back.
Alan: So when you started out, how did you know you were going to make money?
Steve: We didn’t, we saved up enough to survive about a year, without, if we didn’t earn a dime we could go on for about a year and within that timeframe we said we’ll give it a try and we went out, or she went out and started to make contacts with a number of companies that were in the field and as it turns out, the doors that were opened allowed us to go through and within about a year and a half, I left my job to join her.
Alan: So, you left a stable, steady income?
Steve: Yes, stable income.
Alan: Moving out to the great frontier, of owning your own business and so when you hit the, when you showed up for work the first day in your own company, how’d you feel?
Steve: Afraid, just not knowing what the future’s going to hold for us. Because we don't have the comfort now receiving a check every two weeks, insurance coverage is not to be there just the stability of knowing things are being handed to you.
Alan: What you feel is necessary to be successful in life?
Steve: I, well, I think if you go into anything you do with the, an attitude that knowing the uncertainty but you still want to give it a try and give it an honest try and work toward that goal, things will work out.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Steve Cho, he’s the founder of the company ASCC a computer software company located here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we”ll take a quick break and be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Steve Cho. He’s the founder of ASCC, a computer software company here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Steve, before the break we were talking about your transition into the career moving from the corporate world into your own business. When you got into your own business self, what you feel the turning point was in your career when you felt that you knew that you get a make it?
Steve: Well, to this day, I still feel that I haven’t made it yet, believe it or not.
Alan: Interesting, and you’ve been doing this for some, what 30?
Steve: No, see, I want to become some Bill Gates, but I know that will never happen. I think in terms of where I think, we were satisfied with how things were going
Steve: Is When my daughter was born.
Alan: What year was that?
Steve: In 81, when she was born, that was kind of the turning point because at that time, my wife Amy was with the company. And she decided that she wanted to be home more, be home with the daughter. And she started to cut back on her hours. And during the times that she was going to school, she in fact approached one of our clients we wrote the software for, and asked them if they were looking for someone to go in-house as opposed outsourcing, for outside services like ours to come in to support the system. And they said yes, they were at that time looking to go in-house and I told her, go out and tell her, tell them your, your services are available. And there was no training involve, because we wrote the system. We knew it inside out, she only wanted to work half-time and that, that's all they wanted, was a half-time person. And she made the change at that point.
Alan: Now Steve, your quite involved in the local community politics. And you have been for some time; why are you involved why do you feel that it’s important to be involved in the community?
Steve: Looking back at my childhood and the things that my parents taught me they would be very surprised what I'm doing today because their, their recommendation was don't get involved. Just keep to yourself and just make a good living have a good family and continue to save for the future and don't make waves. Well, you know, that was true back in the 50s and 60s because of the, the climate of immigrants at that point, it’s totally different today. So you're growing up with that attitude, I didn’t get very much involved during the early part of life. It wasn't until I went to college and that the world opened up for me to see what, how life in the real world was like.
Alan: So, question for you, how should individuals set priorities in life?
Steve: It comes down to getting a good education in order to establish a better foundation, for success in future. That was thing that was really drilled into us as kids. If anything else happens, you need a good education, because I grew up from a restaurant background. Working in a family run business, everything that you can imagine to be done in a restaurant, I did. I look back at that, as a good experience. It taught me a little bit more about the value of the meaning of goods and just cherishing what you do have, one thing I regret today, is not taking more advantage. Because all I could think of is getting out of that environment. But I would have liked to learn how to cook even more, In a restaurant.
Alan: I'm visiting here today with Steve Cho; Steve, it’s been wonderful having on the show today. We’ll be right back after these messages.
About Steve Cho:
Steve Cho is a native Californian. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. Steve attended Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri), where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics, and University of Southern California, where he received his Masters of Science degree in Computer Science. Today, Steve is self-