Saturday, June 29, 2013

Questionable Fact: Inc. Magazine's Interest in Fu Ping and Geomagic

The Original Story:
On Pages 223-224 of Bend, Not Break, Fu Ping describes how, in 2005, Inc. magazine discovered her and made her their Entrepreneur of the Year:
Around that time, John Brant, a reporter from Inc. magazine, flew to North Carolina to interview me for a half-page story on my journey as an entrepreneur. What happened next was a complete surprise. When John asked me to talk about my life, the combination of the way he asked, how safe he made me feel, and my wide-open state of mind inspired me to share the story with him. We talked for hours. I told him details about being taken away form my family, fending for myself and Hong, and I even shared with him about being gang-raped. John reminded me of Uncle W. He was a brilliant audience -- caring, engaging, empathetic, and non-judgmental. 
At the end of the interview, John said, "Ping, I'd like to come back and talk to you again tomorrow. Would that be okay?" I agreed. 
John Brant stayed for three days, further interviewing me and speaking with others in the company. About a week later, Inc. sent a photographer to shoot pictures of me. When he appeared at my office door, he had the magazine's editor in chief, John Koten, in tow.
The Debunking:
John Brant is probably brilliant in his own right but Fu Ping did not tell the whole story of this encounter, which was not as lovely and innocent as she described above.

Months before that visit, Geomagic had hired Savvy Marketing Group to help them raise the company's profile. Among the many services Savvy rendered for Geomagic is the following item:
Savvy was also hired to train key staff on media interaction in anticipation of a writer coming to shadow the company for a week. The CEO and her team did a superb job to land not only an extensive and poignant cover story, but also Fu being named Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
Unless Savvy was taking credit undue to them, we can conclude that Fu Ping's heart-to-heart conversation with John Brant was not as spontaneous as she would like us to believe, but a well planed business engagement. It also appears that John Brant had originally scheduled for a week-long session, contradicting what Fu Ping wrote in her book.

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