Here's How Bill Nguyen Dealt With colour's Disastrous Debut

fake Bill Nguyen fat photo

Photo: Bill Nguyen via Facebook

colour founder Bill Nguyen was both touched and amused by all the emails of condolence he got after the company’s disastrous debut.So to mock the idea that he was in a downward spiral, he bought a fat suit — the kind that Eddie Murphy used in “The Nutty Professor” — and had somebody take a shot of him gorging on a bag of Cheetos.

Then he had one of colour’s designers Photoshop a bunch of double chins on him, and posted it to Facebook.

That’s the photo at right.

The joke of course is that Nguyen is unbelievably thin and light on his feet. He weighs about 135 pounds, according to a long profile Fast Company published today.

The profile is meant to show how Nguyen keeps getting VCs to give him big bucks, despite not having all that many big success stories — he sold Onebox to for $850 million at the peak of the dot-com boom, and Lala to Apple for $80 million a couple years ago.

But in the profile he comes across as a little bit nuts. For instance:

  • He thinks his staff eats too much fast food so he’s challenging them to weight loss game akin to “The Biggest Loser.” He doesn’t have much weight to lose, but says he’s going to “crush them.”
  • He wants to build a ski mountain in the wilderness near Lake Tahoe and then donate it to the U.S. Olympic team.
  • His real first name is Vu, but the mum of a childhood crush misheard it as “Bill” and the name stuck. “I don’t care what people call me. It’s like, whatever’s easier for people, I’m totally cool with it.”
  • After selling Lala, he got the state of Hawaii to change some laws so he could build a dream house near a wildlife preservation area in Maui. But he moved back to California six months later because his wife hated the place.
  • He admits that he makes the same mistakes again and again: “Sell too early, not patient enough, make some bad hiring choices; I make them again and again. Every time I do it, I think I’m not going to do it, but I keep trying. Maybe I’m the Don Quixote of startups.”
  • His one regret about his life so far is that he’s not yet a billionaire. But he knows he’ll get there: “There is no one in the world who I won’t outlast. There’s no way. There’s no way. There’s no way. I can take so much more punishment than anyone. I totally can. I can last forever. I’m like a roach.”

Read the whole thing here.

By the way, here’s what Nguyen really looks like. That cotton candy machine is on his desk at colour — we saw it when we toured the place last month.

Bill Nguyen eating Cotton Candy

Photo: Bill Nguyen via Facebook


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