We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Zhao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Throwlights is dedicated to providing lightshow artists with the tools and platform to give their best performances to larger audiences. I first discovered lightshows by going to electronic music festivals, known as raves, in 2009. From the moment I first saw it, I knew there was huge potential in this. Lightshows are just way too cool, and the culture is just too rich. There’s no way that this is a fad. There’s something very, very real here. Lightshows are an underground, emerging art form. It’s hard to explain what it is until you’ve seen it in person, at an event. Like many underground artforms, a large proportion of the artists are people who don’t fit into society’s regular mold. I’m a prime example of that. For most of my early life I was a rebel: a smart kid with entrepreneurial ambitions, but with a huge problem with authority. By building Throwlights and our vision, we give artists just like me (and some not quite like me), the opportunity to reach larger audiences with their lightshows and to monetize their passions. Our ultimate vision is to transform these artists lives by offering them a path to success through this art/sport. We believe that lightshows will be the next global sport and we’re committed to lighting the path there!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I think building a business is never easy, but it makes it a lot better when it’s something you’re passionate about. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover something that was ground floor that I was really passionate about and had a huge vision for. I took that idea and ran with it even when everyone else said I was crazy. Building a successful business requires a lot of skills. When I was young and in school I was very rebellious and bit depressed, and I didn’t develop the skills I needed. It took me years of hard work between the ages of 20-28 to “catch up” with what I had missed. I was like a fanatic about growing myself and learning.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
San Diego is such a beautiful place with so many great things to experience, it is hard to even begin. Any stint in San Diego should include some time exploring North County and its wonderful beach communities like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Cardiff, Del Mar, etc… La Jolla to Sunset Cliffs is a must. Within the downtown area, North Park / Hillcrest, Little Italy, Gaslamp, Balboa Park, the Embarcadero, are some of my favorite spots. Don’t forget about Coronado. Of course, good food abounds in San Diego. There are great Mexican options all over. Some of my favorite Asian spots are around the Convoy Street area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom, Noelle Zhang, is the strongest and hardest working person I know. She is the first person to introduce me to entrepreneurship and the idea that there was another way. She continues to teach me lessons about discipline, compassion, and financial intelligence.