Today we’d like to introduce you to Hamilton Chan.
Hamilton, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I always start off my personal story by pointing out that I am a native Angeleno. Somehow, the fact that I was born and raised in LA – and that I am a fan of LA in every way – is the first step in explaining to the world who I am.
I grew up in Hollywood, the son of an entrepreneur. My family business was called Charlie Chan Printing, and I helped out there since I was five years old. At one point in the 1980s, I believe there were more Charlie Chan Printing locations (14) than there were Kinko’s stores in LA proper.
I ended up going to Harvard High School, then Harvard College and finally Harvard Law School. Between Harvard College and Harvard Law, I worked at JP Morgan in Hong Kong and New York as an investment banker. The hours were as outrageous as was the pay and the lifestyle. After law school, I worked at the LA law firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson, where I did corporate transactional work for clients like Universal Music Group and Berkshire Hathaway, as well as for individuals like Kobe Bryant. I then worked at MGM before deciding to take a big personal risk by taking over my family’s business, Charlie Chan Printing.
I ended up running the printing company for 16 years, and I ran a tech startup during 8 of those years as well. The tech startup was incubated by Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, significantly opening up my business network. I was fortunate to have a solid exit from my businesses and transitioned into executive coaching. I’ve now coached more than 200 tech company founders, I’ve coached at Netflix, and I’ve coached doctors, lawyers, and professors.
Speaking of professors, I am now a Visiting Professor of Business & Technology at Loyola Law School, where I head and run their executive education program. This role is the perfect blend of my entrepreneurial spirit, my academic background, and my passion to try to give back and enrich the business community.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My path has been anything but a smooth road. Ditching the gilded blanket of Harvard and blue-chip corporations was a bigger move than I initially appreciated. I went from having a sure thing to taking nothing for granted.
The good news is that I felt fulfilled by the personal challenge of rescuing my family business and by becoming a tech entrepreneur. Running my family’s printing company for 16 years was the hardest job I’ve ever had.
There have been many times when I have wondered about the path I left behind, but I’ve always known in my heart that the path I did choose was never even a choice. Our internal compass is a much more obstinate master than we give it credit for.
Today, I find myself reinventing the wheel all over again. By creating the new executive education program for Loyola Law School, I am eschewing the tried-and-true in favor of the exciting and the daunting. Trying to create an innovative tech platform in a 100-year-old institution requires much diplomacy and the cooperation of others. It has been a labor of love, building the LLX platform, and I hope students will be drawn by the incredible passion we have put into our creation.
LLX – Loyola Law School Executive Education – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
LLX is Loyola Law School’s new executive education program. Our mission is to extend the reach of legal education so that everyone – even those with no intention of practicing as a lawyer – can learn the law.
We provide courses online (through our home-built state-of-the-art web platform), on campus and on-site (at company locations).
We have already launched our first course, a 6-week fully-online course on Negotiations. I am teaching this first course, and it dives into the framework for principled negotiations and hard bargaining skills I have picked up in 16 years of being a businessman.
I am really proud of the love we have poured into creating our web platform (which I partly coded myself) and the video production in our first course on negotiations (which I scripted and partly edited myself as well).
We encourage the LA community to check out Loyola Law School’s executive education program and learn subjects like Contracts, What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Lawsuit, Cryptocurrency Law and other new classes that are coming online or on campus soon.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
This is a tough one. I’d like to think that I define success as crafting a lifestyle that you want to live. This answer presupposes that success will mean different things to different people. But it also provides enough of a standard, I think, where people can judge for themselves whether they’re on the right track.
Personally, I find success in the fact that I have lots of time to spend with my family, that I get to enjoy my recreational hobbies (golf and tennis), and that I have meaningful work. A few creature comforts go a long way too. Even so, the human condition is to always want more, so there’s always a balance between contentment and striving for growth.
- $950 for the LLX online course Negotiating for Success
- Address: 919 Albany Street, LA, CA 90015
- Website: https://llx.lls.edu
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/LLXexed/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LLXexed/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LLXexed
- Other: https://llx.lls.edu/online/negotiating-for-success-2