Play Video about John Shen

Watch these special moments from the
"Crossing The Swamp" book launch held at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach on
October 6, 2023.

I have traveled an amazing journey to entrepreneurial success. I am a first-generation, award-winning business owner and have founded multiple startups that operate simultaneously. Going far beyond the usual model of being a solo or serial entrepreneur,
I share the secret to my success as a “parallel entrepreneur.

In “Crossing the Swamp”, John recounts his dramatic life story and shares his perspectives on success for entrepreneurs and startups of all types, with special advice for first-generation immigrants across the US. He focuses especially on the advantages of being a parallel entrepreneur—benefits that solo and serial entrepreneurs lose out on. The book also details the eight personal and business qualities that entrepreneurs must develop in order to achieve their highest goals and dreams.

John has a strong passion to support grassroots small businesses, especially minority and women-owned micro-businesses. He is a co-founder of the Long Beach Accelerator™ and his company, Sunstone Management, funds numerous pitch competitions and demo days to reward innovative startups. Given John’s experience, this is the right book to read if you are seeking to be inspired and learn some fresh insights for your entrepreneurial journey.

My goal in sharing my life story and my advice is to support the growing interest in entrepreneurship in the US. The need to solve thousands of problems in the world requires innovation—and that is the work of the rising number of entrepreneurs, whom I seek to support.

About the Author​

JOHN SHEN (né Zhong Shen) is the founder and Chairman of the Board of four currently operating companies headquartered in Irvine, CA. He is a visionary thinker about innovation and being an entrepreneur. He has coined the term “parallel entrepreneur,” referring to entrepreneurs who, like himself, choose to launch and operate multiple companies simultaneously. John grew up in China and earned his undergraduate degree from Peking University Law School in 1992.

He emigrated to the US in 1993 as a foreign student and earned a master’s degree in Statistics and Decision Sciences from Duke University in 1996. He changed his name to John Z. Shen when he became a US citizen in 2009. His wife, Stella Zhang, is his business partner. John has two sons, Ryan Shen and Leo Shen.

A visionary leader sees through the fads and buzzwords of the moment to decipher the real trends.

Wherever you are, there is something better out there, a new destination to reach. It’s a craving to start a “real” company with some (or a lot of ) employees, creating a well-known brand, building a respected reputation, and leaving a lasting mark during your time on Earth.

Entrepreneur Statistics

Consider these interesting statistics about entrepreneurship worldwide.

  • It is estimated that in 2022, 33 million Americans were starting or already running their own businesses, up from 25 million in 2016. This comes out to about 16% of the US workforce.
  • In 2021, more than 5.4 million new businesses were registered, up from 4.3 million in 2020, an increase of 23%.
  • The entrepreneurship failure has never been lower; only 20% of new businesses close after one year, though 50% fail within five years.
  • There are an estimated 582 million entrepreneurs in the world.
  • Entrepreneurs in the US tend to be between the ages of 25 and 44, motivated by their desire to pursue a passion, exit a corporate job, and capitalize on new opportunities.
  • 70% of entrepreneurs have gone to college, but 30% have not.
  • 55% of adults in the US have started at least one business in their lifetime.
  • 26% of adults in the US have started two or more businesses in their lifetime.
  • The average entrepreneur in the US starts their first business when they are 42, but that age varies by industry. In the software industry, the average age is 40. In the oil and gas industry, it’s closer to 47.
  • It’s never too late to start a business:
  • 13% of Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 started new businesses in 2019.
  • Similarly, 13% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 started new businesses in 2019.
  • 6% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 started new businesses in 2019.


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