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36. Calvin Chin

"I've probably lost more good, interesting ideas from not writing them down than I've ever captured," admits Calvin Chin. Good thing Qifang wasn't one of them. The Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform, which caters to students, has lowered default rates by cleverly leveraging cultural norms—requesting borrowers to provide family details, for instance, so they'll feel pressure not to shame the family name. So far, Chin's site has funded more than 3,000 loans.


Chin explains how his web service works to find sponsors for Chinese higher education students.


Some of my best ideas come to me when I'm reading. Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers—I always need something to read, even when I'm brushing my teeth.

Which creative person would you most like to meet?

Joel and Ethan Coen. I've seen every one of their movies and I love their ability to explore different genres, tell great stories, get amazing performances from their actors and have impeccable visual and artistic design. I think there's huge similarities between being an entrepreneur and being a filmmaker. I'd ask them about their biggest creative failure. I think everyone with public success has more private failures that don't get shared as often. To encourage more entrepreneurship, creativity and risk-taking (especially in China), we need more people to share the risks they took that didn't work out on their way to success.