Kim has built a media legacy driven by her passion for "all things digital." Born and raised in New Jersey, her father was a successful businessman. Her mother was part of the team that developed the UNIX operating system.
Business and computer technology were a staple at home. She fondly remembers: “When my father would ask me what I did in school, if I didn’t have anything noteworthy to tell him, he would make me read an article in the Wall Street Journal and then report back to him what I learned.”
It might not have been as much fun as playing with Ken and Barbie, but it made a lasting impression on Kim.
She graduated from high school at 16 and Arizona State University when she was 20. By then, she had set up a successful business, training people to use their computers.
“I’ll never forget one of my first classes. It had about 20 people in it, and in the front row was the president of a bank and next to him was an 8-year-old. I told the class to turn on their computers, and the kid leaned over to the bank president and said, ‘It’s that switch over there…’”
That business made Kim realize just how universal the computer age had become. She began envisioning her empire, which would come in less than 10 years.
After stints at IBM and AT&T in sales, Kim joined Unisys, selling mainframe systems to big clients, including Motorola, Hughes and, in particular, Honeywell. The latter was embroiled in a lawsuit with Unisys when Kim got the account.
“It was assumed I was going to die on the vine,” she remembers. But Kim sold Honeywell a system for $12 million, cash.
It was small beginnings, but the bug had bitten her. On Jan. 1, 1992, only seven years after graduating from college, she made a big career change: dishing out advice to consumers via print and radio outlets.
When she told her folks, she said, they were convinced she was out of her mind. The column and radio show combined earned her only $60 a week.
“My dad thought I was crazy,” she adds, laughing. “He offered to help carry me through, but I had the money from the big Unisys commission check, so I said I would make it on my own.”
In the mid-1990s, as her show began to grow, she set up WestStar TalkRadio Network with Barry.
Says Kim: “In order to take a radio show national, you start with the big networks like ABC and CBS to see if it is what they want. It was 1994 and the guy at ABC told me a syndicated show with people talking about computers would never work. This was in 1994!”
Kim and Barry are focusing on their growing business and their growing son.
“I know this stuff; I just do,” says Kim. “I have worked in computers all my life. I got my degree in computer information systems, and when I was in school, I learned to think like a computer. They would say, 'If you do A and B, then C will happen,' and you can figure it out from there. You learn to think in a linear way, and I do that in my real life. So, it just all makes sense to me.”
And by the looks of her success, it makes perfect sense to the rest of America, as well.