Alex Su // Ep 42 // Making the Transition From Big Law to Legal Tech
Welcome to Episode 42 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Alex Su on this week's episode.
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Alex Su is the Director of Business Development at Evisort, a Series A enterprise legal technology company backed by Microsoft. Before his technology career, Alex was a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, and was the first law clerk hired by the Honorable Edmond E. Chang, the first Asian American federal judge in Chicago. Alex graduated from Northwestern Law in 2010, where he served on the law review and was elected by his classmates to be the student commencement speaker. He’s also a 2005 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he was the President of the Taiwanese Students Association and a charter member of Lambda Phi Epsilon, a national Asian-interest fraternity.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today. We have a very special guest with us. His name is Alex. Sue Alex is the director of business development at Eversource, a series eight enterprise legal technology company backed by Microsoft. Before this technology career, Alex was a lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell. One of the world’s most prestigious law firms and was the first law clerk hired by the honorable Edmond eating the first Asian American federal judge in Chicago. Alex graduated from Northwestern law in 2010. Where he served on the law review and it was elected by his classmates to be the student commencement speaker. He’s also a 2005 graduate of Carnegie Mellon university, where he was the president of the Taiwanese students association and a charter member of Lambda Phi Epsilon in national Asian interest fraternity. Alex, welcome to the show.
Alex: (00:01:14) Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Bryan: (00:01:17) We’re super excited to have you on Alex. Let’s get started real quick. Let’s dive deep into your childhood and how get into it influenced you to become the person that you are today.
Alex: (00:01:25) Yeah, for sure. So my parents are immigrants. I’m from Taiwan. And when I was growing up, they were small business owners. Um, my dad was a doctor and he opened his own practice in Queens, New York. And, you know, initially as I was growing up, there were some, you know, influence where they wanted me to get a graduate degree, have a stable job. Um, I think my mom really wanted me to be a doctor. Uh, but, but that wasn’t in the cards for me because I just didn’t want to be a doctor. I had a lot of interests, but medicine was not one of them.And, uh, so as I grew up, I had to, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And, um, my parents said, okay, we’ll support you in whatever you choose to do. As long as you don’t go off and be a lawyer, which is exactly what I ended up doing. I went to law school, right. And the reason why they didn’t want me to be a lawyer is because they had such bad experiences with the legal system. You know, there was a frivolous lawsuit here and. You know, there was just, you know, I don’t know if you know, but doctors generally, um, are not big fans of lawyers, especially those who go after them for medical malpractice. So, um, my way of rebelling was to go to law school, which is probably unusual, but, um, yeah, went off to, you know, went off to college. Um, did a lot of really interesting, they had a great experience in college, but, um, I chose law because I really admired people who could. Uh, be very articulate, uh, could speak up for themselves and, you know, maybe it was the movies that I watched, but, uh, I ended up deciding to go to law school and, uh, went to law school and became a practicing attorney, which, uh, which was an interesting experience there. It was a rollercoaster. I didn’t really enjoy it. Um, it was a lot of ups and downs, but uh, eventually found my way to the legal tech world, which is where I am now. And where I work for Jerry ting, our co-founder and CEO at Eversource, who I know has been on the show before.
Bryan: (00:03:18) Yeah. Well, awesome for you to share your childhood. And we love it out of curiosity, you know, we watch a lot of your checkbook episodes on tech talk, huge fans, by the way, you guys should start Alex out. Um, so did you imagine yourself to be where you are today? 10 years ago. And how has that changed throughout the years?
Alex: (00:03:33) I never imagined it. Um, I always thought when I went to law school that I would become a serious lawyer because that’s what the successful lawyers in my field look like. Right. They they’re very buttoned up. They’re very serious. And, uh, they, they all kind of act and talk a certain way. I knew it wasn’t in my personality, but I thought, well, this is what you do when you grow up. And maybe I should take it back a little bit because when I was in college, I, I did a lot of things in college that not for professional reasons, but because I enjoyed them and a lot of them related to content creation. So I had this thing called the Zynga. I don’t know if you all familiar with my favorites is your listeners. We have a little younger. Yeah. Yeah. And there’s a lot of things in the past that, that I’ll probably bring up. I’m 37. So I’ve seen a couple of things, but Zynga back in, when I was in college, I was in college from 2001 to 2005. Uh, it was a, it was a content platform to let people blog and share their thoughts. So this is very early days before Facebook and Zynga was my way of. Kind of getting myself into the world because I got Zynga my freshman year of college and I use it as a way to create content for fun, but also to kind of build my personal brand. Um, I was very interested in becoming popular, uh, wanted to throw house parties and did all this fun stuff. But, um, Zang was a great way for me to connect with people. And so I was constantly producing original content on Zynga. Um, and again, this was like 15, 20 years ago. Uh, very early days. Uh, and so I knew I had this knack right, for creating content because like I would write, I would write up posts and they would just go viral among the community at my college. And so I always had a, had a talent for that and it was thought it was a toy. It was kind of like a fun thing you do. That’s not related to your professional life, but as I’ll tie it back later, but it’s, it’s, it’s become very relevant to my life right now, my professional life. But I did that. And then I did Facebook. Right. Facebook came up with notes. You were able to build your own profile and share your thoughts and write. Funny comments and things like that. And I, I think a lot of your, you know, your listeners are probably going to, maybe some of them will be familiar with, with Facebook, uh, Facebook’s content platform called notes. And then over the years, I just always created blogs. I, uh, I just created a lot of content over the last, uh, you know, 10 years, 15 years because it was my hobby. I really enjoy doing it. I thought I was good at it. And it just, people encouraged me. So, so that was me until about, I would say a few years ago, I started putting out original content on LinkedIn. Um, which as, you know, as, as many of your listeners know, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform where people are kind of talk about work and serious things. And so I started to, uh, during COVID I started to branch off into new ideas. I started off by posting pretty typical posts. Then I started talking about my career stories and my career journey moving from being a lawyer to moving into the tech world, doing sales. And then I started making these videos. Poking fun at lawyers because I sold to lawyers. I marketed to lawyers. I’m a lawyer. I made these videos that that would be funny to lawyers because they made fun of them. And then somebody said to me, Hey, you should try out this thing called TOK because you can actually make the videos more easily. So I was like, Oh, I’ll try it out. Um, and so I posted a few videos on there and my fourth video went massively viral. Uh, it was a video about, uh, interaction between a paralegal and a first-year associate and a first year associate, uh, first year lawyer, not really respecting the paralegal. Um, I guess a lot of paralegals liked it. A lot of lawyers liked it. They thought it was funny, it went viral. And so this, this Tik TOK account I had that had no followers, uh, I picked up about 8,000 followers almost overnight. And the, the, the video ended up. Being viewed by 2 million people, which is more viral than anything I’ve ever done before. So this is my long winded story and explanation for why, how I got on Tik TOK. And, you know, today I make tech talks and I shared them obviously on the platform, but I also download them and share them on LinkedIn. What do they become a very important part of my, uh, personal marketing. Uh, and, and, and, and marketing and branding for my, for my company, uh, Eversource, um, because it’s a really good way to get in front of our potential buyers. People who want to buy the technology that we make, it’s a great way to market. Um, but, but this hobby has become part of my job.
Bryan: (00:08:08) Yeah. So that’s awesome to hear. All right, sorry, go ahead. I do want to talk a little bit more that you touched upon, you know, the importance of having a personal brand. And I think that nowadays, especially. Anything that you decide to do your personal brand will carry a lot of weight. And I think that little did, you know, like 15 years ago, like what you’re doing, it’s like there’s books written on personal branding right now. It’s so important. And for our listeners who are listening, like, you know, when you start each company or when you’ve worked at various companies, you should always. Find time to focus on what makes you, you, you like what makes you unique and what your personal brand is, you know, cause that personal brand that you have under your name and your face and your voice and your uniqueness, and no one can ever take that away from you. You know? And I just want to touch upon that real quick.
Maggie: (00:08:56) Yeah, that’s amazing. Alex. I just wanted to touch on. Oh. And also for our listeners, you can find Alex on Tik TOK, his handle is legal tech bro. And he has almost 26,000 followers, which is amazing. And you know, we know that you started off on LinkedIn and you were posting content on LinkedIn and then transitioned into tick-tock. You’re still doing LinkedIn. Um, and I was listening to other podcasts with you as well. And you mentioned that you like doing controversial videos, which is most likely the reason why they blow up. So big. Right. And so do you ever feel like you can post more content on tech talk that are controversial, that you can’t post on LinkedIn?
Alex: (00:09:34) 100% Maggie? Like that is what I like about Tik TOK is that you can try a lot of things. And the secret to the content game is you want it to be authentic and you want to also try posts. Seeing as many things as possible because you don’t really know what’s going to resonate with people until you put it out there. And so I’ve put out some stuff on Tik TOK that I would die if it went up on my LinkedIn. Right. But, but, but it’s fun and it’s an exploration and it’s, I think it’s skill-building um, and to, to Brian’s point, this is super important for your brand building because you’re not trying to brag. You’re not short brand building is not about bragging. It’s about showing, showcasing your unique personality. That that many of us, you know, young, Asian, American professionals, we’ve been taught that you gotta hide it. You gotta control it. You gotta be neutral. You gotta be professional. But, but these things that make us very weird and quirky, um, a lot of people can love it, like if they resonate with it. And so by, by being a little weird, by being a little aggressive in what I post on Tik TOK, it’s brought me closer to so many people. Um, which by the way, has led to, um, more leads and more revenue closed for my day job. But certainly it’s not the only reason why it’s not the main reason why I do it. I do it because I enjoy doing it. I think it’s fun to go and Tik TOK and basically make fun of all of the old serious partners that I used to work for. Um, that’s what I do it for. And I think a lot of people can relate to that.
Maggie: (00:10:58) Yeah. Yeah. That’s really, I think one thing to point out to you, you know, when you were in. In a big law, I’m sure you had to do a lot of cold calls. Right. But now, now that you’re transitioning into legal tech and you’re getting into LinkedIn and take talk and everything like that, people are actually coming to you now. Right. So it’s like personal branding is so big and it’s so powerful.
Bryan: (00:11:16) Yeah. Yeah. Out of curiosity too, like, have you always been really comfortable putting yourself out there? Cause when we talked to other Asian Americans or even like in the Asian Australian or Canadian people out there, there’s always a sense of. Of like, I don’t know if I should put myself out there. I don’t want to be so visible. Um, how do you overcome these, these mental blocks for yourself?
Alex: (00:11:34) I wasn’t always comfortable with it. Um, that’s why for the most part, those early days when I was on Zynga and Facebook, these were, these were, um, platforms where I put myself out to only my friends. Yeah. I was okay with that. I think that I’ve always been okay with, but to put it out into the world, it was always very scary to me. And I have a few thoughts on that. And I think part of it is because of what you’re told to be a professional, you have to be kind of vanilla. You have to have a bland personality. And so I think a lot of people are scared, not just for themselves, but for what that would do to their job or their job, you know, what their bosses would think. And so there’s a lot of things in there that, that come into play. So what I found is that. There are certain types of jobs and there are certain types of industries and certain types of roles that are more, that more enable you to put yourself out there. Tech, um, smaller companies. Those are, that that type of place is going to always be more encouraging of you putting yourself out there. Because, um, these, you know, uh, early stage startup company, it’s trying to get its name out and it’ll be accepted. It’ll accept any way that that’s done. Whereas if you work for IBM and Brian, I know you worked for IBM. I worked for IBM. We know how it is there. That is not what they’re into. They’re not trying to, they’re not trying to get their name out. Everyone knows who they are. So as you get older and you’re in your, in your career, as you kind of progress, you want to figure out well, okay. Is personal branding going to be a big part of my game about, of my career growth. If it is, you want to seek out those industries or those, uh, job types or, or companies that are going to be supportive of that. And I’ll tell you, um, Jerry ting that our CEO at Eversource, we’ve talked about this. He is super a hundred percent behind my efforts to do this. Whereas, you know, I’ve, I’ve, you know, if you can think of like working at a law firm, they’re always gonna be like, Hey, you should probably not do so much social media. So it’s a very different field. So I would say that that’s given me a lot of, uh, confidence to put stuff out.
Maggie: (00:13:41) That’s amazing. And so since posting all these tactile videos and you know, the first time that we saw your video on Tik TOK, we actually scrolled past your video and. You were talking about legal tech and the first thing I thought it was, I was ever sort of frozen. Yeah, because you said AI contract management software. The first thing I thought about was I was sore in Jerry and I was like, maybe he works at Eversource and I saw your shirt that said episode. I was like, aha. He does. So I think that’s amazing. And you know, since posting on Tik, talk to you feel like more people have found out about episode and your company?
Alex: (00:14:17) Absolutely. Um, I’ll, I’ll say that, um, I’ve been on Tik talk for about two months now, and I’m still curious about who’s out there. A lot of people ask me questions about episodes, about legal tech. I do think that that, that demographic on Tik TOK is a little bit younger, but it’s changing rapidly these days. There’s a lot of executives, uh, Chief of legal law firm partners. We want to get in front of, um, but social media, generally the exciting part about social media. And obviously it’s a mixed bag because sometimes you can get too addicted to social media, especially if you’re a content consumer, it can be very addicting, but if you’re a producer, it’s incredible because you get such great outreach. Um, so, so I put up a video, right? Um, Yesterday. I spent some time just kind of throwing together, slapping to their video. And by this morning, a hundred thousand people have viewed it. There’s very few places where you can get that kind of reach. And even if 99% of the people out there are not people you want to get in touch with who you don’t really care to introduce your product to that still leaves 1%. At 1% of a hundred thousand is a thousand people. And I can’t imagine how I would get in front of a thousand people today. If you didn’t give me social media, what am I gonna to make a thousand phone calls like that? It’s going to be very hard. And so to answer your question, it’s, it’s really been, uh, helpful to, to get the word out about Eversource, about what we do here. And also, I would say LinkedIn as well, because LinkedIn is a little bit different in TechTalk in that the reach is a little bit lower, but yeah. The people on, on, on LinkedIn are you can see their job titles and you can see, I have a lot of connections who are heads of legal, general councils, chief legal officers, like, you know, that it’s an executive audience.And so that’s why you got to control. And ModuLite your content, depending on which audience, uh, you’re, you’re trying to target.
Bryan: (00:16:04) Definitely. And to elaborate more on, you know, a Ted talk. I mean, you know, a lot of people are like all tech talks just for kids. Like how can you generate leads from that? Can you talk about how you, how you built your sales funnel through tech talk? Because I think that’s super valuable for a lot of us to hear.
Alex: (00:16:19) Yeah. I have a unique approach that may change by the time this podcast is published, but I’ll tell you I’ll share it right now just because I think it can be helpful for so many people. Uh, as Maggie alluded to earlier in my tick talk. Is my lab. It’s the place where I experiment and try weird things. And I wait and I see what kind of reaction people will have. And, and, and it’s not just view counts and comments and likes. Um, I also have a link in my tech talk that asks people to fill out a Google form to introduce themselves so I can understand who’s watching. And I found I’ve been very surprised and that, that a lot of the people who watch are. Older professionals. They’re not kids now. Occasionally I think when a post goes viral, that’s more kind of a general topic. Maybe it’s a younger group that comes in and I’ve detected some patterns with who comes and watches my stuff. But when I do the legal focused tech talks, the view counts are lower, but the quality of the people are higher because they work for law firms. They work for legal departments, they’re in legal tech. And so I think that. Over the last six to 12 months, we’ve seen a change, right? Of people on Tik TOK, I think a year ago, it was a lot of younger people using it for fun. I’ve seen a lot of lawyers now go and take, talk to do marketing. I’ve seen other B2B companies be on Tik TOK and I’ve witnessed, um, leads come in. Like, so I, about a couple of weeks ago, I had a sales call where I spoke with, um, A gentleman who was the director of operations at a company, and I was introduced to him. And then he said, I’m really glad you’re on this call, Alex. And I’m like, first of all, no one’s ever, no one ever says that. They’re really glad to see a sales person on the call. So I was like, you have my attention now. Right. Uh, and then second, he was like, he talked like he knew me. And I was like, how do you like, do we know each other? And he said, I saw that tick talk that you put up on LinkedIn. So it was, it was one that succeeded on Tik, Tik TOK that I put on LinkedIn. He’s like, I saw that tick talk and I was like, well, we’re looking for a, contract’s a technology solution. So I figured we should set up a demo with your company. And it just so happened that it got to me, but these are the paths, right. Um, um, content is a way to provide a magnet for buyers to reach you instead of you, uh, what we’ll call, push marketing, you know, where you kind of. Try to go out there and push your message on the people it’s pull. And while pulling can be challenging because you don’t have a predictable system for figuring out leads. It’s amazing because the reach is high. It works while you sleep. Like when I’m sleeping, it’s still being brought out, uh, the, the content and it also allows buyers a better experience because they will reach out to you. When the time is right for them, not when the time is right for you as a salesperson. So, so there is a funnel, but I would also see it as not a funnel, but also a journey like the buyer’s journey, right. A buyer is trying to be entertained, be educated. And when they see this content, they start. They know you now, and they will reach out to you when the time is. Right. So, so it’s been a learning experience for me. That’s how the funnel works. And I layer this on from my, you know, just to kind of tie it back to my day job. I still do cold calls. I still do cold emails. I still do the traditional ways of reaching out to people. But this is just a, uh, kind of, uh, uh, uh, secret sauce, a kind of magic pill to get even more leads in. Um, that can be helpful.
Bryan: (00:19:44) Awesome. That’s amazing. Wow.
Maggie: (00:19:46) Yeah. And so we know that you went into legal space after a traditional private right. From, we have a lot of people in and who are in law or trying to get into legal tech. And Brian always talks about, you know, he has a lot of lawyer, friends who don’t want to be in big law anymore. They want to try and transition. They want to transition into a non-legal career. And that’s exactly what you did. Can you talk a little bit about what that transition process was like for you? And when was that point in time where you were like, okay, I think I’m done with big law. I want to transition into like a non-legal career.
Bryan: (00:20:18) I do want to touch on the emotional side as well. What were you feeling emotionally at the time that led to this decision? Because you know, originally you were living in New York with your wife and you decided to uproot everything. It’s boots, San Francisco, you know, what is that emotional drive that propelled you to take so much actions decently about it?
Bryan: (00:20:36) Yeah. Uh, I’m not surprised to hear that a lot of lawyers are unhappy with their jobs. Uh, I was as well, a lot of lawyers are, um, and you know, it was really a journey for me because, so I went to law school. Well, I wanted to be a lawyer primarily based on what I saw on TV and what, I didn’t know any lawyers, you know, I came from an immigrant family. We didn’t know any lawyers. I thought that being a lawyer was something entirely different than it. What it ended up being. But I was successful at it. And I made my way into a structured environment where I just hated my job, like a big law firm where I hated my job. And so to, to kind of, um, for me to, um, get over that, I started working on volunteer projects. I did things on the side, right. Um, I started volunteering for local campaigns because I love politics and I wanted to support Asian-Americans who were really coming up at the time in New York. In the political scene. Uh, there was a guy named Kevin Kim. He’s a, uh, he ran city council. Uh, he was a lawyer like me, very similar background. Uh, I think it was Korean American guy. Um, there was also grace Mang who, um, is now, uh, the first, I think Asian-American Congresswoman from New York. Um, she’s, she’s been in office for a while, so I volunteered with those campaigns. And I remember the first time I walked into grace Mangs, uh, campaign office. I thought, well, Here I am a lawyer. I’m going to do something very, um, brainy, something intellectual. I’m gonna write a paper or do policy. And I remember her campaign manager was like, look, Alex, we’re glad for your help, but we don’t need help with that. We need somebody, we need somebody to do field operations. I’m like, okay. Field operation. That sounds cool. What’s that? And they’re like, we need somebody to knock on doors and make calls. And I was like, all right, well, not exactly what I wanted to do and what I signed up for. But I’ll. I’ll do it right? Cause, cause this is, I feel passionate about it. So I, I did that job and, and by the way, I’d done cold calling jobs before, um, in college I did the alumni fundraising job. Um, I have, yeah, I don’t know if you guys had that experience, but it’s uh, Yeah, it’s it’s, it’s a good, it’s a good experience. I’ll just say that, right, because you learn how to take rejection. And then my buddy, um, uh, one of my best friends from high school, uh, ran a mortgage company and I, I tried working for him one summer just, just to see what it was like. And I just cold called tried to sell mortgages, but. I didn’t like that. I couldn’t do it. So I was a little bit nervous, but I found that when I worked for, um, someone who I believed in a cause I believed in, I was exceptional at cold calling and door knocking. Like I was able to just really, really get aggressive and, and make a lot of calls. So. This was probably around the time I was a junior lawyer. I was volunteering on political campaigns on the side, and I knew that I was good at calling. And I, uh, I knew that I, I had this, um, ability to persuade people because I look back on my career and all of the, all of the times, all of the big opportunities I received the firm, I worked at the judge I clerked for, um, you know, I was the commencement speaker at graduation. I have this ability to, to reach out to people and persuade them to do things. Um, it’s a kind of, uh, uh, the reason why I wanted to be a trial lawyer. It’s also the reason why I’m a salesperson today. But, but I think the advice is really to try something different because those side projects, those volunteer opportunities, we’ll teach you a lot about what you’re talented at.Right. And when you find something you’re talented at, make the move [00:24:00] with that information, and don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, but I think here’s where it got really challenging, right? Because I knew this, I had this talent and when I joined the legal tech scene, I didn’t join it as a VP. I didn’t join it as a director. I joined in as an entry level salesperson at the age of 33, six years out of law school where I was very successful. And they were like, okay, why don’t you take this phone and just make hundreds of calls? Like, this is what we want you to do. And I’m like, do you know who I am? Like. Yeah, maybe it depends lawyer. Right. And I was, I was, you know, my managers were younger. They were, and they all, you know, they all fit a certain mold in tech sales. You know, you typically have these sales bros. And I felt like I, I didn’t really fit in. I was really smart, but all these people were like higher than me on the, uh, on the company. And I was like, did I really go to law school and work that hard? So I could just make cold calls, like, how do I. How do I explain this to my parents? How do I explain this to my wife? How do I explain this to my friends? And my friends pulled me aside and they said, Hey, Alex, look. Sales is hard. If this doesn’t work out, like don’t blame yourself. Like they were, they were, they were trying to warn me that, that, that sales is actually very difficult, especially for just anybody. But I was here. I was like, uh, uh, in my, uh, in my, in my early thirties, starting over against these, you know, what had been the past, been successful salespeople. They were these young guys who play college sports. They’re all white men. And, you know, all up the org chart, the VPs of sales, like they’re all, that’s what they all look like. And so I really, you know, I had some, a little bit of self doubt. Um, I think it was helpful that I had a lot of experiences dealing with setbacks and, um, um, overcoming setbacks, but it was hard. Um, and it was hard, not just because the job was hard, but it was hard to explain to people. Uh, my very well-meaning family and friends who are like, Alex, what do you, what are you doing? Like, why are you starting? Why are you starting over like this? So that’s kind of, that was me in the beginning of legal tech. And, uh, I ended up doing really well because I, I pick the job that was based on my strengths, not based on what was prestigious, what my family wanted me to do, what other people wanted me to do. I did what I enjoyed and what I thought was good at. And, and it led to a lot of success. To the point where now people ask me, like, how do I get myself into your position? And it’s hard, right? Because I don’t have a formula, but I can, all I can say is that if, if you don’t, if you know what you’re good at and what your talents are, just move in that direction. Even if it means you have to start over. So that’s the advice I would give. Um, I, I, a lot of people ask me about it. I have no prescribed formula for you. All I can say is figuring out what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. Go where your strengths are valued and your weaknesses don’t matter. And don’t be afraid to start from the bottom because you’ll grow very fast
Maggie: (00:26:44) Huh? I love that so much. That’s really good advice. And I think that a lot of people get turned off. If they have to like start from the bottom again and you know, they probably have the same perspective as you do. Like, do you know who I am? Like, you’re asking. They need to do this kind of job when I already have so much experience, but you really just have to take a step back and, you know, really trust the process. And that’s exactly what you did.
Bryan: (00:27:04) I, I feel, I feel you in that me, I have to start it over myself. That’s, that’s not the best feeling, but it’s also the greatest healing because the greatest joy that I can ever do is. Being a student again, and being passionate about this new path. You’re, you’re embarking, you know, because when people look to our lives to look at, and in very short term, it’s like, how’s my life looking in the next three to five years. When you look at your life holistically. No, honestly, if we continue working, we can go past 65, 70 to 80, you know, that means 40, 50 more years to make an impact. So why are you threatening over a couple of years? No. That’s like in a, in a long scheme of things, it’s so insignificant, you know, your happiness and your mental health, it’s more important than ever.
Maggie: (00:27:53) Yeah. I think a lot of people will stick with a timeline for their life and they feel like they have to like, absolutely stick to it. And if it goes off track, like nothing’s gonna work out, but yeah, you have to think holistically. And I know you mentioned, like you don’t have one specific formula of like how you got to the position where you are at now, but I do have a question about like the demographic, you know, when you were first starting out in sales and you were surrounded by all these, you know, white men who are already very experienced in sales, can you. Explain, you know, if you have any advice on how Asians can work towards getting promoted to higher positions and taught management roles.
Bryan: (00:28:30) Yeah. Cause that is one of our core values of Asian health network is we want more Asians, a higher investment corporate ladders. There seems to be a bamboo ceiling that whether we like or not has always been there and will continue being there till we hear from people like yourselves, trying to break through.
Alex: (00:28:47) Yeah. I, uh, I’ve experienced it. Um, obviously being in law and in sales, these are positions that, you know, typically a lot of white men are in higher positions. And the advice I would give is there’s a few, there’s a few pieces, right? I think there’s a couple of themes. The first is the culture of the organization. I have found that smaller companies are less political because. If you can’t produce and they promote people who don’t produce people, presumably who, who seem to be very good in boardrooms, but can’t produce results. Um, that company is going to die. And so I think smaller entrepreneurial organizations provide more of an opportunity for you to get promoted. My first legal tech job, I was promoted probably twice every year. Um, in the three years I was there. It was very, very fast moving. Um, and, and it’s because had they not done that and I left, then they just lose. The value of me as a, as a very strong producer and the company might be hurt. Right? So I think a smaller company and having a good culture, good organization culture. It’s not just about, you know, what leadership looks like. Although it does matter, right? If the execs all are white men, there’s a like high likelihood that, um, that’s not the culture that can enable you to succeed. Um, you want to look at the leadership and the culture. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is I’ve always been a fan of being in a role that’s connected to revenue. Um, being connected to revenue gives you a lot of opportunities. So I think a lot of, for example, a lot of Asian Americans I’ve noticed, um, want to take more of a support role or a service role. Thinking that, you know, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with being connected to revenue like quotas or having to close deals, the pressures of sales. But there’s another pressure, right? If you, if you provide a service and you’re not connected to revenue, your life will always be challenging. I’ll tell you in tech companies, The salespeople always have a better work-life balance and make more money than the people providing customer support. It’s just the way it works, because connecting connected to revenue means you’re connected to one of the highest goals, maybe the highest goal of a company. And so it does come with pressures. It does come with some downsides, but I think, you know, if, if you are, you’re able to do that. If you’re able to take that pressure, you’re going to find yourself being promoted much more quickly. Your income will grow much more quickly than if you take on, um, kind of like a support role. So, so I would say my, my, my, yeah, my, my second piece of advice is make sure that you’re, you stay connected to revenue. And then the third, um, and this is one where so-so the first two. I think I’ve done a reasonably good job at the third is where I’ve, I’ve had more challenges and it’s a growth area for me is to find, uh, an internal sponsor or mentor who will basically place a bet on you to move up. Yeah, and this is very true in law firms and professional services firms. It’s also true in tech companies and startups, but you need to have somebody in power invest in you. And I think that a lot of the reason why we lack diversity in tech, in the tech field and a lot of companies is because it’s not because these white men are getting together and saying, let’s like, create a club and block out everyone.But it’s because they. They mentor and sponsor and support people who remind them of themselves. And so it’s not a mystery to me that I’ve done so well at a company like Eversource, um, where the CEO, a couple of the board members we’ve got directors and, you know, folks here who are Asian-American. And that way I’m not worried. I’m not always worried that, Oh, do I need to overcome the stereotype that I can’t sell? Will they always think that I’m the math guy, the it guy, which is a real problem. There’s people like Jerry has always watched out for me. And so I think that if you want to succeed, you need to have someone in leadership to watch out for you and to mentor you and sponsor you. So, so I would say those are the three ways, um, that, that you can really overcome that bamboo ceiling.
Bryan: (00:32:47) Well, that’s really, really good advice. I had to take some notes in between because I’m like, wow, that’s absolutely right. I mean, it really did open my mind, my mind that, you know, people as humans, we want to mentor people that look like us sound like less remind them of us, you know? And unfortunately it’s just, um, I don’t know. This is where I worried about like a broken structure. Whereas like, because we’re not the same because we historically have been considered like, you know, not American or like not winning in this country. So that’s also creating more barriers for us to get to the top. Um, I do want to circle back on the car conversation about mental health and happiness. We heard so much about your transition and your abilities to succeed in a new way, but we also want to understand like, Was there a series of events that happened that led up to you being extremely unhappy with your, with your current position that led you to create a hundred percent career change. Start over again. And on top of that, we also want to touch upon the mental health aspect of creating content. You know, that takes us, that takes a huge toll on you because now you’re addicted to the metrics, the analytics, the numbers, but how have you coped with both sides as rich as you’re going throughout your career?
Alex: (00:34:02) Bryan, these are great questions. And I feel like you’re asking the questions that I would ask myself, right? Because they’re so relevant. Why did I leave law to do sales and start from the bottom? And you’re right. That there was, there was a lot of challenges and I didn’t, you know, the first time I thought about leaving law, Was, I was like, ah, that’s not, that’s not what I want to do. I wanna stay in law. I’m not gonna, I’m not going to leave. I thought that I would, things would get better if I switched firms. So I, so I left the big law firm. I went to a smaller firm. Things didn’t get better. And then it wasn’t until I started my own business. I opened my own law practice. Um, that’s when I realized, um, that, that I should be focused on. On, um, on, on doing something that was more connected to sales than connected to law. And, you know, I’m telling you right now that I’ve switched jobs a couple of times, but during that time it was very challenging because I started thinking questions like I’ve been a successful person. I’m now doing things that a successful person would not do. I saw other people doing well. I saw other people getting promoted, making money, getting all the great jobs. Meanwhile, I’m like joined from job to job. And I remember, I remember thinking this, telling my girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife. Um, I think that maybe I’m not the type of person that does well. At a, at a company I’m not a good employee. Like my experiences at IBM. My experiences at, uh, at the big law firm made me believe that I was not a good employee. That was just part of my personality. So I should start my own business, which is what I did. I started my solo practice and, you know, I eventually had to close it down because it, it, it failed.Um, I couldn’t get enough revenue. I realized that I enjoyed, um, sales and marketing, but, but actually servicing the clients that was a little bit more challenging for me. And I was thinking, you know, what am I doing here? Like, I’m at a point where I’m I’m I’m I have a practice, a law practice. That’s taking cases that I, that I never imagined I’d be taking. And it’s not great. I’m not making money. Maybe it’s time for a start. A new start. And, and so, um, when I talk on some podcast or when I, when I, when I talked to younger lawyers, I have a narrative. I say, you know, I tried different jobs. It wasn’t right for me. And I started over, but the truth is I felt like I was failing through from failing to jump from job to job. And it wasn’t until I struck this legal tech space, that at the time when I joined legal tech, it was not a thing. It’s still kind of small now, but it’s scrolling so fast. Um, but back then nobody knew about it and it was very hard for me to explain to anybody, let alone myself that this was the right thing that I should be doing, but I had already failed at several things and I was like, all right, well, my once very. Nice resume is now messed up. I’ve got failures left and right. What’s, what’s, what’s the harm in failing again. So I could run off and, and, you know, kind of be a little bit reckless and join legal tech and kind of go with my career hunch. That’s what, that, that was the real change. And that’s why it’s like, I get messages from lawyers all the time saying, tell me about the structure that you follow. Make yourself happy and find the right role for yourself. It’s hard to say you haven’t earned it until you’ve you failed again and again, and you think, what the hell am I doing? Um, so, so that, that is, I think, um, for me, um, uh, uh, an important part of, of transformation is, is that failure and comes with a lot. And, and I, I know Brian, you know, you’ve dealt with your own setbacks before and you’ve overcome them. You know, that when you’re going through it, it’s not like. Oh, everything will work out fine when you’re going through the myths. It ain’t easy.
Bryan: (00:37:43) You’re just stressing out left and right. Yeah, definitely.
Alex: (00:37:46) Yeah. Yeah. And, and, uh, you know, you’re always putting one foot in front of the other, and today we’re talking about Tik TOK and my success with social media. But, but that was just the surprise. It was just, uh, an unexpected upside of, of being in sales and in an early stage startup, like. I could never have predicted that this would happen, but it’s now happened. And so that would encourage people to try things, you know, to, to, to, to go and go out and fail because you might hit on something that does as well as you expect, but it actually might surprise you and turn out better than you expected. Um, and, and that kind of leads me to my second point, which I know your, your other question was how do you handle, um, mental health land and in social media, I’ll tell you, um, If you treat social media like a job, you can get a lot of results and, and not have it take over your life, but it does require you to be super disciplined. And so, um, my, my journey really on LinkedIn started about a year ago when one of my posts went viral and collected a million views. And I was like, all right, well, I really want to triple down on this and what’s not going to work is if I just kind of try to. Do this sporadically, like every so often I need to have a system. So I told myself I would post one post per day. And I would write them on the weekends or nights and pre, um, you know, pre queue them. And that way it would not interfere with my, my work life, my personal life. And for the most part I was successful. And, and over time though, I think it became a challenging and it came to a point where I was kind of a little bit less disciplined and I need to take a step back and say, okay, Am I doing social media because I just want the attention or is it serving a greater goal in my life? And so when I realized that, um, I was kind of, at some point was just getting a lot of engagement just for the sake of getting engagement. I scaled back my production of content to, to less frequent and higher, higher quality. Like what I, what I could tell, like I put more effort into each individual post and did less frequency. And, um, I found that, um, even though overall likes and views went down, the type of people I was trying to get. Uh, in touch with, uh, the quality was increasing. It was providing, it was, it was not impacting, um, my leads. I was still getting business out of it. I just wasn’t getting, you know, those, those strangers to like my content. So, so I think to balance it, you really. I always have to remember, what are your goals? Why are you doing this? Like, it can be easy to fall into the trap of getting addicted to the likes. And I’ve, you know, I’ve been guilty of that before as a content creator, because it makes you feel like the more likes you get the better, your quality, the better your content is. It’s like a world telling you that it’s good, which is true. Um, To some extent, but you don’t want to overdo it because if you overdo it, then you’re just getting, you’re trying to collect likes and followers for the sake of likes and followers. And I’ll tell you that’s not a good path to go down.
Maggie: (00:40:29) Right. Right. So, so important. Yeah. We see that all the time on tech talk, you know, you have users who just posts quantity over quality. And you do get, you know, likes and comments. It’s just like sustainable,
Bryan: (00:40:42) you know, or more than the x-ray decided things, sell their bodies for likes and comments and approval, and that’s not the way it goes. And you bring up a really valid point to like, ask yourself. What kind of message are you trying to make by making your videos? You know, you know, it’s whatever we noticed, like Alex, like whenever you post the video, it always has a purpose. You know, what was the story to it? It’s not like you getting on Tuesdays and like a miniskirt and shaking your body. You know, it was always like a theme to it. And it’s like very humorous that connects to your uniqueness, your experiences. That also links back to your own professional career too. So we really love that.
Maggie: (00:41:19) Yeah. And I’m very curious, um, you know, you have a family, you have a wife, you have a kid. How do you find time out of your day and how do you manage your time? And, you know, just make sure that you’re utilizing your time correctly because. You know, tech talk takes a lot of time, you know, as we know,
Bryan: (00:41:39) like video consumption, you have to keep up with the trends.
Maggie: (00:41:42) I’m very curious, you know, how do you w what, what is your day-to-day routine like every day?
Alex: (00:41:48) Yeah, I don’t have a routine. And I’ll, um, I think that the, the, the way that I’ve been able to do it is, uh, like I said, I have some strengths. I have been a content creator for a long time, so I don’t probably probably don’t need to absorb as much from tick-tock as perhaps other people do, because, um, I kind of understand the themes of, of what I, you know, I’m going to create legal content and I know how to, how to stay within those confines. If I were to make. Content, um, like a comedian or somebody in the medical field, I would need to take up a lot more time to do that. And so, um, I would say that, um, if you post about what, you know, it’s going to be a lot more efficient. Um, some of the, some of the videos that I make seem like they would be. Take the long time, but they really don’t because, and this is the other reason why? Um, well first it’s because I post only on things I know about and I can speak to, but second, um, the way that I developed video making skills and everything I think is his skills. Like, I don’t think that anybody should think of. Content or tic talks or LinkedIn or Twitter or anything as an asset, but you just think of it as a skill, because a skill stays with you. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the algorithms. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the platforms. I had a vine account five years ago. Vine is gone. Right. And so, uh, it’s the skill that matters. And that’s why I think when you make videos, I mean, It’s sure it’s fun, but just remember that you’re always, you’re trying to Uplevel your skills and, and understanding the patterns. And so I started my skill development during the depths of COVID when COVID hit. I had a lot of free time. I mean, I didn’t have a ton of free time because I have a family, but I had enough free time because my work had slowed down because we weren’t sure what was going to happen. And so instead of kind of just watching TV or I don’t really watch TV, I watch movies. I don’t, I spend all of my time thinking, what does the, what can I make? And so during that time, I experimented with making videos. And so I had developed the skill to the point where by the time I had gone on Tik TOK, I already had skills. I had skills from, um, creating content for all sorts of platforms for 15, 20 years. I also had six months of intense video making experience. Um, you, I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, but I also host this monthly meetup. I used to host twice a week with lawyers and law students. And so that helped me understand how to present myself through video. And so if you treat this Tik TOK or this content creation as a job, and you’ll notice this theme, right. If you treat it as a job and are disciplined with it and treat it as a long-term skill that you want to develop, I think the rewards are really, really high. Like what, I’m, what I’m doing now. Does not take a lot of energy. It’s highly scalable because, um, I make one video once and it just goes and repeats and shows to everyone. But there were lots of hours and discipline work that went into it for years with no real results that I did for fun as a thing to entertain my friends. So I would say, yeah, I would say that’s the, that’s how I balance it. And, and, and look at the end of the day, I think what. What tick-tock and LinkedIn and social media has done is it’s replaced a lot of what I used to do on making cold calls.Um, it’s, it’s replaced a lot of my outreach just because now I can have a more efficient way of doing it. Um, even when I reach out to some people, I’m also able to say, Hey, um, it’s Alex from LinkedIn. They know who I am in the past. I would have to like. Explain myself a lot more than they would ignore me or hang up on me. Um, I’m also doing webinars for Eversource, where we bring in speakers and bring in, um, basically people who we would want to sell to they show up. And then I can also choose who I can, you know, I I’d like to reach out to, so these things, this Tik TOK stuff, and this LinkedIn stuff has replaced traditionally the inefficient ways of doing sales outreach for me. And that’s how I’ve been able to juggle it. But, um, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll end off by saying this, which is. It’s still hard to, to balance, like, I think especially what I’ve learned and I’m a new father. Um, my, my, my daughter’s two years old, I don’t really know how other people do this. Like have jobs and also kids. Like my parents did it. I saw them do it, but now I’m just like, that was insane. Like. How do you, how do you handle that? Yeah, so that’s an, that’s what I’m trying to learn, you know, from other people how, how they juggle it. Uh, my wife’s a doctor, uh, and she works. And so she’s, she’s very, like, I don’t think we have a family where we can have one parent stay home and just watch the kid. We’ve got, we’ve got to learn how to balance it. So it’s an ongoing process. Really.
Maggie: (00:46:23) Wow. Well that’s yeah. I mean it just everything you said, I think that. You know, us seeing you as who you are today. We’re not seeing who you are today, but we’re seeing all the fruits of your labor that was accumulated from all those years of putting in the hard work.
Bryan: (00:46:37) That’s what I keep telling Maggie, like all these successful people did not become successful overnight. Yeah. There are some exceptions, but most of the time they’re not.
Maggie: (00:46:46) Exactly. Yeah. And so we have a last question for you, Alex, what advice would you give to someone who was trying to get into legal tech or just someone who’s trying to build their influence on social media?
Alex: (00:47:00) Yeah, the first one’s easier for me just because I’ve been living it, but, um, you know, for legal tech, if you’re interested in it, you don’t have to be a lawyer. Um, I do think it’s a promising space. That’s going to grow really fast, uh, dive in and take. Whatever job they’re offering. And, and, you know, I think, um, by slowing down by starting from scratch, you develop these foundational skills that will compound over time. And then when you’ve built up that knowledge and those skills. You’re going to move up very fast. So don’t worry about taking a job at the bottom. So if you find an interesting company, if I, you know, I’m hoping that I have a sword, is it, um, you know, reach out to me or, or Jerry or anybody else on the end, the company. But I was like, just make the D just, just jump in and. In my advice for, for, for content and social media is very similar. Most of the time people are afraid to put out content. They want to own, they overthink it. Um, right, right on their first posts, they say, I have to put out the perfect post. What I would encourage people to do is instead put out 20 imperfect posts and. But by doing that, you will see what people um, resonate with. Because I think th th the, the thing that people don’t realize about content and social media is that it’s not about you. It’s about your audience and what your audience wants. I sought out to be a very intellectual lawyer to write about serious subjects. And the world told me that they were not, the audience told me that they were not interested in that what they were interested in was how did you pivot out of law? How do you find another opportunity? Um, they’re interested in seeing. Uh, law firms and lawyers being made fun of on Tik TOK. And so by paying attention, paying close attention to what the audience wants, um, you can create some really compelling content that will provide you a lot of value in your life, but it’s gotta be about the audience first. It’s not about what you want to do. And, and that’s, that’s an ongoing process that you’ve got to continue this conversation. You know, I, I had, um, in the early days when I had very limited engagement on LinkedIn, I would say. I would ask the people who constantly consistently like my stuff, Hey, can you hop on a call with me? And I would talk to them and try to understand, you know, what are you thinking? What do you worry about? What are you excited about? Like tell me about yourself. And so I have a deep understanding of my audience, which is why I’m able to, and they are my core audience and which is why I’m able to branch off. And it was those people who told me. You need to get on Tik TOK, you need to keep making fun of lawyers. And that’s why I keep doing it now, because it’s what they told me that they wanted. So I think listening to your audience is super important and you can’t do that until you put out a bunch of content that’s going to fail. So anyways, that’s my advice for anybody who wants to get in the game. Um, it’s really interesting. It’s an interesting time, but, but, uh, I think there’s a lot of opportunity on tech talk right now.
Bryan: (00:49:38) Awesome. So true. So true. And Alex, where can our listeners find out more about you online?
Alex: (00:47:00) I would recommend that you reach out to me or find me on LinkedIn.Um, first, um, that’s where I have most of my content. Um, there’s going to be a link, I think, in, in this podcast show notes, but also if you’re up for it, check me out on Tik TOK. I’m at legal tech, bro. Um, you can just search for legal tech, bro. Um, and it’ll pop up my page, take talk, and LinkedIn is where I live. I have other accounts elsewhere, but um, if you want to reach out to me, those are probably the best places.
Bryan: (00:50:10) Awesome. Thank you so much for me in the show today, Alice, you really enjoyed it and yeah, I can’t wait to be in touch with you again. Yeah.
Alex: (00:50:21) Thank you, Brian. It, Brian and Maggie. Thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be on this show and I’ll tell you that I’ve heard about you way before we first met. Um, I went back and I looked 50 of my friends are part of the Asian hustle network. I’m probably the 51st now. So it’s an honor for you, for you to invite me onto the show. And, uh, I really had a good time.
Maggie: (00:50:36) It was an honor having you on. Thank you, Alex.
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