Jay Wey // Ep 48 // Following Passion Through Basketball, Tech, and Comedy
Welcome to Episode 48 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Jay Wey on this week's episode.
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.
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Jay Wey was born and raised in the Bay Area. Both of his parents are Taiwanese. He played NCAA Division I in basketball as well as professional basketball in Taiwan. Jay co-founded Ubiik, a tech company based in Taipei, focusing on long-range wireless technologies IoT (internet of things). He also dabbles in TikTok and has grown his platform to over 600K followers in less than six months.
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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 Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today. We have a very special guest. His name is Jay way and he was born and raised in the Bay area. Both of his parents are Taiwanese. He played NCAA division one in basketball, as well as professional basketball in Taiwan, J co founded UBC a tech company based in Taipei, focusing on a long range, wireless technologies, IOT. He also dabbles in Tik TOK and has grown his platform to over 600,000 followers in less than six months. Jay, welcome to the show.
Jay: (00:00:59) Thank you guys for having me Maggie. Brian, appreciate you guys.
Bryan: (00:01:01) Yeah. We’re super excited to have you here today. I mean, we got to just dive right into it. What was their upbringing like? And how’d you, I know having such an awesome career and everything
Jay: (00:01:12) wouldn’t say it was awesome career. I’d definitely had its hiccup and ups and downs. Uh, I guess we’ll start from when I was a kid. So I was born and raised in the Bay area, like, like you mentioned, and I’m born, uh, originally my friend group.Was all Asian Americans, fellow Asian Americans, Chinese Vietnamese, Korean, um, and growing up, I always liked playing basketball. So here’s my first story of, of my basketball experience. I’ve always played, um, basketball at a competitive level since I was maybe in fourth grade. And, um, going into middle school as you guys don’t know a lot of elementary schools combined and go into a larger middle school and everyone’s meeting everyone. And my first encounter with racism happened in middle school. So. Um, every morning there would be one basketball court where all the cool kids, all the cool kids played and all the girls kind of, um, watch these, these, these athletes play. And when I, the first day of middle school, I went to go try to play with these kids. And they were predominantly Caucasians. And given my background, given my experience of basketball, I thought that would be allowed to play, but these kids would not let me play. Oh, wow. They found out my name was Jay way and they said, Gateway, no gateway play with us. That was the most devastating experience for me. And, um, it’s something that actually, I really have very negative thoughts to this day about it. And it has kind of carried throughout my whole career of having this chip on my shoulder and being insecure. So that experience of racism and just, I guess, kind of bullying kind of shaped me to be very determined to. Prove people wrong. So actually in middle school, um, before that incident, I was paying, playing simultaneously around seven to eight competitive basketball teams at once. There’s a lot. Yeah. Including traveling teams and teams that were sponsored by Adidas or our travel expenses of our food, our expenses were paid for. We travel all across the U S and play other people and then going to a middle school where no one knew me and then giving this type of treatment was just. Eye-opening for me. So then fast forward to middle school tryouts, uh, middle school basketball team trials. As a sixth grader, I actually made the seventh grade basketball team and overnight it was a one 80 of treatment.
The next day I was immediately allowed to play basketball on this court. And that type of dynamic really shifted my thoughts of, okay. What does basketball mean to my identity? These kids, these Caucasian kids originally did not let me play. And now, because they think I’m good at basketball, all of a sudden I’m welcome. So originally in their eyes, I was a nobody. And all of a sudden I’m someone that can be their friend, someone that can be looked up to and respected. So I think that was one of my driving forces throughout my whole career is that basketball can allow me to rise in the social hierarchy here in the U S. So I trained incredibly hard with my dad. We would put countless hours in morning and late nights just training. And, um, I guess we kind of train with this, uh, mentality of paranoia. I guess it was kind of instilled in me by my father just saying like, no matter how hard you work, there’s always someone in some other state, in some other country who is working. Just as hard, if not harder, every time I felt like we were working out, I had to do a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. And, um, that type of work, I think brought me to a certain level where I was able to play in high school at a very competitive high school, uh, called Archbishop media in San Jose. Wow. That’s a really good high school for basketball. That team, when I was, there was very, it was playing at a very high level. So we. My graduating senior class had seven division one basketball players. Um, at our peak, we were ranked number two in the nation by USA today, ESPN. And, um, it was a, it was a good career.
It was a solid career. We had a very great record. I think we lost maybe three times in my three or four times in my four years or three years there even playing varsity. Um, I guess the, the star athlete on that team was familiar with Aaron Gordon. I played with Aaron Gordon’s older brother. Yeah. He was a extreme athlete as well. So yeah, so my career was very fruitful in high school, but senior year I actually came down with a serious injury. I injured my foot. And, uh, I had, uh, a bone contusion in my foot. So I was out for maybe six months and a lot of the colleges I was talking to, um, Yeah, they, they treated it like a business. When they found out I was injured, they just stopped talking to me, which wasn’t really another harsh blow to my ego as well. It was always a childhood dream to play division one basketball, but out of high school, I was given zero offers or offers or retracted because of my injury. So I ended up going the division two route to begin with. So I signed to play at, uh, university of California, San Diego, UC San Diego. And I played there for two years and, um, how I ended up in division one was I actually. Um, reached out to another division one basketball school. And my division two coach actually found out and was very upset. So obviously I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t handle that in the most mature manner as I reflect on it. But in my heart, all I wanted to do was play at the most competitive level. Right. And, um, When my coach found out that I was talking to other, other, uh, TMT, I thought he also handled it in a very vicious manner where he called me into his office and said, Hey, Jay, I heard that you are thinking about playing division one basketball.this was also a scoring moment for me, because this was my first kind of interaction with very sensitive matter. And to have an adult speak to me. In a very vicious tone was, was also, um, scarring for me. He told me you’re not a division one basketball player. I don’t know who you think you are. Wow. And, um, I don’t want to cuss on this, but he said, get the F out of my office, you’re off the team.
So that was his response. So I was kicked off the team before I joined accepted the offer to play at university of San Francisco. So I got the honor to play under coach Rex Walters, who was a previous NBA player who played six years, including, uh, the Miami heat Philadelphia 76 years, because there’s an awesome coach. And he is actually the, the true first Asian American to play in the NBA. He’s half Japanese and I’m just an awesome, awesome role model. So,
Bryan: (00:08:46) wow. That is one heck of a childhood and, and early basketball career, you know, and I drew a Myra that your dad instilled in you such a strong work, work habit, and we see that in everything you do.Especially with tech talk and your tech company like that mentality. Like we wouldn’t follow you and Tik TOK since you were at 10 K, really. So you actually know a lot about J the
Maggie: (00:09:14) first ticket that we saw was about the blood center.
Bryan: (00:09:22) And he’s talking about oversee basketball, try on different things.
Maggie: (00:09:25) It’s so funny
Bryan: (00:09:27) at that point, we haven’t Maggie and I haven’t, uh, to Cox that seriously yet.So we’re just looking at like other Asian American creators as inspiration. And you came up, you know, we saw your basketball career and originally. When you posted your Tik TOK videos while your basketball career, we thought it was a satire. Like really? There’s no way , but then ironically, that’s how we found you. You know, we found your name and your team right away. He’s legit. And it’s crazy to hear about your struggles too. And you know, what your coach said to you was really messed up. You know, that, unfortunately it happens a lot in everything that we do in life. Especially entrepreneurship. A lot of people say they can or cannot do certain things, but mainly you get to decide that you can do it. No one else can say anything about that now. So you admire that about you.
Maggie: (00:10:20) I think that a lot of people take advantage of the fact that we are Asian too. And it makes people think that we are submissive and you know, we don’t want to create chaos. So they take advantage of that. Right. But you, you know, you knew your potential and you knew that you could. Do it in your own sense. And so you, you know, went out there to be trickles. I really appreciate that.
Bryan: (00:10:40) Yeah. So was it a transition like into college basketball and professional basketball overseas?
Jay: (00:10:46) So from college basketball, an agent just reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to play for a team out there. And I kind of blindly signed a contract and I flew out there and the. Quality and level of sophistication of basketball overseas, I think is much different, uh, overseas. And is the U S I think when you’re playing division one basketball in the U S it’s the cream of the crop, you have the best resources.Um, you’re getting the access to all the best amenities and facilities. And I was shocked to land in Taiwan and arrived to my first practice. And, um, I remember there was players waiting for the gym to open or allowed to go into the gym. And I was asking him, well, can we go in there and she’d run early? And there’s a no, there’s a, a middle-school, um, volleyball practice going on. So this professional basketball was sharing in middle school, basketball court. Uh, or a, uh, a gymnasium, the, with the middle school. And I remember arriving there in summer. It was like 105 degrees, like including a humidity. It felt like 110 and this middle school did not have air conditioning. It was absurd to me. And the thing is the facilities in the middle school were very, very subpar. I could just see that the, there was a huge lack of resources. In basketball, professional basketball compared to even college past one of the U S so that was a big letdown. And also for, for division one basketball, they had us living in very nice dorms, um, in the city with our own kitchen living room, everything. And when I went there, they had us living in dorms with a roommate and share bathrooms. So it was nothing. Luxurious and a big thing is that, uh, in the U S when you tell people you’re playing professional basketball, they have this huge, uh, this, this, uh, misconception that it’s exactly like the U S these people are gods that they see people really look up to them and they’re doing big things.There was a huge, uh, dynamic shift in society mindset and in Taiwan and Asia, where people actually sometimes look down on athletes because what’s praised in, in, in us or in Taiwan specifically, is that you go to a very good school academically, right? So it was funny to me when I was what I would be walking around Taiwan thinking that I was somebody and someone asked me what I do.And I said, Oh, I played professional basketball. And their faces like, Oh, I’m sorry. In. And their mindset is like, Oh, this guy didn’t study hard enough. And now he has to be an athlete and play and be in a non air conditioned basketball court. And it was it’s exactly that. And it really though, you can see a lot of players that. Um, play bass one, Taiwan. This is not everyone, but they just didn’t have a choice.They were maybe gifted athletically and maybe coaches kind of corralled them into sports. But right now, when they’re 27, 30 years old and they want to get out of that bubble, they can’t. And it’s, that’s a, another tough part of. Quick question though. And this is before Jeremy Lin or after Jeremy Lin. This is so I’m two years younger than Jeremy Lin.And a fun fact is I grew up playing against Jeremy Lin since I was like 12. So we were always on different teams. Um, Yes. And you could only a fun, a fun story about Jeremy Lin is we always knew Jeremy Lin was a little bit different in a good way. Is that when we were young, when we played basketball, it was more for fun. You know, as long as no one got injured or died, we were just like, okay, cool. What are we going to, where are we going to eat as a team after this? As a 12 year old, um, when we beat Jeremy Lynn’s team, as, as, as youth team, Jeremy Lin would sit on the floor and cry. Wow. And his mom would come up to him and try to pull him off the court. And he would hit bat away. His mom’s hand saying that he wants to stay on the court by himself and all the other 12 year olds, 13 year olds are kind of held huddle around watching German women. Cry and put on a hissy fit being like what’s wrong with this kid. But then as we grew up, when we reflect on that, that experience, we think like, wow, he was such a competitor.That was, that was a main difference from us in Germany. Land was just this undying competitive where you have to win or nothing else matters.
Bryan: (00:15:22) Well, that’s, that’s a crazy story to hear. And, you know, you would think that with Jeremy land kind of blazing the trail a little bit in Taiwan, Uh, you know, professional athletes, I have more respect. So what that story is, I, did you help me for Jeremy or after Jeremy?
Jay: (00:15:38) Because I’m Alyssa definitely after Germany, definitely very, very successful career. Um, actually in high school, his team won the state championship after beating my high school.
Bryan: (00:15:46) So. That is crazy. So while you’re in Taiwan, how long were you, were you on the basketball team for, and we see that you also started a 10 company in Taiwan, like how’d you how’d you manage your time to practice and being a CEO?
Jay: (00:15:59) So I didn’t do them simultaneously. So after around two and a half seasons, I stopped playing and, um, that was kind of a. A decision to kind of transition away from that lifestyle where I thought that there was a definitely, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s on a lot of athletes that at the time when I was just starting at 21 years old, they were 30, 32 and just retiring. And they had no idea what to do. They were thinking about trying to open a restaurant. They’re trying to go into coaching, but there’s so many coaching available coaching positions available, and that type of. Um, predicament with career really scared me because I thought to myself what happens when I’m 30 and I can’t hang with the young kids, like, do I just try to fight for a coaching job? That seems so scary to me. So my cousin told me to look around for tech companies in Taiwan, and I thought I’d stick around at number one. Uh, kind of refined my Chinese because originally when I first landed, I couldn’t speak any Chinese or understand. So I really wanted to work on my Chinese and I ended up finding a semiconductor company there doing international sales.And I really spend a lot of time on my Chinese where I can read, write fluently. And after a few years at that semiconductor company, I joined a startup company. Doing wireless as well. And, uh, I met some really talented engineers there. So I think a quick backdrop on my mindset of going into business was I’m very money motivated. Um, one thing that my dad was also encouraging me to explore other career paths, as he was saying that. Basketball, the essences of basketball can also be found in different industries. So same with business. Cause my dad is a businessman. Um, if you work hard, your work ethic, you, you are willing to be proactive and, and sociable. You can find success and separate yourself from others in the business world. And on top of that, you can make money. And that to me was okay. Let’s, let’s try to make this type of career path. Work. Um, so when I started talking with other engineers and them here hearing about their ideas, um, specifically a very talented engineer from France was working in, in Taiwan.
He was talking, he was pitching myself. And at the time the VP of that startup about a long range technology. That would allow devices to have five, 10 years battery life. And it wouldn’t be for, or browsing internet or watching YouTube. It would be for these devices that go inside, um, industrial items like meters, gas, meters, water, meters, um, it could be parking spaces. It could be lights. Um, these concepts around. Internet of things or smart cities. And he said that there was a gap in this market, in the market for the marketplace for this type of technology. So we, myself, the VP and, and the, uh, CTO or the, that engineer stepped away from the company and started a company on our own. And we did that in 2016 and we brew and we spent around two and a half years of R and D. Um, developing the protocol and developing the embedded hardware around that, and finally getting a proof of concept ready. But those two and a half years of R and D were very tough. I mean, one thing I, I reflect on our initial start of the company and I think it was. Kind of just blind stupidity and just, there was this, impedice where we were all of us wanting to do our own thing. We had the motivation to number one, be independent, which I think a lot of entrepreneurs go for is okay. I want to be free. I don’t want to report to the boss anymore. I’ll do my own thing.And then secondly, when you think about, okay, if this is successful, there could be. Very nice return. So the next stupid thing I did was put in all my savings, blindly, just, okay. It’s, it’ll probably work out. It’s just the Silicon Valley mindset it’s gonna work out. And, uh, the CEO, uh, my partner also put in much, much, much more than I did, and we put everything on the line. And once that kind of romance fairytales stage ended. Which took around a year and a half where we saw a runway of cash burning out. That’s when reality really set in and we’re like, what are we doing? We’re just burning through money of this idea that we’ve never really validated. And, um, I remember sitting with my partner late at night, one night in the office and my partner is older, older than me. He has a family of two kids. And I remember him sitting down the office, just his hands, his head buried in his hands and just saying, I just ruined my children’s future. Like I have no money for them, for their education. Cause I spent it all on this company. And I remember him saying, okay, we need to move offices.
And bear in mind that offices in Taiwan are not expensive in the first place we were spending for a large office space. So how has maybe 30 to 40 employees we were spending. Three $4,000 a month. And we said, let’s downsize it to something under, under 1000. So we moved into this very rickety old building.It’s next to the basketball court we had cockroaches. And the worst part is it was only a sh there was only one shared bathroom. And paper thin walls, and we have boys and girls. In our, our males and females in our company. So if anyone goes in the bathroom, you can hear everything that takes place in the bathroom. So that’s how you build a team bonding. Oh yeah. That’s a definition. Bonding, expedited team bonding. Um, very split. Right? So after those very, very Rocky start, we actually got the product out and then, um, Still, uh, when, when we thought we launched the technology, we thought that everyone would be just going crazy for it and money would be flying in and we launched it and we did marketing stuff and we did trade shows and it was like crickets chirping. There was nothing. So we were discussing how we would kind of close up, potentially close up the company, even start maybe. Discussing how we downsize a company and we decided to participate in Taiwan’s largest government tender at the time. So initially in Taiwan, um, for the electricity meters, they used to send physically employees that go right down the meters and how much energy you use and then they’d bill you for it. Right. So Taiwan said, okay, for our 24, 3.5, 4.5 million meters across the country. You want to use wireless and we don’t want to be using, um, um, if you, if you put a SIM card in every single meter, that means like you’re paying a monthly fee for every single meter. So when they want to build out their own infrastructure, so they wanted some type of very long range wireless technology, and we had the exact perfect fit for that technology. So we apply for the tender. And the tender was, I mean, it’s for, it’s a multimillion dollar volume tender. So you had other publicly traded companies fly in from all over the world to participate tender. And in total, for the introduction meeting for this government tender, there was 12, um, companies, publicly traded companies, huge conglomerates that came to bid and then. There was us, you beak like a 22 person team that showed up to this meeting. And, um, during this meeting, the, the representatives of the Taiwan power electricity company made it very clear and they kind of hinted at us like. Are you guys sure. You want to participate in this tender? It’s a serious tender and we’re like, Hey yeah, we want ch we want to shot.
And then they tried to kind of scare us away by saying like, there’s a bunch of, um, milestones during this testing phase that if you don’t meet, like you guys get fined. In fact, like you guys, we don’t think that you guys would even survive any of the fines, but we were really persistent at saying, okay, well, this is. Our last shot. If we don’t make it, then it’s, then it’s fine. And we end this testing and trial phase took around 13 months of side-by-side comparison with the other 12 vendors. And our technology was proven to be the most scalable and that we use the least amount of. Base stations to connect the most amount of meters. And it was most reliable. We’re guaranteeing like 99.5% success rate. So after 13 months they announced us a company known as heard of as a winner. And that completely one $80 R a. Our our growth. So instead of going in this way, we started going this way.
Bryan: (00:25:45) Congratulations. We love that story of hustle, persevering and belief, because, you know, we were running each lesson, network nods, basically a startup and were burned your cash, like crazy as well. Like, Oh my God
Maggie: (00:25:58) really resonated with your this morning. It sounded very much like us,
Bryan: (00:26:01) but we’re trying to make a turning point right now. Yeah. Right. We have our mission statement. As you know, we’re trying to support the Asian community around the world, and we see a lot of support being able to reach out with people at yourself, hearing your story too. Makes us feel like we’re not alone in this journey.
Jay: (00:26:16) Definitely not alone.
Bryan: (00:26:18) Yeah. Yeah. I’m pretty sure a lot of people listening to this podcast at squat are feeling the same way. Except the like Asian culture. We don’t express ourselves. You don’t go out to your friends. Hey man. So Saturday when a company’s doing bad. Yeah. That’s the last time we’re gonna say to her friends or friends ask us, Hey man, how’s your company doing? It’s doing good.
Maggie: (00:26:34) Don’t even like to ask for help. Always act like everything’s fine,
Jay: (00:26:41) but I’m the opposite though. I asked for help. They down drowning. I need help, but I completely understand the dynamic of culture where we’d like to save face. Right. Yeah. One thing, especially in Asian-American culture is that I feel like there’s certain, uh, how do you explain this? Well, when I w when I see other cultures, how they interact in the business place, it seems like they’re very supportive. I see, like my, my brothers, my mom’s coworkers that they’re predominantly Indian American. They are so proactively supportive and trying to pull each other up. But I feel like in some certain. Dynamics or scenarios. You see Asian Americans trying to push, push, push each other down and compete with one another and try to save face in front of other ethnicities where their Caucasian boss or Indian boss, they’re trying to separate themselves from the other Asian American colleagues. Or I’m really hoping that the dynamic shifts where we’re just like them, where we’re kind of constantly bolstering each other up. That would be the new vibe and trend that I would be trying to be an advocate of.
Bryan: (00:27:46) That’s exactly what our mission statement is, you know, and we noticed that too. Like we, our cultures are really a competition. Like since every single growing out against our siblings or cousins, whatnot, we always have to be the best. And that translates to most of our adult life. It’s like, Oh, What if I’m not the best I’m going to start dragging people down. That’s not metallic to have neither. And looking into like Asian Americans, like we’re pretty fragmented in general. Um, when you think about it, we’re basically separated by one generation, a war, but our parents are fighting against our grandparents were fighting against each other at some point in their lives.Yeah. And for us, having an Asian identity right now is completely new and that’s the why we started using the hustle network. To kind of unite everyone under one umbrella and really uplift each other. Yeah.
Jay: (00:28:37) Yeah. A big step to that is, um, like, like now you said is that the saving face mentality is really dangerous. It is. And, um, one way we can kind of take a huge leap with every interaction that we give to is kind of. Show our weeks, our weakness to other people immediately show like, share our insecurities. Like the reason why I started with that story of racism is because to this day I’m still very insecure. Um, I honestly have trouble. Establishing honest, genuine relationships with Caucasians, because I feel like they’re still looking down on me and I’m very insecure about that. Um, that’s stuff I battle with day in and day out when I’m here in the U S and the interesting thing about my experiences at one I’ve flown back to Taiwan. I lived in Taiwan for eight years. That was my first experience ever walking around the street and feeling like I’m just a guy without a title of an ethnicity. We’re here in the U S I’m always the Asian guy that Chinese gone to basketball team, that Asian guy, your Asian friend, I’ve never been just a guy. Yeah. So even though I’ve never I’ve I was born here in the U S this is us citizenship. Every time I go home, every time I go back to Taiwan and I touched down in the telephone airport. I feel like I’ve landed back at home. And I don’t hope, I don’t wish that on any other Asian Americans where they feel like they need to leave the country to feel like they’re at home.
Bryan: (00:30:13) Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really good perspective.
Maggie: (00:30:15) Yeah. You know, it’s something to know as well. Like, uh, I’m very happy to hear that from you because some people in America, they, especially in America, they don’t feel like they’re at home in either places right in America or their motherland. Because they feel like once they go back to their motherland, they can tell, people can tell that you’re not from there.I don’t belong anywhere now. And then if they go back to America like that one Asian person, right. And for you to feel like you found a home, when you go back to, to, you know, Taiwan. It’s a really special feeling to have.
Bryan: (00:30:46) Yeah. And also Sue Sue Cassa. So we’re also in the Bay come over anytime. So just a quick fun question. You know, we saw you on a townies dating show. How did that happen?
Jay: (00:31:04) Playing basketball? Um, my colleagues all found out that I didn’t have any friends because all I did was play basketball and then I moved to a city. Like 45 minutes down South of Taipei. So it’s equivalent to Taipei San Francisco. And then Sunnyvale is the place I, I, I moved to like a, it was super boring. Nobody’s there every day. Everyone’s an engineer. And I just basically spend my weekends by myself. My colleagues originally tricked me saying, Oh, you should go on a talk show for ABCs and meet other ABCs. And I had no idea what was going on and they signed me up. For this show and they said, Oh, I’m on. You should go. It’s not until like three days before I agreed in a three-day before they were going to record the show that I found out it was a dating show. But anyways, yeah, I went on that show and, um, my Chinese was pretty much little to non-existent and during rehearsal, The employees of the show, the helpers of the show, like quickly realized and started panicking like this guy’s Chinese is not good enough to be on this show. Actually, a fun fact is a lot of the stuff I was saying was all like pre-rehearsed. Um, and a lot of the questions that the, the, uh, the two celebrity hosts were asking me, I didn’t understand slate. I had a pause and they cut that out and they had to like run up and like, explain to me what they’re saying. And then I’d respond. A lot of the responses you see in that show where the girls are trying to interact with me. And I’m just smiling nodding as I don’t understand what’s going on. And, um, yeah, in the end, if you watch the show. Yeah, I, I was paired with a girl and. We just became friends after that.
Bryan: (00:32:54) Is that your girlfriend currently sharing?
Jay: (00:32:55) No, that’s not sure. We just went on a couple of days, but just decided to just keep it platonic and just be friends. Yeah.
Maggie: (00:33:07) Well on that note, how did you meet Sharon?
Bryan: (00:33:10) Yeah. Will you go back a little bit though? Because ABC means Asian born Chinese, for those that don’t know
Maggie: (00:33:17) I’m using that. So like, so American watching Americans, Asian boy, American born Chinese. Yeah. So, yeah. So how did you meet Sharon? And, you know, we’ve seen Sharon and a lot of your tic talks and for our listeners, go check out Jay, on his Ted talk channel. It’s J Sharon. Um, but you know, Sharon is in a lot of your videos and you know, you guys seem like such an amazing pair. How did you guys, how did you guys meet.
Jay: (00:32:55) So last year I was, um, part of an incubator program in the Bay area. Um, and I did a, there was a bunch of pitch, a fence at this shared office called plug and play. And on one of these events, During one of the pitches Sharon actually went to go randomly, listen in, have you hear her side of the story? She was just bored and just trying to listen into new ideas.And she was just in the crowd. And after every pitch event, there’s like 10 pitches, 10 startups that give their pitch. Um, you basically line up for food and I coincidentally lined up behind her and just started talking to her. And that’s how we actually met and, uh, first impression and first. Conversation. Um, she was pretty cold and didn’t really, she was pretty much ignoring me. Um, all we did was exchange LinkedIn information and didn’t really speak out for that. And it wasn’t until this year, when I flew back to the U S in March and then quarantine happened. And yeah, I know I went the wrong way.Right. When I landed, right. When I landed at 48 hours, is that in Atlanta? They were saying, okay, now it’s shelter in place. All the meetings were canceled. Plane tickets were, were, uh, my plane tickets just were kind of invalid because I couldn’t go back. And, uh, um, yeah, I decided just to stay here and. It was really depressing to begin with.Yeah. Initially I was free. I had my, my friend circle and in Taiwan and then I moved back here and I was just all alone. So I went through like what, two and half months of just being alone and trying to survive. And I guess you could say I was pretty, pretty much depressed and I just randomly reached out to Sharon on LinkedIn and asked her if she wanted to go on hiking.And that’s how it started.
Bryan: (00:35:45) Wow. And then we noticed that your tick talk activity picked up in June and July. So you guys are literally dating early stage data and it started making a talk together. How this idea come about.
Maggie: (00:35:58) Yeah. What does she think about it? And it was a crazy idea as
Jay: (00:36:02) it was all Sharon’s idea. Wow. He was just saying, Hey, we should just, just record them, take, talk to us for fun. And at that time I was completely separated from social media. I didn’t post, I haven’t posted anything on social media before that, since 2011, while I didn’t touch social media nine years. Uh, yeah, nine years without social media. And then all of a sudden Sharon was telling me I’ll just, just for fun. No, one’s going to, she said, no, one’s going to see it anyway. Sure. Followers on Tik TOK. So she’s like, no, one’s going to see it. Let’s just make some funny videos and we start recording. And then we start looking at the notifications. People are watching this, how is this happening? And then the, as a view started growing, I just became more. Um, when you have, when you feel like you have an audience that kind of appreciates your humor, you kind of get inclined to saying, okay, I want to show them more of what I have to offer. And to rewind way back when I was young, I’ve always liked writing jokes.So since I was in middle school, I kept a little notebook of jokes, funny stuff. If they thought about me, I’d write about old people, teachers, everything, every little and poems as well. And a fun fact is when I was in, when I was 15, I took my brother’s ID and I went to downtown San Jose and I snuck into an open mic night.Um, uh, for standup, for standup comedy and, um, I got there with my little notebook and I was like, okay, this is my day to shine. I’m going to make it, I’m going to make it big. I just sat there and I was too nervous as a 15 year old. Yeah. Everyone looks so intimidating. Everyone looks so old. And even the, the, uh, the host went up to me and said, Oh, did you want to.Do a set. And I looked at him and said, I know, I know I’m no, not at all. We need chicken down. So I, after listening to the whole mic open mic night, I just went home. Um, so yeah, in essence, I’ve always wanted to, uh, do stand up comedy or comedy and I’ve grown up watching a lot of standup comedy when I was a kid. So starting this tech talk and starting to create this. Comedic content on my free time has just been kind of an awakening to like remembering what I was like when I was a kid of writing these jokes down. And when I write tic-tacs talks down, I actually, I still write it in a notebook and write down the, the lines of each everything I say and say like, okay, this would be funny.
And then this line was a buildup and then this would be the joke. And that’s very structured to how I write. Uh, tick-tock, you know, it just sounds like I’m just talking.
Maggie: (00:38:45) Yeah. Well, that’s amazing. I was just going to, my next question was going to be like,
Bryan: (00:38:50) how are you so creative?
Maggie: (00:38:52) Who has the like comedy humor side of you? Like, was it Jay or Sharon or you just answered my question.
Jay: (00:38:59) So Sharon is also really funny, but Karen thinks I’m, since this tick-tock kicked off, Sharon thinks I’m kind of crazy because I’m constantly writing. I will like. See a mail man walked by and I’ll just stare at him and blank out for five minutes and then pick up my phone and start writing down some jokes.I thought about looking at the mailman.
Bryan: (00:39:21) Yeah, that’s, that’s amazing inspiration mean? We try to do the same thing set that we realized that we’re not funny people. Every time we make a funny video, we got like five views.
Maggie: (00:39:32) Like, like to write it down, like maybe we should start writing down our skits, but I just want to point out, like for you to go to a standup comedy at the age of 15, even, even if you didn’t have the guts to go up to the stage. For you to like, take that first step and go inside and walk into those doors. That takes a lot of courage because you knew you wanted to do that. And that was like one of your dreams. And now you have the outlet to actually, you know, express yourself. So that’s okay.
Bryan: (00:39:58) I always think that life works in really funny ways, you know, like what we want to do and the career path that we choose always takes us to where we want to be originally as a kid. Yeah. You know, I think it was the most ironic thing because my career path has always been kind of wild as well. I mean, I used to wrestle back in college, became a software engineer and became a real estate investor. And then when I was younger, I always want to dip my hands into politics. Bob my hallway. There’s no money in this, uh, became an engineer, but now my deep into helping other people’s political campaigns, you know, all of a sudden, I think light horse and the really funny ways, you know, you always go back in the path that you always originally intended for yourself and for you that’s comedy, you know, In great work on all your videos too. Like we’ve been watching the last three weeks. We’ve been blowing up like crazy with the whole Costco and hot dogs. Kids think Lizzie one. Yeah. Yeah.
Maggie: (00:40:59) Yeah. So what has been your biggest. Lessons so far, you know, doing tick talk and just, you know, blowing up, you know, getting into basketball and, you know, co-founding your, your company, you peak, what has been your biggest lesson?Um, and were there any challenges that you’ve had?
Jay: (00:41:16) Um, so I would say the root or the foundation of what keeps me going is actually my faith. So I’m Christian, but I think throughout my whole career, I’ve, I’ve really felt. God really holding my hand through every obstacle and every twist and turn, that sounds like a huge jump and jump.It really didn’t feel like a jump at the time. It really was a smooth transition. I feel like it was really God holding my hand saying, okay, Jay this’ll make sense. This will be fine. And, and it’s funny how it’s kind of come full circle. As you mentioned to back to comedy, back to an original passion of mine, um, Where initially when I was first starting or just leaving basketball and other young basketball players or other people that were asking me for advice, uh, were talking about their passion. I always almost saying, like giving them advice around saying you don’t always change, chase your passion. Cause it doesn’t always work out. Right. I chased basketball. I didn’t work out. And now I’m in this position and then eight years later, I’m back saying the same cliche message, like actually. Going after your passion is still what makes you and, and truly fulfilling and happy? Um, even through the, the heyday or the, the huge success stories that my startup has. Um, I still wake up with a different type of demeanor and passion and vigor. Since I had this platform to make people smile and laugh. That to me is a different type of happiness than money. And that’s such a cliche and I’m upset. I’m saying that because I was like, that’s it doesn’t, it doesn’t work that way, but it’s kind of. Gone full circle.
Bryan: (00:39:58) Yeah. I definitely feel you in that statement too. I mean, very similar story. My early twenties, mid twenties, I was such a money hungry person. Uh I’m like, money’s everything, money’s happiness. You’re unhappy because you don’t have money type of person, but after a while you realize that is this all there is to life. Just working, just making money, just. Buying nice things, quote unquote, but it doesn’t make you feel satisfied. That’s part of the reasons why we started Asian also network too, because the more business that we’re doing, we realize that Asian people are not only underrepresented. We don’t even like to help each other. We’re just like, Hmm. Maybe this is a passion of ours to like help our community. You know, look into each other and uplift each other. And that was R R Y. And you know, he gave me more personnel. Like we went through. A year of depression before Asian Austin network, because we’re so lost. We didn’t know what to do or less, you know, because we were blessed to get to a point in business where, you know, it was going really well. People were asking us like, I want to be just like you on you, this and that. But you answer is that sounds really good. But when you go home, lay down on your pillow, you just feel empty. Like, is that really my life’s calling it, just making money, you know? And then you want to do something bigger, you know, for you, you found to talk for us or trying to find tech talk while you talking to your house at first.
Jay: (00:44:39) Um, besides that, I don’t think that it’s not the essence of Tik TOK. It’s just more of a platform where you can share your passion, right?Yeah. Cause I still don’t think that I still think that there’s a lot of things I dislike about Tik TOK, strongly, strongly dislike, and I wish that I was on a different platform. To be honest, I just haven’t happened to be blessed with this specific platform. And one thing you touched on upon is that gets you in a very dark stage is when you start idolizing. Idolizing things. When you start idolizing sports, when you start idolizing money, when this becomes your only foundation of who you are, that’s what really starts spinning out of control in the longterm. I don’t think it lasts, but when you say that your foundation is. Helping others and bringing other, bringing other Asian Americans up. That’s a foundation also of, of my, my faith as a Christian, right. People try to complicate Christianity with so many different things, but the essence is just love. God, love your neighbor. And that’s it. There’s no rule, no other rule book and your foundation as well as to love on others and to try to bring other people up, if that is your true essence, like this is something that can keep you and sustain you for a really long time.So I admire that you guys as well.
Maggie: (00:45:57) Yeah. And likewise, I absolutely agree with you. I think that some people fall into this perception where they have to succeed in this one role, because they think that that’s what their passion is. But if you like take away that one role, they won’t have anything else. Right. So, you know, We’ll look into what your purpose is, like, look into your why, like what makes you happy and what makes you wake up in the morning every single day? You know? And like for most of the people, that’s why so many successful people, when they actually do become successful money is like so irrelevant, irrelevant to them. And that’s why they want to help other people, because that’s really where their passion lies, right? Not with like their business, not with like with this one beneath that they’ve, co-founded it’s with helping people and helping, you know, other people live successful lives.
Bryan: (00:46:43) Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I absolutely agree in, in me. You appreciate your humor and your platform a lot. Um, how do, is that a curiosity? You know, you mentioned, you know, you find inspiration out of your day to day, but how do you, how do you find time to make such elaborate videos while running a company?
Jay: (00:47:03) Try my best to, to just keep it on non-business hours. Obviously, sometimes I just get caught up with. With ideas, but yeah, I usually do the videos on the weekend and try to build up a bunch of different videos and I leave them in my drafts. And then I kind of think about which ones were good. And then I kind of build on those. I realized the weakest content is stuff that you just kind of spontaneously think of and just without giving it enough thought you can just kind of upload it. Um, when I first started doing tick-tock, I watched a video, uh, from a Korean tic talker. Um, may I should send you his, his handle, but he’s, uh, he’s obviously someone that has. Studied film. And just the way he was shooting his tic talks and delivering his jokes. I messaged him as, Oh, this is so awesome. Like I really admire your work. And he said, he just said, okay. I mean, all I do is put time and effort into it. And I mean, anything you put time in, even if it’s just an eight, second video, people are gonna be able to tell the difference. Right. I think that’s made all the differences that I’ve actually put in. More effort in, even if I just thought it was a joke I could build on top of that and maybe shoot it at a better angle or speak in a more softer tone or a different tempo.It’s made all the difference.
Maggie: (00:48:20) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. People can really tell when there’s effort and tender love and care put into a video rather than, you know, just. Shooting out, whatever you can think of.
Bryan: (00:48:30) It makes a lot of sense.
Jay: (00:48:35) Well, we get a lot of viral videos that are just spontaneously and you see those people.But the thing that they lack is consistency because they thought that this type of style would be successful, but it’s going for one video, two videos. And once your vibe dies down and you don’t have that consistency or. Or work ethic to put in some work into your videos. It doesn’t last long.
Maggie: (00:48:53) Yeah.That’s very true. Unless you continue to shake your butt on Tik TOK.Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s exactly what Brian and I were saying too. Some people actually come out with one video when it blows up and it’s because, you know, it probably resonates with a lot of people, but you know, afterwards you can see that it starts to trend down and
Bryan: (00:49:20) yeah, because when, when your video blows up, they see all your other video, they see the same consistency and all that. Okay. Now I’m a fan, you know, Whereas he blow up and you’re like, okay, this guy’s no consistency, no theme to his, his profile. He does. There’s a follow by it. Won’t grow past that. Exactly.
Maggie: (00:49:38) Yeah. Awesome. What is the one advice that you can give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Jay: (00:49:44) I would say don’t be afraid to pivot and. Like what Maggie said, don’t be about saving face. And I think a big thing of our generation is we’re so influenced by social media and the identity that we portray on social media. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I stepped away from Facebook, Instagram in 2011 was because I saw that he was influencing my ability to pivot. Right. I have a lot of teammates, um, from college that all their Instagram, all their Facebook posts were about being a professional basketball player, basketball. Oh, there’s basketball then. And it was so apparent that in their career it was over and they should be starting to pivot and doing something more sustainable. But I just couldn’t because a part of it was an attachment to their identity. As on social media, they wanted to still be the basketball player. They couldn’t all of a sudden be. I dunno, uh, uh, uh, uh, a restaurant owner, cause that was just too, too drastic of a change for their identity. So there should definitely be a huge emotional and mental detachment from social media when deciding things and pivoting in your own life.
Bryan: (00:50:58) That’s really, really good advice.
Maggie: (00:51:01) Yeah. Thank you for that sound advice. Well, it was amazing learning about you and hearing your amazing story. How can our listeners learn more about you online?
Jay: (00:51:11) Um, I mean, you can follow us on Tik TOK and Instagram. If you want to message us, um, definitely on Instagram would be the most easiest way to message us.And, um, I guess I’ll leave my. Like that information with you guys.
Bryan: (00:51:26) Yeah. Yeah. We’ll include it inside our show notes.
Maggie: (00:51:28) We definitely will. Well, thank you so much, Jay. It was awesome having you on Brian. Appreciate you guys
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