Annie Hwang and Jason Cui // Ep 52 // Building the Next Generation of Creator Entrepreneurs
Welcome to Episode 52 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Annie Hwang and Jason Cui 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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Annie Hwang and Jason Cui are the cofounders of Jemi, a creator monetization platform building the best ways for anyone with an audience to monetize online. They were named Forbes 30 under 30 in consumer technology in 2021. Jemi is a Y Combinator company and has raised $2M from investors like General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins, and Liquid2 Ventures. Annie and Jason met while studying computer science together at Harvard University and are currently based in San Francisco.
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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 two variations. Special guests with us. They are any Hong and Jason Choi, Annie and Jason are the co-founders of Jemi a creator monetization platform building the best ways for anyone with an audience to monetize online. They were named to Forbes 30 under 30 in consumer technology in 2021. Jemmy is a Y Combinator company and has raised. $2 million from investors like general catalyst, Kleiner, Perkins, and liquid to ventures, any, and Jason met while studying computer science together at Harvard university and are currently based in San Francisco, any and Jason, welcome to the show.
Jason: (00:00:59) Thanks so much for having us for the awesome.
Bryan: (00:01:08) We’re so happy to have you guys, and we want to dive deep, deep into your story too. So start with Andy first. Like Annie, what was your upbringing like?
Annie: (00:01:16) Yeah, for sure. Um, I mean, I was born in the States. I was actually born in Colorado. I don’t really remember much about it, but, um, my family kind of moved around a lot when I was younger. So at one point I was in like Pittsburgh and Syracuse. And then when I was at. Around like seven or eight years old, actually our whole family moved to Korea. Um, and I lived there for around six years. And then when I was around 14, our family moved back to California, um, uh, Irvine, California, and I went to school there, um, high school there and then moved out to Boston for college, um, dis and I actually met at Harvard and. After Harvard, I went to, uh, Facebook as a and work there as a product manager for around two years. And then, um, we started working on Jami last year and we can share a ton about that, but that’s a little bit about me. Um, Jason, do you want to also do an intro?
Jason: (00:02:10) Um, I mean a little background about myself. Um, I, so I’m Jason. One of the co-founders of Jimmy, uh, I was actually born and raised pretty much my entire life in the Northern Virginia DC area. So I am Chinese American and you know, was very lucky to. You know, grew up with really, really awesome loving and supportive parents. Um, kind of really hadn’t lived there until going off to college. So, um, like Annie said, we went to school together at Harvard. Funnily enough, we actually met on the very, very first day of school, um, even before school started officially. Um, so like, I mean, Annie definitely has been one of the most like special relationships in my life. We’ve been. Working together for a little over six plus years now. So, um, that’s been really great. And then like Andy too, also moved out to the Bay. Um, I actually joined, uh, Uber right out of school, uh, as a product manager as well. Um, and I think that’s kind of how we picked off our journey, you know, in technology and entrepreneurship.
Bryan: (00:03:11) I love that. I love that a lot. And you guys are you’re dating. Like, what is it like working together?
Annie: (00:03:23) It’s definitely a lot of fun. Um, it’s also very stressful because I mean, there’s really almost no work-life balance. Like literally, probably the first things that we talk about when we wake up is work. Um, and also one of the last things. Um, but I don’t know. I feel like a lot of our friends ask us that like, Oh, I can’t imagine myself, like, you know, dating my co-founder or like starting a company with my, my significant other. And for us, it’s like, I can’t imagine starting a company with them. Someone you’re not that, you know, someone that you don’t trust that much. Um, I think for us like our relationship, it’s definitely our strength. Um, that’s kind of how I see it. I don’t know. I don’t want to speak for her.
Jason: (00:04:03) Yeah, no, I think honestly like any put it, you know, really, really well. And I think honestly, our relationship just is very unique in the sense that we, we started off as good friends and almost partners. So, you know, We, we didn’t start dating until, you know, three years into our relationship. And prior to that, you know, we were working together a lot. You know, we had very similar interests. We, we both started computer science and already had this kind of overlap in just like working styles. So I think. Actually the transition was a bit more natural than I think either of us expected, it just kind of happened. And I think when it, when it came down to it, like Annie said, it was like, Oh, there’s almost no one else. We would rather do this with. So it just made sense.
Bryan: (00:04:47) I love that that line in nature reminds me of my relation with Maggie as well. Yeah. I would not start using Haas network. Anyone else? You know, because there’s so many. Yeah. I mean, like, trust is huge, like huge issue in business. Right. And people say like, it’s almost like you’re dating your, your co-founder in some ways. So I’m like, okay, why don’t we just combine that?
Maggie: (00:05:09) I totally understand what you two are talking about it. It’s like almost no differentiation between work and personal life, because we’re at the dinner table and we’re talking about work too, but there are a lot of pros to it as well. You know, I think that just that trust that you build between two people is just so important and as co-founders as well, it’s, it’s really strong.
Bryan: (00:05:28) Yeah. I’m kind of curious about your entrepreneurial path, you know, like what made you guys want to pursue this? This tech route, because you know, you put, you guys both have really Constable careers, Uber and Facebook. What made you decide to take that leap? You know, that’s a huge jump.
Maggie: (00:05:43) Yeah. And did you always have this kind of inner feeling that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Jason: (00:05:49) That’s a really great question. I think, I mean, I don’t want to speak for Annie, but at least for me, I think I knew entrepreneurship was. What’s something I was always really, really interested in. So, you know, even in freshman year at school, you know, was in that typical mindset of like, Oh, how do I, you know, start a side hustle? And, you know, it was just working on a whole variety of projects. So, um, I think I kind of ended up actually working out a lot of startups during my time at school, which I’m really grateful for. Um, just like really good exposure and just seeing, you know, you know, how companies are scaled and. More importantly, how to, you know, small teams work together. Um, and I think specifically for Jemi, um, it really, really did feel like a stars aligned type of situation where Andy and I both entered, you know, product programs. We both realized a year end that we’re like, Hey, you know, we’re getting a little. We’re getting a little bored. And, um, I think we were just lucky to find a space and product that we were just like burning really passionate about, um, to the point where I was just kind of a no-brainer to pursue. Yeah.
Annie: (00:06:55) And I think similarly for me, um, yeah, I was like getting bored and also I think, um, when you work at a big company, it just doesn’t feel like you’re really. It’s hard for you to actually be communicating with your customers or the users. And I think I wanted that experience where whatever we’re building, we’re directly getting feedback from our users. Um, like hearing them say good things about the product and also like giving like, Awesome. Sometimes kind of harsh criticism. Like I want it to be in a position where I could hear all of that. Um, rather than through like, um, they’re like our product marketing manager worth or someone else. Um, so I think for us, it just kind of like, We were both independently interested in, you know, doing a startup. And, um, it also turned out that we were interested in similar spaces and things. Um, so yeah, it just kind of worked out that way. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:07:50) Yeah. That’s awesome. I mean, what did your parents say about the junk. You know,
Jason: (00:07:55) that’s a, that’s actually a great question. Um, I think surprisingly for both of us, like they, they were quite supportive from the beginning. I think, um, their main comments, at least from my parents were more definitely on the interpersonal side. They’re like, Hey, you know, you know, starting a company with your significant other is that it’s a unique thing and it’s not going to be without challenges. So a lot of it was just kind of like, Hey, like, you know, how are you guys thinking about it? If you’re feeling good, then w we’re feeling good. Um, so they were, I think we were lucky in that they were really supportive.
Bryan: (00:08:28) I love that.
Annie: (00:08:29) And for my parents, like my mom, I feel like she’s just always trusted me. Like, it’s, it’s. Awesome, but also scary at times because, um, I would just like make decisions and she’s always very, very supportive. Um, but yeah, our parents were overall very supportive. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:08:49) I love it. I love the way that you guys articulate and play off each other as you’re talking to me happy, you know, and I love the fact that your parents are so supportive you guys, and to believe you guys were not the best, so that. That in itself makes a huge difference. So hats off to you guys.
Maggie: (00:09:06) It’s, it’s very rare because a lot of people that we interview, you know, Asian parents, they tend to be, you know, a little bit hesitant when their child goes into entrepreneurship, but to have a support system is so important. And I think it goes a long way. It definitely does. Um,
Bryan: (00:09:21) let’s talk about Jeremy. Like, do you guys, how do you guys come so passionate about this field and I put in for you guys don’t know, please check on yummy. I think it’s an awesome application and I think you guys are hitting it on sleep really important. That’s tummy. There’s a big wave of creator content monetization model.
Maggie: (00:09:39) Yeah, definitely. I think, you know, just to jump off of what Brian was saying, there’s a new world for content creators right now and right. A lot of them are, you know, finding ways to put out content, but they don’t know how to monetize. And I think Jimmy is like a solution for this. We’ll love to hear what you guys have to say about Jeremy and Oh yeah. I love the name.
Annie: (00:10:00) Yeah, sure. I’ll take it. Um, so to tackle the last question for is Jemi actually means, um, fun in Korean. Um, and we were just trying to come up with a name that’s unique, pretty easy to say, and actually has like some meetings. So we were like, okay, well, Jemi means fun. And it’s also easy to come up with a logo because, you know, like we can come up with like a gem type of logo and it’s kind of like a plan where it’s so, um, that’s the history of the name, um, in terms of how we got started. Working on Jeremy and like the idea. Um, so for some context, when I was at Facebook, I was, um, for most of my time there, I was a product manager on their creator monetization team, which is where, um, I got the domain expertise and became really passionate about this space. And for Jason, he’s actually a music producer, um, decided not to, uh, pursue it. Full-time because obviously it’s like. You know, hard to make money as a music producer, which is why he, he was like passionate about the problem space as well. Um, and in terms of like the specific product, we ended up building, um, the approach we decided to take, uh, right when we were leaving Facebook and Uber was, I mean, it seems like. We were aligned that we’re going to build for creators and artists. So let’s just try to talk to as many creators and artists as possible and understand their pain points and needs, um, with current mod station platforms that existed. And, um, so that’s the exact approach we took email does many creators. Uh, we personally knew, try to find, um, creators on Instagram, Tik Tok, um, all the various different platforms, um, got on calls with them and yeah. Um, one of the main things we realized is many of these creators would say, um, Hey, yeah, like I want to interact with my audiences, make money, but I really don’t know where to start. And I also don’t know what my fans would pay for. Um, they would say like, I think maybe my fans would want merge. I also have some people DM-ing me saying they want shout outs. Other saying that they want to do like a zoom call with me. Um, and then they would also say like, Other platforms they’ve tried out kind of limit them in terms of what they could offer. It’s like, you can only offer like a video shout out, or you can only offer like a monthly recurring membership type of thing. Um, or just like only sell merch and for them. Felt like a huge burden for them to like onboard onto multiple different platforms and also share those platforms directly with their fans. Um, so then we decided to take this approach of like creating a flexible mod station platform where creators can easily onboard and start selling all these different things that they think their fans might pay for. Um, and see what happens and really ultimately learn what really clicks with their audience. Um, So, yeah, that’s a little bit about like our founding story, um, and how like the, what the product is currently as
Maggie: (00:12:55) so amazing. Very inspirational. Um, and Jason, you know how Annie mentioned that you were a music producer back then are some of the things that you guys are building out for Jimmy right now? Do you think that it would have been like super helpful for you when you were a music producer?
Jason: (00:13:12) Yeah. I mean, that’s a real, yeah, it’s a really good question. And I think, at least for me, I think music always was like a passion. And like I personally never like reached the scale of where I was like, Oh, you know, I had a really loyal audience and you know, it was, it was trying to grow it. So. First off. I was like, Oh, I have like immense respect for all the artists out there who are doing that and like making a career and making a living out of it. Um, I think what I did gain through that experience was just like the empathy, you know, like from talking to artists who, you know, were, you know, on topping the charts to ones that are just like making music in the bedroom. It just, it just really feels like it’s just hard. And, um, you know, like, creators deserve to get paid for their amazing work and they deserve to have platforms for their creativity. Um, so I think when I’ve realized that creator monetization was a thing, I was like, Oh man, like, it just makes perfect, perfect sense.
Bryan: (00:14:09) Out of curiosity, too late. How, at what point did you guys figure out that this was a viable product and also like, was applying to YC, like for you guys. And your experience there.
Annie: (00:14:21) Yeah. I mean, I’ll, I’ll take it. Um, so for the first question, I think like we took, took this like very. Let’s try building an MVP and get as much feedback as possible in totality. So, um, Jason basically built out maybe a product and, um, immediately the first thing we did was reach back out to those creators. We bought out a call with like a month or two ago, asking them for feedback and saying like, Hey, we have like a product that you can try out and just getting them to try it out and getting their feedback. And it was very clear that it wasn’t solving a clearly. Clear need on their side. Um, because these were all creators that said they wanted a flexible platform and that’s exactly what we’re provided. Um, so I think like, I think that wasn’t enough signal for us to see like, Hey, this could really work. And I think, um, Transparently, you know, we’re still early in birth, figuring things out and learning things as we go. But I think the early feedback we’re getting from our existing users and seeing how much they enjoy using it and seeing them like constantly promoting it to their fans has been giving us signal like, Hey, if we can just get this into the hands of creators, um, it, it could really work. And then I think your second question was around. Why YC?
Jason: (00:15:44) I think, I think for us, like we, first of all, I always looked up to YCS, it’s amazing, you know, like accelerate and we’re like, Oh man, like they always are producing so much good content for the community. And, um, I think we were lucky enough to have a couple of friends that, that had gone through the previous batches. Um, and just hearing them say like, as a first time founder, Especially as like a pretty young, you know, first time founder, uh, the YC community was really invaluable in terms of just like the, you know, the help, but also the guidance around the pitfalls to avoid. I think that’s what really drew us to the program. So, um, in all honesty, we were kind of just like, Hey, there’s, there’s no downside to applying. You know, we were super, super early when we did apply. Um, but a lot of our focus was just around. You know, crafting the narrative and making sure it was as strong as possible
Bryan: (00:16:35) for you guys listening. Why C means why common ear? You guys aren’t familiar with that side.
Maggie: (00:16:43) So we’ve read a lot of articles on Jimmy and the two of you, you know, there were like Forbes articles and everything like that. And I always see, um, you know, a lot of those articles say how, how easy Jemi. Is, um, in terms of like using it. Um, and you know, I’m very curious to know for anyone who is like not tech savvy, for example, you guys are trying to build this new generation of online entrepreneurs and creators. Right. I think there’s a lot of people who are really good at creating content and creating, um, things that they’re good at, but are not sure how to become an entrepreneur or how to monetize in that sense. Right. And I think Jemmy is like a good tool for that. I know that you guys also have like a personal assistant for each creator. Right. I think that’s a super interesting, and I feel like that’s so helpful because for someone who is like creating content, but don’t know how to actually monetize or don’t know how to make it into like a full fledged e-commerce company or, you know, entrepreneurship journey, a personal assistant is like so helpful. Um, can you talk a little, a bit about like, how the idea came about and how you ensure that Jeremy is easy to use for someone like who’s not tech savvy
Annie: (00:17:47) For sure. Um, it’s actually a funny story. So I think you’re probably referring to some of the like personal in some of, I think, um, the testimony testimonials like a personal assistant, um, and probably in some where, um, other articles it’s featured as well. So the TLDR is the personal assistant. It’s basically just me. We, we never really, uh, you know, initially when we. We started doing this. It wasn’t like, Oh, let’s make a personal assistant thing, like a value prop for our platform. It was really just like us trying to provide as much value to our customers and as much, you know, like assistance, like it wasn’t like, Oh, we’re gonna frame it this way. And that’s going to be our main selling point. I think for us, we’re just like, Hey, let’s provide. Awesome customer service. Um, so that was kind of like how it all started. And I think, um, we’re at a point where we know that. This will continue to be like a huge value prop proposition for new users, new creators, that onboard. So we’re going to try to keep that as much as possible, but we’ve recently been thinking more and more ways about like, how do we scale that? Um, A lot of creative things that we’ve been thinking around, like the product where we could give like smart recommendations and help with easy setup. Um, so that it doesn’t necessarily always have to be a person that jumps in, um, to provide this assistance. We’ll always be here to be reactive in terms of like, if there’s things that. If they do ask for assistance, we come in. Um, but I think there’s a lot of stuff we can do on the product side where this personal assistant is done, um, enabled through tech basically.
Jason: (00:19:27) Yeah. And just to add onto it. And he said, it’s definitely funny to think about, but I think actually that’s a big learning that we had from Y Combinator. I feel like, um, some of the advice they kind of always preach is like, Um, I D I knew the day, like you just want to make something that people want, and oftentimes, like, finding that specific product is actually the hardest part. And so, you know, advice that YC always gives is in the meantime, when you, when you’re kind of getting to that product market fit, um, you should kind of do things that actually don’t scale. You kind of want to go above and beyond and use the fact that you’re a small company to kind of provide. This competitive help. Um, and I think that’s exactly what we tried to do. And I, it’s interesting because it’s almost easier once you’ve figured out what people want to think about, how to make it scale, um, then to kind of just like, you know, enter that really ambiguous space and try and narrow in as the first step.
Bryan: (00:20:23) I really like your approach to everything and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me too. So I do appreciate that. I want to start the conversation back to. Who you guys are as founders, you know, throughout this entire journey, like. What were your highs and lows like, you know, cause we know that Oxford journey is super hard and it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter who we talk to on the podcast. And we realized that everyone goes through very high moments and very dark moments when he looked themselves and be like, why am I doing this? You want to hear about your story,
Annie: (00:20:52) man,
Jason: (00:20:54) Joe, I mean the biggest and I have this conversation, if not every day, like every week. And I think the one thing we just say is like, Man, like it does get really hard. And I feel like if we reflect back, like on our journey, a lot of the highs just. Come from feeling like, you know, we have such a great team and it’s a team that can kind of just take on the world, you know, that classic, boundless optimism, like when we were leaving our companies, it was, it was honestly really inspiring. And I think, um, to kind of get to the low points, like they’re definitely really real. And I feel like it’s, it’s almost hard to know how they feel like, unless you’re there, you’re kind of in that sort of specific situation, but you know, for us like the pressure of. You know, meeting the demands of customers and investors and even feeling like we want to make our friends and family proud. I think, you know, it’s just, you know, some days you just feel like, wow, like it’s, it’s a lot of pressure. And, you know, I think the key that we’ve been talking about is just thinking about ways to combat that sort of feeling and, um, kind of work out that stress.
Bryan: (00:22:01) Yeah, thanks for sharing that, by the way. I mean, for ourselves to us Asian Haas networks, growing, scaling, like we have our moments where we’re like, we love the team. And then we have our moments where there’s always a constant fire every day. You know, there’s always something big comes up and you make you, that makes you question whether or not this is worth doing. So I do just by talking to you guys and understanding like the bonds are now, I can see you guys are very determined. And your North star is very strong and then fully appreciate that.
Maggie: (00:22:28) Yeah. Yeah. I definitely resonate a lot with what you said, and I think it’s very similar to Asia health network as well. I just like all about community building, you know, in terms of community building, there’s just so much that. Is on our plates, our responsibility to make sure that everyone in the community is happy and you know, it is really difficult, but you know, we are making impactful changes and you know, same with Jamie. So thank you so much for what you do.
Bryan: (00:22:53) Yeah. I liked that. You mentioned that. Um, sorry about that. I liked that you mentioned that you were everyone’s assistant. Yeah. Yeah Last year where just like, I was just emailing, Hey, why is my pulse dot approve? Or can I do this? Can I do that? Like, hold on, we got a lot better, like hiring off the team to help us scale that part. So early, early startup pains, we feel you guys. Yeah. 100%.
Maggie: (00:23:17) Yeah. And no like props for you, Annie. Like it means. So much to the, you know, the other person at the other end or the community member for them to like actually see someone is like, you know, responding to them and, you know, actually taking time out of their day to get back to them. But I love how you’re kind of seeing like how you should scale now, right? Because as you grow bigger, you’re not going to be able to respond to every single person. So I love that you guys are looking about how you can scale. We did, you know, we, we connected last week on Jeremy and, um, you know, love what you guys are doing with Jamie. I know that a lot of content creators are trying to see how they can use their voice nowadays, especially with all of the anti-Asian hate crimes that are happening around the world. Um, and I know that Jeremy had recently launched a campaign to fight against these anti-Asian hate crimes. So I would love to hear about your campaign and what you guys are planning to do.
Annie: (00:24:10) Yeah, for sure. Um, I mean, yeah, like so far we’ve just been sharing kind of like, or founding story. What Jemi originally, when we started kind of our vision is, and it still continues to be, um, so, you know, like Jemi AEs, primarily a creator monetization platform where creators and public figures could make Mo interact with their audience and make money. But with the recent, you know, anti-Asian hate crimes. Then actually hearing from our community that, Hey, I want to use your platform to, you know, Increase awareness for this issue and do good. Um, so that’s when we started thinking more about like, how, how can we, like, as the founders of this platform, um, use our platform to, you know, contribute to this. Cause we also deeply care about, I mean, we’re Asian, um, our entire founding team is actually Asian. Um, so that’s when we started thinking, like what if like given that we have users that have a lot of influence over the people that follow them, um, Partner with them so that they can raise money, uh, to, um, you know, all with all the funds being donated to stopping anti-Asian hate crimes. So that was just, it was really just last week, week. I think that we started thinking about this and immediately we just took action and started reaching out to existing Asian careers and allies that are using Jeremy today. Um, reached out to you, um, reached out to some other. Asian organizations that we feel like would be good to partner with. Um, so yeah, that’s kind of been our approach so far, um, launched last week. Um, we’re always welcoming you Asian creators or allies. I also want to kind of use their voice, their influence and their time, um, to kind of like give back. So yeah. Yeah. I don’t know if you want to add it.
Jason: (00:25:54) Yeah, no, I think the only last thing that I would add was that I think one. We noticed, especially amongst people in our generation was that we felt like the pain was a shared pain where the, you know, people felt frustrated by what was happening. But for some reason there was almost this kind of. Confusion on like what action to take or, you know, and what to do. And like even people who are like, Oh, I want to donate, but I don’t even know the right organizations to donate to. And I think that kind of learning just made so much sense in the context of Jemi because we were like, Oh, we have these super strong and awesome creators who can serve as like amplified voices. Um, they’re kind of just like, Almost, you know, shine a light on what’s happening and also just kind of, you know, activate people who do want to give back, um, and just funnel them to the right places. Um, so I think that just kind of really put the bow on it and we’re like, okay, this makes like a lot of sense to do.
Maggie: (00:26:49) Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Thank you so much for doing that. And I think it would resonate with a lot of our audience for Asian health network as well, because we have so many creators in the community. Um, what type of customer experiences, um, can creators use to, you know, be on Jemi? Because I know. Joon Lee is also on it. And a lot of other people run it and he does like a one-on-one dinner dates with people, um, would love to know like what type of customer experiences can people think about selling on Jimmy, where
Bryan: (00:27:18) we get to that question. I do want to make some closing remarks on your program. I think it’s unfortunate as leaders and founders that you guys speak up, you know, nowadays is just not a brand. You guys are the heart and the soul of the company, you know, And it’s so important for you guys, who can you speak up and enabling your community to speak out and make a difference because you’re in that position. Now you have that kind of influence now, and it really, you guys making the space and making it safe for us to support each other because so important. And two other founders who came before us, you know, people are like 10, 20 years ago. The biggest thing that it got from them was that they regretted not speaking up more on behalf of the community. And this is something where I feel like our generation is doing a lot better. You know, we’re seeing this is not okay. We need to come together and support each other and actually creating the foundation for the feature. So hats off to you guys.
Jason: (00:28:19) Yeah, no, I think we feel the same way for the Asian house. We’ll never, I think we have deep respect for, you know, the platform you guys have built and the way you’ve elevated, like voices in our community. So. I didn’t think he was.
Maggie: (00:28:33) Oh, thank you. Yeah. I think like a lot of people are now realizing that they have a platform, even if they don’t even have like a large community, they have a voice and that voice can go a long way. Um, and you know, you, you too definitely have a voice and a platform. And I, I think we thank you guys for doing that. No. Thank you so much for sure. The second question. Yes. No way. I think that, um, you know, based on the campaign that you’re launching for Jimmy, I think it will resonate with a lot of people inside Asian wholesale network. Um, and you know, for all the listeners definitely recommend you to check out Jami and. See the many different ways that you can, um, create content on there. And so kind of talk about like, what are the customer experiences that creators can, um, use to on Jimmy?
Annie: (00:28:19) Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, as we said, kind of the main value prop is around the flexibility. So. Really like anything, but for some guidance on like generally what creators have been offering, um, as you said, June, we offers like these virtual dinner dates, but technically it’s just like a one-on-one zoom call. Um, other creators, um, offer anything from like video shout outs where they could sell like a personalized video response to a fan. Um, Creators have also done like zoom concerts, zoom meeting creates. And generally these are more of the typical influencers, like YouTube creators and stuff. Um, but actually like in our definition of a creator, it’s really anyone who has an online audience. I think anyone, these days could be a creator. We have Jemmy profiles, um, and we’ve been offering like one-on-one zoom calls for like resume review career advice. And when it’s recruiting season, I actually get. Out of our class. And like, I, um, this was back a couple of months ago. Um, and we were just like raising money for, uh, black lives matter. But, um, even now, like if there are more of these like professionals in your network that kind of want to use Jeremy to offer their time, um, as a professional, in a specific field, that’s always like a great way to use it. Um, and for more of the. You know, digital artists, they can also use Jami to sell digital content. Um, and yeah, there’s just a lot of different ways that I could be used any, any type of way of like monetizing your skill and time.
Jason: (00:28:19) Yeah. And then the only thing I’ll add to that is I think like Andy touched on before, like our vision is just to build the next generation of creator entrepreneurs, whatever type of content that creator is creating. So I think we started off with this vision of building this all in one shop and I think. Um, especially more recently, we’ve been trying to also factor in, um, basically recurring revenue streams for our users. Um, so we actually have a fully built out membership feature where creators can host their own communities. They can offer exclusive content, um, you know, basically have like direct messaging flows. Um, and I think it just kind of fits. It’s in our vision when we’re like, we want to be the best and most effective monetization tool. Um, and we’re really building the product around the creators. So, um, that’s kinda how we got to where we are today.
Bryan: (00:31:42) I’m curious, um, in terms of like your mindset as leaders, right? How do you view mistakes? How do you guys view opportunities? How do you guys prioritize things that are coming to you? Because. It’d be entrepreneurial. It’s like you have a lot of different things. A lot of suggestion, a lot of advisors, a lot of investors there like she do. Does he do that? So how do you guys manage all of that as leaders of this company?
Jason: (00:32:06) That’s so that’s a really good question. I think one thing, anytime, we’re just having a conversation today when we’re like, Hey, especially, you know, being in this leadership role as being new to this sort of role. I think the one thing we’ve learned is just like. You know, as you’re ramping up, like it’s impossible to be perfect at everything. Um, so like any sort of moment can really be a learning opportunity, especially if it’s a mistake or failure. Um, I think, you know, especially as we do these new things, like hiring and fundraising and, and anything from building product to marketing, I feel like anytime we feel like there’s an opportunity to get better, we treat it as like, A moment to be grateful almost. And I think, you know, as long as I, I, I personally feel like as long as you’re learning, then there’s really no harm that can be done. So, um, at least me personally, that’s how I’ve always thought about it.
Annie: (00:33:00) Yeah. And I think for us kind of similar to that, um, one thing that helps. For us for sure is just like talking constantly, like making sure that we’re aligned on things. Um, because like you said, there’s a lot of priorities, um, that come up, like from various different channels, like one could be like customers asking for something another could be, I don’t know, like, uh, you know, investors expecting something. And I think for us, as long as we talk about it and align on like, What we should prioritize and then figure out like who tackles what? And we’re always communicating. I think that has helped us for sure. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:33:39) How do you guys have a disagreement between the two?
Jason: (00:33:42) That’s a really great question. Um, I think for us, honestly, what we realized that is like, You know, everyone will have disagreements. And I think, you know, it’s so normal to feel like nervous about entering a co-founder relationship, especially given the nature of ours. Um, but I think what we’ve learned really, really early on, like Andy said was that honestly, our relationship is a strength. And I think like we, we had our disagreements, we have our arguments, but I think what gets us through them is we realized at the end of the day that we not only have the same goals. But we actually cared deeply about each other and the same priorities. And I think when you kind of take that step back and just kind of, you know, think about things for a second, it’s much easier, um, to reach an agreement. And, um, one story we always cite, um, from Kevin Hart’s, who actually is one of our investors and G he was one of the co-founders of event bright also. Um, worked with his significant other, um, they’re an amazing couple and team was, um, he would say like whenever they would kind of get into. Uh, the situation they would just kind of just literally, you know, sit on the ground and turn the lights off and just relaxed and kind of just take a step back. And I think for us, that, that has worked really well.
Maggie: (00:35:04) I love that. I love how you two have agreed. You know, communication is key and maybe every couple is different, but just finding out what works best for you is super important. So, um, I will let you know, like how have you to grow and since you started building Jemi and how have you seen kind of like each other grow?
Annie: (00:35:31) Um, I think like for sure, um, you know, building a company together has brought us closer because like we, yeah. Ever since we moved to San Francisco together, um, we’ve been living together, but, um, I was at Facebook. Jason was at Uber, so we weren’t like actually spending 24 seven together, but now we are, and we’re also talking about, you know, work and life. All kinds of like throughout the whole day. Um, and I think you just kind of like find out even more about each other and realize like, Oh, it seems like when, you know, Jason is stressed, he likes doing XYZ. Or when he has like, even like work meetings and calls, he, uh, tends to want to, you know, answer questions like X, Y, Z, and just like really learning. Even more about each other. I don’t know if you guys feel that way, but I feel like overall, overall, it’s just like, you kind of see, even though we have like, experience working together at school, it’s not the same as like a work environment, you know? So, um, Yeah, I think I just like know more about Jason and feel closer to him.
Maggie: (00:36:43) amazing. So what do you two have in store in 2021 for yourselves and for Jimmy as well?
Jason: (00:36:52) Yeah, I mean for Jimmy, I think, I mean, I think we’re really excited about this year. I think. Um, for us and most of last year actually bleach, I mean was in this private beta stage where, um, basically, you know, we, we were just focused on getting a really small group of creators, um, using the product, getting their feedback and just iterating on top of it. Um, and I think this year is when we’ll really aim to kind of focus more on acquisition and just really getting the product out there too. To the creators who need it the most. Um, so I think we’re just kind of excited to do that. Um, and I think for, I mean, for us personally, I think. I mean, I’m just excited to be working on something I’m passionate about with someone I care about a lot and, um, having, you know, an awesome team around us. So I just feel very grateful for that. Any, I don’t know about you.
Annie: (00:37:39) Yeah, no, I was just going to say the same thing. Like I feel like last year we were kind of in this like cockroach mode, just like in this beta building, talking to our existing creators, but you like this year, we’re trying to become more. Um, you know, like launch more properly. So we’re excited about that. And personally, just dis excited that, um, we’re constantly learning and growing. Yeah,
Bryan: (00:38:07) you guys are, you guys are awesome. And like, now that you raise $2 million and next step is building on your team, right. Yeah. What is that process like hiring and managing talent. That’s different skillset
Annie: (00:38:23) for sure. Um, I mean, we recently hired one of our closest friends, actually, Jason, um, worked with him at Uber. He’s also just like an overall, really good friend of ours. So now we have like a full time. You know, three people working on it full time. I don’t really know what our plans are after that. We’ve been trying to stay lean. Um, you know, so I dunno.
Bryan: (00:38:47) Yeah. I think honestly, just related to her saying earlier, I feel like hiring is one of those things where it’s just, it’s really hard to do really well. And I think, you know, we’ve realized early on that, like, Hey, we’re totally new to this. So like, we definitely lean into it with a learning mindset. So, you know, we try and lean on. You know, kind of the entrepreneurs that have walked ahead of us, whether they’re our investors or advisors. And, um, I just feel like most tactically, we, we care deeply about people and like we do view our team as a family. So we think a lot about, you know, culture and diversity and, um, all of that kind of stuff. So, I mean, fingers crossed we’re, we’re, we’re hoping to do a good job, but I feel like. Um, you know, we feel excited about it.
Maggie: (00:39:30) Yeah. That’s awesome. How do you guys view, um, competition as well? Because you know, like we mentioned, you know, if there’s just a whole new world of content creators, and there’s so many new platforms for paid content creators now, um, but I think you guys have such a unique spin for Jemmy, but how do you personally view competition?
Annie: (00:39:50) Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think for us. Honestly, just like the fact that there are there, there is a lot of competition is like good. I mean, it definitely means that we’re probably providing something that’s valuable and need much needed. And it’s also good that there is a lot of platforms out there that are trying to solve this problem because clearly it’s not completely solved yet. Um, and then I think we’re just like, Alert. Um, we’re mindful of it. Uh, we don’t get too motivated. We see what they’re doing and if there are things that are good that we can learn from, we can quickly learn. Um, yeah, I think we just kind of take, to have that mentality of like every, every company is kind of going to have like their unique spin to it. Um, and ultimately it will come down to like distribution and branding. Um, so we think a lot about that as well. Um, But we try not to get too, like de-motivated because like you said, there are a lot of companies out there for the most part. It’s a good sign.
Maggie: (00:40:48) Well, I love your branding. It’s I love the gem. Easy to remember. Awesome. Well, um, we, uh, do you have any other questions? Okay. We have one last question for you, and that is what one advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Bryan: (00:41:09) Or what advice would you give to yourself at the very beginning of the journey?
Annie: (00:41:18) Not a good question. Um, a lot of great questions today. Hmm. I think, I mean, for me, I would say just like being more bold and fearless, I feel like it’s easy to have this kind of like imposter syndrome. Um, and in those cases I feel like you just kinda have to do it and, um, just not think like, Oh, I’m so young. I’m not experienced. I can’t do it most. I feel like founders. Generally go through a ton of failures, but eventually get to something and that’s by like not giving up and constantly try. So I think for, for any aspiring entrepreneur or like to myself, and I should remind myself to, I should just always try out new things. If there’s an idea that seems too bold. That’s a good sign. We should go for it. Um, yeah, I think that’s my advice.
Jason: (00:42:06) That’s great. I mean, that’s great advice. I would definitely listen to that if I think back, um, I feel like for me, it’s definitely really similar in like, in my kind of get into the kind of cheesy corny territory. But I think for me, like, I feel like it’s most meaningful to hear like, Hey, like doing, you know, building something from the ground up and bringing it. Into the world is just so incredibly hard. And I feel like I almost would have loved to someone just told me like, Hey, it’s going to be really, really hard, but you just kind of need to push through it. And I feel like, you know, it’s really easy to feel motivated when things are going well, but. When it feels like the world is on your shoulders, like it’s, it’s not the easiest thing in the world. So I think I would have loved it advice on just like, Hey, you know, just saying like it’s, it’s worth pushing through. And, um, what makes it easier is having awesome people, you know, by your side and, you know, having awesome people who also believe in you.
Maggie: (00:43:00) Yeah. Very great advice. Thank you so much for saying that and help listeners find out more about YouTube and Jemi online.
Annie: (00:43:08) Yeah. I mean, um, our social account is just Jemmy up on all various social accounts. Um, and our main website is jemmy.app. Um, and yeah, that’s pretty much it. Yeah.
Maggie: (00:43:22) Well, it was amazing hearing your stories today. Thank you so much for sharing with us your time. Yeah.
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