David Choi // Ep 58 // From Singer, Songwriter and Producer to First Time Tech Founder
Welcome to Episode 58 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have David Choi 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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David Choi is co-founder/CEO of Takko – a venture backed creator first video platform that helps creatives build businesses through the social economy. Takko is built for creators by creators.
In his former years David built a following as a singer/songwriter/producer and one of the earliest creators on YouTube (since 2006) and founder of independent record company CHOIS MUSIC INC.
David’s music has been heard on NBC FOX VH1 MTV Disney and retail stores all over the world and has partnered with major brands such as Kelloggs American Cancer Society GE Google Samsung and Toyota. On YouTube he has close to a million subscribers and over 125mm total video views. David has appeared on Larry King as a guest and is regularly invited to speak at schools panels and events around the world.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today we have a very special guest with us. His name is David choy. David is the co-founder and CEO of Takko venture back to creator. First video platform that helps creatives build businesses through the social economy. Taco is built for creators by creators, and as former years, David built a following as a singer songwriter producer, and one of the earliest creators on YouTube since 2006 and founder of independent record company choice music Inc. David’s music has been heard on NBC Fox, VH1, MTV, Disney, and retail stores all over the world and has partnered with major brands, such as Kellogg’s American cancer society, GE, Google, Samsung, and Toyota on YouTube. He has close to a million subscribers and over 125 million total video views. David has appeared on a Larry King as a guest, and is regularly invited to speak at schools, panels, and events around the world.David, welcome to the show.
David: (00:01:23) Thanks for having me happy to be here.
Bryan: (00:01:27) We’re so excited to have you. You guys can see the screen right now on my smiling, really big volume, David, almost near the beginning, to be honest, uh, vivid. Um, can you tell us about your upbringing and where you grew up and what was that like?
David: (00:01:42) Totally. Yeah. Um, so I grew up in orange County. Um, you know, my parents immigrated here from, from Korea. My mom. Uh, moved here when she was in high school. Um, I grew up in actually garden Grove, um, West garden Grove to be more, um, exact, um, you know, I, I grew up with, uh, there, weren’t a lot of Asians where I lived. Um, I know the garden Grove, there’s a Korea town, but that’s on the East side. And so I grew up, uh, you know, kind of in the suburbs of garden Grove. Um, parents worked at, uh, on their business. Uh, they had a music store since I was five. Um, and, uh, you know, I go to afterschool program, uh, like YMCAs, the boys and girls club. Cause my parents were working all the time. And so, um, I would walk over there and then, um, get picked up. Um, and then, uh, yeah, I would just, it was just normal kid, just normal kid doing normal things, getting into trouble sometimes. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:02:44) I like that. You know, you mentioned that your parents own a music store. But it has that put an influence on you pursue a music career?
David: (00:02:51) Yeah, for sure. Um, I was actually forced to play music because my, my dad’s side of the family, they’re all, they’re all musical. My mom’s side is more on the artsier side, but in our household, my mom’s, I would say she was kind of like the leader of the family, uh, Tara. Um, and so, uh, yeah, I, I think, uh, you know, growing up in a. Um, in a household where, you know, they, they run a music store. I had access to essentially every instrument that you can think of. Uh, but as, as a kid, I didn’t really appreciate it. Uh, in fact, I didn’t like music that much, uh, because I was just grounded by it And, and obviously that, that changed later on in my, in my life. So.
Maggie: (00:03:38) Oh, wow. Amazing. And so, since both of your parents are, you know, either musicians or creators and artists, did they have any expectations of like what kind of career path you should go in?
David: (00:03:49) You know, they were always kind of open about that, but I knew deep down inside, they wanted me to pursue what most Asian parents want their kids to pursue. And, you know, it always comes from a good place, obviously because they want their kids to have a better life than they did. And, um, you know, I remember as a kid, I was, I would always tell my parents that I’d become a doctor and a lawyer. Um, but even when I was saying that I definitely didn’t, um, uh, believe it. Um, I just wanted to say what they wanted to hear. Uh, but I think eventually, um, you know, they. They kind of let me do my thing. Um, and didn’t really, so you had to do this or that. Uh, and so they were pretty flexible, I would say, but deep down inside, they probably all hav those things. So
Bryan: (00:04:46) no worries. I, I told my parents a lot of things they want to hear too. Yeah, we all do. Right. I got it. No worries. Turning point was like an early twenties. Oh, psych. Yeah. I know that. Listen to your other podcasts too, like gave it so, and even jazzy recently, uh, you mentioned that, you know, you started your career and songwriting and in producing, and that, that seems to be the main focus early on how’d you get into like becoming an artist and producing your own videos and what was the directory like?
David: (00:05:20) Yeah, for sure. The songwriting side, I mean, I grew up playing violin and piano, taking private lessons. Uh, absolutely hated it. Um, you know, when I was in, when I was 16 in high school, this kid brought in a CD and he played some techno music. Um, and he was like, Oh, I made this and that phrase. I, I made this music really resonated with me. Um, I was really, really shy and I just remember thinking to myself at that time like, Oh, you can create music. You don’t. You don’t have to like be a performer. You can actually just make music. And, and so I went home that night and I had a keyboard that was in the house and I started just writing music. I didn’t really know that I could do that, but I kind of knew in my head, I was always making melodies in my head. And so when I had that keyboard in front of me, I took out some, uh, composition paper and I started writing composing like the notes and the chords and everything that was playing. Um, and that’s when I got hooked. Um, and I was like, you know, I saw music from a completely different perspective, uh, when I was able to create it myself.
Bryan: (00:06:28) Yeah. The LATERA. I remember back in those days too, because I think we’re roughly around the same age, David, like, Oh five Oh six ish. So those days where, you know, you make this little cold Tran CDs and put it inside your car. And I was like the hip thing to do, except you’re. You’re way more talented than I am. I try making music before, too in high school. And it’s like, all right, I’m never going to share any CDs at all. You know, that’s when I started like going on YouTube and like, I saw collaboration with you. We took in and Jenny on a video a long time ago. So January and, and I went to elementary school and middle school and high school together. To see her in your video. I was like, Whoa, what’s going on here? Like, people are doing really cool things, you know?
Maggie: (00:07:12) Yeah. That’s amazing. So how did you start thinking, like, okay, I’m making music now. Maybe I should, you know, post this online somewhere. Like how did this all come about?
David: (00:07:24) Yeah. Uh, so at the time when I started YouTube, I was actually a writer signed writer at writer producer at Warner chapel music, which is a big publishing company. And I was writing songs for a living. It was my dream job is everything I wanted when I first started, uh, when I was 16. And, um, I was pretty burnt out. I was writing songs all the time and trying to pitch them to artists and. That in itself is, is very exhausting and it’s, it’s a lot of pressure and work. And, um, I just want to kind of like a release and just wanted to write something just for fun. And that’s kind of, whenever it looked the YouTube love song, that’s still on YouTube today and I uploaded it Um, and then it got featured and the reason why I uploaded it being, you know, like I mentioned, I was a very shy person, um, and very, just. You know, I wasn’t really good with talking to people and the reason I put it up was it didn’t really feel like I wasn’t trying to be an artist at that time either. Um, I wanted to experiment and see what this thing was is internet, this YouTube thing, where if you upload a video, you can instantly get comments. It didn’t seem like real people. To be honest, it just felt like I’m just kind of reading feedback. As you would on a forum or something. Yeah, because back then it was a weird thing to upload a video of yourself. And I wanted to see what, what would happen if I did. Uh, I was very curious about that. And so I did, and then it got featured on the homepage of YouTube. Uh, and at that time, when you look at the homepage of YouTube, there are only a few videos that are featured at any given time. And so my, I went on YouTube and I saw my face and I was like, Oh my gosh. I was like, Getting all sweaty and just nervous. Like what do I do? Like what do I do here? Um, and, uh, that’s kind of what started everything actually Um, and that’s when I went on this crazy journey of YouTube and social media.
Bryan: (00:09:26) Wow. That’s that’s awesome. Um, I mean, so just for point of reference to, was this like one or two years out of high school? Like what was the point of reference constraint?
David: (00:09:37) Yeah, so, um, I graduated high school in 2004. And, uh, you know, I was going to community college and, um, uh, transferring over to USC. And that’s when I got signed, um, around 19 when I was like 19 years old, uh, 19 to 20 is when I started, um, uh, well, I started YouTube in 2006, so years out of high school. So yeah, I was around yeah, 20, 19, 20.
Bryan: (00:10:03) That’s awesome. I mean, can we talk quickly about the collaborations you’ve had throughout your music career? And then you collaborate so many different people. What are some memorable remote collaborations?
David: (00:10:13) Um, man, I mean, my friends, um, I’ve collaborated, collaborated as a musician and also just as, uh, just making cameos is, you know, David choy, that YouTuber, um, No Wong Fu has been a big part of my journey, um, because they, they worked on a lot of music videos for me. Uh, kina Grannis is a really dear friend of mine. Um, I got to collaborate with, uh, more recently, like, you know, um, in the recent years, Ryan Higa and just a bunch of YouTube friends, Justin shine, um, you know, uh, I guess the most recent collaboration that I, it’s not really a. Collaboration. But, um, I had a song that I wrote with kina Grannis that was featured in a movie called finding Ohana that’s out right now, uh, in Jude, Jude, the director, I’ve known her since the beginning of when I first started YouTube. And, um, you know, it’s just crazy kind of like how that all kind of came full circle. And, um, Ryan Higa is also in that movie as well. So, um, kind of cool to see that sort of. Things play out that way.
Maggie: (00:11:26) Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. And you’re definitely, you know, a pioneer for a lot of Asian-American artists on YouTube. How have you seen the kind of like Asian representation change over the years in terms of like media on YouTube artists creators?
David: (00:11:45) Yeah. Uh, I think it’s super, I find random Asian American YouTubers and artists nowadays, and I’m like, I, I’ve never heard of these people and they’re so talented and I find it really cool to see that because when I started, um, There was nobody, um, there was no Asian musician on the internet. Yeah. For that matter, I couldn’t find, I actually remember looking for them. Um, and I couldn’t find, and it was kind of sad, but also I was like, Oh, maybe, maybe there’s a space for us. You know, it was, it was always back then. It was, there was always an uncertainty. Um, and, and even in terms of being Asian American, right. We have a, I think. My generation, we have a little bit of a different perspective and an experience of being Asian-American versus the, the, the gen Z Asian-Americans now that are out there. Uh, I think, um, a lot more people are more, very confident about. Their Asian-American identity. Um, I think that’s amazing. Um, I, I, because I remember growing up, uh, at a certain point, even being ashamed of being Asian, actually, uh, uh, and it, it took time for me to really feel comfortable in my own skin. So, uh, I, I’m very encouraged by it where, uh, where we are as a community.
Bryan: (00:13:06) To I’m going to speak from a risk perspective on an old man. Now that I look at our generation and the new generation, like they have it exactly. Let’s say the Instagram back in the day, I’m like, ah, shit. I post the Asian side of myself. Is it going to be seen to really. And nowadays I go ahead and take talk or something. I see like people posting like Asian food and a man I’m like, man, you guys haven’t eaten them. Just kidding. We always say that every generation for us too, I’m the only sale you guys have it easy. You’re never like, Oh, they have it easy.
David: (00:13:37) I mean, every, every generation I think kind of, uh, makes it a little bit easier for the next generation and, and, you know, I even know some, um, People who are a little bit older than me. Who’ve been in entertainment for a while. And the S the, the, the things that they had to go through, um, to make our jobs easier. Um, you know, I have a lot of respect for them and, um, you know, I think it’s, uh, we have a long way to go, but, um, I think we’re heading in the right direction and that’s, that’s for sure.
Maggie: (00:15:08) Yeah, definitely agree. You also mentioned, you know, when you were first starting out on YouTube, you were very shy. Right. And like, I can relate to that really well, because I’m, I feel like I’m very shy. I think it also has to deal with just like being Asian, like, you know, Asians have this, um, kind of stereotype that we’re docile and quiet. And so how did you kind of grow out of that mindset of being shy? Like, do you still get shy when you’re performing or did you grow out of it?
David: (00:14:33) Yeah. Yeah. Um, You know, what’s actually very surprising is a lot of the artists that I’ve I’ve, I’ve met, um, even some big artists as well. Uh, they’re actually a lot of the times on the introverted side. Yeah. Just when they perform or they talk, um, publicly, it, it appears as if they’re not, it’s just more of like they’ve polished themselves basically to be able to speak in front of people. Um, I would say to overcome. Uh, shyness, at least for me, what I did was I had to convince myself and, and, uh, kind of like, it’s gonna sound funny, but I did tell myself there’s more reasons to. Not be shy and to become more extroverted than to just remain shy. And so I had to like do this work on, on myself. Um, just like saying no, there’s, there’s so many good reasons. Like, look at all these extroverted people out there. They have so many friends and like they’re able to speak confidently and they just always seem to be having a great time. And in my mind, I was like, That’s my, my introverted side would fight against it saying no, just, just be introverted, just be shy. You don’t have to learn how to do all that stuff like, you know, and then, and, and, and so, Um, because of the industry I was in, in, in me having to perform, um, you know, that was something that also kind of helped me ease into the more, I guess, extroverted side of my personality. Um, I think YouTube helped a lot because I get, I got to ease my way into developing. Uh, that part of myself, um, you know, I wanted to always, I always strive to be a balanced human being, um, and understanding different perspectives and, uh, you know, seeing the, the, the, the pros of, of different perspectives basically. And, and so, uh, for me, I think performing helped a lot, um, with, with that made me a lot more confident, um, in myself as well.
Bryan: (00:16:32) Wow. That’s, that’s so powerful to hear, because, you know, from our perspective, we’re like, Every time we see you for forum. Every time we seen you talk about like this guy stuff, coffin, you guys all together. And I just remember thinking about that and like 2007, 2008 too. Cause I was going through my own personal transformation where I was just looking at other Asian people and seeing how he talks and how he carried himself, because I wasn’t sure how to carry myself. And I’ve seen your interviews. I’ve seen the way you talk and to see that you’re You’re just human. Like all of us, like you have to go through your own struggles to figure out how to present yourself. It’s so. So powerful to hear, you know, especially for us and the new generations too, because now that we have a more Tik TOK stars on our podcast as well, we realized that, you know, they have two different personas that are so confident and funny and acting on Tik TOK. When you talk to them on the podcast, it’s like, it takes a while to warm up to, to get them comfortable, you know? And that’s that, to me, it’s like, well, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that, you know, like I thought you guys were born with that skill, you know? So it’s worked out over time. So I appreciate you sharing that.
David: (00:17:37) Yeah, absolutely. We’re, we’re all, we’re all human. And we all have, uh, you know, this whole journey of life is really about growing and getting, you know, getting better, um, in all aspects of our lives. So, right. Definitely.
Maggie: (00:17:51) And so would love to know about like your writing process, you know, I, I, we know that you draw a lot of inspiration from like certain life events for your songs. What do you normally do while you’re writing in the process of writing and what does that look like?
Bryan: (00:18:05) You like drink a beer? Do you like to take a walk?
David: (00:18:08) Um, I I’ve done that before for sure. Um, you know, inspiration comes from, you know, your, your life and, uh, when it comes to the creative side of, of songwriting, um, and music, uh, it really depends on the person, but for me, it always came at random times, like, uh, Sometimes I’ll be showering and have an idea, or I’ll be about, you know, about to fall asleep. And then I’ll think of some melody or a topic that I want to jot down. So I always write down things in my notes, on my phone, and I use the recorder sometimes to, to sing little melodic ideas. And that’s been really helpful to capture that, um, inspiration in that moment. Uh, but then there’s also times where I will. Here at back the next day or a week later and be like, Oh, that was horrible. Um, and then I’ll just delete it. Um, but, uh, in terms of inspiration, I’d say most of the songs that I have, um, you know, it’s from my real life experiences, um, you know, you’d be surprised at how many different songs you can write from just even one relationship or one, one thought. Um, and so, uh, Yeah, that’s kind of where my inspiration comes from.
Bryan: (00:19:25) Awesome. To hear. So just to transition the podcast to this, so we are the Asian hustle network and we, you know, we know you’re a tech founder. Now we transition like becoming a musician now.
Maggie: (00:19:35) Yeah. Tell us a little bit about taco, you know what, yeah,
David: (00:19:40) for sure. So taco, um, well we like to describe it as the, you know, we describe it in a lot of different ways, but our, our main thing is the YouTube for short form content. And so our goal here is really centered around creatives. And, um, I mean, if you know my story, like I, I built a career on YouTube. Uh, I think most, a lot of people don’t know this, but I was also one of the first, uh, YouTubers to be a part of the partner program where. When you watch a YouTube video, you see the video and you see an ad next to it. I would get a piece of that ad. And that’s how you tubers make money from the percentage of the advertising revenue. And so, uh, that was an amazing thing that YouTube did for, for all of us creators, because I was able to take that money, put it back into my career. And that essentially let me, uh, allowed me to travel around the world, playing music for a living for the next 10 plus years of my life. And so that, that was an opportunity that they gave and. Throughout that time. I was always a bit frustrated with the other platforms that were out there. I’m not going to name them, but, you know, um, and one of the things that frustrated me was that how come YouTube was the only platform that compensated creators for their content? You know, um, most of the social networks, less than 1% of them are the ones creating the content. Um, for the 99% consume 99.9 symptoms. And so clearly the creators are very valuable. They should be treated fairly and with dignity and respect and all that. Um, and so I was always, I was like, you know, I was waiting for a platform to appear that I kind of had those sort of, um, you know, uh, ideas, um, and whatnot. So, uh, that’s what kind of birthed the idea of, of taco what we’re working on right now? Um, it’s not out yet. But we are, we are building it. And then we’re trying to, uh, have it be a platform where if you’re a creative person or you’re, you’re already an existing content creator, this is a place where you can upload your content and be compensated, uh, for when people watch your content in it. And it has all the other social. Sure there’s features that are out there as well.
Bryan: (00:21:51) That’s the exciting, like we can’t wait for the official launch to happen. And we’re looking at your profile quickly, too on Crunchbase. Well, congratulations on all the, all the success and money you’re raising for this idea. So that’s awesome, man. You got out of curiosity too, like where’s is there any particular skill set or mindset that you carry over from being a musician or to be an entrepreneur? I did it prepare you in any way?
David: (00:22:15) Oh, yeah, for sure. Um, you know, one of the things that people don’t know about the creator space is that content creators are hustlers they’re entrepreneurs. You know, when I look back and, and in grabbing the, the, the experiences that I’ve had in bringing it into the more kind of corporate. Sort of a startup world. Um, there’s a lot of things that can translate over. And I think the big thing for me was that, um, having that drive, I think that drive that the hustler mentality is extremely important for any individual, um, to, to succeed and to achieve your goals. Um, for me, uh, you know, being a musician, I was not only a performer, but I also, uh, managed a lot of my own. You know, business as well. Um, with administration like the, just, just the administrative work involved with being a musician with publishing and contracts and, uh, you know, performance like, you know, there’s like a lot of things like performance, rights organizations and signing up for different services and maintaining your royalties. Those are all things that you kind of have to understand too, too. Keep your business to flow, um, as a musician, um, including logistics, marketing. Sales, you have to do all of that stuff, working with brands, um, uh, negotiating it’s a part of any business. Right? And so, uh, I think that really helps me a lot, um, in, in, in what I’m doing now, uh, you know, one of the things that I feel that, you know, something that I’m working on right now is more so. Uh, taking the leadership position, um, and understanding what that, what it means to be a leader and what it means to be able to work with the team, um, before I had a team as a musician, um, but it wasn’t as close knit as, as it is now. Um, so I think that’s something that I’m, um, I’ve learned, uh, that was similar to my past, but, uh, you know, there’s some relations there. Um, but at the end of the day, I think, um, You know, what, what really, uh, one of the things that I feel kind of, uh, that I can take from, from my previous job, I guess you could say, um, was it’s really about the relationships that you build with people. Um, you know, when it comes to, I know I’m going off on a little tangent here, continue on. Even when it comes to working with brands. I know a lot of people. Um, when I see the, the, um, gen Z content creators, it’s like, I’ve, I remembered doing a lot of these are going through this very similar thing. Um, and I’ve seen multiple iterations of this sort of, uh, you know, um, a journey that the going on, uh, it really boils down to the relationships. And when people think about brands, they don’t really think about the person that they’re dealing with at that brand. But at the end of the day, they’re there for. Yes to represent the brand, but there are also human beings. And so one of the things that I like to tell people is that, um, you know, think of the person and, and build the relationship with the person as opposed to thinking of it. Oh, it’s just that brands, you know, like that, or, or the brand is whatever, right. It’s the person that you’re dealing with. A good example of that is, um, I have, I have a friend who, um, I worked with. Long ago, uh, you know, probably from back in 2008 and this person moved on from working at the agency and now is working, uh, at a big corporation, um, a big brand and, um, still to this day, we’re friends and we still work together. And it’s really about that. It’s not about the company, so I know I’m repeating myself. No, but then. I that’s something that I, I really hope people can, um, really hold close to themselves because it’s, that’s what really served me well.
Bryan: (00:26:15) Um, yeah. Awesome tip and advice too. And you know, this is just my own personal curiosity, but how would you, how would you describe the entrepreneurial process? This is like completely honest.
Maggie: (00:26:26) Yeah. And being a first time sound being a first time tech founder, you know, what were some of the challenges also and struggles of being a first time founder?
David: (00:26:35) Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, I think I had to deal with a lot of, um, uh, imposter syndrome. Um, you know, uh, I, I actually have a, um, an executive coach that I work with as well. And it’s, it’s been extremely helpful. Um, her name is Susan. And, um, one of the things I had to deal with was within myself was, uh, am I good enough to be able to do this? Uh, you know, uh, first time tech founder, um, clearly when your first time there are a lot of things you don’t know. Um, but what she empowered me to believe and I found to be true. Um, just looking back on, on the journey so far is that, um, I do know, I do know what, how things should be, should, should be run. I do know what works and what doesn’t. Um, and I think that comes down to other, like when, when I think about other folks as well, who are in the same, uh, space or just, uh, being an entrepreneur, I think a lot of people deal with self-confidence issues. And I think if you’re smart enough, um, If you, if you can almost like grab the, the, the, the confidence that you don’t have, and if it was like an object and you can just pull it out and you throw it out there, and then you operate from that mindset, and I feel that’s much more healthier. And in fact, it’s actually, um, how we should be as entrepreneurs. We should be thinking that way we should be confident in our decisions. You know, the reason why we aren’t confident is because we feel like we’re going to make a mistake. And here’s the hard truth is that whether you’re confident or not, whether you’re experienced or not, you will always still make a mistake. The most important thing is along this journey. You know, trying to minimize the number of mistakes. You’re never going to make zero mistakes, but the more important thing is, how do you get through that? Right? How do you F how do you find a solution quickly and move past it? Yeah, right. Instead of dwelling on it too, only on it is not good. As long as you can learn, like not to be confused with learning from it and taking that along with you, that experience. Right. I kind of see it as if I draw it out. It’s like a, it’s like you’re on a Hill or a mountain and along the mountain, there’s like walls. And, and they exist. They will always be there no matter who you are, whether you’re experienced or not smart or not, it doesn’t even matter. It’s once you get to this wall, what do you do? Are you going to break it down or are you going to climb over it? Are you going to walk around it? Are you just going to stand there? If you stand there, you’re not going to be able to hit these, these milestones in your life. And so that’s kind of like the mindset that I have, um, Yes. There are times when I’m not confident. Of course there are times when I’m like, Oh, what am I doing? Or like, or yeah, but those are all things that are healthy to, to feel, but it’s not healthy to dwell on them because that’s what keeps people from growing. It’s the same concept. As you know, uh, working out when you work out your muscles, you’re tearing your muscle. That’s not a, you know, it’s, it’s tearing, it’s literally tearing your muscle. And then when you stop and it heals and it gets bigger, right. Or it gets more toned or whatever, whatever your goals are. And so, um, without those struggles that you experience on your journey, um, you’re not going to grow period, right? The people that are afraid of making mistakes, that typically will not get to their destination. And in that I think. Everybody just needs to have a new relationship or a new definition of what mistakes are. Mm. Sometimes they’re there to help you grow. So, yeah,
Maggie: (00:30:23) I love that analogy, that visual, that you kind of put with someone going up the Hill or a mountain and there’s certain walls and those walls could represent anything from like challenges or distractions, like distractions, like pulling you away from your averse, self doubt or self doubt. Yeah. And you were, you know, the only way that you can go up that Hill is to really figure out how you’re going to either like go around that wall or jump over it. And we know that you’re like, All about self-improvement, um, you know, you are on your own self-improvement train as well. And you know, Brian and I have seen you grow into, you know, such an incredible person, just like, you know, we know you’ve like taken a step back with YouTube because you’re focusing more on your tech startup, and we’ve just seen you grow so much. How do you kind of focus on your improvement? How do you make sure that you improve every single day, David?
David: (00:31:12) Yeah. There’s this one quote, uh, it’s like, uh, uh, what is it? Self-improvement is like showering you needed every day or something like that. That sounds about right. I’ll find it. But you get the point. Um, I really like to read a lot, um, a lot of articles. Um, I read a lot of Harvard business review. I read the news a lot. Um, News news when it comes to like informational, you know, types of things. But, uh, like I, you know, I always had this, I think I’m a very curious person. Um, I’ve always been even as a kid and, um, I think I S I still have that. It’s a huge part of me. And I just want to know, um, I just want to have a better understanding of the world around me and also, uh, myself actually, that’s the most important thing. I think self-awareness is one of the most important things that people can work on because, um, you can’t ever change the world around you, um, or your surroundings or your environment. Sometimes it requires you to change your way of thinking. Um, for example, if you have to deal with like maybe difficult people. Um, difficult people will always be there in your life, but it’s more so about like how, how am I going to deal with that? How am I going to interpret it? Or, um, you know, I think that’s, that’s a part of self-improvement. Um, And, uh, I think it’s very healthy for people to, to do that. Um, I, I would say that at a young age, um, I, uh, I did listen to some Tony Robbins, um, um, uh, I’m actually a big fan of Tony Robbins. I think he’s someone that really helped me, uh, um, understand myself and, um, Just got me pumped up about life and in things that you want to accomplish and the impact you want to make, um, to the world. And so, um, I would say that he was a big influence for me. Um, I know some people are probably, um, ashamed to say that, but, um, that, um, there’s a lot of people along the way that have helped me, um, And, uh, I, you know, I think I’m always trying to look at myself in making sure that, um, I’m on the right path and just making sure that, you know, I make the right decisions and, um, I don’t hurt anybody along the way.
Bryan: (00:33:42) Yeah. I really liked that perspective too, because I think entrepreneurship is kind of, kind of interesting thing because your company can grow beyond you as a leader. You know, and oftentimes how you feel about the world is reflected how you feel about yourself is reflected into the world. You know, it’s great that you keep improving yourself. And I know that you mentioned that you can’t control your outside environment, but if you can show your own world, your new world being reflected by your internal world, you know, and also like entrepreneurship is, I would say it’s not for everyone because it does make you look deep. Into who you are as a person. Why are you doing this? Sometimes you’re just looking at yourself in the mirror. Like, I couldn’t have a much easier life, you know, whatever. But yeah, I’m kind of curious too, like, what are your goals for 2021? Like, what’s the one big thing that you hope to accomplish accomplish this year?
David: (00:34:35) Um, I want to get this app out. I want to get the app out in the hands of people. Um, you know, we’ve been working really hard on this and I just, I just haven’t missed. Um, vision, this goal of really being able to allow, um, and to enable people to be able to build a business as a content creator. Like I I’ve been able to, um, you know, uhwhen I, when I first founded into that partner program on YouTube, um, I remember that first month I looked at my dashboard, my analytics. Um, and I saw like a little bit of money in there and I was like, Whoa, this is cool. Like, I almost felt like I was stealing in a way, because I was just making YouTube videos. I was always, I was, I was already making videos for over a year, maybe a year and a half. And, um, I was like, Oh, this is cool. Like maybe if I make some more videos, I’ll make a little more money next month. Sure enough. I did. And then when I saw a little more in there, I was like, wait, maybe I can do this for a living. That’s what kind of triggered this thing in my mind? Well, I, I mean, I, I love music. Can I do this and not have to go get a job somewhere? It didn’t really like sparked that in my mind. And, you know, throughout the past, you know, however many years over 10 years now, um, I feel like a lot of these platforms could have done something more for the creator community and they didn’t. And we all know why, right. Is it’s driven by purely profit. Right? Sure. Profits are great. It’s important. It’s important for a company to grow, but also at the same time do believe that there’s a balance where you can also take care of people and help them, um, do what they love to do for a living. That’s the big thing that we want to do at our company. And we have a long, long way to go, but it’s going to be a long journey, but, um, You know, the heart is there. The intent is, is there. We want to make sure that we’re a place where people can do just that. And so, uh, we’re, we’re working night and day, um, just trying to make sure that we can, uh, hit that goal. Um, it’s challenging. It’s tough. There’s a lot of difficulties involved. Um, but you know, our, our eyes is set there and it sets on, on, you know, making sure that we can. Um, payout as much as we possibly can to the creator community and help them, you know, create or for us hustle.
Bryan: (00:37:11) Yeah. I love that mission statement because now that Maggie and I are doing Asia hustle net we’re full-time relay. How do we keep this thing going? I would make money. And I really liked that, that mission behind you, behind your company. I appreciate that.
Maggie: (00:37:24) I just love how you’re putting creators first. And you’re definitely right. Like creators do not get enough attention and they don’t get the credit that they deserve. And it’s a full-time job. Like it takes so much hard work. And I think a lot of people often have this misconception that like, Oh, I want to quit my job and just do content creation because it’s so easy, right? It’s not, it’s not easy at all. You know, and I, I give props to, you know, all the content creators that just put in so much hard work night and day, just putting out content.
David: (00:37:55) Yeah, it’s a lot of work and they need as much support as they can get.
Maggie: (00:38:00) Yeah, definitely. So over the past, you know, like 10 years, 15 years of you, you know, being an artist, musician, you know, putting out content, how do you normally respond to just like constructive criticism that you get online? Because I think a lot of content creators can emphasize with this as well. They get a lot of, you know, sometimes I get hate comments. Sometimes they get like criticism feedback. How do you normally respond to those.
David: (00:38:25) Well, when you get hate comments, you kind of S you know, it depends on how you want to perceive it. But I think in the beginning, when I was younger, I would get really mad and angry, um, that why would someone do that? But then, you know, you, you start learning and growing over, you know, um, as, as you get older and you’re like, Oh, maybe they’re just. Having a bad day or they just, maybe they have issues. Maybe they want attention. Um, and maybe, or maybe they’re just young. Right. And, and so there’s a lot of different possibilities. Um, it definitely, um, thickens up your skin for sure. So you’re able to take a lot more, um, when it comes to constructive criticism, uh, I’ve always been one to love that, um, Even unsolicited, constructive criticism. I am a, I’m a fan of, for me, I know most people probably can’t take it, but because I have this desire to, uh, improve and just become a better person. Um, I, I, I like that. Um, because I, I usually, I feel like usually it’s, it’s, they’re not saying it because, um, Just for the sake of saying it, some people do, but I feel like most of the time it’s because they have good intent, um, or, or they’re not feeling, um, heard or, uh, maybe they, uh, they have issues, but with you. And so, um, if they let me know that I can, you know, either accept it or I can say, I don’t agree, but this is why I don’t agree. Right. It’s just being very diplomatic about those types of conversations, but yeah. Being on the internet, um, and being a public figure and putting yourself out there, it’s a pretty bold, um, uh, thing to do. Um, but it does come with a lot of the responsibility and also, you know, the bad side of things too. And, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve firsthand experienced that. Um, and I’ve also grown from it as well. But that’s just kind of the part of the, the chill space at the moment. Um, hopefully, you know, we can make some changes and, uh, kind of make things better.
Bryan: (00:40:39) Yeah. You know, I really liked the initiative behind your company and, you know, I see you, this is very off topic subject, but I see it starting to become really active in clubhouse. And what we see with club has been part of my own personal experience. It’s like a solid you’re at different phases. I saw a huge land grab because a couple months ago, and now it’s like power consolidation. And now it’s like, I just want to hear your opinion on like the evolution to like social media platforms that you’ve seen in your own personal experience.
David: (00:41:09) Yeah. Um, when it comes to social media, it’s, uh, They’re all very similar. If you really break it down, simply social media platforms, um, essentially is this it’s, it’s a place where you can grow a community, um, or bring in existing community and you share a photo, a video or text in the clubhouse, this case audio. So one of these four things, that’s what all of these platforms are designed to do. Grow your following or community share a photo video, text combination of some of them or audio now. And I think, um, clubhouse in particular, um, that it’s an exciting platform because, um, audio hasn’t really been, uh, uh, uh, tied in with social. Um, I have seen quite a few audio platforms like audio, Twitter, um, audio, this or that. Um, I guess in some ways, if I cover this screen here and I just it’s audio, right. It’s kind of clubhouse. So, um, social media is really just changing the form factor, uh, in, in, in, um, addressing one of these four things. So I know it just kind of oversimplified social media in general. If you look at all the platforms from the past, right. They, they accomplish one of those four things. And so what it’s become now is it’s really driven by community. What communities are already out there, what communities already exist. And is there a place for them clubhouse when they first started? Um, I mean, I was, I was aware of clubhouse like a while back, like maybe a year ago. And, um, you know, I know it started with a bunch of VCs. Uh, you know, venture capitalists and people in the tech space. Um, and from what I know is it kind of like started there. Um, and then through their network, they had, uh, some, maybe some celebrities that came in and then it became this thing where it’s like, Oh, it’s a good exclusive sort of platform. And now I think it’s opened up to a lot of people. Um, and it’s kind of has like this new life, right. Where people can join different rooms. Um, and I think it’s cool, like yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg was on and I managed to get in that room and it was, um, Cool hearing him talk about, you know, the next steps for Facebook, with VR and AR. Um, and I think, uh, you know, uh, I know Twitter, Twitter is also building, um, a courthouse clone called spaces. So we’ll see kind of what happens there. Um, kind of, uh, it’s going to be, uh, a blood bath. Yeah. But, you know, um, Yeah. And in our, we S we fit into this, this, uh, space is really, like I said, we’re just focused on helping creators, create a business from what they do, um, allowing them to, uh, you know, have all these access to all these tools and in different ways to create content and. Make money from it because what good is an audience or what good is, uh, you know, building all this stuff. If you can’t make a penny, you’re, you know, it’s going to be, it’s going to be really tough to continue to do that. So everybody has bills and stuff. So, um, yeah. I, I dunno if I stay on topic there.
Bryan: (00:44:37) Yeah. Just out of curiosity too. I mean, you’ve been in the social media game for so long. What can we do as. As creators, seeing this, seeing any platform grow, like what are some tips and advice that you have? Should we go in there and be all bought the vanity metrics and be like, Hey, Jack, up your followers really fast before you, before it consolidates, like what has been your experience?
David: (00:45:02) Yeah, man, that’s, that’s a tough one. Um, The, the vanity metrics, uh, they matter, I mean, you can see it right in social media, if I’m just being very honest, um, they matter, but what matters more is, um, You know, what kind of relationship do you have with your community? I think that that really matters a lot more. What kind of relationship? How, how, how tight are you? Um, and in as much as it relates in the business world, I think it also applies to the social space. Um, because at the end of the day, like, you know, there’s an exchange, right? Um, you’re providing information or some sort of value or entertainment, uh, for your audience and their audience is. Also wanting to get that in return and maybe they want to support it in some ways as well. Um, I would say that, uh, um, if you want to enter the creator space, um, this would probably be a whole nother podcast, but, but I would say that it really would require you to know what your. Passionate about, um, if you’re not, if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, what are you good at? Like what do you, what do you have domain expertise in? Are you a musician? Are you a musician that. Is a EDM musician, uh, that creates music or are you someone who listens to music? You’re, you know, music connoisseur. I don’t know if that’s the right word, kind of swearing music, um, or maybe you have a business degree and you can educate people on, you know, um, The business world or how to start something, you know, I think that you have to kind of figure out what you want to do, and if you don’t know, that’s okay. It just means you have to just try a bunch of things. And in doing that, you’re expanding your, your, uh, knowledge and your experiences. And you can take that and figure out exactly what to do next, as much as, um, you know, uh, as long as you. Uh, are really passionate about, um, pursuing this space.
Bryan: (00:47:12) Yeah. Yeah. But it’s a huge knowledge bomb right there.
Maggie: (00:47:13) I definitely agree. I think that. You know, everything that you just said, David, regarding community passion, like in building a community, people can actually tell whether or not you’re passionate about your mission and yeah. The vision statement. And if they know that you’re not paying passionate about it, it’s hard for them to follow you, you know, in your footsteps. And so I think with all these new apps, especially with clubhouse, you know, like you guys were talking about, I think a lot of these new apps are trying to hone in on like, who are. Actual cells are like who we are in the present moment, because when you’re talking on clubhouse, it’s capturing who you are in that present moment. You can’t really like butcher out of that.
Bryan: (00:47:50) Yeah. I hate to say this word a lot because I hear it a lot on, especially on club POS, like be authentic, be yourself. I just don’t like hearing those words, but it’s true. Like you do, you can’t fake that stuff. Like people can see through that and it creates distrust. Once you have this stress in your community, everything collapses pretty fast.
David: (00:48:11) Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Authenticity, those words, you know, um, especially in entertainment, um, you know, in social media, those are all words that have kind of been, um, you know, used a lot and it’s, it’s true. It’s true. Um, I, I agree with everything you guys said, um, and. You know, the thing that, that clubhouse doesn’t really have is the ability to read someone’s face. So, um, are complicated. Like, uh, you know, it’s like just the voice is, is there a voice authentic sounding or, and also at the same time, like, you know, there’s different platforms for different types of people. Um, I feel like clubhouse for me, you know, when I’m, whenever I go on, I go on as a listener. Um, if I was to be put on the spot too, to just. Continuously talk. Um, that’d be quite difficult for me. Um, but, uh, you know, I would run out of things to say pretty quickly.
Bryan: (00:49:07) I don’t think that’s the case. You have so much knowledge skiff.
Maggie: (00:49:11) So David, we have one last question for you and that is what one advice could you give to someone who is trying to get into music or content creation or entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship? Yes.
David: (00:49:25) One piece of advice. That’s a, that’s a tough one. Um, you know, there’s a, there’s a Ted talk out there about, uh, success. What does it take to become successful? What’s the, what’s the number one trait. And, um, what that, what that, uh, episode talks about this, this woman, she said it’s grit. Grit is the number one factor in success. And th the, the, the picture I painted of the Hill with the walls along the way, that’s really what grit is. Um, it’s being able to, to find a way to break through those walls or climb over it, or whatever method you have, um, to get to your next destination. And it’s okay if you don’t, if you want to stop there. It’s okay. It’s everyone, you know, it’s your life, right? Like it depends on how big your aspirations are. And some people have high XO aspirations and we love loss expressed frustration, aspirations, and that’s okay. Um, but in order to reach the level of success that a lot of people talk about, you have to have that grit, sorry about the dogs. You have to have that grit, like. You know, if I wouldn’t have gotten to this point, um, there’s a lot that I didn’t really talk about in terms of the struggles of where I got to, where I am, even as a tech founder now, um, You know, I went through a lot in between YouTube and this, um, and I could have easily quit. There were a lot of moments where I, I should have quit actually, but I didn’t. And, and because I didn’t, um, we’re in this position now. Right. Um, and yet another Hill yet another mountain to climb, but, um, But like you said, it’s not, it’s not the path for everyone. Um, but, uh, for those who have those higher speeds, um, and really wants to make a huge difference, um, those are the, you know, Mountains, you have to climb
Maggie: (00:51:29) very good advice. And we cannot wait to hear more about taco. Um, and how can our listeners find out more about you and a taco online? Yeah, he’s a very famous
David: (00:51:46) I mean, um, For taco, it’s just taco app.com or taco.app. Uh, that’s that’s our domain where you can sign up, um, and just be, you know, be updated on the latest news and whatnot. Uh, for me, um, I mean, I have an Instagram David Troy music, um, I mean, YouTube David, Troy music, Twitter, David, Troy music, um, just type David Choi on Google.
Maggie: (00:52:16) Awesome. Yeah, it was amazing hearing your story today, David, thank you so much for being on the show. Appreciate you, man.
David: (00:52:23) Yeah, thank you for having me really appreciate it. And good luck with, um, uh, Asian hustle network. I I’m, I, I love seeing you guys grow as well. So
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