Jason Y. Lee // Ep 61 // A New Culture of Empathy With Jubilee Media
Welcome to Episode 61 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Jason Y. Lee 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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Jason Y. Lee is the founder and CEO of Jubilee Media. Jubilee Media creates experience to provoke a new culture of empathy. Known for viral series “Middle Ground,” “Spectrum,” and “Odd Man Out,” Jubilee has developed an audience of 6M+ subscribers and garnered 1B+ views. As the world becomes more divided, Jubilee bridges people together to create empathy, discourse, and love.
Prior to founding Jubilee, Jason was a consultant at Bain & Company. He also previously worked on the 2007 Obama Campaign and for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Zambia. Jason is a proud Korean-American raised in Overland Park, Kansas and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School.
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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) Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very. Special guest with us. His name is Jason Y. Lee. Jason is the founder and CEO of Jubilee, media Jubilee, media creates experience to provoke a new culture of empathy known for viral series middle-ground spectrum and odd man out Shipley has developed an audience of over 6 million subscribers and garnered over 1 billion views. As the world becomes more divided. You believe bridges people together to create empathy. Discourse and love prior to founding Jubilee. Jason was a consultant at Bain and company. He also previously worked on the 2007 Obama campaign and for the Clinton health access initiative in Zambia, Jason is a proud Korean-American raise in Overland park, Kansas and graduated with honors from the university of Pennsylvania, the Wharton school. Jason, welcome to the show.
Jason: (00:00:59) Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be here and thank you for. That amazing intro that was really thorough and, and, uh, very, it sounds very impressive.
Maggie: (00:01:29) It is impressive. So we are excited to have you on the show,
Bryan: (00:01:32) super excited to have your Jason that was hopper into a man. I know you mentioned that you grew up in Kansas city. Was the upbringing white for you?
Jason: (00:01:39) Yeah, I mean, in a lot of ways when I say that I’m from Kansas, I think a lot of times I’m one of the few Asian Americans that folks have. Like, people don’t even know that there are Asians in Kansas. Um, The truth is I grew up in a pretty like suburban Midwest town. Um, it was like very Kansan and that it was super white. Um, and I think for a long time, it took me a while to figure out my identity as an Asian American, as, as a human really. Um, but so many things that I love about growing up in the Midwest is there’s this like Midwestern hospitality. Which is like, you’ll meet someone in the street and they’ll invite you over for dinner and say, Hey, come over for some dinner and we’ll have some roast beef and chat. Um, that’s something I really loved about growing up in Kansas.
Maggie: (00:02:23) Wow. That’s amazing. And how did that kind of shape your Asian identity?
Bryan: (00:02:27) You mentioned brief, briefly just now, how you had trouble finding it. How, how did you eventually find your identity and who you are as a person?
Jason: (00:02:35) Yeah. I mean, I think the reason why it was a challenge for me was often when I was in school or at the supermarket, literally everyone that I saw looked white. Um, and I think it’s a certain, it had an effect on me where I don’t think I really processed it, but it was still a very micro. In that when everyone around you, it looks white. You start to think that you are white maybe, or, you know, and I think it wasn’t until I would hear certain remarks about, and it was never like malicious, but I would hear remarks about being Asian or certain jokes. I was like, wait, is that an okay I’m I’m obviously Asian American. I’m different. What does that mean? And, you know, When I was young, my parents would send us to , which is a Korean school and we would go to church. And I think that’s where I started to find a lot more of a money community that at least looked and reflected my experience. And that was pretty cool because I think in a lot of ways, No Simone to Superman. Who’s from Kansas. I think you, you start to have like a dual identity where it’s like, okay. I both know how to interface and exist in a very white society, but I also have my Korean side where we love kimchi when we speak Korean and we’re listening to hot and God enough ETS. Right. Um, so I think that, that gave me the ability to understand. What it feels like to be third culture is sometimes sit at the margins, but I think that’s a big superpower in a lot of ways, friend, but
Bryan: (00:04:01) yeah, that’s, that’s awesome to, to hear about that and finding your identity in culture. I think one of the main drivers of us creatives and lots of network is because when we talk to Asians who grew, that, who didn’t grow up in New York or the West coast, there seems to be a loss of identity. And it seems to be a feeling where they feel like they don’t belong anywhere. You know, I don’t have a tribe. We keep hearing that over and over. So that eventually pushed us to like, you know what? We want to have more people from the Midwest who are Asian coming on our podcast, because we want to hear from your experience because it is, it may not be as effective as more West coast Asian, or you grew up with a lot of Asians, but in the group in the Midwest is like, I need to hear this because I feel dizzy way.So thank you, Brad, Jason.
Maggie: (00:04:45) Yeah. Yeah. Same. Like, whenever I talk with people who grew up in the Midwest, you know, I feel like they often feel like they weren’t American enough. Right. But then also they don’t, they also did not feel like they were Asian that, and so it’s really like finding our Asian identity and it could be like a lifelong process. Right. But. I think it’s amazing how just sharing our experience.
Bryan: (00:05:05) Do you have the credit that Asians have grew up in the Midwest? It’s because you guys seem to be more aware of what it means to be Asian. Hmm. You know,
Jason: (00:05:13) I think that there is a, um, it, it kind of punches you in the face and that you’re very, very clearly different. Um, and certainly that comes with a lot of challenges, whether it’s like microaggressions or bullying or feeling other. Um, but I think in my case, I learned quickly what a means to be able to relate to other people. You know, there were other individuals who are also minorities in my school. There weren’t very many of us, but you know, when you like saw the black student, there was like, kind of this understanding of, okay, we are minorities here. Um, what does it mean to like act in solidarity? What does it mean to. Build coalition. These are all things that later I was able to put words to, but I felt like in my core as a young person about, okay. Okay. How do I exist in a space and recognize that my voice is just as important as everyone else’s, even though I may look a little different.
Maggie: (00:06:06) Yeah. Yeah. That’s super important. I think like for Brian and myself, because we grew up in the West coast and in LA I grew up in LA 99%. Yeah. And I grew up in San Francisco, so it’s very similar. I went to schools that were like 80 to 90% Asian. So until like Brian and I went to the Midwest and other States, it was bad. And then we realized, Oh, we haven’t been on minority. Yeah.
Jason: (00:06:33) And that’s great. I, I think that’s why there’s so many, I see so many great leaders come out of LA SF, New York. I think that there’s a, like a community and a voice, uh, so strengthened. And I think we just need folks, all different sites, types of books, right. Um, I think we, we probably grew up around the same era, but for me growing up, the only role models I had to look up to honestly were Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Literally one of my nicknames in high school was Bruce because they did not have anyone else to call me. Um, and I think that was one of the main reasons why when YouTube started to blow up and now these other little kind of communities are blowing up. It’s so empowering from not only our generation, but the generation below us is they finally get to see people who are killing it or hustling or starting their own business and saying, wait a second. As a kid from Kansas, I can do that too. Why not me?
Bryan: (00:07:26) Yeah. I really liked that candy mentality. It goes a long way. And have you thought about creating a media company? Like when you’re a kid or how does, how does Jubilee project come along?
Jason: (00:07:37) Yeah, no, that’s a great question. Um, no, and never in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined or believe that could be sitting where I am today, where I get to run my own company where I’ve started multiple organizations. ] Um, it’s a dream come true. And I think the reason is because quite honestly, I think, you know, my parents and I love him to death was such a big focus on doing the traditional route. Doing things that are stable. And I think it was really out of love that they kind of pushed me towards, you know, a lot more traditional occupation let’s in doctor, let’s be a lawyer, let’s be an engineer. Um, and there professors, so they definitely want to encourage learning and growing, but it was never like take a risk and find out what you’re really excited, passionate about. Right. Um, So now that I’m here, I think, you know, I think my 12 year old self would just be like mind blown.
Bryan: (00:08:34) Um, yeah. Congratulations on that. And I do for you in that, you know, at the end of the day, our Asian parents want to do what they think is best for us. Yeah, because maybe, perhaps they’re missing this in a piece of their lives, growing up, they wanted security and it felt like security would bring happiness, but I feel like every generation is different, right. For us. It’s like, it’s more about purpose. It’s more about finding fulfillment. It’s more about making a difference, you know, and the thing with Asian parents is like, You kind of have to show them slowly, slowly that it is possible before you they’re always the first reject your idea and they’re like bag, you don’t do it.
Maggie: (00:09:09) That’s not all either. You know, because I think it’s just a generational gap. You know, I think that a lot of things that we’re doing today that are like viable careers, they just don’t get a grasp of it and they don’t understand it because of the generational path. Yeah.
Jason: (00:09:22) Yeah. I totally agree. I feel like in so many ways, when my, when my parents came, they came us students, um, grad students. Uh, and they didn’t intend to stay here right in the States. But once we were born, they said, you know what? This might be a better place for us to raise my kids. So really when they came, they were coming to survive in a lot of ways. I think our generation, we believe that we want to thrive here and thriving for us means something completely different than for them, which was, Hey, I’m not even able to find a job or find. No housing, that’s secure, rather for us, we’re thinking, what am I excited about? What am I ignited about? Um, and I think it’s a huge privilege that we have in a lot of ways. And I know not everyone gets the privileged to do that, but I think, you know, if, and when you have the opportunity to dream, I think that’s a opportunity that I always encourage folks not to squander that.
Bryan: (00:10:10) Definitely. Thank you for the advice, Jason, and last quarter too. So you graduated college in 2009. Which I would have to say is almost as bad as 2020,
Jay: (00:10:24) it did feel like the, it did feel like the world was falling apart and the sky was like crumbling down.
Bryan: (00:10:29) Yeah, I do want to ask. So they’re graduating there during that time is like the absolute peak of security mindset. Because jaws were so hard to get and you have to hold onto your career. So tightly and for you to even have the idea to start your media company, while having a job, what was that? What was going through your mind at that time?
Jason: (00:10:49) You know, the weird thing was, so I graduated 2009 and folks may be too young to remember 2008, 2009 was like the worst financial crisis we’ve ever seen. And up until that point, when I was in college, I was studying business at Wharton. Everyone was just so gung ho about going into investment banking or consulting because you would graduate college and you’d be making six figures as like a 21 year old and in crazy bonuses. And everyone’s like, Oh my God, I can become successful and become rich. And right around 2008, when the financial crisis started to hit suddenly all of these folks who had worked so hard to. Get there. All of their offers started to get rescinded. Like Lehman brothers was gone. Like all these companies started just disappearing and we’re like, wait a second. This was a space that was literally built to be the most secure. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why we went after this space. And now you’re telling me this is not secure at all. In fact, that there are very few opportunities. Yeah. In a lot of ways direct guys now. And that’s when one of the light bulbs went off in my head of wait a second. Even the things that we think are the most secure, the most reputable, the most. Um, stable are not the case. And if that’s the case of why don’t we do the things that we’re actually excited to do. Right. So then, um, I think that that opened my eyes and it was never like this intentional thing of, well, now I’m going to go start a media company. I honestly didn’t have that courage to even like, under those words, what it was was, Hmm. This doesn’t seem like as secure or as stable as I’ve thought. And. What if like this entire industry crumbled, what is it that I would want to be doing? And right around that time was when the Haiti earthquake happened And then I ended up making my first video and it wasn’t like magic. It wasn’t like, this is what you’re supposed to do with the rest of your life. It literally was. Wow. That was super fun. People seem to really like this video I kind of would like to make another one. You know, like little things, little things that become hobbies that become a passion. And that’s what I always tell people is like, say yes to a lot of stuff. You never know which little mash will turn into a wildfire. And so on, these matches would just go out. Like, I was really excited about rock climbing for like two weeks, you know what I mean? The other week I was like, ah, I don’t know if I can be bothered. And I’m like, okay. So that clearly is not it. But some of the things that we started doing suddenly I found myself nights, weekends making my 10th video, my 30th video. And you say, wow, this gets me so excited. Like, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like something I’m really, you know, wanting to grow in and learning. And that was a, that was a tremendous time. Yeah. Like this is
Bryan: (00:13:39) that’s amazing. I love that. Yeah. Man that resonates to me. So, so much what you said. Um, yeah, I didn’t even graduated on the same time and I was seeing my mentors getting laid off left and right. And that’s when I’m like, there’s no company loyalty anymore in my old stuff. And I, and hearing your story too, it’s like, it’s so relatable because I literally felt the same way. I’m like, Oh man. Here. I’m seeing my mentors work at their companies or 10, 20 years. Can you lay it off? Like, what is that? Like? What does that mean? Like 10, 20 years. I don’t want to be that, you know, gave me a lot of like, Like, like drive to like create my own side hustles. I’m like, all right, I need to try this and that and fail, fail a crap ton of times, by the way.
Jason: (00:14:21) That’s so necessary.
Maggie: (00:14:23) Yeah. I really love how, like for, for me to add us, it also resonates with me too in the sense that like, every time I left a job, you know, they’re, they’re always going to be able to replace me the next day. Right. And I often feel like, you know, if that’s going to be the case, like, you know, Well, that means I’m always going to be replaceable. They’re always going to find a replacement for me. So I’m really not as valuable as, you know, the income that they’re paying me, but I really love like your mindset, how you put it, how, you know, you didn’t have like this automatic switch and it’s not like an overnight thing where you know, like, exactly, okay, this is, yeah. You, you didn’t think like, okay, this is going to bring me success right away. But it was after your 30th video, your 40th video, that momentum that you built up, it’s just like really guys. That’s right.
Jason: (00:15:10) That’s so true. And you know, I’m sure you guys both get this all the time. I guess people that, you know, hit me up in the DM and say, Hey, I’m thinking about quitting, my job, really hustle. And I’m thinking about like waiting, uh, med school or being a lawyer and to do X, Y, and Z. What I always tell folks is, you know what, that’s awesome that you’ve got that kind of hunger and that excitement. So definitely use that, but also recognize that sometimes we can start building some of these things. In our free time, nights and weekends, like make sure that you were like pressure testing some of these ideas first. And if you feel like in your heart, man, I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur. I want to be like Bryan and Maggie. I want to be hustling out there, but I just don’t. Yeah. And my end, Jason, um, but I don’t know if I have what it takes, but I always tell people being in a nine to five, isn’t a cop out. It doesn’t mean you’re like destined to be there forever. Sometimes we actually need to be in the nine to five to. A build our income build capital so that we can sustain ourselves B sometimes you actually have great places to learn and grow, right? Like I actually think Bain was an amazing place for me to learn how to think about company, how to think about networking, grow discipline. Like those are not wasted opportunities. It’s not like we’re just biding our time to start our own company. It’s. If you have these opportunities to learn and grow wherever you are, that’s going to serve you tremendously for when you had your own company is you can learn from the mistakes without as much without thinking, Oh my God, you know, I have nothing to eat at home is kind of a scary thing at times.
Bryan: (00:16:39) Yeah, definitely. I do agree with that out of curiosity, too. Like, how did your experience graduating in 2009 and see everything collapsing and changing so quickly affect your business decisions now? Yeah. How did that affect you and be like, you know, like he seen all that happened. Like, are you more reserved as a business person or you still abundance in general?
Jason: (00:17:01) No, it’s a really good question. Um, I think more than anything at that time, taught me not to take anything for granted that when business is going well, And you feel like everything is clicking on all cylinders that, um, that’s a blessing. And sometimes that’s because of the work you’ve done a lot of times it’s the work that you’ve done. But lot of times there’s external factors, right? Of, we’re not in a recession that people are spending money, that people are partnering. Um, and that’s something that I’ve always taken with me. And the other thing I’ve wasted and with me is like, how do I want, um, How do I want to be able to treat my employees and what kind of team do I want to build so that when we hit crazy times like 2008, or God forbid, we hit a pandemic in 2020, how are we gonna be able to respond to that? Right. So I think that so much of that was really important. And I was lucky that my first job at Bain, that they did a really good job in the way that they spoke to us and the way that they were transparent about the business setting, our expectations, right. It’s not an always going to be that you got to keep everyone’s jobs, but I think. Treating people with respect. And, um, being as earnest and honest as you can, with how the business is going is pretty important as you kind of empower people to make great decisions for themselves.
Bryan: (00:18:15) I love that.
Maggie: (00:18:16) That’s really good advice. Yeah. Um, yeah. And so, you know, I would love to know, like, you know, you were at Bain and it seems like you were. Working on Jubilee project at the same time. Yeah. For a couple of years. So talk about like that jump, like making the jump and figuring out, okay. Like, this is what I want to do full time. What was that moment in time? Like where you had that switch,
Bryan: (00:18:41) then why did you want to make that jump to when I continue further down two paths, what did you like? Okay. This is time to do this full-time
Maggie: (00:18:49) yeah. Yeah, because we know like Bain and company, it’s like one of the most respected consulting firms, you know? And so yeah. Like, how did you feel at that time? Like, did you feel like nervous and scared or were you kind of like very confident in your decision to shut whiskey?
Jason: (00:19:04) Exactly. How many shots of soju? It’s funny because I actually had seen other people leave the company and usually when they left the company, they were like, Oh, I’ve got this amazing idea. And other people were so envious. Like this idea is like a rocket ship, right? Like Bain helped to like launch the folks who started like Warby Parker and all these other really, really impressive startups came out of Bain. When I was talking about what I was going to go do, no one was like, Oh, this is a rocket ship idea. Support it. It was like, wait, what are you doing? You’re going to be making videos on YouTube. As a nonprofit, it didn’t make much sense. Um, so it wasn’t that the opportunity was so great that I had to do it. Um, and I’m always envious of folks who seem to have been able to align their passion with a great opportunity. Right. But why did I decide to go and do it myself? One thing was I knew that I didn’t want to stay in consulting. And then that required me to take a leap. And I knew that if I stayed too long in consulting or moved to the next tier, which would have been like private equity or VC, they pay insane amounts of money. Like, you know, the next level we would have been paid like 300 grand or something insane. And I realized, okay, if I start making that amount of money, it’s gonna be very, very difficult for me to leave that make literally $0. So it was around that point that I said, you know what? This is something I love to do. It’s something I want to grow in. I want to have the ability to come back if I want to. Um, and a lot of the courage actually just came from myself, working with, you know, one of my best friends and my brother were both equally passionate about it. And they actually were more inclined because you know, my brother really didn’t enjoy his job at the time. Um, my friend who was at med school was getting really burnt out and they were ready to make the jump. And I said, okay, I feel ready. I’m excited. Let’s go. And, you know, I think when you add up the courage, I think that’s when you find, you know, you’ve got enough to fuel the rocket ship.
Maggie: (00:21:06) Yeah. Well, is your brother doing it the same?
Jason: (00:21:09) You know, my brother, he was working at the department of education, um, under the Obama white house. And I think he, he loves government and he loves politics, all of those things. But I think that he felt like maybe things were moving a little slowly, that he wasn’t able to make as much change as he would’ve liked. Yeah,
Bryan: (00:21:29) definitely. I mean, being in our close knit circle of other Asian leaders, we often hear a Jubilee. iMedia the amazing culture that you guys have at your company. Um, how did you foster a, such a, such an awesome culture around passion and empathy and innovation. Uh, and how does that reflect on you as a leader? Do you live by your core values? Like what was your like vision for your team and for Jubilee media?
Jason: (00:21:57) First off. Thank you for saying that. That’s like, honestly, the biggest compliment you can give to us or to me as a leader, um, I have a mentor Dave Gibbons who always talks about like the philosophy of building great companies. And I really subscribed to, and him when he says is you’ve got to begin by building a great culture. When you build great culture, you’ll then attract world-class talent. You have world-class talent. You’ll make excellent products. When you have experts on product, that’s when you’ll start to build a great brand. A lot of times I think people try to do it in reverse, right? There’s so many people and they’re right. They want you, we want to build great rents, right? We want to build brands that will last decades. That’s not going to wither or kind of disappear, be fleeting. Um, But sometimes the emphasis so much is about a Jubilee or my brand. Oh, I want to be known as X, Y, and Z, but I learned very, very quickly that building culture is like building the right foundation. Um, so the way that we do that at Jubilee is we have five core pillars of our values that I literally make everyone memorize and say, Hey, what are the values of Jubilee? So like we just onboarded another set of interns. And I said, I’m going to ask you in a week in front of the entire company, what are the values you believe. Um, and ours, we have an acronym pager. Uh, so that’s how we’re going to remember it, but that’s always been something I’ve been really proud of. And even now when we send folks off and you know, other folks are creating their own companies, that’s something that I always try to like, remind them. What are your values? What is your mission? What is your vision? Why are you doing this is at the end of the day. There are days that we’re going to wake up like, ah, shoot. I really just don’t want to work no matter how good the company is. Right. Even if it’s our own company. Yeah. Then when you’re reminded about why you do what you do and how you go about that work, I think that gives us so much more purpose. I mean, it gets really people excited. So. That’s awesome. I’m really proud of,
Maggie: (00:23:52) I absolutely love that. I feel like a lot of companies, they often tell you what their values are and then they have you just stored away somewhere bought a piece of paper and you’re like, I don’t know. Stored somewhere on the drive that you can’t ever find. And I think it’s so important to reiterate what your values are, and that also reinforces your employees to remember like what your purpose is, you know, what your company’s vision is every single day, so that you know, what your collective goal is
Bryan: (00:24:21) so shocking that. You know, as a leader of an organization that it’s so easy for your organization to forget what you’re, what you’re about when tons are hard, what are we
Jason: (00:24:38) so natural, right? Because literally it feels like there are little fires everywhere. It feels like the roof is on fire or like the faucet is leaking and these are all important things that we’ve kind of fixed still. But then knowing the foundation you’re standing on is, is so critical.
Bryan: (00:24:52) Yeah, I do want to switch gears and talk about Jason as an entrepreneur because you understand that entrepreneurial path has a lot of highs and a lot of lows and the lows are the ones that really tests our character and who we are that makes us feel anxious and nervous all the time. I just want to hear about your experience too. Like what were some of the lows that you face during Jubilee that you’re comfortable sharing with us? Because. Um, you know, with entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurship right now, it’s so glamorous. It’s like, Hey guys, be entrepreneur like nice cars, nice squashes, great lifestyle, but there’s a huge work component to it. That’s a huge reality, reality check. And we like to talk to entrepreneurs about this too, because every time you read an article and then we’ll talk about your dark side, you don’t talk about your mental health issues. They only kind of watched the nice cars, nice things, and nice acquisitions. But we want to, we want to make sure that we cover that in this podcast with you as well.
Jason: (00:25:42) No, I think it’s a really important question and important topic that we don’t talk about enough. And I would dare say that folks who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur for the nice car and the nice watch, um, often that’s not enough motivation to get through the hard stuff and sure that’d be a great outcome, but you know, up until this pandemic, I’m driving a 93 Honda element, right. Or 2003, a Honda element. And I’ve got a Casio watch that costs 20 bucks from, from Amazon. Um, so I don’t know if I would call my job glamorous. Uh, I will call it the most difficult job I’ve ever had, but also the best job I’ve ever had. And the way I describe it to other folks who, you know, being a founder is kind of a lonely thing actually, and it’s hard and you don’t really understand it. And when you find other founders, there’s like a kinship just because you’re like, man, we’re being forged in this fire. It’s because. You know, in other companies, I call them like yachts or like the Titanic where any wave, you can barely feel it because the book is so big. So if you’re a passenger there, you’re fine. Literally we are going out into the ocean on this tiny, like raft. You can feel every wave. So the highs feel super high and you’re like, dude, I am the best. Entrepreneur in the world. No, I can stop me. And then literally the next day you’ll get hit by a wave. Like, Oh my God, I’m so stupid. I’m the worst ever. I can’t believe why would anyone even trust me? Right. Um, so I’ve had some experiences like that. I think, just to answer your question, as far as like some of the loans, so many things, um, You know, I’ve talked about this before, but I think one of the low points for me was certainly when both of my co-founders had left Jubilee project. And the reason was because so much of my identity and my chutzpah and courage to do this full-time came from a collective identity and it felt like being divorced. And then.I think probably other thing that affects me the most is if, and when we ever have scenarios where there’s someone in our team, while I’m seeing give maximum effort, but still is not succeeding or like driving in their job. And the reason is because I find that my responsibility, I believe is to be growing the company. But by the way, that I believe we grow the companies by growing every individual. Right. And it’s such a hard thing when sometimes. And sometimes it’s not the boss and sometimes it’s not the employee. Sometimes it’s just the alignment of what’s necessary and where the person is, the gap is just too large. So that’s a really sucky thing of, you know, it’s, it sounds crazy, but it’s easier to let someone go when they’re just not trying hard. Hey, you know, attend me. You’re supposed to show up at 10 every day. I noticed you’re showing up at 1230. We’re gonna let you go. It’s like so clear, but when you’ve got, you know, Jimmy, John who showing up at nine 30, trying so hard to grow, but still not able to get there. I think those are some of the things that you start to rack your brain and say, wait, how do I really grow someone? What is the most loving way to support? Um, and sometimes the most loving way to support them as to help them realize maybe they need to be somewhere else. Actually, that has been really, really gut wrenching at times that I’ve had to make that decision to,
Bryan: (00:29:37) yeah, we had to. Make that decision, couple of times with Asian hostel network. And it’s never easy, you know, you can do careful, everyone, you know, and you want everyone to grow and succeed, but just. Yeah. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and it’s really sad.
Maggie: (00:29:45) Yeah. Yeah. Like you said, I think the hard part is figuring out whether or not, you know, you should keep them there and help them grow with the risks of, you know, not having that happen or figuring out okay. Maybe they have a better chance to grow. Yeah. That’s the hard part.
Bryan: (00:30:08) Yeah. But I do understand the component. When you said your identity was tied to your company, your identity was tied to your co-founder. It hurts. It hurts a lot when, when things don’t go the right way and you’re like, I thought we’d would use together. What’s going on. And the darkness that you mentioned to you, the one that soul searching part is so necessary for all entrepreneurs. I think we all go through that moment where we’re just looking at yourself in the mirror. Like, what am I doing? Who am I. Like everything. My mom’s helped me is right now. I’m just kidding. no stone sends a doubt and you say, I just don’t even want to get up. You know,
Jason: (00:30:52) you know what the crazy thing. And I totally agree with that. Um, yeah. Nightmares, not wanting to get up feeling just debilitated. Right. And the agonizing feeling of like going to bed, thinking about the same thing, you’re waking up thinking about it and you still don’t have an answer. I think that’s really, really rough. Um, and the thing that’s crazy, I’ve found so far as an entrepreneur because a lot of people will come up to me and say, Jason years have made it right. You’re 6 million subscribers. You’re um, you’ve gotten funding from BCS. Uh, you’re so successful. And on one hand, I think it’s true in that we’ve survived and we’re like, I wouldn’t suggest surviving, but we’re continuing to grow. And we’re building something that I think is truly making an impact. One thing that’s really humbling is what I’m finding is that every stage along the way, the bar actually gets higher for me as an entrepreneur of like the way that I need to personally continue to grow too. Right. Not like, Oh, I did it. And now we’re at this stage. So we’re like smooth sailing from here. I figured it out. Every time our company gets larger. Every time the stakes got larger, there’s a re-evaluation for me of like, Jason, can you grow and become the CEO of this company now? Um, can you grow faster than the company? Otherwise, unfortunately, there may be a time when Jason, you are not fit to be the CEO of Jubilee. And that’s a scary question too, right? Of like, man, this is my baby. I started it. But do you love the mission, the vision, the employees that enough to know, even recognize that sometimes what’s best for the company. It’s always what’s best for you. So I think it’s separating the identity is such a difficult process that I constantly try to think about and do. And. I’m in the process of like looking for an executive coach, for example, it was like one of those things I’m like, okay, I need to continue to level up. Otherwise I will do a disservice to my team.
Bryan: (00:32:44) Yeah. Yeah. That’s such a powerful statement too. And I do agree like you, their company can not outgrow you if you’re the leader of the company. You know, like I can just kick this, nothing. It can’t grow anymore. If you don’t grow you’re in the ceiling. Yeah. Yeah.
Maggie: (00:32:59) I love how you, you know, continue to push yourself to grow as well. I think that, you know, some people actually, when they reach a milestone, they just, you know, settle down and think that they’ve reached success, but I love your mindset and how you. Constantly push yourself to grow. And so we talked about the lows. I would love to know you’re in transition to a love and abundance
Jason: (00:33:25) and this is the worst shop ever. Why would anyone want to be a sounder,
Maggie: (00:33:28) but what has just been like the most exciting part of, you know, your journey as a founder and watching it all unfold?
Jason: (00:33:35) Yeah. I think one of my favorite parts for every one individual that you’ve got, that you’re like staying awake at night, trying to rack your brain on how to help them grow and support them. We’ve had an amazing people who have just like found their wings and are soaring at Jubilee, or I’ve left Jubilee and are taking some of the lessons and growing even more. And that’s something I’m incredibly proud of is that there are so many people we’ve interacted with, whether it’s as employees of our company. Uh, whether it’s, um, folks who have come through our film, fellowship or knowledge is killing the game. And I feel like that’s all part of the Jubilee mission for me. Um, selfishly, I like to say, you know, this is part of our, you know, uh, our success is seeing other people succeed in what they’re doing. Um, as long as we get to like interact with them in some way, I feel really great for that’s. So that’s something I love. The other thing that it brings me so much joy is. You know, I constantly get messages or emails from young people who are saying, man, I watched your content and this changed my life, or that’s changed the way I think about X, Y, Z issue. Thank you. And, um, you know, that means just the world to me, because I think to be able to do what I love, but also make a difference in a positive way. Um, I feel incredibly lucky to do that. And I know that I can’t take the credit for that, that our team is really the heroes in that journey, but I feel really fortunate to be able to have those kinds of reminders again, of why is it that we do what we do.
Bryan: (00:35:12) Yeah. That’s awesome. Jason, and I know, you know, at the end of the day, we’re all human, right? So there’s sense of like, Looking at your competition is still still having the abundance mindset. Like how do you deal with other media companies who have similar missions who may or may not have more followers? Are you looking at them all as person catching you up? Like how’d you deal with the type of competition stress? You feel like, Oh no. Like I gotta push myself harder or you’re like, okay, cool. Is to be supply for everyone to succeed. I’m curious.
Jason: (00:35:46) Yeah. No, that’s a good question. You know, I’ll be honest. I’m like incredibly competitive. My wife will tell you that my friends will tell you that I hate to lose. And I think it’s natural for us as entrepreneurs or as just humans to be comparing ourselves to other people. So I’d be lying if I didn’t say, Oh yeah, like I’ll look at other folks’ numbers and see how we’re doing. Um, I think the problem comes when I’m more focused on someone else’s numbers than my own numbers. Right. And to your point, this idea of scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset. I think early on, I was, so I want to say fixated, but I was, I cared so much about doing better than, but also getting the accolades of other folks that it distracted me from actually just doing the work well. Like, I wasn’t even doing the work well to my own standards because I was so focused on someone else’s standards or someone else’s a claim let’s say. And what I realized was actually that when I stopped doing that, um, that I actually found that our company grew faster, but also. Now when all these other companies were succeeding and actually helping our company. Um, and the reason was there are a lot of reasons. One was, are other more mature, more gracious founders out there who would reach out to me and say, Hey, if I can be helpful to you in any way, please let me know. Okay. They were really honest in that. Right? So that’s something that I’ve learned to be able to give that posture to other people and say, Hey, if you, if I can help you with our platform in a way that will grow you or amplify you, I’m like really happy to do that. And then the second thing was there was something about like this rising tide helps all boats where the pie, we’re not trying to like slice this pie, but the pie was actually getting larger. Yeah. So something that’s really fascinating to see on YouTube is, you know, we’ve had some other folks who people will compare us to other YouTube channels. For example, we find is that when they’re doing better, we understand up doing better and vice versa, right? So then that way we’re not competitors at all. And that way we’re actually allies and trying to grow our mission and our vision. And so that’s been a really cool lesson. And it helps me just to stay focused on what we’re trying to do. And I’m just trying to help as many people along the way as possible.
Bryan: (00:38:01) I love that. I love that you highlighted that at that point, because with the Asian community, there’s a huge crab mentality where it’s like, ah, coming back down with me, you know, you tried to fight that all the time in Asian custom network to the point where we’re giving away contracts, we’re giving away our, how we do things in Asia. That’s nowhere to other communities. Because they were trying to be like, Hey, look, there’s a large piece of the pie. We can’t be the only community out there that’s serving the community. Right. So we tried to be as abundant as we can. And that seems to blow a lot of people’s minds. When you reach out to other community leaders, like how can we help you? Here’s our contracts. Here’s how we do things down to our notes. You know, our curriculums because we were there that abundant and we’re like, okay, like what our point of view too. It’s like, we can give you all the resources in the world, but you, but. Everyone’s different. You’re not going to execute the same way that we’re going to execute. So we’re super comfortable with doing that because we need more Asian leaders out there.
Jason: (00:38:59) I totally agree with you in the Asian American space that early on, especially I think when we’re younger, it’s easy to be kind of cagey and. Yeah, I think for me, honestly, it was growing up in kids is that it felt like there cannot be another Asian in the room with you even then they’re going to not be able to tell us apart or whatever, you know? So that was my own thing that I had to work on. But, um, I love the way that you guys are going about your work and your business. And the other thing that I’ve learned is that this is such a long game. I mean like so many of the people that you’re interacting with, you will see them again. And when folks, you know, Do great work with you or feel some of that, like kindness from you, they will like pay it back tenfold and you don’t see the Trailways, but someone else will come and say, Oh my God, you know, Megan, Brian, they were so helpful for me here. And five years later, you see them again and they’re like blowing up in their own thing and they want to show you their shine. Right. So I I’ve just been so rocked by saying. How much we are running a marathon and not a hundred meter dash.
Maggie: (00:40:00) Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think we’re definitely on the same page know like, yeah. I think especially now, like there’s just so many more and new media companies and Asian inspired me to companies and by communities. Yeah. And we, we need to all exist to be able to help each other, lift each other up. And so we can get to our goals and like, just with one community, we won’t be able to make much of a difference. But if we all collectively come together and join forces, it makes such a big difference.
Bryan: (00:40:34) Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So I did have a question for you, Jason, what does empathy mean mean to you?
Jason: (00:40:40) Yeah, it’s a really good question. We, as you’re starting to hear the word empathy be used so often in 2021. And for me, empathy, the way that we define it simply is the ability to understand and feel the feelings of another person. Um, empathy for me doesn’t mean that we’re going to agree on everything. Let’s say you really like the Lakers and I really like the clipper. It doesn’t mean that I have to like the Lakers, right. Um, that’s not what empathy means. Empathy means being able to have some of those difficult conversations and honestly, sometimes agreeing to disagree, but understanding where that other individual is coming from. And, um, that’s the thing that I think we’re missing so often because people, you know, have a version of empathy, which is, Oh, let’s just be nice to everyone. And like, not even have difficult conversations. And I don’t think that that’s empathetic either. I think sometimes it requires us to do the hard work of. Oh, actually, Bryan, the thing that you said that kind of hurt my feelings a little bit, that actually offended me a little bit, and this is why, and for you not to say, well, F you, I don’t care. This is why I’m going to go about, you know, having some of those difficult conversations is really important. And then on the other hand, also just listening to each other, you were seeing so much in politics and views and with a lot of the crises that we’re having, as we’re just talking at each other, not willing to come to the table and just. I understand that other people might feel different.
Bryan: (00:42:11) Yeah. I like that a lot. And we watched a lot of your videos on YouTube and some of the videos that we watch, we feel like you bring on two contrasting individuals, you know, like, are you sure empty sort of work? These two individuals? Is there any middle ground here? I mean, how do you, how do you. How do you bring in guests and DDS videos that have such contrast and views and the parents ahead of time, especially with your directors too?
Jason: (00:42:39) Yeah. I mean, our directors, our superheroes, they just do such a good job because at any given day or any given week, they’re looking for a crazy set of cast. You know, we did sex workers and pastors middle ground before, like, if you follow us on Instagram, sometimes I’m like, Hey, I need a. No vaccine supporting firefighter, like there’s such specific things that we’re looking for. Um, so they just deserve so much credit. Um, the other thing I’ll say is because people give us a lot of credit or these conversations and the truth is I think we, we try our best to do our due diligence, to create a great culture and a safe space where people can authentically talk and also be listened to you, which I think is unique. But the truth is that when. People enter that space. There is just a level of kindness and empathy that they will extend to other people out of respect if you will. And I think that that’s actually within all of us, it’s not like Julie is able to specially pull that out. It’s just, we’re creating spaces where people feel comfortable being their authentic selves and also changing the way that we interact. Right where it’s not like, Oh no, I have to convince you why X, Y, and Z is the right way. That’s the conversation we’re having here. It’s actually, what do we have in common? What do we think similarly about what do we think differently about? Um, so I think that a lot of ways Jubilee is just honestly reflecting almost like our, our original intent as humans, as like society as the way that we’re supposed to. And interact and learn and grow from each other.
Maggie: (00:44:17) I love that. Love that. Yeah, definitely. I think one person shows empathy differently than another person, even at different levels. So just finding that commonality and that middle ground is super important. Yeah. Um, so we, you know, we saw your website and we saw your team and for all the listeners, go ahead and check out the website or team pages. So adorable. It has baby pictures of everyone, but I would love to know, like, what do you typically look for when you bring on people to your team at Julie media?
Jason: (00:44:46) Yeah. I find that that is like the most important decisions that we make every day is who’s going to join our team and why, um, And it, it all goes back to our values actually. So what we try to think about this, we’ve got this $5. How does that translate in terms of the work and the competencies that we actually want to see? And that’s even all the way from hiring all the way through our feedback forms. Everything is linked to that because you know, there should be a North star as to how we operate what’s important to us. Um, but since the very beginning of the company, we had this role where everyone would, would interview everyone. So, for example, like when we had seven people in the company, all seven people would interview the new candidate, which is kind of intimidating as I say it, but it was just such an important thing that every single person should be almost enthusiastically. Yes. We would say, are you a no. Are you a, maybe, are you a yes. Or are you a hell? Yes. Right. And what we found was that we had to be actually at a hell yes. Universally before you hired someone. Otherwise, often times they wouldn’t succeed. Um, we’ve ran into a scale obviously now that we can’t have everyone interview each other, but, um, we still have a lot of those principles of like, how enthusiastic are we? And it’s not only because we’re considering Maggie as the candidate and saying, how well do we think she’ll do. It’s also a sign of how much are we willing to make sure that she succeeds with the bugle that makes any sense. Um, hiring is something that’s really, really important to us. And we, we find, and we treat really, uh, I think, as a huge priority within the company.
Bryan: (00:46:25) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me hiring and taking care of teams a two way streak. And it’s under, oftentimes under estimated how much time and effort and heart goes into and expensive time consuming. Very rare. Yeah. So I want to ask the second to last question. So I know that you’ve been very active in clubhouse recently, and you have a club, a coffee water. Can you quickly talk about that and how we can join?
Jason: (00:46:54) Yeah, please. Thank you. Um, I had a blast that, uh, clubhouse and. Um, when I first joined club outs, I think it was in the fall of 2020. Honestly, there weren’t that many folks on there, but what I saw was that all the other groups like ethnicities and races had a group that was just for their community to gather and have kind of conversations. You know, I was like constantly searching for the Asian one and couldn’t find one. So I said, you know what, maybe I should start one myself. Um, so I asked a couple of folks who I knew were on clubhouse. How do we start this? And we started to be water, my friend, which is. Pretty loose, honestly, it’s four and by the Asian American community, uh, but it is welcomed to all. Um, and we want to obviously represent the diaspora that represents the Asian region. So South Asian, Southeast Asian H U station, and even folks who, who consider themselves as allies and friends. And we try to have like weekly events. Um, but it is not supposed to be the Jason Wiley’s show in a lot of ways I’m trying to ask other folks is what we want to see is just like a rich. A platform where people can use and elevate their voices. So it’s been a really, really fun place to just experiment
Bryan: (00:48:03) that and also shout out to Jason and his Friday events for the talent show thing,
Jason: (00:48:08) right. An open mic night every Friday, and that’s been super fun. And we got to use that to raise money and awareness for, for a hit as a virus, which was super cool. Um, Yeah, $26,000, which was insane. It blew our $5,000 coal out of the water. So it’s just cool just to see the community gather this way and, and support each other.
Bryan: (00:48:30) Yeah. Yeah. For our listeners, hate is a virus is a non-profits comeback, xenophobia, xenophobia, and racism that Michelle Hannah Bussa, Tammy Chelan. And the third person that’s missing is me. The third co-founder, uh, I created. Um, but I stepped away from the virus bugs and Asian lesson network, but they are doing a phenomenal job giving back to the community and please check them out and all the great work that they’re doing.
Maggie: (00:48:55) Yeah. And check out Jason’s, uh, clubhouse rooms. You host amazing rooms that are extremely interactive, welcoming, and super respectful, and just love joining those rooms.
Jason: (00:49:09) Yeah, we’re, we’re hopefully gonna have a Jubilee club, uh, sometime soon, or we’re going to be doing a lot of our shadows on clubhouse. No, that’s something to look forward to.
Maggie: (00:49:17) Amazing. So just so we have one last question for you, and that is what one advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Jason: (00:49:25) It’s a really good question. Um, I think that the piece of advice I would give. No, there’s so many tactical things I could say that might make someone better positioned or grow. Um, but what I will say is that I believe that you can make something extraordinary. Um, that so often in my journey, I did not hear that voice from my parents or from other individuals who say, I believe in you.And the truth is that I just believe, I honestly believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and that anyone with the right willingness and hardworking courage can, can build their own company and change the world. So I will say if you’ve got that inkling in your heart, nurture it, grow it, continue to. You know, a fan, the flame and that, um, I think the world will be better off or are you taking that choice and making that decision. So go get it.
Maggie: (00:50:29) I love that advice. Thank you so much, Jason. And how can our listeners find out more about you and do you believe media online?
Jason: (00:50:36) Yeah. Um, folks can find me just Jason Wiley underscore, uh, on Instagram and Twitter, Jason wildly on clubhouse and then Jubilee media. We’re on. YouTube we’re on Instagram. We are now on Tik TOK, which is, uh, amazing. It’s been really, really fun. It’s one of our fastest growing channels and spaces. So a lot more to come on the Jubilee side, um, and some exciting announcements that will come later this year.
Maggie: (00:51:04) Excited to hear that. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. Thank you. It was awesome having you on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and the Asian wholesale network.
Jason: (00:51:14) Absolutely. It’s been such a pleasure and thank you, Maggie. And thank you, Brian, for all the great work you do for the community. It’s honestly an honor to be here and, and keep up the great work.
Bryan: (00:51:22) Thank you, Jason. Appreciate you.
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