Jason Shen // Ep 65 // 3x Startup Founder and Asian American Advocate

Welcome to Episode 65 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Jason Shen 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 Shen is an entrepreneur and business leader passionate about technology and human resilience. His past startups have reimagined transportation, recruiting, and gaming; backed by notable investors at Y Combinator, Techstars, and Amazon. As an operator, he’s built products and led teams at companies like Facebook, Etsy, and the Smithsonian.

He writes and speaks as an advocate for Asian Americans and AAPI issues and founded The Asian American Man Study in 2015.

Jason has written about productivity, resilience, as well as the future of work in publications like Fast Company, VOX, TechCrunch and, has spoken at events at TED, Google, and The White House where his ideas have reached millions. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, two kettlebells, and many piles of books.‍

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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 Jason Shen. Jason is an entrepreneur and business leader, passionate about technology and human resilience. His past startups have re-imagined transportation, recruiting and gaming batched by notable investors at Y Combinator, Techstars and Amazon as an operator, he’s built products and led teams at companies like Facebook at sea. And the Smithsonian he writes and speaks as an advocate for Asian-Americans and AAPI issues and founded the Asian American man study in 2015. Jason has we’re in about productivity resilience as well as the future of work in publications, like fast company, Vox tech crunch, and has spoken at events at Ted Google and the white house where his ideas have reached millions. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife. Two kettlebells and many piles of books. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason: (00:01:21)  Hey Maggie. Hey Brian. So great to be here,  


Bryan: (00:01:26) Devers. So excited to have here. So we spent some time earlier watching your Ted talks and we realized he did major in biology. How’d you end up as an entrepreneur.I like an, like an activist and a product manager. Let’s dive deep into that.

Jason: (00:01:41) Yeah. Yeah, let’s do it. So, you know, like a lot of. Asian kids. Uh, I was encouraged to, to study the sciences. I was, I was good at the sciences. I, um, really struggled with history and English. I just didn’t get it like, you know, writing essays, you know, making arguments and just like, I didn’t find that particularly interesting. And I found a lot of the science stuff. Very interesting. So that’s what I lean towards when I got to college. Um, You know, biology is the field that doesn’t require to do a lot of math and a lot of problem sets. You know, I think I was interested in computer science, but the, uh, amount of homework and the assignments and just how long it took was just so much. And as a, uh, you know, Gymnast and, you know, competitive athlete, you know, I was recruited, I had a scholarship athletic scholarship, so gymnastics was a huge amount of my focus. And so biology was the one thing where like, okay, you know, you can mostly do midterms and finals and just. You know, study and you’ll be fine, right. Obviously subsidy the chemistry. So it was, it was somewhat of a pragmatic, uh, decision. I think biology also spans a lot of, uh, different areas. You have to know chemistry, you have to know some physics. Um, and it’s the study of life, right? Which is like inherently complex and interconnected and complicated. And in a lot of ways, I think that study of biology, it really transferred, uh, into my life today in. Uh, in technology, in product in advocacy, because I think in terms of systems, right? One of the things that they really teach you in biology is that there’s no single X for anything, right? There’s no one gene that makes somebody tall or make somebody gay or make somebody. Aggressive, right. There’s no one medication you, you put in a medication. It, it doesn’t, uh, it’s like, there’s no one allergy medication, right? There are a bunch of different ones. They work at different ways. They do different things. They have different side effects. And whether it’s advocacy or building a product, or like building a marketing plan, there’s going to be no one magic feature or one no special campaign. That’s going to like change everything and make it all worth. You know, it, it takes a huge amount of different. Uh, things to happen in different places, uh, for change to happen. So I think, uh, even though I use 0% of the factual information of biology, um, I appreciate, uh, the, the sort of way it taught me to think.


Bryan: (00:04:10) Yeah. Yeah. I think I really appreciate the way you think too. And the way that my biggest takeaway from that is, you know, whatever you learn is very transferable to other, other things that you’re passionate about. In your case, you are taught to think a certain way, look at the world certain way and actually influenced the way that you, you became this, this person that you became, maybe like an entrepreneur and activist forming your blogs. You know, it all came from this biology foundation too. It was also one more thing that I wanted to point out is you talked about, well, we watched videos in the past. We read up on you. We talked about how you be in gymnastics, has affected your, your mindset that. No, it’s better to achieve things as a team. He talked quickly about that.


Jason: (00:04:52) Yeah. So gymnastics is. Historically in the way you look at it, it’s like an individual sport, you know, you’re on your own. You, you salute you’re on the floor by yourself. You get your own score, you get your own points. Um, you can, you train with other people, but you’re, they’re almost competitors to you, uh, in a way. Um, and. You know, it’s only an international competition or like when you start at, uh, at the collegiate level where you actually have any kind of team dynamic where you’re like, we’re winning as a group, you add up all our points, you know, and it’s still somewhat individual, right. There are like, you know, I have a whole theory about the three types of sports. There’s like, Individual sports like gymnastics, dual sports, like tennis and boxing, where you’re like facing off against one person. And then there’s teams sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and all that. Um, and you know, it’s important, you know, because so much of the sort of larger world is about working in teams, right. And you can’t do everything by yourself, uh, and you need to rely on other people and you to build trust with other people. Um, And you, it feels better to win together. Right? I had a, a guy on our team who was a really great gymnast. He was older than us. And, you know, he went on to be a very successful entrepreneur. His name is Dan Gill and he would say, you know, I’d give up all my individual championships and, you know, uh, all American titles to have a team title. And that was very influential on me, you know, and it always feels better to win as a team. Um, so. Uh, it’s, it’s easy to forget that. And I think there are a lot of, you know, in the Asian hustle network, there’s like a lot of solopreneurs and like maybe small business owners and it can, it, it, you know, you want to, you still want to achieve with your team or you want to be a part of a community where you can celebrate your wins with other people, because it just sucks to be like, yeah, I did it, I killed it. And no one, no one freaking cares because you’re you’re alone. Or like, you know, you, haven’t involved your team and, and, and feeling like bought into that success.


Maggie: (00:06:52) Absolutely. I love the way you think. I think that team building is so important as you’re, you know, working with other people in relationship building. And I would love to know, like, how did what you learned throughout your gymnastic years kind of transfer over to you, building startups.


Jason: (00:07:08) Yeah. Okay. So, but before I get into that, I just want to, I, it made me think of this one thing, which is like, um, and I, again, don’t want to like, make stereotypes about like Asian people as an Asian person. I think there’s like a broad range, but certainly a lot of folks Asian or not are probably familiar with the idea of doing a team, a group project in school and being like this Sox everyone’s being lazy and like, I’m just going to do everything or redo everything. And I think that’s actually a terrible mentality because, uh, You know, it’s, it’s perpetuating this idea that like you can do all the work. Right. Uh, or that, you know, uh, part of the point of the group project is to like force you to work together and like engage and yeah. You know, I’ve been in dynamics where we, we like. Distribute the work, even as a professional and like, some people are Slack, but like that’s a skill to be like, Hey, so, you know, do we need to check in, like, what do you need from us? Like, you know, this is important, you know, all of that that’s leadership. Right. And that’s how you’re gonna grow and rise. Like if you’re just like, Oh, I’ll just do by myself. That only gets you so far. You’re never going to be a leader. You’re never going to advance. Right. It’s only that person’s like, Hey, we’re going to get this whole group going or we’re going to get multiple groups going. Like, that’s how you get leverage. That’s how you grow. That’s how you be on a leader, right. Is when you can like, get multiple groups of people doing stuff without you being the only one doing everything. Right. So anyway, um, but then gymnastics and startups, I guess, uh, for, for me, gymnastics was about a team of guys getting together, you know, doing the best we could individually, so that collectively we could take on something really. Uh, big, which was win a national championship, you know? And when I started at Stanford, uh, we were unranked, you know, we had had previously some, some successful seasons, but those were like many, many years ago. And like, we didn’t even make the NCAA finals my freshman year. Um, and that’s like top six. You know, and so we weren’t even in the, in the sort of like the running, right. And then, then the next year we did better. We, we actually ended up third. Then we got third again. And it was, um, and I, you know, injured myself my junior year, my senior year, it was like at home at Stanford. Uh, and the last two years that, uh, home team had won the champion, it was like held at the. A team that ultimately won the championship. So there’s this like story storybook ending, like, you know, at-home senior year, you showed up freshman year. You were nothing. Now we’re going to go in and we ranked number one all season. Um, and we had like a few errors. I had a few errors. And we ultimately got second, like narrowly, like the last guy on the last event ended up like posting it from Oklahoma posting like a big score. And it was like, just enough. It was like to, you know, 41.8 to two 41.4, like no, nothing. And that was devastating. Right? That was super devastating. Um, and you know, you mentioned my bio, like I’m really passionate about resilience. It’s like, I I’ve realized this in the last like year or so that like, resilience is just so important, you know, of course you want to be successful. You want to be like skillful. You want to do things to, to, to go, uh, to do well to achieve, but there’s always going to be stuff that like, Kind of comes your way, that like sucks. Right. And like, okay, second place, come on. Like, what are you complaining about? You know, it’s not, it’s not like, Oh, so, so, but, but you know, it’s painful when you like expect it and you think you’re going to get it. You’re ranked number one, this is what it was supposed to happen. And then it didn’t happen. Right. And like, you have no one to blame, but yourself, like you’d screwed up. You know, as that home court, you have home court advantage, right? What, what are you gonna complain about at this point? So that was really painful and, uh, A lot of guys, you know, we had a great class of guys in a number of my year. None of them, I had to, you know, move on because I injured my knee my junior year, which was its own sort of resilience story of like re surgeries and re you know, reconstruction. I got to compete at a fifth year. Right? Like it was my fourth full season and I was elected captain one of the captains. And we really like, had to like, you know, get the team. On a new mindset, you know, because it’s really like devastating to kind of like go through that. And then you’re like, Oh, is that going to happen again? And, uh, we had to really change the mindset from being like, all that matters is this one final competition at the end of the year, to like every day is a chance for us to show that we’re champions. Right. And then when we go there, that’s just one more day of, of us being, you know, but we’ve been champions, every single practice, every single meet, you know? Um, and, and you know, what we did when the championship that, that final year, um, It was the first time we went in 14 years. So that was like really powerful and meaningful for me. I think. Um, And I think startups for me for, for a long time were, were sort of the only way that I can like go back to that like big goal. So hard, you know, uh, and a team of people that, that, you know, we’re all in it together. Um, and so my, my first startup came like probably two years after, uh, graduating and, you know, worked a couple jobs. And then I was like, I gotta go do this. And so I started my first company called ride joy. We went through the Y Combinator accelerator program. It was like, Stuart, you know, again, another storybook example, like it was like me, my classmate from Stanford, computer science, and then like our third roommate was from Berkeley computer science guy. So we were like three, three Asian guys, two computer science guys, one like business guy. Uh, and, uh, we went through the white Combinator program. We launched this ride sharing platform, you know, help people share rides at burning man to events, you know, all along the West coast and then eventually across the country. Uh, and we grew that for like a year and a half and we were in vanity fair and this like ma you know, magazine, photo shoot. And then we had this like, Total sort of tank moment where, um, we’ve been getting a lot of traffic from Craigslist as we’re Airbnb as were a lot of companies. And all of a sudden Craigslist, like was a sleeping giant. They woke up and they were like, Nah, we’re not going to let this slide anymore. And they just kinda like sat out their lawyers, like got everybody kicked off the platform. Right. Um, some other startup was like, got the cease and desist letter. They had spent like $10,000 with lawyers being like, yeah, we can’t do anything. We got to stop. We were like, crap. That’s that’s us too. You know? And we were like gearing up to raise another round of funding. We just launched this mobile app, which like we thought was going to be the big thing. Like the silver bullet. We talked about this earlier. There’s no silver bullet. We thought that was going to be the thing. It wasn’t a thing. And then now we lose this Craigslist, like traffic. And so we, we really had to like, you know, stop and think about what we were doing. We spent a couple of weeks like. Seeing for your pivot, the business. We ended up laying off our team. So it was back to just the founders. We like subleased our office that we had went back to our own apartment. And then we spent like six months trying to like reimagine the business, do something else. You know, we still have cash in the bank, but like, It was demoralizing, you know, and sadly, I was not able to pull that one around. I was not able to get our team rallied around like some new idea. We like pitched each other different ideas, but always one of the three of us were like, not that excited about that idea. We ultimately. And then, and then that’s when I left to go to the Smithsonian, like I saw this opportunity to go work in the federal government. I was like, we’re pitching so many ideas at each other. And at the annual, like, w what’s the point who cares? None of this stuff really matters. It’s like parking valet, you know, like do your laundry, you know, like, you know, we went on and saw people build businesses around a lot of those, like food, like fresh food, you know, and, you know, some of them have been successful. Uh, but you know, It was, it was just like at the, in this situation, it was a fellowship, the presidential innovation fellowship. They really needed people to solve huge problems for the federal government, you know, as an immigrant, uh, I’ve always like wanted to serve this country in some way to like, You know, be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here. My dad works in state government, you know, as a public servant and you know, he’s an elected official now. So he’s really served in a lot of ways and I want you to, so that ended up being how I got in there. And then my co-founders ended up working on the healthcare.gov thing, like the, fix it, a team after the, the initial thing blew up and like, no, you know that no one could get onto the site. So, I know there’s a long answer to your question, but, um, you know, that was like, at least one of the stories of like, you know, my journey with gymnastics and like that first startup, right?


Bryan: (00:15:34) Yeah. Well that we’re so captivated by the story, that reasons like, Whoa, There’s a lot going on. It’s so relatable to a lot of us, to be honest, because that’s really where things are going great. And all of a sudden, he goes battery quickly and you have to pivot, even with Asian hustle network, turning this to a company, raising money, we feel what you felt, the frustration, the pain,


Jason: (00:15:57) but it’s amazing. You’re, you know, you’re kind of doing it live, right? Like, you know, doing the podcast, doing all this stuff, like you can’t really hide, you know, you’re, you’re out there like you can’t be like, Oh, we’re figuring some stuff out. Right. Talk to you in like three months, you know,


Bryan: (00:16:13) as you guys criticize us,


Maggie: (00:16:16) yay is really demoralizing. Right? And it’s like, it’s hard to find that, that silver lining, but you have to keep going


Bryan: (00:16:24) and you have to keep pushing to it, you know? Right afterwards it looks like you hop right back into the corporate job before starting the next startup. Like, what was that? What was that feeling like? Like how back into corporate, after being in startup world and.


Jason: (00:16:39) Yeah. I mean, we’re in this facility. It was interesting because the government is like the super bureaucracy, right. When you think about it and for good reason, it’s not just like a bunch of bozos, like, you know, being annoying for the sake of it. Like there are rules and there’s like a re we want rules. Right. We want our government to be like, as cautious as possible. If the government isn’t Amazon, that government, can’t just be like, Oh, we’re just going to roll this thing out. See if it works. Oh, you didn’t like, Oh, not enough. People sign up for this benefit canceled. You know, it doesn’t work like that. Right. Um, so, so, you know, but it was, it was challenging to sort of like working that big infrastructure, but, but then you were sort of like an entrepreneur inside of it. Then when I, you know, decided I want to stay in DC, I didn’t want to move back to San Francisco because it was like going back to like your childhood bedroom, you know, I was like, I don’t want to do that. So I like pushed forward and I like moved to New York. Um, and, uh, You know, the New York tech scene is obviously, uh, probably the second strongest one after, after the Bay area. Um, I worked at a sort of. Mid stage startup. So, you know, it wasn’t super corporate, right? It was like a bigger company, had a hundred people when I joined it, got to two 50, by the time I left a year and a half later. So it grew really fast. Uh, so that was sort of my experience, seeing the hypergrowth and seeing like what, when, when it’s like everyone knows each other, it’s one floor to like three floors Mo you know, offices and other, you know, cities, uh, and just like the, the, the kind of that’s its own. Um, kind of wild ride, right? Like even if things are going well, right. And you’re like growing, it’s still like disorienting. There’s all these new people, new process. Like you can’t hire people fast enough. So people are stuck doing like huge amounts of work because there’s not enough people to like, do the other work. Um, And, you know, some people get promoted super fast and they went from like, you know, a senior contributor to like a director in like, you know, nine months and other people are like, why am I still stuck doing the same job I was before? Right. Um, but it was, you know, it was, it was still a good experience. Then I worked at Etsy, I got product management experience. And then I was like, you know, I’m ready for my next thing. Um, I, I recruited. An engineer who had worked closely with at Etsy. Uh, and you know, that’s how we started the headlight company that, uh, was about hiring.


Maggie: (00:18:59) Wow. I personally went through like a similar route as well or jump that I went from government to tech. And it seems like you went from government backed back into tech. Yeah. I’m curious to know, like, what was the biggest, um, change that you felt just going from, you know, public sector to, yeah.


Jason: (00:19:18) What was your role? What was your just briefly? Like, why did you work on?  


Maggie: (00:19:22) So I was actually working, um, with nonprofit organizations to provide. Homeless services to homeless people in San Francisco. So just like working with nonprofits to provide shelter, food bedding, and all of that, then I went into tech, so I was doing finance and tech. So it was just like a really major jump for me. And it was just like a really big change. And it was, I felt like it was kind of difficult to actually, you know, get back into tech. So Jami would love to know from your perspective, like what was the biggest change for you? Just going back into tech from.


Bryan: (00:19:51) It’s even faster again.


Jason: (00:19:56) Right. Um, you know, I think it was like, like the biggest change just for me, we’re going from, it was like first going from San Francisco to DC and that sort of like program that we were in, it was like fairly new, uh, at the time it was like the second class they’d ever organized. So a lot of things were still kind of being worked out. Um, And then the Smithsonian’s sort of being its own entity. Like it’s the government, but it’s also funded by Congress. So it’s not funded by like, uh, the, the executive branch, like the other fellows were. So I was kind of like on my own and you know, it’s like a learning institution. It’s more like a college or university than it is. Like, you know, The treasury department of the state department, right? Like they’re getting grants from, for staff and doing research. And then they’re kind of like a business because we will come in and like, you know, donate and it’s like a nonprofit in that way. Right. So it was like a very. You know, uh, different, uh, experience. I think even within government, like I didn’t even always relate to my other fellows who were like, talking about like, you know, some OMB, like office of management budget has some like, directive about this and this. And like we’re following some executive order that the president is sign. I’m like, we’re not even subject to get to that, you know? So like we were even on the outskirts of, of government. And then when I moved to New York, it was like, okay, first of all, it’s New York. It’s not, uh, and it’s not San Francisco. It’s not DC. Um, and the, the company was a tech company, but it was also my first time in a B2B company. You know, I’d done a lot been in all that consumer environments. And so. Bigger B2B, you have a huge sales team. You’ve got all these, you know, um, like New York, fuck boys, for lack of a better term, which is like hilarious to me, like the sales guys, you know, on Tinder and they’re just piping and they’re just like, yeah, I was on like three dates last time who has time to go on, you know, in one night, you know, like, Oh my God. You know? And so I was like, I was older than some of these folks, but, but at the same time, sort of like the first time I’ve had that, like, Kind of chummy, you’re getting drinks with your coworkers after work kind of environment. I had never had that before, you know, so I think those are, that was like, and it was like media add people, you know? So that was like, there was like a vibe there, right? Like, you know, team happier and like the boss, like buying drinks for everybody. And you’re like, you know, getting pretty. Sloshed. Right. And like, I hadn’t really had that in my other start with my co-founders didn’t drink that much, you know, like, and, and DC was like more professional, right? Like this is like a little, little sloppy. Um, but that was kind of the vibe. So I think those are the things for me, I think in general, If to answer your question about like public to private sector or like from government to tech, if it’s, someone’s kind of coming from one environment to the other, it’s really about how weirdly loose people are with like, Uh, doing things, trying things, you know, I think that’s an important part of the culture of technologies. Like, let’s just try it. Let’s just see what happens. You know, we, you know, we’ll learn more when we do it. And government has been learning and trying harder to do pilots instead of like researching super much in advance. And then like, you know, having a five-year plan, probably gonna roll it out. Cause by the end of the five years, world’s gonna look super different. Right. Um, and so, you know, Especially for, and then for a startup it’s even more so like literally the biggest threat is that the company dies, right. The biggest threat at any given time is that in two years there will be no company. So there’s very few risks that are not like worth trying, because it’s like, unless it’s going to tank the company sooner than in two years saying you, the company, we should try it just to see what happens. Right. Um, and that’s a really weird idea to come by that like everything you’re doing, like, you know, the, the San Francisco city government is going to exist in five years and 10 years. Right. Uh, but your company may or may not write it, you know, Asian and hustle network as a company may or may not exist in two years, or it’s going to look very different in two years. Right. So you have to try. Those experiments, uh, to, to learn because you know, as long as you don’t lose too much from memory, one experiment, uh, the other side of it is like government. You do a really great program. You get a Pat on the back, you know, do you mean get a bonus? Maybe you get a promotion, you know, but it’s like a locked in system of like how much you can make and whatever. Whereas like, you know, in, in tech and startups, certainly, you know, you, you launch a new feature and it like goes crazy. Like that can change the game. So it is a little different, we were just talking about like, no silver bullets, like there can be single things that like really transform your business. You still have to go and fix everything else to make it all that like one thing actually work, um, But that idea that there can be outsized returns and like you look at VC portfolios, it’s super weird. There are three companies that mattered and everything else, like who cares you mess in 200 companies, like five of them did great. And like, everything else could have gotten to zero. And it kind of doesn’t matter. That’s super weird, you know, mentally for anybody to kind of grapple with.


Bryan: (00:25:01) There’s a huge abundance mindset right there. But yeah, I do want to dive deep into, uh, the Asian American men study. You know, I think it’s part of the reasons why we met and want to hear the inspiration behind that to you. And how big have you grown that, that project?


Jason: (00:25:19) Yeah, so, you know, um, it started in 2015. Um, I had been talking to a friend of mine who, um, Uh, he was a high school friend. We’d been, um, catching up. He was in residency in New York, at a hospital, had recently gotten out of a relationship. Um, and he kind of been, you know, he was like, he’s like a funny creative guy, like, you know, plays music. We’ll do like scats talent show stuff, but he kinda gotten a little bit more subdued because he was dating this person who was like not, uh, like more of a homebody. And he was kind of getting back out on the scene is just realizing that like his classmates didn’t really like. I thought he was kind of like a SA you know, stone, you know, stone-cold poker face kind of guy, you know? Um, he was like, not getting matches, even though he had a friend who was also in residency, who, you know, they both agreed like, dude, you’re not that good looking. Right. What’s your white, um, he was getting more matches. Right. And that’s, you know, it’s just like it, I think a lot of Asian guys can, uh, relate to this like, experience just being like. What’s the deal, you know, it’s very hard to sort of like you, you can’t say like, Oh, they did, they, they didn’t swipe right on me because they’re racist. Like, you can’t prove that there’s no way to prove that. Right. But like, he was just feeling really down about that. And, and like having these experiences where people, you know, uh, the attendings, the physicians would be like, Oh, thank God. We got an Asian on our team. Like you did that, math, you know, you calculated that, uh, you know, medicine, you know, conversion really easily, you know? And so, you know, were. Th the, the whole study came out because we were like, are we the only people going through this? Like, we can’t be right. But at the same time, you know, you’re going to call up your friend and be like, Hey man. So like, do you also feel like they’re weird times where something happens and then like you think you might be because, I mean, like, those are good conversations to have, but, but it’s, and, and we should be having them, but I went, I was like, let’s, let’s get some more data. Right. Um, and so I put that study together. I was like a Google doc. Golden farm, just posted around, put it on social media and it like blew up. Like people started sharing it left and right. Because I think specifically it was like, Asian men not feeling like they had had someone being like, Hey, what’s your specific experience like? Right. And I think that’s what really touched a nerve. And, you know, there is a lot of challenges that the Asian community face, you know, that the difference between the sort of like, Um, you know, the more refugee or lower income communities versus like those with, you know, higher education, higher earning, you know, men versus women, like, you know, East, Southeast, South Asian, all differences. Right. All different, uh, experiences. But I think, um, especially then, and even still now, you know, there, I think, um, Asian men probably felt like they didn’t have a voice, uh, to express that and, and, um, This was the first time that they felt that they could do that. So, uh, I’ve been running it for a number of years.  I’ve done like three studies, one in 20, you know, published one in 2016, one 2017, one in 2018 maybe. And, um, you know, so I haven’t done one a little while, uh, but maybe that’ll change. Um, and, uh, and. And it really, uh, the, I published the first one on medium. It had like more than a hundred thousand people reading it. Um, we did, uh, uh, interview with, uh, the Atlantic, the Atlantic wrote it up. Um, you know, and then since then, like I’ve, I’ve tried to go broader, right? Because like, just getting the data is important, but it’s not enough, you know, it’s supposed to start a conversation. So I’ve been on like NBC Asian America. I did a talk at Pinterest had done toxic, like Amazon at, um, You know, uh, for, and I wrote like an op ed in Fox in 2019 about, uh, always be my maybe, um, and that movie and, and sort of like the Asian male represented and kind of being a, a dork, you know, kind of being a loser and, and that being a good thing, right. Because that means that, Hey, you can still win the girl. You know, or be successful. We’re seen as like, you know, not that, that’s the only thing that’s like, uh, that we want to value, but, but you can be seen as like a good person and like, not like negative, even though you kind of live at home, you kinda smoke weed. You’re like chilling your dad, you know, not like professionally successful. And I think men everywhere feel the pressure of like, Hey, if you’re not professionally successful, like. Who cares, you know, why do I need to talk to you? Why, you know, you have no value right. In the same way that, um, you know, professional success is similar to analogous. I want to say it’s exactly the same as like, looks or like, you know, appearance for women. It’s like, if you don’t have it, You have no value. Uh, and I think anyway, that was like a, an interesting thing to talk about and to connect that to the research, right. To be like, Hey, this thing happened. Here’s why it’s interesting. And here’s like some of the data to back it up, you know, I think that’s something that I, I get excited to do.


Maggie: (00:30:27) So interesting. I love this conversation. I think like, I love how you’re, you know, creating this environment where people can find commonality with other Asian American men. And I think that I was actually in a conversation with, um, some other people who runs this magazine on Asian-Americans and they actually talked about how a lot of Asian American men don’t share their stories. And I think it also goes back to what you were saying, how. No one has really like coming out and asking, like, what is your specific experience as an, as an Asian-American mandate? And I think it’s also like how society shapes our mentality mentality of like relationships and, you know, the male population, how, you know, it’s it’s, it seemed as like, Um, vulnerable to show emotions, right? Or like talk about relationships as a male. And I think that’s like just how our mentality is shaped. But I think that, you know, men do want to share their voice. And we see that a lot in Asian, Asian hustle network that a lot of male actually shares her stories about their hustle and their entrepreneurship. Actually more than a woman, do you know? I, and I think there’s like, there’s different communities where men are sharing their stories more than other communities, but I love what you’re doing. Like, I think it’s so important for us to actually like amplify the voices of Asian American men, because there are pockets and areas where Asian American men don’t feel like they have a voice and that they can share that.


Jason: (00:31:48) And it’s also, they’re sharing their professional story, right? Like it’s weak in with their personal, because you kind of have to, it’s like, that’s you gotta like. You got a Trojan horse. It like the only way you could talk about like your personal life, it’s like through the lens of your professional life.


Maggie:  (00:32:03) Yeah. I think for Asian hustle network in general, like men love to talk about their hustle and that they work hard. Right. Because it’s, it seemed as like, you know, very masculine and, you know, very powerful. But in terms of like sharing their personal story, it gets a little bit harder, right? Just like, talk about their vulnerability. We talk about their childhood, you know, stuff that happened in their childhood. It gets a little bit harder. But we’d love to hear it from like your point of view,


Bryan: (00:32:39) as a, as an Asian male point of view. I really like what, what Jason’s doing, because it really speaks to me. I just think back to my own personal experience too, like, you know, dating scene is statistically harder for Asian men. Right? And then there’s a lot of things that people seem about us has always been worked against us, you know, and the fact that you’re backing this up with data and creating a voice for us, it’s powerful. I think it’s super powerful because I do find myself. Uh, in the past where, you know, if I’m hanging around other genders and stuff who aren’t Asian and don’t understand my culture or anything, I tend to, I speak clearer and a deeper voice. It’s just a subconscious thing that you do because it’s just a insecurity right side. It puts on us, you know?


Jason: (00:33:14) Right. And, you know, I think it like. There’s also so much history to this, right? There’s so much history when you realize that, uh, the de masculization or emasculation of Asian men is in part. Because of all these other rules that were set up, right. You know, when, when Chinese laborers first came, they couldn’t bring their wives. So then they were single. So first they’re being made fun of for being single, but then there’s like, uh, Oh, they’re going to date. It are women. And we can’t have that. So then we’re going to like emasculate them or only let them do jobs that are considered quote, unquote feminine, you know, and then make fun of them for that. And it’s like, but you blocked. Asian women from coming over, because then you said that they were prostitutes. It’s like, what is that all about? And then that starts the whole sexualization of like, Oh, they’re so exotic. They’re so, you know, because you know, like the whole system, the whole setup is, is like messed up. Right? The whole setup is messed up, but you it’s, it’s hard to. See that you have to go learn your, the history. Right. Um, and you know, a lot of us don’t know our history. Um, and it is, and it is a variety of histories. It’s not like just one, but, but, you know, and then there were like the, the sort of, uh, Filipino guys who were like in, in these dance halls and they’re just like dancing up all these women and everyone was just like, Oh my God, we can’t let these like super sexy, you know, guys, just like, you know, Court are women like it, and it’s always our, you know, as if there was some position there. Um, so. Yeah, it’s, it’s really hard. And I think that, you know, people don’t necessarily always have good examples from their parents or their family, so they don’t see that, you know, like people and, you know, men and women, you know, their parents may be internalized their own pain. So I like, my dad is really good about this. I mean, he’s, you know, he has lots of things you need, you know, he’s working on or can work on, but like, One of the things it’s like, he feels like he had no relationship with his dad. Like he’s like had like maybe 10 serious conversations with his dad. Like he was on a three kids. He was the middle kid. And so sort of like in between like the oldest guy, kid got a lot of recognition and the youngest one was like the baby. He was sorta like the forgotten middle. Kid a son, all three sons, you know, and, uh, you know, he w when his father was dying, he was like working and he talks about that. Like I was working, I thought that’s what I was supposed to be doing. Cause he always worked when he, even when he, when he was sick and so, you know, I was working and then like, he basically missed his father’s death. Right. Which is really sad. And then he realized like how much he didn’t, you know, have a relation with his dad. And so, you know, me as a son, he’s like, you know, very, you know, Wants to engage with me, sends me long emails of like his thoughts about stuff and tells me he loves me, hugs me, you know, and I really appreciate that, but I, you know, and then he, because he didn’t have, well, I guess he did have a sister, but like he didn’t have the, you know, then his challenges like relating to my sister. Right. Who’s younger, you know, it’s like second kid and like making sure that she feels like she’s also, um, Uh, uh, you know, just as important to him, even if it’s in a different way, but like, he ha he can’t get rid of that special relationship that he’s saying about his dad and then him and then him and then me, you know, like you just can’t erase that. Right. Um, so, so yeah, I mean, I think these things are hard and, and learning to be vulnerable and, you know, I mean, we can get real deep into that. Right. Like my own relationship, but I think I’m married now. Right? Like I’ve been married for coming on two years now, so that’s pretty exciting. And, but it was like a turning point where I realized like I would always make my partner happy, but I wouldn’t say what was making me unhappy. Right. So I always always break up with my, uh, the people I was dating because I was like, I’m making you happy. I’m doing everything right. I’m the, the guy, but like, I, I can’t do this anymore. And then I’d like, and they’d all always be like super confused and frustrated by that, which is unfair to them. Right. But it was like, it’s scarier. It was easier for me to be like, what do you need? Let me make you happy then to be like, you know, this thing really bothers me and. Uh, it makes me feel bad about myself or like, I want you to not say this or, you know, or do it this way because it hurts me. Right. It’s scary to say that hurts me then to be like, you know, I’ll do that extra thing, um, to take care of something else. Cause you feel good. You feel like provider, but you feel bad when you’re like, well, that makes me feel bad, you know? Like, cause then like, so does it make you feel bad? You know, like when you say. Does that, uh, that makes me feel bad. There’s an opening for someone else to like really go in on you. Right. And, and, you know, a lot of people wanna protect themselves from that, but you know, you can’t. Have a true relationship and true intimacy without like being open to that.


Maggie:  (00:37:59) Yeah. That’s, that’s very important. I’m glad you were able to see that now, you know, just being married now and you’re able to grow from that. I think that with a related with the health of relationship, both people have to be able to provide for the other person too, in order to be happy in that relationship as well. Yeah.


Bryan: (00:38:15) Yeah. It just transitioned over a bit. I mean, what are you currently working on right now? We see the 13 fund. We see that you’re a part of Facebook now. And what are you currently working on? And then what are your goals for 2021?


Jason: (00:38:28) Yeah, so, you know, I, um, my company mid game was acquired by Facebook in, uh, 2020. And so I joined Facebook in the summer, um, and I work on knowledge tools for Facebook. So these are like internal facing tools to support like 80,000, you know, like it’s just like a huge number of, uh, internal, like contractors, employees, like people who work sort of for Facebook in some capacity. Right. Um, And it’s really interesting, you know, like I’ve, I, you know, as you know, I’ve done a lot of writing and so I’ve engaged with a lot of like content storage systems. And then like, I’ve been excited to see stuff like notion and air table and like Coda and Rome, and like all these sort of like new tools that are storing holding for me, I’ve been an Evernote user for forever. Right. Like, and there’s always like new remixes on this. So I, I really. Uh, uh, dig it and, you know, um, like that work, um, obviously outside of work, I’m still very busy. I write my sub stack newsletter. It’s called making connections. You know, it’s, every comes out every Saturday. I do like an illustration that I either make. It’s either like a, some kind of diagram or it’s like a little comic, this like comic that that’s like scotch and bean. It’s like a coffee cup in a scotch glass. I talking to each other and they kind of have. The coffee cups really like uptight in the scotch guys, like more laid back. So they have some fun conversations. I like quote from some article that I’ve read. I think it’s really interesting. Kind of leave my comments on it. And then I like recommend like either something to check out like a tool, an app, like a, uh, a video or like some practice or exercise, like a mindfulness meditation or something, you know, like different things. Right. So, so that’s really fun to do that. Every week I do 13 fund, which, um, Is this venture and angel philanthropy is what I’m calling it. You know, a lot of people, they, they, they sell their company, uh, and they become an angel investor. And that’s how they like give back in quotes. Right. Um, now that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean, that’s, that’s like fabulous. And that is how the ecosystem is built. But, uh, it’s also like a way for you to make money and invest in like, generally speaking, more privileged people who, you know, went to good schools or like are in a position where they can like leave to go start a startup. Right. So it’s not like the most genuinely altruistic, purely altruistic methods to quote unquote give back. Right. So, so angel that this, this concept is we, we do research on different problem areas that we think are important, just like we would, if we were an entrepreneur starting company in the space. So like a friend of mine, bill all Mamood. He started a company called, um, clear brain, um, that was acquired, um, By amplitude. So you worked with him, you know, so, and then, so the two of us kind of did both had that experience at the same time. So we decided to like make a commandment. We were putting like a hundred thousand dollars, you know, combined over four years to various nonprofits. Uh, we just finished sort of the first cycle, which was around. COVID and do small business closure, focusing on restaurants in the Bay area, we, you know, interviewed like doesn’t, uh, you know, it doesn’t people who are generalists or who restaurant owners, or who are like politicians or nonprofits trying understand the problem identified like key themes. Right. And, and then we kind of laid those out. We publish those like access to capital labor flight, sales decline, and then like, uh, you know, rent debt. And then we started interviewing non-profits small ones, right? Like less than $5 million, less than 10 years old, to try to understand, like who’s an underdog that we can make a bet on. Right. In the same way that you make a bet on a startup that like, you’re probably never going to see that money again, you know, like you give that twenty-five thousand dollars away. Like you’re never going to see that, but you do enough of those. And one of them is going to kind of like work out for you, right? Uh, same with, with this incept, like we, you know, it’s a donation we’re, we’re just giving it away. Right. We don’t expect to see any kind of return except in the sense that. You know, if they, uh, end up being really great, we can be proud to have helped make that happen. Right. So we just finished evaluating the nonprofits, you know, where I think we’re w we have settled on one or we’re doing some final due diligence. Um, But, uh, that’s been really, uh, you know, uh, satisfying. We’re going to do the next focus on, uh, New York. We’ve been talking about homelessness, which I want to talk to you about, uh, Maggie sometime other time, but also we’re thinking about switching it to like anti-Asian discrimination since that’s been like a big thing and it’s really blowing up right now, obviously personal to me. So, you know, uh, uh, sadly or not, the homelessness problem will not go away or is it like there’s this specific. The moment right now where Asian discrimination is like extremely high and we need to do something before it kind of like continuous boil over. Um, yeah. So the, you know, those are some of the things that I’m, uh, involved in I’m, uh, you know, doing, uh, yeah, yeah.


Bryan: (00:43:13) Um, It’s a lot, by the way. Congratulations on the acquisition. Uh, especially in working on Facebook too. Congrats. That’s a big move. And, you know, looking like just having you here, hearing about your fun too, like thank you for doing that, man. And like it’s speaks true to who you are as a person and how you view yourself and the world. So thank you for creating a fund to give back to nonprofits. Yeah.


Maggie:  (00:43:41) Oh, yeah. And so, um, I would love to know, like, what was your experience on Ted talk? We watched your Ted talk before your podcast and what was going through your mind,


Bryan: (00:43:51) dive deep into your Guinness world records as well? Oh yes.


Jason: (00:43:57) Yeah. So many things. So yeah, with the Ted talk, um, I went through this program called the Ted residency. Um, and it, it was an experiment that Ted ran for, like. Uh, five years, I’d say. And they had like, uh, cohorts in the spring and the fall. My wife actually went through it first. So my wife, if I, if I may for a second, just like, uh, you know, hi, my wife, her name is Amanda ping buddy. Pakia, she’s tying in an Asian, you know, uh, grew up in Atlanta, but, but moved to the New York when she was in, um, for college, uh, and you know, We met at percolate at that company in New York. We’re the first company to move out from Smithsonian into New York at, um, and she was like a neuroscience major and a dancer who had also injured her knee. Like we have like all these like weird things in common, you know? Uh, and, uh, but then she like pivoted out of neuroscience into like, you know, tech and art and design, um, and. You know, so she had, that was like one of her career breakout moments. It’s like going through this program, you like a bit in a project and then you give a talk about it. Right. So she did a project on like bringing designers and scientists together to co-create like works of art, which is like really cool. Um, and she gave her talk and then like several cycles later, like I applied. Right. And so, you know, um, This is, you know, I, I, there was a thread that I was on among a bunch of Asian guys who were like, Oh, you know, why should I get married? It’s just like a drain. Like I’m going to be single. And I was like, guys, like, it’s, it’s a better deal. Like, it’s, it’s better, you know, for men like statistically health wise, financially, you know, this is a great example, you know, like, I mean, it always depends on who you, who you are with, but like, you know, she, she got this thing, I got to meet the director of the program. We had like dinner together. Then when I apply, it’s like, Oh yeah, we know, we know Jason, you know, like we know what’s up. Like, I probably wasn’t as exciting as her when I applied because she had all this like creative stuff in her application. And I’m just like, Hey, I’m a guy. Look, I want to do this. Um, but you know, I did my research and this was like, when I was doing my hiring business, um, right out of Etsy and I was basically wanting to use it to sort of like. Support the business. Right. And do research on, you know, selection and you know, it it’s, it’s all connected, right. This idea that, um, people, uh, Pick others based on like, criteria that they think are relevant, like their education, because they worked at some big fancy company previously or whatever, and, you know, subtly or not like it, you know, things like gender and race and, uh, you know, ethnic background, like factor in. Right. And so I was really interested in like, how do we get out of that? You know, uh, how do we sort of like get away from, you know, Oh, we’re going to see a picture, you know, we’re going to do like a video interview, like. That’s only in a lot of ways, like gonna make things worse, but you know, we’re kind of headed in that direction anyway, because that’s just what people want. And like, people expect you can record a thing now. So it’s like no more application, just like record videos. You know? So now it’s about who has the best ring light, you know, or whatever. But at the time I was really trying to push that, like we can do better, we can explore a wider options. So that was my research. That was my talk. Um, the things you learn, you, you learn about the Ted talk. So. It was a six minute talk recorded that tends to use with the same infrastructure stuff they do for like the big conferences. Right. And they have two cameras or multiple cameras going, right. They work your slides, very simple slides. You can’t have complex stuff on there. Right. The slides should sort of, um, accentuate what you’re saying, not be like the main thing you’re looking at. Um, you need to talk really deliberate, uh, and you can say a lot. In six minutes, six minutes doesn’t sound like very much. And that’s like 900 words. Uh that’s right in, in, in the New York times, you’ll like, that’s a full-blown op-ed if you just said every single word without repeating yourself, normal talk, you repeat yourself. I just, I said op-ed. I said op-ed like twice and because I’m kind of thinking while I talk, whereas when you. Uh, for a Ted talk, you typically write the whole thing out in advance. You practice a bunch of times you make edits, tweak it, sharpen it, tighten it, no extra repeats, no extra words. And then you can say a lot, right? Um, uh, when they do it and you don’t, um, you repeat yourself. If you mess up, first of all, don’t say anything. If you, if you forgot what you said, just. It’ll probably come to you. Right. And that, that looks better than being like, um, hold on. You know that that’s not gonna work. That’s not gonna work, but pausing, you just look like you’re being thoughtful. It’s just like, And then you, you know, and the other thing is, if, if you mess up, then they’ll just like, have you redo from like the previous sentence? Right? You’ll like, repeat yourself because then they’ll edit it so that it goes away. Like I went to a live Ted conference, I at the Ted women conference and I mean, this was a guy actually, ironically, uh, who was speaking at the conference and he like messed up like three, four times. He even needed like line, you know? Cause he wrote his mock last minute or like he was asked to do it at the. Last minute, but it didn’t matter cause they cut that together. So, you know, th the version you see on TV or on the site doesn’t necessarily mean that it was like so perfect. I mean, generally is very high quality. It was very much like, um, th there was a guy, the guy who does wait, but why Tim. I forget his last name, but he, he had a whole talk about this. Like, um, th th the ideal goal is to get to happy birthday level of memorization, which is like, you can sing happy birthday while like picking up a cake, walking, going backwards. Like, you know, you can sing a fast, slow, like you can do anything with happy birthday, right. Because you just know it, you just know the words and that’s how you. W want to be like, you can say it right. You know, super fast. Like you record yourself saying it and then can you like talk faster than the recording of yourself? Because you know it so well, right. That’s, that’s what you want to get to. And then. You can like make eye contact with people. You can gesture, you can nod and you practice your gestures, right? Like when are you going to make a point? And when are you gonna not make a point? Because otherwise is you’re like waving your arms. Like you gotta like focused on when you actually make your hand gesture. Right? So all those things have to come after you like perfected the talk track, then you can do all the different things. So that’s essentially, you know, it’s. To make it really great. You have to invest way more time than anybody expects or wants to. And for Ted is worth it, you know, for a lot of the things, maybe not worth it for demo day for like special events, probably still worth it. Um, so it really is about the effort. So that’s what I’ll say about Ted. Yeah. But we can talk about gayness. Um, and, and Berbee, um, Yeah, we’ll talk about that real quick. You know, I was a gymnast, right. And then, um, I, I like on to running for awhile. There was a period where I was like, just working out in the gym and it’s just like really boring. You’re like, what am I going to do? You know, I, wasn’t going to try to like, if, because of my knee injury, I, wasn’t gonna try to be like, Oh, I’m gonna like squat more dead lift, more like that. Wasn’t that exciting. Um, and like, I made this challenge for myself and 2013 when I was living. I mean, it was partly when I was in San Francisco, partly when I was in DC just every month, I would like pick an activity and exercise and I would like train for it in the beginning of the month. And then like, see how much better I could get at the end of the month. So I’d like, do. Sit ups in one minute, you know, and I did like 30 in the beginning, they were like 45 at the end. So I was like, that’s cool. It’s like, you feel that progress, that improvement, right? No matter what it is, it doesn’t matter how much you suck at the beginning. Just like, can you get better? Right. And of course it always gets better. Uh, and then I remember like at one point Googling like hardest pushup variations, right. Cause I was like, I want you to do regular pushups when you something like kind of weird. And so I found these like Aztec pushups, which I, I don’t know why they’re called that, but you. Push off the ground, you touch your toes in the air and then you land back on your feet. Um, definitely. And like, it’s kinda scary. Cause like, you know, you could, if you don’t put your hands back fast enough, you could hit your head. Um, and, but for me as a gymnast, like it was like, you know, it, it a certain amount of coordination and flexibility and also strength and I could do them and I was like, Oh, I’m going to do this. And I start training for it. And then along the way, I learned that there was a Guinness world record for it. And like this guy had done it. Um, in Florida is like football player or something or soccer player. I don’t know. And so I was like, I bet I could, you know, by the time I got to the end of the month, I was like pretty much at his current record. And I was like, I could probably beat this. Right. And then you go down this whole rabbit hole, like the Guinness world record. Like thing, organization is a business, right? Uh, it’s a business. They sell the books, they do, you know, business deals where they have like Nestle do like the biggest milk shake in the world, right. To like it’s a new Guinness world record. And like, it’s a, it’s a business opportunity for PR for the. For Nestle and then like, you know, they get a cut out of that. Right. But then they have to maintain this. Like it’s like a B2B business with the consumer freemium plan. Right. Like all these random people who aren’t making any money for Guinness do random things, but that they get to like highlight if they want to. Right. And that builds the base and then they make their money off of the, like, uh, the big brands coming in and doing the collapse or whatever, like Reebok. Okay. Yeah. So, so anyway, I do the Aztec push-up I train for it and then I like do it and I ended up going to the gymnastics. My gym, my Stanford gym. And like, it was a gymnastics meet. And I was like, Hey, can we like make this like a, you know, intermission? You know? And so my coach, uh let’s we do this and I was so high. Cause there’s like a crowd. And I was like, Oh, I’m like, yeah. Guess back to my glory days, like standing out here, like this is awesome. And I like, you know, the, the record was like 31. Oh, my God, I don’t even remember the numbers anymore. Okay. I think, I think the record was like 31 and I think I did 50, right. Like stupid. Um, but I was like, so hyped. Right. And so that was, that was awesome. Um, and then, you know, a couple of years later, Guinea, uh, Guinness, I collabed with, um, the, uh, Reebok and they did like a most number fitness challenges. Be in that period, like, and it was like, you know, for their new shoe and the Reebok sponsors CrossFit. So there was like a, uh, like a line up there. And then I, like, my friend painted me this being like, you should break all these records. I’m like, Oh, like these are professional athletes. Like I I’m just an office worker who like works out on the weekend, you know? Like, what are you, what do you want? But then I started looking at the list and then there was one, I was like, okay, like, Maybe that one, it was like a burpee pull-ups right. So it’s like you do a burpee, then you do a pull up and you kind of like, and again, I have to, like, I’m a one, you know, I I’m an explosive person, so I can’t do these, like in 24 hours, I’m like, forget that. Like, I don’t want to be doing this for 24 hours. Jesus. Um, so one minute. Right. And, and so then I trained for that. Uh, and I set that one. So that’s my second record. That one got beat. You know, it was like, it had been set at like 17 or 18 and someone did like 19 or 20. And then I did like 21 or 20, I can’t remember. And then like now it’s like 22 or 23, which is like, fine. You know, that’s the beauty of. Of like the sport right. Of this, like, you know, it’s a more competitive record, obviously that like multiple people challenging, like, no, one’s really challenged. Yes. Tech one is just like so weird. Right. Um, and so, so anyway, those are like the two things, like maybe, maybe when I turned 40, I’ll do like another one. That’d be my, like, you know, Birthday, present to myself, find something like, I think everyone can beat some record. That’s my, that’s my, I believe there’s so many. It was like 40,000. So like if you picked something and again, it’s like the Ted talk, you just need to put like way more effort into it than anyone like thinks is reasonable and then you can set it. Right. Um, and most people just don’t want to do that. Or like, you know, the people who could do that are like, I’m too busy doing other stuff to do this. Right. But. That’s that’s the world, man. Sounds like you guys could probably set something up, right? Like get the community to set something up. Right. Like I think that’d be like, there’d be some interesting.


Maggie:  (00:56:30) Wow. Yeah, that’s amazing. Just speaks volumes to like your mentality and you know, your, your competitive nature and your, your discipline. Um, just really love it. I love it too. Awesome. Um, yeah, so we have one final question for you, Jason, and that’s what, what advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur, especially in 2021?


Jason: (00:56:51) Ooh. Yeah, I think that’s a great question. So someone who’s thinking about, um, you know, starting their own thing of any kind, um, You know, obviously the world’s changed a lot from previous, uh, previous era the before times. Um, and we don’t know what it’s going to be like, you know, when things are going to turn back to normal, whatever normal even means in the future. Um, but I think it’s important to remember that people. Fundamentally have a lot of the same desires and you see that play out in so many different things in ways like people want to, uh, you know, be comfortable, they want to do what other people are doing. They want to like, see what other people are seeing. They want to have status in some way. Right. Um, everything from, uh, you know, Like all these, uh, various blockchain initiatives and like, you know, you, you want to have a status of owning some piece of art with an NFT or whatever. And it’s like, why does that really matter? It only matters because other people think it matters, right. Or like sneaker heads. Right. Like, you know, I know some entrepreneur who pivoted their business from something super random to like, Go to like sneaker marketplace, Asian guys, actually, maybe if you have him on the podcast, um, and, uh, you know, sneak, you know, there’s like some cover story about how like sneaker heads and air Jordans are like the new asset class, like sneakers. Right. And why, you know, it’s just because there are enough people who like, think sneakers are cool that likes sneakers can have just like inherent value that’s beyond the leather and the rubber and the, whatever it makes the shoe, you know? So, so you, you know, you gotta look for those like, sort of, um, Perennial or like, sort of like fundamental. Needs and desires that people have and like community is another one, right? Like people want to feel connected to other people. And they’re always going to look for new ways to feel connected to other people and feel special and feel different but also not too different and kind of the same, like other people and, you know, and so I think that’s, that’s an important thing to remember. Um, I think it’s important to like, know what you’re really good at. Are you really good at, do you have a, you know, do you love to speak, then you should be on clubhouse and like do the clubhouse thing. If you’re really good looking, you know, like do more of the Instagram and then, you know, if you’re like, like you gotta know your strength, right? Like if you’re an engineer, then like go and buy the best, like design, pre designed templates. Right. And use those, don’t try to like design this stuff yourself, you know? Like know that you’re good at this one thing. Not that you can’t learn and be good at other things, like that’s super important, but like, know what you’re really good at and like build around that. Right. Rather than being like, Oh, well, X is hot. So I’m going to learn X or do X or be X. If X is like not what you’re like super into, you know, in the long run, it’s just not going to work. Right. You have to find the thing that you like are into you. You’re good at that. You can like. You know, you’re willing to spend that inordinate amount of time to be like super, super good at, and then you get other people or other resources to support you on the other stuff. It’s super, the other stuff is important too. And you can’t ignore it because it’s a system, right. You can’t be like, Oh, I’m just not going to do marketing because that makes me feel weird. So I just want right. You have to do it, but you need to support yourself with it. Or like get a coach or like get. You know, adviser like, uh, but, but know what you, where those different pieces are. Uh, so I think those are two, two of my,


Maggie:  (01:00:03) yeah, that’s really a great advice. Thank you so much for that. And how can our listeners find out more about you online, Jason?


Jason: (01:00:39) Yeah, so, um, uh, I own a lot of the Jason Shen’s, uh, on various handles. So I’ve got, uh, Jason Shen, um, On Twitter. Uh, Jason shen.com. My sub stack is Jason Shannon at sub stack. That’s upstack.com. That’s the making connections one, uh, you know, I’m on Instagram as we discussed earlier, not a big Instagram guy, trying to get better at that since, you know, you can’t miss out. Um, but, uh, yeah, those are, you know, so Twitter website and, um, the, the sub stack would be the three, like big places. I think people can come find me.


Maggie:  (01:01:07) Awesome. Well, it was awesome. Hearing your story today. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Thank you for being on the show. Thanks, Jason.


Jason: (01:01:24) Appreciate you. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. I appreciate everything you’re doing and like really excited to see what you, uh, y’all do next.


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