Chris Do // Ep 91 // Teaching People How to Create The Futur They Love
Welcome to Episode 91 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Chris Do 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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Chris Do is a loud introvert, an Emmy award-winning designer and director, CEO and founder of The Futur—an online education platform that teaches people how to make a living doing what they love. Mr. Do has given talks and conducted workshops on: Marketing, Sales, Negotiations, Pricing & Budgeting, Mindset, Content Marketing, Community Building, and Personal Branding.
He has taught Sequential design for 15 years at the Art Center College of Design. Additionally, he has lectured all over the world including: Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Adobe MAX, Digital Design Days, Awwwards, The Design Conference, Birmingham Design Festival, Creative South, AIGA national conference, Motion Conference, MIT, Bend Design Conference, VMA Design Conference, Graphika Manila, Create Philippines, Rise Up Summit, RGD Design Thinkers, Cal Arts, LA Art Institute, Otis College of Design, UCLA, MGLA, CSUN, Post Production World, Adobe Video World and SDU.
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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. His name is Chris DOE. He’s the founder of two seven bigger businesses. The first of which is blind and Emmy award-winning motion design studio, which he ran for over two decades. Then in 2014, at 42, he reluctantly made his first YouTube video, which altered the trajectory of his life and career. A few years later, the future is equally loved it. Educational company with millions of fans from all over the world. Now he dedicates his life to this mission of teaching 1 billion people, how to make a living doing what they love. He empowers creatives through business strategy. Chris is the chief strategist and CEO of blind and the founder of the future. An online education platform that teaches the business of design to creative thinkers. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris: (00:01:16) Thanks for having me. What a wonderful intro.
Bryan: (00:01:22) Chris is such an honor jabbing in the show. I mean, I want to give our listeners a chance to learn more about yourself and your childhood. What was your upbringing like?
Chris: (00:01:31) Um, so we, we fled Vietnam in 1975. So the fall of Saigon and landed in Kansas city, Missouri. And then soon after relocated to San Jose, California, just typical valley kid growing up in the shadow of like my parents and trying to figure out what that. W what the heck I’m going to do with my life, uh, dealt with some early challenges. I’m an introverted person, kept to myself and I’m nothing remarkable. Or so I told myself for a number of years, I think I’m above average intelligence. Uh, but it Denver really applied myself and to the disappointment of my dad and mom, and I always felt that there was something else for me, something in the creative arts, but I didn’t know what that could look. I didn’t have very strong examples of what success in the creative field would look like. So I kept telling myself, just do the thing that you’re supposed to do. Do software, uh, be a computer scientist, do engineering, do something respectable and get like a legitimate job, but that never made me happy, but drawing and making things made me happy. And then ultimately, luckily for me, the story worked out, all right. I got into an art school and ultimately that’s what led me down this way.
Maggie: (00:02:47) That’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that because I was reading up on, you know, previous articles and your other podcasts. And, um, you mentioned that your father and most of his family and siblings were in the computer science field and were engineers. Um, your mother on the other hand and her family were mostly, you know, artists, musicians, creators. How did that kind of shift your mindset or shape your mindset growing up? And was there a certain route that appealed to you more? How has that changed over time?
Chris: (00:03:14) Yeah. I have a lot of uncles and aunts and both my mom and dad have a very large family, many siblings they’re the older or oldest of their siblings, most of the times are in both cases. And it just, it’s kind of weird because my, my dad. Entire family they’re successful in, in the sense of having careers and businesses, having stable families. And they were in the technical space in engineering, in software, something like that. Whereas my, my mom’s side of the family, artists, poets, musicians, very talented, very happy people, but not always the most financially successful people. And as a young person growing up, I don’t really think about like what I’m going to be in five, 10 years. I’m just thinking about right now. I want to play video games and ride my skateboard and draw and just goof off and be around girls. So I’m not exactly figuring this part out, but I know that there’s a very clear roadmap for success, and there’s obviously a roadmap for loving your life, but maybe having financial hardship, it doesn’t coalesce in my mind right away. It’s only later on that when I retrace the steps back, things make sense. So. When we would go out to the fairgrounds or any, any amusement park, my mom would always see me and notice because she’s like that she pays attention that I was stopped. And look at the people who did characatures or who did airbrush art or anything that was kind of performance based. I would stop and look and I’d watch it and look at their hand skill and doing these lettering on t-shirts. And so one day I think I’m 16. My mom just comes on randomly on the weekend. And says help me with this thing. I go out, bring bringing it. Like, I don’t know what it’s an air compressor with an airbrush. She just happened to be somewhere. I’m not sure if she went and found it or she was just at like a swap meet or whatever. And just like, this is what my son needs. So my mom’s been paying attention to me kind of quietly encouraging me. And it was very, um, sub-parts not, uh, not overt. It was just like, here are things you do what you need to do with them. And she just knew. And I, and then she, she gave me enough space to explore my creative side without probably actively define my father because to do this meant probably finance, ruined disaster, saving face with the family, that kind of stuff. And my dad for many, many years, even after I graduated from art, art school, didn’t really understand or fully accept what the heck. Yeah. And later on, I learned that the best thing that my mom did for me, um, was to shield by dad’s opinions about what it is I was doing. My dad could only reconcile one part, which was, it causes much to go to art center, as it did to go to Stanford. He couldn’t understand why his son didn’t go to Stanford instead went to art school to basically to burn the money and not do anything with his life. And so oftentimes I would reference my dad is my hero as a person who taught me all the hard life lessons. And I didn’t think of my mom much, but when I understand now what my mom had to do to keep my dad at bay, she’s my hero because it takes a lot for a woman who grew up in a very traditional society to stand up to her husband so that her child can do what he wants. In my case, it was, it was me in pursuing art. And so it was just enough. I’d like to say this, that I’m strong-willed enough that I’m so self determined that even if my dad said, I forbid you to do this, I would have still done it, but not having to face that allowed me to focus on what it is I would do without any lingering self-doubt. And so that’s the, the dichotomy between the two sides of my.
Bryan: (00:06:48) Oh, wow. I mean, that is completely relatable. I feel like when you told your story, I feel like my mom has always been the one keeping my database to he’s like, you have to be a doctor, you have to be a lawyer. My mom’s always like, okay, do whatever you want to starting to make yourself happy. As long as you stay out of trouble, that’s like a curve, very low standard of, of where my life should be. Is there any, so it was completely, um, some quite understandable. I kind of curious too, like at what point did you put everything together and everything started making sense, you know, where you’re like, okay, how can I pursue my passions while still making money? And how do you present us subject back to your debt and be like, Hey dad, like, I know, I know you’re kind of curious about, you know, how, how am I taking care of myself? How are you going to make the money back? But like, uh, what was the turning point where it was like, okay, everything sort of makes sense. Um, I be comfortable sharing with my parents.
Chris: (00:07:42) Yeah. So the turning point to me is very clear. I think I’m 17 or 18 somewhere right around there. I’m a senior in high school. I get introduced to this gentlemen, who’s running a social screening shop and he’s a graphic designer by trade and he owns the company, but that doesn’t click for me yet. I get to work for him and I’m inking over his drawings. And I think he’s an artist or an illustrator, not a professional graphic designer. And I only really know that term at that time. It wasn’t until he sent me on an errand to go pick up type setting. And this is like 19 early nineties here, uh, or late eighties. Um, and I go and see what is one of the first Macintosh computers, the all-in-one beige monochrome thing. And this graphic designer was making a living, working out of his home. And that then and there, I knew this was a hit for me. Right. So this happens to be, uh, with a bit of good and bad luck together. That changes the course in which I take. So I applied, um, to, um, to UC San Diego, to UCLA and Cal poly San Luis Obispo. And I got a rejected out of all three programs. So I didn’t really need to explain to my dad that I’m not going to pursue the normal path because that path was not available to me. And so, uh, you know, Asian people are gonna know this. I got to go to community college. I got to figure out my life. And that’s like purgatory for Asian parents. Right? That’s like your children are going to suffer there forever and, and do drugs and be loose with women, men and women, you know, it’s just, that’s the path that you’re going to take. So at this point I don’t have to face my father cause he’s already going to have to live with the disappointment that I didn’t get into any school. And so once I recognize that I need to go to art school. Um, then I’m, I’m just going on my path. I never had that conversation with my dad. Like I don’t have to explain anything to him and you know, my, I have an older one. He’s four years older than I am. He’s just finishing up at UCLA. He’s the smart one. He’s the Scholastic one who, who got the four point plus GPA kind of thing. He said, you know, I know you want to do art and design, come, come and live with me. I got to work on my grad school studies, my entrance exam and all that kind of stuff. You can live with me and we’ll just figure it out. And he would, you know, it’s kind of a funny phrase. He’s like, I got to get you away from the parental units. Okay. And I’m like, okay, cool. And my brother had always looked out for me. He’s the one who bought me a computer. He’s the one who, who flew me to San Diego to go to a film festival. I don’t even know what a film festival was. And I was like, what is this? This is really cool. And so, in a way, my, my older brother is like my surrogate father who understood American culture and how the system here works. And he would always encourage me and push me. And that’s really what set me on that.
Bryan: (00:10:30) Well, that is such a amazing story, you know? And I’m glad your brother was staring to show you a lot of different things and what was possible. You know, I kind of wished that I had an older brother to lead the way as well. Now you do want to ask next.
Maggie: (00:10:46) Yeah. I mean, I just want it to say a support system and goes so such a long way, you know, and for you to have your brother there to support you and, and say, you know, I have a place for you, you know, you can always depend on me and count on me. That is really all it takes. And I love, you know, the fact that you have. You know, two different perspectives from your parents, you know, your mother being more on the creative side and then your father being more on, you know, the engineering and computer science side. It’s important to see both sides because. Kids that grow up in just like an entrepreneurial family. They don’t get more of like the corporate world and they end up, you know, just going into entrepreneurship, not really understanding what it takes to like actually build a business. Right. They just follow into whatever footsteps their parents fall into. And then if you go into the corporate side, you know, you just learned the corporate strategies, but you don’t know how to like venture out into entrepreneurial ways. So I think it’s really just really cool to see you grow up in those two different places.
Chris: (00:11:49) I want to share something with you. Are you familiar with, um, blade the, the movie of empire? There’s the line blade out in love. And I like to repeat with you. So, so blade is half empire and half human, so he’s like I have the strengths of the vampire and none other weaknesses. And I look at it like my mom and my mom’s side of the family. Super artistic. Very. Um, amazingly talented in a different world and a different, if she had different parents, she would probably be a creative entrepreneur because she has ideas like this, but she didn’t know how, and wasn’t supported in that way in the culture, in which she was raised on the, on the other side of my dad and all their family. It’s like nine to five. We can worry or let’s do the barbecue, super stable. And I knew I needed to be like my mom, but also like. And so later on in life, I wasn’t going to just pursue creative things because that’s what I wanted to do. Just because it was a passion or a whim. I needed to know this is going to work out and I’m going to bring in the entrepreneurial part and the creativity with the practicality and pragmatism that my dad had. My dad’s whole thing was be super conservative work, really hard, pay your dues and then earn your way through life. And I use that in my studies. Once I became more mature. That’s exactly what I did. So later on, I got a business coach, his name’s Kier, McLaren. And curious that you’re, you’re a very remarkable person. I know people who are more creative than you. I know people who are, who run better business than you, but I don’t know anyone that’s as creative as they are at running a business. And that is your sweet spot. And so that’s me being blamed.
Maggie: (00:13:22) Yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah, you had to really does take a sweet spot and you have to have the website. Amazing. So let’s talk a little bit about blind and the future. Um, you know, you’re running two very successful companies right now. What was the inspiration for starting these companies?
Chris: (00:13:39) Um, blind was, uh, like an idea that was burning in me that I didn’t know until the opportunity happened. And this is a lesson for a lot of people. When opportunity knocks, you have to be able to recognize that’s opportunity. You have to open it. You don’t run away scared. So I graduate from art center in 1995. I had, at that point already had worked one job, quit, worked a second job and quit. And I was freelancing around town in Hollywood, in LA. And I was doing pretty well by the standards in which I thought I was going to do by. And it’s an out of the blue. My uncle calls me. He’s like, do you want to start a company? Cause I remember you as a kid, you’ve always talked about doing creative, big things. I said, of course. So we’ll have a business. And he wants to invest in a design company like fantastic. And it’s that call the call to adventure. And then I turned to whoever I was working for at that time. And I told him, I’m going to wrap up this booking because I was freelancing and I’m gonna start my company. And I know what they’re thinking. They’re looking at me like, kid, are you kidding me? You just got to school. What do you know about anything? Why don’t you just screw it up on that other job that we gave you? But that’s what I did. I had a lot of Moxie and I was. Dumb in a little bit of arrogance and it goes a long way. I’m like, how could I fail? That’s what I thought to myself. Let’s just go. And so basically I meet with a business partner. We, we do deal over dinner. He gives me a $5,000 check as a good faith gesture. I was like, what? I don’t even understand this what’s happening. It’s moving really fast. And that’s the Genesis starting to come. Now luck would have it, that they ran into some financial troubles themselves and didn’t want to fund the rest of the company. And so I was given my company back to me and to boot. I didn’t have to give the $5,000 back. So now I’m in business for myself and now we’re off and running. And so that’s just the Genesis. And sometimes you just have to say, when you’re young, that’s the time to make your dumb, stupid mistakes. And being an entrepreneur is full of those kinds of. Now’s the time to mess up versus later on in life. When I have a lot of obligations, I’m married have kids and mortgage payments and insurance it’s too much to risk. That was the time to take the risk.
Bryan: (00:15:50) Yeah. I mean, I, I definitely agree with you. You should definitely, for our listeners, definitely take a lot of risks when you’re young, because there’s less obligations. And even for myself, when I fully left my corporate job at age 30, I felt a lot of obligation at 30 because I’m like, oh no, my parents want me to get married. You want me to have kids I’m me to move on in my life. But to me it’s like, this is the golden chance. Almost like the last chance for me to move on and start something of my own. And I would, I agree with you. I would tell myself, like, start earlier, start younger because you want to make these mistakes and learn and grow because nothing teaches you better through failure. You know, and I heard you talk a lot about the word failure on your other interviews and the other podcasts. And I do, I love what, how you think about the word failure? Because to me growing up the word failure means that I didn’t live up to my parents’ expectations. I didn’t do what I wanted to do in life, you know? And I wanted to hear your take on the word failure because there’s so much value that you can teach them.
Chris: (00:16:51) Yeah, I think failure for a lot of people was the end to me. Failure is just the beginning and I was hanging around with Eric Garrison. He talked about fail F a I L is an acronym. It, it just means first attempt in life. So to me, failure is what you it’s, it’s the tuition you pay for success. And if you read Ryan holiday’s book, the obstacle is the way failure is the, is a set of complete instructions on how to succeed. And if you, if you look at your mistakes in life, Then you will grow really fast. I also just recently finished reading mark Manson’s book, the subtle art of not giving an F. And he talks about like, life is hard and life is full of suffering and pain. And so instead of trying to avoid it, we should head into it and embrace it and try to have better problems, improve problems, men. He said that Warren buffet has issues with money. He has money problems. The homeless person that you see down the street also has money problems. So in essence, they both have money problems except for Warren buffet has an improved problem. So all we’re trying to do in life before we die is to improve our problems, just to have better problems. Like when you think to yourself, it would be great. If my life, if I could just start a company and you start a company like, oh, it’d be great. If I could run a company and be successful financially. Okay. And you do that. It’s like, well, now I’m working. It’d be great in life. If I could have employees work, the problems never end. And you said that the avoidance of the problem is actually the problem itself, right? And the pursuit of happiness in an easy life is what leads to depression. So we should just say, life is tough. Life is full of obstacles. Life is painful and there’s suffering and we embrace it and just say, that’s part of life. And from there, I think we can do wonderful things.
Maggie: (00:18:33) Absolutely. I absolutely agree. I think for a lot of people, they see failure as. The end of the road, you know, and as soon as you give up, that’s when you’re, you’re really failing yourself. And, you know, once you fail, you take it as a life lesson and you continue going as, you know, the only way to go. So in creating blind and the future, I want to know about, you know, what it was like building those two companies. You talk a little, a lot about the work culture and the team behind the future. Um, I know in the beginning I read about how the future wasn’t really making a lot of money and he was a team made up of just volunteers. Um, Ryan and I can really resonate with that because we are running Asian awesome network right now. And we did start off with a team of volunteers. And as you know, you know, when there’s no monetary compensation, um, it is very hard to, you know, retain that, that momentum and ensure. You’re capturing the volunteer’s attention and their interests. How are you able to just kind of build the culture of the future and, you know, make sure that the momentum was there, that you were capturing the interest of your volunteers without providing them with monetary compensation?
Chris: (00:19:42) Yeah, I think if you take it back to early, early days, what we did was we didn’t have money. We exchanged values and in, in services and goods, So if you’re a farmer, you grow a crop and I’m a fishermen. I catch fish and like, I need vegetables and you need protein. So we see each other. I’m like, well, I caught this fish. I only have three, but you have a giant field of corn. I’ll trade you some fish for a bunch of corn. And it just works out. And each one of us determines what is valuable to you. It is only in, in like in modern industrialized society that we have forms of compensation, like a coin that represents money becomes really abstract. But if you take that away, a transaction happens when there’s an exchange of value where both parties see a greater, uh, like you get greater value than what you gave. So someone is volunteering. They’re giving you their most precious, valuable resource, their time. The question is, what are you giving? You need to give them something that they see that is more valuable than their time. You can give them experience, you can teach them things. You can make them feel part of a bigger network and emission. And if you put all those things together, where at the end of them volunteering, they’re better for it. They emerge a better person than when they entered. And that’s really critical. So in the very beginning, we’re starting this company. There’s no money. We’re running at a deficit. The only reason why we have a company is the other company is paying for the space, the computers and the software and everything that we’re using. So we’re, we’re kind of using everything on loan. And so there’s a couple of young people and they see my business partner at that time, Jose and myself as mentors to them. So they’re looking at this as a mentorship or an internship and it’s unpaid and they would be glad to be there because they want to learn from. And so the people who came from Jose, they learned a lot from Jose. He has, um, at that point, I guess, 20 years of experience working in the web world, a UX UI at the, at a very high level for very large multi-billion dollar corporations. So they’re learning how to do UX and UI. And they’re learning from me how to run a motion design company, how to be a better teacher. And that’s how we began. But I knew this is not sustainable. So even though I had a volunteer and then most people will take advantage of volunteers. I had said to this young man, his name is Aaron. I said, Aaron, highest priority is to make enough money where I can pay you something. It won’t be a lot, but I need to pay you something because I just don’t like the idea of you working for me. Long-term for free. You got to eat right now. It’s costing you money to be here. So in the very beginning, we would say like, okay, we’re going to just buy you. It’s just start small. It’s a very small gesture. So at least it’s not costing you just to hang out with us. And we started there and eventually it’s like, I can pay you this rate for this many hours. And they just kept increasing in hours and rate. And eventually I told them you’re going to be our first employee. So I’m going to hire you now. And I needed to make sure. And this is my style of leadership is that leaders should eat less. I want to make sure that my staff Aaron gets paid before I pull any money out of this car. And in fact, any money we had, I just put back into the company either in buying equipment or resources or hiring other people to help us. And so that’s how it starts to begin.
Maggie: (00:22:59) Very interesting. Yeah. I like that idea. I don’t think a lot of people think about it that way because they think that they have to pay them a salary. Um, but obviously as you’re growing, you know, your company and you’re having more projects. You’re scaling, your volunteers are going to be doing more work. Right. And it just feels a little bit off to have them work so many hours and not be able to pay them. But I liked the idea of paying them, you know, just a lunch first and then going up from there.
Chris: (00:23:30) Yeah. It’s a sliding scale. It’s not that strange of a concept. If you think about it, you both went to school for many years. You paid someone. To basically work for them. Right. They taught you something and you paid them. And so if you say I’m going to teach you something, are you going to pay me? No, we just don’t know money has to exchange hands. In fact, at some point I will pay you for me to teach you and the smarter, the better you get, the more utility you provide for me. And hopefully I buy back some of my time and that’s all I’m trying to do is get back some of my.
Bryan: (00:24:01) Yeah, definitely. I mean, I definitely agree with that with Ste Milan and I really, really, maybe thinking about your second self, when you have the feature, you know, how you talked about you uploaded a video, um, on YouTube. Can you kinda talk about like, how you got started with. Teaching people how to live up to their greatest purpose with the passion and making money and everything, because we see you a lot on club Haas. You’re always there. We see you on Instagram, every single social media platform. You’re like killing it. You know, it’s this though. It’s super awesome to see that and would like to hear more about, you know, your inspiration and your mindset, your strategy behind the stuff, the teach that you teach and.
Chris: (00:24:43) Sure. Um, I want to say one thing. I, I made my first video when I was 42 years old and it was in January of 2014. So if you do the math really quick, I’m 49 years old now, right? So it’s been a couple of years and I was like many people I’m reluctant to get into social media. I think it’s a bunch of kids doing silly things and wasting all their time. So I have all the prejudice and bias of someone who’s gonna get into social media relatively late in the day. And I only do it because my business partner said we have to do it because we have to make, we have to create interest in selling products. Right. And so that people need to know who we are so that they can buy our products. So I think it was the, the first 6, 7, 8 videos that we made were very light on the education part and a lot on, Hey, we have a product you guys should buy it. Here’s we are. So we did not show up to serve. We S we showed up to sell you something. And I think the number of views and engagement that we got was reflective of this. Now, of course we did teach cause we’re both teachers. We tried our best, but it really wasn’t until we, uh, we had decided like, you know what, let’s just stop trying to sell anybody, anything. Because rhino, we don’t really have much of an audience to speak of. Let’s focus on building the audience first. And with that, let’s put in the work and the time necessary, let’s build slides, let’s figure out talking points and let’s try to do a really good job here. And we show it up. And that was the video that starts to change everything because instead of getting 30 to 50 views, this was getting hundreds of views, not thousands but hundreds. And we were like, maybe we hit something. And that’s what told me this platform on YouTube can work for teaching. Prior to that, I’d only been teaching in real life, like with my students. And I take the 10, 15 years of teaching, a very small group of students. I start to add in my experience of making commercials and music videos and where those two worlds meet is what we ultimately. It took a long time. I would say that it took us two years to get to 10,000 subscribers or 20,000. It took a really long time. Let’s put that in contrast. Okay. Today, um, I was just looking at the numbers. We were averaging about 5,000 subs day. So put that in perspective. If we get more subs in one day, then it took us in an entire year of content creation. I shared that because, uh, one more, one more data point I want to share with you. And I’ve said it on clubhouse, but I’ll say here we’ve made over 1300 videos. I know I’ve made more cause we’ve deleted a few. So 1300 videos, I think nine have crossed 1 million views, only nine videos. So that’s less than 1% of the content that we created have actually become viral. Yeah. And it’s not even qualified as viral today because something that gets a million views is not even viral, but at the 2005 definition is 1 million views. So 1%. So that means if you show up every single day and you do the work and you were chasing some goals, some like viral hit, you would have quit a long time ago, a really long time ago. And that’s why I talk about it. Learning to love the process of, of growing and figuring out who you are, uh, finding out your own identity versus the results you got to love the process. Of self-improvement self-development versus some shiny thing, like a million sub plaque or something else. So when you chase those goals, first of all, when you don’t get them, you lose all momentum, you lose all steam, you might even become depressed. But the other side is what if you hit that goal, you say I’m done, I’m done. I’ve hit the goal. What else? I don’t, I’m not that motivated to do anything else, but if your goal is constant improving, Self-development that never ends. You just keep doing it and you try to improve your problem.
Maggie: (00:28:46) Oh, that is very powerful. Um, I just wanted to start off to say that Christie don’t look a day over 35. Um, and, uh, yeah, I absolutely agree with you. You know, I think a lot of people, they fall in love with the outcome more than the process. Um, and it’s, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re not getting the results that you want overnight. Right. But most of the time, the process and the self-development stuff improves. Um, figuring out your identity is the most important part and more important than the overall outcome. Um, and you know, you do talk a lot about personal branding, you know, and I can see we, we can both see, you know, you put a lot of your identity into your work videos. And you’re very big on personal branding. How do you kind of separate the branding of Cristo between, between Christo and the future brand as well? I think like Brian and I, we, you know, have Asian hustle network, but we also are trying to build our own personal branding. Right. Um, I think a lot of people have told us that, you know, when you start a community, you should. In the background and put the community in front, but we saw the other way around. We thought that, you know, we do need to be a voice for the community. So that’s why we kind of put ourselves in the front and personal branding is really the future now. Right. Um, but how do we like make that differentiation? Like when do we put we, as opposed to, I, you know, I’m like, how were you able to make that difference between Cristo brand and.
Chris: (00:30:07) Yeah, I’m going to give you some advice and, and, and take the advice with a grain of salt, because it worked for me. It may not work for you, but I’m going to just tell you what it is that I do and what I believe. I have strong opinions about this. And first of all, just open it up by saying my friend, yo, Sentosa says this people do not fall in love with corporations. They fall in love with personality. And so when you start a company and it has no personality, it’s going to be very hard to fall in love with you, because I don’t know what you stand for. I don’t know who you are. What’s the tone of voice, all that kind of stuff. And in my own life, I started to do social media posts for my company blind, which had at one point over 20 people working for us in two offices. And so it wasn’t just me. I was speaking on behalf of four or five creative directors. And so we’re all very different people, men, women, different ages, different ethnicities, all that kind of. And so when we would write for blind, it was on super corporate we’d hire PR people and they would write in blind. Does this help clients do that and overcome that obstacle? It’s pretty generic stuff. And it got okay. Traction, but everything we wrote felt self promotional. Like we’re not talking about any personal beliefs, any, we’re not sharing frameworks or points of view on anything. Okay. And I’m working with my friend Jose, we’re starting to make content. The company is called the school. And ultimately it doesn’t work out for two of us as business partners. So I want to create a new company. I don’t want to lose the momentum, so I create the future. And so we’re back to the start again. It’s just me and I feel super liberated because I don’t play nice with others and I’m, I don’t like compromising and I move really, really fast. And so I’m like, wow, finally, you know, I’m uncaged, you’ve removed the color from my neck. I’m going to run. And I run like an animal. And so I start writing and I start building community. Cause I was like, oh shoot. Now Jose’s got the school. I am the future. And I want to make sure people know that I’m here. I’m present. If you love Jose, stay with us. But if you love me, you got to come with me and I’m going to just hit the ground running. So I write, I write in the first person I, and I write just like that. And we started to get traction. So we went from zero followers on Facebook, on our group, uh, into like 5,000, 10,000. It starts to go crazy. And as the audience grows, somebody throws this out at me and they comment back. It said, shouldn’t you be writing? We isn’t this. And I thought to myself, this is a company, one person it’s me and a volunteer. I’m going to write it like me because I don’t have to worry about what he’s saying. He’s here for me. So I’m just going to write I, and I kept doing this and I said, you know what? This is the way I’m going to do it. I’ve done it one way before, which is corporate speak, soulless, trying to just get work versus. I have an opinion. I don’t wanna build it around what it is I want to do. I don’t have any, um, grand ideas as to where this is going to go. All I knew is I had to build a company from scratch and I have to move fast because otherwise everyone is going to stay with Jose. So I’m writing, I’m creating content, starting to build momentum. And so then this now just becomes the voice and we have young people who write on our. And they just write in the same voice that I’ve been writing. And they’re very good at it. They’re so good at it. My wife asked me, did you write this post? I’m like, what posts, let me see. I’m like, Nope. He was like, what about this post? I’m like, well, I don’t write that either. Uh, and, and my wife said, wow, whoever wrote, this really understands you. Right. And she said, I knew that the design was off. Cause I can tell the way you design. But what she did was she watched all of our content and her name is Al. She still works for us. And she was writing based on the videos that she saw. And she’s very good at picking up the big ideas and translating them into a very simple thing. So here’s the funny story, which is the future’s Instagram account has never been run by me ever, but people think that’s me. Cause they’re constantly saying, Hey, Chris, what do you think? And they’re giggling in the back. I run my own account. Here’s the price. I’m not good on Instagram is so this young woman, L who studies social media marketing, you know, she’s a young person. Her count is killing my account and I’m not happy with this. I’m just not happy with this at all. We’re in Canada. We’re all like at a, like a big user meetup thing and somebody pokes me and they’re like, they’re raising hands. Like, yeah, Chris, I noticed that, uh, your Instagram account is this and the features that I’m like, God, dang it. You fricking bringing that up. It’s killing me right now. And you know why it’s killing me? Cause I’m a super hyper competitive person. And when someone has a 30,000 follower lead on you, it’s not easy to catch up to them, especially when they’re using your own ideas against you. And so that’s like, Ben, Ben burns elbows me. It’s like, dude, you, you have to be happy. She’s doing it in your voice to grow our company for us. I’m like, I’m super happy. But the child in me says, no, a few I’m going to do this. I need to beat her. And so she looks at me and she’s she’s young and she teases me a little bit. She was like, no, no, no, no, no. You see if you can catch up to me. And the way I heard it was like F you old, man, I’m gonna leave you in the dust. So eat dust. That’s when I made a commitment. Oh, you see, you’ve unleashed the dragon. You don’t know what you just did. And so I would just continue to work on my Instagram feed, developing my voice and writing, knowing that she can’t write down. Cause I haven’t said it yet. It was not an event I’m seeing it live right now in this, in this thing. And slowly. So getting closer to our like I’m 5,000 way, I’m still thinking this is really hard. It’s like somebody who’s like ran the lab four times and then they say go like, how are you going to catch up? But eventually I’m like, you know, tortoise and Hare, I’m 5,000 from you. You better hustle girl. And she’s like, oh, don’t worry. I still got some plans. And eventually I catch up to her and then I want to put so much space between her and my account that she feels like. Giving up, you know, I want to crush her soul and eat it. And so that’s, what’s happened now. There’s like a couple of hundred thousand between us. I’m like trying to catch up to that L a dare you. So that’s my story.
Maggie: (00:36:26) I love that. That is so funny. Um, yeah. Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m sure you’ll get there. You’re going to get there. You know, I can see.
Chris: (00:36:38) No, I already got it in there. No, this is already done. When I say there’s a couple hundred thousand between us. I mean now in our favor. Yeah. I’m like eat my dust young and
Maggie: (00:36:51) that is definitely a big fee. You young people, they just know what is like the hip new thing. And you know, it is very hard to catch up to them, but for you to have already caught up to them and are so far ahead is so amazing.
Bryan: (00:37:06) There’s a lot of social science to understand trends and know what to say and be obsessed with it. I think people underestimate what it takes to grow that type of number and what it takes to grow that type of account. It’s like hard work of researching competition, similarities trends. Talk about current issues, figuring out the Dem. I’ve heard them how to work.
Chris: (00:37:29) Can I share something with you guys? I don’t know how I didn’t need that stuff. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff. I’m going to just be real straight with you. And I appreciate you reading the tea leaves, so to speak. I don’t know how to use the social media platforms. I have to, um, literally I called L one time, like L uh, how do I look at my stats or stories? And she was like, okay, Chris, you do this. I’m like, no, no, no. So she has to FaceTime me. It’s like, okay. And then she’s like, do that, do you see this little button? Like how you would talk to you, like your parents about like how to save a file or delete something. And it was literally like that for her. And she’s like giggling the whole time, like, yeah. Yeah. I know. So I tell people this, I don’t care about the algorithm. I don’t care about trends. I don’t care about using these features. I know this in my heart because I have evidence of it. If you make really good content, you could be the world’s dumbest technical fight. You will win. Cause that’s all I do I just trying to make better. So what I’ve learned in the months leading up to me, catching up to her and then hopefully, and then surpassing her was I got learn how to talk on social media. Cause the rest is going to work itself out. And so all the young people are like, oh, so did you do this thing on LinkedIn or YouTube? And you’re using this secret technology like you had a secret technology is I make good content. That’s the secret. The secret is it takes time and you can’t hack experience. Experience comes, you know, bloody from your hands, callus fingers. That’s where it blisters on your feet. That’s where experience comes from. And I’m not bragging, but I’m almost twice our age. So it’s going to be a long time before she catches up to that. Right. So when young people are like, um, do you know what you’re talking about? I’m like, do you know what you’re talking about? I’ve run a company longer than you’ve been alive. Put that in perspective and think about that. Right? So that’s, that’s where this comes. And a lot of the internet trolls, you know, cause you know, I try to have a youthful energy. I know I’m not young, but I had tried to have a youthful energy as I dress a certain way and it look a certain way. And so people are like bad. What does this guy now like, be this will never work in the real world and like, yeah. You know, what do you know? Let’s let’s compare if you would like, well, I’m happy to compare with you, but people will then dismiss you that way.
Bryan: (00:39:58) Wow. Yeah. Is there a consistent, what would your message the whole, whole entire podcast, you know, it’s about the journey it’s about growing into that person about enjoying what you do. I’m pretty sure at some point you started, started enjoying what you do otherwise you wouldn’t stay so consistent to growing your associates, you know, and eventually we came, develop any skill, you know? Yeah. You learn how to talk better. You learn how to create creative content. And this is. Something that only you can focus on yourself, you know? And it’s like, I guess like a very off tension question I want to ask, like, how do you keep yourself creating good content everyday? Because that is a very underrated statement that you just said, you know, not just anyone can create good content on a daily basis. Sometimes you look at our whiteboard, we’ll acquire a piece of paper and no idea it comes up and you’re like, I need to stay consistent And consistency is key. But how do I stay consistent when, when I can’t be creative at the current moment. So my question is how do you overcome create a block?
Chris: (00:40:59) Okay. Uh, okay. I thought you were gonna ask a different question. So I’m going to ask her the question that I thought you were asking, and then you threw like a curve ball right there. And how do you overcome credible? So I’ll try to answer both the first one is this, is that, uh, the way that you’re able to create content, it comes from. Some experience. So if you don’t have experience, you get experienced by just putting in hours to practice, uh, you, you, you do the shooting and the passing, you do all the drills and you eat right. And you exercise, you know, it’s like, that’s the hard work that nobody talks about. And for me, it’s reading books, watching videos and analyzing and breaking everything down the way that I do things it’s about hiring coaches and professionals that teach you how to be a better teacher. And I’m constantly doing that. Uh, you know, you think you’ve learned everything and that’s when you, you get old and you stagnate and you kind of die. And so it was even last year in the middle of the pandemic. And I reached out to a professor at arts center and said, Hey, teach me your teaching methodologies because he’s, that’s what his job is. He’s a big person into pedagogy and understanding how to teach in a very modern, contemporary way using, uh, question-based um, teaching styles, Socratic process. And so I’m learning that I’m like, I’m on my sponge. I want to learn more. I just love to learn. So if you want to be the world’s biggest nerd, you’re going to be all right. So when, when I set my attention to something, I don’t want to have superficial knowledge of the surface. I want to have in-depth. And so it used to drive my wife really crazy. So when I’m in, when I’m into fishing, I could just order like six books from Amazon. I’ll like download the video. I’m going to watch and read like, this is the habitat of the fish, and this is what I’m going to go and hire a guide and have them teach me. And I’m going to pay careful attention to how things are done, because I want to be a student of life. And if you love all that stuff eventually comes back. Right. So if you pick a hobby, if you have an interest and go all the way, be a deep dive or don’t be a shallow dive. And so when you start to do that, then you have this wealth to speak about the things that you’re talking about, and you can connect disparate ideas and divergent thinking, and you can put things together to make sense for people. And number two, you, you want to study how to be a better teacher. There’s so many different models because you have to make something that feels like intuition seem logical. In a framework or process or a step-by-step technique. And you have to do that in a simplest way because your, your job is to make the difficult, easy, understand to turn the complex into the simple, that’s what you’re supposed to do now, how do you avoid burnout? And there’s two things. The first way to avoid burnout is not to chase the result. We’ve talked about that to love the process and to love the person that you become in the pursuit of your goal. That’s really how I measure success. How much have I changed? What was the growth that had day to day, week to week and year to year? What is happening to me? And if you met me, when I was still in school, you would see a, probably a little bit of a cocky self-confident person who was about design, but was very afraid to use his own voice. And throughout the years, you know, I would go back. I would bump into somebody that I went to school with. Like, I didn’t even recognize you, man. And I think they say that it’s compliment, but I most definitely interpreted that as a compliment. Whereas I turn around and say, you haven’t changed a bit. And they see that as a compliment. I’m not trying to insult them, but I would see that as an insult, like, are you still listening to the same bands? Oh, you still have the same fashion sense. You’re still pulling the same artistic references, why I’ve moved on. And so you want to constantly grow, you get creative. Because you don’t have a deep enough understanding of the problem, generally speaking. So you’ve run out of ideas because ideas are supposed to solve a problem. So every time I approach a project, I go and use that deep diving analogy. I’ll learn about the client, what, what the competitors are doing. Even if I don’t know anything about marketing funnels, I’m gonna learn about marketing funnels. I’m gonna try to have a deeper understanding of this because I know I become richer. The more I. And eventually the, what I learned equals what’s in my bank account. So I use all these things as opportunities to learn. So when I have a clear enough understanding of the problem, I let my archival subconscious brain to work at it, to solve the problem for me. And if you’ve done enough research and reading and you’ve prepared. And you allow your, I think you’re much smarter brain to work for you to connect the dots for you. I don’t think you gonna run into this thing where you have creative block.
Maggie: (00:45:48) I love that. That’s very powerful. Um, I think for all, you know, entrepreneurs and business owners, that’s, that’s a very, very important, um, thing to know, just learning every single day, continuing to challenge yourself, um, staying up to date on new business strategy. Yeah, the only way to move forward in this world,
Bryan: (00:46:06) I really liked how you can put in the root cause of it too, is because a lot of us only understand surface knowledge. Like you need to deep dive, and that’s how you has how you extract new level of creativity. So when you understand a subject so well that you can come up with anything that relates to it, and that side conversation has a lot to do with your interests, your passion and your drive to learn more.
Chris: (00:46:31) You know, I feel like a heavy burden, like a responsibility in a very positive way that people ask me for advice on far ranging topics. And I feel that if I’m going to speak on it, I don’t want to be a person who spreads misinformation. At least I don’t want to do the unintentionally. And most definitely, I don’t want to do it intentionally. And so people recently, when I was in a clubhouse for him, they’re like, you guys need to follow Chris. He’s a marketing genius. And I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on. I’m no marketing genius. I just do what I do. I’m happy that you throw a label like that on me, but the reason why she might say something like that is because people used to ask me marketing questions. So I read six books on marketing and that’s how I do it. I’m like, okay. Um, I’m doing that. I think it’s called syntactical reading where I’m reading from a bunch of different sources to compare and contrast what may or may not be true. And then when a form that’s all I can do in my life is to have an informed. So I’ve read several books on marketing from different people and I’m reading books on positioning. So I’m just adding all, all the complexities and the nuances so that oh, okay. Somewhere in here is my truth. And I’m going to share that with you. And I hope that helps.
Maggie: (00:47:43) Amazing. So, Chris, uh, we’d love to know what’s next for you and blind and the future. Um, what are your goals for the next year?
Chris: (00:47:51) We have some very specific goals for this year, so we hope that by the end of this year, and it’s, it’s, it seems so distant right now because we’re only one quarter of the way to the goal and the year’s half over. It’s a little scary, but I’m intending to grow my private coaching community, which is called the future program to 2000 members. Right now we’re a little over 500. And, and like, we have, have to overhaul the system because the system itself was not designed to have this many people in it. So the onboarding system, having coaches and, and ambassadors and community managers, all that kind of stuff, things that we didn’t have in place have to be put in place. So we’re, we’re trying to work through. But my goal is to get to 2000 people that pay me $150 a month to be part of this group. And what I do is they use the money and I reinvest it right back into the group. So we have this thing and we’re trying to figure out the terminology, but when you’re an entrepreneur, one of the things that a lot of tech entrepreneurs have is an advisory board comprised of people who have got way more experienced than them. And so that they can bounce ideas off of an advisory. Happens when you have deep connections or you have money or both, most entrepreneurs do not have the deep pockets or the deep relationships. So we’re going to build an advisory board for you are subject matter experts. And there are people who have got their CPAs attorneys copywriters from the advertising world, UX, UI people. So we’re going to build this massive group of people that on any given day, you can reach out to them and they’re going to respond. And, and this is how we create, I think, entrepreneurs of the future. So it’s a mixture of private coaching, uh, having an advisory board. Having a deep library of archive calls that hopefully is the blueprint, or at least a foundation for many people who need to get to the next level. And sometimes I think for you, uh, and, and for you to be successful, you need one piece of information. It’s usually not like a whole book of information. It’s like, you need to reframe something that you’re thinking about or a resource or something, a redirect, and it’s these little adjustments that can mean a difference between success and failure. And for each person’s gonna be a little different. So I’m always like trying to figure out what does that person need from me right now. And if I could give it to them, their life is going to be improved. And it matters to me because if I improve your life, then I get to count it against my billion counter, which is the teacher billing people.
Bryan: (00:50:21) That is extremely powerful. And I really love mission that you had to, to teach those people. And to me, it’s like, when I hear this is like, wow, like I wish that I asked someone to connect with the resources and not only connect group resources, like sit down and kind of analyze things, took me because you know, the hardest part of entrepreneurship is not really knowing what you’re doing half the time. Right?
Chris: (00:50:43) Yes. It’s not knowing what to do. And then the other part is.
Bryan: (00:50:47) Exactly. You learn how much you don’t know. Uh, so we did have one final question for you. And that question is what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneur looking to get started? Stay. Okay.
Chris: (00:50:59) That’s too broad of a question for me. I’m sorry. You helped me refine it. Okay.
Bryan: (00:51:10) Um, okay. So what advice would you tell yourself? You graduated art school.
Chris: (00:51:21) Okay. If, if I could travel back in time and know what I know now, whatever I could tell myself, I would say something like, this is going to sound. This is me speaking to myself now, right? This is going to sound really weird. But you need to start making content. You’re not going to like the way you look. You’re not going to like the way you sound. And you’re going to feel like you’re being really foolish doing this. And a lot of people are going to second. Guess you, in fact, they’re going to ridicule you and try to tear you down, but I’m telling you right now. Get on the content game, because you’re going to learn a lot about yourself in, in turn. You’re going to help a whole bunch of people that you’ll never meet in this lifetime and do this and do it consistently, do not give up no matter what. That’s what I would say.
Bryan: (00:52:02) That is create great advice, you know, and any ending the pocket is so perfect because I was looking at my chip talk today. Yeah, I haven’t grown any followers. And last one, what I appreciate that Chris granted life can happen in a more perfect timing.
Maggie: (00:52:21) Yeah, exactly. Very, very powerful advice. And how can our listeners find out more about you and blind in the future?
Chris: (00:52:30) Yes, I would just like them to direct their attention to the future. Cause blind is, uh, is a shell company at this point because we don’t do any more client work. We stopped taking on clients since December, 2018. I’m just knocking wood. We’ll never do another project with a client. Um, they can find me pretty much on every single social platform I’m at the Chris DOE DOE is spelled D O it’s a Vietnamese name, the Christo, and you can find our future content on YouTube where we’re at the future is here. The future is spelled without an E. Uh, someone on social media said, Hey, where do the ego, why, why did you spell it without the E? I said, we dropped the E go. So there’s no E in the future.
Maggie: (00:53:12) That’s so clever. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing that Chris, we will leave all of those links in our show notes. It was awesome. Hearing your story today. Thank you so much for being on our part.
Chris: (00:53:22) Thanks Maggie. Thanks Brian.
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