Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Purpose

hustler-630

Yes, I look like a complete idiot in this photo.

Looking back at when I ran my education startup (2005 to 2012), I recall a lot of emotions and feelings. I remember existential stress, since from my perspective I was building a house of cards that could collapse at any moment (I was a little bit young and dramatic). I also remember exhaustion, as I poured everything I had into this startup; progress was always shaky and turbulent. I sacrificed health and relationships along the way.

But most vividly, I recall joy and purpose in running my startup.

My startup experience was weirdly spiritual. At the time I firmly believed that God had put me on earth to build the company I was building and serve the community I was serving. Despite all the stress and exhaustion, this underlying joy brought me tremendous peace, giving me strength push myself beyond what I imagined I was capable.

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This time, I will enjoy the journey

rys-covers

Ever since I became a dad a little less than 2 years ago, I’ve had to re-prioritize my life and lay dormant several side projects near and dear to me–one of which is this blog. Hence, why this is the first new post I’m writing in over a year.

Becoming a father has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. I still don’t enjoy the feeling of warm poo on my hand every now and then (not mine, but my son’s), and the sleep deprivation has been horrific. But at the same time, having a child is just like falling in love, all over again. At the end of the day, my wife and I have created a brand new best friend, and our lives are way more fun and interesting.

Right before my son arrived, I sort of went into this reactionary life mode. Pre-kid, I was winging my career as an entrepreneur; however the prospect of having a child made me believe that I needed to get a steady job and that my days as a risk-taking entrepreneur were over (at least until the kid’s in college).

So, I got a job. A great job in fact, working as a product manager at Facebook.

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What to consider in your startup job offer

Photo credit: Unfinished Business movie stock image

Photo credit: Unfinished Business movie stock image

Every week someone asks me for advice about a startup job offer. I have no idea why people reach out to me about this. I’m not an expert on job negotiation by any means; but I have done a fair amount of hiring and deal making as an entrepreneur.

This post relays the main advice that I typically share to friends considering their startup offer. Hopefully I can use this post to direct my job-hunting network and save myself some time typing this advice over and over again. 🙂

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Let’s destroy this myth

I’m super excited to announce that Hustle Con 2015 is officially happening on April 24, 2015 in San Francisco! This is an event for non-techies who are interested in starting startups, and it’s the third year we’re hosting this event.

So what is the point of our conference? Why do we exist when there are a gazillion other tech conferences?

Well, my team and I are on a mission to destroy a myth: that you need to be a techie in order to start a startup.

I meet so many would-be entrepreneurs every year who have awesome startup ideas, but are afraid. They make excuses like this:

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Startup life wrecked my body

Car Crash

I have a lot of friends who are startup founders. Lately whenever we meet up, I find myself sharing the same story with them; it’s about a car accident.

I can’t remember where I originally heard this story, but it stuck with me as an important metaphor for startup life. It goes something like this:

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The only thing I’ll remember from my acquisition

Where my wife nearly died two years ago.

The gorge that nearly killed my wife two years ago.

It’s been over two years since my startup got acquired. People to this day ask me what I felt the moment this deal closed. Was it some feeling of satisfaction after bootstrapping my business for seven years? Was it elation in seeing a large wire transfer come into my bank account? Or maybe, was it validation from proving all my naysayers and competitors wrong?

Nope, I wasn’t thinking about any of that. The only thing I felt was gratitude. Not gratitude about my little startup achievement, but gratitude that my wife was actually alive.

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Stop calling it skill. It’s really just luck.

What if you were born as this girl?

What if you were born as this girl?

Not many people know that I am North Korean. Sort of.

My father was born in North Korea. The same day that he arrived to the world, his family had to flee to the South in order to escape the communists. The journey had to be taken on foot during the cover of night; naturally, it was extremely dangerous and risky. Capture could have meant death, or perhaps a life in a North Korean gulag.

At one point in the journey his family had to cross a river via a small boat. His mother was told that no noise could be made during the crossing. She was instructed to immediately drown her infant (my Dad) if he started to cry.

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