(Note: this is just a summary intro and not the whole interview)
So in LA there’s a pretty prominent startup-focused organization called Mixergy, run by an awesome guy, Andrew Warner. Mixergy organizes events and interviews successful startup entrepreneurs to educate the world about how to become successful entrepreneurs. Andrew recently interviewed my Co-founder and CMO Jun Loayza for the latest episode, and I thought it was pretty awesome. I could probably have you download the interview from here, but I think it would be more fair if you went to his site to check the whole thing out, so go listen to the interview here.
I thought the interview was pretty extraordinary. However, due to the time limitation and the nature of the interview, there were obviously some details that could not be expressed. For that reason, I would like to tell some of the missed stories about FD. OK, well, to be honest, I also thought I sounded like an introverted pervert in the interview and I wanted to bring myself a little justice 🙂 I’ll do that at the end though.
The interview focused a lot on how we got some great free interns, and how to stand back up as an entrepreneur after failures. Since none of our initiatives has achieved high success yet, some may attribute that to our free help. So I thought it would be good to list some of the successes we had too to show that the people who helped really pushed us a good distance and that they should get more credit from their work.
The Future Delivery Story
For FD World, we really thought we could build the next society-changing product. Yes we were somewhat ambitious, but our CTO said it was a very doable goal. With his background, I believe we really had the chance (first employee Xerox hired in China R&D, ran a successful software startup, lecturer at UCI, Toshiba Senior Engineer with 24 patents under his name).
However, I want to emphasize that he dropped not because he didn’t get paid. In fact, he told his employer that once he gets his green card, he would quit immediately. He was very committed and put in a few thousands dollars of his own into the company too. However, the government changed policies during that time and his green card status was locked for another 2 years, so he had to drop. At that time even though we had already developed the virtual world to a certain state, we had to put the project on hold because of the unfortunate CTO event and the high capital required.
For FDCareer, even though it didn’t achieve high success either (or yet), we did have some good victories. We got rated on Mashable as one of the Top Ten Social Networks for Gen-Ys; we established some good partnerships with companies like Disney Interactive Media Group; we got decent SEO such as top 5 results for “mckinsey compensation” or “nintendo culture” on Google. At one point we were offered a $400K investment too. However, that’s when the economy fell apart, and the investor’s own fund didn’t work out from within. We also felt that since companies were laying off people, they wouldn’t be thrilled about something that helps them hire more efficiently. So even though I believe that if we continued to work on FDCareer without worrying about money, it would become successful, we were pinned down to cash and weren’t able to make new features. Our momentum was hampered and had to regroup.
At that point we wondered what can we do that is recession free. Since Jun became extremely involved in blogging and social media as CMO of the company, he pointed out that people would only use social media more during a recession. We decided that it would adhere to the FD core philosophy (being fun and productive), so we are launching the site Viralogy.com. I cannot tell you the rest of the story yet, but I can tell you that either its another story of failed passionate people who continued on doing exciting things, or a huge success that makes a difference in society. We’re hoping towards the latter 🙂
I am not reserved. I am Yu-kai Chou.
So during the interview, I was more portrayed as an introverted, reserved guy who prefers to make friends online. Hahaha, I have NEVER heard anyone say that about me before. People have called me crazy or weird, but this is the first time I have heard of being reserved. I would definitely like to pull myself out of that impression before everyone makes fun of me.
The first little detail I wanted to clarify is that my dropshipping business was actually my first and smallest business out of the other ones. During good weeks, I managed to make $2000 in revenue in a week while being extremely part-time (as opposed to $1000 in the month mentioned in the video). Obviously it wasn’t much either way, but that was 8 times the difference.
When Jun met me, I was not running that company anymore (so it wasn’t specifically the calculators, GPS, and iPods I sold that made Jun realize the potentials of entrepreneurship). During that time, I started a non-profit aimed to connect different expertise together and it had some modest accomplishments. I then moved onto importing of components of construction machinery. Unfortunately that business didn’t take off after tons of work due to some partnership issues.
I can’t blame Andrew to think I am more reserved and quiet. After all, he sees a lot of Jun all over the internet and throughout events, and the only time he’s seen me is in Living the Startup Life. In Living the Startup Life I do appear to be quite reserved and awkward for the camera, especially compared to the all-out Jun. It’s actually pretty funny because in the show, all the FD folks besides Jun appear unnatural when the camera is on them. We just enjoy being dorky when we’re together 😀
In reality, I would even say that a lot of people I know have way more friends than me online, but I have more physical friends than almost everyone I know. Since I grew up from a diplomatic family, I moved from one place to another since I was young (Taiwan, South Africa, Taiwan again, Kansas, and California). Since my whole set of friends would switch every few years, I learned to make friends extra fast. Jun is a bit more selective in who he makes friends with, but I pretty much become good friends with everyone. I’m actually known to a lot of my business friends through my high energy level. I surprisingly found out when people approached me and mentioned that they already heard about my energy level and they want to discuss business.
Being behind the scenes doesn’t mean you are introverted
Jun being portrayed as the more sociable guy was a natural and almost planned thing. His job as the CMO is to become the face for the company and get everyone to know Future Delivery through him. I, on the other hand, believe that my role as a leader is to do all the non-glamorous things that no one wants to do (like accounting and dealing with angry clients) so that my teammates can all focus on what they love doing and can shine at.
With that said, I do agree that I don’t have the charisma or hip style that Jun is naturally born with. When people meet Jun, they think he’s a cool guy that they want to be friends with. I think when people meet me, they just think I’m a smart and respectable person, but not the type that is charming or detail-oriented towards my appearance. I actually wrote a blogpost just on how I dislike my image.
Work for Purpose, Not for Money
Andrew drilled into why people would want to work with us in FD without monetary compensation. I believe that people work for two reasons. One is to make money. The other is to make life more meaningful. Jun and I truly believe that FD makes a person’s life more meaningful than any well-paid job would. I think a trait that both Jun and I share is that we both have a thing where people want to work with us when they talk to us. For instance, I am taking a programming class right now (so I can be less dependent on programmers), and my instructor who is a middle-aged woman suddenly volunteered to work for FD without any pay. Now that’s not pitching students to work for free. That’s a professional instructor offering to work for free without me saying anything. I was surprised, but hey, that’s cool isn’t it?