Pokin Yeung: Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned From 2 Tech Exits

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Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Keynote Speaker, Author, 170+ Monetization, Conversion, and One to Many Sales Presentations Worldwide.

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00:00:06.180 –> 00:00:12.240
Steve Werner: Welcome back to grow your impact income and influence the number one show for entrepreneurs.

00:00:12.570 –> 00:00:20.220
Steve Werner: on the Internet, today we are talking about exits we’re talking about failed businesses and we’re talking about the personal growth that comes in between them.

00:00:20.580 –> 00:00:37.920
Steve Werner: My guest pokemon young has had multiple businesses in her lifetime, she has worked 4567 figure businesses she’s had an awesome exit pokemon is a close personal friend of mine, and I am so excited to have her on the show pokemon how are you doing today.

00:00:38.250 –> 00:00:39.900
Pokin Yeung: Doing really well happy to be here.

00:00:40.470 –> 00:00:50.610
Steve Werner: Thanks so much for joining us on pokemon so I mean I was lucky enough, I spent the fourth of July with you on you and your husband Nick have bought amazing house.

00:00:52.560 –> 00:01:01.320
Steve Werner: You had a good exit not that long ago, but things weren’t always like this for you i’d love it if you took us back to the beginning, because I mean you.

00:01:02.040 –> 00:01:12.810
Steve Werner: Your story is fascinating to me like where you came from how you got started on take us back to the beginning, you know, several years ago, where you got started with a normal desk job.

00:01:13.350 –> 00:01:25.530
Pokin Yeung: Sure yeah it’s funny how life doesn’t take you where you expected I I had always known I wanted to start my own business, like, I was that kid who was selling candy to classmates in school.

00:01:25.980 –> 00:01:39.510
Pokin Yeung: But I never felt like I had enough to just jump right in so after school I ended up joining a French cosmetics company called l’oreal and that was a funny story for how it ended there too, I entered a marketing competition and.

00:01:40.020 –> 00:01:45.180
Pokin Yeung: that’s how I ended up a job there, and I was working there for a number of years and feeling pretty good.

00:01:45.630 –> 00:01:54.030
Pokin Yeung: And then the event that caused me to pivot towards founders ship and entrepreneurship was a routine performance review.

00:01:54.570 –> 00:02:02.760
Pokin Yeung: I went in thinking things were going really well feeling good about my products and it got it we got to talking about where where things were going to go for me.

00:02:03.180 –> 00:02:09.210
Pokin Yeung: And they asked me like you know what what are you interested in, and I said well you know I want to grow, I want to stay with the company, I want to.

00:02:10.380 –> 00:02:18.960
Pokin Yeung: be a manager and that’s when my manager sort of paused and said I don’t really see you as manager material.

00:02:20.310 –> 00:02:29.220
Pokin Yeung: What when that kind of thing happens, like, I think you have a few ways to respond to that you could try to prove them wrong, you could be like oh yeah you’re right i’m not really good.

00:02:29.580 –> 00:02:38.700
Pokin Yeung: Or you could sort of create your own path and that’s when I saw like the chances of me changing her mind pretty low i’ve always wanted to start a business.

00:02:39.630 –> 00:02:49.680
Pokin Yeung: This is probably the best time to just take that chance let’s let’s just go for it, so I quit my job and started looking at businesses to do.

00:02:50.190 –> 00:02:57.990
Steve Werner: Okay, so I just want to, I want to go back through that because that’s pretty crazy um I mean I started my business because I got fired.

00:02:58.380 –> 00:03:03.810
Steve Werner: Right, I think it’s crazy to me, the number of entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed on here how many.

00:03:04.080 –> 00:03:12.960
Steve Werner: Have you there gotten fired or lost their job or had a bad performance review or knew that they weren’t going to be able to grow in their company, so instead of playing the victim, which I think is what.

00:03:13.860 –> 00:03:25.410
Steve Werner: Sadly happens to probably 90% right they say okay i’m not good enough or they get really mad about it and they go home and they just complain they don’t even look for a new job you were like Okay, let me figure this out.

00:03:26.640 –> 00:03:31.860
Steve Werner: I want to own my own business, so how long did it take from that performance review until you quit.

00:03:33.180 –> 00:03:36.390
Pokin Yeung: quick, I mean around that time was sort of an instrumental.

00:03:37.500 –> 00:03:46.320
Pokin Yeung: bucket list item moment as well, I had always wanted to climb mount kilimanjaro and that was around the time I had actually finally.

00:03:47.640 –> 00:03:54.450
Pokin Yeung: scheduled and gone on the trip and that whole process of planning was, like some of the most frustrating experiences of my life.

00:03:54.840 –> 00:04:01.740
Pokin Yeung: Like if you were to look today and you’re trying to search for travel like it’s still the same problem it’s all full of spam and like ads and.

00:04:02.100 –> 00:04:08.790
Pokin Yeung: and companies trying to get money from you then actually giving you interesting advice, so I was feeling pretty frustrated about that already.

00:04:09.060 –> 00:04:15.000
Pokin Yeung: So it was kind of a few things that came together at the same time, like okay Lord, this is not a career path for me.

00:04:15.210 –> 00:04:24.870
Pokin Yeung: i’m going to start with something else I was recently frustrated about travel and I feel passionate and I think I could do a better job so it kind of all came together, I love probably within a few months.

00:04:25.980 –> 00:04:27.960
Steve Werner: And what was your boss’s reaction.

00:04:30.480 –> 00:04:41.790
Pokin Yeung: i’m probably like not surprised I don’t think she was trying for me to leave she thought I would do great in product development so she she saw me staying just not on the management track.

00:04:43.170 –> 00:04:48.750
Pokin Yeung: But like she always knew like i’m and I can be a bit stubborn and.

00:04:49.950 –> 00:04:54.300
Pokin Yeung: I like creating things so i’m sure she was not surprised that I would go strikeout and create something.

00:04:55.110 –> 00:05:02.070
Steve Werner: that’s awesome I mean it’s I just wonder like what that’s like because you you don’t have any kind of.

00:05:02.820 –> 00:05:08.550
Steve Werner: aggressive or like get back at you bone in your body like you’re you’re not the kind of person that’s going to like stick it to the man.

00:05:08.910 –> 00:05:20.670
Steve Werner: Right, but I can still see you just be like okay well i’m gonna go do my own thing over here so we’re doing your own thing what was that, like talk to me about like what was day one.

00:05:22.320 –> 00:05:23.250
Steve Werner: doing your own thing.

00:05:23.880 –> 00:05:30.090
Pokin Yeung: or Dave on started with cake, because I love desserts to celebrate, so I actually have a photo of a cake that since day one.

00:05:32.100 –> 00:05:46.650
Pokin Yeung: Dealing with cake, I had a Co founder a colleague that I met at l’oreal and we were both really interested in like products in travel and so she was actually in agreement of starting the business with me so day one started with us both.

00:05:47.670 –> 00:05:53.070
Pokin Yeung: He had left around the same time looking at the business, we wanted to build on what we needed.

00:05:53.400 –> 00:06:03.060
Pokin Yeung: And so, the first thing we realized was we’re both business people and we’re trying to build a tech travel site, so the most important thing is to find a tech co founder.

00:06:03.690 –> 00:06:07.680
Pokin Yeung: And I say this because a lot of times when I see people with technology businesses.

00:06:08.220 –> 00:06:15.540
Pokin Yeung: The end up outsourcing the tech thinking, well, I can build it later, which is true, but I think if you aren’t.

00:06:15.900 –> 00:06:22.680
Pokin Yeung: A co founder or on heavily involved you just don’t have the same skin in the game to think about a product or challenge.

00:06:23.100 –> 00:06:38.520
Pokin Yeung: The right way, and so we wanted to make sure someone cared enough to help us like co architect this so I just we just went on this spree of reaching out to everyone, when you looking online at people back then, I was, I was in Toronto.

00:06:39.690 –> 00:06:49.440
Pokin Yeung: And just networking until we found a person that actually didn’t end up being our ultimate co founder so that there’s a whole journey there but but that’s what we did in the beginning, try to find a tickle donor.

00:06:50.070 –> 00:06:55.230
Steve Werner: So you finally found a tech co founder and I want to know where the name for your business came from.

00:06:55.890 –> 00:07:07.260
Pokin Yeung: Sure, so the name of the business, we started is called gecko go and the idea around that is geckos are intrepid creatures they like to explore their crawling into unexpected places.

00:07:07.590 –> 00:07:22.140
Pokin Yeung: And the idea of our travel company was it was a yelp meets lonely planet, it was meant to learn your personality and give you suggestions of where to go and what to do, based on your interests, as opposed to like what was going to give you the best hotel room rates.

00:07:23.040 –> 00:07:42.870
Steve Werner: Nice alright, so you went on this track you found a technical co founder eventually and you got get go up and going how long from just give us like a ballpark timeline how long from when you left your job to you started like you had the Co founder you started seeing something happen.

00:07:43.680 –> 00:07:51.480
Pokin Yeung: So the first co founder, we found we work together for six months and that’s the key learnings So the first one is don’t outsource the second one is.

00:07:51.720 –> 00:07:57.840
Pokin Yeung: You want to work with someone who was not necessarily the most brilliant tech person, but someone who can get things out.

00:07:58.530 –> 00:08:13.440
Pokin Yeung: and offers first tech co founder was great, but he was focused on building the perfect thing not getting to proof of concept, so we spent about six months wanted before we realized we weren’t going to be able to get a product out and that’s when I looked and said okay i’m in Toronto.

00:08:14.730 –> 00:08:20.910
Pokin Yeung: Lots of great talented people, but the mindset was not quite what we needed people have the mindset that businesses were.

00:08:21.330 –> 00:08:25.350
Pokin Yeung: fully developed like when we talk to potential investors, they said show me your business.

00:08:26.010 –> 00:08:41.310
Pokin Yeung: You know, show me your statement income statements like what’s your revenue, we were pre revenue, because it was a new concept that we’re trying to build from scratch so around the six month mark we actually uprooted and moved ourselves to the bay area to Palo Alto to start over.

00:08:42.300 –> 00:08:43.530
Steve Werner: wow that’s.

00:08:45.750 –> 00:08:49.410
Steve Werner: What was your internal dialogue during that time, because I could see it being.

00:08:49.740 –> 00:08:58.470
Steve Werner: I can see a lot of people being very frustrated and saying, I want to go back to the corporate world right, I want to go back to the golden handcuffs i’m going to start putting my resume out.

00:08:59.280 –> 00:09:04.200
Steve Werner: You I don’t think you thought that i’d never heard you say that, so what was like what was going on in your mind.

00:09:04.680 –> 00:09:15.300
Pokin Yeung: Sure it’s a combination of things, I mean I had saved some money before, so I had a bit of runway I wasn’t that concern like I probably had about a year at the time, and so it wasn’t so much the.

00:09:17.070 –> 00:09:24.210
Pokin Yeung: There was definitely pressure of okay well you know i’m whittling down my savings here, but the whole time through.

00:09:25.410 –> 00:09:29.220
Pokin Yeung: I just was so convinced that would figure it out, not because I was, I was.

00:09:29.910 –> 00:09:38.280
Pokin Yeung: Not because I knew I was going to be perfect, but because I was going to be stubborn enough to like keep trying until it work, so I think the feelings, I was going through at the time with more just like.

00:09:38.730 –> 00:09:47.310
Pokin Yeung: I just really want people to see it like let’s let’s get something provable let’s get something tested, and so there was some frustration over like you know we bought the concept, but like.

00:09:48.330 –> 00:09:50.610
Pokin Yeung: It was just taking a long time to build and get something out.

00:09:51.660 –> 00:09:53.610
Steve Werner: So what happened when you move to Palo Alto.

00:09:55.290 –> 00:10:05.490
Pokin Yeung: I went to the same process of trying to network and meet people I posted craigslist ads for co founders, I went to all the meetup groups I started volunteering at conferences to meet people.

00:10:05.910 –> 00:10:08.490
Pokin Yeung: And I just ended up meeting a number of awesome people.

00:10:09.180 –> 00:10:15.270
Pokin Yeung: They saw over the course of a couple months they saw like what I was trying to do they saw my mock ups and I think.

00:10:15.540 –> 00:10:27.360
Pokin Yeung: For a few of them like we sort of built a rapport, to the point where one of them just said, you know what I believe in your vision and one day like he’s like hey I got something to show you sent me like a mock up of our business.

00:10:28.710 –> 00:10:37.020
Pokin Yeung: website like you just built a proof of concept and holy cow, this is amazing, so we came up with a founder agreement and he joined on as our technical co founder.

00:10:37.410 –> 00:10:45.840
Pokin Yeung: And there I got to prove like here’s someone who is great attack, who can move fast, because she bought this concept and showed us a few days.

00:10:46.230 –> 00:10:49.800
Steve Werner: Where you found exactly what you needed through networking, so I mean.

00:10:51.390 –> 00:10:59.310
Steve Werner: One of the things that I love about you, is, you are a great networker you’re always positive you’re always looking at like the upside of everything so like.

00:10:59.580 –> 00:11:10.980
Steve Werner: A lot of people, I think, would have whined and complained right even entrepreneurs, I know, would have said, like there’s nobody good out there i’m going to linkedin i’m going to indeed i’m going to go like pay a headhunter.

00:11:11.580 –> 00:11:14.940
Steve Werner: You just went and started volunteering at conferences which I think is.

00:11:15.150 –> 00:11:21.840
Steve Werner: I mean TIM ferriss did that, if you look back at like the beginning of four hour workweek before he had written the book he went volunteer to conferences.

00:11:22.020 –> 00:11:30.300
Steve Werner: He made sure that he got put in the VIP lounges so that he met the the big players and he he tried to work all the blogger conferences.

00:11:31.020 –> 00:11:36.030
Steve Werner: And then, when he released the four hour workweek he knew he had a network, you said, have over 150 people.

00:11:36.300 –> 00:11:43.260
Steve Werner: ready to promote his product, so a little bit different but similar you just had, like the I wouldn’t even call it grit like you were just like.

00:11:43.590 –> 00:12:00.090
Steve Werner: Problem Solving agitation in your head like okay i’m gonna go do this i’m gonna i’m just gonna keep doing things and sure enough you found the person so fast forward us a little bit you get your proof of concept out ghetto go starts to go what happens from there.

00:12:01.290 –> 00:12:09.090
Pokin Yeung: So it’s interesting and again this is like where you think you go in one direction, and something else happens gecko go was meant to be a travel website at first.

00:12:09.360 –> 00:12:16.950
Pokin Yeung: But around the time where we’re building this was also when Facebook Apps were starting to be a thing and one thing i’ve observed is like.

00:12:17.370 –> 00:12:22.080
Pokin Yeung: it’s so tough to get your product in front of the right customers.

00:12:22.590 –> 00:12:30.630
Pokin Yeung: And that, when you find an opportunity to piggyback off something like gotta go for it if it’s like roughly in line with what you’re doing.

00:12:30.960 –> 00:12:45.870
Pokin Yeung: So, at the time, Facebook was trying to get as many Apps out there was a bit of a Wild West but it was also very visible so for us, we looked at it and said okay well we’re trying to build a travel website, but maybe there was an opportunity to do something with Facebook.

00:12:47.220 –> 00:12:54.840
Pokin Yeung: Because our travel site was based on like understanding your personality and giving recommendations we thought, what would be fun is to create like a.

00:12:55.380 –> 00:13:02.970
Pokin Yeung: map where people could put all the pins of where they’ve been and the cities, he visited and put that on a profile.

00:13:03.480 –> 00:13:14.610
Pokin Yeung: So that’s what we did we built the same and we took it one step further it’s not just a map but based on where you’ve been it gives you a travel personality like analysis to say you’re like hardcore venture or your culture.

00:13:15.300 –> 00:13:26.490
Pokin Yeung: And that really resonated I think we grew to the third largest map APP and all sudden started getting a ton of traffic, and so we looked at that and said, well, how can we leverage this for our business and.

00:13:27.480 –> 00:13:35.580
Pokin Yeung: Our business was based on users writing reviews and sharing their experiences and that’s how we could develop like the profiling and.

00:13:36.420 –> 00:13:42.450
Pokin Yeung: Recommendation system, so what we did is since we knew what cities you’ve been in because you’re told us.

00:13:42.960 –> 00:13:52.050
Pokin Yeung: We start prompting you like out right after you fill your map would be like hey you know share with us your favorite restaurant in Paris or show us your favorite activity in Tokyo.

00:13:52.470 –> 00:14:00.570
Pokin Yeung: And we found the more specific, you ask people to do something, the more willing, they work, and so we were actually able to use our Facebook APP.

00:14:00.930 –> 00:14:10.770
Pokin Yeung: to generate a ton of content that we were eventually able to use to seed our website and get the materials when needed, and a lot of initial users for for our dental website lunch.

00:14:12.510 –> 00:14:22.350
Steve Werner: So talk to me that, like to me one that’s awesome like you use Facebook, to get data and you started asking people like I.

00:14:22.950 –> 00:14:29.940
Steve Werner: I hate all the cheesy surveys that are on there now, and I know because you build it was probably much more targeted and friendly.

00:14:30.300 –> 00:14:39.390
Steve Werner: But what’s your favorite restaurant in Paris, what do you like about it here Would you mind writing a short review like I can pretty much picture, like the steps you would have taken people through um.

00:14:40.650 –> 00:14:45.420
Steve Werner: So you build out the website, are you making any money at this time, is there any revenue coming in.

00:14:46.140 –> 00:14:54.450
Pokin Yeung: know by this time we were super lucky that we actually had some angel investment so we were really focused on in our mind like.

00:14:54.810 –> 00:15:00.870
Pokin Yeung: When we arrived, we thought Okay, if you build a tech business that had to be a vc model, so what you needed to do was grow at all costs.

00:15:01.080 –> 00:15:10.710
Pokin Yeung: So Monday monetization was an afterthought like well, we have enough runway so let’s just try to get as many users as possible so that does end up being a downfall because.

00:15:11.250 –> 00:15:19.440
Pokin Yeung: Now going forward I focus on monetization first, but now we were trying to get as many users and as possible, not not figure out how to monetize.

00:15:19.710 –> 00:15:21.300
Steve Werner: Were you taking a salary at the time.

00:15:22.320 –> 00:15:26.130
Pokin Yeung: No, we were living in a startup house of like five other roommates trying to keep costs low.

00:15:26.670 –> 00:15:28.290
Steve Werner: Also, like straight up Facebook style.

00:15:28.440 –> 00:15:32.130
Pokin Yeung: super Facebook style just didn’t work out of the garage where does the kitchen.

00:15:32.730 –> 00:15:35.730
Steve Werner: yeah kitchen pizza maybe a pool in the backyard.

00:15:36.240 –> 00:15:37.170
Steve Werner: Palo Alto still.

00:15:38.070 –> 00:15:39.840
Pokin Yeung: yeah this was in mountain view actually.

00:15:40.320 –> 00:15:49.020
Steve Werner: Okay, so you’re going what happens is as the the customer basis starting to grow, but your runway is starting to shrink.

00:15:50.820 –> 00:15:52.470
Pokin Yeung: That down to the.

00:15:52.650 –> 00:16:00.360
Pokin Yeung: founder life like because we were so focused on trust, trying to grow and not so much a monetization we were really at the mercy of.

00:16:01.050 –> 00:16:10.530
Pokin Yeung: Raising more money and getting more investors and already I think travel is a is a very crowded space because it’s very sexy everyone wants to do something and travel.

00:16:10.800 –> 00:16:27.360
Pokin Yeung: So we were warned by a number of people that said, like don’t go on a travel do something else but we’re like we’re going to solve this so I mean we kept trying to get users, but like there’s a certain point where there’s only so much you can grow.

00:16:28.380 –> 00:16:39.540
Pokin Yeung: And we weren’t hitting enough numbers, where people weren’t necessarily willing to fund us so yeah I mean it got to a certain point where the stress kept building within our team and it just got really challenging to keep going.

00:16:40.530 –> 00:16:45.540
Steve Werner: So, what was the moment when you made the decision not to keep going.

00:16:47.790 –> 00:16:48.360
Pokin Yeung: I think.

00:16:49.650 –> 00:16:59.160
Pokin Yeung: I mean at it kind of like being in business is like being in a relationship and the number one reason, a lot of couples have trouble is financial difficulty.

00:16:59.490 –> 00:17:06.720
Pokin Yeung: So I think the same kind of pressure put a toll on the team, like all of us were really, really got along well for most of it.

00:17:06.990 –> 00:17:17.910
Pokin Yeung: But by the time like we got to this point where we were doing everything we could to grow, but it wasn’t enough to convince people, even though we have better metrics than some of our competitors, I think it really took a toll on the team and.

00:17:18.210 –> 00:17:28.920
Pokin Yeung: So relationship started breaking down and we had like what my co founder, who I started the business with decided to step away, and I think that was the beginning of the end.

00:17:32.670 –> 00:17:36.600
Steve Werner: Thanks for sharing, because I know that’s not the most fun thing to talk about but it’s.

00:17:38.460 –> 00:17:42.720
Steve Werner: What happened next for you is what’s like where it turns around right because.

00:17:42.780 –> 00:17:46.200
Steve Werner: How long was it between that.

00:17:47.910 –> 00:17:51.060
Steve Werner: Non exit and starting something new.

00:17:52.110 –> 00:17:56.280
Pokin Yeung: And it’s funny because, like and that’s where like networking and relationships matter because.

00:17:56.940 –> 00:18:07.890
Pokin Yeung: Ultimately we weren’t able to build something that was super profitable but it’s a relationships that we built were at the point where we said okay we’re not going to do we can’t get any more, but we’ve got this incredible user base super.

00:18:09.330 –> 00:18:19.560
Pokin Yeung: passionate play users, we were actually able to find a partner in the space, who we’ve known for a while, who was able to end up acquiring us so we were fortunate with that.

00:18:20.070 –> 00:18:30.540
Pokin Yeung: But yeah I mean that was real rock bottom is not only did I lose my co founder that’s when I also my my marriage broke down and I ended up taking the tender line cuz I was suddenly oh it’s.

00:18:31.770 –> 00:18:43.800
Pokin Yeung: So the real turnaround there happened when it’s like okay Well, this is a real reset, what do you want to do and i’m fortunate that at that time, like.

00:18:44.550 –> 00:18:58.440
Pokin Yeung: There were some relationships that I kept in touch with, and one of my advisors for for gecko go put me in touch with a company that was running an incubator, and so I joined on as an in house advisor and through That was where I met my co founder.

00:18:59.820 –> 00:19:06.030
Pokin Yeung: When we met we hadn’t intended to do anything together like I remember his first words were like I don’t go into business with family or friends.

00:19:06.510 –> 00:19:20.520
Pokin Yeung: But we were both really interested in like just playing around with ideas, and this was when mobile Apps were starting out so we just started to tinker and decided to build a note training APP that would help you site read.

00:19:21.570 –> 00:19:28.440
Pokin Yeung: It was a cyclical music site reading APP we built it over a few like weekends and just on a whim decided to launch it.

00:19:29.100 –> 00:19:45.780
Pokin Yeung: And it just so happened that the APP got picked up by Amazon as editor’s choice of the year for music and we figured hey you know what there’s no harm like let’s give it a go, can we build something in Apps, and so we all left our positions and just started building Apps.

00:19:46.830 –> 00:19:48.390
Steve Werner: Actually, never heard that story.

00:19:49.230 –> 00:20:01.230
Steve Werner: I didn’t know that um so how long would I want, what I want people to take away from this is how long between gecko shutting down like ballpark and.

00:20:02.250 –> 00:20:03.870
Steve Werner: Launching launching it out.

00:20:05.850 –> 00:20:14.070
Pokin Yeung: Like six months to a year and I think that timeframe, because I was like six months of like winding down ghetto girl like moving to the tender line and all of that stuff.

00:20:14.400 –> 00:20:23.550
Pokin Yeung: And then, it was another six months of like let’s build this music APP let’s do some like exploration and without a goal to like okay let’s let’s start a business.

00:20:24.150 –> 00:20:33.570
Steve Werner: So I want to point out a couple things to anyone listening like I love the entrepreneurial journey because it’s never up right it’s up and down and sideways and everywhere in between.

00:20:34.200 –> 00:20:42.570
Steve Werner: And I think that’s part of what attracts us to it in some in some realms right like there’s always something new to figure out, but you didn’t.

00:20:42.870 –> 00:20:55.530
Steve Werner: What you did not do was whine or complain, I mean i’m sure you had a day, where you maybe weren’t the happiest but you didn’t whine or complain you didn’t blame somebody else and you didn’t go work for somebody else, I think.

00:20:56.670 –> 00:21:08.280
Steve Werner: Again 99% would have been like where can I send my resume you didn’t even mention that you’re just like I wouldn’t found like through networking found an incubator again it comes back to networking um.

00:21:09.210 –> 00:21:18.510
Steve Werner: I found an incubator and we launched this APP and the APP server to do well, so what Whatever happened to that APP I did not, I didn’t know anything about this out.

00:21:18.900 –> 00:21:23.310
Pokin Yeung: it’s still in the stores like a how the idea that we want to improve it, because it’s there.

00:21:23.580 –> 00:21:33.120
Pokin Yeung: It was like one of the top rated music Apps it’s still like used by piano teachers, so we get all these requests and, like all gosh I really want to build it the challenges it’s.

00:21:34.080 –> 00:21:43.710
Pokin Yeung: indication can be tough to monetize monetize and, like our subsequent added so much better that we can we never had the chance, but I really want to fix it it’s it’s called note trainer.

00:21:44.280 –> 00:21:44.850
Steve Werner: alone it.

00:21:45.180 –> 00:21:47.100
Pokin Yeung: yeah we still do it’s still still around.

00:21:47.760 –> 00:21:58.050
Steve Werner: that’s really interesting um because well what happened, I I didn’t know we were going to have this discussion at all um Okay, so you will come back to know trainer.

00:21:58.110 –> 00:22:00.300
Steve Werner: All right, are you had this, how did you.

00:22:00.660 –> 00:22:04.170
Steve Werner: How did we get to the next APP how did you guys land.

00:22:05.970 –> 00:22:08.970
Steve Werner: i’ma let you take it from there, because I don’t want to give away what your next APP was.

00:22:09.390 –> 00:22:15.060
Pokin Yeung: Well sure like I mean we were still an experimentation mode and that’s where i’m seeing like sometimes.

00:22:15.900 –> 00:22:24.750
Pokin Yeung: Not having a plan makes more sense, because I think about like my early days, where i’m like I want to have a house by this day, I want to have this career by this day and like none of that happens so forget it.

00:22:25.200 –> 00:22:25.560
Pokin Yeung: We just.

00:22:27.150 –> 00:22:39.540
Pokin Yeung: Go to hackathons because also I really like hackathons and like things like startup weekend because their time constraint events that forced you to prioritize like what do you really want to accomplish by the end of this period.

00:22:39.990 –> 00:22:43.650
Pokin Yeung: And so we just started going on, mostly actually the reason why we went to hackathons was.

00:22:45.090 –> 00:22:54.030
Pokin Yeung: We were starting out and I needed test devices and we couldn’t afford to buy all the different devices and these hackathons we’re usually giving you tablets and phones as prizes.

00:22:54.330 –> 00:23:00.600
Pokin Yeung: So, like let’s just go win some tablets, so we just went to hackathons all up and down the west coast.

00:23:00.960 –> 00:23:12.090
Pokin Yeung: and build something for a weekend and then we submit what we like you know Polish it after that weekend and submit it so we did like keno after we did the word search we did like word search in Spanish, we did.

00:23:12.750 –> 00:23:17.610
Pokin Yeung: Bingo and I guess yeah out of all the Apps that really took off the one that really took off was Bingo.

00:23:18.450 –> 00:23:22.710
Steve Werner: So I just want to like recap how calm and collected, you were you were like.

00:23:23.730 –> 00:23:26.520
Steve Werner: First off I poking you didn’t have any money at this time.

00:23:26.790 –> 00:23:29.670
Steve Werner: No, I don’t believe that you were really homeless, but.

00:23:30.360 –> 00:23:34.170
Pokin Yeung: The tenant I mean I was living in a converted motel so.

00:23:34.350 –> 00:23:35.670
Pokin Yeung: yeah pretty like.

00:23:35.760 –> 00:23:36.420
Steve Werner: Pretty rough.

00:23:36.870 –> 00:23:37.830
Pokin Yeung: Paying by the week he.

00:23:38.550 –> 00:23:46.860
Steve Werner: didn’t have enough money to go buy a tablet or any of the stuff to do another business like anyone listening to this, I want you to get that like.

00:23:47.430 –> 00:23:53.940
Steve Werner: It some people, I think, say Oh well, they made it as an entrepreneur because they had a credit line or mommy and Daddy gave them money.

00:23:54.600 –> 00:24:07.560
Steve Werner: I mean like i’ve had the same experience, where you know there’s $50 in the bank and i’m figuring out if i’m going to buy McDonalds or if i’m in a by ramen and like mcdonald’s is the more attractive like meal right um.

00:24:08.940 –> 00:24:18.330
Steve Werner: You and instead of going getting a job or instead of going and asking somebody to buy it for you said let’s go into a hackathon because we can win.

00:24:18.630 –> 00:24:19.920
Pokin Yeung: and get free food for the weekend.

00:24:20.220 –> 00:24:21.600
Steve Werner: And how many did you win.

00:24:22.470 –> 00:24:23.070
Pokin Yeung: Oh.

00:24:23.130 –> 00:24:25.500
Steve Werner: This is, I love this part of the story cuz you got like.

00:24:25.650 –> 00:24:28.290
Steve Werner: watching you and Nick tell this is awesome.

00:24:28.860 –> 00:24:35.970
Pokin Yeung: I mean, I think we want them all, but i’m trying to think like probably like six or seven before like it became more of a distraction, then.

00:24:36.840 –> 00:24:38.010
Pokin Yeung: So that’s awful.

00:24:38.190 –> 00:24:43.170
Steve Werner: that’s The other thing like you’re both you and Nick are are excellent driven like.

00:24:43.980 –> 00:24:58.500
Steve Werner: Entrepreneurs there are some that launch it dirty you are not that kind of person you definitely want revenue and you want to get to market quickly, but you always made sure that it was better than average um and when you went to a hackathon you guys always won like.

00:24:59.910 –> 00:25:03.390
Steve Werner: that’s a that’s a really fun outlier so.

00:25:03.810 –> 00:25:10.260
Pokin Yeung: What it is, is this isn’t hackathons This is true for business, a lot of people try to do too many things at once, and you really can’t.

00:25:11.190 –> 00:25:19.290
Pokin Yeung: Do really a lot of good things at once, so whatever we did hackathons are when we launched our product we didn’t try to be everything for everyone.

00:25:19.560 –> 00:25:26.580
Pokin Yeung: Like we picked a couple things and just make sure that whole experience was solid so like you know when we did our Bingo game for like the hackathon.

00:25:26.880 –> 00:25:42.060
Pokin Yeung: It wasn’t super feature complete but let’s say, like the one room had you know audio it had our own voiceovers everything looked finished in that one thing, and I think that’s that’s more important like create the full experience for one serving one person or, for that one use case.

00:25:42.900 –> 00:25:49.860
Steve Werner: Interesting so you that’s how we landed on Bingo and then you guys started a whole chain of Bingo Apps.

00:25:50.940 –> 00:25:55.380
Pokin Yeung: yeah we tried a bunch of different Apps like in that time and we still wanted to do different things.

00:25:55.440 –> 00:25:59.790
Pokin Yeung: Because we didn’t actually want to do Bingo it just kind of ended up being that Bingo wanted.

00:26:00.210 –> 00:26:01.020
Steve Werner: One yeah.

00:26:01.080 –> 00:26:01.650

00:26:02.910 –> 00:26:08.010
Steve Werner: So you went on, I want to talk about like so you ended up getting acquired.

00:26:08.340 –> 00:26:08.700
Pokin Yeung: mm hmm.

00:26:09.450 –> 00:26:11.040
Steve Werner: When you guys got acquired.

00:26:12.300 –> 00:26:20.160
Steve Werner: I mean you were I remember talking to you guys maybe six or eight months before then, and you like it wasn’t even really on your radar.

00:26:20.940 –> 00:26:32.760
Pokin Yeung: yeah it wasn’t because coming out of Chicago like the thing I really wanted to do was build a sustainable business that was focused on monetization First, the reason why that was important to me, was, I felt like.

00:26:34.140 –> 00:26:38.460
Pokin Yeung: The truest test of if you’re building something people want is you build something they want to pay you for.

00:26:39.480 –> 00:26:44.040
Pokin Yeung: So it’s not so much it’s like trying to be greedy it’s more of a barometer is if this is a calling card.

00:26:44.040 –> 00:26:45.390
Steve Werner: If it’s viable right, I mean.

00:26:45.630 –> 00:26:51.360
Steve Werner: The whole reason that you’re in business is to make money and if your business doesn’t make money, then you shouldn’t have it, but it’s.

00:26:52.230 –> 00:27:02.730
Steve Werner: Always blew my mind I didn’t come from vc or like starting a business in that realm but it always blew my mind that people would Oh, we don’t need to be profitable, we need raffle and your eight.

00:27:03.240 –> 00:27:08.550
Steve Werner: We just need to collect users right like I mean it works obviously that’s what Facebook did it’s.

00:27:08.820 –> 00:27:11.730
Pokin Yeung: Some for some things like if you’re in a business where.

00:27:11.820 –> 00:27:17.370
Pokin Yeung: The winner dominates you have to like it’s a race to get as much market share, as possible.

00:27:17.790 –> 00:27:24.390
Pokin Yeung: But those markets are really hard and it’s winner takes all so your odds of winning in that space is more like winning the lottery.

00:27:24.630 –> 00:27:35.130
Pokin Yeung: So I didn’t want to be in that space anymore, I wanted a business where it was sustainable and I could grow at the pace, I was comfortable with where I knew if I brought people on I could.

00:27:35.430 –> 00:27:48.540
Pokin Yeung: I can sustainably keep them because I never wanted to go through an experience like I did will get ago where we had to lay people off so yeah we were focused on building something that was sustainable and that didn’t necessarily include selling.

00:27:49.380 –> 00:27:53.520
Steve Werner: that’s awesome I mean they and you guys also you took a very interesting.

00:27:54.570 –> 00:28:03.330
Steve Werner: view of employees, as well, because I, I mean when I met your employees you guys were focused on making sure I wouldn’t call it like.

00:28:03.900 –> 00:28:20.370
Steve Werner: California startup it wasn’t that vibe, but it was we’re going to have a good time we’re going to work really hard and I mean you paid you paid average maybe slightly above average, but you had really good employees that got stuff done for you i’m.

00:28:21.060 –> 00:28:25.710
Pokin Yeung: Like, we believe that if you give your team Members the right environment.

00:28:26.070 –> 00:28:34.560
Pokin Yeung: they’ll thrive like I think about how many people are disenchanted but it’s because they don’t feel like their work has value or meaning without their contribution is doing anything.

00:28:34.860 –> 00:28:44.400
Pokin Yeung: And you put the right people like not it’s not for everyone, but like we hire for people who are self starters, and so, if you do like it makes more sense to get out of their way outside of present providing like the.

00:28:44.940 –> 00:28:56.850
Pokin Yeung: The right resources for them, so we really we see our team like family and so like you know we tried to create the right environment like it was important, even when we were really tiny to make sure they had health care.

00:28:57.180 –> 00:29:02.550
Pokin Yeung: We wanted to make sure they didn’t have to deal with like little like we see we did food, like the bay area, but it was more because.

00:29:02.790 –> 00:29:09.480
Pokin Yeung: We just want to make sure that we’re eating good food guys sometimes are there in a project or like not eating for hours, like you, gotta you gotta drink so.

00:29:10.020 –> 00:29:17.520
Pokin Yeung: We prioritize that but then we let them, you know push back on things and give us feedback and build the things they’re passionate about.

00:29:18.090 –> 00:29:20.580
Steve Werner: Well that’s, that is the key, I mean.

00:29:21.930 –> 00:29:31.620
Steve Werner: I think, as entrepreneurs, we think everybody wants money as their main incentive what people really want is to feel like they matter, they want they want recognition.

00:29:32.160 –> 00:29:37.140
Steve Werner: And they want to have a work environment, how many people, I mean the last girl I dated.

00:29:37.620 –> 00:29:41.850
Steve Werner: She had a nine to five job, and she would get up in the morning and cry because she is going to work so much.

00:29:42.150 –> 00:29:48.120
Steve Werner: Like who wants to live in that even said, you make it a fun environment where they’re going to have a good time you’re going to give them food.

00:29:48.660 –> 00:29:58.560
Steve Werner: Just so you guys know like I went to visit their workspace and they had a cooler with 26 different kinds of beverages that didn’t include coffee that.

00:29:58.560 –> 00:29:59.580
Steve Werner: was just the cooler.

00:30:00.210 –> 00:30:06.390
Steve Werner: That you guys took care of them, but it it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg it wasn’t cheap, but it was.

00:30:06.780 –> 00:30:19.440
Steve Werner: It and you plan that in from the beginning, I think that’s the other key when you’re when you’re running the budget that way, and you build it, you know what the cost is and you’re Okay, with it, and it led to you, having a better team.

00:30:20.070 –> 00:30:23.970
Pokin Yeung: yeah I mean i’d sooner work with like people I enjoy hanging around and.

00:30:25.110 –> 00:30:37.440
Pokin Yeung: Co create the environment, like we definitely made sure like we were never stressed, about being on a lean team is going to run more efficiently, anyway, so it wasn’t a concern of having a penny pinch on snacks.

00:30:37.920 –> 00:30:44.970
Steve Werner: So there, I have a couple different directions that I want to take this i’m going to go back really quick just to you’re doing these hackathons.

00:30:45.420 –> 00:30:47.070
Steve Werner: Know Bingo is starting to take off.

00:30:47.430 –> 00:30:58.950
Steve Werner: When was the moment that you guys were like okay we’re going in on Bingo because I could see you especially knowing Nick like Nick likes to try a lot of different things you like to try different things you’re going to hackathons you built the Bingo game.

00:30:59.430 –> 00:31:11.850
Steve Werner: you’re going to another hackathon you went another tablet like were you starting to see some money come in off the Bingo where you like what what changed and said, like okay we’re not doing hackathons and we’re going to focus on Bingo.

00:31:12.900 –> 00:31:13.410
Pokin Yeung: i’m.

00:31:14.460 –> 00:31:17.070
Pokin Yeung: I mean we never really like super focused on Bingo.

00:31:17.670 –> 00:31:25.050
Pokin Yeung: we’re going to try to do much with it, but, like the one thing that was consistent, no matter what products, we were doing is we wanted to really support our players.

00:31:25.230 –> 00:31:29.790
Pokin Yeung: So, in terms of monetization I mean as soon as really we released the product like we started getting sales.

00:31:30.120 –> 00:31:38.430
Pokin Yeung: I mentioned again like we couldn’t compete with a really big guys, so we just focused on a very specific vertical so the Bingo APP that we launch was specifically.

00:31:38.820 –> 00:31:46.860
Pokin Yeung: Bingo game that you could play anywhere anytime it worked without wi fi and that was a big contrast with other people.

00:31:47.310 –> 00:31:53.550
Pokin Yeung: needed Facebook need an active Internet to play so you didn’t really have so many choices, if you wanted to play offline.

00:31:53.910 –> 00:32:03.720
Pokin Yeung: We also made it super easy to contact us so we’re one of the first games that put like a customer support panel right inside the game and Nick and I in the beginning, would be.

00:32:04.890 –> 00:32:13.860
Pokin Yeung: Personally answering all the messages, so what we were trying really hard to do something else but Bingo like we really made sure that anytime we were interacting with customers and players.

00:32:14.790 –> 00:32:25.590
Pokin Yeung: When they wrote in that we gave them a thoughtful personal response to show me care like we responded to 100% of reviews, so it was while we were trying to get away from Bingo that thing going kept growing.

00:32:26.850 –> 00:32:35.430
Pokin Yeung: And then there wasn’t like a conscious effort to focus on it just you know, every time I looked it was bigger and at a certain point, we just said, we we gotta focus.

00:32:36.900 –> 00:32:44.490
Steve Werner: Right, the I mean the customer support, I was there when we, I mean you and I had several discussions around customer support and.

00:32:44.970 –> 00:32:51.660
Steve Werner: How, because you hired somebody do it and they weren’t doing that they were copying pasting messages you’re like No, this is not.

00:32:52.080 –> 00:33:05.190
Steve Werner: I I love that you are very customer support driven because at the end of the day, if your customers are happy they’re going to be your raving fans that are going to spread your game to other people they’re going to spread your message and they’re going to continue buying from you.

00:33:05.700 –> 00:33:13.650
Pokin Yeung: Absolutely for sure, like, I mean that was that was frustrating for us, because we have customers like, if you take the time to write to someone.

00:33:14.370 –> 00:33:22.350
Pokin Yeung: You want to feel heard like I think of how many times you you’re upset about an experience you write to a customer service place you get a can message that shows they don’t care.

00:33:22.560 –> 00:33:30.090
Pokin Yeung: And what do you do like you’re so upset you go totally 10 other people how upset you are, whereas like if they had an empathetic response and stinky be like wow you know this was.

00:33:30.450 –> 00:33:41.370
Pokin Yeung: So unusual that you’re you’re surprised, you tell people like I look at our reviews so many people were like wow, this is a real person responding I tell all my friends and family about you so it’s.

00:33:41.820 –> 00:33:54.030
Pokin Yeung: It was so helpful for us to have that opportunity to be able to respond that we didn’t want to lose that when we hired people, so we actually had to rejigger a whole hiring process to find the right people after that experience.

00:33:54.540 –> 00:33:58.830
Steve Werner: yeah the so let’s walk into.

00:33:59.910 –> 00:34:09.870
Steve Werner: Your acquired first off, how did that feel when they when you first like started thinking about you got contacted and.

00:34:11.160 –> 00:34:13.860
Steve Werner: How did that feel internally and like what were the.

00:34:14.610 –> 00:34:19.170
Steve Werner: Can you share anything about it because I you didn’t start your business with the idea of being acquired.

00:34:19.350 –> 00:34:31.140
Steve Werner: Where I think a lot of people are like my dream is to be acquired I can’t wait till I get you know the check for millions of dollars, and I can walk away from it and you guys, I remember like at the time, like you were like no.

00:34:32.250 –> 00:34:40.440
Pokin Yeung: I think that’s the best position to be in like for sure, like it’s super important to know a few basic things like because you never know if you’re going to get acquired so.

00:34:40.950 –> 00:34:47.310
Pokin Yeung: I would recommend like making sure you have a few things check like what’s a contingency plan like can business run without you.

00:34:47.610 –> 00:34:56.550
Pokin Yeung: Is it profitable make sure your books are clean because, like that kind of stuff is messy to untangle like Luckily, we just always had me in books, so the whole process is easy.

00:34:57.570 –> 00:35:04.920
Pokin Yeung: But like for us yeah like it wasn’t we didn’t seek it and so when it came up we it wasn’t important like.

00:35:05.700 –> 00:35:13.350
Pokin Yeung: It wasn’t life or death, the whole process, and I think that helped because it allowed us to be more aggressive in negotiations because we didn’t need it.

00:35:13.950 –> 00:35:31.920
Pokin Yeung: And so it was more like okay yeah we’ll entertain this option here is the minimum we need for it to even be worth talking and we throw a number, and they were like yeah we’ll do that, so you know that started the thinking and throughout the whole process like we were on.

00:35:33.900 –> 00:35:43.770
Pokin Yeung: kind of off of a lot about whether we wanted to lose the control of our own business, I think the tipping point was really just you never know what can happen, we have friends who turned down offers, and then the.

00:35:44.910 –> 00:35:52.170
Pokin Yeung: Environment change and they couldn’t sell anymore, and so we thought burden hand is a lot better, so it was like that decision that tipped it.

00:35:52.530 –> 00:36:07.140
Pokin Yeung: But, like, for me, losing control was difficult, so it was a huge priority for us when we’re doing negotiations and going into the company that we negotiated terms that essentially allowed us to operate independently, even during our own out.

00:36:08.070 –> 00:36:11.850
Steve Werner: Well that’s so you guys stayed with them, two years after signing.

00:36:12.270 –> 00:36:14.790
Steve Werner: How did the control did.

00:36:16.020 –> 00:36:23.340
Steve Werner: I remember you talking about like how you were you were trying to retain as much control as possible, and you thought you’ve been successful in that.

00:36:24.300 –> 00:36:35.730
Steve Werner: It was really interesting like the office building that they put you in you guys ended up taking over and like I remember the one time I came and visited you, it was you and your team and, like the big empty office.

00:36:35.790 –> 00:36:47.760
Pokin Yeung: yeah yeah it’s funny like you never know what happens like we went in where the little guys, we were five people when we joined in and by the time he steps away we’re running the whole division and we I think we’re 2627 people.

00:36:48.870 –> 00:36:54.510
Pokin Yeung: Just a lot of things can happen in the short term, like the guys who brought us in like we really liked them respect them, because they were.

00:36:54.780 –> 00:37:01.710
Pokin Yeung: Like that was also a motivation, the fact that the people who brought us in originally were founders themselves so we felt like they appreciated what that meant.

00:37:02.430 –> 00:37:10.740
Pokin Yeung: But like crazy things happen like while we were there, like that turned over a lot of people who were working with us turned over and so with the priority changes like it just ended up that.

00:37:12.270 –> 00:37:27.750
Pokin Yeung: We ended up growing a lot more than we would have normally but that brings a lot of interesting experiences to and allowed us to bring on additional specialized resources in art and animations that we wouldn’t have done on like well the small like five to five.

00:37:28.950 –> 00:37:29.250
Steve Werner: If.

00:37:30.420 –> 00:37:42.000
Steve Werner: I would like to ask what your what your favorite growth experience was maybe not the easiest growth experience in there just because you are a couple different hats when you were there, I mean you came in like.

00:37:42.570 –> 00:37:47.400
Steve Werner: And then you were you were putting the CEO role, and then you were you were like.

00:37:48.720 –> 00:37:59.880
Steve Werner: I remember you were having a conversation with the lady that was in Pennsylvania like and have like having to fill that role, like you, you had a lot of different hats going on over the last couple years.

00:38:01.500 –> 00:38:09.450
Pokin Yeung: gosh what’s a favorite I mean I appreciate a lot of the challenges let’s say, like the most personal growth and wasn’t my favorite because it was not fun at all.

00:38:09.720 –> 00:38:18.510
Pokin Yeung: Was the process actually of integrating the San Francisco office, because our parent company that acquired a different company and at one point we were integrating everyone.

00:38:18.900 –> 00:38:31.560
Pokin Yeung: And like we felt like it was really important to do that in a like as human of a way as possible and in a sustainable way because we had to end up bringing on a lot of their products as well, so I hope.

00:38:33.090 –> 00:38:37.530
Pokin Yeung: that we were able to have those discussions and transition the team.

00:38:38.820 –> 00:38:45.120
Pokin Yeung: Like I said in a humane way like it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy, but like that was important to us.

00:38:45.660 –> 00:38:50.700
Steve Werner: Why do you feel like it was the biggest growth because you had to deal with people because of the strategy.

00:38:51.090 –> 00:39:05.310
Pokin Yeung: There was so much because all of a sudden, like we ended up inheriting a whole division that was bigger than ours, and then we were running all of it, we had to transition offices from San Francisco to Las Vegas we are to move the people who are willing to come and.

00:39:07.200 –> 00:39:15.900
Pokin Yeung: let go of the people who weren’t were to rehire a number of different roles we had to restructure all of their games to work in our platform, so that, instead of declining they could grow again.

00:39:16.170 –> 00:39:27.330
Pokin Yeung: So there was just a ton of crazy stuff we had to take on, meanwhile, like making sure we were still delivering our goals for our our coordination and making sure our team Members still felt like they were important.

00:39:29.340 –> 00:39:34.110
Steve Werner: that’s I mean it’s amazing to me and I want to point out that you didn’t.

00:39:34.530 –> 00:39:44.580
Steve Werner: Nowhere in this conversation, did you say like I thought about quitting I thought about suing for you know breach of contract instead you just figured out how to do it like throughout.

00:39:45.270 –> 00:39:57.090
Steve Werner: I just want to point out, like the the chain of events leading here, not once did you ever say quit not everyone’s did you blame somebody else nowhere in here, did you play a victim role, like you always just said Okay, how do I solve this problem.

00:39:57.450 –> 00:40:05.730
Pokin Yeung: Sure, and that was a nice thing there is that it was our choice like by our contract and terms they couldn’t force us to do it, but we just looked at the.

00:40:06.090 –> 00:40:11.940
Pokin Yeung: The team Members like we did, like some of those men like TEAM members from the other studio we’re in our office.

00:40:12.210 –> 00:40:26.520
Pokin Yeung: And if we didn’t take it on they’d lose their jobs which meant our friends were going to lose their jobs, so it was important for us personally to orchestrate something that could work so once we said, this is what we’re doing like just gotta unblock roadblocks.

00:40:27.600 –> 00:40:31.710
Steve Werner: that’s I mean you found a way and that’s the thing when you look for a way.

00:40:32.370 –> 00:40:40.380
Steve Werner: When you don’t become a victim when you don’t say like this sucks I don’t want to do it, blah blah and said you just say Okay, this is what we want to do, how can we do it.

00:40:40.920 –> 00:40:50.550
Steve Werner: I mean you figured out how to get tablets by going to hackathons you figured out how to start a travel company by volunteering at events i’m.

00:40:52.350 –> 00:40:54.000
Steve Werner: Your journeys go ahead.

00:40:54.660 –> 00:40:59.040
Pokin Yeung: I said, if you change your mindset, instead of like yeah what was me the world sucks it’s more like.

00:41:00.000 –> 00:41:03.510
Pokin Yeung: This is a growth opportunity, what can I do here.

00:41:03.810 –> 00:41:14.160
Pokin Yeung: it’s almost like I think about how it’s in the downturn, that the most successful businesses come up so if you see this as an awesome opportunity for you to get super creative and come up with something you wouldn’t have otherwise.

00:41:14.430 –> 00:41:17.160
Pokin Yeung: I think your mindset being different makes all the difference.

00:41:18.450 –> 00:41:24.540
Steve Werner: I think that is the best takeaway possible from this entire interview, especially.

00:41:25.320 –> 00:41:43.320
Steve Werner: Where we are right now, I mean the end of 2021 coming up we’re going to see some pretty crazy times I think i’m to bring it full circle, though you’ve you exited urine out you guys have successfully had a an awesome exit what’s next.

00:41:44.370 –> 00:41:45.600
Steve Werner: What do you see yourself doing.

00:41:46.350 –> 00:41:52.620
Pokin Yeung: I mean, I like to do something again i’m not sure what yet the one piece of advice I got from a lot of people is like their.

00:41:52.650 –> 00:42:03.150
Pokin Yeung: instinct is to dive right in and just like do something and a lot of people said, give yourself the permission and the time to allow or discover what comes so.

00:42:03.510 –> 00:42:11.310
Pokin Yeung: We didn’t really fully embrace that because our idea of allowing online speed free was to completely get a House so.

00:42:11.820 –> 00:42:22.680
Pokin Yeung: I think that’s taken up our time we’re pretty exhausted from that but i’m looking forward to seeing like because the most successful outcomes from me or unplanned so i’m trying to leave that space open to see what comes out.

00:42:23.550 –> 00:42:29.460
Steve Werner: cool so I want to, I want to ask a few tactical pieces.

00:42:29.970 –> 00:42:36.540
Steve Werner: um a lot of people listening to this, you know they’re entrepreneurs, they might be growing their own business, they might be in a service based business.

00:42:36.810 –> 00:42:47.310
Steve Werner: I want to talk specifically about monetization because I think that that that was the key difference between your first business and your second was that you focused on we need some money coming in.

00:42:48.210 –> 00:42:54.270
Steve Werner: How I mean the Bingo APP made money very quickly correct like within a few days, a few weeks.

00:42:54.360 –> 00:43:00.360
Steve Werner: Or, so what would you tell somebody actually we know somebody very well.

00:43:01.530 –> 00:43:16.170
Steve Werner: Who is to perfection based right has to be perfect, I have to have it all done, I have to bug hunt all day and get it perfect versus I mean honestly I would call you a perfectionist you are you, you have a very high standard.

00:43:16.740 –> 00:43:22.050
Steve Werner: yeah What would you tell somebody that is like okay I left my job six six months ago I left my job.

00:43:22.440 –> 00:43:36.720
Steve Werner: A year ago i’ve been working on this for two years, well, I still do my day job when should somebody launch something to make money and what would be a good process to a minimal viable product.

00:43:37.260 –> 00:43:42.150
Pokin Yeung: I gotta flip that around i’d hope it doesn’t take two years for someone to find out if you’re building a product they want.

00:43:42.450 –> 00:43:49.890
Pokin Yeung: Starting from the moment I have a business concept, like you, I want to start figuring out like either i’m doing something that’s so proven.

00:43:50.130 –> 00:43:56.880
Pokin Yeung: That like if it’s if it’s just another product in the market and you’re just taking a slight angle fine you know build more of it and then launch but.

00:43:57.090 –> 00:44:05.430
Pokin Yeung: Otherwise, like, I would go out and the question is going to be how much, would you pay for this and get a commitment either get like ideally get someone to put a down payment down.

00:44:05.760 –> 00:44:09.090
Pokin Yeung: If it’s a bigger product or say like okay yeah I would sign on for this.

00:44:09.660 –> 00:44:20.100
Pokin Yeung: Child do a two week trial, but at the end of it, I pay, like the sooner, you can get to commitment on something people like I think the better, and I think you can do it without being fully flushed like.

00:44:20.580 –> 00:44:27.900
Pokin Yeung: We we got our first developer of PowerPoint slides like we’ve got our first angel from not much more than that, I think.

00:44:28.110 –> 00:44:35.160
Pokin Yeung: They just need to understand where the vision is you’re not making them like pay up front you’re just saying I would pay for this so someone starting out.

00:44:36.030 –> 00:44:50.040
Pokin Yeung: You can be a perfectionist just make sure that whatever narrow slice you’re choosing do a great job on that, and as soon as possible pulse check that it is what people someone wants doesn’t have to be super broad mass market but someone has to want it to pay you.

00:44:50.610 –> 00:44:54.420
Steve Werner: How would you do, how would you market that like let’s say that it’s um.

00:44:55.770 –> 00:45:03.720
Steve Werner: I mean we could take an APP we could take a simple product like let’s take a 500 or thousand dollar X right i’m working on this.

00:45:03.930 –> 00:45:15.930
Steve Werner: How do I go find people who buy something that’s not done because that’s what I hear that’s what I can hear people yelling like but it’s not done or it’s not good enough like nobody’s going to pay me for it, how do you approach people.

00:45:16.380 –> 00:45:30.480
Steve Werner: um we didn’t even talk about your time in China, but that might be that might be part two, but how would you approach people about getting people to pay, because I feel like that’s where people get hung up right there like but it’s not good enough, I wouldn’t pay for it.

00:45:33.240 –> 00:45:42.630
Pokin Yeung: To be flushed out enough so they can see where the vision is because for sure, like I think about how many people are not able to see a fixer upper house and.

00:45:43.740 –> 00:45:50.880
Pokin Yeung: buy it because they’re like Oh, this is a disaster, but if you showed a render people are often able to understand where the vision is.

00:45:51.120 –> 00:45:58.530
Pokin Yeung: So i’d say like depending on the product like a how close, could you proxy it like you don’t have to build the features for it to give you the experience.

00:45:58.770 –> 00:46:05.040
Pokin Yeung: there’s so many great markup tools that can walk you through a flow if you constrain like an example and demonstrate that.

00:46:05.640 –> 00:46:15.000
Pokin Yeung: You don’t even need to code in order of examples to walk through what the experience might be like so whatever minimum you could build through mockups through just.

00:46:16.230 –> 00:46:27.660
Pokin Yeung: it’s really mockups that that could explain where you’re going I think a lot of times that’s going to be enough to to show people like I think of examples where they say Okay, you know put a landing page on and see how many people sign up.

00:46:28.020 –> 00:46:34.230
Pokin Yeung: it’s not equivalent, I think, almost every business like I heard a podcast about a person who was building a cookie delivery and.

00:46:34.500 –> 00:46:48.600
Pokin Yeung: They just they didn’t even make their own cookies he bought them from costco and he did them up and do that so there’s always a way to be creative to proxy enough to see Okay, if this is a rough thing i’m trying to sell someone interested.

00:46:48.990 –> 00:47:01.650
Steve Werner: Well that’s to your the cookie example is great, I mean if you can sell cookies from like all you’re doing is proving that people will pay you money and they’ll pay you money for a cookie that came from costco that you heat it up imagine what’s going to happen when you get the best.

00:47:02.880 –> 00:47:16.440
Steve Werner: If you can be profitable with a rough draft you’re going to do way better with the finished product, I think it really comes down to just people’s internal dialogue and like having having faith that what they’re doing is good i’m.

00:47:17.040 –> 00:47:29.100
Pokin Yeung: A lot of people, because you have the full view of your product and your weaknesses, so you overestimate how much people will judge you on that most people are lazy they’re boring they’re just not boring they’re bored they’re distracted they’re not.

00:47:29.460 –> 00:47:43.260
Pokin Yeung: they’re not going to nitpick like in the middle of watching some show something comes by like is there enough to pique their interest, like that’s the bar like it’s not like i’m like tear down of your cookie.

00:47:44.790 –> 00:47:54.990
Steve Werner: That is 100% correct, I do think it is important that they actually say they will pay for it, though not just say they have interest because i’ve seen too many people be like oh yeah that’s a really cool idea well that.

00:47:55.320 –> 00:48:03.600
Steve Werner: They could be saying that, because your friend, or because they’re just being friendly they need actually push a button and say they will give you money or give you money.

00:48:04.110 –> 00:48:10.830
Pokin Yeung: yeah price like it’s not like oh y’all pay for that it’s like my prices 999 would you pay 999 or pay 999.

00:48:11.970 –> 00:48:16.830
Pokin Yeung: You can get to actually getting the money and getting the commitment I think it’s the strongest proof there is interest.

00:48:18.030 –> 00:48:26.910
Steve Werner: awesome the other question that i’m going to ask which I think you are very well suited to answer a lot of people stress about hiring their first boy.

00:48:28.770 –> 00:48:33.750
Steve Werner: How, because you found your founder than found another founder through networking.

00:48:34.140 –> 00:48:46.140
Steve Werner: And then, when you guys hired, for we went through how you guys hire and like what you guys look for because I feel like there’s there’s the two ends of the spectrum right there’s the person who says, I only want a unicorn they have to have.

00:48:46.410 –> 00:48:52.260
Steve Werner: This standard and this standard and the standard and Oh, by the way, i’m going to pay 20% less than market for that.

00:48:52.920 –> 00:49:09.660
Steve Werner: or there’s the person who says, I just need somebody to do this, you look good here’s here’s some money fix it, how do you how do you blend that how did you find the right people if you were telling somebody how to hire what would be a framework that you would give them to do that.

00:49:10.770 –> 00:49:17.520
Pokin Yeung: For us, like the mindset and the APP personality is way more important because I think that you can’t train personality.

00:49:18.240 –> 00:49:28.050
Pokin Yeung: Whereas like you could train skills, so I mean, I think you know the story of how we hired our first team Member like because we value like just self starting and.

00:49:28.860 –> 00:49:35.160
Pokin Yeung: Actually out putting versus training like we We took our first interview candidates with us to a startup weekend.

00:49:35.460 –> 00:49:44.790
Pokin Yeung: and saw what they were like under pressure because they set their own priorities and deadlines and the two people we brought with us for the hackathon we ended up hiring is our first two employees so.

00:49:45.720 –> 00:49:53.160
Pokin Yeung: Since then, we try to figure out questions and interviews that could proxy personality so for customer service like.

00:49:53.400 –> 00:50:01.200
Pokin Yeung: You know, we gave them actual questions and saw how they would answer them like were they taking the initiative to research, our site to understand that were they giving.

00:50:01.680 –> 00:50:05.400
Pokin Yeung: Like cookie cutter kind of answers are they taking the time to be empathetic.

00:50:05.730 –> 00:50:16.230
Pokin Yeung: And I think like hiring for personality ended up being more important for us and we try to I don’t think we were ever undercutting everyone like we’d rather you be comfortable you’re not worried about like.

00:50:16.740 –> 00:50:23.850
Pokin Yeung: Are you making enough for your next job like we didn’t want any of that to be factoring in on your day to day ability to be present, while you’re working.

00:50:24.540 –> 00:50:33.750
Steve Werner: I mean that’s you paid your people well you just didn’t you didn’t pay them like you weren’t at the top, you were nowhere near the bottom, you were an average, and I think.

00:50:34.200 –> 00:50:44.040
Steve Werner: If you interviewed people, they would all say, well, I want more money, but if you said, would you rather have more money and have a stressful work environment or have an average income and love going to work.

00:50:44.730 –> 00:50:50.970
Steve Werner: At the end of the day when push comes to shove, people will always take average income, with less pay.

00:50:51.390 –> 00:50:59.910
Pokin Yeung: Like some of our team Members took pay cuts to join us, because we just it’s not that we didn’t want to pay them we just didn’t have the ability to pay the price range they wanted.

00:51:00.390 –> 00:51:15.360
Pokin Yeung: When we were starting out and they just said, like yeah you know I I i’m more interested in working with you guys for for this probably son, where I was before, but it was frustrating to know in any other potential options.

00:51:15.870 –> 00:51:30.240
Steve Werner: awesome well pokemon this has been an amazing journey Thank you so much for your time and for sharing all this with us, if people want to find you reach out to you, where would where do you have them go, would you haven’t got a linkedin when you haven’t go to instagram.

00:51:30.840 –> 00:51:41.160
Pokin Yeung: Oh yeah they can go on linkedin you can find me there i’m happy to answer any questions on my website super advocate but on top leaders of the motivation or go updated so you can find my contact information on there as well.

00:51:42.660 –> 00:51:47.400
Steve Werner: So tell us the last piece that I want to end with tell us about Sunni.

00:51:51.180 –> 00:52:01.530
Pokin Yeung: Sunni is our little business mascot and and the joke is that our mascot funded our business because, like this little mascot had a little bin and every time we had.

00:52:02.160 –> 00:52:16.890
Pokin Yeung: Spare coins or any anything like we throw in the spin and when we started our company like we took the money from there and and put into business, so we started absolute games with 500 bucks and so Sue me was our first investor.

00:52:17.670 –> 00:52:20.970
Steve Werner: So Sue me is do you have so many around you is to me they’re.

00:52:21.750 –> 00:52:23.880
Pokin Yeung: Like it’s in construction zone right now he’s like.

00:52:24.660 –> 00:52:33.690
Steve Werner: So, assuming they have they have a little plush doll named Sue me that was he was the mascot for like the 2012 Olympics, maybe.

00:52:34.320 –> 00:52:35.700
Pokin Yeung: Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

00:52:36.030 –> 00:52:42.630
Steve Werner: There you go, and so they have Sunni Sunni has a blog so he has an instagram sumi has a website.

00:52:42.930 –> 00:52:51.570
Steve Werner: Like if you want to talk to cogan you should go find susie’s website and make some comments, because that’s how you will get the best reaction.

00:52:51.930 –> 00:52:54.900
Steve Werner: Okay Thank you so much for being an amazing guest.

00:52:55.170 –> 00:52:56.310
Pokin Yeung: Thank you so much for having me.

00:52:56.670 –> 00:53:03.240
Steve Werner: No problem my pleasure to everybody else until next time take action change lives and make money we’ll see you soon.


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