Cloudflare TV

Founder Focus

Presented by Jade Wang, Benny Luo
Originally aired on 

Founder Focus is a “Humans of New York” style spotlight on the human stories behind diverse startup founders, their life experiences and perspectives, the origin stories of their startups, and the path they took to where they are today.


Transcript (Beta)

Hi everyone, welcome to another episode of Founder Focus. I'm Jade, your host. I run Cloudflare's startup program and today for our guests we have Benny Luo, founder of NextShark.

Welcome to our show. Thanks for having me, Jade. Thanks for coming on the show.

By the way, Grandma Goes Viral for making super wholesome TikTok cooking videos is definitely the spot of sunlight that I needed in my feed today.

I think we all needed that at some point.

So real quick, could you tell us what your startup does?

Yeah, so we are I would say that we're one of the leading media destinations for Asian Americans.

We've been around for about seven years now.

We're a complete bootstrap company. You know, I consider ourselves more like a small business now instead of like a startup.

We never like taking venture funding or angel funding or anything like that.

I started this company with three thousand dollars of my own money and we just basically grew from myself to now like, you know, we have a pretty good team.

And I would say that most recently we've definitely been in the press a lot for coverage of, I guess, like the rise of, you know, alleged like, you know, hate crime incidences targeting Asian Americans because of the coronavirus epidemic.

And yeah, I've just been doing it ever since. Cool.

So can you tell us a little bit about like the readership of NextShark, like any numbers you can share, like how big, how broad is the readership?

Yeah, so we actually have a pretty good readership.

I think that on the website itself, I think we get between like, you know, five to seven million unique visitors a month on the website itself.

And then on social media, I think in total we have about like one point, I think just under one point five million followers, you know, with all our social media outlets combined.

But we have a very, very high engaging number. So, for example, like, you know, our Instagram itself, we only have like, I think, like just nearly 300,000 followers, but we reach like up to 10 million people a week just on that account alone.

So we have really like, you know, our engagement rate is pretty high up there.

In terms of like our age demographic, definitely skewers on the younger side.

You know, we're looking at really high to the 18 to 34, like demographic, and then the second would be like, you know, 45 plus, and then, and it kind of goes from there.

So we're really, we see like a good followership, especially with like, you know, Gen Z, you know, millennial Asian Americans.

Nice. Could you tell us a little bit about the decision to go bootstrap instead of taking venture funding or anything like that?

Yeah, I think I think that for me, I think long story short, I kind of had like a bad experience, like, you know, through my first startup.

And I, and for me, I've always been kind of the type of where I really like a lot of challenge, I like to challenge myself.

And I also think that, and I enjoy the control and freedom of maybe not having that much resources, but being able to teach myself to be, you know, scrappy, and, you know, try to build something, you know, try to essentially build something from nothing.

And I think that, you know, there's this is no offense to anybody that raises funding, I think that, you know, there's many startups that do require, you know, substantial funding to like, you know, scale as you kind of go along.

But, you know, I think for me, I kind of just I don't like having too many cooks in the kitchen, I guess.

And, and, I guess it's just a challenge for myself to see, like, you know, can I build a good, profitable, you know, startup without raising too much money like a lot of startups do.

So you mentioned 2020 has been kind of an interesting year in terms of the uptick of racial incidents.

What has it been like, I know that you had said that, in interviews elsewhere, that since the end of February, you've been getting 15 to 30 plus news tips per day.

And you have, and everybody's doing double duty to keep up.

Like, what is it? What has that been like, psychologically for the people working?

Oh, man, it's interesting. I mean, I think that for us, you know, reporting on crimes against Asian Americans is something that, you know, we've always kind of had a focus on, just because, you know, it's some of the most like underreported cases, you know, especially in mainstream media, right?

So there was already kind of a need for it. But even back then, like, I would say even a year ago, I mean, we weren't, it's not like we were getting too many news tips on, you know, these alleged incidences.

I mean, we would maybe get around, like, maybe a couple a month, I would say, you know, just a year ago.

And most of these would not be like, you know, super newsworthy for us to even like publish or new number two, like, you know, the alleged victims don't really want to come forward to kind of tell their story.

So it was kind of a lost cause there.

But I would say like, starting like the end of February, we started seeing like a big uptick in that.

And so it was just a very interesting year, because 2019, it was all about like Asian empowerment.

Like, you know, we had we were showcasing like, all the accomplishments of like, you know, Andrew Yang, who got on the map, you know, through his run for presidency, you know, crazy rich Asians, rich Asians, you know, a lot of like, a lot of focus on, you know, Asian Asians in the media and diversity.

And, you know, we were just I think that the community was just really making a lot of strides across so many different industries.

And, and I remember, you know, one of my podcast partners, May Lee, she was talking about, you know, she's a journalist that's been around for the last, you know, 30 plus years, she was the first Korean American news anchor for CNN.

And she talks about how, like, you know, in the past, she's noticed, like, you know, small little blips of, you know, of Asians kind of like, you know, coming together and achieving amazing things.

Like, let's say, like, in the early 90s, you have the Joy Luck Club, right?

Or, you know, going back further, there was like Bruce Lee, but I think that as a community, we haven't really been able to take that and get that and, and really like ride along that trajectory to, to, to, I guess, get more attention and get more representation for our community.

And I would say that it was just so interesting to see like this trajectory going up.

And even like early in early 2020, like we were seeing, you know, Parasite, you know, won so many Academy Awards, like record breaking, right?

You know, it just seemed like we were just on this upward trend.

And suddenly, as this whole thing, Coronavirus epidemic happened, and, you know, racial incidents started increasing, it just noticed, like, it looks like we just kind of took a nosedive, right?

And that's been kind of tough from covering like so many positive, like, you know, achievements to, you know, covering the stuff that we kind of have to cover now.

So so many breaking news stories, like every day now. And, and so there's that there's that side of it.

But obviously, it's affected, you know, our team mentally, too, because it's like, man, like we, it's like every day, there's like a new incident that we have to, you know, verify, take a look at.

And oftentimes, like it takes them reviewing content that's very, that could be traumatizing sometimes, you know, and, and it's hard work.

I mean, I definitely, you know, have so much respect for like, you know, great journalists that are, you know, doing all the research they can and taking time to verify stories.

But I think that we don't really give them enough credit, especially when it comes to reporting on, you know, hard incidences like this, because it involves so many things that could affect you as a person.

So in that vein, I remember this. So there, Hassan Minhaj in his, in his Netflix special told the story of how his, how his father was sweeping up the glass after they had, it was, it was like, right after 9-11.

And they had gotten all these death threatening, like threatening phone calls, and someone knew their address.

And his father was sweeping up the glass. And he told the story where his dad, he quotes his dad as saying, these things happen.

And these things will continue to happen.

And that is the price we pay for being here.

And he talked about his, his reaction and his rejection of that outlook.

Do you see that generational divide in the attitudes of, of Asian American readers across the spectrum?

And what has your experience been like in the generational attitude difference?

That's a very, very, very loaded question. Very good question, actually.

Very good question. I think that it's, it's a hard question to answer.

Because I mean, it's no secret that the Asian American community is pretty fragmented, right?

Like you have like, you have certain ones that kind of came in the in the 80s, and they immigrated here, you know, very, very early on, and a lot, a lot of them kind of fled, you know, you know, really bad experiences or situations in their country for a better life.

And so, you know, my mom was, you know, what they call a freedom swimmer.

I mean, she swam from, you know, mainland China to Hong Kong, you know, as and she came to America as like a refugee, right?

So and so when they came, when they came here, I think that their, their sole focus was just on survival.

And they have that mentality of, you know, survival.

And we all know that those stories, stereotypical stories of our parents, like, Oh, I came here to this country, like $5 in my pocket or something.

And you know, I made it or whatever that may be, right. And then you also have, like, you know, Asian Americans that have been here for a while.

I mean, you know, we, there's Chinese Americans has been here since the, you know, late, late 1980s, going through the Chinese Exclusion Act to Japanese Americans who went through Japanese internment.

And so, you know, they went through really clear, they went through a lot of like historical stuff.

And they know a lot more in terms of American history relative to, I guess, like, Asian Americans in particular, right.

And so there's really a divide, like all around, I mean, you know, with the new generation, with the latest, like immigration, the people who immigrated, and also like the older, older generation, which makes up a very, very few, like, I would say, like, very few minorities that come here.

And so I noticed a lot of those generational differences.

And I think that that, that adds on to, you know, how fragmented our community is.

And, but I but I do think that in times like this, you know, what the silver lining in all of this is, it forces us to really kind of sit down and kind of look at look at each other and be like, Okay, well, how do we really come together?

Because like, obviously, like, there are certain issues that is focused specifically on our community.

And we're not going to be able to solve this until like, you know, we all kind of unify and figure out like, what is the best way to tackle this problem, instead of trying to fight each other or have like, you know, or just like fight each other over different viewpoints, right?

That would that would be what I would say to it. Yeah. And some of those like older generations that will people who had come here generations ago, as opposed to the later waves of immigration, had experienced things like the Chinese Exclusion Act and, and things that were written into law.

I remember reading about Senator Tom Cotton proposing that STEM exchange students be like from China being banned.

And I mean, like, that was basically my parents 30 years ago. And, you know, it's not 1882 anymore.

Like what, what do you think is the probability of a new Chinese Exclusion Act actually being passed into law?

Oh my god, I mean, like, it's I don't really even want to think about it.

And you know, for me, like, I'm not like, you know, that immersed into politics is something that obviously I follow.

And obviously, something that's really relevant. So obviously, I've been paying attention to it more often.

The author, I mean, I don't know, I mean, I would say that, you know, back in 1882, like there weren't as many Chinese Americans.

And obviously, you know, this was before the civil rights era, this is before, you know, all the all these like changes that has occurred, I would hope that, you know, we will at least learn from history.

And frankly, there's like way more of us now than ever.

And you know, even not just like Asian Americans, but minorities in general, right?

I feel like, you know, there's a lot more of us nowadays.

And I think that we know right now to collectively, you know, know that, you know, strength in numbers type of thing.

And, and I think that personally, for me, I just can't see, you know, something like a new Chinese exclusion act, like being good for the long term for any minority.

I mean, if I was a different minority group, I'd be like, you know, this sets a weird precedent for, you know, the future, right?

Because it's, it's, I don't think it's, I don't think it really becomes a question of like, oh, excluding Chinese people, it become it becomes a question of excluding, you know, just minority groups, you know, any group based on the based on national origin.

Exactly. I mean, you know, I mean, I feel like it's, it's been it's, in some cases, I mean, we like to, you know, take certain incidents and incidences.

And, you know, especially with the rhetoric, some of our political leaders are saying, it's like, you know, we're scapegoating a lot of these people, right?

And we're not really focused on, you know, what the main issue is, you know, and we got to just solve the heart of the problem at hand, right.

And I think everything else is just kind of frivolous to me, I believe.

Yeah. Um, let's see, let's shine the spotlight more on, let's bring the spotlight on to you personally.

So you had, you had started a few startups before NextChart. Can you tell us a little bit about that, about those and your overall trajectory to where you are today?

Yeah, I mean, I think that I really, frankly, really only had like two startups that, you know, really gained some traction.

I mean, the first one was NextChart and another one was New Media Rockstars.

And so, you know, I've always, um, it's weird.

I mean, I think that I've had a lot of failed projects before this.

I mean, whether it's trying to start an e-commerce site to, you know, to starting different blogs or anything like that.

I mean, none of that ever really saw the light of day, I would say.

And so I would say that my focus in terms of building startup has been very, very organic.

I mean, you know, even with NextChart, for instance, I mean, let's say specifically that, you know, we didn't start off as an Asian American site.

I mean, before we actually started off as a site on business and success for millennials.

And so, uh, you know, for me, NextChart, the name chart comes from, you know, me, I used to play a lot of online poker, so a shark comes from being a poker shark, and then buys next generation.

And that was kind of the idea.

And, uh, and it was pretty good. I mean, um, I, I ran it for about like, you know, two years and then about like, you know, sometime in 2016, I just noticed that a lot of our Asian centric content was doing well.

Um, typically when we feature like an Asian phase, like an Asian business owner or technology in Asia, I mean, we saw like a big uptick in that.

And it seemed like, you know, for some reason, our demographic really liked seeing like successful Asians or something and be able to kind of talk about it.

And so I'm not exactly sure it's because maybe I'm Asian, and I shared a lot of my content through, uh, you know, my own social media and, and people like, you know, would share a lot of it.

And so we started to slightly pivot a little bit and try to focus more on the Asian market.

And, uh, and Asian faces.

And I would say like, uh, six months down the line, like we started growing like a really good, uh, demographic of Asian-Americans.

You hit your product market fit.

I know. Right. Exactly. And it's interesting because like, and it wasn't like something where like, Oh my God, like, you know, this is where it's at.

So I got to do more of this. I mean, I've always had like a passion for, you know, Asian American culture, Asian, uh, and, you know, Asian American identity.

I mean, even though I grew up in a very diverse place in San Francisco, um, you know, I, I was bullied for, you know, uh, for the color of my skin.

I, I went through so many racist incidences, uh, you know, when I, when, when I, even as young as when I was 11, you know?

And, um, so I went through that whole like Asian pride phase.

Um, I had a blog with, uh, that I started with two of my friends back in college called the other Asians where we interviewed, uh, you know, influential Asian-Americans and non -stereotypical careers.

And that was just like a fun project that we were doing just to kind of give back to the community in some ways.

Right. And so me being able to kind of like, uh, you know, build something that that's sustainable.

Um, and while reporting on things that, that I'm passionate in, like that's kind of just like a dream come true for me.

Right. So, but back to the story, I mean, in 2016, uh, you know, six months down the line, that's when the, uh, Olympics happened.

Right. And we started getting DMs and messages from our audience saying, Hey, like you guys should cover more, uh, you know, Asians in sports.

I mean, we don't really get too much recognition and the Olympics are happening.

So you guys should look into that. We were a little bit hesitant at first because we felt that it was dissuading from our original vision, but overall, uh, I think that we decided to just give it a shot.

I mean, just because we were getting so many requests for it and our coverage like did really, really well.

I mean, you know, a lot of people are very interested in things happening.

I mean, even something as small as a small report on Vietnam winning the first Olympic gold medal.

I mean, because we had such a strong Asian-American following at that point, um, you know, that, that article itself, I think it got like, you know, a quarter million hits and like, you know, under, uh, 24 hours.

And just because like, you know, they're so proud and people are really proud of, you know, seeing, you know, people in their, in their motherland, uh, do really well.


And, um, and then six months after that, um, I think this was in 2016. I don't know if you remember the whole Dr.

Dao situation happened where Vietnamese American doctor was forcibly dragged off.

Oh yeah. Yeah. He paid for, but was overbooked.

But then, you know, I guess he was forcibly dragged off and then, you know, his, his face was bloody and stuff like that.

And, uh, we got a lot of messages for us to, you know, cover that and to, you know, and they started talking about giving me statistics and saying like, you know, crimes against Asian -Americans are some of the most underreported.

You guys should definitely look into this.

We're hesitant at first, but we, again, yet again, we decided to, you know, try to, you know, uh, do it and see what, and do it, do it and cover this and see if there's interest in something like this.

And, you know, from then on another six months, like we became one of the leading sites for, uh, Asian -Americans.

And so I always say that it's very organic. I mean, I wouldn't say that I'm like this genius that like, oh my God, I know how to, I know how to scale and build startups as it goes.

I mean, I'm not really, I don't consider myself. It's your willingness to experiment that really led to all of that.

Yeah. I think, I think willingness to experiment and willingness to listen.

I mean, I've, I've never taken, I think that there's a lot of rhetoric that I noticed.

And again, I'm not saying I'm not generalizing and saying all founders and CEOs are like this, but I feel like, you know, with some of the advice that I was getting, I just felt a little bit in a sense where I always have to come from almost like a position of like an, of an authority or something, right.

Just because I'm a CEO, just because I'm a founder.

But you know, the reality is I'm just as inexperienced as everyone else.

I just made the decision to, you know, to want to explore something like this.

And, um, and I don't, I don't ever claim that I'm perfect or that I do everything correctly and that I'm an expert at this or that all I can say is like, you know, this is something that I like doing.

And I'm always like looking every day to see how I can better improve and how I can better improve the product as I, as I go along.

And that's really just my only agenda. And I think that in terms of long-term there's, there's a lot of things, things that I look at.

I mean, I look at, um, there, there's different things.

I mean, I think that a lot of like startups who always look at what the exit is.

Right. And I think that's a lot of reason why I didn't really think about taking funding because I feel that like, you're kind of pressured a little bit from that point on be like, Oh, in three to five years, like what's your exit strategy.

Right. And you know, for me, I kind of like where I am.

I mean, I I'm not like insanely wealthy, but I like the fact that I have control.

I like the fact that, you know, I run a really, really dedicated team and, and I really want to focus on taking care of my, my team members.

Um, I think that there's a lack of, uh, I think that back then, like, I don't know if it's in the old days or something.

I felt that, you know, there was a lot more trust that, you know, workers that from workers that the company would hopefully take care of them down the line.

Right. But nowadays, especially in this pandemic, we noticed that it's almost like every person for themselves.

It's like, it's like, you know, people will be giving so much money in years to a company, but then, you know, something happens and all of a sudden, like, you know, they get laid off or they lose their jobs.

And for me, like, I want to build something that hopefully, you know, I'm not going to say no, I'm not, I'm going to heavily consider if somebody wants to come and purchase it for like a ridiculous amount of money, I'll consider it as long as it benefits the people under me.

But I think that, you know, long-term I can build something sustainable and, and people feel that this is, this is a company that they can work for for the long term.

And they feel that, you know, if they go to bat for us, we're going to go to bat for them, you know, that that's kind of the dream for me.

Right. And that's really all I can really say about that.

Yeah. Well, so, I mean, one thing that I'm gathering is like, you had your willingness to experiment really played into the pivotal moments in which you, you were able to build more of the, more of the audience and gear your content towards what the audience wants.

Have, have you ever, like, were there, how, what percentage of the experiments worked out, right?

Did you try things that didn't quite work out?

Can you tell us about those? Oh, man, that's a good question. I mean, I think that there's so many that I really can't think of any.

I mean, it's just been, you know, sometimes it'll be technical experiments, right?

I mean, you know, we'll do, we'll doing some, well, let's say, I don't know, we'll infinite scroll, like help with our bounce rate.

Well, this or that happened. Right. And, you know, it's it did in some cases.

Yeah. I think, I think, I think it did. And so we recently turned back on infinite scroll because it looks like, you know, it looks like whenever, and we also optimize our page recently too, to make it load flat faster.

And actually we have cloud, Cloudflare actually to thank for that, because like, you know, I remember our developers, like, yeah, we got to use Cloudflare.

You know, their, their technology is great.

It's solid. And we're able to, and it's going to, it's going to help the load time or a page a lot more.

And I remember the day when it worked, it was like, Oh, I remember we started comparing things and you know, and then like, you know, with the Google grade and ping them, he's like, okay, this is what cloud for this is what not.

And I'm like, Oh my God, we got to switch ASAP.

You know, that's funny. I mean, by the way, anybody watching a cloud floor did not pay me to say that actually, but it was a good, it was a good leading question to get there.

And it is true. So I think that, yeah, it's a, we do definitely have a lot of things to Cloudflare for, you know, for how they've helped optimize our site greatly, but you know, we're always experimenting.

I mean, every day, every day, we're always thinking about doing, you know, doing new things.

And, and I think that, and one thing I want to say is that, you know, as, as not only a media company that is, you know, publishing content every day and, you know, and the startup too, I mean, you know, if you're not dropping the ball every day in some way, I don't think like, you know, you're really, you know, thinking deeply enough about like, how do you scale your company as much as you can.

And, you know, for me, I'm always thinking that, and, you know, and I, I dropped the ball every day.

It's just, it's just the way it's just the way it is. And I think that it's only a matter of whether at your core, you're willing to, you know, continue getting better and at what you're, what you're not as good at and, you know, listening to feedback from people as much as you can, right.

Bite off more than you can chew.

Yeah, I guess so. I mean, but chew slowly, I guess. Let's, let's, let's say that.

It's what the elders always say.

Exactly. Right. Don't talk with your mouth full. Right.

So if you, if you were placed in a sort of time-lapsed Zoom call with yourself from 2016, what would you say?

And what, like, what kind of conversation would you have with your past self?

I think that I would say that I tend to be, and I still am, I tend to, you know, worry about a lot of things.

And I think to worry, I, I, I feel like I find a lot of things to worry about all the time.

And, and I think that a lot of us, you know, do that at some level, you know, and maybe it's an Asian, maybe it's an Asian thing.

But, but. Worrying keeps you alive. Yeah, I think worry keeps you alive.

Exactly. But for me, like, I'm con, I mean, I don't, I think I, I, I'm healthily worry a lot more than I, than I frankly should.


So, I guess like, in 2016, I'll just be like, man, just, just, just calm down and just relax and just like, let life, you know, let life take you, take you along the way.

I think that a lot of our times is that we try so hard to, you know, plan ahead.

And we try so hard to like, what if this, this and that. And the reality is when you look at the grand scheme of things, and when you really look at it from a bird's eye view, life is very, very short.

Right. And, and as you get older, like if you, you, that, that window starts, you start to feel that window kind of going slower.

And it's interesting because it's like, when you're young, you're like, oh, I'm invincible.

I'm going to live forever. I mean, a hundred years old sound like such a far, far, 80 years old or 90 or a hundred.

It seems like so far away, but like, you know, now like I'm 32 now I'm like, oh, wow.

Like another 30 years, I'm going to be 60, another 30 years, I'm going to be 90.

That's that's, that's pretty, that's pretty crazy. And so I think that, you know, I think that people in general, and I think for me, what I would tell myself is just, you know, take time to smell the flowers a little bit and take time to kind of enjoy what you have accomplished.

I mean, it's, it's, it's definitely one thing to have goals and kind of move forward, but it's good to also, you know, see where you came from.

I mean, for me, even though I worry a lot, but you know, about little things or there are certain setbacks that happen, but I always remind myself, I look back when, you know, the times when I, my, my mattress, I mean, my bed was still a mattress on the floor or something like that.

Right. Or when I didn't, when I was trying to make rent or when I was trying to, you know, or my, when my credit score was like at 500, because, you know, I wasn't dead or whatever that is.

Right. It's like, you know, you think about those times and you look at, you know, where you came from today and you're like, wow, if I can go through all that, I think that, you know, I, you know, I can go through whatever, you know, it is that, that comes tackle to me in the future.

Right. So that's kind of how I look at it.

Yeah. Speaking of smelling the flowers along the way do you have any recommendations of like books or films or anything that you've really enjoyed lately?

Any pop culture, personal enjoyment recommendations? Hmm. That's a good question.

I mean, I think that, you know, or a video game. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think that for me, like I, I, I went through a really long period of like, especially in my twenties where like, I have to be productive all the time.

I have to do this.

I have to do that. Right. But lately I'm trying to explore more about my hobbies again.

I feel like, you know, in this crazy world we live in, we always have to be in this position of productivity.

Right. You know, you watch a movie, it's, it's a, it's a waste of time.

You got to deliver. Right. I think I've been kind of explore more hobbies a little bit.

You know, I played, I sometimes I play video games.

I play counter-strike sometimes I'm horrible at it, but like, you know, I'll, I'll play, I'll play sometimes.

And, um, another time, um, you know, I've been watching Netflix a little bit.

I recently finished the Indian matchmaker, uh, like, uh, series.

It's, I don't know. I don't usually watch like reality shows like that for, for some reason, that was really interesting to me.

I thought, what is it about?

It's just, it's just basically about, it dives into like, you know, the, the culture of like, you know, arranged marriages and Indian culture and, um, and you know, the process of it.

And it kind of goes between like the old traditional people, old traditions, uh, of like, you know, where like, oh, like both families are involved and they, and they meet together to like, you know, to Americans and the new generation, you know, where it's a little bit more like casual and stuff.

And I really appreciated it because it showcased both sides.

It showcased like the different nuances in terms of culture where, you know, how traditional Indian families function to like, you know, going through.

And it just seemed like a wholesome, I don't know. It just, it was a wholesome reality show for me because like, there was actually a lot of cool, you know, scenes in there and, you know, it looks like the people in there genuinely wanted to help, you know, you know, the people that kind of participated in it, you know, whether it's through life coaches, whether it's through different experts and everything like that.

And so we're watching that a lot. Uh, what else have I been watching?

I've been diving into anime a lot recently. So I I'm re I'm like decades behind this, but I started watching one piece.

I don't know. I haven't seen it.

Yeah. So I, I've been watching one piece. I'm in like an episode, I think I'm in episode like one 50 or something, but there's like, I heard like, there's like almost a thousand episodes or something or whatever.

So I have like a long way to go.

I mean, uh, I mean, I, I like to consume random types of content.

I mean, I, I, I listen, you know, even music. I mean, I listened to so many different things.

I could go from pop to, to Asian pop, to country music, to classical, to, you know, like just, just so many different things.

And so any K pop late lately?

You know, it's funny. I, uh, it's, it's really, really funny. So I was at, I was, I was waiting for Boba the other, I think a few months ago, this is before the whole pandemic happened.

Right. And I was waiting in line to get Boba and then a song came on and it was, I think it was like, it sounded like a K-pop song to me.

So I, I did, uh, I recorded a Shazam that, Hey, this is a cool song. And then it was a BTS song.

Right. And so I was like, Hey, like, I'm not a fan of K-pop, but you know, I, I liked the song at beats, you know, it looks like the songs by BTS and I really liked them as Shazam did.

And then I got like, and it went viral.

So I got like a, but then I got, I also got a flood of comments going, Hey, BTS is not K-pop.

They are, they transcend beyond K-pop. Do not label them as K-pop. So I'm like, Oh, okay.

I got it. Okay. So I understand now. Pretty interesting. Um, I, I did a project on, you know, on K-pop in 2011.

I was, uh, I was one of the social media strategists for a K-pop concert back, back in 2011 in Vegas.

And so we worked with billboard Korea and MGM on it.

And so it was really cool to kind of meet some stars back then it was like TVXQ.

Like I met like, you know, Gina Choi, who else did I meet?

Like shiny, uh, brown eyed girls. Um, there was like some, there was like a good amount.

It was, it was just really cool because like, I didn't know any of these people, so I wasn't really starstruck, but like, I was literally just, you know, I, I saw these people every day during rehearsal and, and everything.

And so it was really interesting to see like, you know, them asking like just normal people, but then the moment they step out, like all of a sudden, like all these fans are just like all over them.

Like it was really, really insane.

Yeah. But it was cool. It was really cool to see all that. Yeah. Cool. Uh, well in our last minute remaining, uh, anything you want to share with the audience generally?

Um, not really too much. I mean, I'm, I mean, I want to thank you guys and Cloudflare for, you know, having me on.

Um, thank you for coming on the show.

Yeah. Thank you so much. Um, you know, I definitely, you know, love the services that you guys provide and I hope to continue, you know, having a long-term relationship with you guys.

Cool. And, uh, and thank you for sharing your stories. Yeah.

Thank you. Yes. Yeah. I mean, I'm always happy to. Cool. And, uh, for anyone who's just popping in now, uh, next shark.

Yeah. Oh, next shark. Oh yeah. So do you want me to talk about what next shark is again?

Or, uh, Oh, and we're wrapped up. Oh, okay.

All right. All right. And, uh, that concludes our episode.

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Founder Focus
Founder Focus is a “Humans of New York” style spotlight on the human stories behind diverse startup founders, their life experiences and perspectives, the origin stories of their startups, and the path they took to where they are today.
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