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📅 6 Month Recap: Everything We've Learned

October 6, 2022


📢 Announcements

We’re hosting our first-ever meetup on October 12th for NYC Tech Week! 🥳

This will be a 20-30 person limited capacity event in NYC for Asian founders and creators in an intimate setting. The purpose of the event is to make high quality connections and build meaningful, lasting relationships. If you’re a founder or creator and interested in attending, feel free to sign up using this event link.

Huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors Moonshot Commons, Apollo ID, Seek AI, and Listen. We’ll be hosting plenty more events like this in the future, so if you’re interested in partnering with us, feel free to send an email to!


😎 Opportunities

Otto is hiring! They’re a scrappy team building your pet’s wellness team, providing 24/7 support from vets, trainers, and behavior specialists, having raised $1.6M with a founding team of Gen Z teens 🚀

Competitive pay, generous equity, and an amazing career growth opportunity. Oh, and they’ll also get you a pet.

They’re looking for rockstar full stack engineers who: ❤️ working across the JS stack 🚀 believe in a tight-knit, scrappy culture 🙌 care for organization and accountability If interested, apply here 🐶


Lunar Accel is a premier 100% volunteer-run career accelerator for young Asian American professionals. Apply HERE by October 9th to reserve your spot for EXCLUSIVE access to conversations with Asian American CEOs, founders, and mentors with 4+ years of experience. Their Winter 2022 flagship program in NYC runs Oct. 29 - Nov 11 and features an incredible lineup.


📝 Letter from the Editor

Dear readers,

Hey everyone, it’s Jessica. For the past six months, I’ve been interviewing Gen Z founders and creators to share their stories, challenges, and advice with all of you. Each of these conversations has given me (and hopefully you) fresh perspectives to grow both personally and professionally. As a brief update, I lived in two hacker houses this summer (shoutout to Nexus House and Otto!) and will be hosting our first in-person event next week. Instead of this week’s regular coverage, I wanted to reflect on everything I’ve learned from this journey before starting my full-time job tomorrow. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and for the people I’ve met – I could not have done this without all of you. So here we go!

1. People succeed not because they’re smart, but because they execute. In the beginning, I thought every interviewee would have some sort of “it” factor, an irreplicable quality driving their success. Turns out, they’re all normal people. It shouldn’t have been a surprise – the most common thing people gave as their “best piece of advice” during these interviews was to just start. No waiting until you’re “less busy” (because trust me, you’ll only get busier), or until you’ve learned XYZ. The best way to learn is to do it. The “it” factor is simply having the guts to try.

2. Personal growth cannot be achieved passively. I used to think that maturity would come with age, but what I’ve realized is that it actually comes with experience. I feel like I’ve grown more over the past 6 months than during last 4 years of undergrad. To further illustrate, I’ve met 18-year-old founders with more perspective and conviction in their life than many working professionals. This is because when you’re working on something you own, you’re faced with the interpersonal conflicts that come with it and are forced to think for yourself: Is what I’m doing worth all these sacrifices? How do I navigate this team conflict? Is now the time to pivot? Do I drop out? You learn to face rejection. You get better at calling out bullshit. You also get better at processing things, forming opinions, and learning to differentiate your own voice. You learn to filter out the noise. Most founders I know journal. Many of them go to therapy. They put thoughts and feelings into words and gain clarity through it. Personal growth happens when you face challenges and reflect on them to determine who you want to be moving forward.

3. Avoid keeping friends of convenience; surround yourself with people whose values you align with. Living at a hacker house this summer was the first time I was surrounded with a community of such entrepreneurial-minded people. People who operate with purpose, live with intention, and value creating something meaningful at scale. The Penn community valued stability and optionality, but what I experienced there was just the opposite. When I realized that there was a group of people whom I truly resonated with, it made other conversations pale in comparison. The conversations I had centered around personal growth, made you really think or question things, and helped to develop more nuanced perspectives. They were constructive, rather than a way to pass the time. I could share my aspirations without holding back, and for the first time, actually feel heard. After realizing the difference, I’m much more conscious with how I spend my time. I set aside alone time to work on things that matters to me, and avoid spending time with others for the sake of company.

My residence during August in SF :)

4. Seek fulfillment, not pleasure. Many people seek out pleasure under the impression that it will fulfill them or make them happy, but chances are, it won’t. Here’s the difference: Fulfillment is sustained. Pleasure is transitory. It’s very hard work to start anything new. Also, statistically speaking, the expected return on investment is negative (at least for startups). But people choose to take on these risks and make sacrifices because these experiences provide the opportunity to learn and grow – which can become a source of fulfillment in itself. Pleasure, on the other hand, is a temporary state of being. It’s vacations. Happy hours. Parties. It’s normal to find joy in these parts of life, but these feelings are fleeting. Unless this is part of developing relationships you value, you’ll be spending time on things that disappear, when you could be making progress towards something that lasts. Working on this newsletter, pulling late nights, there were times I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” Most seniors were taking it easy and having fun during their last semester of college. But more often than not, I had a reason that I was happy with. I felt content. I felt fulfilled. I was internalizing the lessons of people who inspire me, and inspiring others in return.

tl;dr 1. People succeed not because they’re smart, but because they execute. 2. Personal growth cannot be achieved passively – it’s only done through the active pursuit of challenges and reflection. 3. Avoid keeping friends of convenience; surround yourself with people whose values you align with. 4. Seek fulfillment, not pleasure. And that’s the end of the round up! I cannot be more grateful to the founders and creators who have shared their journeys, thoughts, and revelations through our newsletter. As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week!

— Jessica Shen

✌️ That’s it until next time!

Thanks for reading this special edition of Asian Founder! If you have any thoughts or responses to these reflections, feel free to share them with me by responding to this email or Twitter @jessicatshen :)

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