Our mobile phones have become an extension of ourselves. We rely on them heavily for communication, information, entertainment, shopping, and many more. We access these functions through mobile apps. Brian Wong is the owner and CEO of Kiip, a mobile advertising network that gets advertisers to connect with the people who want to buy from them. By creating an in-app rewards platform
s that provides consumers with tangible rewards, it gives them a more enjoyable and fulfilling mobile experience. Sarah Kunst is the Founder and CEO of ProDay.co which features a mobile app containing various training routines led by athletes and fitness celebrities where an individual can choose a routine they like and train like a pro anytime, anywhere. Kiip and ProDay are two phenomenal mobile apps that make products and services easily accessible for consumers.
We’ve got two of our guests from the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. To make that list, you have to do some pretty amazing stuff. These two entrepreneurs have created app programs that have made them highly successful, and they’re going to share with you what they did, what they wish they didn’t do, what they could’ve done differently, and things to help you consider if you wanted to go in the route that they want. We have Brian Wong and Sarah Kunst, who are both bright young individuals. For how young they are, it’s amazing what they’ve accomplished, and this isn’t even their first job where they’ve been successful. There’s a lot to be learned from the show.
Listen to the podcast here:
Optimize Advertising Through Mobile Apps with Brian Wong
We have quite an interesting guest. His name is Brian Wong. He received his high school diploma at the age of fourteen and a Bachelor’s degree from University of British Columbia at the age of eighteen. His most recent venture, Kiip, made him one of the youngest internet entrepreneurs to raise venture capital and raised over $32 million in funding to date. He has been recognized by Forbes as one of the four hot online ad companies to put on your watch list named on the Dow Jones, Fast Tech 50, and listed at on Fast Company’s most innovative companies. Brian’s first book, The Cheat Code, includes 71 bite-sized and virtually effortless shortcuts to get a leg up on the competition, garner attention for creative thinkers and their ideas, and to accelerate success. Welcome, Brian.
Thanks for having me on.
I got to see you speak in Coronado at the Forbes event, and I was very impressed with you. They invited a few of the Forbes 30 Under 30 individuals to speak there. I’m curious how you got connected to Forbes.
I was on one of the earlier list, so the program has evolved a ton, and that has become more competitive. I snuck in there in the early days when it was as competitive, and I got the gaming list, and then the marketing and advertising list two years after that. Once you get inducted in the community, Forbes does a great job at keeping everyone close and then hosting events that they can be a part of. There are also events that are more based on a certain track, like marketing and advertising, where their Marketing and Advertising 30 Under 30 can speak at, so it’s a great deal for everyone involved.
I’ve been fortunate to meet quite a few on the list and interviewed a few. You’re all are so amazing at what you’ve been able to accomplish at such a young age. How were you able to graduate at such a young age? In the nature versus nurture discussion, do you think you were born with it?
I don’t necessarily see from raw intellect that I’m any more than the average person. One thing that did happen in my nurture was that my parents threw me into a very busy schedule all the time. They had me involved in every activity you can think of from hockey to swimming and basketball. Then I would have speech, arts and drama and then I’ll have piano. That might be in one day. What happened was because I had such a packed schedule, I got used to a higher tempo of things. Most people, when they meet me, they think I’m high paced. They think I’m intense. They think there’s so many things going on, but for me that became very normal. That’s certainly one aspect of it as well.
I’d also say that I was involved in this notion of serendipity, which is a big core theme in my life. What I mean by serendipity in my context is more around either the opportunities that I got presented in and the fact that I didn’t take my time to grab them. In most school systems around the world, there are opportunities to skip ahead but you’ve got to find it. It’s not something that they advertise. It’s something that you have to dig into. In Vancouver, the program involved you taking a government psychologist-sponsored IQ tests. If you pass a certain IQ level, they would verify that you could skip. You and I both know that IQ tests are not necessarily the best measure of intelligence, but it was the best model that they had at that moment. It was more designed for what they call gifted children. The interesting thing is the programs for gifted children were funded by the special needs budget, so I was technically categorized as special needs growing up.
You certainly have done well and it’s pretty impressive. I’d like to ask you about Kiip. Why is it named that? Can you explain the background behind that?
We couldn’t afford a keep, and since we’re in the business of advertising and rewards, we like a single syllable word like keep. You’ve got to keep the reward. It keeps something physical or real versus in most advertising and there isn’t necessarily something there for you to keep. We taglines like, “Keep it up, keep it real. It’s a keeper, keepsake.”
How does Kiip work?
In a nutshell, it’s a reward system for mobile apps. It’s carrying the brand with a hyper contextual environment where there isn’t just a yelling factor; it’s a value exchange. That’s essentially how the idea was born. We didn’t create our own app, we created a system that would integrate into apps that already were popular. We have, as part of our team, groups of folks that go after app developers to put the technology in there, so that to the consumer, it’s seamless. They don’t have to do anything extra. They just have to do what they’re doing already. It was all about tapping into existing patterns of behavior.
I’m curious if you see yourself as a serial entrepreneur. Do you see this spinning off into something else or is this going to be your lifelong dream?
It’s hard to tell. As a prolific thinker, most people will have lots of ideas or would want to pursue different things. I have been doing this for six years. I think of it as the longest job of my life, and it is quite a tenure even for someone as millennial like myself. I am happy that I’m still having tons of fun. I wouldn’t necessarily think of myself as a serial. I would think of myself as creating something that has a vehicle that enables me to have different interests. For example, I can use Kiip to apply to other areas like education and healthcare. Imagine rewards being used to make learning more fun or to make taking pills and doing tests, something that you’re more gamified to do more regularly. These are all areas that naturally happen, and so it’s a matter of making sure we don’t lose focus but still have areas that I can have fun as a playground and be able to grow the company at the same time.
How would you reward people for education? Do you have something in mind? Can you paint a picture of that?
There are different apps these days that have modernized certain fields of education, whether it be like language learning, you have Duolingo. They make it fun. It’s the simplest game mechanics. You finish the first lesson and here’s your badge, “You’re faster than 80% of the people that take this class.” If I’m learning more and it’s about a specific language and I’m potentially wanting to visit that country where the language is from, why wouldn’t Expedia want to reward me after I’ve made more progress in the language? It makes perfect sense and it’s exciting to people. These are ideas that we have, “Why not that? I would love that and that.” Expedia would pay for that too. It’s such an interesting mix.
I’m fascinated in the future of education because I’ve taught online courses for over a decade and I’ve seen such a change in what students want. Do you foresee that it’s going to be more bits and pieces of content that they want as compared to degrees or complete courses?
It’s a very big question here around the future of education. There’s a lot of talk around these bite-sized things. It’s tough because when we went through university, there’s this propensity to have these thousand-page textbooks and there’s still value in deep learning. What needs to happen is a modern liberal arts education mixed with a vocational skill education, and especially in technology. I’m talking teaching people how to code, teaching people to design, teaching people how to do things that are related to this modern world that we’re in, but mixed with this liberal arts dynamic, which has been proven as a successful model for however many years it’s been around. This, to me, is hard to mimic on an app environment and so that’s why it’s tough.
It’s hard for me to see where this is going, but I do know that changes are needed. If you think about it, even the fact that I hacked my way around it, the number of years that that will take for some to complete their education. It’s funny that we still think it’s the same amount of years for every single person on the planet. You finished your K to 12 and then you go to university, that’s generally how it works around the world. Unlike with technology, it’s so rampant. Why are we creating the same learning plan for everyone? Why can’t there be AI-generated learning programs based on people’s propensities in certain cognitive alignment that you see through early testing and in gradual testing? Even changing the format of how things are tested in the first place. There are so many changes that are needed, but whoever ends up doing those are obviously going to be very successful person. There are a lot of companies attempting to change education for sure.
If you hire someone for Kiip, what do you look for in their background and their education? Do you require a degree? What are you looking for in potential employees?
It’s all based on culture fit and passion, and then the skills that you need. We also find that base level skills for certain jobs are very easily taught. It’s the soft skills. Do you not take ‘no’ for an answer? Do you get obsessed about project? I love obsession. One of the things that I look for is obsession. Do people have in their past a propensity to be obsessed about something? It could be literally anything. It could be rock collecting, I don’t care. It shows that you can go deep into something. People who are uninterested in everything and not interested in anything, it makes it very hard for them to put that extra effort that you need to make something truly excellent. Those are the true artisan in any craft. Even in sales, you might want someone who is obsessed with following up, who’s obsessed with cold calling. These are things that you always look for.
The second major thing that I look for is a person who is a good teacher. If you think about someone who’s got that quality, good teachers are selfless, they are good at explaining things. Simply, they are willing to share. That are the key characteristics that you want an employee to have.
You hear so many people are hired for their knowledge and fired for their behavior. I wanted to ask you a little bit about your book. Can you give me the title?
It’s called The Cheat Code, and it’s not saying you should cheat through life, it is a nod towards the cheat codes that we use in games to get ahead. It’s saying that they’re cheat codes for real life. You can get ahead in real life in new ways that are a lot more effortless than you would think. This is effortless, and there’s reminding that there’s still a lot of hard work. There are no cheat codes to replace hard work, but there are cheat codes to help you work smarter. That’s what we’re trying to share.
There are two big things that we try to explain. The first is there’s tons of mental barrier that you put up that prevents you from being successful. They’re mostly things that you make up yourself. The second is that things take less time because of the technology. If you can properly leverage technology, timelines can be shifted immensely. People forget that timelines are not the same way it used to be, even simple things like becoming an executive in a company. It used to take decades because of hierarchy, because of access to knowledge, because of privilege, but now, it’s anything that you can push ahead and create initiatives.
One of my good friends became the Chief Next Generation Officer at Bacardi. She’s probably under 30, or early 30s. She’s extremely young, but she became that because she proposed to the CEO of Bacardi that they create a millennial training program called Rising Stars. She created an entire program, identified all these rising stars, and proved as a theory that if you bring top performing millennial employees together, you actually lower a turn, and you actually increase employee happiness and loyalty. She’s been able to prove this because what she did was she created a little mafia of the top performing folks that would eventually become leaders in the company. If they all know each other, they usually stay at a company because of each other and not for the company itself. She didn’t wait to get promoted. She did what she did and then naturally, she was rewarded for it.
How do you keep them from becoming PayPal mafia where they spin off and go to be serial entrepreneurs?
Sometimes you can’t, and that’s a good thing because with the PayPal mafia, we have many things that we cannot give up. That’s definitely something that’s hard to say because even some Kiip employees that have gone off and done amazing things, too and I’m very proud of them. I tell people that, “When you do go and do something else, make sure it’s something ridiculously awesome because it’s a step up from what you were doing at Kiip. I’m going to get sad inside. I want you to go and use Kiip as a leap to help you get ahead in your career.” At the end of the day, that’s what we all want. If I have been able to provide that opportunity for you through this company as a vehicle, then I’m happy about that.
A lot of the CMOs were echoing those same sentiments at the Forbes Summit. They didn’t look at the millennials leaving as bad. They left the door open for them to come back and they looked at it as a growing opportunity. They were more open to looking at mistakes as not huge failures, but ways to learn. Are you seeing that your generation looks at things differently than the boomers in that respect?
Failure in any situation is never good, but what they mean is the ability to take important lessons that are learned from those failures and quickly act on them. If you fail when you build train tracks, people die. When you create the wrong color of a button in your interface, no one died, it’s just you lost a couple of percentage points in your AB Testing. There are these different risk profiles. In the scenario of the lower risk profile, you have what we have today, which is this ability to learn, to openly talk about it, and then not be ridiculed or be afraid to talk about it. It’s because of the sharing and this rapid iteration environment, you have a lot more that comes from it.
I see a lot of so many successful people that are your age, a little older, and it’s amazing to me what they have for opportunities. If you could go back before you reach the success that you have now and give yourself a tip, what would you tell yourself? What would you tell yourself to avoid or to do that would make it better?
Chill out a bit more. Know that things will work out. Stop worrying about things you don’t have power over. I became a bit of a worry wart. I’m not saying it’s my parents fault, they have a tendency to do that, but because they cared about me a lot. I would say, “Mental energy allocation is extremely important.” Where do you put your time and energy to stress over something? It’s more worth it when it’s on something that actually has an impact, unlike something you can’t control. It’s basic stuff, but it happens a lot when you’re younger because you don’t know what to worry about and you tend to be concerned about everything.
I find this interesting when I see people stressing so heavily over getting a job out of college. Even those who haven’t gotten a job yet are even more freaking out because everyone’s already gotten their offers. “I am a complete failure.”In what world is you not having a job when everyone else had a job means that you fail? That means that you haven’t found the right one. There are millions of job opportunities around the globe and you don’t have to look in the US. Forget about the visa thing first. Find the right place to work. If you are the perfect fit for a job, they would be idiots not to hire you, and make it work. There’s some geopolitical issues that may prevent you from working in certain countries, but most of the time, you can work pretty much anywhere in the world you want. It’s quite an amazing thing.
If you had 60 seconds to get in front of an audience filled with leaders and potential leaders, what advice would you give them to be successful?
It’s to generate serendipity. It’s to put yourself in situations where your skills are the most aligned for success, so finding the right environment. You can’t judge a fish by how well it climbs a tree. It is around finding the environment where you can be successful, and that’s why I moved to San Francisco because my nerdy tendencies would never have gotten me people understanding what I was trying to do in the tech world in Vancouver, which was predominantly a natural resource economy and that was going to be a big problem. That’s my advice to them.
I want you to give the audience a little bit of information about how they can reach you and what your contact information is.
Brian@keep.me is my email. My Twitter is @Brian_Wong. My Instagram is @BrianWong.
You have such an interesting story and I appreciate having you on the show. I hope that you’ll come back and join me again on a future show.
Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Working Out Alongside Pro-Athletes On Your Mobile with Sarah Kunst
I have a very interesting guest with us here today. I have met her before, and I’ve seen her speak. She’s amazing. Her name is Sarah Kunst. She’s the founder and CEO of Proday. Kunst is an investor and entrepreneur who’s worked at Apple, Red Bull, Chanel, and several other venture back startups. She’s also a contributing editor at Marie Claire Magazine, and has hosted a podcast for Forbes. Her philanthropic interests include Venture for America and the US State Department’s Tech Women’s program.
Kunts has been named Forbes magazine 30 Under 30, which is quite impressive, and named Top 25 Innovator in Tech by Cool Hunting. She has been recognized for her work in Business Insider as 30 Under 30 Women in Tech and Top African American in Tech and Top Startup to watch in 2017. Marie Claire Magazine named her A Young Gun to Watch. She’s written for TechCrunch, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Entrepreneur.com. Marc Andreessen named her one of the 55 Unknown Rockstars in tech. Welcome to the show. How are you?
I’m great. Thank you so much for having me.
I enjoy interviewing a lot of the 30 Under 30 people that I’ve met. I’ve interviewed some of them and you are so fascinating to me what you’ve been able to accomplish at such a young age. I was hoping you would share a little bit about your background because now that you have made it to be such a success, a lot of people think maybe you had it easy growing up. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the reality of where you came from and how you made this all by yourself?
I’m from a very small town in Michigan, 300 people in the middle of a corn field. My first few jobs were on a farm, and so it’s a little bit different than a lot of the people that you see that make it big in the tech world who maybe came from that world. I grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State University, and then I moved to New York after I graduated. Very quickly, it became clear that a corporate path was not what I was passionate about, and I was spending all my time online reading about startups and wanted to join one. I managed to get a job as the first business employee at a small media startup. Since then I’ve been a workaholic, doing as much work as I can for myself and the company I worked for and helping out investors and founders of other companies in learning and doing everything I can. It’s exciting to feel like it’s starting to pay off.
You had mentioned how you learn things by reading. You pretty much self-taught yourself. Is that what you recommend for people? If they don’t have the education and the background, can they be self-taught?
I had a great degree in advertising from Michigan State University. I was a senior in college when the iPhone came out. There’s only so much you can learn when you’re in school, especially in technology, so many things haven’t been created yet. For me, I read all the time. Before I had an iPhone, I would be the person who always had five magazines and a book and their bag. Even now, I’m always reading. It’s such an effective way to learn things. You’re never going to know everything in the world, and the more time you spend amassing knowledge about topics you’re interested in, you never know exactly when that’s going to be useful, but it will be. It’s going to give you a broader worldview. You’re going to have more success in business and in relationships with people because you have more to talk about. You have more to offer if you know more.
I read everything from classic works of literature to daily newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal, to celebrity gossip on Twitter, and that huge range has been hugely informative. Once I care about a particular topic, I really dive in. Whenever I want to learn about something, I’ll start at the Wikipedia page. It can be super random, but spending twenty minutes on a Wikipedia page can help you say, “Is this thing that I’m hearing in the news or is this thing that I’m accepting as conventional wisdom true at all? Should I go do my own research?” I’m always on the side of doing your research. I’ve done a lot of research to create Proday.
Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I started Proday because I have a background in media. I was in women’s media primarily, and I was so passionate about working out, and I would go on Instagram. I was traveling a lot and I didn’t have time to find a personal trainer so I would go on Instagram a lot and find professional athletes and see what they were doing when they post pictures of them and training. I realized that what I wanted to do is to have one place I could go and dig in and say, “I’m going to learn everything that these athletes are doing, and I want them to essentially train me.”
I didn’t have the time or the money to be able to hire a professional athlete to train people, so we started Proday, the app, to let people into the world of professional athletes. What they’re doing off the field, right in what they’re eating, how they’re working out, how they’re sleeping. Since then, we’ve also expanded a lot into everything else about their lives. What they do for fun, where they vacation. Lately, it’s been a lot about what political causes they’re involved in. It’s been so fascinating because what we found out once we started working with athletes on fitness is that there’s so many things that athletes do that you don’t hear about because when you’re watching the game on TV, they’re only talking about how many points they scored.
You are in an industry that’s not female-dominated. How difficult was it to get into that?
It’s been interesting because I started my career in fragrance and beauty. I started my career in this space where even the men’s products are purchased primarily by women. We would work in offices of all women and it was great, it was fun, but when I need to switch to tech, I had no idea that I was going from offices that were typically 80% to 90% female, to offices that were probably 90% to 100% male. I learned that quickly in technology. I was a venture capital investor for a while, and that’s another industry where it is over 90% men who are investors to the point where I had partners at my own fund asked me if I was the new secretary. It’s interesting and very frustrating at times.
With this company, I decided to go into sports. I find sports out of tech and investing to be the most welcoming to women. One, they’re very consumer-facing. Sports teams and leagues and athletes, they are all consumer-facing and they know that if they behave badly, it’s going to get out. They do think that helps keep them honest in a way that a couple of guys in a room with a startup don’t necessarily have to be, although there was some backlash from that. That being said, I do have a knack for finding the most male dominated industry and then saying, “How do I get into other things that are even more male dominated?”
Did you look at getting attention through Shark Tank or any of the other means?
I’ve had some of those people reach out and to me. It’s a great opportunity. Like everything, it’s always timing. It has been very fortunate to be able to have a lot of opportunities. When I look at something like that, I have to sit down with my team and talk to advisors and investors and say, “Here’s a cool opportunity that I can possibly pursue, but then what else do I have to give up?” The hardest thing when you’re running a startup is acknowledging that you’re always giving something up and for everything that you’re able to do, there’s something else that you’re missing out. Once you accept that, it becomes a little bit easier, but you always wonder every time you decide to do x and not y, “Is this the right decision? Is it going to come back to haunt me?” Right now, it’s staying focused on building the product and making sure that any other decisions we make, no matter how exciting and awesome and cool they would be, are the best thing for the company.
Do you foresee other apps, or do you want to become a serial entrepreneur? What was the future for this?
Proday is going to be huge and it’s so exciting. We are having some exciting talks with different big national media brands and with big name investors, and there’s a lot of interest and excitement about what we’re doing. We’re doing sports media in a different way. We’re bringing athletes to you the same way that the celebrities have become part of our lives. Many of us know more than we care to admit about Angelina Jolie, or Jennifer Aniston or Miley Cyrus, and then you look at an athlete’s jersey, whose name you’re wearing on your back every week, and who you’re paying tons of money to see when you go to their games, and you’re passionate about them and love them, and you root for them from college to professional and even into retirement. You realize, “I don’t know if they’ve kids. I don’t know how they work out either.” You realize you don’t know anything about these people that you have a genuine years-long connection to until we bridge that gap and make it easier.
How did you find the athletes? Was it hard to connect with them?
The funny thing about athletes is that unlike other industries, they are everywhere. If you want to find a plastic surgeon, you need to go connect with a top residency program in plastic surgery. With athletes, there professional teams all across the country. Pennsylvania has two professional football teams. In a state that state, that’s about a tenth the size of California. It was very all over the place. I went to Michigan State University, which has a tremendous athletic program, and that’s been helpful connecting with people. The LA Dodgers were investors early on, which has certainly opened a lot of doors.
A lot of it is putting myself out there and reaching out to agents and players and having conversations with them and letting them know that I value them as people, not just as athletes. That’s made a huge difference because a lot of times, we talk about them like they’re a piece of machinery and not like they’re a real person. When somebody gets an injury and it is season ending or career, it’s not just the team won’t win a championship, that person’s life is now maybe forever altered. We focus on the human side, and that’s so different from what everybody else has done and athletes have responded so well.
Are there certain sports that you focus in on specifically?
What we do is telling the stories of athletes, not just sports. There are sports that have a lot of attention that we do focus on, like basketball or baseball or football, but there are also the awesome stories from every sport. Chloe Kim is an American snowboarder and she’s sixteen years old. She’s considered one of the best snowboarders in the world. She’s an inspiring Korean-American girl, and we’re able to tell her story right and certainly the stories of people like I’m Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles from the US Olympic Gymnastics Team. They just resonate and they’re interesting people. It’s very cool to be able to tell some of those stories that do get lost when you are a sports media company that makes most of their money from broadcasting basketball games or football games and you can’t focus as much on these other stories.
You mentioned Marie Claire and how you made these transitions is interesting to me. You’ve written for quite a few places. What things do you write about?
I write about a broad range of things. One thing I write a lot is about diversity in technology and investing. That is something that I write about a lot because fortunately, not very many people who work in technology or who are CEOs or are on boards of tech companies or any company really look like me. As a black woman, it’s important to talk about that and talk about my experiences and also let other people know who maybe look at the founders of all the hot tech companies and feel like they can never do that because they don’t look like them. You really can, and you definitely can. It has nothing to do with being a white guy in a hoodie. It’s all about your brain power and how you approach problem solving and building something the world needs.
You have been an inspiration for a lot of people and I know that you’ve done a lot of philanthropic work. Are you looking to do more? What would you tell people that are looking to do more of that? How do you get involved in finding the right match?
There’s a lot of interest and energy around helping out in the US and around politics, specifically. There are two important things you should do if you’re at all interested in that space. One, register to vote and make sure that other people are, which seems so obvious, but I was reading some stories from the recent Women’s March in Washington DC that there were certain cities where 20% of the people that are protesting, and marching hadn’t voted even though they were eligible. You see where that energy redirected and could be useful. Register to vote and make sure that other people you know are registered to vote.
The other thing is find a political candidate that you support and that you like and then donate to them. A lot of times, we think that there’s too much money in politics, but until that changes, under funding the candidates you like is probably not a great strategy. You have to accept the reality of the situation and think about ways to help the people that you do support and that you do like. Beyond that, one thing that we often forget about is helping locally. A lot of times before the election, there’s a lot of focus on helping internationally. Now, there’s a lot of focus on helping at the national level. There are homeless shelters and public schools and nursing homes in your town, no matter how small your town is. Go look on Yelp, or go look up in the phone book where the nearest one is and call them and say, “Here’s what I have to offer, how can I help?” It might be that you don’t have time, but you can donate money or you don’t have money and you can donate time.
I was going to get rid of some things a couple of weeks ago and I called a local shelter and said, “Can I drop stuff off?” They said, “Absolutely.” Instead of calling the local recycling company, I was able to give directly to these women a bunch of clothes that I didn’t need anymore. We can all do that. We can all organize something on Facebook and collect clothes from five or ten friends and go drop it off and it would go homeless shelter that says that they’re in need of it. Finding local and small ways to help matters so much more than we realize to these organizations that often are running on incredibly small budget. Find things that you care about at the national and international level and become a patron, even if it’s only a couple dollars a month, it makes the difference.
What advice you would give yourself if you could go back before it became successful at all this? What would you tell yourself to avoid any pitfalls or would you change anything that you’ve done?
One thing that young people coming right out of college don’t understand is the reality of money. For me, I had multiple full ride college scholarship offers, but they weren’t at schools that I was super excited about, not for any reason. It turns out $40,000 in student’s loans later, there’s a huge difference. Conversations like that, to start talking to young people in your life at an early age, middle school, about the reason why you need to work extra hard to get an A instead of a B is that people with higher grade point averages are going to be able to go to college for free. Then in college, think about your major.
After college when you’re looking at jobs, if you need money or you might need money in the future, think about taking a job that pays a lot for a couple of years. It can be hard because you might get a job offer that for something that you love to do where you’re only going to make $25,000 to $40,000 a year or a job offer that sounds boring at a consulting firm or at Google or that’s going to pay you $100,000 a year and you might think, “Whatever, I can live on $30,000 a year.” Your future self is going to look back and think, “That would have paid off my student loans and that would have been a down payment on a house or allowed me to start a company.” You have to do a great job of teaching young people to follow their passion, but in that we’ve completely forgotten to remind them that they need to be able to pay for it.
If you had 60 seconds in front of a group of leaders right now and you wanted to give them advice to be successful, would you add anything to what you said?
For young people, it’s important to think about how your future is. Compounding interest matters a lot in savings or spending. The other thing is just to learn a lot. Nobody’s an expert in everything and there are always new things coming out, new technologies, new circumstances. The only thing you can do is be an expert on what’s happened in the past and what’s happening now. That’s the only way to prepare for the future.
A lot of people want to know how to reach you. Can you share that information with everybody?
The best way to reach me is on Twitter. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can go on Twitter and look up my name, Sarah Kunst. I’m super responsive on there, and that is by far the best way to reach me. I check that more than my email.
Everybody’s got their preferred platform and it’s great to be able to know where to find everybody. I appreciate all the information you gave us and I hope that someday we’ll get you back on the show. It’s so nice to have you on the show today.
Thank you so much. It was so great to talk with you.
I have to thank Sarah and also Brian because they both were amazing. Everything they had to offer for a potential leaders or people that are interested to become entrepreneurs. They had wonderful advice and they both are inspirational to all generations.
About Sarah Kunst
Sarah Kunst is founder and CEO of Proday.co. Kunst an investor and entrepreneur who has worked at Apple, Red Bull, Chanel, Mohr Davidow Ventures and several venture backed startups. She is also a contributing editor at Marie Claire Magazine and hosted a podcast for Forbes. Her philanthropic interests include Venture for America and The US State Department’s Tech Women program. Kunst has been named a Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 and named a top 25 innovator in tech by Cool Hunting. She has been recognized for her work in Business Insider as a 30 under 30 Woman in Tech and Top African-American in Tech & Top Startup To Watch in 2017 and Marie Claire Magazine named her a Young Gun to watch. She has written for Techcrunch, Forbes, Wall St. Journal, Fortune and Entrepreneur.com. Marc Andreessen named her one of his 55 Unknown Rock Stars in Tech.
About Brian Wong
Brian Wong received his high school diploma at the age of 14 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia at the age of 18. His most recent ventures, Kiip, KIIP pronounced KEEP, made him one of the youngest internet entrepreneurs to raise venture capital and has raised over $32 million in funding to date. He has been recognized by Forbes as one of the “4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List,” named on the Dow Jones “FasTech50” and listed on Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies.” Brian’s first book, The Cheat Code includes 71 bitesized and virtually effortless shortcuts to get a leg up on the competition, garner attention for creative thinkers and their ideas, and to accelerate success.