Jay Kang founded We the People to help aspiring creators, become creators and retail their products immediately, and securing a sustainable income model for entrepreneurs.
What’s your story?
I am the founder of We the People. When I was younger, I wanted to be a baseball player but unfortunately, I couldn’t achieve my dream. I grew up in Korea and also spent some time in Melbourne Australia in my twenties and early thirties. I worked for College marketing in Australia then went back to Korea and worked at Maekyung.com, which is one of the largest Media group in Korea that specializes in the finance sector before I started We the People.
What excites you most about your industry?
We The People is in a very interesting cross-section. Crowdfunding And Retail. This means we have the capabilities to help aspiring creators, become creators and retail their products immediately. This secures a sustainable income model for these entrepreneurs. It’s amazing to be able to provide that kind of service.
While operating the stores that serve and discovery and sales channels. We host panels and talks to help creators. (https://fcbc.co)
It’s extremely exciting to offer an end-to-end roadmap for creators to become superstars through the channels and opportunities we provide.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Korean, my ties have always been there. I spend a lot of time in Singapore for the most part now since that’s where We The People’s headquarter is.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. It’s the perfect place to test-bed new ideas. It’s culturally diverse and international. It also allows for great opportunities and connections to happen. It has been key to We The People’s growth.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Adversity is like a dog. When you show it fear and panic, the dog takes advantage and will be more wild towards you. But on the other hand, think that the dog is the best friend of people and the faithful” – From my friend when I worried too much about the problem. We face endless problems in life or business. New opportunities arise to the ones who do not succumb to adversity, mentally.
Who inspires you?
Michael Jackson – I can feel the truth in his thoughts and actions. His words were sincere with no exaggeration. He really pushed hard to achieve what we set out to do even though there was so much hurt and negativity. I admired that and it made me want to change. (Pun intended)
There are many inspiring Michael Jackson quotes. I like these quotes below for an entrepreneur like me.
“You can’t do your best when you’re doubting yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”
“Please go for your dreams. Whatever your ideals, you can become whatever you want to become.” – Michal Jackson
“I’m really very self-confident when it comes to my work. When I take on a project, I believe in it 100%. I really put my soul into it. I’d die for it. That’s how I am.” – Michal Jackson
I read many books on success stories in business, most of them only talk about money. The more I read, the more tired I felt about these definitions of success. I didn’t find any books that emphasize how the business could spend their money in more positive ways.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Sometimes there are projects on Kickstarter that just downright confuse you. You’ll look at it and say, no way anyone will get this. Blink your eyes and now it’s raised 1mil with 38392 backers.
This has happened numerous times. The team and I have since learnt to stop judging too quickly. There’s always a market for something. (almost)
(numbers for illustrative purposes)
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d try to be an MLB baseball player.
How do you unwind?
Golf, exercise, and drinks with my colleagues and friends
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Chiangmai, Thailand, It’s a great place for golf and resting the mind.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Strangely enough, I recommend reading books by Douglas Kennedy (Pursuit of Happiness, Big Picture). While it’s kind of unrelated to business, it will expand your mind in different ways. It’s like brain food. Vitamin C (creativity).
Shameless plug for your business:
We The People is a global product accelerator platform that owns a growing chain of physical and online retail stores around the world. These stores only retail products that were made possible with crowdfunding. The stores also serve as the go-to-market discovery for new products and brands.
1: To create creators(startups) by educating them on crowdfunding as a viable method
2: Creating a platform for these startups to find sustainability and growth
3: To be the house name for where ideas go to be executed. “If you have an idea, bring it to We The People, They’ll show you the world.”
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.