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Jackson Aw on Solo Founders, Pop Culture Leadership & Fatherhood Stories

· Show Notes,Singapore,Founder

My passion is in building brands and businesses. I love playing business simulation games, city builders as well. I really liked how everything forms together to create that vision of what that city could be.

- Jackson Aw

Jackson Aw is a 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 honouree and Founder & CEO of Singapore-based Mighty Jaxx, a technology-driven integrated future culture platform that designs and manufactures collectibles and lifestyle products in partnership with the greatest talents in the world as well as global brands such as Hasbro, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Toei Animation, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Looney Tunes and more.

Besides empowering future culture brands with the end-to-end supply chain of collectibles, Mighty Jaxx also manages a large scale, proprietary IP operation that delivers global consumer access via new retail technologies.

Jackson has grown Mighty Jaxx from a S$20,000 startup into the multi-million dollar company it is today, and the company now ships millions of products yearly to collectors in over 60 countries with diverse offerings in collectibles, gaming, lifestyle and fashion.

Outside of work, Jackson is passionate about giving back to the next generation of youths and creatives. An alumnus of Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic, Jackson & Mighty Jaxx has jointly developed a scholarship program with the school beginning in 2020, to nurture innovation and co-creation with the next generation of creatives. In addition, Jackson is an active youth mentor with REACH Community Services where he shares his experiences on self-development and knowledge acquisition. Lastly, Mighty Jaxx is also developing a sustainable line of kitchenware for the visually impaired that will directly benefit those in need, and welfare groups as well. 
 

Jeremy Au: [00:00:00] Hey, Jackson. Good to have you on board.

Jackson Aw: [00:00:03] Hey, thanks for having me here, Jeremy.

Jeremy Au: [00:00:05] Yeah. I mean, it's just amazing to see what you've managed to build in the pop culture space. I'm so excited to share your journey, and your experience, and your thoughts on this space.

Jackson Aw: [00:00:17] Yeah. Happy to share.

Jeremy Au: [00:00:19] It's interesting because we have both been on the Forbes 30 under 30, a whole list of random X, 2020 X, and all these things. Obviously, you're a scary person, Jackson. Because everyone's like, "Who is this man, the myth, the legend?" Right? So tell me, how would you actually introduce yourself and what's been your journey?

Jackson Aw: [00:00:42] Well, I'm scary because mostly of the beard, right? But how would I describe myself? That's interesting. I'm someone who's intrigued by building a business or building a brand and that term is entrepreneur, right? But I tend to lean towards passions that I love. It could be cameras at one point of my life. It could be art. Right now, it's definitely collectibles, pop culture. I like to think that as I move along in my life, I'm able to have accumulatively this knowledge that I have, and apply and create something with whatever passion that I have next.

Jeremy Au: [00:01:19] How would you articulate your journey from day one, whichever day one is, all the way to the person you are today?

Jackson Aw: [00:01:26] I don't think we have three hours, but I'll condense it. I think it was in Polytechnic, I think I was about 17, 18 or so, that I started to have a seed idea, right? That, hey, I'm trying to get into, I come from digital media background. I build websites, interactive games and stuff like that. I thought, "Okay, now I want to go into this industry, these advertising agencies, that's the go-to place for creatives like me." I thought, "Okay, can I get into Ogilvy? Can I get into Saatchi & Saatchi and stuff like that?" Then I thought, "I want to go into a workplace that I can wear shorts." That was, I mean, my street credit just went down, but that's basically how it happened. I want to go into work with shorts any time that I want. I thought very long and creating my own business, it seems reasonable.

That idea upon graduation begin to take form. I did a lot of photography and I started to follow professionals, how do I run my own sole proprietorship and be a photographer? But then I realized I'm trading my time for money, which is something that I don't really want to do. It's not very scaleable. Of course, when I was that young, I don't really have these terms entrepreneurship, scalability and stuff. All I thought was very basic and very logical, I don't want to keep trading my time for money. Then I thought, "Okay, then I need to create a structure that allows me to go beyond." That structure is in the form of products, coming from photography, then I went into selling the camera brands itself, so cameras itself. So that was how it all started.

Jeremy Au: [00:03:05] How did you go from cameras to where you are today in pop culture?

Jackson Aw: [00:03:10] So with cameras, that was I guess, the first taste of entrepreneurship. Everything you're going to do yourself pretty much, right? I started a brand called Red Army Camera and it caught the attention of some partners that eventually went to a partnership with me. We began importing these vintage 1980s cameras from Russia, our point person in Ukraine actually found a factory that's abandoned and he bought the deadstock inventory from that factory and ship it over to Singapore.

So it's quite a operation of contents, and we did really well. But that was my first days of partnership, right? I went through a lot at first, when I tried to sell this product to a chain store. So back then it was a chain bookstore called Page One in Singapore. They sell all kinds of art books and art materials. They asked me like, "What is your shipping terms, your FOB, your product packaging?" I'm like, "What the hell you're talking about?" I just totally couldn't get it. I began to read up on it. How do we actually present ourselves as a professional company, or at least try to be?

Through that experience with my partnership, I realized that it's not easy too, because you can manage the product, you can manage the process, but it's the people that is the key piece to the puzzle. Because along the way, our objectives and perspective change. At the end of the day, I have to leave that company, which was very painful because it was the first real company that I have and it was doing decent amount for a 20-year-old NS boy. It was hard, I'm not afraid to say I cried and it was very, very painful. Through that, I began to pack up my stuff into my box and bring back home. I realized I have a shit ton of toys.

So, because I love all these artists that created these figurines, I began to collect them. From $10 item, I began to collect $50, $200, essentially all my salary and money is going to the toys. And it was during a time where I was watching a lot of, what do you call those, How It's Made videos on YouTube? Like how do you make hotdogs, how do you make nuggets, I love it. It's very fascinating because I think growing up in Singapore, it's almost like a bubble of sorts, I'm not really exposed to manufacturing, like how products are made.

So I thought, "Okay, I used the rest of my dollars that I have, on a single flight to China, Guangzhou and went on Alibaba and find these couple of factories that manufacture toys, combining my passions together, and figure out really how it's made. So I spend a month in Shenzhen. This is not like the huge towers and beautiful luxury brands Shenzhen, right? This is like three hours out in a village somewhere randomly, and going to toilet there's a hole on the floor, right? Yeah, that was it. It blew my mind, what can I say? But it was at a point of time that I realized I was nothing but a drop in the ocean, and just conversing with the Chinese partners and subsequently down the line, I met a couple of Chinese investors in Shanghai as well.

I thought that, "Wow, it's a different type of hunger," and I respect that a lot. I felt that no amount of education in Singapore, journey that I had been through in Singapore, could prepare me for that. It is something that's totally out of my comfort zone. Then I came back, I think, very inspired to create something, creating something tangible, and went on to develop the first collectible with my friend, his name is CLOGTWO. Because if I were to draw the figurine, I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't sell. So I wanted to get someone who's really good at it, and that was that, that was how Mighty Jaxx was created.

Jeremy Au: [00:06:40] What an amazing journey. I just love what you've just shared, not just the stages, but also the moments in between, right? Which is something that sometimes gets left out in a 500-word article like, "Bam, these are the amazing things you've done." It's just a bunch of brand names, right? But I love the fact that you shared about your experiences and what you learned along the way.

Let's dive into that a little bit more. I mean I think one of the things that often people ask is, what do I do if the in-between moment, between my first project, my first venture, it normally doesn't go well, right? Because the first time is your first time, you don't know how to do it. So I'm just kind of curious, what's that moment when you're packing up your things and starting to think about buying the ticket, watching these videos. What was your mindset during that time? Was it positive, was it rough and you would do things differently now? How was that mindset like?

Jackson Aw: [00:07:30] That's a great question. I think I approach it very differently now. I think when we look back on it in retrospect, whether it's good or bad, it's just a journey or a end result that happened. We can't say for sure, the impact down your journey. At that point of time, I got to admit it was probably the worst thing that I ever felt. I feel like I'm robbed of everything that I've created, monetarily, and also emotionally. Because sometimes perspective just change and the other partner or your thoughts are just not right. That wasn't the case from the start, right? From the start obviously everyone says like, "Okay, let's do this." But then you realize you can't control that.

It's part and parcel of your journey individually and at the point in time, I think I was too young to really understand that idea that this is normal, there's no good or bad, it's just regular. I took it quite hard because at least for a week I'd been eating ice cream, at least and watching tons of YouTube, which was why I got stuck with How It's Made. But when I look at the everyday life that I have now for the past two years, disappointments like that, on the surface when it's supposedly negative, have some way of finding itself back down the road. You begin to realize, oh, it's actually an open-ended question, there is no real absolute. It is just something that isn't quite right now, but doesn't rule out what's to come in the next five years or how your life would pan out, right?

I see a lot of this, circles, I call it, like these patterns. Initially bad and then two years down the road, you rekindled and something happened, it goes on for the better. Not to say that you would go on better for the rest of your life, but it's just that cycle. I learned to appreciate it and not have a knee-jerk effect to everything that happened, and on the surface is positive or negative. I think that's too much, that's like stock market, that's like bitcoin.

Jeremy Au: [00:09:24] I think that's so true, right? Which is when we are young and often externally, for example, with junior teammates, the room is suddenly very hot. Then the weather was very cold, then everybody's very cold, you follow the mood, right? Then as leaders, we had to be like thermostats, which is no matter how bad or how good we always have that dial set to the equilibrium we want, right? Like something bad happened, okay, how do we look at it? Something good happened, okay, let's enjoy it, but also not get sucked up into it. I always tell people, it's like somehow you ended up being very Zen, very Buddhist all of a sudden in this new journey.

Jackson Aw: [00:09:59] That's exactly it, because in the beginning, all right, disappointments are disappointing, sure you get sad, but every win, right? It's like, yes, pop something very exciting, but now my face is just like, okay, yeah. So how can we make sure it's sustainable and how can we ring fence it? You're right because your emotion become quite balanced almost. But it's a double edge because people are very excited, right? But we know that, yeah, yeah, we can't go all the way on that spectrum. We got to balance out.

 Jeremy Au: [00:10:34] Yeah I know, exactly. It's interesting because you enjoy it just as much as everyone. It's just that you also notice that your path, right? Like this win does not mean 2021 is a good year. It's just a moment in time and it's so true. You talk about it a little bit as well, which is this at Mighty Jaxx. You've grown it from a solo founder all the way to over 70 people, right? So this is also probably the largest group of people that you actually ever manage.

So I guess, how would you share that journey? What's the difference between leading as a solo founder versus leading a small team of people, your first employees to leading 70 people? How would you chart the evolution of what your leadership style has to be? What differences you've had to make?

Jackson Aw: [00:11:18] Yeah. That's often quite a challenging part because the dynamics are totally different in these two groups, right? When we started out, and you made your first few hires, I think it's almost like a final year project of sorts because you are in the trenches. I'm talking about deep trenches, like literally you're everything, you got to handle. Everyone's looking for you for an answer to things. I think that sort of makes you need to sprint a little bit quicker. Having foresight and vision is one thing but the ability to execute on knowing how else you could execute to the best of it, doesn't have to be entirely you. I think you got to be a bit smarter about delegation. I learned that very early on that delegation is probably one of the best skills that I have picked up.

The assignment of ownership from you as a solo founder, which your brand is an extension of, that transfer of ownership is equally key as well, towards the later stage. So in the beginning, it's really family-based. By family, I mean that your relationships are really like family, but the problem with that comes with family mindsets, not literally, but you get that kind of mindset. When you go to 10, 15, 20, and realized that as a solo founder, you just can't have that amount of time or face time with each of them. Then that's when I say the company takes on, it evolves like Pokemon to the next stage. And evolve in a way that is really good for the company, but it's not that great for you personally, but it is a journey that you must go through.

It's quite painful to be frank because with a team of five, as opposed to a team of 15, I think people feel like they don't really have that initial feeling anymore. The founder is drifting away, and you don't have that much face time . Maybe the direction of company also have to pivot a little bit, but you don't quite understand why. That leads to people being more disillusioned and also you have a new wave of people coming in and out at that juncture.

Of course, you also have people who stay throughout, which we do have a few, maybe about three or so. Those are people that believe in you, possibly much more so than they believe in the company. And that's the truth, because no one knows where the company can go. It has not manifest yet, but they believe in you as a person that we are able to guide them through this journey, and that we will make decisions in a most objective manner as much as possible.

So that trust is forged during the early days. Now when you have a team of 70, that's never going to happen again. Possibly, if it becomes a 500 people, 1000 people company possibly yes these 70 people can be that pioneer part of things. But where I'm at right now, those journey that I have with those three people, it will never happen again. I think that creates a very high amount of mutual respect between each of us.

This is not the end because when it iterate into 200 people, 300 people, whatever it is, you will have these waves of people in and out over the next couple of years. I think sometimes it's very hard for a founder to accept that, it is very painful. It's very painful when you know that you need better people, you need more experienced people even, and you know you must make that swap, and that tough decision makes you a leader.

Jeremy Au: [00:14:31] Yeah. That's so true. Going to my second business, I was like something that I already knew, like you would hang out these great people that, like exactly what you said about family, right? Just sit down, tell myself like, "This is not family." We want to live and die by whether we're going to turn a profit, whether we're going to grow. So we have this deep comradeship, like army days, right? Like in a brother, sister in the trenches, like you said.

At the same point of time, you also have that higher responsibility where you're going to evolve and make sure that there's food on the table, for everybody, right? Because as we're here, but we're also here for the food for the table. Like you said, everybody has a choice to be in or out. Each time around, the early people who made a choice on you, you have this very deep loyalty. I still have this very deep loyalty to them because I'm like, "Oh my God," in retrospect, you're totally stupid to trust in me in the early days because there was nothing to trust in, right?

I mean, there's no revenue, no big brand, no awards, you know what I'm saying, right? It's just like they say like, "Oh Jeremy/Jackson, I trust in you as a person, therefore I'm going to sign up with you, even if there's no one else." You stick to yourself, and you meet other people who are founding something for the first time and they want you to join for example, right? You're like, oh, maybe you're the first person in. It's an interesting thing that you really appreciate when you see how rare actually it is for people to make the bet on the person, rather than the stars, the brands, or the symbols.

Jackson Aw: [00:15:54] Yeah. That's true, that's true. It's almost like adventure as well, right? Because they're also taking a leap of faith on the founder and what he built.

Jeremy Au: [00:16:03] Yeah. It's definitely a big transition for lots of people. I'm curious, you shared a little bit about, obviously some of the evolution, so how do you change? I mean, how do you stay on top of the changes as the company continues to grow? Is it like, I'm just throwing it out there, right? Reading or feedback review, how do you keep changing and keep improving yourself?

Jackson Aw: [00:16:26] Yeah. There's an intangible and tangible part to it, right? Because I think on one hand you can read everything and get educated on things. I think that's granted as a founder, that's your role. For me, whether it is master classes or speaking with other founders, because I'm a solo founder and it gets lonely quite a fair bit.

So when I speak with other founders, I realized that, oh my God, I'm not crazy. It's like these are actual challenges that other founders face as well. We don't really have to reinvent the wheel, we just need to have a Founders Anonymous or something like that, sort of Aunt Agony a little bit. I think that helped a lot because these founders came from different levels, right? You have 800 people, you have 50 people, and stuff like that. So that really helps to give an idea of what's to come and what are the challenges that you should focus on. But end of the day you have no dime. End of the day, this is something that you materialize, but you have not executed. So in truth, you are at the front line as much as all the other team members are. Especially your C level and all that. That's as far as you have been.

But yet again, everyone's still looking at you for the direction. In the beginning, I think after maybe 20 other people I always told them, "Look guys, I need to lean on you guys' help and get this together and visualize it a little bit, because this is as far as I've been. But I have no idea how it would end up to be." But at this moment with the team right now, I don't say that at all, because I realized that the vision is crafted by myself. The hot skills can be propped up by the people that we hire.

I really appreciate that a lot because if I were to do it myself, there's no way. So then my vision, it's inspired by people like Virgin, like Richard Branson. I always identify with his story a lot because his business took on different iteration. It's quite diverse and how a brand name can be so diverse. I realized that he always leans on his North Star, which is a single liner of what Virgin is, to be outrageous, to be against the norm. He applies that throughout the different categories that he's in. I like that a lot because I resonate heavily with a very strong well-built brand that at the base is profitable. So I want to build that kind of business.

Jeremy Au: [00:18:53] What would you say your North Star is or what it could be?

Jackson Aw: [00:18:57] My passion is in building brands and businesses. I love playing business simulation games, city builders as well. I really liked how everything forms together to create that vision of what that city could be. What could compliment it is my current passion. So pop culture is one of those. That's something that I feel really I'm into for the last decade with art as well.

I collect art myself and combining my passion for building business with that medium, with that content, which art, is something that I love. So I imagine that I will always have that business component, brand building component alongside my other passion that is, and recently it's food too. So I've been trying to go into that F&B part of things, talking to a couple of people who are in it. So I don't have a fix, I don't like to pigeonhole it, as to what I can do.

I think of it as life because each part of your journey, you have a different experience, you want different things. So I think a business is like that, it's why you should grow organically instead of, "Hey, grocery delivery is hot now, so let's do that." It's not so much of transporting or anything like that, because I think that when it comes out from you and it's a real emotion and a real connection, it can go very, very far.

Jeremy Au: [00:20:17] Amazing. What's interesting as well about the company that you've grown from zero to hero, is it seems to have your name in it, Mighty Jaxx. How do you feel about that? Do you feel like that was intentional? Was it someone that you started out with? How does it feel like to have embed to some extent your name inside the company?

Jackson Aw: [00:20:37] I think I've been debating with it, for most recently, because we are undergoing a full rebranding with our branding partner. That came up and a part of me sort of regret it because at the point of time when I thought of Mighty Jaxx, I was going through a phase of empowerment because of what happened during the camera part of things. I wanted Mighty to empower the brand. Whether you like us or not, you're still going to call us Mighty.

Jaxx was just, I guess, a random suggestion from a friend. I guess I wanted it to come out on Google as a unique form, so J-A-X-X, and that work very well, right? But when we can look at where the company is going and how Jaxx could be formed part of it, but we begin to realize that Jaxx is just a module of Mighty. Can we have the Mighty brand be the all encompassing vision of what we want to achieve in each of these different modules and categories?

So the idea is more of that right now. But Jaxx to me remains true because it is an extension of what I love. I grew up in the '90s, I love my pop punk music. In fact, I'm the only person in the office that listens to pop punk still, your Blink-182 and stuff, and I love that. The aesthetic and the grunginess of its style translate into the items I create because these are conversational pieces. These are at times bordering between, it's in a gray area of offense. I like the conversations that we bring. That's the kind of character that I am, and that's why Jaxx hold up.

Jeremy Au: [00:22:06] No, that's amazing, and it's poetic, not just how you started out with it and your values with it. Also, the evolution of the name is actually paralleling your professional journey, right? In terms of the evolution of zooming out from the self to it being part of a larger whole, right? So it's actually putting it in an interesting way, and a common one as well.

I'm just kind of curious, obviously we starting to talk a little bit about pop culture and obviously I still remember Blink-182 and everything else. It's the shock when suddenly the music you're hearing suddenly becoming classic to the younger generation, old school karaoke, it's quite a thing, right? I was thinking, "No, it wasn't that that long ago!" Britney Spears and all that other stuff, Justin Timberlake, that was like an era. It's not that long ago, but to the new gen people, it's a way, right? At the same point of time, stuff that we thought was really, at that time, in the closet a bit was comic books.

I was reading my Superman comics, everyone thought I was a big nerd for reading stuff like that. Now suddenly it's very popular and all over the screen, right? Like X-Men and everything. So it's interesting to see pop culture, and sort of these waves in and out. What do you think about pop culture? Why are you so passionate about it?

Jackson Aw: [00:23:14] I think the pop culture that we understand, what we see right now, it's a convergence of different fan bases. We can talk about art, entertainment, music, sports, gaming, and so on. It's really a convergence because I play games, I watched sports, I collect art as well. My interest is as diverse as what culture is, which means I would buy things from each of those different brands or IPs, we call it cultural IPs.

Definitely social media and different platforms has lend itself to that. Most recently of course, TikTok for a much younger generation people. I feel with each generation, like you say, in the '90s and you have your pop punk and all those girl-next-door, with Britney Spears and stuff. It defines a generation. Even until now, I still think that that is the best era.

But if you ask my dad, or if you ask the youngest person in our team right now who is 19, then they have their own perspective of the best era, which is respectively theirs. That's important because I think for our business, there will come a time where understanding what's cool and what's relevant, it's a baton that you have the pass over to the younger guys in the team, while you focus on how those IPs can be consolidated to extend your vision a little bit further. Now we are leaning heavily on him. We're working at football clubs and basketball clubs. Honestly, I lost touch of it. I stopped watching games because when you have a kid you just don't do that that much.

So I'm beginning to lean on them and you know what? Those team members, they love it when you lean on them like that. Because there's that amount of trust that you place on them to, "Okay, if you say this is great, then let's invest in it, let's do it." There's that sense of ownership that you build as well. But what's more important is also the IPs that you get on you, the brands that you work with keeps your brand healthy and relevant. So comics is just one part of it and the amount of exposure that Marvel gets, or DC gets at this point is unprecedented.

It's never been done this way. The amount of interest in consumer products has never been higher. If we look at Disney from 1920s onwards, it was more about reinventing fables into a Disney form. They touch on consumer products, actually more of a side part of things. But right now it's actually really, really massive. The whole idea of licensing, it's just such a massive revenue driver for these big brands.

Jeremy Au: [00:25:35] Yeah. It's really amazing to see that transition. I really like what you said about, one angle as professionals. The interesting thing about pop culture is the situation changes on the ground but we're kind of looking at the fundamentals and staring at cost through all of it. I think the second part, was interesting was you talking a little bit about the macro industry piece, about the reinvention of fables into merchandising and growth.

I think I really resonated with that because one of my hobbies now is just reading these old school fairytales, like Anubis and all those legends, those myths. They were really scary and really badass. These gods are running around, beating up the demons and the trickster gods. There's so many different versions of them in culture. So just seeing all these different characters, right?

I think I was just reflecting recently. I was like, oh wait, Marvel is our modern day storyteller, instead of like your elder 80-year-old man around the fire who I've never met, but supposedly told all these stories back in the day. Now it's just this giant team of old people, young people generating storylines that are understood by the world. So it's kind of interesting, right? What do you think about that?

Jackson Aw: [00:26:45] Well, it's definitely more efficient and far more expected. Obviously the commercial value definitely helps generate these parts. But I also feel that at some point it becomes a bit more complex than what we grew up with. I still find simplicity with some of the stories, whether is it Enid Blyton or some of the longer heritage stories or classic stories, to be very, very attractive in that they deliver a single, simple idea. Whether is it about morals or anything that you'd take away, it's very simple, and that story delivers that.

But I feel the last few years because of the platforms and also the commercial teams behind it, it becomes very complex, a vast network. I worry that in the next couple of years, it might get even more intricate because people wants more. If you're on board the whole Ironman journey, okay, now you want more and more complex to cater to the wants of a fan, that's absolutely reasonable to think that you will go that way because when you buy an item, whether you're into music or collectibles, you usually by a relatively affordable average item.

Then, you know how it is, you slip down a deep hole and you spend thousands on the best [inaudible] electric guitar out there. You get what I mean? So it will become a certain idea of an obsession of sort into that. I think to cater to this real fans who grew up with it, who understood the way it was, they would want more and they would crave more. Maybe the simple storytelling just doesn't really quite cut it. Perhaps it's just the nostalgia in me that would think this way, like I yearn for simpler times as well. But this seems to be the way that the world is moving into in terms of pop culture.

Jeremy Au: [00:28:30] That's so true. I firstly really love Enid Blyton, and I grew up with that stuff, so love it! It's interesting because both of us turned into new fathers this year as well. So last week I was just watching the season finale for Mandalorian, I signed up on Disney+ to watch Mandalorian. I was watching there with my wife and enjoying a show that I watched as a kid, right? Star Wars, my dad introduced that to me. Now first trilogy, great. Second trilogy, not so great execution, but great in their overall narrative. Last trilogy, I'm not going to talk about it too much. Then the Mandolorian, awesome. My wife and I both enjoyed it at different levels. Then I looked at her and I said, I want to unsubscribe from Disney+ because I'm done. That's the only show I wanted to watch.

But now that we have a daughter, I feel like maybe we're going to end up keeping it, right? Because some stories are nice to watch, right? Like Pixar or whatever it is. So, I mean, I'm just kind of curious as you look at your child and think about what stories are you going to introduce. I'm just kind of curious, what stories are you going to introduce to your kid maybe in the coming few years?

Jackson Aw: [00:29:38] Well, first of all, I listen to Moana songs five times a day. So you have to get yourself prepared for that. Recently, my wife went on eBay, I think, bought a book that was from her childhood. It was the Addams Family book. So it's this simple story about Addams Family, one of the episodes, and it actually have songs by the side. So there's the theme song and a couple of songs as well. So for both of us, we tend to lean on our earlier childhood to provide that experience to our kid, right? Because I feel we didn't turn out too bad, I think. I really learn a lot through the Enid Blyton books, a couple of other series that's along the same lines because there's sort of a moral building kind of structure going on that.

I think my wife wanted to share her passion as well, because she's more of, she like Addams Family, she like a bit of more grotesque stuff, and dark humor type of things. She wants to share that experience with the kid. I think this is a cycle because it's highly unlikely that you will want to push anything that you're unfamiliar with to your kid. I think the standard educational stuff, it's fine, it's syllables so that's okay. But the content, the cultural, the IP part of it. What do you want? You want them to be aligned with you and feel the same way as you did when you were a kid, I think.

If you don't have such a great childhood, then of course you would do the opposite side of the spectrum, right? You'll make sure that the kid has what he want. I think then they'll grow up with that idea, a piece of you is still with them. But at the same time, that's probably not something they'll continue for their whole life. They would probably learn the new culture stuff or whatever it is that's coming on. So I think there's a little bit of that.

Jeremy Au: [00:31:29] That's amazing. I guess one last question I have is when you look at the stories that, because you deal with that every day, right? The fables, the characters, and also the stories of employees and even a story of yourself. When you look at your child and you're thinking things through, what attributes are the stories that you're looking for to share over the next five to 10 years? What are the kinds of stories that you would want them to really hear and for you to share with them?

Jackson Aw: [00:31:59] Oh, like specifically, or in general?

Jeremy Au: [00:32:02] I think in general, but if you have specific examples, why not, right?

Jackson Aw: [00:32:06] Well, no one wants to be an asshole. I always say this because no one's set out to be a dick. But you see the thing about being a founder is sometimes that you have to make between a bad choice or a worse choice. The thing is some parts of the team may not align as well because each one of us have our own purpose and perspective, and at times it clashes. Creative [attitudes] are most of the generalization of what could happen usually. A conflict of interest, I would think. But as a leader, I think you sometimes just need to bite the bullet and make that choice. Regardless of what people look at you as, and you've got to detach yourself from that almost, your personal side of things and the corporate side of things.

I know you're asking about my kid, but why this is so important is that I want him to realize that there is no absolute good decisions throughout your whole life. At one point of time, people's going to think you're a dick. The thing is that's okay, because your North Star and your compass allows you to make that decision and go through with it. You can't think so much in terms of a 360 degree or it is well-covered or not. I don't think it's so much about that.

I think it's about living with yourself for the decisions that you have made. Above all, I think that is the main life guidance that I want to leave him with. That is true, a lot of those stories that we grew up, those simple stories that we grew up with because it's not bad, it's no good. It's just one of those things that you must make. Know that no matter what it is, then we will be there to empower you. You and I both have people like that in our lives, through our journey. You have people that, bad or good, we're your people, we're sticking with you. We understood why you did that. Because like I say, nobody wants to be an asshole, right? It's just part of it. So that's why I believe that I should pass it on.

Jeremy Au: [00:33:50] Your son is lucky to have a father and a storyteller like you, honestly.

Jackson Aw: [00:33:55] Thanks.

Jeremy Au: [00:33:56] Also, well, that comes to the end of the show. Thank you so much, Jackson.

Jackson Aw: [00:33:59] I appreciate it, Jeremy. This has been fun.

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