Plus: why Bing identifies as the "existential Walt Disney"
Nora and Scott chat with Bing Chen, an impact founder, investor, and entrepreneur. Bing is the President and Co-Founder of Gold House, a non profit collective of 300 of the top API leaders that aims to enhance the successes of API folks across creative and business industries. Previously, he served as YouTube’s Global Head of Creator Development And Management, where he led the buildout of the influencer ecosystem that we know today. Bing discusses how his “impact” title guides the projects he works on, why he took a chance on everyday YouTube creators early on, and the four major goals that guide Gold House’s work. Presented by Policygenius.
Fact Checker: Holly Van Leuven
Producer: Bella Hutchins
Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus
Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop
VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer
Full transcript for this episode available below.
Nora Ali: From Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, the podcast reveals the unexpected business story behind everything. I'm Nora Ali.
Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky. Nora and I are here for your ears, bringing you conversations with creators, thinkers, and innovators who can tell us what it all means and why we should care. Now let's get down to business.
Nora Ali: Okay, Scott.
Scott Rogowsky: Yes.
Nora Ali: I am especially excited for today's guest, Bing Chen. He is someone I've admired for many years. When I first had reached out to him to get on our podcast, I want to read you something. He has an out of office message that went kind of viral and I kind of love it. And I think you will, too. So his out of office says, "I'm on the road. Will be slow to respond, blah, blah, blah. If this is urgent, take a deep breath, because few things really are. Or cite "urgent" in the subject line and I'll get back to you soon." Isn't that so great? Things are not actually urgent when you think they're urgent for work. So I appreciate that.
Scott Rogowsky: For example, would you consider your request at the time when you emailed him an urgent request?
Nora Ali: No. So I didn't bother him until he got back.
Scott Rogowsky: What if we needed to book him the next day?
Nora Ali: Would we ever have to do that, Scott? We're not like that. Right?
Scott Rogowsky: Right. And if we are, then we're in trouble. Then we have bigger issues, but we don't have issues like that because we have a tremendous producing staff that never lets us get in the situation as described. So I think Bing's someone personally that I was not too familiar with before we started the interview, but now I love this guy. I love this guy so much. I think we have similar mindsets on how we approach work, which may not be healthy. But we also have similar existential doubts and fears that we sort of channel into this philosophy of nothing matters, but everything matters. Live in the moment, but plan for the future. I don't know. I just felt very aligned with him. He's a cool dude. And he's doing great work. Tell me about Gold House, your experience with Gold House, the company he founded.
Nora Ali: Yeah. So it's interesting because as our listeners will hear Bing told us that one of the first pieces of the feedback he got when starting Gold House, which is an API, Asian Pacific Islander, collective in many different industries, one of the big pieces of feedback he got was that it feels like there's this community that's growing, but we don't know each other. We don't support each other within the Asian community when you talk to leaders in this space. But now just a few years after Bing started Gold House, it feels like everyone knows each other. You're making interest for each other. You're hiring each other. You're appearing on each other's podcasts. So I think Bing has made such tremendous progress or encouraged such tremendous progress for the community. So a little bit more insight into Bing. He is the president and co-founder of Gold House, which is a nonprofit collective of API leaders. It aims to enhance the successes of API folks across creative spaces and business through financial investment, mentorship, celebration, and promotion. He also manages a VC accelerator. He advises some of the world's top media companies, From Snapchat to Google, and prior to launching Gold House, Bing served as YouTube's global head of creator development and management, where he helps to forge the influencer ecosystem that we know today. So there are few things that Bing doesn't do. We'll get to our conversation with Bing after this quick break. Well, Bing, it's really nice to finally meet you face to face because we have so many people in common. You're like the king of the Asian mafia I feel like. Everything points back to you and Gold House, which I think is awesome. But, Bing, let's start maybe big picture. You are a do-all-of-the-things kind of guy. You've called yourself an impact founder, investor, entrepreneur. You have a million endeavors in the works, from Gold House to your newly announced $30 million venture fund for API founders. Congrats, by the way. You've co-founded a multicultural film fund. You advise top media companies. So what does being an impact entrepreneur mean to you? And how does that help you decide where to focus your energies when so many things are going on at once?
Bing Chen: The honest answer is a dual. So one is, the only reason I have impact is because my management coach said I was too confusing to explain. And so I had to use this, like, adjective, which I just like hate qualifying myself in general, but that's why that's honestly there. What it actually means though is I only focus on businesses, people, and so forth that are existential. So if it is life and death, I will touch it. If it's not life and death, I won't touch it. If we're optimizing for distraction time, I won't touch it. If it perpetuates childhood obesity, I won't touch it. And so I think one of the most existential things we can do is to make everyone's dreams come true at a professional level, particularly economically. And so everything I do, whether it's investing in or enabling storytellers or new products or, in the case of Gold House, of people is all devoted to how do we economically ensure they can realize their ambitions, whether that ambition is a film or a company?
Scott Rogowsky: And that storytelling comes from your love of Walt Disney as a kid, right? We read that you idolized Disney.
Bing Chen: Oh my God, you know.
Scott Rogowsky: You made your dreams come true. You made all our dreams come true.
Bing Chen: We try.
Scott Rogowsky: What was it about Walt Disney and I guess Mickey Mouse in particular, who you really identified with? That's a funny story.
Bing Chen: I'm so honored that you all did your homework on me. I feel like such an imposter. No, I think like, I mean, you all know as an adult, this will sound much more mature in hindsight than it did irrationally as a child. But I think viscerally when I was three, my first movie I ever saw was Dumbo. And I think so much of Dumbo all the way to Beauty and the Beast, just taught me about existence as a human being. Whether it's the things you love you let go, or it's you might love something you will never have in the case of Dumbo and his mother so forth and so on. I think there's just a visceral propensity towards a lot of what was created. I think second at a sort of structural level, I always saw the church and the Walt Disney Company as emblematic of how you really scale dreams. Now we can debate all day long whether both are productive and all the ways they should be, but the notion that they can make dreams come true for anyone globally really, really resonated. And I remember, I think, Scott, we were alluding to on Mickey Mouse, when I was little, my heroes were never sort of celebrities. They were always Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Mickey Mouse. And one of the questions I often get as my affiliation with Gold House is, did you ever feel like there was a dearth of strong Asian and/or Pacific Islander leaders that you looked up to? And the answer was never, because one, I thought I was white when I was a kid because I was in Tennessee and two, three of my four heroes are Asian, as far as I'm concerned. Mickey Mouse of course has light skin like I do and a black hat, so I assumed he was Chinese and I of course thought Mickey Mouse was Walt Disney and that he ran the entire ship because I was an idiot. But yeah, I think that's where it comes from. And I think now the way I look at my holding company is, how do we engineer that new Walt Disney Company, but one that is really crowd-driven, democratic in both creation, distribution, and once again, highly existential?
Nora Ali: I love that story so much. What I like about you, Bing, is you can talk philosophical, existential, and also get down to business, which is what we do on this podcast. And you've struck this balance between impact and also profit, which you've spoken a lot about in entrepreneurship, but this also applies to entertainment, which you're very involved in as well. You're obviously the general partner and co-founder of AUM group, which is a multicultural film fund. And you've said that you're guiding light for films is that not only do they have to be culturally essential, but also commercially profitable and critically acclaimed. How do you know when something has that trifecta, and is there an application to founders as well and other people you work with? How do they have that secret sauce?
Bing Chen: When we look at film, we look at the trinity as you just articulated Nora. One is when we're trying to change outcomes for traditionally marginalized folks, we can't lead with charity or the DNIB sort of mandate. We have to lead with commerce. Cultural shifts happen and are sustained because of their commercial viability, period. And it sounds soulless and like a nonactivist thing to say, but it's also, dare I say, the adult reality. And so commercial profitability is one. The best way we ensure profitability is not just can we make money, but more importantly, are we operating against costs? The films that actually make the most money typically do, not just because they're Spider-Man, but because they were filmed on time, under budget, right? So I think that's number one, that we look for, is this sort of producer in particular, director, someone who can manage budgets and teams. Second is critical acclaim. We often say we won't promote crap, though once the marginalized communities are able to celebrate mediocrity, we will have made it. I think we're a long way away from that, but making sure something is not just good, but exceptional is essential. And this is exceptional both because of and in spite of the marginalized community from whom this exudes. And then third is sociocultural [inaudible], as you mentioned. I say this third, not because it's the least important, but because in terms of practical sort of execution, it has to be the last one, even if it's where everything came from. But making sure that we perpetuate sort of new conversations is really essential. I think outside of sort of that trinity, all the typical mandates of what takes a successful creative or company are true. The number one of course is great people build great projects and companies, great products do not. So that's number one. Are we investing in people who are good and great? I now feel like I have the privilege or perhaps the like negligent naivete to not work with assholes. I just last weekend got passed a term sheet from someone who I know is a walking MeToo movement. And we passed because we don't invest in assholes. And it's not just a Cardinal rule. It's also a practical sort of corporate style rule. Even if this person has not engaged malfeasance in this case, his company, the fact that he is able to get investment from honorable people like us is an indication to his team that more malfeasances on the broad malfeasance spectrum can be engaged with, and that's not okay. So anyway, so I think that is one. And then the second piece outside of great people, as you know, is just zeitgeist. Is it the right time? We always want to be about a few months or a year early to most things. And then we go from there.
Scott Rogowsky: Well, I'm feeling that it might be the right time for a quick break here. We'll continue our conversation with Bing Chen in a moment. Stay with us. Bing, we were talking about what you're up to now with the film production, which is phenomenal work, but I want to delve into your past a little bit. YouTube is a big, shiny, bold name on your resume. And you joined at age 23. What year was that?
Bing Chen: It was 2010, but don't repeat that.
Scott Rogowsky: 2010, so I wanted to get a sense less for your own age, but more for the age of the whole influencer economy and the creator economy, which 2010. So that gives us a good idea of when that was, that was very early. You said you liked being early to things with your films and the zeitgeist. Well, you were certainly early to the creator influencer ecosystem that we all know and maybe not love today, but tell us about those early days. You're 23 years old. In less than four years, you created the framework for that ecosystem, but what was the attitude at YouTube when you arrived, especially around these downmarket creators, as you tell it?
Bing Chen: Oh, I need to stop saying downmarket. I'm such a filthy traditional media person now. It's so terrible. We all become the thing we hate in life. No, I think like all things, once again, it's two sides. I think one is I knew I wanted to be the existential Walt Disney, but I had the, I don't want to call it modesty, but like I had the knowledge that I just couldn't build that from scratch. I needed to go learn in a large-scale system how do you build a cross pollinative, both creative- and technology-driven ecosystem that could monetize creative, hone it, and also distribute it to every audience imaginable? And at the time, and this is much more obvious now, but was very unobvious back then. The best articulation of that media conglomerate was YouTube. There were some fundamental distinctions of course. The creators looked a little bit differently. Secondly is there was no proven monetization. And third is, it was sort of an unfettered garden, both on the creation, distribution side. So it did fit a vision, but I think the other side to just sober myself is it was also just luck. And it was luck because one, candidly, very few people in YouTube cared about it. YouTube at the time had Netflix, HBO envy. They wanted to license a bunch of traditional premium content they called rentals and then used that as a Trojan horse for originals. There was literally sort of three of us that were tasked for doing this. I was the first creator marketing manager, and there were a few people who had hosted like a few Meetups here and there, but nothing sort of rigid. So I was able to move very rapidly because, candidly, we weren't a priority. The second piece was of course just broader zeitgeist timing. So because of disenfranchisement in traditional media, particularly for certain marginalized communities, like the Asian diaspora, the Black community, and the LGBTQ community, we saw all three, for some reason, just rise in industries like beauty and comedy and filmmaking, where they traditionally were entirely shut out. This is way before TV started to become diverse. And so those were the two sort of pinnacles, and we built this too long deck called Walt Disney in 2010, which basically was a vision for what this new creator economy would look like. And it follows sort of a trinity again, because I don't know, we're annoying and all things are in three, but we found that most creators want six things, but they really want three top things. And those are fame, fortune, and creativity. So the idea on fame was how do we ensure you have a large engaged audience, but then also qualitatively ensure it's seen as successful? And so this is where we helped launch Watch Time, which is the guiding algorithm of the platform. This is where I created the Gold Play button, which I stole from the music industry. Because in the words of Will Smith, you can't know where you're going unless you know where you are. And so we needed this sort of reward system to tier services out. Second on the monetization end, we helped standardize influencer marketing pricing. For better back then, now certainly for worse. And so but yeah, really modernized sort of what influencer marketing was all the way to globalizing the Partner Program. And then third in terms of content development, these were the days when I remember, I won't say who, but it was a VP who dealt with a lot of advertisers and I brought a bunch of my creators in because they had Ford who wanted to basically explore this new golden age of creators. And I remember I served these up and this person's exact language was, "Bing, these people are shit and I don't want you basically coming back to me ever again with them." And so we said, okay, well if that's the case, we're not just going to try to hone their creative; we're actually going to try to redefine what creative can be. And so this is where we developed the next step incubator. It's still now the longest-standing content investment at YouTube worldwide for better or worse, sort of scaled resources, so forth and so on. So that's a nutshell of what happened. And luckily we were right, five years later built the greater economy, Twitch, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Snap. So many of their work in their own creators has been sort of informed by what started out as a fairly modest team that has now grown.
Scott Rogowsky: Just explain that downmarket term, it's a little jargony, but that's really what it was. This person was calling them shit, and you realize they had value. Maybe they didn't have the flashy numbers and they didn't have the ties to the big brands or the big celebrity names. But why was that inflection point so important between because now we know that anybody can go viral, anybody can be famous online, anybody can get brand deals and become an influencer, right? You don't have to be a celebrity, but back then there was still that idea that you had to have a big name to make it big on the internet.
Bing Chen: Yeah, absolutely. I think it comes from two principles. One is that we're ultimately not competing for premiumness, however that's codified. A lot of traditional media folks of course will codify that as high development, high production cost, expensive scarce distribution on the biggest screens. But the reality is we're competing for time. And people like to fill, of course, their time in different ways. Sometimes you want to be more passive and laid back where you binge a Netflix show. Sometimes you want to be more active, interactive in the case of YouTube, the TikToks, and Instagrams and so forth. So I think that's one, knowing that time has many dimensions. I think the second piece as it relates to creators themselves is everyone truly has their own distinct gifts. There are of course creators I've seen on YouTube, whether it's Lindsay Stirling who blends incredible athleticism with orchestral music all the way to Zach King, who is a New Age magician filmmaker. There are just things I've never seen anywhere else on YouTube. So too, there are things in the Marvel cinematic universe I've never seen online. And so I think there's a wisdom in knowing that everyone has their gifts. The question is, are we extracting and honing those gifts in the right way and putting them in the light through meaningful distribution paths at the right time? And so I think that's ultimately the sort of revelatory mistake we made. I think the third piece that we have to remember, and I don't want to give the platforms too much credence, though, because we're in a contractive phase now. They do get a lot of credence. Format and platform often will dictate creativity in like what you can do. TV, for instance, as you both know, was written in seven-minute increments because they needed to have pause for advertising breaks. It wasn't because they thought it was creatively sound. There's some beautiful arc in seven minutes. It's because they got to pay the bills. And I think so too on YouTube. YouTube is actually not defined by a break or a style. It's actually defined by interactivity. And if you are a traditional media celebrity, you typically are not accustomed to interacting yourself. Whereas on YouTube, it's a hallmark. I'll go further. It really bother me for the longest time in 2010, 2012, why YouTube celebrities and YouTube creators were not taken as seriously as Jay-Z and Beyonce. And this was of course then at the time when we really were perpetuating the reward system. We used, expended lots of money to figure out why and what was the foundation of fame. And we realized that traditional media fame is really only codified by one thing. It's literally a fourth wall. The fact that you cannot tweet Jay-Z and Beyonce is the single biggest reason why they're famous. And further, not only ensuring there's a fourth wall, but ensuring that where one is are scarce, so in terms of volume, two is expensive, and three physically larger than life, further perpetuates that traditional celebrity air. Met Gala, physical billboards. Things that again are cost/location prohibitive. The more one is there and the less one is accessible for instance, on digital, the more famous one is seen. This is so stupid and annoying because humans obviously created all of this. But it was instructive. So I think again, Scott, just to tie a loop around your original question, they ultimately failed because they lacked an endemic audience interactivity, not because they weren't talented. Not because they didn't have massive audiences elsewhere.
Nora Ali: Yeah. And I guess regardless of your level of influence, whether you're a Jay-Z or just a new creator on YouTube, as you said, we're all competing for time, we're competing for space, and I've heard at least anecdotally that there's a sense that among the Asian community, the API community, there is a sense of maybe reaching saturation, which is absolutely not true. We're seeing the momentum, but to some people that means, oh, we're all doing entrepreneurship now. We're all in film now. There's not enough space for me. And I don't necessarily think that's a good attitude to have, but you've said in the past that this is not really just the creator economy now. It's the community economy where a rising tide lifts all boats. If there's more of us, there's going to be more of us to follow. So can you just talk a little bit more about this community economy idea?
Bing Chen: I think there are two ways to change the world as it were, and I call it sort of carrots and sticks. So carrots means you build new affirming opportunities, net new, create new industries, all that. Second is sticks. You create punitive and/or regulatory measures that correct a broken system when those carrots inevitably fall short. But to change anything, we need both in parallel all at once. So ultimately which one we focus on is less a question of what's essential, because again, both are necessary. And it's more about where our gifts are. I have chosen to focus on carrots. I think that taking and correcting a system that is broken is for other people with candidly more patience than I have. And candidly, I think, a little bit more pragmatism and pessimism than I have. My focus is I don't care necessarily all of what we have been given. And I don't take that as law. I instead want to create a new world order that is highly inclusive, highly empowering, more democratic, so forth and so on. And so I think that's number one where it begins. It's a mindset shift of more is more for all of us. The second piece in terms of what the community economy means is following. So it comes from a couple places, but people are ultimately defined by what they love increasingly, not who they love. And this is for a variety of reasons. One, the internet and sort of connectivity of devices have enabled us to all have incredibly niche interests and become not only fans, but also tastemakers and experts in our own right. Second is because a lot of the traditional companies in this contractive phase have consolidated power, they are incapable of going deep in niche because that's what a big company is capable of doing. They just don't have sort of their lens to the ground. So that also has perpetuated sort of a fervor for more niche interest. Third is especially because the pandemic, the number one thing of course we miss is being together. Humans thrive on physical proximity. We often find that there are two reasons why humans will convene in general, not just physical proximity. So you and I will become friends because we're college roommates. But second is actually because of interest or concentric interest. You and I will become friends because we like fishing or whitewater rafting or Pokemon, all of the things. And so that's sort of where this comes from. The sort of defensive place it comes from is having seen thousands of creators and had the privilege of working with them, there's only a fraction of a fraction that represents something more than themselves and have the business wherewithal to sustain themselves. So another way the influencer economy is kind of over, we are now in a move where it's really driven by true functional experts. A, because people have been empowered. B, because a lot of influence don't have defendable skillsets. There's sort of charlatans in many regards. I'm not saying all, again, but I'm saying most of them. And so it's empowered sort of this new community economy. Now what codifies the community economy? The of course exact same things that codified the creator economy. And so communities can say all day long they want to have all forms of things, but ultimately they want, one, to be connected with the right people at the highest, deepest scale for as long as possible. Second is they ultimately want to make money. This is where one could argue DAOs start to come and become more interesting, but there needs to be sort of commercial investment. Three is creativity. So creativity in this regard means you just got to be the best at what you are. You don't have to be the most artistic. So if you are an indoor climbing gym crunchy San Francisco club, you'd better be the best indoor climbing gym San Francisco crunchy club. The fourth thing is skills. You also have to just be very good at not only building sort of strong community, but then also just be good in your industry. Fifth is connection with others. So there's obviously adjacencies across the community economy. So those who like fitness often like food, sometimes like apparel. And then finally of course is recognition on the platform that you love. So those are the six things that we researched at YouTube. All creative entities, whether they're large companies or individuals. One, they are no different from the community economy.
Nora Ali: I feel like Scott and I probably have a million follow-up questions on this topic, but we want to get to Gold House. So let's take a quick break. And we're with Bing when we come back. Bing, prior to, or on your way to starting Gold House, you had polled API leaders about what an Asian mafia might look like if you created one and why. And they all said the same four things, which I'll let you tell us what those four things were. But once you heard those problems loud and clear, what were your first steps in making Gold House the reality based on that research you had done?
Bing Chen: Gold House's origin of getting these four things was once again a dual set of theory of change. Are we going to perpetuate new, affirming things that we want, or are we going to try to correct where we are afflicted? And so we spent six months meeting with, at the time, 300 of the top API leaders. So these are A-list celebrities, C-suite executives, partner with all the people to exactly what you just said, Nora. We asked, if you were to create the Asian mafia, and we did mean it a bit frivolously though deliberately broad. We said, what would you build? They all said the same four things. And this came to us as no surprise because, hearkening back to the YouTube experience, everybody wants the same things. They just may talk about them very differently. And so they were one, we need to be more united, because the first people to shit talk APIs are fellow APIs, right? And this is because of all sorts of a collectivist zero-sum nurturing from our wonderful parents. Second, is we hate how we're projected on screen. Our women are overly objectified. Our men are overly emasculated. Three, bamboo ceiling, though that's a controversial term now. We know we're gainfully employed in industries like tech, finance, and law, but we are woefully underrepresented in executive ranks. And then fourth was in politics. Analogous to the bamboo ceiling, but we just don't have any political standing. No one thinks we matter because we're only 7% of the absolute population. And so after gathering all this feedback, we realized we needed a single unifying North Star because the API community has actually never been fully unified on anything. And this is because of a lot of sort of biological, structural distinction as you both know. We have 50 ethnicities, hundreds of dialects, no common historic struggle, no convening apparatus like Shabbat dinner or church. We don't have anything. And we're distributed on every corner of the Earth and we all, for some reason, hate each other. It makes no sense. And so we realized that among outside of just getting together, among reshaping public opinion through media, bamboo ceiling corporations, and in politics, the best, most inoffensive, universally applicable North Star was media. And one of our founding members Jon M. Chu had this little film called Crazy Rich Asians at the time. And he basically told us if this did not do well opening weekend, which meant exceeding $20 million at the box office for rom-com, which had not happened in a decade, by the way, that five different API-led projects at other studios would be backburnered. So there was a very numeric formula of why this needed to work. Fast forward within a week, we put together a movement known as Gold Open with Silicon Valley and Hollywood. We leveraged the scale systems to mass mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to go opening week in the theater. I robinhooded a bunch of our rich uncles and aunties, and basically said give me $5,000 to $10,000 each and we're going to go buy out theaters. We partnered with a bunch of celebrities. A lot of this, by the way, was inspired by the Black community and how they successfully engineered Black cinema in the late eighties, early nineties with churches. So we got basically a bunch of celebrities and paired them up and sort of used that for razzle dazzle. But fast forward, the film did 36 and a half million dollars, an unequivocal success. We then scaled out those media efforts and now we've gone well into sort of the corporate side. But that's how it started. It focused on if you're trying to change who people can become, you have to first change what other people believe about them. And we think that begins on the screen.
Scott Rogowsky: And like you said, you're always trying to be early on the forefront. It seems like you got in at the right time with this. You mentioned Passing is another film. What are some other films or other projects that you're looking at? Other stories you're trying to tell. Do you have anything in the works right now that you could possibly share?
Bing Chen: So one is how do we enable other people's projects? So on group does have a couple other multicultural projects, first-time filmmakers that we're nurturing and excited about. Those will be shared soon. Second is especially within the API community because often people ask: What is a good Asian or Asian American or a Pacific Islander story? And the correct answer though the easy one is that more is more. The more specific we are in various narratives, the better off we'll be. So, to that end, the next narrative I'm personally excited about is Ms. Marvel. The first Muslim titular character, of course, in the Marvel cinematic universe is very important.
Nora Ali: So exciting.
Bing Chen: Yes, it's very important to the next Captain Marvel movie and is also of course the first Pakistani sort of titular star, I should say, with her own sort of franchise. So we're excited about that level specificity. And then the third piece that I've been thinking about a lot, and you're going to see this from Gold House, on group, as well as others is everyone knows that franchises matter. For all the reasons we know it's where sort of disproportionate dollars are going right now in media. The question is how can you create the next great franchise without a $500 million budget? And so we thought very thoughtfully about, okay, well, how do we actually rally traditional marginalized, small-, medium-sized businesses who have very specific, but very, in some cases, delicious or otherwise products? How can we bundle all that together with this next wave of top creative in a way that we can create our own new MCU?
Nora Ali: Oh, I would love that. You're you're going to make the next MCU and it's going to be bigger and better.
Bing Chen: It's coming.
Nora Ali: Oh my gosh. I love that. So, Bing, it's only been four years since you started Gold House. You started in 2018 and I had to do a double take when I read this, because I don't know a world without Gold House personally.
Bing Chen: Aw, that means a lot.
Nora Ali: I'm serious. Any Asian American founder dinners or events or film and entertainment events. There's always some connection to Gold House and you've grown this so quickly. So my question is, to what do you attribute your rapid growth and rapid success and almost ubiquity of Gold House as an organization?
Bing Chen: I appreciate that immensely, Nora. I think it's probably three things. One is people, of course. So we bootstrapped Gold House with a hundred volunteers who each spend five-to-35 hours a week on Gold House. And it's a job for most of them. And we do this because of the mission and purity. And we also do it because we make sure people are hold on their own dreams. So the first question we often ask our fellows are volunteers is what is the dream? And if we can fulfill that or accelerate that in Gold House, even if it's through a volunteer position, we will absolutely do so. So I think it's sort of just a world class team. Second is absolutely timing. We were a little bit early and I hate to say we were early because the attacks against our community have always happened. But really I think we became even more central, especially as a positive light for the community as these record-high attacks happen. Now I'm not grateful for that timing. I don't want anyone's sort of hurt or the gravity of pain to perpetuate any form of success for anyone. But the reality is that was a rallying cry for us to become essential. And then I think third is thoughtful execution. We are very militant on where we are going in our three phase plan and we are even more rigid in what we do not do. So one of the most obvious, easy tactical things I ruled out early on is we don't host like open networking events. We don't host open panels because I candidly don't think they're valuable. I think they're a waste of everyone's time. If they're not transactionally moving the needle, dollars are being moved immediately, opening weekends are insured, then we're not going to touch it. I think the other part about it that is about sort of not being zero sum is there was a lot of great work already in the API community. There obviously was some that was not being tackled, but our MO always was if someone is already doing something well, we're not going to touch it because why would we? My goal is to be the only entity that can do what we do, period. And it's for a variety of reasons. I think it's probably those three.
Nora Ali: I think that's so important, being intentional about what you don't do and what you choose not to do as much as what you choose to do. I have a little bit of a personal question for you, Bing, if it's all right. So I had tweeted recently something to the tune of, normalize your parents not understanding your job, but still being proud and trying to explain it to their relatives, which I think is in immigrant communities, especially right? There's more gossip, more talk, more explanation and justification of what your kid is doing to make the community proud. You do so many things, Bing. I'm sure it's maybe difficult to explain to your family exactly what it is you do, but what does your mom, your community, think of your job and your success, where you're lifting up the Asian community, but it's also kind of nebulous? It's so many different things. What has that reception been like for you?
Bing Chen: I appreciate you asking. My mother has never understood what I've done. Even when I was at YouTube and I brought home my like fancy little Forbes 30 Under 30 things, she's like, "I have no idea what this is." And then my immediate reaction is like, okay, there's a comfort and also like I think a wisdom and pain when you realize at some point you are smarter than your parents. And it's not like intelligence-wise. It's like at some point I will understand and know things that she will never, and I have to be okay with that because ultimately my life is not hers, my life and my success is mine. What is hers, though, is the need to know that I am safe, healthy, and happy. And so whatever it takes to translate my job to let her know that, which for my mother means a 401(k) and a healthy bank account, because of course it does, that's okay. I think that's the honest, annoying dual answer. It's like, I don't think that she will ever know what I'm up to and I have to be comfortable with that as long as she knows I'm safe, healthy, and happy. Now, outside of that, though, you do hit like a broader sort of challenge that we're facing as an organization. Despite like my ostensive bombasticty, I'm actually quite like a modest person, though I now feel like the person who has to say he's modest and he's not. But a long way of saying there's a lot of people out there who make these big proclamations about who they are, what they do and so forth, and then try to let the work catch up to that statement. I am always the opposite. I think we do the work. If the work is good enough, it speaks for itself. We'll get a press cycle and so forth. That's now been to our detriment because we do so many things. In my head and in our little strategy planning, it's very clear what all these things are and where they fit. But I know to most of the world, we can't expect everyone to follow us constantly. And so we are working on distilling what we're actually up to. Because there obviously is a master plan. And hopefully that trickles over to my mother.
Nora Ali: I love that.
Scott Rogowsky: Well, Bing, we are also very comforted in knowing that you are safe, happy, and healthy. But what we really want to know is how much you know, because it's time for Quizness Casual, the Business Casual quiz. Bing, today's quiz is all about API-relevant information as well as maybe some YouTube information. We'll get into it. You have Nora to lean on here. So she is your co-pilot co-captain on this. But here we go. Let's get into it. Qumero numero uno: What film style and pacing inspired the award-winning Bong Joon-ho film Parasite? Armageddon, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception, or Gone Girl?
Bing Chen: Gone Girl and Inception looked the most similar, but I feel like the answer would be Mad Max.
Scott Rogowsky: Mad Max.
Bing Chen: I don't know. Nora, what do you think? Visually it's Inception or Gone Girl.
Nora Ali: Yeah, right? I wouldn't have thought it was Mad Max, but yeah, you know him, you guys are pals, acquaintance pals. So we're going to go with your gut. What is your gut telling you?
Bing Chen: My gut says we should go in the opposite direction. Say it's Mad Max. I feel you. A smart person would say Inception or Gone Girl.
Scott Rogowsky: Stop right there. You got it. I don't want to talk out of it. Yes. During the press junket for Parasite, Bong Joon-ho claimed that Fury Road was quite inspirational. The way the camera never stops moving, how the background information appears naturally. All that inspired him making Parasite. Okay. Nice job. One for one. How about this one: Which of the following top YouTube creators met his girlfriend because she sent him fan mail? Mr. Beast, Dude Perfect, Jake Paul, or PewDiePie?
Bing Chen: Oh shoot. I should know this.
Nora Ali: No, you shouldn't, Bing. This is-
Bing Chen: Well, some of these guys are friends. Like Dude Perfect I've known since before they were Dude Perfect. I want to say, does Mr. Beast have a girlfriend?
Nora Ali: I don't know. Does he?
Bing Chen: I feel like Jake Paul would date a fan. Am I crazy? I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Is that... no shade. No shade.
Nora Ali: Is that the title of this episode now? "I feel like Jake Paul would date a fan."
Bing Chen: You know what? I look like I would eat chicken pot pie. These are just statements. Nora, I think it's Jake Paul or it's Dude Perfect. I don't know. What do you think?
Nora Ali: You're not going to make me pick.
Bing Chen: They are so on opposite sides of the spectrum. I'll go back to Jake Paul's too obvious. So like, I feel like it's Dude Perfect.
Nora Ali: Dude Perfect, all right. We're locking it in Scott.
Scott Rogowsky: Dude Perfect. No, not perfect on this question. It's PewDiePie, whose girlfriend back in 2011 sent him some fan mail and they started talking, yada yada. Now she has over seven million subscribers. What a world.
Bing Chen: But of course. This is how it goes. Are they still dating?
Scott Rogowsky: I don't know. And we frankly probably don't care too much. All right. Final question. Co-sign on that one. Here it is. In Crazy Rich Asians, whose lines were mostly improvised? Jimmy O. Yang as Bernard Tai, Ken Jeong as Goh Wye Mun, Akwafina as Peik Lin Goh, or Fiona Xie as Kitty Pong?
Bing Chen: It was definitely Akwafina's the most. And then Ken Jeong's next. That's for sure I know.
Nora Ali: Wow. Okay. Akwafina. Are we right?
Scott Rogowsky: Akwafina of course. Comedian. Ken also a comedian, but yeah, Akwafina improvising her lines. Such a great role. Nora, as we know her.
Bing Chen: The fellow Nora, Nora two. This is Nora one here.
Scott Rogowsky: Well, nice job Bing. Two out of three. That's good for a W. Congratulations.
Nora Ali: Bing for the win. Bing, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us on Business Casual. We appreciate the time.
Scott Rogowsky: Appreciate it.
Bing Chen: My privilege. Thank you so much for having me.
Scott Rogowsky: We love hearing from our Business Casual fam. You're part of it if you're hearing this. So send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Twitter at @bizcasualpod, that's B-I-Zcasualpod, with your thoughts. We're organizing a family reunion. We want you there.
Nora Ali: You can also leave us a voice memo on our website businesscasual.fm, or give us a ring and leave us an old-fashioned voicemail. Our number is 8622951135. As Business Casual grows, we are so excited to get to know our listeners old and new. Drop us a line and don't forget to leave your name and where you're calling or writing from so we can hear from you in a feature episode.
Scott Rogowsky: Business Casual is Bingfluenced by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins. Additional production, sound design, and mixing by Daniel Markus. Sarah Singer's our VP of multimedia, Holly Van Leuven is our fact checker. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. If you like what you heard, please follow Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you go for that sweet, sweet ear candy, now available in sugar-free. And we'd love it if you give us a great rating and a review.
Nora Ali: Thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali.
Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky.
Nora Ali: Keep it business.
Scott Rogowsky: And keep it casual.