My co-founder Kei Ibaraki and I started this media company 7 years ago in Sydney, Australia.
I left my high-paying job as a lawyer and Kei as an architect to pursue our life-long vision of transforming mainstream media. We believed we could do this by bringing people’s voices together and bridging cultural gaps between Asia and the West.
So, we went all-in. We couldn’t just sit by knowing that the world was becoming more and more divided and no one seemed to be doing anything about it.
With no experience in journalism and filming, we uprooted ourselves from Australia and moved to South Korea in 2015. We had to strategically place ourselves in Asia in order to be able to capture the most authentic voices and stories from Asia that needed to be heard. We started working out of coffee shops all day long to create content but soon ran out of money. We were so broke at one point that we’d sneak in and out of coffee shops without even ordering coffee (shoutout to Starbucks for not kicking us out).
Fast forward to 2020 and after many sleepless nights, we were on our way to becoming a legitimate media presence. We built up reporting capabilities from more than 6 Asian countries and even managed to attract like-minded investors who were willing to back us while we focused on creating content.
Then COVID-19 changed everything.
One of our investors suddenly went bankrupt, leaving us in a massive hole that we could not have anticipated. In the end, it was my fault as the CEO - I was too focused on creating quality content and left little attention to monetization. Now we are faced with the harsh reality of possibly shutting down Asian Boss forever. We laid off over 40% of our employees and instituted pay cuts for the remaining staff, and moved to a much smaller office to extend our lifeline. But the fact remains that we are still months away from running out of funds.
We truly believe that if we can survive this, we will go on to become one of the biggest news media brands in the world that is focused on making positive change. How do I know? Because with our limited resources and pure hustle, we raised over US$700,000 to date through our videos to help people in need:
*We helped a school teacher in an Indian slum build and maintain an elementary school so that she can provide free education to children.
*We raised money for a Korean grandma making less than $2 per day and gave her a free home makeover when she was freezing to death in Korean winter.
*When a 15-year-old single mom from the Philippines wanted to go back to school after her infant baby died, we paid for her entire high school tuition fees.
*We helped a pastor who saved more than 1,500 abandoned babies sustain his operation.
*We gave money and new homes to struggling single mothers and fathers of Korea.
And the list continues. All you have to do is go to our YouTube channel and check out our videos. If we can pull all this off with a team of 10 people, just imagine what we would be capable of when we become bigger.
So for the first time and the last time, I am asking for your help. If you are unable to donate because of your own financial struggles, we ask you to create and/or participate in the #SaveAsianBoss campaign and see if we can break the internet together.
In 2020, we saw many awesome media companies like Great Big Story die. I'm told almost on a daily basis that what we are doing is also likely to fail. Well, we are still here. We are still standing and I won't let the global movement we've created to bring people together die, period. You have my word. Please join me and our community to keep the movement alive.
Thank you so much, everybody. Stay safe and most importantly, stay curious.
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