I don't want
to give advice,
I just want to speak from my own experiences.
Tim Joo, 2021 AD
The acclaimed NYC-based entrepreneur, creator, co-founder of Haerfest, and voice for change in the AAPI movement talks on the philosophies that guide him..
All words by Tim Joo in conversation with Seneca.
I love this Mark Twain quote. I remember watching an episode of Abstract where Ian Spalter said, 'I relate to design how comedians practice their jokes.' They put a joke out there. They test in front of the audience. They see how the reaction is. And based on their reaction, they tweak the joke a little bit. The next night they'll say the joke a little bit differently. The point is, it's testing, iterating, improving, and just being okay with the fact that it won't be in its perfect form in the very beginning.
YOU HAVE TO THINK, I'M GOING TO MAKE IT. I'M GOING TO DROP IN.
Overthinking the consequences instills fear in people... I used to skateboard, and I remember the first time I went in a halfpipe. The vertical is pretty high so you have put all your force on your front foot. Otherwise, the moment you doubt yourself and lean back, you're going to wipe out.
I DON'T CONSIDER MYSELF AN ACTIVIST, BUT I WANT TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE SOCIAL CHANGES.
My whole life, I thought, 'Hey, I've experienced racism myself,' and I've just accepted it as part of the world that we live in.
In March, my Asian-American friends were posting horrific stories about elderly people getting beat up and getting killed, and I was furious. I was angry, but I also felt like what could I do? I’ve never talked about social causes or politics, with the fear of ‘what happens if I make a mistake, what happens if I say the wrong thing?’ But I knew at a certain point that if I look back and remember not having done anything, I will regret it.
I decided to share a personal statement of my experience, joining my Asian American friends in breaking the generational cycle of what we were taught to do; stay quiet, don't raise any trouble. It shocked me to see the power in being vulnerable and doing something that came from the heart.
Feeling empowered, I launched a collection to bring more awareness to these issues –– ‘Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes’ –– more than that, donate the proceeds to support the organizations that are making the real impact.
ALWAYS ASK YOURSELF 'WHY'.
‘why’ will always be at the core and be longer-lasting than the ‘what.’ The why will always be the driving force so that whenever you veer off the path, you can always remember ‘this is why,’ and then get back on the path that you are originally set out on –– its your North Star.
LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY.
You have to step outside your bubble and get feedback. It's tough as a creative, having a higher level of sensitivity to feedback, especially feedback you don't want to hear. But I think it's important because it's the community that is going to ultimately support you at the end of the day. A good brand constantly has a two-way conversation. It's not, "I'm preaching and it's one way, and you do what I say."