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#46 — The Courage to Ask

Brandon's Bulletin
There was a very clear message to me this week: have the courage to ask. How fitting, during the last week of my time at Jemi — an incredible opportunity that I was so lucky to have, simply because I just asked. Let’s dive right into it.

For some reason, I saw a lot of things about “rejection” on what I consume this week. I saw Ryan Breslow tweet about rejection and how the PayPay mafia rejected his idea when building out Bolt. I saw Jia Jiang’s TED Talk on the learnings throughout 100 days of rejection. But most notably, I saw my friend skyrocket from 79 -> 1.1k subscribers off one Twitter thread about her week of rejection. I’ve linked it down below — you should (really) check it out.
Maggie Chen
I challenged myself to a week of rejection.

At first, it was just for fun.

Turns out, if you don't ask, you don't get. I've gotten access to some crazy experiences and met some really cool people. Also got a ton of free stuff.

The thing about rejection is that it always starts out with an ask — an ask in which you may not have that much, if any, of an upper hand. It often involves going out of your way and being in an uncomfortable situation. It may even seem like you’re putting something on the line, perhaps a relationship or your reputation.
The thing about asking, however, is that your wish might very well be granted. And that wish could very well change your life.
I got into Jemi because I simply asked.
This week was my last week at Jemi. It’s been an incredible 7 months with this team that I would not trade for the world. They’ve taught me so much about PM, how to launch a successful startup, and balancing all that with being amazing human beings.
How did it start? Well, it all started with a YouTube partnership offer.
I received my first YouTube partnership offer from Jemi, asking if I would be willing to make a video regarding their platform. I was rather small at the time, maybe 1.1k subscribers (and I didn’t know why or how they reached out to me of all people).
Long story short, I ended up reaching out to them to learn more about their product and who they were as people — and I was impressed. At the end of the call, I just shot my shot. Mind you this wasn’t anything that I was expecting during the call. I just felt really inspired by the CEO Annie and what the team was like. So, I simply just asked:
“Hey Annie, I know this is out of the blue but I just wanted to ask. I know you’re not hiring right now, but I would love to have an opportunity to learn from you and help Jemi grow as a member of your team.”
Fast forward 7 months and I’m taking away a tremendous amount of learnings and honestly some life-long friends and mentors. All because I just asked.
And yes, of course, I was pretty nervous about rejection. I ended up giving up this YouTube partnership for this opportunity. But as a result, I was able to launch a fellowship for Jemi that has successfully undergone three cohorts, as well as help on several projects on the growth side. I’ve also helped them reorganize their internal task management system and introed a couple of partners to Jemi.
So just like Ryan, Jia, and Maggie spoke about, the fear of rejection can be paralyzing and often will drive us all into inaction. But, overcoming that and simply asking — be it Ryan’s request to hear out his pitch for Bolt or Maggie’s ask to learn more about a Dutch fries company — can truly change your life.
Have the courage to ask.
weekly updates 🌱
  1. finished up an incredible 7 months with Jemi
  2. got some midterm exams/papers back — let’s just say I need to spend a little more time on school
  3. recruiting for NucleateDojo at the moment and meeting some incredibly talented people
Thanks for reading this week’s newsletter. If you enjoyed it, feel free to leave me a reply or connect with me on Twitter. See you all next week!
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Brandon Yu
Brandon Yu @brandonoliveryu

Becoming better in public and sharing weekly learnings throughout my personal pursuit of ikigai.

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