So This Is My Why | Issue 25

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.

Hey STIMYers!

Hope you’ve had a gentle start to 2022.

I’ve been struggling with jetlag this past week since my return from the UK. The city was so quiet, but it was really lovely to revisit old haunts and discover new ones. Also took to walking everywhere, and discovered that London is actually a lot ‘smaller’ than I thought!

A portion of that time was spent time busy digging around for interesting things happening in the city, so stay tuned as we’re getting some fantastic British entrepreneurs onto STIMY soon! Including STIMY’s very first OBE, who’s produced over 600+ West End plays, owns London’s pre-eminent jazz club and much more.

I’m pretty excited about STIMY’s 2022 lineup. Here’s an idea of some upcoming guests:

  • founding member of PAP (Singapore’s ruling political party) – who was once banished from Singapore 😅;
  • Chief Web Advocate of the World Wide Web Foundation;
  • founder of Udemy;
  • the first Malaysian Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; and
  • so much more.

Are you excited?

I know I am!

STIMY Ep 67: Daniel Flynn

Daniel Flynn - cofounder Thankyou Australia social enterprise

Time to kick off 2022 with an especially inspiring figure: Daniel Flynn – co-founder of Thankyou, and one of Australia’s most prominent social entrepreneurs.

One of the hallmarks of Thankyou is its tremendous success in pulling off viral campaigns. From launching a video asking people to get 7-Eleven to stock Thankyou water (which they did!), to flying two helicopters above the HQs of Coles & Woolworths ahead of a business meeting (another success) & launching Chapter 1 – a book on the Thankyou journey that asked buyers to pay whatever amount they felt it deserved (they raised $1.2 million in 4 weeks!).

But more than the successes, were the failures & even personal attacks on Daniel’s faith.

Daniel shares their journey in building Thankyou, why they decided to leave the water industry they were so known for, and what the future holds for them.If you were ever looking for an inspiring social entrepreneur, Daniel would be at the top of my list!

​Other places to listen to: Website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes

Looking for past STIMY guests? Check out:

  • Lincoln Lee: Co-Founder of RICE Inc & winner of the HULT Prize 2018, which seeks to combat the 26 million tons of rice wasted during production every year & help smallholder rice farmers break through the convoluted supply chain
  • Rabi Malla: Nepali social entrepreneur & founder of KOLPA, which sells handmade Nepali handicraft worldwide (including from the nomadic Raute tribe)

With Karl Mak (founder of Hepmil Media Group – SGAG, PGAG, MGAG) on how he built Southeast Asia’s largest meme startup.

Favourite Finds of the Week

Jeremy Mary + Brandon Zhang: This 20-year-old Found His Business Mentor Using His Podcast

I came across Brandon Zhang/Jeremy Mary recently on the Backstage Careers podcast, which has an interesting concept: Jeremy Mary talks to people working BTS for A-List entrepreneurs & creators. E.g. how a youth got a job with GaryVee through IG DMs, how Henry Belcaster got mentored by Naval Ravikant & the “All in Podcast” besties, and in this case, how 20-year-old Brandon Zhang landed an apprenticeship with Jack Butcher through his business podcast and then, his current role at OnDeck.

It’s really interesting to see how these fresh graduates are securing jobs & apprenticeships through highly unconventional ways (and lots of hustle!). A particular thing that Jeremy mentioned was this: why apply for a job that everyone is fighting for when you can standout & get to work for your idols directly?​

In this episode, Brandon also shows his initial Twitter pitch to Jack to get him on his podcast and the follow-up email he sent to secure an apprenticeship with Jack (after their initial podcast interview). In addition, the conversation/podcast interview he had with Erik Torenberg to secure his current job and his advice for others who want to follow a similar path.

YouTuber: Beluga

Beluga is one of the fastest growing YouTube channels out there, having gained 4.8 million subscribers in 3 months with 50 videos (he now has 6.88 million subscribers)!​

The premise?​

Random, fictional Discord conversations with no voiceover; just sound effects. And really bad thumbnails.​

Covering relatable topics like:

  • “when parents ask what you want for Christmas” – the ending really got me;
  • “when your phone dies…”;
  • “when a ‘friend’ forgets your birthday”;
  • “when parents say ‘we need to talk'” etc.

As you might’ve already guessed, such growth does not come without a lot of strategy. And Paddy Galloway does a great job breaking down how he thinks Beluga did it in 10 minutes here.

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds is currently on a sabbatical from acting, focusing on his work on MNTN & Maximum Effort (his companies).

I first noticed this shift when Ryan joined LinkedIn, where his profile reads:

I’ve been acting for three decades now, which might be described as “a proven track record” or “delivering consistent results” on LinkedIn. I’m currently on a sabbatical to spend time with family and attempt being a 9-to-5 professional.

In recent years, I’ve built what The Wall Street Journal recently called “a business empire.” Still trying to figure out what they meant by that. 

My skills include writing, re-writing, tweeting, mixing cocktails, backend engineering for software platforms and watching lower-tier Welsh football matches. Proficiency ranges from excellent to absolutely awful.

And he has been absolutely prolific in churning out great advertisements/content, e.g. the reaction to the Peloton incident in the Sex and the City reboot. And when Winnie-the-Pooh lost its copyright protection earlier this month, Ryan launched Winnie-the-Screwed – both to parody this moment & also as advertisement for Mint Mobile. So good.

​Jessi Hempel (Senior Editor at Large, LinkedIn) does a great interview with Ryan on his current work and the way he’s innovating the industry of advertising & making it fun using “fast-vertising: (i.e. creating marketing that moves at the speed of culture).

Wise Words from C.S. Lewis in 1948

A snippet that struck me deeply this week comes from C.S. Lewis, “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948), after the dawn of the atomic age:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Lee Williamson: Regional Editorial Director, Tatler & creator of the Generation T brand

Also, do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?

Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at) 😊

Until next week!

Ling Yah

P/S: If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up here.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap