Build Builds

Episode 2 - Giphy CEO Alex Chung

An episode of Build Builds

By Kathy Li
Building builds for a sustainable future
More places to listen

More places to listen

Episode 3 - Code Ninjas CEO David Graham
Our guest today is the founder and CEO of Code Ninjas, David Graham. A Code Ninjas center, or Dojo, is what David would have wanted as a kid — a place that’s kind of like a gym for the brain to stretch his mind, and to come up with creative solutions to tackle problems. And most importantly, a place to feel safe and have fun. After working professionally as a software engineer for close to two decades and having built a successful adult coding school business, David is now building that place where children can call their own. And not just in a single location. David and the Code Ninjas team have grown the brand into a multinational business with centers across the United States, Canada — and most recently — the United Kingdom. You can always tell when an entrepreneur has put a lot of passion into their business. Every detail, from the Taekwondo-inspired infrastructure to every student’s possible future path, has been so well planned out. In the product world, it’s the equivalent of employing a design principle that prioritizes user experience, putting users first. But good planning is far from the only ingredient of building a successful business. You’ll have a chance to hear more of David’s expert advice in his interview. You’ll also get to hear more about David’s journey, Code Ninjas’ journey, as well as the possible scenarios of growing up as an individual ninja. ----------------------------------------- Code Ninjas' website: Our website: Kathy's website: David's Twitter: @originalcoder
October 14, 2019
Episode 2 - Giphy CEO Alex Chung
Our guest today is Alex Chung, co-founder and CEO of Giphy. You may already be familiar with Giphy: It’s an online search engine like Google, but for animated GIFs. And seeing as how they currently serve 500 million users around the globe every day, chances are you may even be an avid user of the platform. I really enjoyed talking to Alex and picking his brain, and that’s largely because while Giphy is such an internationally acclaimed tech company, Alex is very down-to-earth. He genuinely thinks of himself as a part of the startup community, and doesn’t shy away from networking with other founders, offering help and advice. The story of how Giphy grew to where it is now is almost like a textbook example of how to make it in the digital era. The founders saw a gap in the market — more specifically, the fact that the #1 search engine Google hasn’t indexed animated GIFs yet — so they set out to build their own platform to solve the problem, while having fun along the way. They then focused on populating the site with quality content, growing their user base, raising several rounds of funding, building out the revenue systems, and even acquiring a few other startups. And now they are continuing to grow the business, and on a global scale at that. It’s interesting to note that Giphy isn’t Alex’s first startup. During our chat, he likens building startup companies to making music records. If this one fails, learn from your mistakes, move on, and make another one. People like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are extremely rare examples of successful first-time founders. For a much more realistic case that involves a lot of trial and error, I think Alex is a great role model. When I talked to Alex during our remote interview, there was a 12-hour time difference between us. As we were chatting, I couldn’t help but be amazed by how technology was making it possible. Unlike traditional product prototyping, the cost associated with building digital products these days is virtually negligible. Plus, there are a ton of tools out there to help with the process. Even hardware prototyping is so much more affordable now, thanks to 3D-printing and other cutting-edge technologies. Do you have a product idea that you think will help make the world a better place? Have you taken the plunge to start building it yet? What’s stopping you from going forward? Nothing, I hope. ----------------------------------------- Giphy's website: Our website: Alex's Email: Kathy's Twitter: @kathfinder
October 7, 2019
Episode 1 - Techstars Partner Cody Simms
Hi Build-llionaires, welcome to the first episode of Build Builds. Our very first guest is Cody Simms, a Partner from Techstars. Techstars is an American seed-stage accelerator with over 1,600 startup companies in their portfolio. Some of their more prominent alumni include SendGrid, Digital Ocean, Zipline, and many more. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a hold of Cody in person after he gave a couple of talks at a tech conference, right here in Hong Kong. Cody was invited by the organizer to be a guest speaker at more than one panels, covering topics like: “From zero to one hundred: Accelerating your first idea” and “Southeast Asia: Silicon Valley of the East?” So I thought he would make a great inspirational guest on this podcast as well. After our chat, I was especially fascinated by Cody’s story of how he got his start in tech, and how he worked his way up to where he is today. Cody’s been studying the Chinese language for a long time, and his original career goal was more along the lines of something that would require his special language skills. And when that didn’t pan out at first, he’s not afraid to adapt to the next best opportunities that presented themselves. This mindset is definitely helpful for when we are building builds. Things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, and so being adaptive to changes is a really important virtue. And hey, look at Cody now. Who’s to say his language skills aren’t paying off as he’s traveling all around the world, including Asia. So if there’s something you’ve been meaning to learn, or a new skill you’ve been wanting to pick up, do it as soon as you can. And keep going even if you don’t think you’ll see results right away. In the greater scheme of things, pretty much nothing we go out of our way to learn is ever “wasted” per se. I’ll let you listen to the rest of Cody’s journey for yourself when I play the clip in just a little bit. I do have to apologize in advance for the sound quality, since our chat was recorded in a tech conference environment, where it’s nowhere near soundproof. ----------------------------------------- Techstars website: Our website: Cody's Twitter: @codysimms Kathy's Twitter: @kathfinder
September 30, 2019
Episode 0 - Introduction
Hi Build-llionaires, welcome to Build Builds, a new slog* about building innovative technology to make the world a more beautiful and more sustainable place. (*Slog = a new nickname I have for Podcast, as in "sound log" — like blog or vlog, except in audio format.) In this introductory episode, you will hear a summary of my background and journey in tech, as well as what's waiting in store for you in future episodes. Spoiler: I have been — and will continue to be — interviewing tech leaders and innovators from all around the world. Hopefully our conversations will be insightful and inspirational for you as well. Occasionally I will also share updates on my own tech experiments. In the meantime, here's the dedicated website for this Podcast if you are interested in following our news:
September 1, 2019
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