My year end compendium

While I shared a bit of this with my friends and family, I’ve omitted some somewhat private info and left most of the thoughts I feel might be good for the world to see.  Frankly, as my journey continues to become more public, I’m finding that it’s o.k. to share a considerable amount to the world who may find themselves in this batch of “good peoples” I hope will surround me.  Happy 2021!

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This past year deserves a good swift “get out of my life” kick in the pants!  As a result, this is my part at doing it in spite of it being one helluva “365 days.”

Believe in Yourself

TL;DR

  • realizing how “rich” I truly am
  • priorities w/ relationships
  • new faces & hearts I’ve been blessed in crossing paths
  • the 19+ year journey continues
Korean lesson
I don’t do these every year.  When I can, it’s my small way of sharing what’s going on in our lives; would love to get one from you!  😬
As you know, my last name is “Na.”  In hangul, it’s 나.  In Korean, it means “me” informally.  나 want to do.  나 in pain.  나 am happy.  These are poor examples, but I hope you get the point.  So, when you hear in a song “나나나” again … just think of “me, me, me” or “Brandon, Kade & Kamden.”  Ha, ha, ha.  Or should I say again 나, 나, 나?

Just finished 1000 km
Yup, I can’t believe it myself, but one of the activities I hated the most growing up, happened the most this past year.  More on it below in “believe.”

Wealth is not measured in dollars
This year, I realized I’m richer than anyone I know — in “real”ationships.  I’ve stopped counting in dollars & started tallying high quality conversations.  It’s not about reaching $1 mill or $1 bill.  It’s about taking each zoom call, one at a time. 😂

And if you know me, I’m not counting, but I’m appreciating each conversation.

This year I said goodbye to 2 good friends — it’s o.k.

Focusing on who matter
2020’s been a brutal year, but it’s also reminded me of who is important.  First and foremost, my parents.  I am lucky that their love has gotten me to where I am.  Sure, they did some crazy things to me growing up, but ultimately, they’re the reason I’m alive.  They could have aborted like my mom did with multiple others, from what I learned.  I was lucky.  I’m alive.

And my 86 yo Aunt.  She’s the reason why we’re in the states.  So, I’ll do my best to spend as much time as I can with her — that’s most of the reason why I flew up to Seattle this past Thanksgiving.

And moving forward, I’m going to do my best to simply help my friend first and foremost with my education and digital marketing superpowers.   The Digital skills have helped Bezos become the richest in the world.  And I even got this company onto page one right before they sold for $500 mill.  So, let’s just say this power is underutilized and very few understand they can leverage it for their own good.  And yes, I’m saying I’ll help my dear friends for free.  You can ask some of them how I’ve already been doing it.  Anyway, just ask.  Oh, and if you’re skeptical and need proof, google “andover ssat scores“, “SEO Seattle” or “Seattle SEO” and you’ll see what I mean.

Schools must change
Also, I’ve been helping my mom’s dream come true of me broadcasting once again.  After my stint as the drive time host for BeFM in Korea, I’ve launched a podcast called EduK8 haven’t some absolutely amazing guests from Emily Carrion to her husband Lazaro and my old Expedia Co-worker now future Elon Musk Honor to my 40 year educator friend Bob.  It’s been an incredible time with each of them getting to know them better than ever and talking about a subject that needs improvement.

More than ever, Education needs to change.  Covid shed light on it, but honestly, it’s been needing improvement for years.  And my show is an attempt to partially fix it.  After doing it for another 1-4 years, I’m thinking, I’m going to launch a venture in the field.  I’m not going to let my 10+ years of actively working in it and 20+ years of seeing it first hand with my sons and 30+ years of experiencing it my life go to waste.
For now, however, I need to focus on WiL.

Always keep your doors open (& swinging each way)
While I’m focused on the people closest to me and prioritize them highly, I’m adding a few to the list and it’s because I’ve allowed myself to meet some absolutely wonderful souls.  As I mentioned Jen has graced us with her support because she understands the journey more than most.  I’ve met some absolutely astounding founders including Kwame & Claudius and reconnecting with past friends like Nick.  I had the fortune to get to know 30 under 30 Sara Itucas who’s graced my little group of entrepreneurs ( Rosalinda, Margie & Tina) with her mentorship.  Charles and Derek have also been incredible new friends in the startup space.  My friend Steph who runs AdmitSee introduced us to her main architect & he’s been supporting us in amazing ways.

And before most of these new relationships blossomed, old relationships reignited and helped    us in so many ways.  I have to thank Peter Yoon, who I used to work in the Daechi district of Seoul — considered the most intense education center in the world.  Peter helped our company get its first legs and did so many things for so little money.  He charged me for 4 hours a week, but easily put in 20.  He introduced us to his most amazing wife Liz who works for one of the coolest design firms in the country more people should know.

Believe
If you’re connected with me on FB, you’ll see that I recently reposted a little pic of the boys with a sign that said “believe.”  Let’s “believe” 2021 will be the best ever.  You might be surprised what a little faith might do to your wishes.

On a related note, I “believed” I could run 82 miles or 131+ km in two weeks.  After I realized I was about that much away from 1000 km a little over a week ago, I embarked on the most painful set of runs I’ve ever done.

You see, I would have to run 11.7 miles a day (or 4.8 MORE kilometers than I have ever run in a single day)!!!  I would have to do this 7 times over the next 2 weeks.  Could I do it?  The answer is here.

Not sure if I’ve shared this, but 2019 was one of my worst.  I couldn’t get myself to continue running after attempting to start about ironically 7 times.  My stomach has been a little off over the past 5 years or so where it gets so hungry, it starts to feel like it’s literally eating away at things inside.  I probably should get it checked out, but every time I go to the doctor, they say the same thing: let’s run some tests and after we get them back, it’s usually “You’re o.k.  Just exercise and eat healthy.”  LOL

In December of 2019, I literally thought I had prostate cancer (esp after my homeopathic doctor had said I have “nodules”).  The urologist in January said, “Nope. You’re o.k.  Just exercise and eat healthy.”  After the emasculation, I was relieved (I know — any guy reading these words together must be ROFL).

Shortly before this little episode, I also had thoughts about the last 5 minutes of life.  All the thoughts that Seneca had in “How to Die,” or Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” or Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air” had become so clear that I decided moving forward, I would live every moment I could as if it were my last.

This revelation helped me start WheniLeave.com.  This revelation helped me call my boss a coward (yah, I’m surprised I still have a day job).  This newfound “belief” let me truly become stronger than ever.
As a result, it wasn’t impossible to achieve my last goal of the year.  As I prepare for this email to send on the last day of this year, I am only 10 km away (or ~1.5 to 2 miles less than any run for the past week).
I have a feeling I’m getting there.   😬

Happy 2021!  You are much appreciated. And I know you can achieve anything you want.  If you don’t believe it, at least tell the youth of our world that they CAN!!

And be safe and well.  “Health is wealth,” as my friend D says.

My best,
Brandon

p.s. On top of the day jobstartuppodcast, running, agency & other side hustles, I run a few YouTube channels that have been garnering steam.
p.p.s. We would love it if you can add $1 to our crowdfunding campaign.  The more “votes” we have, the higher the chance we have in getting VC funds later.  We’ve been fortunate with what’s already there, but I think having a larger number of “backers” will be a great signal moving into 2021. 

Believe (you can do it)

Believe in Yourself

If you TRULY Believe, you CAN Truly Do Anything 

In honor of it, let’s “believe” 2021 will be the best ever. 

You might be surprised what a little faith might do to your wishes.

 

A little over 2 weeks ago, I noticed I ran 534 miles this year (despite never running more than possibly 25 or more a year).  It blew me away when I hit 500, but a little thought creeped into my head right after I saw this number.
I quickly converted it over to kilometers out of curiosity and saw it was “up there” in terms of digits.  I wondered to myself, “how close would this be to 1000?
After quickly converting it, I realized I had ~141 km to go to hit 1000!  I thought to myself, “that can’t be too much in miles, could it?”  Well…

Math Skills Finally Serving Some Use

Quickly using my “9th grade Math Student of the Year” skills, I noticed that it was only about 82 miles’ish.  Doing a bit more math, I measured it out to be 11.7 miles a day for 7 runs — I knew I had no more than 7 or 8 opportunities to possibly execute on this crazy idea.  The most I ran this past year of “living life to its fullest (and frankly, my entire life!),” was 14 kilometers split into 2 separate runs.  This new pace was easily 4 km+ more than that “best day.”  And I would have to replicate this incredible feat 7 times in a row!??  Could I do it???  

 

Guess what?  I started to “believe.”  

 

Up through that point, I was running between 3 to 6 miles (at most).  Frankly, the 6 mile run was an anomaly b/c it was more like 3-5 miles on each of my runs.  Honestly, I was content with it, but this new goal seemed potentially within reach.

 

So, I said “Screw my body. Let’s see what I can do!?”

 

 

I couldn’t believe it, but I ran more than I had ever in a single run.  You see, that 14 kilometers was (again) broken up into 2 runs.  This one straight shot down Marina del Rey had literally set a personal best (pb).

Killing Myself

My body was in excruciating pain, but my mind started to say, “You could do it.”

 

If I haven’t said it enough, I hated running.  No, I detested, despised and literally loathed this activity that kills the joints and right before the runs from this year, I worried about needing possible hip surgery.
However, it was less than the 11.7 miles I had set as a pace I would need to hit.  So, the very next day, I ran another 2.36 miles to get close to the pace.  My body was telling me to “go f*ck yourself,” but my brain yelled back and said “go f*ck yourself even more!”

 

So, the day after, I decided to run another 8 miles, but as a result of my schedule that day and a surprise call from a gal I had just recently swiped right with, I only ended up with 6+ miles.  
Noticing that I wasn’t close to the 11.7 miles every other day, I ran another 4.19 miles later that night.  In total, I had run over 20+ miles in 3 days.  I was really believing I could do it — while dying in agony at home after the longer runs.

 

I had to rest.  So, I took my first full day off in a few days and prepared for the run on the 19th.  I was more determined than ever to reach that 11.7 miles goal.

Just do it

At first, the run was the same old pain where it takes about a mile or 2 to start warming up. After I got past the first couple, I started wondering “maybe I could reach the virgin territory?”  But for some reason, it was tougher today than it was the past few days.  When I got to mile 8, I thought, “I can’t do it.  I can’t run this entire length.”  So, I walked for a bit.  However, I told myself “I MUST do this.”  I began running again.  For the next 4 miles, I walked, ran, walked and then ran.  The last two miles, I ran enough where I would at least attain a pace that didn’t feel like walking.  While it was slow, I got the 12.2 miles done!  Even though the pace was slower, I felt like I truly did it.
I literally just ran the most I had ever.  I destroyed my body while doing so, but it was an accomplishment I’ll never forget.

 

From there on, it got easy.  I didn’t have to actually run the 11.7 miles (~18.8 km).  Somehow, I had gotten a tad ahead of myself and ended up only needing to run 8-9 miles (12.8-14.5 kms) every other day to achieve my goal.  Maybe my 9th grade math skills were rusty?

 

A little after a week ad a 1/2 later, I’m at 990 kilometers or only 6.21 miles (~10 km) away from hitting this crazy goal that seemed impossible.  After running 12.2 miles once and 8+ miles four times in a row, I felt like this was destined to be achieved! 

 

Breaking Records

I’ve also run more this month than any of the previous ones by a long shot:
Once this is said and done, it will represent 25+ miles more than the best month I had back in June — the month I had the 14 km (~8.69 miles) run, I believe.
  • March: 6.4 miles (over 5 runs at 11’05’)
  • April: 59.4 miles (21 runs at 13’27”; note, I spent a lot of time calling, writing, etc. on the runs)
  • May: 71.2 miles (19 runs at 13’15”; same note)
  • June: 84.9 miles (18 runs at 12’07”; similar issues here)
  • July: 30.6 miles (13 runs at 11’39”; getting more focused on the pace)
  • August: 61.9 miles (22 runs at 10’20”)
  • September: 75.9 miles (29 runs at 10’34”)
  • October: 58.1 miles (23 runs at 9’47”)
  • November: 60.9 miles (19 runs at 10’41”)
  • December: 105.5 miles (20 runs at 9’49”) thus far

In Kilometers:

  • March: 10.3 kms (over 5 runs at 6’53’)
  • April: 95.7 kms (21 runs at 8’22”; note, I spent a lot of time calling, writing, etc. on the runs)
  • May: 114.6 kms (19 runs at 8’14”; same note)
  • June: 136.7 kms (18 runs at 7’32”; similar issues here)
  • July: 49.3 kms (13 runs at 7’15”; getting more focused on the pace)
  • August: 99.6 kms (22 runs at 6’25”)
  • September: 122.2 kms (29 runs at 6’34”)
  • October: 93.6 kms (23 runs at 6’05”)
  • November: 98 kms (19 runs at 6’38”)
  • December: 169.8 kms (20 runs at ~6’05”) thus far

 

2019 Wasn’t Easy

Not sure if I’ve shared this, but 2019 was one of my worst years ever.  I couldn’t get myself to continue running after attempting to start about ironically 7 times.  My stomach has been a little off over the past 5 years or so where it gets so hungry, it starts to feel like it’s literally eating away at things inside.  I probably should get it checked out, but every time I go to the doctor, they say the same thing: let’s run some tests and after we get them back, it’s usually “You’re o.k.  Just exercise and eat healthy.”  LOL

 

In December of 2019, I literally thought I had prostate cancer (esp after my homeopathic doctor had said I have “nodules”).  The urologist in January said, “Nope. You’re o.k.  Just exercise and eat healthy.”  After the emasculation, I was relieved (I know — any guy reading these words together must be ROFL).

 

Shortly before this little episode, I also had thoughts about the last 5 minutes of life.  All the thoughts that Seneca had in “How to Die,” or Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” or Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air” had become so clear that I decided moving forward, I would live every moment I could as if it were my last.

 

This revelation helped me start WheniLeave.com.  This revelation helped me carry out acts at the day job I never thought I would ever do.  This newfound “belief” let me truly become stronger than ever.

 

As a result, it hasn’t been that hard to achieve these 1000 kilometers (that I will have attained here in 2 days).

 

If I can do it, so can you.

 

You just need to do one thing:

 

Believe

Happy 2021 everyone!

 

It’s been a pleasure sharing my life with you.

 

p.s.  I have one section of this post I’ll come back and share and it will be titled:

Just did it

12/31/20’s update:

1000 km of running in 2020

  • December ended up being 112.8 miles (21 runs at 9’46”)
  • or 181.5 kms (21 runs at 6’04”)

These Korean Movies Will Make You Cry Your Eyes Out

In terms of Korean movies, my favorite (and definitely made me tear up) are:

1 – A Moment to Remember

The scene where Chul-soo is reading a letter left by Su-jin will make you bawl. I haven’t seen something so sad, yet so compelling and powerful in making you feel exactly how the couple loved one another in any movie. This is a tragic love story with an amazing end, but also one with a poignant topic that could affect many moving forward.

2 – The Letter

Since this list is about movies (or dramas) that will make you bawl, this movie deserves a much higher ranking given the topic. The movie is prescient in terms of how someone could potentially make their love last eternally. It’s honestly one of the reasons why I’m trying to build a platform that can hopefully make this happen digitally. Continue reading “These Korean Movies Will Make You Cry Your Eyes Out”

The Best BizDev Team in History

Making the deal

I watched 1.5 trillion $ history transpire right in front of me.  

Biz Dev ComplexityToday, you see astronomical valuations of Seattle’s Tech King Amazon.  In yesteryear, we were barely trying to hang on for dear life and eBay was giving us a run for our money.  We were bleeding money.  However, one thing we had was INCREDIBLE people.  Here are a few:

The Best Damn Business Development Team in the World

The “God” before the “Goddess”

Continue reading “The Best BizDev Team in History”

The Big List of Korean American Startup Founders, CEOs, Executives & VCs (Venture Capitalists)

Many of us have heard of FitBit, the electronic fitness brand that’s almost as ubiquitous as the Apple Watch.  And even better known is the football franchise based in the same city as FitBit’s HQ: the San Francisco 49ers.

However, did you know that both of them were founded and owned by Korean Americans?   Continue reading “The Big List of Korean American Startup Founders, CEOs, Executives & VCs (Venture Capitalists)”

Every post, question and piece of Quora content by Brandon Na (2010-2020)

My Quora Answers from the past decade (2010-20)

I’m prolific on Quora. 

I’ve decided to share: Every single answer, question and piece of content I have created or follow in some fashion on Quora (between 2010 and August 25, 2020):

With my latest answer to: How close is Korean drama to real Korean life?

Continue reading “Every post, question and piece of Quora content by Brandon Na (2010-2020)”

L. A. Take Two – 2020 Edition

playa vista in LA

More than a 1/4 century later, I land back in the City of Angels  – to stay.

This time, it may be much longer than that incredible summer I had as a young, naive 22 year old — fresh out of college.  I am joined by my older twin, who is just 3 years younger, while his younger brother is building his Kpop career in Seoul.

On a drive up Crenshaw Blvd on the way to H Mart in Koreatown, I pondered how this time is much different from that summer of 1993.  The world has completely “changed” (mentally) having experienced the depths and highs of life and having lived in 4 other grand cities other than L.A. for extended periods (Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai & New York).

Having my older child with me might also be why I’m a wee bit more conservative this time around.   Being (potentially) “wiser” may be why I have already formulated some immediate thoughts as to what the city represents to me now:

Liberal, yet “dog eat dog”

Continue reading “L. A. Take Two – 2020 Edition”

Morning Brew Email News Summary for April 2020

morning brew image

As most successful entrepreneurs experience, you get “very busy” with building your company even though you would love to tap into some valuable resources along the way.  My friend Trenton Erker suggested I read the “Morning Brew” and I have been trying.  However, it comes in just as fast as my WSJ emails along with a handful of other great summaries.  So, I’m simply not able to process it all, every day.  However, there will be days where I have more time and for them, I’ve decided, I’m going to simply copy and paste some of this great content below.

Great snapshots of economic/startup history

You see, they aren’t always JUST relevant for the days they are published.  Eventually, they will be good glimpses into our recent history and maybe even longer term history.  While they are granular in that they focus on the most recent news all in one email (i.e., content that will ideally be simply about “today”), they have larger points that could be interpreted as the “news of the time.”  The Morning Brew likes to take a few topics, if not just one at a time — thus, the very interesting “perspective” I was hoping to get.

Anyway, here are the ones I haven’t deleted yet (but will as soon as I upload them here):  Continue reading “Morning Brew Email News Summary for April 2020”

How to be an Interviewee for an Anchor App Podcast

If you’ve been invited to a podcast that uses the Anchor app to produce the show, you may wonder how it works.  Depending on your level of comfort with today’s apps and podcast solutions, these instructions may be anything from confusing to as simple as drinking water.

Instructions for guest interviews using the Anchor (Podcast) App

The Podcast host will send you an invite from her/his side asking to send you, the interviewee, an invite/link via multiple medium.  S/he will will click “invite friends to join.”

host invite anchor app

There are so many mediums that are available today, Anchor provides multiple ways of reaching out to you, the guest: users who already have the app and are ready to go, text messages, twitter, facebook, and all the other default apps or media that your phone lets you select when clicking on … More.   Continue reading “How to be an Interviewee for an Anchor App Podcast”

What’s the English Equivalent to the Korean phrase “멋있어” or “멋있다” (romanized as “muh-shee-ssuh” or “muh-shee-dah”)

Itaewon Class Park Sae-ro-yi

The Korean phrase “멋있어” means “chivalrous” in English

The Korean word 멋있어 (romanized as “muh-shee-ssuh”) can exude many other concepts including: debonair, courageous or valorous.  There could be arguments that it means charming, suave or even heroic.  However, as many words are defined or received in terms of meaning, it can depend on so many factors including who is defining it or who is using it for whatever reasons.  Linguistically, semantics can have so many dimensions that make it almost impossible to provide the perfect twin in a completely different language. Continue reading “What’s the English Equivalent to the Korean phrase “멋있어” or “멋있다” (romanized as “muh-shee-ssuh” or “muh-shee-dah”)”