I didn’t really think much about how my own race/ethnicity affected my life until 2011, when I read the ludicrously long piece in New York Magazine. It was called Paper Tigers, with the subtitle: “What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?” and it covered issues I had discussed occasionally with friends but rarely saw elsewhere.

Questions like how come Asians are rarely in leadership positions despite being “so smart”? Or is it possible to maintain traditional Asian values like being humble in a loud, show-off-to-get-ahead world? Or why the hell was dating so damn hard? Continue reading

The Launch Pad Book CoverIt’s that time again! I’m holding my 2012 readership survey to better understand my audience and make this blog better. I found last year’s survey very helpful and I made a number of changes based on the feedback I recieved, so I’m looking forward to doing it again.

To encourage you to participate, I’m giving away two free copies of a book on YC called The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups.

As most of you know, I participated in the Y Combinator program to build Ridejoy. Journalist and business professor Randall Stross got a super close look at the Summer 2011 YC batch and shows exactly what those crazy three months were like for Ridejoy and 62 other companies. Vanity Fair published an excerpt if you want to check it out.

The results are in! Thanks to the ~50 readers who took the survey! You guys rock! Here’s a break down of the things I’ve learned. I know this is not totally accurate because many people didn’t take the survey so it’s biased. But you know what, I’m going write more for the people who take the time to leave feedback vs “the silent majority”. So thanks again guys.

In addition to the two randomly selected winners, I’ve included some special gifts to everyone who took the survey and left me an email. If you didn’t leave an email but filled out the survey just contact me and I’ll shoot you the bonus stuff. Honor system.


  • 80% Male
  • 59% 20-30 years old
  • I assumed that most of the audience here were twenty something males so I’m not too surprised here. 20% females nothing to sneeze at though – it’s 2.5x the number of females in the Stanford CS Department so I’m make sure to keep the ladies in mind. And more surprisingly, since only about 7% of survey respondents were under 20, this means that a whopping 34% of my readers are, gasp, over 30! Man, I figured older folks would just be sick of my juvenile perspective but apparently not.

  • 73% Most readers are aspiring entrepreneurs
  • 60% Most of the aspiring entrepreneurs are TECHNICAL
  • You Art of Ass-Kicking readers are an entrepreneurial bunch. Most of you are looking to start your own companies. That’s awesome! And more surprisingly for me, many of you are technical. Since I’m not technical, I figured that I’d attract a strongly less technical crowd. But apparently not. That’s awesome.


  • 80% Inspiration / Motivation / Getting Pumped up
  • 60% Following Jason’s crazy ideas / challenges
  • 56% Covers Topics I’m Interested in
  • Seems like most of you really jive with my point in Why Inspiration Matters. You come here to get pumped up so you can go back and kick some ass with your job or business or side project or fitness goals or social life. I love that. And apparently more than the “topics” I write about, it’s the crazy sh*t I do that keeps you interested. Message heard loud and clear guys. In fact, I’ve got a couple interesting things in the works that I’m looking forward to blogging about. =)

  • 86% Lessons/tips
  • 54% Detailed case studies
  • 50% Personal reflections
  • I like to mix it up with my content both topic-wise and post type. Most of you are satisfied with the number of quotes / videos and interviews I’m doing, but want to see more meaty stuff. Sounds good. Certainly these types of posts are more work for me to do but knowing that it’s what readers want helps motivate me to get them done. Look for a case study on the movie 300 in the near future.

    General Feedback

    I gave people some room to just write free-form about the things they want to see or feedback they have for me. It broke down into a couple categories which I’ve listed below along with some of specific things people were saying. I’ve linked to some of my blog posts that relate to their requests and added comments here and there.

    Fear / Challenges / Hardcore stuff

    • Continuing to do/talk about things that conquer fear.
    • Experiments, like taking cold showers, rejection therapy, etc.
    • I love your posts on getting stronger and discipline, such as taking cold showers and wouldn’t mind seeing more
    • Topics – Fear of failure and fear of success.
    • Taking risks and living to tell about it.

    Fitness / Running / Gymnastics

    • Anything fitness related along with your own fitness goals and when you meet them
    • If you do train for another race that’d be interesting (run tracker) and inspiring. (Jason: doing a race today so will have a report soon!)
    • Gymnastics have been my favorite.
    • Taking up a new sport (Jason: hmm, interesting thought)
    • Running (how you run, what you listen to :) )

    Randomness / Variety

    • Keep being interesting (Jason: haha, will try!)
    • Keep us guessing and do what you do, Jason. I like the variety…keep it fresh.
    • The unorthodox varieties – not the cookie-cutter ones that others share.
    • Mainly just whatever’s on your mind.

    Posting Frequently / Consistently

    • More frequent posting
    • Keep posting at the current rate. Be regular and reliable on the posts.
    • Yes. By making more of it. :D
    • Of course I’d love if you’d post more but as a failed “blogger” myself, I understand a set schedule =] (Jason: appreciate your understanding!)
    • Just keep writing! :)


    • How you got involved in a startup (Jason: coming soon!)
    • How to succeed in the non-technical roles within a startup
    • Start-up life and the challenges you are facing with it. Also want to hear more about the start-up culture, specifically in your area in SF
    • Some start-up strategy would be interesting. I know it could be harmful to your own efforts, but little hints as to how you arrive at your roadmap would be great.
    • Startups. Bootstrapping. Specifically how to overcome initial inertia and launch.


    • I’d like to see more (yes, more) on motivation. I personally can achieve much more if I can remain motivated. The difficult part is finding that and keeping it in my daily routine
    • Finding the motivation to do things when you just don’t feel like doing them.
    • Anything to get me off my butt (Jason: sometimes that’s the hardest part right!)
    • I’d like to see ways to keep consistent effort under the weight of discouragement, be it from your own doubts or the doubts of others.

    Other / Uncategorizable

    • How to market yourself without being annoying about it (Jason: Can give this a shot, though some might disagree with the ‘not being annoying about it’ part)
    • I’m interested in moving to the SF bay area after college and would like to hear more about it (ie businesses, activities, etc…)
    • You need a kick ass logo (Jason: any designers out there who could offer help?)
    • I’d also like to see stuff on how real life is NOT like high school, or university; lessons or wisdom that was promulgated in the educational years but then proved to be wrong when reality hit the fan. I’m sure that there are plenty of these waiting to happen.
    • Mentoring (being mentored, finding mentors),
    • Strategies for not losing out on opportunities when you don’t have the academic creds on your resume, but you’re a rockstar anyway
    • Career-related. What works, what doesn’t.

    If that wasn’t enough data for you, you’re welcome to check out the survey in it’s entirety here. (no personal data revealed)

    It’s really satisfying to run this blog because I feel that it helps people and adds value to their lives. After posting about how I’ve been blogging for over a year, I’ve decided its a good time to do a reader survey. I talked about discovering my audience but then thought to myself – “Is that just my impression or is that real? Maybe I should get some data!”

    I sent this out first to my email subscribers – and the results have been interesting. I don’t want to give it way yet – because I’m curious to see if the trends are mapped by the broader causal readers.

    By doing this survey, you can help me better understand how to improve it and make it even more useful, actionable and worth reading. To thank you for your support, I’ll be selecting two survey takers to win one of the kick-ass books below [1].

    Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard – great book on understanding how people / organizations enact sustainable change.
    The 4-Hour Body – Tim Ferriss’s second best-seller. There is something here for everyone – if you want to upgrade your physical state, this is how you do it.
    Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – the best Seth Godin book I’ve ever read. Covers a wide range of topics from work to leadership to innovation and highly recommended.

    I’ll publish the survey results on my blog and strive to adjust my writing to fit the request. Note – I haven’t made all the fields required but the giveaway only applies to people who write at least a sentence or two in each of the 2 textboxes.

    Thanks so much for your help and regularly scheduled posts will continue in a few days!

    Continue reading