"I have the utmost respect for people who fail because by going through all the stories of people brave enough to share their journeys, I learned what it took to make a business work and derail it. Fear is real. It keeps you alive and stops you from being completely reckless, so you need it." Goh Wei Choon
Goh Wei Choon is the co-founder and artist at The Woke Salaryman. He trained as an animator but when he graduated with a hefty university debt, he waded into the world of personal finance to understand how to better chip away at his debt. In the process he learnt not just about money but also history, sociology, psychology and much more. He now uses his visual storytelling skills to communicate the things he's learnt on his journey.
Jeremy Au: (00:29)
Hey, Wei Choon, really excited to have your show. For those who don't know yet, could you introduce yourself?
Goh Wei Choon: (00:40)
Hi, my name is Goh Wei Choon. I'm one of the two founders of a Singapore based finance webcomic and blog called “The Woke Salaryman”. With Woke Salaryman, what we tried to do is we try to make the complex and often inaccessible or technically difficult topic of personal finance, more accessible and also more fun to read. By doing it primarily in comic format, social illustrations, and also nowadays content online, like Instagram stories and things like that. We've been doing that for about three years now. We started it as a side hustle. And I think 10 months into it, we managed to monetize it, then we shortly after that, quit our jobs. And now we're doing it full time of a very small company. That's why I do that.
Jeremy Au: (01:27)
So how did you first start that artistic journey? Were you an artist as a child, or was it something that came to you later?
Goh Wei Choon: (01:34)
I think all kids draw. I forget who said I think maybe because so maybe I attribute wrongly, but the quote is something like all children can draw. You forget how to draw when you become an adult, which is a bit sad you're going to look at Picasso’s art. He did some very realistic stuff when he was becoming an adult. Because he sort of mastered the realistic form. He went back to drawing like a kid. That's why stuff looks the way it does. I think people who become artists a lot of time you just didn't stop. I've been drawing for fun anyway for a long time. But the impetus came when I was 14 years old, I watched this movie called Princess Mononoke. This was Studio Ghibli. I don't know how to say that one. Director’s name was Hayao Miyazaki, and it's incredible. So when I was 14, I saw that this kind of thinking exists. I want to do this for my life now. So that's when I decided like, this is what I want to do.
Jeremy Au: (02:29)
And I think that's why you started your career, obviously, on the media side, etc. And yet, you also decided to make that additional step also of becoming an entrepreneur or being a co-founder to build something new of your own. So how did that start for you?
Goh Wei Choon: (02:43)
Although it's like much longer. So when I was in uni, studying University, I was still I think, quite naive. I always tell my students when I say this, what I say please, I'm saying naive, not because you are inherently naive, you just haven't seen enough of the world. And that's normal as a student, is that a coral reef of safety for you to be as idealistic as you want, then when you go out to the market, then your ideals will be tested. And my ideals were tested in a very rough way because I told myself a few things that were in hindsight very, too idealistic. I said, number one, if I can get a job I at Ghibli Studio. I don't care what is ever to sweep the floor. I also do I'll do it for free is just how much I want a job. So completely forget about like, how I might add value, because I was okay with being a janitor, let's say an agenda, no value. But obviously you goes to the Ghibli you want to be about this. I want to I told myself something along the lines of why if I can do anything animation related, I get 3k salary enough.
That's the cap I need. If I can get a career in animation, which later on as I learned about money, and how much it costs for house and things then, I drink a lot. And the last thing that I told myself was, if I graduate, and I don't become an animator, I might as well kill myself. And I didn't say it isn't a depressing way, it's just the identity thing. Like I lock in animator as my identity so solidly, there was no room for anything else, because that was how strongly I believed in it. And yet I came out to work, I realized I actually need to find all very fun. Sometimes, 9 to 5 is too long is that it doesn't give you a lot of room for options. So the younger folks listening to this who got jobs after COVID may not realize that actually before that, like you just go to the office every day and it can be quite difficult. It's not that I don't do that. I just don't have to do that when I don't feel like it. That's why entrepreneurship always came around eventually to my head. If only I can one thing, then that also slowly became my dream. And I realized that it's very hard to fulfill that dream in animation unfortunately.
Jeremy Au: (04:47)
You say something that's quite true, which is I think all of us are very passionate when we're young. We all have that like very big passion when we're young. And then after that we actually have to change a tweak yet. Somebody feels like giving up. I'm selling out.
Goh Wei Choon: (04:56)
I’m selling out that's what I felt like.
Jeremy Au: (05:00)
How should people think about it from your perspective? Like, did you say you're selling out, or do you feel like you let go of the old to step into something new? How does that work for you?
Goh Wei Choon: (05:09)
Some of it is ego some of it is you sort of fear of letting down your community which in a way, I've never ever got a job in animation. I have a master's degree in animation. I never did a full time job. I did some freelance stuff before but never full time. And I was just afraid of my peers judging me actually in the back of my head, I'm thinking what they may be saying about me. That's not animation, how can he give up? This was what and I kept thinking, there's some kind of unspoken pact that all Singaporean animators have or Singapore animators have, like, we must stick through and build industry and have this critical mass of, I felt so much guilt, putting all this pressure on myself, when I go and talk to my friends, actually, they don't care and they won't judge you. If they're your friends, they wouldn't judge you and people will judge you for that kind of thing. They probably have some kind of inner insecurity that they're dealing with as well. Because I think about it from the POV of like me and my fellow graduate from my batch. Not everybody is doing animation. I'm not gonna go like hey, you see like “Person A” like how can he sell out and not do that? Like, I don't judge them. So if they judge me, then I spent all this time wasting time I think I saw people understand when they graduated life is hard. If anyone's gonna judge me, then you pay me to be an animator and live my passion, or if you don't do that, then they shut up lah. But nobody thought that anyway, so stupid. So I spent three years guilting myself over not being animation. Having sold out and chase money for a while was what allowed me to have enough savings to do Woke Salaryman without any if not without any fears, but with less fears, because I have like six months of salary to ride on in case it will take a while for us to monetize it.
Jeremy Au: (06:51)
And I think that's interesting, because it's actually kind of like what you kind of like build up the reserves and also use that to build the Woke Salaryman for you, personally, it feels like also as a personal issue, because you're talking about your debt. How does that work together from your perspective? Like what attracted you to join or build? Like why was it exciting to you personally?
Goh Wei Choon: (07:10)
The genesis of it was not so preachy and proper actually, because my co-founder and I have been friends since polytechnic. We hang out socially anyway. We're always talking about this stuff. And while we bonded a lot over the formation, the Woke Salaryman together was always the idea of quitting our jobs because thinking big reason was the year that had more money. For me also because of my dad, because I feel that pressure from behind the shackles and my feet that is not comfortable to walk with, and I kind of run with, so the money was good, but for me is really about freedom and stuff. So when we made it together, it was not like we were gonna get funding, we're gonna pitch it and stuff. It's more like a side hustle. We wanted to use the Woke Salaryman as a showcase of our ability to turn boring things into interesting content, then what we were going to do is that we were going to use that as a portfolio to sell workshops. I remember being very enamored when one of my friends was doing workshops, you prepare one deck of slides, and then you just do like, two, three hours and you earn like 1000s of money, quite woo-hoo I know. So that's what I wanted to do. But even when it comes to business, like, it rarely turns out, it works out the way you planned. Your work out by the different way. So we started and got sponsored content coming internally as well as the content route was something that we could do, then that's what we've been doing. We are selling like workshops sometimes now. But it's not the main nowhere near the amount of money that we make sponsored content.
Jeremy Au: (08:37)
What was it like putting the characters together for the first time? I actually went to see some of your older work. We could go back in time. I couldn't tell which was the first one but I could see the evolution in his way backwards.
Goh Wei Choon: (08:53)
I know, which it was. I look at it sometimes.
Jeremy Au: (08:57)
Are you saying the first one is the worst one? I mean, isn't that the most inspired?
Goh Wei Choon: (09:01)
I think so. But I mean, it's the one that sparked everything. So of course it's special. But my inner critic is extremely powerful, very strong. So I can judge my work very well and objectively. And first of all was not good.
Jeremy Au: (09:16)
To share a little bit more about what was the creative vision, or what was the principles that you had when you put together that first characters into place? What was that things that you want to communicate? Because I can see the design language you want to call it the motifs to stay? But I'm just kind of curious. What was that brainstorming or you must have tried different styles, different iterations?
Goh Wei Choon: (09:35)
Because my actual art style then naturally drawing in I have a side project also of my own that I'm trying to draw this horror comic. And the style is more elaborate, is a good question because like it forces me also to think about it now, because sometimes, actually, it was not so consciously thought of when I assembled the first comic. It just kind of fell into place based on what I wrote. It's not like efficiency, because I learned this about being an artist and publishing stuff on social media. Social media is fast, very, very fast. So sometimes, if you have to choose between mastery or consistency of publication, you have to choose consistency of publication. So you have to have a conscious decision to take the thing that you love, and try to design it in a way that you can make it fast enough. That's why our stuff don't have color. And color is another would double the time, maybe I'm not going to color so it doubles the time they'll take to make something. So that was the biggest factor. And it was not easy to do as artists that had passion because it's like, I should also express my artistic identity. But you also see stuff especially nowadays on TikTok on Instagram. You see teenagers in bedrooms with just one guitar and a very raw vocals doing absolutely emotionally eliciting things with such a simple thing with flaws even. So it's great that social media has made because publication is so easy nowadays, there's no barrier to that.
Typically, I think in the past, why a lot of things sound very polished, was that there to go through the barriers of publication because it's so difficult, you need a company to back you, you need a record label, you need a TV station to say, we'll produce your thing and broadcast for you. So because of those barriers of publication, it became very necessary to show a certain level of polish. And now we break that down, and we find that lack of polish can also be something great. We see that I think with social media video. So like, if you look at like TikTok and why they work or YouTube videos or why they work. If you over polish it, sometimes it can kill the authenticity of the piece and make it actually counterintuitive to what you want, which I think a lot of brands actually struggle with, they try to overproduce a bit of a throwing money at it. But you can't solve everything that way anymore, because people won't believe it, they can see a dishonor. So tell me something then instantly, I'm not ready. So that's kind of how we approach our art also. And it has gotten better and more elaborate, because I have found more resources to be able to do that, that we hire people. And then now we can add gray shading, or like my process is cleaner now.
Then I got space to add in additional quality report, which is shading, and then shading will give the drawings more fun. But whether they tell the story, but I actually don't know sometimes they do. But I've been surprised that because we can see every share that we get on Facebook. Like if we put an album of pictures, just a comic strip, we can see individual engagements for each piece. And I'm always wrong, like wish panel will be shared the most I was pleased to give him my cell phone I tried to guess. Because I also knew a lot about people like, I'll try to guess which one is the one that people share. I remember this one piece about, it was a comic about why I'm shamelessly downgrading, and my co-founder wrote a very nice piece, then the drawing that when the most viral was the simplest thing I had found I was in the backyard I didn't even care about, somebody holding a ball with the word enough on the ball that's it. I didn't draw some elaborate scene. It also oftentimes the Creator what you want, is not the same as what the audience wants. And you have to understand that and not let your ego be to hurt by that. That's a roundabout story of how we designed this.
Jeremy Au: (13:26)
Amazing. I love that story about it is the simplest thing that you didn't expect. And I also really appreciate what you're saying about how social media has change what is popular, but also what is easily received.
Goh Wei Choon: (13:36)
Over producing is easy nowadays.
Jeremy Au: (13:38)
So for you personally, have you noticed any trends in other panels? Like, what are the trends do you see and surprises to you?
Goh Wei Choon: (13:46)
When it comes to trends, it's hard for me to say because our strategy is very specific. And we have failed before a lot of things like so it's not just trends. The trends were like trends on LinkedIn, different trends on Facebook, different trends on Instagram, and suddenly when you cross posts, you just kind of get a sense on this one. Instagram piece, or listen or do on Facebook, and also on Instagram and things like that. We try and rely less on trends, even though we do look at them. Also, if your content strategy is very centered around trends, I think what happens is that you are chasing the next thing that comes and trends also is sometimes detected by algorithm because so YouTube will say I want to push shorts, then shorts get pushed more.
And then it means that your content will be pushed to the shorts because you are following that thing. And I think you can sort of adjust to a slider of how much I want to follow. And we try to be timeless but that's difficult as well. That's why we have our website actually no, I think very few people got or less people go to the website for sure because most traffic is directed through social media. Those are the main stations in which then you take the sub train or the LRT to another sub line, which is your website. So the website is actually just a place for us to have our content in case some of these slides social media websites decide to play with pattern. And they play a pattern before. Facebook brings a better reverse. Now, Facebook is just going in a direction that I feel is counter to the kind of content that we make. And I understand that from a business, that's what they want to do, it's fine. But we need to adapt. And that's why we need to diversify. That's why we're on LinkedIn. And I saw as a flight planning exercise. But now that we've been on LinkedIn, I also discovered that they're very nice things about the LinkedIn algorithm for example, is slow. Things are discoverable, like for much longer LinkedIn, because the feed will push things that are like two, three weeks old, which I used to think I know why so slow, but actually, there's something nice about it's nice to see comments and engagement, still thinking in like weeks, or three posts or something where Facebook is, like always the newest thing papapapa. So maybe I can say in terms of storytelling that like some of the classic techniques that we use, I think we mainly do two kinds of stories.
And suddenly we push the boundaries. So the first kind is your TED talk is like a straightforward presentation. Here's what bonds are in how you can use them. That's very straightforward. Second kind is more like narrative, but narrative got some kind of got like personal story, kind of like how Tony got leukemia and had to deal with the bills, let's say bonds. If your thought about bonds are different, we can do in a story way. So a story way will be more like this, the easiest way to do it, but it's a bit like hokey and hacky to say this novela is like two people having a conversation. So have you heard of bonds and what about the only bond is James Bond I know and or then they have a convert by you're saying sort of the same points. Or it could be something like it's a story where like, there's one that I'm very excited to release, we wrote a story about a couple that broke up on Valentine's Day because they argue about money.
So that doesn't teach much technical things, but it hopefully tugged some heartstrings. There's some brain wrapped up in all the hearts. That's how I like to put it. You tell the story it's more feeling and less than going. But we also try to put some thinking inside. And the thinking actually, for that piece will be at some point, when you are meeting somebody have talked about life, money, and all these unpleasant things. Because if you don't talk about it earlier, when it comes up later, it will be extremely awful. Because you go in a deep relationship without talking about these things. So just skip talking about then come to find out when you're on the precipice of taking the next step that all your things long term misalignment. So I always like to say the formula for that kind of story is heart, brain heart, like we wrap the brain around two layers of heart at the beginning of the end, because you hooked them in the beginning with some semblance of heart, see your lesson in the middle, the end it we've had again, so that it can take it away. So maybe these are some story templates that we use.
Jeremy Au: (17:36)
Now amazing to hear about your templates, like TED Talk versus story time, versus discussion. Any of it is a form of translation. Because I think obviously, it's easy to do art for entertainment in that sense, or art for inspiration, but you're doing very technical or financial terms and you're translating that for the general mass audience. Have there been challenges in translating that language or and content? Like, how does that happen?
Goh Wei Choon: (18:01)
There's so many things to say about this. Because there's first of all, there's nuance, then there's also neutrality, because we put stuff out there that is seen by the public. Now kind is actually not the sponsors, the sponsors are only here. Because we are able to capture the attention of. Our real clients, which are the readers, it's a difficult thing to balance, because you also don't want to piss off anybody. Cancel culture’s looming as a threat. What tends to go viral? And virality is not a mask for content publishers, but it's extremely helpful. But what tends to go viral is a definite stance, when you can clearly say, this is bad, or this is good. But what is often closer to the truth, and what is often much more helpful is nuanced. Take where you can see the reason in both POV and you don't necessarily need to say the end of it. This is good or this is bad. There's a quote I say something I don't know who said it, “but intelligence is the ability to hold opposing points of view”. That is at the core of how we try to think about it like every time and we do this for fun office anyway, when Ruiming and I thought, my co-founder Ruiming and I thought we will try to take the opposite position of something for the fun of it immediately tried to take the opposite point of view and he does same as well.
And that's how we sharpen this point, then you have things I neutrality politics once then you take that is difficult. So what we do to maintain neutrality is that sometimes we say a piece on the left, we say here's why. But we have done a piece also before that about agency, something about how much in life is actually up to you, which is actually about agency. These two things you put together. It seems like they contradict but they don't. I sleep very well at night. I agree with both pieces even though they seem to go in opposite directions. So your question also about translating that middle ground is inherently difficult for social media. Because we are not in a lecture setting, we are not in a postgraduate setting where we have time to be nuanced. And we are constantly running up against the idea that our comics are too long. People tell us that all the time, if you go and see our Instagram, our stuff actually don't work natively very well on Instagram, because we have so many panels and Instagram album is mix 10 that we have to put for comic panels in one pattern to fit everything in. That's how long winded we are. And we've chosen to be that way.
We've tried TikTok before, we just suck at it, because we're naturally very long winded because we think that's necessary to communicate that nuance. And that is why it's needed to carry somebody from the basic first level of knowledge of awareness or something through the difficult middle muddy part, you have to understand that there's nuance, but if it's necessarily complicated, what would have been completed, then what the communication. Why is so difficult. How are we going to make this necessarily complicated thing easy enough, but not too easy? Where they take the wrong thing? And I sorry, we haven't solved it? It's a good question. Because we asked ourselves that every single thing we were looking at it, also complies, why we don't explain this in the entirety, people get the wrong idea. We just don't do that. We want to be they sound so cocky to say this, but that's really the approach. We've got to be a good friend and a girlfriend, we'll just say things you want to hear girlfriend might tell you do you got to stop doing that is hurting you. And that's kind of how we try to strike that balance. So it's very difficult.
Jeremy Au: (21:30)
That is a very nuanced and neutral answer, but also a very deep one. Because like you said, I think the truth is finances are hard. I mean, life, death, kids, marriage,divorce are hard There's so many different aspects of our life. And unfortunately, life is not free or fair, a big part of our personal finances. I want more. And other part is, is that in limited the finite amount of time on Earth, you have a finite amount of money, finite amount of health. I don't know it feels like those are the two. I don't know. what parts of the human soul?
Goh Wei Choon: (22:04)
The second part is getting longer, though. And I think that's why we were getting depressed. But I think what we learned today is that there is no run so honestly sometimes our content makes me feel like worried that I'm not doing enough because as nature of what we do, we also tend to be surrounded by our peers in the industry who are also experts in personal finance. So they know it yourself. I mean, ultimately all humans have the same fears, insecurities, whatever is still there. I feel myself being tugged. I don't do it on purpose. But I think I also do talk about like, how much actually do you need? It might never be enough and like, what are you actually earning so much money and building so much money for? Because when you first start earning money, it feels good, your problems are alleviated. You get the idea that more money equals more happiness. But at some point, I think it stops. I don't know what that point is, in American Studies, say like something like 70 USD dollars a year. I don't know, true or not. But I also think everybody maybe got a different point of view. And like for me, I'm thinking what if I gain financial independence i.e. $1.2 million invested in various things, I've done really well actually. I want to be more. So I also don't know how to settle this thing. It seems like every time I get close to being okay, a new perspective will come. But I think as long as I'm not doing it in a sustainable way, it's okay to spend my old ages working on my craft, which is making comics if I can have that life.
Jeremy Au: (23:30)
I love what you're sharing, which is that so many people look at the founders and the team being they know everything and the 100% walk the walk?
Goh Wei Choon: (23:37)
I think the Woke Salaryman is the ideal that we aspire to. So when people say like, welcome to the Woke Salaryman if not to route, I will say I'm not the ultimate like of the brand. We are people working for this thing. But as you all know, are you are retired or…?
Jeremy Au: (23:53)
I’m not retired.
Goh Wei Choon: (23:54)
Do you need to worry about money now?
Jeremy Au: (23:55)
Long story short is, YES, I think one of the big transitions points for myself personally, was I realized is that I think when you're working for yourself I think there's a certain amount of financial goals that there but I think as a kid or teenager you don't ever really think about your own kids. And now that I have two young daughters both under the age of two obviously the exciting thing about school and scenarios and what if they get sick and so on so forth.
Goh Wei Choon: (24:17)
But I think its expensive. I mean, I'm gonna sound naive. But I also would like to hear from somebody like you who because I hear investor I'm like, must be rich. Because you are investing with your own money and other people's things. Because I feel like something my friends say about kids I always thought when drinking was a he said kids in Singapore costs as much as you want because that's their baseline that says the thing about them after that is just how much you want to add on. So how are you projecting this situation and like, does that even like dent your financial situation much for somebody who I would think is doing quite okay.
Jeremy Au: (24:57)
It's a good question. I think frankly, I 100% agree that I think raising children as expensive as you want it to be. I think there's also a lot of recent science that shows that actually, as a parent, you can't really change too much about your life, the biggest thing you can do to change your child's life is choose your partner because really their genes and environment, all that is really determined by a partner. But adding the science shows like there's only like, three things that a parent can really change. They can change your professed religion, but not your spiritual institution participation rate, they can change your profess political identification, but you can't really change their actual beliefs. And the third thing they can change is how much they love you.
Goh Wei Choon: (25:42)
But you influences strongly right actually.
Jeremy Au: (25:45)
It's more or less about the effect, there's not less nurture, it's more like at the end, the parents actually do a lot less nurture than they think they do. So what I mean by that is that kids growing up, they hang up their family, their environment, or their school, their friends, media, what they're watching on TV, they become teenagers, they've become rebellious, they want to do their own thing. So I think direct parenting doesn't really have those influences. But I think what parents can really construct is the environment that the kids are in. So for example, if your children grow up in a good school or with good teachers, those are things that you can really control to some extent.
Goh Wei Choon: (26:19)
Okay, that’s a good way to do it.
Jeremy Au: (26:22)
I thought it was really interesting, I read that book, before having kids and I was like, that's quite calming.
Goh Wei Choon: (26:27)
It’s all up to you. I just try my best and I surround her with what the best I can do.
Jeremy Au: (26:32)
Exactly. I think I've moved away from construction approach to parenting to more of a gardening approach.
Goh Wei Choon: (26:40)
You can overdo it also, like if you over water your plants, they go die.
Jeremy Au: (26:43)
Exactly. I was a kid, my first plant that we were about, I was so happy to buy my first ever plant.
Goh Wei Choon: (26:48)
I actually bought a plant, no a kid by the way.
Jeremy Au: (26:51)
No, not a kid. I think gardening approach to children is how I look at it. So one thing, obviously, I'll have to ask for you is could you share with us a time that you personally have been brave?
Goh Wei Choon: (27:03)
I think a lot but like the stories were too difficult to tell my team, the easiest one to say would be when I quit my job to start this company. And it's not a big deal, honestly, like, if you just look at the factors, I had to play with the amount of money that I saved up. It's not a very perilous journey. But for me, it's a huge deal. Because the amount of fear that I felt was very immense, like I've always wanted to do this entrepreneurship thing. And then here it is this thing that we've built with monetized that has steady income coming in. And still, I didn't dare to take the leap. And I actually did this in April 2020, that's when I quit my job. And April 2020, was when the COVID situation was just starting to hit. I remember very clearly my boss, he told me that I usually like it because if you quit, I have to replace you. And then I don't know if I can tell you your job back. I would love to keep you so can you be very careful about this decision, this COVID is coming. So it was really difficult. But what sold it for me and allowed me and let us sing about gardening was my parents that they didn't tell me what to do. I always ask them like, should I quit? Should I quit? Because they know about this stuff, I think. And they always tell me don't rush it. Don't rush it. Don't rush it.
But when I presented my factors to them, I got this thing that I'm starting, I think they still don't fully understand what I do. So they look at the financial factors and then the job and then they say actually you can consider why not? Why do you have to lose and when they say they are now okay, I related to your gardening thing? Because it's like they didn't tell me what to do. Structures whereas you tell me roughly how to approach it. Don't do it for me, don't do it with me don't put my hand through unless I need your help that way. So the fear that I felt in approaching that decision was almost cripplingly like difficult is listening on camera thinking about my future wife, I miss this chance that we get again, could be a once in a lifetime thing. Why not just try it? I thought it was the bravest thing I did. It's not the bravest thing anyone has ever done. But the amount of fear that was in my head or I was so wracked with paralysis for a while. And then my co-founder was just doing an event he was actually not helpful at all because of how chill he was, which is not a knock on him, but it's just how neurotic I naturally am. I overthink things all the time. So I was assaulted by just all these possibilities of things that could go wrong, is still I think a miracle that I ever moved, do the leap. I don't know how I did it.
Jeremy Au: (29:32)
On reflection now, is there any nuance now I guess to that fear that you now have the benefit of hindsight to look on and see why there was fear?
Goh Wei Choon: (29:43)
Yes, there is some. The fear, I think comes from the ego. So because I was afraid of starting this thing, and being associated with not having this thing worked out. But I think I also subconsciously judge people who will fail entrepreneurs because I wanted to be one. And I didn't want to ever fail at being one. So I also take it out on people that I see who tried it and failed. And that is awful that I did that.
And now I have the utmost respect for people who fail. Because only by going through all the stories of people who are brave enough to share their journeys, or how they feel, did I learn what it took to make a business work and what it can do to derail a business, and that fear is real. Fear keeps you alive, it stops you from being just completely reckless. So you need it. But sometimes you can get into the power paralysis, and that's not good either. You can freeze when something dangerous is coming for you. And then work sometimes, you also have to rationally be able to overcome and go, what does this situation require? Is it fear and take that feeling you get from here and go, actually, I've accounted for this stuff. Let's go here anyway. And is that action in the presence of fear, then that is courage or bravery. So that's what I try to tell my students who feel fear about doing certain things. Let your brain help you. Fear is from the depths of your heart, very intuitive thing.
You feel it first, before you even realize what it is. That's why you go to University. That's how you sharpen your mind, your ideas.
Jeremy Au: (31:32)
Wow, amazing. I'd love to recap, I think there are three big themes that govern this discussion. The first, of course, is thank you for sharing about what it was like to have your creative spark and your childhood passion, and how that plus also your desire to structure your own path led you to found the Woke Salaryman. And I think a lot of the principles that you have that you're not the Woke Salaryman but as an ideal that you're working towards. I think there's such a beautiful humanity to it. And the second, of course, is I really appreciate you going into the tradecraft of building efficient art because of algorithms and social media trends that are there today. But also, I think, a lot of the translation work that's needed to make finance as a topic into something that's consumable, and understandable in terms of nuance versus neutrality. And I think you said it in the context of the broader culture as well. And lastly, I really appreciate that. you talked about how the fear of being a founder, how you went about resolving it, but also I think in recognizing, I think with the benefit of time and age, I guess, that we all of us have now. I love your guidance on how to kind of like harness your brain and your heart to push forward. So thank you so much.
Goh Wei Choon: (32:44)
Well, thanks for sharing all your parenting stuff. I think that's fantastic. That's a great way to look at it.
Jeremy Au: (32:50)
All right. Thank you so much.
Goh Wei Choon: (32:51)
Thanks, Jeremy. This has been fun.