Yoon Kim - Founder of Minnit

I read a lot. Fortunately, I can read rather fast.

Yoon Kim is a successful player in the financial services industry, and is now pursuing an innovative web based startup opportunity that will create it’s own online trade based economy.

Where did the idea for your startup come from?

The idea for minnit.co came from a series of observations. Last year as the presidential primaries heated up, I became increasingly interested in the cause of the ahistorical popularities of Trump and Sanders. The controversial figures garnered large followings with their polarizing philosophies. I also noticed the gap between traditional business models and the value propositions of current sharing economy companies. With the emerging trend of the social and technological push for decentralization, I came up with the idea for my “thought share” app that brings answers to people in a more personal way.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

For my typical day, I wake up at 6am, make coffee and lemon water, then practice Ashtanga yoga for an hour. My morning routine helps me remain focused throughout the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Thoughtful research and data collection. After I realized the idea for my thought share app, I conducted research and compiled data with beta testing to look at behaviors and incentives behind consumers’ willingness to share skills, labor and ideas with the mass population. I found that people will spend time and energy to help others out.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m not sure excited is the right word, as I have much trepidation about this development. Nonetheless, I think we’re on the verge of seeing the greatest change of how people work (or not work) and earn a living since the Industrial Revolution.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I read a lot. Fortunately, I can read rather fast.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

In high school I worked at a bookstore, because as I mentioned I read a lot and really enjoy it. Though I quickly learned that I did not want to work in retail.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Hindsight can be both obvious and misleading. Nonetheless, realizing this is in part due to hindsight, if I could start again my career, I would’ve joined the venture capital investing universe, as opposed to the public equity one. Ironically, given my investment process and record, I believe it was more suited to early stage private investing, rather public companies. That conclusion became even more obvious after 2008, when public equity market was greatly transformed with high frequency trading, algorithms, dark pools of capital, ETF, and so on.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Maintain a good balance of being both convinced and skeptical about your ideas. I always am checking the hypothesis against data to ensure the connection is clear and accurate. Luckily, the beauty of the digital age is that products can be updated, tweaked or changed completely to stay in tune with recent trends.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Like I mentioned in the last question, I tend to stay skeptical of all my ideas. This in turn allows me to keep pushing the envelope and striving towards continuous improvement. When you stay laser focused on one idea and ignore other factors and influences, you can cheat yourself from coming up with a really great idea. I consider all factors and how they affect my business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I launched a hedge fund in January 2, 2008 that didn’t do so well. Reason being, 2008 was the worst year in the last two centuries to launch an investment management business. Through that experience I learned the hard way that things outside of my control can determine the outcome of my endeavors – often much more that I prefer.

The unpleasant and yet undeniable truth is that we control very little in our own lives. The key is accepting that. With acceptance, I’ve realized that I can’t use that as an excuse not to take on new endeavors. I just need to be mindful of potential outside factors, and keep innovating.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Trading and investing in Iran. I think the scale of growth potential in Iran and the Greater Persia is very high.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Rather less than $100, but a meal for two at Ivan’s Ramen in the Lower East Side of NYC. Probably the best ramen outside Japan.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google from Gmail to Google Drive to Google Docs. I love how well they are synchronized across all my devices. Plus they offer valuable collaboration features.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. This book has really opened my eyes on wealth and our country’s economic structure. Piketty explores why inherited wealth will always grow faster than earned wealth in our broken system and how capitalism creates levels of unsustainable inequality. I think it is something all entrepreneurs and hard workers should read.

Key Learnings

  • Maintain a good balance of being both convinced and skeptical about your ideas.
  • Hindsight can be both obvious and misleading.