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Dear Fish Sauce Family,
Fish Sauce was dreamt of and born on May 10 and 12 (bday presents welcomed) in Los Angeles when Wilson and Elton were crying in their cribs in the newborn room, and have since been longtime friends. Since leaving the crib, our parents fed us fish sauce in nearly every meal, raising us in very similar foods and values. During our time at USC, we realized our paths were parallel, in engineering and student government, but intersected often in golf class, complaining or bonding over our failed attempts at our golf swings and recruiting. After both graduating, we shared the living room divided by only a thin pressurized wall in NY, where we began our corporate lives, Elton in finance, and Wilson in consulting. Despite aspiring to be Harvey and Mike from Suits, you could find us shoulder to shoulder with asian grandparents at Bo Ky, the local Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Chinese style duck noodle soup restaurant in Chinatown, NY. This moment represented an inseparable contrast between our roots and aspirations that foreshadowed our friendship and partnership.
Many nights we pre-decided to “go out hard,” but ended up talking until 4am through the thin pressurized walls (the one advantage of cheap material) in our respective twin and full size beds that snuggly filled our 76 sq ft rooms. Yes, we snored, and we both heard it all. Though we were grateful of our current learning opportunity, we didn’t feel fulfilled from our day to day and concluded that tech would not only be purposeful but also fun seeing how disruptive it was. We bonded over our ridiculous interview questions that stumped us and the hidden conference rooms and lactation rooms that we took calls in. Wilson took a shotgun approach to recruiting flying out to SF nearly every week for a few months straight, while Elton took a rifle approach. The moral of that story is that both methods work (at least we’d like to think), as Wilson joined Square to build their business team, while Elton joined WeWork to expand to new markets, both of which are on a mission to empower entrepreneurs and creators.
A year ago at Elton’s housewarming after one too many Yamazaki’s, we committed to starting a podcast combining how our Asian American roots have instilled values that have driven our career tension between a more traditional and entrepreneurial path. And the best way to find answers is to ask questions to successful Asian Americans who have taken that leap of faith, a decision many of us are conflicted over. The next day we met with one of our early partners at Los Altos Park in SF for half the day to jam on the future of Fish Sauce. That summer was a hectic one, squeezing recording after recording before Wilson headed to business school.
We’ve developed a value of community in building product, which has served as our form of “capital” that fueled us in our early days - from sourcing speakers, to sharing the Fish Sauce gospel, and to providing critical but necessary feedback to us. Now 6 months since launch, it is truly incredible, even magical, to see our monthly unique listeners grow to over 3,000. It’s the texts, tweets, FB messages, IG messages, iTunes reviews, and in person feedback that have not only energized us, but also served as our board to guide us.
All the support has been inspiring and fuels the passion that keeps us wanting to do more everyday. What started out as just passion project and now potential business have been nothing short of a community hustle, and it will only sustain if our listeners, speakers, mentors, friends, and family continue to care about our mission and each other. Fish Sauce is nothing without our quirky, smelly, but so f*king good listeners. Thank you!
And this is why we call this community our Fish Sauce Family.
Elton & Wilson