Another year has flown by and what a year it’s been for us!
We could not be more grateful for the challenges and growth we’ve experienced this year while building DIEMlife. You’ve been the reason for our journey. We wanted to take the year-end opportunity to share some of our most memorable moments with you.
We answered ten questions about lessons learned and inspirations from the past year. We had a great time reliving these memories with each other. We hope you enjoy these behind-the-scenes moments.
We recommend asking yourself how you might respond, or, even better, sitting down with a friend to answer some of these questions. We guarantee you’ll learn something new about each other.
Q. What is the one moment from 2017 you will always remember?
ANDREW (our incomparable developer): It is really a series of moments. I remember reaching out to Tim and offering, “If you need a hand with something let me know.” Little did I know that single message would change the course of my life. I also remember meeting with Tim and Yoo-Sun about the original idea of DIEMlife and after our second call together–where they explained what and why they’re building it–I had that ‘ah-ha!’ moment and I was hooked immediately. I knew this was something the world needed.
YOO-SUN (our compassionate problem solver): I will always remember the energy I felt in the workshop we hosted in Bali with our new group of friends at Unsettled. Our workshop was a real-life, live test of DIEMlife. We set it up so that our 20+ friends could build their profile and their Quests on paper. A big portion of our workshop required group participation and Tim and I were nervous about how everyone would respond. When it finally came time for the group activities, I almost couldn’t believe it. As I walked around the meeting room, I overheard enthusiastic conversations of collaboration, ideas, and support from every single person. It was in that moment I could feel the power of what DIEMlife can create for each of us. [Click here to read one of our friend’s experience of the same workshop.]
TIMOTHY (our fearless visionary): Hands down, selling our first event ticket for The Endurance Society. It sounds like such a simple thing but it required our first partner to believe in us, our team to forge ahead into uncharted waters, and for the community to give us a chance and trust we could deliver!
Q. If you had to do 2017 all over again, what would you do differently?
A: Oh boy, where to start with this one. Launching a company, working a full-time job, attempting to stay in shape, and having a wonderful girlfriend that means the world to me means a lot of planning on how and when I am working, and being as efficient as possible. With that said, I probably would have liked to have worked to prioritize things better. I love being busy and thrive on always having something to do, but working full time as a thought leader and then switching contexts to an entirely different realm is a prioritization nightmare! I’ll be working on this in 2018.
Y: I would not overthink things as much. This would mean I could work faster. My music discipline has me striving for perfection (and loving the challenge), but this year I’ve learned the faster I do, the more I learn. If I’m looking for perfection before I produce anything, my chance of learning will come later rather than sooner, and that will have been time lost. I now know that a lot of the time I just have to be ok with “good enough for now” and know I can refine later.
T: I would have let go of some less meaningful goals earlier in the year. What I learned is that to achieve extraordinary results, you need to let less important things suffer. It’s been difficult for me to accept we can’t do it all, but my results validate my decision. It’s a combo of prioritization, focus, and patience–all things that require practice.
Q. Share a lesson you learned about either teamwork, processes, tools, or life management.
A: Being a remote team, with me in Portland and Tim and Yoo-Sun in NYC, makes things difficult at times. In an early stage of an application, a founding team would typically work together in the same space to sketch out and whiteboard wireframes and designs. Unfortunately, we do not have this luxury, so it makes communication that much more important. As stated previously, being incredibly busy makes the time that we can get together that much more important. This year I definitely learned the value of a good, concise conversation and the importance of being aligned on a weekly basis.
Y: I work and live with my life partner Tim. We’re both passionate, opinionated, and goal-driven people but we also have different perspectives and ways of expressing ourselves. In our earlier co-working days, this resulted in miscommunication or misunderstandings. But we quickly learned that lessons of teamwork still very much apply for life partners. We have to make an effort to communicate better. When in discussion, we have to breathe, listen to what the other person is trying to get across (not what they’re literally saying), and when necessary, remind each other you’re on the same team. It’s all about getting the best out of each other.
T: Even with years of previous entrepreneurial experience, I’ve grown exponentially while building DIEMlife. I’ve learned to make the most out of meetings and phone calls because everyone is usually maxed out with work and life; not to get caught up creating a digital wireframe when a simple sketch does the job; and that a loyal team and deep belief in a positive mission are the most important things to have when starting a journey.
Q. Share one Quest you’re proud to have completed or you’re currently working on.
A: One Quest that I am very proud of completing this year is boosting my technical knowledge and expertise. Coming into 2017, I had a good grasp on web applications and creating global, scalable applications, but during 2017, my knowledge and comfort level with those skills increased greatly.
Y: I’ve been following Kelly Starrett’s Mobility WOD programs and I was excited to get a chance to get certified when his coaches hosted it in NYC. I love learning more about the vessel in which we live, move, don’t move, nourish, and evolve in. Another tool in my toolbox to share with everyone I work with.
T: I’m proud to have reached the final few days of a month-long nutrition Quest called “Stick With The Plan, Earn All You Can” with my mother, sisters, Yoo-Sun and another friend of ours. It has helped us all stay on track during the stressful holiday season, and includes several key aspects of what DIEMlife is all about- camaraderie, accountability, wellness, and giving back to others!
Q. Who was the biggest inspiration in your life this year?
A: To be honest, it’s been a gentleman I work with at my full-time job. This individual is an architect for a project I’m on and he has taught me to be provocative in my ideas and to question anyone who says something cannot be done.
Y: All the women entrepreneurs I’ve met this year at networking events, through introductions, in my classes, and random encounters. I’m inspired by their fearlessness, their nothing-can-stop-me attitudes, and their let’s-do-this-together camaraderie. I’m moved by the stories they’ve shared with me. I’ve never felt prouder or luckier to be a woman.
T: Yoo-Sun and Andrew. I’m reminded every day, from our email, chats, and calls, that they are not only building this with me, they are living it with me as well. They are the first ones to support me when the going gets tough and it’s that attitude that inspires me. It’s a reminder that the world is indeed full of awesome humans!
Q. What are you most excited about for us – either in 2018 or further out in the future?
A: I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t see a new application for DIEMlife. I love that feeling. I sit in meetings and think to myself that some of my co-workers and the company as a whole could really benefit from this platform. I am so excited to continue rolling this platform out to a greater user base and really understanding how people might use it, and benefit from it.
Y: When starting anything, there is a length of time when you just need to get your ducks in a row. At some point, things will start to fall into place. In the last few months, each duck we’ve put in the row has clicked and we can’t wait to share the results with the public. Of these things, the thing I’m most excited about our partnerships and collaborations with incredible people and the brands they represent. There’s so many of you ready to share your passions, expertise, and support. I’m looking forward to helping make that happen.
T: 2018 is going to be a BIG year for us! I’m most excited to continue growing our team so we can properly handle new partners and stay innovative. Looking further out into the future, I see us opening our flagship headquarters where Quests will be created, tested, and verified every day with friends–our very own DIEMlife Research & Development Department!
Q. What was one challenge you experienced on this journey?
A: This goes along with my key learnings from 2017. It’s easy to get sucked into building something with the newest technologies or shiny objects. Often times that may be a good thing, and other times that might be detrimental to delivering quality software. My challenge has been to look at the long-term and not to implement a feature or technology that won’t help us get to our end goals. On a night when I only have a couple hours to work on DIEMlife, it’s easy to take a shortcut, but I recognize this doesn’t help anyone in the long-term. I’m always trying to challenge myself to step outside of the box and build really awesome software we can use for many years to come.
Y: Taking myself too seriously. This is the struggle-loving perfectionist in me that feels like to do good work – you have to grind hard. But this attitude took a toll on my stress and people management this year. I’m working on reminding myself that taking a step back to appreciate the challenge for what it is is the first and best thing to do. A laugh can solve the biggest and gnarliest problems and that curiosity goes best with humor.
T: Convincing others this is not just a small/cute/niche opportunity. Fla$hy ideas are easy to talk about but when you have a big idea that’s seemingly impossible to achieve, it requires more than just conversation to get people on board with you. Those who have joined us are the ones who believe this is something worth fighting for. In starting DIEMlife, we all replied to our own version of Ernest Shackleton’s recruit ad for his Antarctic expedition: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”
Q. What do you love about either our newsletters, blog posts, social stories, or social videos?
A: It goes hand-in-hand with the platform as a whole–I truly love the diversity of the people showcased in the videos and articles. It always amazes me that so many people can come together and want similar things in their life. With DIEMlife, it’s our job to help people come together and do awesome things.
Y: Ha! I’ve been doing a lot of the content. What started as a struggling relationship is now turning into a product of pride and privilege. We started doing our social stories a few months ago where we feature one person who’s either conquered or is working on a Quest in their life. Gathering these stories has given me an opportunity to get to know a lot of amazing people. Not only are they motivating in their ambitions but there are so many like-intentioned people that I feel like all of us combined could actually save some big social problems. And for us to have the honor of sharing their intents in the form of a story is a huge privilege.
T: I love that each one of these things has a purpose. Soon, live Quests will be a part of every story. When they are – I’ll be able to support, join, or create my own version of them. The social stories are the fuel that drives me to continue building DIEMlife. The ups and downs of life can be enjoyed through the journeys that are Quests.
Q. Share one thing you admire about your co-founders.
A: Tim, in a word – persistence. I knew the first time I met him that he was a driven individual, but it wasn’t until I started working with him on a daily basis that I understood how driven he truly is. Yoo-Sun and her ability to think outside of the box. Tim and I both approach problems in a methodical manner and YSP is the compliment to this. She is able to dissect a problem and think of some truly amazing ideas on how to solve it. Also, it amazes me how she is able to work with people to solve those problems. Her communication skills and ability as a leader of people are second to none (that’s the trainer in her!).
Y: As much as I am not a “technical” person, Andrew is on the other end of that spectrum. So imagine me trying to communicate technology in poor layman terms to him – he has never corrected me or been thrown off by me. He’s incredibly patient and willing to understand and adapt. With how quickly our technology is developing, he’s been amazing at never being emotionally thrown off. Tim is the epitome of mental strength and compassion. It’s one of the things that I admire most about him, as a partner in life and in business. I have yet to meet anyone who can not only exercise his level of mental strength but also his level of compassion for others at the same time. I’m lucky to learn this from him every day.
T: There’s so much I admire about my co-founders but most of all, I admire their perseverance, integrity, loyalty, honesty, and the simple fact that they LIVE and BREATHE the values we hope all DIEMlifers will! They truly practice what they preach.
Q. What was your favorite team bonding moment this year?
A: Being remote, we don’t get all the time we should for celebrating wins as a team. But my favorite moment of this year was being in NYC with Tim and Yoo-Sun. We had a meet-up with some friends that were passionate about being able to see DIEMlife. We discussed for a few hours some ‘nice-to-have’ functionalities and also some great ideas on how to make DIEMlife a platform people could use everyday. Although it was terribly nerve-racking for me as lead dev, I loved being able to see how people reacted to something we built and how excited they were to use it!
Y: Oh man, it’s a two-way tie for me. In chronological order, one was when the three of us were on a hike together. We came across an injured hiker and stayed with her for hours and eventually helped get her to the medics with a group of fellow hikers. It was DIEMlife in full effect. The other bonding moment was when Andrew came down for a work weekend and we all made time to work together in a coworking space. We had never done that together – all three of us on our headphones, laptops, clicking and working away. It felt like a legit “we live, play, and work together” team and I loved it!
T: It’s rare when we can all get together, so we really look forward to when we can make that happen. One of the last times we were in the same place, Andrew came down for a work weekend that coincided with Yoo-Sun’s family BBQ in New Jersey. We all took advantage of the field trip and made it a day of family and team bonding over delicious Korean barbecue on the Hudson River.