Who Are You?

January 04 2013

My name is John. I am a computer programmer living in NYC working with close friends at a startup fashion company called StyleSays.com. Looking back, my life has constantly evolved and changed; I was born in South Korea and I've lived everywhere from North Carolina to Australia. Growing up I was very self aware, especially when entering new schools and making new friends. I constantly wondered, "who am I?" I know that my name is John and I like pizza but what actually makes up the person that I am when I wake up each morning?

As I grew older, my thoughts focused first on school and then work, and I lost my awareness. Two days ago I woke to a message saying I had been selected for the Listserve. I was both ecstatic and terrified. It took me a few hours to remember the question I grew up pondering: who am I?

To answer that question, I defined the elements of life that make up who I am. I broke it down into three areas, though you may have more or less and I'd love to hear from you. That's how we can all help each other grow.

1. Passion - Everyone has a passion or at least a desire to find their passion. As a teenager I tried many different things hoping to discover an activity, cause, or study that consumed me. Overtime I realized that I was infatuated with technology and fashion (this was long before the iPhone and cases by Marc Jacobs). After studying computer science for 6 years I began looking for ways to mix my passions. In my last year of grad school at Stanford I began working on a way to greatly improve the way people shop online I wanted to make fashion more accessible to people all over the world. And I could not make such a drastic impact on the world working as employee number ten thousand; I needed to start a company.

2. People - Even before starting my own company, I knew that I could not achieve my goals by myself. Again using my startup as an example, I was lucky enough to meet similar minded people who pushed me to work harder and find ways to succeed even during the hardest times. It is now very clear to me that I could not possibly achieve what I did without hardworking friends by my side. Recently we were finally able to make our visions a reality; StyleSays is now a platform to help lovers of fashion to find the items they see in online photos. I couldn’t be more proud of the team we built.

3. Surroundings - For me this is the most important element. With so many country, school, and city changes I was constantly having to adapt, and to me adaptation is new opportunities to grow as a person. Today I find myself sitting in an open loft in downtown Manhattan working with a close group of friends on a company, on a mission that I'm proud and excited to take on. New York has been crucial in shaping my current self and I've grown so much in a short amount of time in this amazing city.

I encourage you to learn more about your passions, connect with amazing people, and constantly change your environment.

So the question remains: who am I? I am a motivated young man with amazing friends and partners who is passionate about making people's lives better through technology. I am John Yu.

Who are you?

John Yu
[email protected]
New York City, Tribeca

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