【Startup Diary】A Life At gini


“Hey there! This is Isaac, the Community Exec from the gini team.”


If you’ve ever submitted a bug or email to gini, this opening line should sound familiar. In the past six months, I must have sent emails that begin with that exact same way for at least a thousand times, and the odds are that you were one of those lucky recipients. No matter what the reason was for you reaching out to gini, I want to take this chance to thank you. As cliché as it may sound, users really are the lifeblood of any startup, and taking care of you is always our, and my number 1 priority.


A year and a half ago, I would never have imagined I would be in a position like this, especially with a tech startup. Fresh out of school with a double degree in social sciences, tech startups didn’t rank very high as a viable career option for me at that time. I had never been invested in the tech or startup scene in Hong Kong, and even if by some chance a company wanted to hire me, I couldn’t see what value I could possibly gain.


The story begins the same way as many others do. A friend knows a friend who is recruiting for some startup that shall remain nameless, and said friend thinks I’d be a good fit. Within a week of my first introduction, I was signed up to the company as an “Associate.” I had zero clues about what to expect on my first day, given how incredibly undescriptive my job title was, but I cautioned myself to keep an open mind. I walked in with an oversized shirt and a goofy smile, herded into the same pool along with a few of my fellow newcomers, and was just told to go. The company has rough guidelines; we needed leads, and you’re expected to come up with three before the end of the week.


That was all I got. That was it. Just go out there, make something happen, and don’t come back empty handed. There was an expectation that I was to learn on my feet, and even though I didn’t expect to find myself in this position, I took to it like a duck to water. Truth be told, it wasn’t that hard, given everyone around me was as passionate and dedicated to the company as a mother is to her son. This was the first, and most important lesson I’ve received from working in the startup scene. Being able to see how much, and how hard you have to work to make things happen, set an impossible standard for me in “hour one” of the first day, and it was the same standard that I chased after through the eight months I spent there.


A month after I left that company, six months ago from today, I found myself here, at gini. When I first joined, I expected more of what I had become used to. I had spent much of the past eight months running all over Hong Kong, and even to other countries, and I expected more of the same, frenetic pace here. To my surprise, everything seemed to be the exact opposite. I was no longer expected to physically push to the limit every single day, but to work hard mentally instead. The same undying passion and energy that exists in every startup is present in gini, but exists in the form of a focused, measured energy that pushes for results like no other company I’ve seen before. If there is one thing I will take away from my time here in gini, it’s that it is not sufficient enough to work hard; you have to work smart as well. Different times, different lessons, but both equally important.

I won’t get into too much of the details of what exciting plans gini has in store for all of you, but trust that the app you know and love today will undergo as many great changes and evolutions. I have had a great time getting to know gini, and all you fellow gini-us’s over the past six months, but I’m sad to say that I won’t be able to continue on this journey. If the past year or serves as any indication, I can expect to be off to somewhere else, to learn a different lesson with yet another group of wonderful people. Still, as exciting as the future may be, I will always have a soft spot for all the work we’ve done here. I wish you all the best and hope to see you again soon.

Isaac Cheung


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