First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Brandon Na: To be frank, we’re actually doing wonderfully. We haven’t been impacted by the negative. We’ve even been more productive and have become the healthiest we have ever been. Our startup has also experienced a large gain in interest as well given the focus we have.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded When i Leave
Brandon Na: This is a long story. However, in brief, I’ve traveled a very long road of trying to figure out how to “add more smiles to this world” through education, digital marketing and now startups. I’ve also dabbled in broadcasting and now jumping back into the “broadcasting” for the 21st century: podcasting. Our startup began 19+ years ago when my sons were born. I worried about what would be left of me in terms of my thoughts, advice and hopes for them. 9/11, shortly after that, sealed the deal and made me want to do it. However, it took 19+ years to finally say, “I’m ready.” And in early 2020, we started the journey and about to launch our MVP here this fall/winter.
How does When i Leave innovate?
Brandon Na: We are constantly reading. We are always paying attention. We listen to every podcast possible. We network like there’s no tomorrow. The more we talk to different entrepreneurs, the better. Also, I spend a bit of time during my daily runs and even in my few minutes during my morning shower contemplating “what currently fails to exist?” I bounce ideas off some of the smartest people I know. One of them is literally a Korean version of Will Hunting who’s had an asteroid named after him. I’ve been fortunate to befriend some of the brightest and definitely the best “good peoples” (as my friend and advisory “board member” Crystal and I coined years ago).
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Brandon Na: As I mentioned, it’s created actually “more interest” because our company’s focus is on mortality, but how to embrace it and how to frankly prepare for it better than any other company has. Our company’s products have become more relevant than ever. I think I timed it right.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Brandon Na: Frankly, every choice is both difficult and simple. Regardless, they are simply choices. The lessons we learn are that each decision could only be made as best as we could with the information we had up through that point. We must accept the consequences: both good and bad. So far, they’ve been mostly good.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and When i Leave in the future?
Brandon Na: Running. Frankly, spending time exercising. Also, talking it out with the most positive people that I know. Avoiding people who bring you down, but working with and constantly surrounding yourself with bright and positive people really helps. Also, I’ve tackled this subject with my guests on my podcast. So, frankly, the answers there have also been very revealing.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Brandon Na: We don’t currently have any that worry us. The competitors we have are everyone’s competitors: the biggest tech companies that exist who “might” venture into our space or the thousands of other verticals out there. We do have some companies that do products we would like to tackle later, but for now, we are literally pioneering a field that nobody’s succeeded in making happen.
Your final thoughts
Brandon Na: We thank Startup.Info for taking an interest in all us smaller companies who may become a future Microsoft, Google or Apple. However, until then, we need publications or outlets like Startup.Info to help us get there. We are grateful for any opportunity to tell our story.
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