About

cocoa-riding-on-taewoos-lap

Oh hey, you found me.

Congrats!

My name is TaeWoo Kim.

I’m an entrepreneur who started out as a web/mobile developer, then eventually morphing into digital marketer / growth hacker guy.

Ok, this is the “nice LinkedIn public profile” stuff people write.

 

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I blog mostly about

  • what i learned on my journey towards success in entrepreneurship
  • how I do marketing and what kind of things worked for me and what didn’t
  • how to market your company’s online presence and how to monetize your web traffic
  • how to generate more business online, such as online sales lead generation and direct response marketing (They call it growth hacking in silicon valley. Rest of the world calls it online marketing.)

My claim to fame

What I do:

  • inbound marketing / lead generation & nurturing (my solar lead generation company specialized in … well… solar leads)
  • performance marketing, copywriting
  • usual online marketing – SEM/PPC, media buying, social media marketing, email, etc.
  • monetizing traffic – affiliate, conversion optimization, sales funnel, etc.
  • building relationships – public speaking & coaching/consulting, guest blogging (ShoeMoney)
  • coding – CodeIgnter PHP MVC on Linux (i.e. “LAMP”), jQuery/UI, mobile apps, wordpress/buddypress APIs, and bunch of REST API stuff

Once in a while, i also blog about

  • my spiritual development (i ate, slept, and meditated non-stop for 7 days at a Buddhist temple in Thailand)
  • my awesome dog Cocoa

My presence on web

Stuff I Built

 

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This is the stuff I actually WANT to tell people

My name is TaeWoo. It’s a korean name. No, it ain’t tofu…. typhoon… wutang… It’s Tae-freakin’-Woo. Like that cheap korean car Daewoo, except with a T. Got it?

I grew up a FAT kid. I remember I had almost a 40 inch waist in my junior high school days.

My mom said that the weight would come off once I finish puberty.

LIES!

taewoo-chubby

I used to have a crush on this half italian, half korean (damn 1/2 asian hapas are hot) named Kimberly. If she married me, she would’ve had the BEST name in the world… Kim Kim.

But no, she told me I was too fat for her and she broke my itty bitty teenage heart into billion pieces. I don’t blame her.. i was about 5’5’ish when I had a 40+ inch waist.

I checked her Facebook profile recently and now she’s fat. Ha! Revenge! But thanks to her, I am healthy as an ox with a 32 inch waist at 5’9.

I literally ran and lifted 3 hrs a day every day for a year when I was 16, listening to Dare (Transformer theme song) and Eye of the Tiger every day.

Lost a ton of weight and I never looked back. (Maybe I should do weight loss blog instead.)

 

I never really had any desires in life, other than the traditional Asian “please your parents” BS that I fell for. Get good grades, go to medical/law/engineering school, make shit tons of money, and pay for their retirement.

I took the MCATs… on the day of the test, i decided that 3 months of volunteering at Mass General Hospital in Boston was enough medical work for me.

I decided to call it quits.

Yeah I quit.

Then i quit a bunch of other things.

  • I quit engineering (not because it’s boring but I just did not like the engineering culture)
  • I quit doing network marketing. Now that I’ve been doing entrepreneurial stuff for a while, I see why it’s so flawed in so many ways. No control, no barier to entry, etc.
  • I quit doing affiliate marketing. I couldn’t take the emotional ups and downs.. feast and famine. Paid ads is great, but having offer go down is not my thing. Plus so many scammy crap out there.
  • I quit bunch of web 2.0’ish websites and freemium type websites. I don’t know. Just couldn’t get it to work.
  • I quit comedy (I used to do open mics in NYC… my first “real” performance at UMDNJ in front of medical students) cuz … i bombed like there’s no tomorrow.

Yeah as much as I’d love to tell you that I’m no quitter.. I do quit. Lots.

Maybe I don’t have the emotional strength to handle rejections or weather the storm… maybe I have ADD.

 

I was NOT born a marketer.

In fact, marketing is still very FOREIGN to me.

If you know anything about asian cultures, we’re taught to keep our heads down, don’t ask too many questions, and keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing.. even if we hate it. Don’t make a fuss.. don’t be loud… don’t do any marketing.

It took me a good in my mid 20’s to figure out that I’m actually good with words.. and people actually want to learn what I do.

So this is my blog.

My voice.

But here’s the real reason why I have this blog.

 

My grandma – Anna Woo (her english name)

My grandma raised me.

In Korea, where I grew up till 10, you were supposed to bring your lunch. But I used to forget… A LOT.

My grandma grew up during the Korean War where poverty and extreme hunger was the norm.

My grandma refused to let me go hungry.. ever.

She would take my lunch from home, run to catch up with me, and hand me the awesome 3 course meal (rice / meat / veggies, soup, dessert) that she cooked for me @ 7:00 AM.

Sometimes, she would notice that I didn’t take it with me AFTER I’ve already arrived.

So she would come ALL the way to school and drop it off while in class.

Of course, I was 7-8.. seeing my grandma bring me stuff like I was a baby *rolling eyes at self* in front of my classmates made me feel shy.

Yeah, i was an unappreciative little prick.

She was my “real” mother.. she raised me because my mom was too busy taking care of business to put food on the table.

My grandma was there every time.

  • being a “substitute” mom every time I had one of those “bring your parent” days – my “mom” was always the oldest one in the group
  • catch me smoking on a street.. she was not happy bout that… and she even caught me watching porn on my 1st discovery of BBS dialup service
  • she would have food waiting for me at home when I came home from school: fried rice with kimchi. Simple yet incredibly delicious.
  • I used to commute 2 hrs a day from Flushing, Queens to northern Bronx (I went to Bronx Science). So I would wake up at 5:30 AM.. my grandma would have breakfast and nice hot tea ready for me every morning
  • everytime I would eat something good with her, she would ALWAYS let me have the last bite
  • even in her 60’s, she wanted to learn English so I would make audio tapes of the english lessons she’s had … I used to be so cranky and resist, but eventually record for her

 

Fast forward 15 years… my grandma was died with pancreatic cancer. Same kind of cancer that killed Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Luciano Pavarotti, and Michael Landon.

She spent a year in a hospital bed after having removed 1/2 her pancreas at age of 69.

Why on earth does ANY doctor with 1/2 a brain recommend a surgery that people 1/2 her age can’t even survive? My guess.. job security.

Instead of dying gracefully in her own bed with her own family by her side, she died with tubes in her body.

I was her favorite. She wanted to see me more than anyone. But I was in Boston (my first job out of college) and I thought she would make it.

I came home every weekend to see her.

She would often ask my family (who’d rotate being there at the hospital with her) when I’m coming home to see her.

Her conditions faded.. little by little.

To the point that her the pigment in her eyes started fading. Her tongue (from her mouth being opened with the tubes going in and out) was dried up like piece of beef jerky. Her body so emaciated that I could even feel every BONE no matter where I touched.

In the end, she started hallucinating.

She would see things … and talk to invisible people.

I couldn’t stop crying for a month.

She would have 10-15 minutes of consciousness where she came to senses.

One day, I asked her..

grandma, you know I love you a lot

(Asians don’t use emotional words like “love” a lot.)

Did you have a good life?

Maybe it was because the way I asked made her think that I was telling her she was going to die.. but she didn’t answer.

Not at all.

Those few silent seconds made more impact in my life than the previous 21 years of life.

Did she have regrets?

Was there something she wanted to do? To have? To achieve?

And that’s what let me to do this journey of entrepreneurship.

I don’t want regrets. I want to succeed… and I’ll keep trying even if it kills me.

Yes, I failed. A lot. I still do.

Even if I quit, I want to know that deep down I tried. That I took risks and to NOT be able to say “shit” in the last 30 seconds of my life.

Unlike my grandma who grew up in a war torn country with hardly ANY opportunities, I live in US… and I have great health (thanks Kim).. and I have the drive & ambition.

Hell, I speak TWO languages.

So I’m going to freakin’ try.

Of course, as her grandson, i always wanted to give back to her.

She always wanted to go on a cruise around the world. Even see the pyramids of Egypt. But I couldn’t get there in time to make it for her. Luckily, my mom is still around for me to make it happen for her.

So this blog … isn’t about “my marketing skills” per se. It’s about the stuff I learned in entrpreneurship.. particularly marketing.. that I just want to share. Maybe there’s someone else out there with MY kind of story.. who wants the same stuff I want.

Whatever the case might be, I am going to blog. Record what I learned.

If people don’t read it, oh well.. I’m still going to do it. I can only good by sticking to the process.

To grandma, I miss you lots.

 

 

 

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