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Identical twin brothers, Jack Nguyen and David Nguyen, are founders of semiconductor company Ram Exchange. Ram Exchange specializes in the wholesale and manufacturing of memory chips also known as computer RAM. These memory chips are found in computers, laptops, servers, and many other electronics. Ram Exchange was founded in their college apartment while they were both attending UC Riverside. They dropped out 2 quarters shy of their graduation and moved back to Silicon Valley to focus on their company. Fourteen years later, Ram Exchange is continuing its growth and thriving through this pandemic. They are also co-founders of IT Server Exchange LLC, a company that focuses on reselling computer servers.
Being serial entrepreneurs, Jack and David are also in the restaurant and real estate businesses. They are multi-unit Denny’s Franchisee, investors and board members of a boba chain called Teaspoon, and are commercial real estate investors focusing on retail strip centers and industrial offices.
Fun Facts: Jack and David are neighbors, and they share one big backyard. Jack, his wife, and his two kids have the same initials (J.N.) while David’s family of four also have the same initials (D.N.)!
Please check out our Patreon at @asianhustlenetwork. We want AHN to continue to be meaningful and give back to the Asian community. If you enjoy our podcast and would like to contribute to our future, we hope you’ll consider becoming a patron.
Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asiansto pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, Everyone welcome to the Asian Hustle Network Podcast. My name is Maggie
Bryan: (00:00:28) My name is Bryan.
Maggie: (00:00:30) and today we have two special guests with us. They are identical twin brothers, Jack Newton and David . And they are founders of semiconductor company Ram exchange Ram exchange specializes in the wholesale and manufacturing of memory chips.
Also known as computer Ram Ram exchange was founded in their college apartment while they were both attended UC Riverside. They dropped out two quarters of shy of their graduation and moved back to Silicon Valley to focus on their company. 14 years later, rum exchange is continuing its growth and thriving through this pandemic.
They are also co-founders of it. Server exchange, LLC, a company that focuses on reselling computers, servers being serial entrepreneurs, Jack and David are also. In the restaurant and real estate businesses, they are multiunit Denny's franchisee investors and board members of a Boba chain called teaspoon and our commercial real estate investors focusing on retail, strip centers and industrial offices. Fun fact, Jack and David are neighbors and they share one big backyard. Jack his wife and his two kids have the same initials. J N wild David's family of four. Also have the same initials. D N Jack and David. Welcome to the show.
Jack: (00:01:52) Thank you for having us..
Bryan: (00:01:54) Yeah. We're super excited to have you guys, so let's hop right into it, guys. I tell us about your upbringing. What was the light? And were you guys always this entrepreneurial.
Jack: (00:02:04) Um, okay. So my upbringing, so, um, me and David, we grew up in South side, San Jose, the seventies area. So feel that our phones have, that they know is like, Hey, did you know head? You know? And, um, my parents. Own a salon, but it was, uh, in the garage, not an actual salon out there, you know?
So she cut hair in her garage and going out, you know, we're twins. So my parents always just up. And, you know, seeing clothing, you know, same color. We weren't exact same thing all the way through middle auto to middle school. And then one day, you know, as you know, when you get older, you get more mature. You like, you want your own identity. Let's just differently. Today. One day we went to school and we dressed up for outweigh that we had to fight each other. Oh, but we were always close growing up, you know? And then, uh, went through high school, tough times in the high school, you know, you get bullied and stuff, and then we got into UCR, UC Riverside, and then you want to start from there?
David: (00:03:20) I, yeah, so, yeah, so we went to Riverside together. Uh, we'd gone together, you know, we had the same majors and we started the business together. Parents want us to become pharmacists, you know, Asian manners, you got to be a doctor, a pharmacist engineer. You know, I spent all this time to get all those labs and classes, but you realize after a while, man, pharmacy is not for me. Like science is hard, you know? Maybe, because I didn't put much effort into it, then what we start our own business. That's all we focus on, you know? But, um, yeah man, our parents want us to be pharmacies. I ended up marrying a pharmacist. Good enough.
Maggie: (00:04:07) What did your parents think about you guys kind of giving up on your pharmacist life or like, were they upset or were they more laid back?
Jack: (00:04:19) I thought it would be really upset, but I'll surprise her. Okay. With it. You know, my dad got married in his mid forties. He met my mom here, not even on here, they got married here and they had us here's my dad and my mom are much older. My mom had us in her late thirties. My dad had had us in the mid forties and they thought all these traditional and I thought, you know, we. We had to be the ideal kids for him, you know, but then what we told him that we wanted to take a break from school incarcerate on this business because we didn't tell him we had a side hustle was our side hustle, and we didn't tell him we had that until we had enough savings.
And we told them. I've seen this much, this much amount of money. I think I can scale this and this could be my full-time gig. And during that time, my parents, that health issues, because they're much older, you know, that's when they're in their late sixties and they're okay with it because, you know, I, I see what I can do. Like I saved as much and if I screw up, I'll, I'll go back to school and at least I'll pay off my student loans, you know?
David: (00:05:35) Okay. So how we started from the very beginning, you know, um, we're reading these, it's a women's people love gambling, right? I used to play a lot of pie gal. Poker blackjack and got us into debt. Like we go a lot of money at the time. Cause you know, LA. Yeah. So, uh, we, well, all our money away, even our financial aid away. So we didn't have any money whatsoever. And then we used to host underground poker. I had like a poker table and I bought like these nice cards and we would do poker and we bring a lot, our friends for cash games at our house and we get their tips.
And that, that apartment, that people are food. No. And then some were a cane. Yeah, everyone went home. No, one's at school. I'm broke. What do I do? So we went to work for a company called E electronics and it was only, um, it was $8 an hour gig and we worked there for maybe three months full time. Then whenever we be made and now financial aid came, um, that, that fall quarter, we gamble that away again.
And that was, this time was online. It was online gambling and they did then, and now it wasn't like bulletproof.com or something. We lost everything again. And we're like, what the hell am I going to do? I worked while I worked and got nothing to show for it. So this is where, like the electronics recycling business, what my boss was doing, you know, and, and, um, and I realized there was there's opportunity to be had. I mean, my boss would just. Recycle on CRT, these big monitors, they would have cycled them, um, throw away like computers and servers. And for us, uh, we we've met some guy. His name was, uh, was his name was sin. And he came from India and, uh, and we, we had dinner with him one day and he kind of told us what he did, you know, like she buys and sells electronics.
David: (00:08:09) So there's this kind of, when we thought that crime, when we met him, pick him up from his hotel room. So he asked us, can you pick up my client from the hotel and bring him okay, fine. I picked him up. And then I looked up to him because he told me how rich he was, you know, his wife's a surgeon. And I was like, I want to be like this, like this guy.
And he was just always in the back of my head, you know, the eight hour shift I'll stick, man. I got to get to know this guy. My boss goes, drive them home. Let me go back to the hotel. I gave him a ride, drove him back in and then he goes to school at dinner. I was like three dinner dinner, you know? And then yeah, we got to know him for a while. And I was like, man, I don't want to be in the tech industry. You know, I want to be like this. And then I asked him, what do you do? We wholesale computers. You know, we might contain us and we sell them to India and then I've got. But, but having doing computers, you need a lot of labor, a lot of overhead. And the only reason they smell something different.How about computer parts? Not computer, computer parts and the components. Then, then I look okay, what's inside a computer. You have the processor on the hard drive. You got the memory, you know, you got, come on the board. What can you scale? And I thought, okay, there's usually one hard drive one CPU, one motherboard.
No, but this for memory sticks, I was like, okay, you can sell more memory than you can sell. I like to BC, man, this makes more sense. So I saw, I found a memory stick at work, looking on eBay. How much does this sell for for Wednesday? I said, okay, once it goes for $20, but I see a lot of a hundred selling for $8.
I should buy a lot of hundred and sell one by one. And we started buying and selling eBay. That's how we started. And we're like, yeah. And it was a hobby, you know, and we're doing that making my $2,000 a month in college. That's really good. Yeah. And call us every night and, you know, go shoot pool and just hang out, you know, and that's what we did for the first one year, for a year.
And then. Go ahead. And the rest is history. I can focus this 12, 16 hours a day. We thought, okay, we started making good money. Then we dropped out, moved back home, but we didn't want to open the office right away. So that time I told my parents, okay, shut your salon. Stop that. Let me take over your slot and that'll be my warehouse. So we went from the garage for another two years. And until we felt full being office and, and manufacturing and hiring employees and stuff.
David: (00:11:11) Yeah. We were fortunate to be able to retire my parents right. At 23 years old. And your parents not working, I mean, they're older too, so we're blessed to be able to help them. But, uh, yeah, so we closed their shop. We, we bought racks and put everywhere and then we start working from our garage for 2009. And that's when we first opened the office.
Maggie: (00:11:33) Wow. That's amazing. Well, were your parents like worried at all? Because you know, they, I'm sure your mom puts so much blood, sweat and tears into the hair salon. Right. And were they worried at all? Like, Oh, can we actually survive from this round
Jack: (00:11:47) that time I was getting my money, mom, my mom money every month.
David: (00:11:53) My dad, he was very supportive. We're working like literally like eight, 10 to 20 hours a day. I literally didn't sleep. I'm awake. I'm awake about five. Um, you know, it, my dad was sit down with us a lot of times, and while we're working like patching or like sorting and stuff, or like testing, he would just sit there, just hanging out with us and just socialize with us. But he was very, my parents really supported.
Bryan: (00:12:26) That's. That's awesome to hear. I mean, the fact that you guys started small and you guys built a proven system to essentially grow it to the way it is today, that's amazing. You know, a lot of people are starting out too. Cause maybe it's. Maybe we're in, we're in a different generation now that where entrepreneurship is a lot more sexy now, whereas like, Oh, I can get really wealthy in a short amount of time, but you show them that. Yeah, it does take a lot of time to grow your company from the ground up. You know, it does take years and years of sacrifice and sweat to make it happen. So hats off to you guys. That's amazing. And a lot of people need to listen to that too, because they think that I quit my job today. Three months later, I can make a million dollars.
It was like, okay, like, how's that going to work?
Maggie: (00:13:11) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, but you guys put in a lot of work, you know, 18 to 20 hours, you know, people don't see that side, that, that side of hard work. So promising
Jack: (00:13:20) right now, I still work a lot. I sleep every night or all one in the morning. David thinks a little earlier because you know, we talked to customers overseas, you know, in, in Asia, Europe, you know, Australia. So. Isaac late at one, usually one earlier. And then he wakes up at like five or six and we can, so we kind of schedule a shift like that. Yeah.
David: (00:13:46) Yeah. So it's easy work a lot, you know? Cause we do, we do a lot of ourselves. Yeah. What I can tell you is the entrepreneur is not just hard work working 20 hours. You know, a day is hard work meeting. The right people at the right time is also tiny, tiny. I mean the right people, those two are very, very important. I can't tell you. Hi, I can't tell you that everybody's gonna be successful if they just work hard, but luck has to deal with it. A big part of it.
Bryan: (00:14:13) I agree.
Maggie: (00:14:16) Yeah. All the time, like me and Bryan, like some people think that it's all hard work. Right. But if you're doing all hard work like 20 hours a day, but you're not, yeah. You're not actually producing results, then what's the point of the hard work. Right. But then like luck also comes into play, like timing, you know, meeting the right people, outreach, you know, like actually going out there and. You know, introducing yourself to people who matter, who will be like part of your success is so important. And like that's a prime example. You meeting sit that's like one example of like perfect timing. You taking advantage of that opportunity. You knew that there was a golden opportunity for you.
David: (00:14:49) Yeah. And then through my, my 14 years in Russia, I met a lot of good people and a lot of mentors, you know, when I'm learning the business, because we didn't work for anyone as far as selling Ram, you know, I'm not an engineer. You know, I'm not a, you know, I'm not, so I didn't, I didn't know much, you know, but you need the right people and the supporting people and, and you, you look up to them. Yeah. And that helps a lot. If you have mentors,
Bryan: (00:15:16) Yeah, absolutely. How many curious, what was the scaling process like from a garage to a company and hiring your first employee?
Maggie: (00:15:21) And especially at that age too, you guys were young.
Bryan: (00:15:24) Yeah. Like how was it, like, what was the HR process? Why you guys raising the money or you wouldn't let, okay. We need to establish or C4, and this is what we're going to do next.
David: (00:15:33) We actually start our business with only $5,000. Um, we did not actually raise any money because we didn't need to. When we worked out our. Um, at home, we were able to save enough money where we can run the business comfortably without getting additional money from anywhere else. But it was an opening up our office. It was not a scary thing for us because we already had money to kind of back it up. Yeah. So we, we kind of started what, 2006. Yeah, we, uh, we did for a couple of years until probably toward the end of 2009 is when we kind of opened up and we hired our first employee as well.
But, um, in our visit, it doesn't require too much labor because you kind of like you're selling a product, right. You kind of host it on the product. So he doesn't, we're not manufacturing the product very much right now. Yeah. So on that we did overseas, overseas labor is much cheaper than here. If I were to do it here, I'll never make money. Yeah, contract overseas, maybe a little bit more for the manufacturing, you know, but it's just, it's just not what the headache, but the headache, you know? Yeah. So we were very comfortable in the office here and, uh, and we just grew from there. I mean, you, you need to have an office. If you want to show phase two. Some of like your customers. If they know you work from home and then they're going to be London to buy from you. But if you show like an office and you have employees this way, you can bring more business. And our business exploded after an open office. Not before this, we didn't like go really fast. We did slowly over 14 years.
Jack: (00:17:10) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, we didn't have any, we didn't have anything. It was just, we started by a thousand, you know, rotating that opening. I remember I applied for my first credit card business card. I got denied credit history, nothing, you know, and, and I opened a small town, like 2000, 3000. I kept increasing it. And it was just so hard. And that time I had to get up investors, I was 20. I didn't know anything. I just opened a whole bunch of credit cards and just, I was really tight for awhile.
David: (00:17:49) When we first started, we use pretty much credit card. Um, and then that's about it.
Jack: (00:17:53) Um, but at the time when you're small, you don't need that much money for business, but when you get bigger, that's when you need a lot. But all those years of savings, you know, then that you're able to use that money.
Bryan: (00:18:02) Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Reinvest back to the business. He's in your profits. That's amazing. I mean, technically you guys own a hundred percent of your company and that's extremely valuable, you know, kind of curious too, like, as you're growing your company, how, how did the restaurant business come about? How'd you guys get into that? Because
Maggie: (00:18:22) that's a completely, whole different industry.
David: (00:18:27) 2000. 2009 to another recession. Right. And, um, our business. Market was crashing and price kept dropping. You know, you buy parts by the time it comes in price drop. And the demand was very bad during that time. So we were like, okay, we need to do something to make money because we have a family to take care of our mom and dad.
And then our brother, we all live together. So. Um, I kept looking online to see what kind of investment Baja fresh. I looked at these other, other, uh, restaurants and I came across this guy named his name was Paul Dollywood. And he's actually our current partner now. And, uh, we met him through a mutual friend and we built our first daddy's in South San Francisco on airport Boulevard next to a hotel.
So we moved that up and that happened to be probably the number one franchise store. Either, either United States or California. Right. I think I know what you want to say. So I noticed in California,
the first door is like a goldmine, right? And then we built a couple of Denny's up like Saratoga and he's in San Jose as well. And that's how we kind of got into the restaurant business. Then we were in restaurant is from 2009 until now. Yeah, eight or nine, something like that. Um, and then, um, and we know nowadays with, you know, door dash deliveries, it's really hard to make money, right?
So you gotta pay your door dash fees. Um, people are not boarding drinks as much, so they're, so your food cost is higher people. Order coffee, soda, $3 cost you one or 2 cents, but now. They just stay home and drink their soda during the coffee. No, your markets are as much smaller. It's hard to that. The restaurant you have to, um, pay extra for, to go boxes, specialized to make sure that food doesn't taste bad, you know, so. We saw casual dining was not the way to go. So we sold off half our restaurants. We had eight, nine, we closed one down and we sold four. So then now
Jack: (00:20:35) that December, 2019, so very, very fortunate
David: (00:20:42) but we always be in the restaurant business. We want to find something else, you know? And, um, I came across. Teaspoon. Um, I actually reached out to teaspoon to open in our Plaza. Yeah. Um, and then, uh, when I reached out to them, I met with them. And then I guess we kind of clicked because we understand the restaurant business, how to be, um, at least a franchisee and, um, and they, they needed us. So we, we decided to join forces,
Jack: (00:21:10) you know, third party delivery, DoorDash, Uber eats, grub. They're getting more popular, right. Okay. So we thought, okay, it's not good for casual dining, big footprint with all these fees has to be a small footprint. And I thought beverage drinks, you know, and it's all ready to go because when you get it all ready to go, there's no special packaging. Right. So, and you don't need help. So editing and easy control labor. Cause you know, so we thought, you know what. With door dash. It has to be some kind of fast casual model. And with drinks is less health instruction and, you know, easier to control your food costs. And as much as we talk, you know, when you get into Boba or coffee or something, you know, that, that I see the trend with our body delivery.
You know, I see beverage isn't doing really well. Unfortunately, you know that when we. Invest in teaspoon, you know, and became board members that it took off. We really took off during this dynamic, you know, and the industry's changing, you know, coffee is not what it used to be because w w why do you go to Starbucks before work?
When you have meetings, you can talk at Starbucks, but now you work from home so you can copy ALS. And then when you want something to drink later in the day, Coffee or Boba if your kids are, or from home, they want Boba. Then you get for the whole family, you don't get to just, you know, so what was really taking off during this pandemic?
David: (00:22:46) $8 goes up every year based on inflation. And then you have your sick days. And that they pass a law. If an employee client in sick, you still have got a them. It's very hard for a restaurant in the size of like a diner, like a more high down square feet, very hard to make money. So our store that used to make good money was cut in half. Literally you raise your menu every year, but it still does not keep up. Was your added cost and labor. Everything is way, way more expensive. It's not like before. And the more you increase your menus, your customer account drops. That's what we noticed now we're ready. So you can see the trend of casual dining is totally different.
It's not the way to, I feel like it's not the way to go. You need something that's fast, casual, where it's easy to make, where. You know, so that's how we got into teaspoon. Um, but this was a great brand. Um, our sales numbers are awesome. Uh, we, we have a great following and, and we're ready to take the next step with teaspoon and we love it.
Bryan: (00:24:00) We love it a lot. And I do want to take a step back and. And recognize that, you know, in every crisis there's always opportunity. If you continue to look Erin, because right now with the pandemic happening, a lot of people at the beginning are really negative or like, Oh no, my business going out. Um, it's nothing for me to do. I can pivot, I kind do this. I can't do that. But I feel like for you guys, your mentality has always been very positive, even though the outlook was very bad. You know, most of you will look at their around company. Oh no, this is really bad as it's time to freak out, like, what do we do now? But you guys saw different opportunities as this window is closing.
Other windows are opening up. So how can we pivot? You know?
David: (00:24:41) Yeah. Even in ramekins, um, we had Taiwan prices are crashing. Reason being is. Everybody had everybody had multiple laptops and computers in the house right back 10 years ago. But now it's changing because people are using their phones to go on the internet.
Right. People are using tablets go in it. So they don't need the for laptop computers anymore. So we start struggling. So then our pivot that time was okay. I'm struggling. I don't know what to do. So we decided this focus on the server side. How do Peters Poplar, you know, in the same pot? So we started focusing on server Ram. And so when we did that pivot to server right away from that Tufts and desktop computer, Our business took off, especially with that crypto, you know, this crypto industry, you need a service to, you know, to mine them. All right. Yeah. So then we started, luckily we paved it right before a criminal got Poplar.Yes. Only a little bit the right time, like four to five times. That's because of that pivot and so much compared to that, didn't make the pivot they're struggling right now or the out of business already.
Bryan: (00:25:57) Yeah. How do you recognize these opportunities to make this pivot? Is it like a natural instinct? Do you guys read some news? You guys talk to people like what comes to your intuition for these types of pivots?
David: (00:26:05) Well, we noticed the demand, right? So laptop and desktop demands or shrinking when customers keep talking about servers and we're like, we're not even doing this business. We'll be stupid. Not to seem customers are asking for other, other items that you don't have. So you gotta find a way to pivot. You got to keep changing and reinventing a company in yourself.
If not that, then, then you become too old and people just pretend about you
Jack: (00:26:37) because of that. Let's start it, it server exchange. Yeah. So we refurbish and hotel servers. Yeah, as well.
Maggie: (00:26:45) Oh, I was just gonna say like really inspired by how you guys are able to see opportunities and like, you know, same with teaspoon. I think a lot of Boba shop owners, they were also freaking out because of the pandemic, you know, like part of the experience of going to get Boba too is like going into a Boba shop and sitting inside the store, drinking your Boba, you know, really just absorbing that environment and atmosphere of the Boba shop. But like Bryan and I recently went to teaspoon. A couple of days ago in South Bay and we saw it was like very organized, you know, they set up like a station and you guys could just get your, your Boba to go. And then, you know, it's like simple as that. So just like always so inspired by like how efficient
Bryan: (00:27:26) and that's the day where we're supposed to meet up guys. So we're really okay. In honor Jack and David will, we'll go to jumbo anyways.
David: (00:27:36) Yeah, we definitely have to do something because of COVID-19. So we, we have to do. Touchless deliveries. And where's the app with the teaspoon. Yes, you can schedule whenever you want to. Hey, I want on Friday at two o'clock. I want, I want to have my Boba so they can schedule ahead of time and we'll make it for them during that time to do the touchless pickup. No one was doing it. Well, when we started, I went to a ton of Boba shops. Then there were people are still going into the stores, always touching that door, waiting in line to order. And we were the first to do that. So a lot of who felt more comfortable orient teaspoon.
Maggie: (00:28:18) Right, right. Yeah. You guys are the, like one of the only ones that I've seen with the app. You know,
Bryan: (00:28:26) I'm also a germaphobe, so that helps a lot.
Maggie: (00:28:27) I know every time like Brian and I go into a Boba shop, we're always
Bryan: (00:28:33) like before the pandemic, like we're not even touching anything,
Maggie: (00:28:35) you touch the door handle as well.
David: (00:28:41) We have to keep them safe. Right. In the very beginning, you know? We have trouble keeping people working for us is because they're afraid of COVID and I don't blame them. I would be scared to my parents would tell him not to work, but what we did, it made everyone feel comfortable. And when they're comfortable that we know businesses is going to work out. So that's what we did. And we've been doing it even though the County. And the state didn't allow like dine in, you know, what you can really go in. We still don't do that because people was too scared, too scared to go out, even though they allow dine in. For restaurants,
Jack: (00:29:20) open our door, that people come into the kind of order decided, you know, employees have to be safe because if you get one employee with COVID, they might infect everybody else. So it's hard to find good people. So it is that okay, this specialist pick up, you know, and, and, and just keeping like this, even through their ratings, they we'll just keep it like this until the pandemic is better, until that comes out. When people's competence are better. And we expected another lockdown, another shelter in place. Cause we knew it was coming for a month. And then closing again, you know,
Maggie: (00:29:58) the part where like a lot of people have respect for companies that actually take precautionary measures like that too. You know, a lot of restaurants they're struggling. And so that's why they're opening up for indoor dining, but. For people to see that a restaurant or some sort of store like a Boba store is like actually taking the cautionary measure. It's like serious, you know, people actually look into that and take that into consideration. And people have a lot of respect for people who like to care about other people's safety.
David: (00:30:29) Yeah, I mean this shows, but we probably had our highest sales ever this year because customers see what we're doing and they know that it's safe and they appreciate what teaspoon does for the community. We go to hospitals and we donate. We give drinks out to people on the frontline workers. I mean, we have to reach out to community if we don't do that. And people look at us, what are you doing for us? You know? Yeah. So that's very important for us.
Bryan: (00:30:59) Yeah. We have to emphasize that too. It's like when you're running a company or a business owner, Yeah, your actions matter a lot, you know, and you're not just selling your product.
You're not just selling your brand, that you're selling an action behind that. And your action is, look, we do Boba, but during this pandemic, we're going to support this, this and this. It actually causes more harm when you're quiet and you don't speak up when you don't support, you don't do anything, you know, and that's what people needs to recognize too, is as a business owner, As a community leader.
It's like, you have to take action.
Jack: (00:31:35) Yeah. Does that now these are important too. Yeah. Yeah,
Bryan: (00:31:40) I'm going to say out of curiosity. So you went from college to starting your own company to getting to Denny's branching out into teaspoons. When you saw, you know, indicting may not be the feature, which you guys apps.
Absolutely. Right. So let's focus this section on real estate. Real estate is a very popular subject among our listeners as well. And how'd you guys get into real estate and how'd, you understand. So much like in business and restaurants and not real estate, like how'd, you guys find time to master all three categories.
Jack: (00:32:14) We like to learn. We like to learn everything. And when you have extra buddy, you, you want to invest into something. You know, and I try to play stocks, but it, it was not for me. I would say up and down all crazy. I didn't feel comfortable with it. I actually want to do it a real asset that can appreciate that can make money. You know, when I look for a property, which we only do retail and industrial offices for retail, we got to look at location. It has to be a plus location. It has to be a location. Second thing, we look at the least. You cannot buy anything that they will have market rent. If the market rent right now is $2 a square foot per month, and you have a Starbucks thing, it's three 50.
When the Starbucks leave, you're going to be, I know water is going to be very, very hard to recover from that. And then during the brand. So I look at this allegation, make sure the least is at market rate. And third, the brand, I don't care what brand. It could be a Chinese restaurant, whatever, when it leaves, if the location is good enough, you can rebrand itself and it probably will even make more money. So that's how we look at it. So then, um, we own quite a bit of like, uh, single tenant, uh, properties. We own, uh, a strip mall. We also own, um, Hanford regional mall. The one with, uh, we have a JC penny. Um, we have Ross, we have. A lot of big tennis and, um, Applebee's, Chili's Buffalo, wild wings, Dunkin donuts, you name it. Um, so, but we own that with a group of people, which is the biggest investor
David: (00:30:29) asset, you know, so that's how I about it. Sure. Your leases have yearly increases, right? Because every year there's inflation. You're at one to 2%, two and a half percent inflation. If you don't have increases in your leases, you lose money on your property. Right? So I typically like at least two to 3% increases yearly, increase it in your list. So you got to make sure that you got your increases in, make sure you got a good tenant and a good location. People say it's risky. Yes. It's risky. Well, you can make a lot of money, but in real estate,
Jack: (00:32:14) the reason why all my money in restaurants, I don't put a one age. You got to diversify. If your restaurant goes to, you know, if you bankrupt, you have nothing.
Yeah. And you're still, you're still stuck in the least. You have to pay a property if it falls in value and you set up an asset sewer, right? it drops 10%. You still work 50. At least you still have some equity holding. Long-term it appreciates air. Okay. You know, you can hold it and it goes up and down where as if you're in a recession, you own a restaurant and it goes already down, you start losing money. You're going to close. You can hold on to it, through the restaurant.
Right. Whereas a property you can. So that's why we invest in restaurants because we want to diversify because all we had was businesses. Yeah, restaurants around Michigan is a business, but I didn't have any hard assets and I didn't want to need money in the bank. What was that going to do any good?
Bryan: (00:35:36) you know, during this podcast, we talk about a lot about your successes. Let's focus a little bit more on the failures too. Like what kind of lessons that he learned in your failures in the past and what were these failures?
David: (00:35:49) Me and my brother and a friend, we used to own this restaurant called flames.The restaurant. You hear a flame famous coffee shop bakery. Yeah. Uh, it went under it. We convert to our own brand. It was called red rocket. Yeah. They closed down. Why? Because our food cost is too high. Yes. Okay. If you have a Patty and your brand and whatever, it's going to cost you this and you sell for this price. Totally forgot. Yeah. Economists, you have wastage, you have all these things that added into the food cost, which you really think you can just do it number and say, okay, you buy 10 bread. And these a bread for $10 a week, raise $1 is not going to be like that, which we thought, you know, fuck a food. And, and, and his bad got remake.
It was too high. It was too hard to make. It was a screenshot. It wasn't streamlined. So you have a restaurant. I don't care how good your food is. If your food can't come up, it's not going to come. Are they gonna wait an hour for their food? You guys streamline your menu where it makes it easier to cook and bring the food out. So you have to compromise somewhere. We felt so bad. We hard to salt it to make our menu, but we had. 15 burgers on the menu with 15 different cheeses and it was just a disaster can control the mess and learn. So we learn open your own restaurant. Is it for everybody. You're a real cook this for you. A franchise model is much easier. It gets it's a cookie cutter. Right. Sell it and do it yourself. You're a gourmet chef. Yes. Good. But you have to consider, can you bring the food out in time for your customers and how fast, how long does it take to cook it? Gordon Ramsey or anything?
You need to have good quality, but you need compromise a little bit to at least bring it up here. So it's easier for you to discern the people. So that's, that's what we learned and, and we've failed. We lost so much money. We're stuck in a personal guarantee. We ended up buying out the lease and we we'd at least buy out and we lost. Too much money. So we had to have too many failures, but house, he lost money doing a house from ground up custom house. We got 500,000. So
the land and we want it to go to a house together, live together, custom up, but the problem is it was on a Hill. Is on a Hill, you need something called geo has a clearance. So you gotta do your research on the soil. Is it feasible to have a house? You know, what kind of grade that dirt is? How solid, how moist is it?
You know? And that took a long time. You can also get into a retaining wall, but yeah. So then you're going to have, we didn't find the back. And so then, then your foundation is no longer a concrete slab. It's going to be a peer peers, right. And it costs a lot more than you got great that dirt and everything, and you. So we made the house too nice and too nice for the neighborhood and they cost way too much on to heal and it took way too long. I think it was like two years to get the permits a year to build. So it took way too long. Yeah. Even though, how
Maggie: (00:39:16) is that a different house that you guys are living in?
Jack: (00:39:19) We thought that how fairly
David: (00:39:25) we sold the house and we lived down there for like a year and a half, but like, forget about, we sold the house and we bought a house.
Um, these two homes, isn't better schools.
Jack: (00:39:31) We were living together. And then we both had our second kid. At first, it was one kid each, you know, with us and our wives, six people it's okay. But when you will have another kid and have orgies and health is really hard, it was too hectic, crazy. And we thought, okay, it's about time for us, you know? To move out and we thought, okay, let's, let's try to, you know, homes nearby at least same zip code, so you can visit each other and help each other with the kids. But luckily we got holes right next to each other, so that's awesome.
Maggie: (00:40:03) Yeah. I'm very curious. What would you say is like the best thing about working together? You guys are like identical twin brothers, you guys like always grew up wearing the same thing you guys look like. Yeah. Like super strong chemistry. What would you say is like the best thing?
Jack: (00:40:17) The best thing I'm telling you. Because the word twins is trust because I know he's going to do whatever. If I didn't do it, I know he's had to do it by telephone call, then do it for me, whatever he's going to do it. You know, we have the same goals, you know? So all the partnerships, a lot of ours, it doesn't work out because they think, Hey, I'm doing more than you. If I do this, why don't you do that? You know, one person spent 30 hours. One person spent 10 hours. Is that gonna. Workout, but since we're we're brothers and we share everything, you know, we have that trust and that bond where it's okay. If I do a lot more work, it's okay. We're doing it for us. No, like I need something done at work. If you go to work, I'll take your, your kids. Yeah. Great. So we, as a team is, it's not just work, but outside of work, we just do a team.
Bryan: (00:41:08) Yeah. Yeah. Well, under simplified partnerships a lot, you know, harnesses are extremely hard. They are, you know, as, uh, as a couple for right now, you too, it's like, it is really hard, but the thing is. When you're talking about, we do for us. And that is a lot. Cause sometimes I'll take like 60 hours a week. Maggie takes 10 or she takes 50. I take 40, you know, it's it's yeah. You have to think about the big vision, big goal. And you can't think about I'm doing more work than you're doing less work than me. Doesn't work out. Are we getting the result that you want to get? That's the end goal.
Maggie: (00:41:42) I agree. Yeah.
Jack: (00:40:45) You work and your partner work is not going to work out.
Maggie: (00:41:49) I think the reason why a lot of partnerships don't work is because they keep thinking about how it'll benefit them. Right. Like what it will do for them. But if you think about big picture, like Brian said, and you guys said, what will it do for us? Right. Like how can it benefit us as a team? And will it help us get to our end goal together now that changes everything.
Jack: (00:42:10) It benefits our families. We share same family parents. We share the same parents. That's how we look at it. That to say a lot of people, they always say, well, maybe me it's benefiting me, but then you should think, how should it benefit the company? How should us, but when it comes to me, you know, it's not going to work out. Right. And I see so many partnerships fail because of that partnerships where it didn't work out, but you know what, we're still friends. We still call each other every day. We still laugh. We know it didn't work out, but we've never had a partnership where it went sour. So you kind of have to also his personality as well. You kind of have to give in in a way, you know, you you're kind of varying varying into a partnership, right? So you gotta make sure that both sides.
Personality kind of like as well.
Bryan: (00:43:04) Yeah. I like that line kind of curious, TLA, what is your mindset and attitude going through the entire journey together? You know, it's just like, Oh yeah, we're going to be really rich. I want to be, I want to change the world. I want to impact this and that. What is that mindset as you're waking up every day, did you do what you want to do to, to comfort your goals?
Jack: (00:43:27) You know, first thing I want to say is. During our relationship got better since he started the company. You know, you grew up, you get a job at, you know, you fight siblings, you know, like that. But when you started coming out, at least you got a lot better, you know, growing up. So we're actually closer than ever. Right. But our mindset, um, honestly, we don't really have a goal. We just want to make sure our family is fed. Um, uh, wives are happy. And our parents are proud of us and that's about it. Um, I can care less if people think I'm rich or poor, I really don't care. As long as we take our, our family. And I was happy. We all, we're all gonna leave this earth and we can take our money with us. These are the great, great. And then when he died, What, what do you have left most of the time, it was over a certain amount that will be taxed anyway. So the government take a big chunk of that.Great. They have money, but you don't know how they have to spend it. Right. So I just live in the moment right now. I'm happy, you know? So it was just as honest, like you said, um, I'm not worried about putting food on the table and people around me are taking care of my parents are taking care of my in-laws are taking care of Lauren. And what everybody's goal is should go, is growing up. Your parents take care of you, right? Take care of yourself. And once you can take care of yourself, yourself, that's an accomplishment.
David: (00:45:10) And parentsparents is, is, is a very important thing, but not me,
Jack: (00:45:14) my parents, my in-laws are the same. And your parents, if not your, your wife's gonna be this. Now I'm going to
Maggie: (00:45:22) keep your wife happy.
Bryan: (00:45:26) I like that too. I'm very family oriented as well. Everything I do, I think about my parents, how I can take care of them. Mm, this is my, my biggest why too. I've turned a ton. I waked up. I was like, am I doing stuff that they're proud of me? You know, it matters a lot.
Jack: (00:45:41) The last thing I want is what I'm doing 40 50. And my parents were much older and I'm struggling financially, financially. And you have that burden to take care of your parents. That's a lot of stress on you. Yes, money does come with stress, but also the same time is a stress reliever for the people around you.
Maggie: (00:46:01) It does. Yeah. Yeah, no, like I love how, like you guys do it for the things that actually matter. Right? Like some people just chase after their goals, just so that they can get rich. But if it's that case, they're never going to be happy because they're always gonna want a bigger amount, you know, more money, but you guys have time to do it for like the people that matter the things that matter, which are, you know, the family members that are around you, your peers, that you can love and you know, like you do it for them, you know, that's, that's your why.
And for me, like personally, like, you know, I'm also very family oriented, but then I want to, you know, Golfer bill, like, you know, we're all gonna die, you know, someday, but for my parents, like if it's their last day, I want them to be proud of me too. You know, I don't want them to leave this earth without them feeling worried or scared about like, what's going to happen to me.
Right. And you guys are, you know, prime example, you guys are like setting the foundation for your parents to be happy and, you know, be proud of what you guys are doing.
David: (00:46:55) Yeah, but we also gotta be fortunate that we live in America. You live in other countries, know the stress out until the day they die opportunities.
I mean, here, as long as, as you know, when you're doing and you have, when you work hard and get lucky. Good things will happen there for you.
Maggie: (00:47:19) Great. Yep. Yep. Yeah. So what would you say is like your one, um, advice to aspiring entrepreneurs since our group and Asian hustle network is full of aspiring entrepreneurs and you guys, you know, you started your business at such a young age, curious to see like what your advice would be and one from each of you guys
David: (00:47:38) advice. Okay. What. My advice is don't chase the money, work hard boot, a good foundation, do the right things and good things will happen. Um, I see so many example of people just wants to get rich quick. No one can get rich quick and let's hit the lottery. It takes time, it takes effort. It takes energy. So work hard, be smart of how you spend your money.
And also when the opportunity comes, take it. When you're young, you need to take the opportunity when you're, when you're early twenties, even early thirties is someone comes up to you and, and, and present opportunity. And do you think is good? Go for it. But when your forties and fifties, when you have a family in a slowdown, you cannot take risks.
When you're older. Well, certainly you can, but it just, you know, you're, you're,
Bryan: (00:48:39) you're younger.
David: (00:48:42) Yes. Yeah. Take the race. When you're young, you have nothing to lose. First thing you do is go home and live with your parents. So that's my advice.
Jack: (00:48:54) We're good foundation. Voice for your company. Be smart. Well, and hopefully you get lucky. Take the risks when it's necessary or maybe grabbing the opportunity and learning you have to every day, because if you're not learning the living, you know, if you do the same thing for work every day, it's not gonna work. You have to keep your ears open your eyes open, you know, when you securities mentorships. Yeah. And the more knowledgeable you are, the better, the more likely your company will succeed and also getting lucky. Alright. Yeah. I can tell you, you know, entrepreneurship is really hard. It's very hard because, you know, because if you work for someone, you know, you get that paycheck every month. Right. But working yourself is that that's not guaranteed. Right. It's not guaranteed. So. So being a hustler is really hard, but at the same time, you got to remember, you have to keep learning, keep learning, grab those opportunities while you can obviously go networking these networking events that you guys used to have. You know, you go there, you, you meet good people, you know, who knows you, he can bring them to your company and they'll help grow your company. Or you can do collaborate with them or, or, you know, you think business ideas. All right. So their work is really important and don't be afraid to go to work.
David: (00:50:29) Yeah, you have to be out there.
Bryan: (00:50:32) Yeah. Yeah. My favorite philosophy in life is if you don't ask you don't get nasty and keep on learning
David: (00:50:40) because you need this guy then maybe like three years later. There was something came up. I was like, Oh, I met this guy somewhere. And then you, and then you call then you, you, you know, you work with them and, you know, and things take off from there, but the Asia has on it or like really solid people I'm still working with right now, you know, and you know, real estate brokers, you know, Marquis people, awesome people.
Yeah. And with these kind of mindset, you can't find everywhere and look up marketing and people that I like people that like to hustle. Right. So, yeah.
Maggie: (00:51:22) Well, we're really glad to hear that, you know, I love how you guys trust Asian hustle network and yeah. You know, we, we make sure that it's a safe space. We, you know, everyone in there is like like-minded and we glad to hear that you guys were able to find so many connections inside the network.
David: (00:51:42) Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. So I'm in a lot of groups on Facebook? No, let's say groups are like, you know, like 10 different groups. I haven't met any, I have not had a group where there people are as active as they are in the network. I think do one post every day, every two, three days, you know, you get like three, four comments where there's like 10,000 followers.
You gotta have 50, you make a post, you get a hundred, 200 comments, you know,
Bryan: (00:52:08) it, everyone would, we do for each class to network it's me and our love and dedication and tears and a lot of DMS
Maggie: (00:52:16) tender, love and care.
David: (00:52:18) Yeah. Mentor network. Yeah. You're out there.
Maggie: (00:52:25) Awesome. Well, how can our listeners learn more about the two of you Jack and David?
Jack: (00:52:33) I don't know. Um, I could be a mentor to some people, you know, I don't mind, you know, for me is I don't care about competition anymore. I'm not that stage of life where I don't want to see other people succeed. This is open to competing anymore. For me, you know, I have kids, family I'm happy, you know, so I would like to support people out there.
Maggie: (00:52:57) Yeah. Awesome. Any way that they can reach out to you guys on like social media or website.
Jack: (00:53:05) Um, I'm not that active in like LinkedIn and Instagram. Yeah, but I'm pretty active on Facebook, so you can send me messages. I'm pretty old tick tock, tick tock.
Maggie: (00:53:06) Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing your guys's stories, Jack and David, it was. Amazing learning more about the two of you.
Bryan: (00:52:08) Thank you so much. And we love you.
David: (00:53:42) Thank you for having us. We appreciate it. We had a good time talking and chatting.
Maggie: (00:53:46) Us too.
Bryan: (00:53:48) Thank you
David: (00:53:42) Maybe we should go out to lunch sometime.
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