If you grew up in Korea, you probably had your daily milk delivered through the tiny “milk door” at the foot of your apartment door or in a “milk pouch” hanging on your door handle—either way, conveniently delivered to your home for the freshest taste. The Miilk, founded by Jaekwon Son, is the virtual nutrition for your mind delivered to your inbox with freshest trends in technology, economy, and investment from the heart of Silicon Valley. Jaekwon dedicated 19 years as a reporter in Korea specializing in tech, economics, and industry. When he became the Silicon Valley correspondent in 2016, he realized this was his true calling and decided to immigrate to the U.S. and start what he had always dreamed of.
Q: What is the Miilk and what is The Miilk’s mission?
J: The Miilk is a unique information platform that delivers news to Koreans all across the world. The Miilk’s mission is to educate the public with accurate and comprehensive technology and financial literacy. The Miilk’s newsletter titled Viewsletter is curated with current trends in the tech and financial sectors while the YouTube channel focuses on macroeconomics and investment information in the U.S.
Q: Why Silicon Valley?
J: Tech is now not only the center of all the industry but also life itself. I spent three years as the first-ever correspondent in Maeil Business Newspaper in Silicon Valley and a year as a visiting scholar at Stanford University. I want to deliver the most accurate and up-to-date news from the center of tech so The Miilk can become a bridge between Korea and the U.S., facilitating both information and talent exchanges between the two countries. Silicon Valley has so many opportunities to offer for entrepreneurs if you know where to look. Plus people around the globe are paying attention to the waves Koreans are making. For example, the praise of the Korean government’s prompt response to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the film Parasite by Bong Joon-ho winning the best picture and three other awards at the Oscars, and of course, BTS making a huge impact on fans regardless of age, gender, and race.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected your business? Do you enjoy working from home?
J: Since the pandemic, The Miilk has been working around the clock to deliver the most accurate and most interesting news to our readers. The stock market is volatile, the job trends are changing, and people’s needs have significantly changed since the shelter-in-place order. We not only cover tech news but recently wrote a topic on homeschooling. I’ve been working from home most of my reporter career so I am used to working from home. I actually enjoy the time I get to spend with my family, especially with the kids. I know that many parents are struggling with working from home with kids but remember that they will only be at this age today, so embrace it and enjoy it best you can. One thing I would advise is to set boundaries for your work life and personal life, even if the boundary seems blurry now.
Q: What was the most challenging obstacle in starting your business in the U.S.?
J: Because of the nature of our business, delivering American news to the Korean audience, I have to work during business hours in the Bay Area as well as in Korea. Being a reporter, you do not get a 9-5 work hour. You have to be on your feet whenever news comes up. It is also hard to find a bilingual talent who is interested in our research and be able to work odd hours. For that, I am grateful that Simple Steps was able to match three amazing talents as bilingual research associates.
Q: Can you share your hiring experience through Simple Steps and how the three hired employees are progressing?
J: I am extremely happy with the three new members of our team. They all come from different backgrounds; a former researcher in the hospitality and tourism industry, a business consultant, and a PR specialist for an IT organization. It has only been a month but they have shown tremendous teamwork while all working remotely from their homes. It is my wish to continue to the next phase with the current team.
Q: How did your relationship with Simple Steps start?
J: I heard so many great things about Simple Steps from people I met when I moved to the Bay Area. My curiosity took the best of me and reached out to Doyeon to connect. I fully agree with the Simple Steps’ mission and know that what they are doing is not only important but necessary to reach as many talented immigrant women as possible. Naturally, I introduced Simple Steps to one of my connections in the Seattle Korean community, Changbal, and that eventually led to establishing the Simple Steps Seattle. I wish to fully support the immigrant talents to our best capabilities.
Q: The Miilk in 5 years? 10 years?
J: We started small but have a big dream. We will keep our unique position on creating many career opportunities in journalism for English-Korean bilingual talents living in the U.S. We want our subscribers to understand the rapid changes in life, develop timely responses to those changes, and increase prosperity. Hopefully, we can create the synergy for Korean entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. startup world while also educating the general public with honest and trustworthy news delivered fresh. My intent is to direct our audience to paths with guidelines so they can come to a solid conclusion on their own with credible information.
Jaekwon prides The Miilk for making literature waves in the tech-oriented city. He is a storyteller who believes his work is not just a job, but more like karma. You can see Jaekown speak at The Miilk’s YouTube channel featuring David Lee, a VP of Portfolios at TD Ameritrade, who is known as the mikook hyungnim (American Brother). David’s personal mission—to teach Korean Americans the basic financial knowledge—was in line with The Miilk’s mission, so naturally, this dynamic duo began an online segment delivering confident and credible economic information. You can subscribe to The Miilk’s YouTube Channel and follow them on Facebook. To get your fresh news delivered to your inbox, click here to subscribe
Written by Kat Choi