Today we’d like to introduce you to Jack Liang.
Jack, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up as a low-income and minority student in Brooklyn was difficult, having to balance work and education. I ended up graduating bottom 5% of my high school, got rejected to all 16 colleges I applied to, and ended up at community college. I really felt like the whole world had given up on me, including my parents who associated grades with success. My parents were constantly expressing their disappointment with me and my teachers didn’t take me seriously.
With no expectations, I felt that I had to prove everyone wrong. Their disappointment ended up fueling me and I changed my mindset.
I worked tirelessly at community college, with the goal to transfer to NYU. I succeeded – I was able to get a 3.8 GPA and transferred to NYU. My experience at the school opened my eyes to all the different types of people and pieces of wisdom that I was able to receive. Inspired by my motivated peers, I continued to push myself and found myself landing internships at CBS, Coca Cola, and Goldman Sachs. At the same time, I was also running a night life promoting business where I was able to meet all types of people and really build my network that way. It was a great way to learn how to juggle different jobs at the same time and continue to meet all types of people.
Post-graduation, I worked full time at allrecipes.com where I was introduced to digital marketing and social media. I eventually gathered insights on the food and beverage trends and opened my first restaurant right here in Union Square, New York. Since then, I have opened four restaurants and assisted other restauranteurs in opening dozens across the U.S and internationally. Eventually, Facebook and Instagram became interested in me and offered me a full-time position in California. It was a dream of mine to learn and grow with the smartest people in the world. I am now working on the Instagram ad/ explore platform and mentoring startups for Facebook while still running my own businesses.
Has it been a smooth road?
From seeing 1,000 people lining up outside my restaurant to seeing some of my businesses closing down – it’s been a roller coaster ride. On one hand, I’ve dealt with construction disasters like water pipe bursts than turn into flooding and all the negative legal stuff you deal with as you own your own business. Then there’s the times I have been invited to speak at my alma mater and featured in The New York Times. There’s a lot of up and downs but I’ve really learned to look at all these experiences as simply experiences for me to continue growing.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
If I could describe what I do, I would say I specialize in thinking outside the box. My day job is building and improving the Instagram platform and mentoring startups. By night, I build restaurants around the world and am signed to 5 major modeling agencies. I’m just constantly creating and I love it.
I believe that anything you learn from one instance can add value to something completely distant. In order to create new categories, you need foreign perspective. That is why I value diversity and am constantly trying to broaden my horizon. What sets me apart is my expanded views of the world, my massive network and my deep care and understanding for people.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the people and the creativity. The traffic can be better though.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jackliang