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Meet Jang Lee of Joymode in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jang Lee.

Jang, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I entered college, I was faced with my biggest life decision of picking a major. At the time, I wanted to choose a discipline that allowed me the best chance to quickly be employed after the graduation. I remembered a Ben Franklin quote, “nothing is certain except death and taxes”.

I followed his advice and studied accounting. Post graduation, I worked as an accountant and although it did land me a job, it was repetitive and a grind. I saw a bunch of financial analysts that had the ability to forecast numbers (and actually be wrong) and looked like a great career.

From there, I took on a role at Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch where I worked with great mentors and learned to forecast. With the combined understanding of how the numbers were booked and how to forecast, I began to grow my career. I then went onto pursue a graduate degree which helped me better interact with people and work in teams.

Postgrad school, I went onto becoming a Director of Finance and then continued to build my experience to become CFO. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have had strong mentors who always challenged me to learn and progress. I also have a very understanding and supportive wife that understands my fluctuating work schedule.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has not always been smooth. The most challenging part of being an early stage, startup financial executive is forecasting the unknown. Sometimes your product adopts right away and you see a surge in growth and other times, the adoption is a lot slower.

You have to continue to review your financial model and refine your plan. It’s important to talk to the organization and keep them informed on the trajectory of the Company so you don’t increase your overhead at a faster pace than growth.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Joymode story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the CFO of a startup called Joymode. I oversee all accounting, finance and planning for the organization. What sets me apart from other traditional financial executives is that I’ve built my career on working with early-stage startup companies. This means there are a lot of unknowns and things the organization hasn’t encountered before. I am able to analyze all of the alternatives and lay out a plan to make the best decision(s).

Further, I think that the CFO doesn’t always have to be the most boring person in the organization. I love to try to have a sense of humor and help build on the Company’s culture (not always effective, but I try).

I’m most proud of the fact that Joymode is challenging the traditional ownership model and helping mitigate waste in the world. The core concept is that we loan products that you would normally purchase. We also help members figure out what to do over the weekend, whether you want to host a backyard movie night with friends and family or you want to loan a vacuum to do some spring cleaning, we have it all. We are creating a world where what we do is defined by what we imagine, not what we own.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve always been surrounded by amazing people (investors, executive team and all employees) throughout my career. Having these relationships have really shaped my life and career and continues to be a key driver today. I’ve also have had great fortune in being a part of some really great organizations like Shoedazzle, The Black Tux, Hollar and now Joymode.

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