Allen Chan, Founder of Mayo

September 29, 2020

1. What were you doing before you quit your job?

I was a Sr. UX design lead at Amazon working on community products like Wish List, Ask, Profile, Gifting, Softline (fashion) shopping, Reading Recommendations…etc the list goes on.

2. When did you realize you wanted to quit your job?

I realized I needed a change when 90{7da1b4016315e6906389b7680f0f0ab0dbfee16dff356723890b92cef8bfc446} of my team left, and my manager/friend had just told me he’s leaving to go found what became Convoy, and my son was due in a few months. It was definitely a “what am I still doing here” and “now or never” moment. I never had urges to build a startup, but I had a passion for connecting people in real life and letting the ‘screen’ takeover less of our lives so I decided to set out and do just that.

3. What initial hesitations did you have about quitting your job and how did you overcome them?

Being Asian, the first hesitation is probably always going to be “How am I going to tell my parents?”. I actually hid the fact that I had quit my job from my inlaws for 6+ months after. My 2nd hesitation was whether I can really build something meaningful and make a change being a solo founder (and one that can’t build) or not; But it was a question that I would never have the answer to, unless I tried.

4. Can you remember the day you put in your notice?  What was it like, what was going through your mind, how did your manager take it?

I barely remember it now honestly since it’s been almost 4 years, but I remember I felt more of a relief than being nervous. Finally I can get out and start a new, with a fresh change, and finally I can stop thinking ‘what if’ to myself.

5. What are you doing now?

I’m building Mayo ( In essence it’s a communication app that enables you to offer small, immediate help to anyone nearby without any sign ups. Or get help when you need it. We want to connect people not through profiles or interests, but through small shoulder-tap help, that we’ve all needed from time to time, but never asked for. When you have a reason to connect, even for 2 minutes, good things can happen.

We’re launching out of beta in October, so hit up our website to get notified when Mayo launches and receive a $10 reward to support local restaurants + help spread some kindness in this sad 2020!

6. Looking back on your experience of founding a company, what do you know that you wish you knew before? Are you happy with your decision?

There are so many little things you learn or pick up along the way, but overall I felt like it boosted my mentally to a different level than it would have gotten to in any other way. One key thing I definitely wish I did differently was that I wish I had set a goal or budget to ‘burn’ through the savings I set aside to build my startup. For example if I had set aside $10K, give myself a ‘budget’ of $1500 to spend per month and just use it up instead of trying to be too frugal and saving every penny. By doing so it would’ve set my own a** on fire more, created more urgency, and probably saved a ton of time for a lot of things. Of course mistakes might’ve been made as well but I believe overall it would’ve been better.

7. Any other advice you can share for others contemplating a similar path?

No advice or stories can tell you whether it’s right or wrong, or ‘when’ is a good time to venture out — only you will know the answer yourself. Trust your gut instincts and if you do venture out, don’t think about the opportunity costs (salary/stock you could’ve gotten if you didn’t leave..) because it just can’t be measured like that. If I never left Amazon I would literally be a millionaire by now due to the current stock price, but the experiences I got, lessons learnt, and additional time spent with my son couldn’t be bought any other way. Good luck!

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