Season 01 • Episode 04
Appy Hour Talk Show – Siberia Su
Our next guest for Season 1 of The Appy Hour Talk Show is none other than Siberia Su, who is now the Head of Growth for MobilityWare’s Jump Ramp Games Group, and Founder of the PPE marketplace and donation platform MRACLE2020. Siberia is a huge favorite in the mobile app industry. She’ll share a more personal anecdote about the trials and tribulations of losing a job while on a work visa and having to race to find a new job with the deadline running out. Hear how a large segment of the mobile app industry came to help and how she was able to stay calm, focused and positive through that very stressful time. We continue Season 1 with more of an inspirational twist, and we do find a few fun moments as well. This is an Appy Hour episode, after all.
Louis: Today’s guest is Siberia Su. Hi, Siberia.
Siberia: Hi, Louis.
Louis: How are you doing today?
Siberia: A pleasure to be here. I’m good. How are you?
Louis: I’m outstanding. Whenever Siberia’s in a room, it’s a better room.
Siberia: Aww, my pleasure. Thank you for the kind words.
Louis: It’s interesting that Siberia had a really interesting experience recently. Your company laid you off and…
Siberia: The previous one, yeah.
Louis: Yeah, obviously the previous company laid you off. And it seems like the entire industry came to rally for Siberia. Do you want to talk about that?
Siberia: Yeah, I really appreciate the help I got during that time period. Personally, I am tied to a very specific working visa situation, which unfortunately is not the best situation under the current policy climate, whatever you call it. So, during that time period, unfortunately I’ve forged relationship with the app growth industry. There are a lot of tremendously helpful, amazing people like Louis, at a time, referred a lot of great opportunities to me that helped me survived a very time crunching situation, where I needed to get a visa sponsored, a good job in the industry, in New York City, in a very competitive landscape like New York. But I was fortunate enough to be able to do that within 60 days without having to leave the country and continue my dream here. So, that was pretty fortunate.
Louis: Yes, that’s pretty amazing though. It was like within 60 days, it’s like all of a sudden now, you need to find a job and it’s like, “Ah.”
Siberia: Sometimes life is unpredictable, right? Things couldn’t go very well, but under a certain situation and unexpected and your life can all of a sudden be flipped upside down and you just have to be prepared for that. I think have a very calm mind and strong spirit, strong that work are crucial elements in your life to survive any circumstances.
Louis: That must have been super stressful.
Siberia: It was really stressful. I have survived a lot of really hard situations in my life. So I’m very positive or strong in terms of surviving hard situations. So when it came, I just knew in my mind that the journey is not going to end this way because I’ve worked so hard, my entire life. I have so many supportive networks and a lot of them are themselves a very, very talented, resourceful, very successful people. So if you are within the network, you are connected with them and they send you not just the real support, but also the mental support, the spirit that you need.
Siberia: I’m a very strong person myself. So I motivate myself every day. And one thing I live by even today is one day at a time, whenever you have a hard situation, you have to move forward as if the circumstances are the same as the normal days. So you can still move forward with a very strong mind, strong body and just go down every single small opportunities into at least to something real, tangible.
Louis: Because I think a lot of people are out there, they’ve been in, not the exact situation, because that was like multiple things happen at the same time, like the visa and the unemployment and the rent’s due.
Siberia: Exactly. Save some money. That’s important too.
Louis: So when let’s say someone’s unemployed, which a lot of people are right now. How would you suggest to them to stay busy when they don’t have to go to work, but they have to stay positive and keep working so that they can find work. What works for you?
Siberia: I think the things that really worked for me is to really lean in, right? It’s usually a word they use for women workforce, but I think it used to anybody who needed help and you just really have to lean in. And trust, not just a universe, trust yourself and trust the people who care about you. Even if there is not a lot of them around you physically. You just have to have faith that things will turn out and just take actions, move forward and nobody can help you but yourself in the end, right? Keep moving forward. Keep knocking on a door. In the beginning, it can be very confusing because you don’t know which one … Everything seems to be very remote and very unlikely to turn out to be something real. But if you keep trying, every single step builds towards something real.
Louis: Yeah. Was there a set schedule or something that you do every day to keep giving you a routine that would help keep you balanced and focused?
Siberia: That’s a big one. I keep running, keep track of your run. Then I would turn on my favorite artist’s music. Cause that will put me in a better mood.
Louis: Who’s your favorite artist?
Siberia: It’s actually a Taiwanese artist called Jay Chou, he’s very famous in Asia. But in America or in the Western world, like Ed Sheeran and sometimes even tend to turn on Linkin Park. I’m like, just rock in and I don’t care. Life is so hard just rock it off. That will lift you up too.
Louis: Save that for the end of the run.
Siberia: Don’t let it into something depressing that’s going to make it even harder.
Louis: So, no Adele.
Siberia: Yeah, no Adele. She’s fine. Sometimes you need to let the emotion out, if you’re super stressful. Fortunately, I’m a woman, I will cry. So less than into something that triggers my emotion actually helped out in the end, help me sleep better. If I can cry it out and be like, ah, tomorrow’s better. You know, everybody has a different way of handling their stress. Not just suppressing it, letting it out, is healthier to help you move forward.
Siberia: Just don’t lose hope. That’s also correlated to mental issues. A lot of people will go into depression mode or when it comes to a really hard situation, I’ve had a couple of moments of those. I’m very experienced in dealing with depression. If a situation or whatever it comes up. I’m like, I know it’s getting there.
Siberia: Here’s action one, two, three, four. Go to gym and get yourself a trainer. If you can’t afford a trainer, just train yourself. Get a partner to lift you up. Step one – get your body strong and mentally seek out for help. Just talk to a lot of strangers. Because sometimes we will feel ashamed about their vulnerability, especially for men, right? Talk to their close people. But you can talk to remote people. You’d be surprised how many of them are willing to help you. And they will give you solutions on different angles and not necessarily to get to the core of your problem, but every single little bit help helps in the end.
Louis: Yeah. I heard that exercise releases certain endorphins too.
Siberia: Yeah, absolutely.
Siberia: Fun support; get your support system up. I literally reached out to every single friend of mine across the continent from in New York, in LA, in Shanghai, even people in Toronto. Everybody that I know from the whole world, I reached out to them if I think they can give me some advice. At that point, I usually am a proud person, but I think there is also a strength in sharing your vulnerability. It doesn’t make you a less strong person, you know?
Louis: Yeah, absolutely. I know during that time, I usually like to send some links to people that, if a job looks right for them, or if someone’s asking for somebody.
Siberia: Yeah, you’re amazing.
Siberia: I woke up to a job tip sometimes.
Louis: Like, oh, these people are looking for someone.
Siberia: Yeah. We need people like you in the industry to help connect information. So our supply and demand. And there are a lot of people looking for talents and a lot of people looking for jobs. But how to match that information to get everybody to be more successful, to get closer to their goals, is really a huge step. And it’s still an issue, right? to find a perfect match. It’s like, everything. Finding a job, find a partner. It’s hard to find the right one.
Louis: Yeah. Especially in New York.
Louis: It’s easy and hard. It’s easy to find like superficial opportunities.
Siberia: Exactly. There’s a lot of opportunities, but finding the right one is very, very difficult.
Siberia: And the opportunity costs of changing the wrong one is also very high.
Louis: That’s true.
Siberia: Like you hire someone, you train them. And if you are in a very crunching timeline, you don’t really have time to swap to another person, because the whole recruiting process is very tedious. And then if you lose this half trained person, you lose some productivity. So it’s a kind of a dilemma situation. I’m going to swap this person, I’ll keep them. I may not find someone better. You’re constantly in the struggle of trying to hire the best talent.
Kali: Segue a little bit; just to get to know about you a little bit more.
Siberia: Yeah, sure.
Kali: Just ask you some random questions and see what you have to say. So the first one I found is, do you call your evening meal dinner or supper?
Siberia: Yeah. I learned English from a foreign country. I think they do dinner.
Louis: Yeah. I think that would be like a Northeast United States thing. I think we say supper.
Siberia: Yeah. I learned that later that there is another word for dinner.
Kali: What color looks best on you?
Siberia: It used to be red, now I think it’s white or black.
Kali: If you were to enter a baking contest, what recipe would you make?
Siberia: Oh my God. I don’t cook. That’s got to be hard for me.
Louis: So what do you do for dinner? Not supper, dinner?
Siberia: I can do some Chinese food, the simple ones like fried tomato with eggs or fried string beans, or fried beef with onions, or other simple stuff.
Kali: But, a typical day coming home from work.
Siberia: I take home Korean food, Chinese food, noodles, ramen.
Louis: Just grabbing on the way home.
Louis: Have you ever use a food delivery app?
Siberia: Yeah. Seamless, GrubHub, Uber Eats occasionally, and then sometimes Postmates for Boba tea.
Kali: We’ll ask you one more question. How much money would make you happy?
Siberia: Happiness doesn’t only come from money. So even if I have the whole money in the world, it would buy me security. Happiness comes from true human connection on top of everything else you have. So, no amount of money only can make me happy. That’s how I see.
Louis: The way I like to think of it as, the money doesn’t make you happy. But the things that the money can give you…
Siberia: Can make you happier.
Louis: Makes you real happy.
Siberia: Yeah. Well, you can take out all the stress for you and then you can just focus on really develop your true passion. In that sense, yes. That can make you happier because you can find your answer like a hundred times faster than other people, right? Like if I don’t have to worry about rent and everything else. And to just pick one thing I really love to do, I’m going to jump on to acting and be like, I’m going to shoot a documentary right now. That’s going to make me happy.
Louis: If it wasn’t a documentary if it was a feature film, who would you want to play you?
Siberia: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.
Louis: Bam, just like that. Just ready to go. Now we’ll have a segment that we’re going into now called Talk Nerdy To Me.
Siberia: Let’s do it.
Louis: This is where we talk tech. What got you into growth marketing in the first place? How did you fall into this?
Siberia: It’s a good question. Well, I actually started in web. I worked for a pretty famous web data startup called Spokeo in Pasadena, Los Angeles, as my first job after my master’s at USC. And the reason I joined that job actually was because it’s a tech industry that sponsors visa, pays you really well, teach you a lot of about digital marketing that’s actually is more not, I wouldn’t say useful, but it offers more opportunity down the road for your career development. That’s when digital was kind of taking off and it was around 2012. So web has been around for a couple of years. Mobile was just taking off.
Siberia: After two years, I’ve learned a lot of Excel skills, data skills, media buying skills on the website. And I was looking for the opportunity to transition because the rope was kind of plateaued in terms of what I was learning. I wasn’t able to expand my skillset.
Siberia: I was looking for opportunities and bumped into Jam City SGN at a social gaming network. And then I got very interested into their branding and also the role that they offer that actually blends a variety of a skillset that I can offer. Then I interviewed with them through LinkedIn connection. And then months later I got hired, that’s how I swim into mobile. It really opened the door for me, and I didn’t realize how popular this acquisition was until I joined them and I got my inbox got a bomb. Every single day by people around the world trying to have us buy media on them. So whoever has a budget got followed by everybody in the world.
Siberia: I would literally go to a conference as a UA manager. Like, nobody, right? Not nobody, but a junior UA manager be followed by anybody from my company, from Israel or from anywhere, and network at a time, that’s when UA was really popular. The Mobile was really popular.
Louis: And these days, do you do any programmatic buying?
Siberia: I don’t anymore, but I’ve done it at a SGN, at Jam City. I’ve done it with network, both in internal DSP. I’ve done it at, after that WPPs access, which has a programmatic trading desk. They partner with some DSP, they have their own DSP. So that’s all programmatic at a time. I worked with a lot of DMPs as well. So that’s a lot of programmatic buying as agency side to work for brands. And then after that Draft Kings, I was more on the team management side of things. So people that I managed bought some programmatic, but we also worked with agencies as well.
Louis: Didn’t you have like, build your own DSP?
Siberia: Oh yeah, I did.
Louis: And was that a challenge?
Siberia: I was so fortunate that I worked with one of the smartest engineers in the world. He’s somewhere in the backend at Jam City. He’s my favorite person in the world. And a really smart head of engineering over there, Jason and Sergei. They’re my favorite people to work with.
Siberia: So with a great team, we were able to run a lot of experiments on internal products at a time and did got a lot of internal learning. It’s not a type of learning where you can really say that we drove how many more additional customers, but more learning in terms of how the media ecosystem work, how we get buy user more efficiently, what’s working, what’s not. Learning like that.
Louis: So what would you say the top two things you can give other people advice from everything you’ve learned?
Siberia: Programmatic is very hard for performance marketing. And MoPub works.
Louis: Shout out MoPub, I guess.
Siberia: You’re welcome.
Louis: Let’s play a game. It’s called this or that.
Kali: Yeah. So let’s play a little game called this or that. Like Louis said. I’m just going to ask you two things and tell me which one you prefer.
Siberia: Okay. For sure.
Kali: So iPhone or Android?
Kali: Uber or Lyft?
Kali: How dogs or cats?
Louis: Represent. Shout out dogs.
Kali: PayPal or Venmo?
Siberia: Venmo. Well, both actually, I use both.
Kali: Apple Maps or Google Maps?
Siberia: Google Maps.
Kali: East coast or West coast?
Kali: Scooters or bikes?
Kali: We’ll do two more. How about ice cream or frozen yogurt?
Siberia: Ice cream. Vanilla ice cream.
Kali: And last one, Airbnb or hotels?
Siberia: Hotels. Well, depends on the quality of Airbnb.
Louis: Well, actually as a growth marketer, one more: Facebook Ads or Google UAC? You can only spend on one channel.
Siberia: It depends if it’s ad business, right? I don’t know if depending on resources if you don’t have a resource Google UAC. If you have enough resources, Facebook.
Louis: There you go. Well, Siberia, unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of our episode.
Siberia: That was fun.
Louis: Thank you for doing this.
Siberia: Thank you for being an amazing content contributor in the community, and thank you for all of your support.
Louis: Hopefully, this turns out good and we edit it and people love it. Because we’re obviously trying to do something a little different with the more casual conversations, instead of just a bunch of tech talk through the whole thing or the host trying to sound super smart. So I’m just like, let’s just talk to people, right?
Louis: There you go.
Kali: Thanks, Siberia.
Siberia: Thank you, guys. My pleasure.
Louis: Hey, you made it to the end of the episode. Thanks for taking the journey with us and we hope you found it exactly as advertised, where it was mostly fun and entertaining, but we did manage to get in a little tech talk in there as well, so you can kind of tell your managers that this was actually time spent doing work stuff. Trust me. We won’t tell on you.
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