Do What You Love is a new series that showcases the entrepreneurs behind emerging companies. For this edition, we sat down with Jason Oh, the founder and CEO of e-commerce site, mohchi. Here’s what he shared:
At Berkeley I studied English Literature. Back then in my naiveté I thought I’d be an English professor and that’s what I was actually planning to do. But as things got near graduation, the feasibility and prospects of becoming an English professor were not good. So I decided I should do something else, something more practical.
mohchi is a consolidated marketplace. mohchi allows consumers to search for products and find them from local retailers.
You know the ice cream mochi, right? It’s spelled slightly differently. So we were thinking of something that you can’t order online and get shipped. It’s a friendly name and it actually has the first two letters of our [his and co-founder Andy Chang’s] last names so that’s how it came to be.
Small businesses have value. Retail is a huge market; it’s a $200 billion market in the U.S. or something like that, and there’s a reason people still go to physical stores. What we wanted to do is help people get connected better with their local retailers and communities they live in and to understand what’s around them.
My existential imperative has always been to create things: writing, software. Everyone wants to leave their mark and for me, it’s important to build something that’s meaningful and that will change the world somehow.”
Social life, frankly, is not too important. To me, that can wait because there’s only one chance to do this. Friends will remain friends—I still try to maintain existing relationships. But there’s a window of opportunity, which we need to take. So my very specific priorities are my wife, mohchi, and then everything else.
My drive comes from my parents who are immigrants. I remember my dad working crazy hours and my older brother also still works crazy hours. So, to me it’s just par from the course.
I’ve been training for the marathon as well. Just like I read multiple books at the same time, I like having more than one goal. It also achieves a fitness goal because, you know, working so long and sitting all-day or standing all day—it’s not the best for your health. It’s nice to have a balance there.