After working at a handful of prominent tech companies, Sisun left his job at Tesla to pursue Morning Recovery full time. Now, he leads the charge behind Morning Recovery’s parent company More Labs.
SO, HOW'D YOU GET STARTED?
I was born in South Korea and my parents and I immigrated to Canada when I was nine years old. I grew up there and went to college there. When I graduated, I moved to the Bay Area to work in the tech industry as a product manager at Facebook. Then I had a similar role at Uber and most recently before Morning Recovery, I was at Tesla building the growth/product team. In 2017, I left Tesla to launch Morning Recovery, which at the time our parent company was known as 82 Labs. I’ve been doing it ever since.
"No matter what industry you’re in — whether it’s building a supplement like Morning Recovery or software products like Facebook — at the end of the day, the goal is to service customers."
LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
The thing I’ve learned to be the most transferable across everything I've done is to always build for customer demand. At the end of the day, that was the purpose and that’s why I was hired at Facebook, Uber, and Tesla. We have to understand what the market needs, what our customers want, what they like, what they don’t like, how to amplify the things they like, how to iterate and fix the things they don’t like. So that mentality — even though how you do it is very different in tech versus consumer product goods — was very transferrable. So I’ve learned to have the mindset of figuring out what people need and want first and then figuring out how to deliver on that promise. No matter what industry you’re in — whether it’s building a supplement like Morning Recovery or software products like Facebook — at the end of the day, the goal is to service customers.
BIGGEST AHA MOMENT?
In a startup, it’s so hard to define someone’s role. The biggest aha moment for me was realizing to just focus on impact versus defining your scope. It’s easier said than done, but it's ultimately about knowing what the company needs, figuring out what you’re good at, and taking the initiative to produce impact versus being told what to do. It amplifies the productivity and the output of the company significantly. And personally, it frees you up to really get creative and do amazing work.
ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
We have 22 people on our team and that’s something I’m really proud of. In a blur of time, a year and a half ago, it was just me and Misha in our small rental homes in Silicon Valley just thinking about this. Now you look back and there are 22 people. To know that this small beverage brought together 22 full-time employees working on the same mission is something that I’m very proud of.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Success is relative. If you put the benchmark in the eyes of other people, then you probably are never going to be happy. So I think it's just more about your internal happiness and conviction, and being able to work on things that you love. I get to pick and choose what I work on and I have fun every day. To me, that’s success.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by the people I work with and the fact that we’re tackling and solving real problems. You can see the impact through metrics like sales and community feedback. We’re building something special. In the beginning, it was just Morning Recovery, but we learned about our customers’ pain points and realized the opportunity was a lot bigger than we thought. Now, two years later we’re More Labs and we have more products in the pipeline. So thinking about where we’ll be two years from now is very inspiring.
"Success is relative. If you put the benchmark in the eyes of other people, then you probably are never going to be happy."
GO-TO PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
The 80/20 rule. It’s this power law principle that means 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs. So I think it’s really important to hone in on what that 20% is so you can get to that 80%. My philosophy is that it’s better to get to that 80% and keep repeating that across multiple fields than to fine-tune the last 20%.
HOW DO YOU REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL EVERY DAY?
The times that I failed the most were the times when I took no action. In order to reach full potential, you have to be okay with failing and you have to fail fast. I think a lot of the time people don’t achieve what they want to because they let fear get in the way. If you remove the element of fear, and you just do it, I think you’re always going to be one step closer to whatever it is you want to reach.
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Work-life balance is incredibly important, but you have to measure it from a timeline of a year, not a day. When you’re trying to build something, there’s going to be turbulence and you’re going to need to work a lot on many days. But you can’t keep working for months and months until you burn. You have to take time to refresh, recharge, and take a vacation.
FAVORITE WAY TO LET LOOSE?
High-intensity interval training, backpacking trips, and going out with friends.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
Scaling. Both for the company and myself. As an early-stage founder, I focused on hustling and working with tenacity. My output was often tied to the number of hours I put in, which had a capped ceiling. I’m focused on making sure our work scales and compounds over time.