EP 175 – Christina Sok – Founder and CEO of ClassBubs – It Was Motherhood That Led Me to ClassBubs

by | Jan 29, 2022

The Asia Tech Podcast was joined by Christina Sok, the Founder, and CEO of ClassBubs.  ClassBubs helps parents to discover, book and review kids’ extracurricular classes.
Some of the topics that Christina discussed:
  • Born in South Korea but growing up all over the world
  • Finished her secondary schooling at UWC in Singapore
  • Knowing as a teenager that she was not built to work for anybody else
  • What she learned from her art gallery internship
  • Always wanted to challenge the status quo
  • How her parents were non-traditional in their approach to her education
  • Learning as something enjoyable and fun
  • The discipline she developed while being self-employed helped in the startup world
  • Was searching for activities for her daughter and realized just how fragmented that market was
  • The opportunity to talk about the holistic development of kids
  • The development of ClassBubs and the potential for creating in-house content and programs
  • The kind of role model she wants to be for her daughter
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. Tuesday to Thursday Was Just a Blur
  2. It’s About Building a Life
  3. You Don’t Just Land at the Top
  4. Dots Do Connect Looking Back
  5. North or South Korea?
  6. How Do You Get the “Me Time” Without the “Mom Guilt”?

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:02
Michael Waitze Media. Telling Asia’s Stories.

Michael Waitze 0:11
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Christina Sok, the founder and CEO of ClassBubs.com. I’m interested in the name we’ll have to get that to that at some point, Christina, thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you today?

Christina Sok 0:28
Thanks so much, Michael. It’s pleasure. Doing great. I’m just excited. I’m always excited.

Michael Waitze 0:34
How do we get to Friday, so fast when I don’t even feel like I had a Tuesday this week.

Christina Sok 0:40
I know. I mean, Tuesday to Thursday was just a blur, a complete blur. But the best way possible, you know, when you have one of those really productive jam packed weeks, where you just kind of crash at night, knowing that you’ve just put in everything? Yeah. Well, this week’s been it’s been a,

Michael Waitze 0:59
I say this to people a lot and I don’t think they it’s fully understood. But like when I worked at Goldman Sachs, I was getting up at 5:30 in the morning, I was at work at six and I wouldn’t stop working until 11 or 12 o’clock at night. And I thought when I left the financial world, I thought, okay, that’s over. Nobody else worked 16 hour days.

Christina Sok 1:20
Wait till you’re an entrepreneur.

Michael Waitze 1:21
That’s what I mean. I didn’t know that. Right. So I thought, if I run my own business, easy. Could I have been more wrong? You think?

Christina Sok 1:30
No, but you know, the thing. And this is exactly what I’m sure we’ll touch on later. But this is what I’ve been about. Since you know, in the last eight, nine years, this whole idea of it’s not about work life balance. It’s about work life integration. Yeah. You’re, you know, when the lines between work and play are blurred. And for me, it’s about building a life. And my work doesn’t seem like work in the traditional sense. Even though there is a ton of work to do when you’re running your own startup, the work becomes a pleasure. And even if I am doing 16 hour days or two hour days, it doesn’t really matter. Because it’s all part of who I am and what my life is about.

Michael Waitze 2:11
Talk to me a little bit more about this. When I was going to work every day reading said waking up early, staying late. And even when I got home literally having my laptop at the table as I was eating dinner, so I could talk to London and then talk to New York, because for them there was an urgency when their markets were open. It wasn’t really work life integration, right? We had Saturdays and Sundays off, which we don’t have now. But it was trying to balance out like while I’m talking to my family, I need to take care of these things. But the integration of work into your life is a completely different animal. Do you want to kind of explain what that difference is to me from your perspective? You mean when you’re building your own thing? Yeah, exactly. Because there’s no other way to do it. Is there?

Christina Sok 2:52
No. So I understood quite early on. And I mean, in my early 20s, or perhaps I even knew as a teenager, when I had my first internships at like 16. I knew I wasn’t built and made to work for anybody else. Really. Yeah. And I knew that as a 1516 year old. And in fact, I remember my first boss, I guess, and this internship that I had, he was also kind of like, became a family friend. So he was running this art gallery in Singapore. And my parents were also clients of the art gallery at the time, and we had become friends and I had the summer internship. And I remember him telling me very clearly, and those words really stuck to me for a long time. And I think it impacted me and also affected me in some ways, but he told me, you know, Christina, you don’t just land at the top. He told me that as a teenager. And as a teenager, I was like, why? What, what absurdity is he talking about you don’t just land at the top. And then I really understood when I first got my first full time job out of college as an ad exec in New York. Oh, yeah, you really don’t mind?

Michael Waitze 4:09
What was the context? Because this gentleman who worked at the art gallery was not just randomly giving you platitudes, right. You must have said something or done something to remember the context in which this was said.

Christina Sok 4:19
Yeah, I don’t remember the exact context. But I think it was an in terms of a project or something that I was doing in terms of my day to day work, okay. Must have maybe commented on how I could take on more or, Oh, I could do what the gallery managers doing or something along those lines where I felt like I could do what my senior was doing, or what I was capable of doing more than I was given. And I wasn’t being challenged enough. It must have been something along those lines. Yeah, and I think that’s that’s the comment he kind of made and I think what he was actually trying to say is that there’s the lay of the land. There are there are processes and there’s the system and you go through the system and you got to climb up that corporate ladder, if you will. And that’s what he was alluding to. But this was also like, you know, 20 years ago, right? This is before your, your tech startups. Mostly Yeah. Yeah. But you know, that definitely made an impression. And the kind of rebel in me, I think, wanted to challenge the status quo. And perhaps my entire sort of adult life and career I’ve been working against that grain, wanting to will prove in a way, why can’t you just land at the top? I mean, having said that, I do find now looking back, you know, the dots connect for me, even though I’ve had a very nonlinear non traditional path, from where, where I started, you know, let’s say with the degrees that I got to where I am at now, dots do connect, looking back, and there is value in getting some of that training and the work discipline, and overall exposure and experience, you know, you do have to build your way up in that sense. So I think what he said made sense in some ways, I have to give him that

Michael Waitze 6:16
in retrospect, right, a lot of stuff makes sense. I want to do this thing, and I want to back up a little bit and get some of that background so we can have some context for the rest of this discussion as well.

Christina Sok 6:27
Sure. Okay. So I’m originally from Korea. I know some people will say north or south, but I mean, that’s a preposterous thing to ask, Do

Michael Waitze 6:36
People really say that? Stop! Wait, do people really say that? It’s not like the Carolinas? You know what I mean? It’s not like the Dakotas.

Christina Sok 6:43
I know. Right? It’s like, from South Carolina or north? No, but in all seriousness, I haven’t gotten that recently. But that’s because we’ve been locked in, you know, at home for the past two years. And I haven’t really been networking as much as I used to fair enough. But no kidding, literally, like up till recently. And it’s not even a certain nationality that us that or anything, just like anyone, it always comes up every few weeks. That’s so strange. Like, do you understand anything about North Korea?

Michael Waitze 7:15
Yeah, geopolitics at all?

Christina Sok 7:17
I know. So anyway, just to clarify, in case there isn’t a listener out there who was wondering, yes, I’m from South Korea. I was born in Seoul, okay. But I didn’t really grow up there. So my family moved around quite a bit. So I was born there. But I lived in the UK, Hong Kong, and then eventually Singapore. So my dad, at the time was working in finance. And so we got moved around a little bit. I came to Singapore, in the late 90s. My school here, I went to an amazing international school called UVC. United World College. And that definitely did shape my worldviews and perspective a lot as well. They went to college in New York City, I went to Columbia, where I met my significant other, and I had this big dream to go to New York. Really, I’m yeah, it started, like when I was a teenager, and I kind of was aware of university and college. And I kind of just only wanted to go there. Because my interests at the time was in art, visual art. Unlike maybe other people my age, I had a very clear plan. That theme, I guess, continues to run, but I’m such a planner, I have to actually learn to start stepping back and like, I really have to train myself to be in the present. So I do a lot of mindfulness now. Okay. But yeah, it was such a plan. I think my high school yearbook said that I was going to be running an art gallery. And I think I use the adjective modish Art Gallery in New York City, probably in Chelsea or something. I don’t know, lower Eastside. But yeah, I had this very clear plan that I was going to go to New York and I wanted to study art history. And I already knew that when I was 15, or 16, and so hence, the internship and the art gallery and all of that. So that did come into fruition. I got a degree in English Lit and art history with a minor in visual arts and concentration of Visual Arts and a minor in French actually, I studied abroad in Paris.

Michael Waitze 9:17
Where did you study in Paris?

Christina Sok 9:20
Columbia University has a campus in Paris called Reed Hall. So really cute little campus near Montparnasse. I also did a couple of courses. And at the Sorbonne,

Michael Waitze 9:29
you lived my dream.

Christina Sok 9:31
Yeah, that was my dream. I, I lived the dream of New York, Paris, like that’s where I wanted to be. And then I did my masters in London, so I got to fulfill that itch as well. And for you, I really was exposed to a lot of different culture and travel a lot is definitely very privileged and you know, really, I feel very blessed to have that kind of childhood and exposure, but at the same time, I felt I felt that I also had a calling to make an impact in some way. And I didn’t know how that was going to pan out and what I had to do, but that’s kind of always been at the back of my mind. And those values were really instilled in me at home, but also amplified at school at UBC.

Michael Waitze 10:21
My daughter also went to an international school in Bangkok, called the Newark International School of Thailand at NIST. And, you know, you WC Nyssa. These are world class schools, right? So for people that don’t understand how the international school system works in Asian and Southeast Asia, in particular, it’s a world class educational institutions, right, like you didn’t get to Columbia by accident, my daughter didn’t get to Kayo and talk in Japan by accident, either. But I was gonna ask you, if you thought that being there, informed the sense of wanting to make an impact in the world over time.

Christina Sok 10:53
Yeah, definitely. Because you know, you’re going to school with people from must have been like 5060, maybe 70 other nationalities, right, UBC, in particular, and I really don’t mean to do a plug for you. Because I don’t think I’m going to send my children there, I’m just going to be clear with that. But you know, at the time, there were maybe not, not many other schools like this out there, you know, 20 years ago when I started. And it was a very special place, because the focus is not just being an international school, but there was a big emphasis on the community doing service service back to the community locally. So that was me in Singapore. But global concerns was another big theme in the school. So one of the global concerns that I was involved with, in my last years of high school was called Mighty Nepal. And, you know, not to go into too much detail, but basically, it was working with an NGO in Nepal, that was helping the sex traffic of Nepalese girls into India. So a lot of awareness about global issues and social issues are given to kids at a fairly young age. And it’s really part of the experience, and in a way, the curriculum at UBC. And one thing that will never leave my mind. And actually, this is kind of what probably sticks to my mind, out of everything that I experienced at that school. And I was there for like seven years, I guess, grade 12 In sixth grade, I think sixth or seventh grade. So in Lower School, we have this exercise where basically they did a stimulate a simulation of a shanty town of living in a shanty town. Yeah, so the kids, we were treated like people living in a shanty town we by the landlords of a landowner’s or whoever the authority was, and we went through the simulation, like an actual experience, it’s experiential learning. I don’t know if they still do that. But we so we built the kids the homework was our project was building a shantytown out of like, you know, popsicle sticks and stuff like that are these little miniature homes with us. And there was this whole experience created around around this project. So one day, you know, at school, we went through this experience where we were like these shanty town villagers. And at the end of it, the, the teachers or the land owners, they stepped in, crushed and destroyed our homes, right. And like, the whole, that experience was so poignant. I still remember I still remember the feeling of like, my heart beating and like how I felt so sad when they they crushed my project. And the confusion around like how we were being kind of herded like cattle, you’re, like cramped into these spaces. And I don’t remember exactly what happened. But I just remember those feelings when I experienced that. So I think different educational experiences can be super impactful. Having said that, I don’t remember what I learned in math class. I don’t retain much information of of my, you know, so many classes that I did. But that’s what I remember about my schooling.

Michael Waitze 14:30
But there’s got to be a through line between the education that you had as a teenager the education that you had as an adult, and what you’re building now.

Christina Sok 14:39
Yeah, for sure. So I think sorry, let me backtrack, because I didn’t even quite finish my I went on a different tangent. I think, What was a typical, I mean, other than the fact that okay, I did have this really great education into an international setting. I was exposed to a lot of different cultures. As I was able to travel, went to some of these best schools, but What was a typical is that my parents were very a typical Korean, or Asian parents, they never once told me to study, and I never did any of this tuition. So part of the reason why my parents also at some point, they kind of won the IMF happened. And in the late 90s, my dad was supposed to be going back to Korea, but one of the reasons why they really didn’t want to was for my education, right? You know, my mom is an educator. So she still is a part time lecturer at the National University of Singapore, we must be like the only Korean in Singapore that teaches English. But anyway, that’s, that’s completely off topic. And both of them have two master’s degrees, they being quite academic themselves, they never once told me to study. And that was also why they didn’t want me to be in the education system in Korea, because they felt that it limited kids in a way. And I’m not going to comment on how the education system is now but it’s very into a lot of rote learning. A lot, a huge emphasis on academics, which is not bad, but I think kids can’t really be kids, and they can’t really have a childhood. Because after school, they spent so many hours in tuition centers, or, or whatever else, reinforcing the learning they had at school. And my mom, as an educator really believed that, well, if the schools were doing the right thing, they were doing their job properly, you wouldn’t need to have so much extra tuition and support outside of school. So I didn’t have any of that. And you know, she reminded me quite recently that me only once I was older, and I was like a teenager, probably in those exam years. I only asked for external like tutoring help when I needed it. And it wasn’t even a regular thing. So I spent my childhood for the most part really playing I you know, in the summers, I didn’t do extra academic stuff. All I did was eat, sleep and play. And I really nice memories of a summer. I remember when we first moved to Singapore, my grandma came and stayed. And we we we did stuff all day. And we went to the library and I, one summer, I was obsessed with the baby sitters club, and I must have read the whole series, I was just obsessed with reading. But other than that the interests and hobbies that I had, I love dancing, so I did ballet most of most of my life. And then at some point, I got really into art. So I did a lot of art classes as well. And those interests continued, you know, kind of into my adult life as well, that must have really shaped my outlook on life, but also on education. Learning for me was enjoyable fun, was something that I sought out, it wasn’t forced. It wasn’t the kind of like mandated, my parents didn’t have to, like tell me to study it was. But at the same time, maybe because of that, I also really just did it did enjoy school. So I was pretty academically inclined. But at the same time, I felt that I was able to really develop holistically because I was given those opportunities to explore what I’m interested in, I found out that I’m really not a music person. I may be pretty close to tone deaf. His music is not my thing, you know, I can’t really very well or play the piano even though I did learn for many years. To my mom’s dismay, actually. But I was okay with that, too. You know, and I wasn’t really a huge team sports person either. Like, you know, I can have a little game of tennis now. But I’m I’m definitely not. And I love going. I love exercising. I have a yoga practice, and I go to the gym, but I wasn’t a huge team sports person. So I think exploring everything you do realize eventually what you’re good at and what you’re interested in. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, so then after the degree in art history, my master’s in art history. I worked as an independent art curator for a while curating exhibitions and projects in Singapore, or, at some point, I did a curatorial residency in Australia. So worked with different artists from around Asia and Australia and some of my exhibitions and projects. I became an educator. So I taught at a couple of the universities in Singapore art history, and then eventually communications as well. So had some time, you know, being an educator myself, and I was also freelance writing for a couple of art magazines. So it’s doing a lot but all of this was now kind of my work and I just thoroughly enjoyed it. And even when I was super busy with a lot of things going on, it just felt really fulfilling and rewarding, kind of going back to how we started our conversation. But that to me was What really excited me it didn’t feel like work, right? So it wasn’t like a means to an end kind of I’m working this job because I need to pay the bills. But I felt like I was fulfilling work that was meaningful to me. And then I guess what I just want the last part was that kind of contribution angle. So when I was self employed, and not really like building a business that had bigger potential, the impact side of things was maybe not there. And that was probably the missing part that eventually pushed me to the startup world. But I think the discipline and rigor of being self employed, of being the hustler actually was really it was in me, but it was really developed over the years where I was self employed as an independent art curator, and that part of my life kind of came to its natural end, I was an independent art curator based in Singapore, and this might not be the best market in terms of the arts, you know, I should have really stayed in London in New York, but

Christina Sok 21:06
husband, fiance at the time, was working in Singapore. So I, I came back here, the sort of pinnacle of my art career was when one of the production houses producing this arts program for the Blum for Bloomberg TV invited me on as an art expert to talk about a couple of contemporary Korean artists that I had reading about and researched. One of them is a very prominent Korean artist, who has been, you know, featured of the Venice Biennale, LA, her name is Kim Su Jost. So we became friends after she saw that episode on her. So after I kind of did that, and you know, God on Bloomberg, and in some ways, I felt like, I had done myself justice as a curator, and there was just another chapter for me. And that’s kind of really when I went into entrepreneurship and wanted to, you know, build a business. And it was really motherhood that kind of led me to class Bubs Yeah, in 2018, I had my daughter and of course, you know, your whole life changes, I’m sure you know, from having children. It was a reevaluation period. And I took a little bit of a pause to see what it is I wanted to work on next. And I had that special, you know, time with the baby. What I found after a year of, of breastfeeding, and all that is, there was definitely something missing. You know, I, I had this yearning to have to redefine my identity, and I needed something more than just being my daughter’s mom, right. And I knew I wanted to more and more in the recent years, I wanted to build a startup and so I was always kind of on the lookout for my brainstorming my next big idea. And that’s how we came to class Bob’s, you know, at the end of 2019, one Sunday night, I had spent about three and a half hours on Google trying to figure out what classes that I was going to take my toddler to the next week, and just found it so frustrating because the whole enrichment extracurricular, you know, classes for kids space is so fragmented. And I just thought to myself, why isn’t the simpler parents are the busiest people you know? And in Singapore most most of the time both mom and dad works you know, if you’ve got more than one kid you’re trying to manage so much to kids schedules, you want them to be meaning fully occupied. And then this whole idea of mom guilt too is like constant right from the moment you are pregnant, you kind of like have mom guilt because you want to always be the best and you want to provide the best for your even your unborn child. And I think as a mom, you definitely need me time and we probably have seen it more and more throughout the paddock. There has been this huge blurring of work and your personal life, right? Yeah. And you’re constantly sacrificing and I think we did we need me time for our own sanity, but how do you get the meantime without the mom guilt? So in a way class folks is that solution, you know, you you find classes and activities that will enrich your, your children’s lives and let them spend their time meaningfully so that you can also have your main time, you know, whether it’s to go to a yoga class or just read a book or just sit down and not have the chaos of, of being a mom and working and all of that, but it was really the becoming a mom that led me to this idea. And I just thought, you know, this is definitely something that I’m really passionate about and invested in and so that I knew that I had had to build it when I thought of the idea. It kind of all ties in with my story. I had this amazing education like, in some ways the best that money can buy. But I left those institutions feeling like something was quite not right. Something was missing. I actually felt a little bit disillusioned once I became an educator and I was on the other side. And I saw how, like high school curriculum curricula hasn’t changed in the last 1520 years.

Michael Waitze 25:32
But in the last 50 years, I mean, much right? years, right? Yeah, not much.

Christina Sok 25:38
Yeah. So I kind of saw that the world is changing so much, I think back to how I started my ad advertising career, almost 15 years ago, and how different advertising has become because of social media and all of that. Sure. So our kids are being taught the same things that we were, or, you know, they’re being taught the same things from 100 years ago from the Victorian era. Like when that when school to schooling now, what we see now was kind of establish all the way back then. But yet the world has changed so much, you know, and this is the Asia tech podcast, I mean, like what has technologies onto our world. So there’s, like this little, there’s a bit of a gap, right? Between our kids are being put through their entire lives, and they come out the other end, they’re supposed to be future ready, and they’re supposed to figure out what they’re going to do and how they’re going to, you know, not just survive, but thrive. And that’s where I just thought, wow, like, there really is an opportunity to talk about holistic development of kids. And you know, how do you develop well rounded people. So the vision for class Bubs, is to nurture today’s kids to be the next generation of happy, confident and empowered adults. And that, to me, is really important. So how do you? How do you empower families to curate their own children’s educational experiences? How do you offer them an easy solution, to be able to discover all of the amazing, you know, enrichment classes out there. And then at the same time, give them some kind of guidance backed by experts and, you know, educators so that they know, the kind, they can kind of make sense of all of the variety out there that would be suited for their particular kid. And you know, if you’ve got more than one kid, each individual kid has different needs and different interests. So that’s where I saw that opportunity to be able to do something in the space.

Michael Waitze 27:40
And what is this a platform that connects the parents and I want to say parents, not just moms, right? And the things that they want their children to do to those activities that they may or may not have known existed, even if they did know, didn’t know which ones were good or bad or indifferent. Yeah,

Christina Sok 27:56
exactly. So we’re building a platform where parents can discover all of the different kinds of enrichment, extracurricular classes there are. For now, we’re based in Singapore, so most of it is in person classes in Singapore. But there are some online classes, and we do have plans to expand to other markets. So that’s kind of in the roadmap.

Michael Waitze 28:19
You know, you talked a lot about mom guilt, obviously, you’re the mother, but there’s also a dad there to it. Do you think that what’s happened during the pandemic, right, and just in big general terms, were dads as well have had to spend way more time at home than they did pre pandemic, even if they’ve got a, you know, full time high powered job, regardless of what it is, right? Whether it’s a profession or just a job somewhere, in some ways, has it made that life integration, even the life work balance easier? Because now everybody’s at home? So there’s now even more of an incentive to be able to take care of the kids in a more balanced way. Does that make sense?

Christina Sok 29:00
Yeah, I think so. But I will say, because we started off this point with the mom guilt, I feel as much guilt. I’ve kind of talked to my husband about it. It’s probably like a biological thing. Like literally, you know, the hormones or whatever. The dads don’t feel as much guilt like if they’re away from the kids are not doing XYZ for the kids. And that’s probably why dad guilt isn’t really spoken of as much. But yeah, with the pandemic and everything has changed. And all of us even the kids at some point when we were fully locked in, we were not used to spending so much time at home. No, none of us are those and all that. So there has definitely been a continued adjustment because we’re still not out of the woods, right. We’re still in this. I think I perhaps may have taken it a little bit easier in terms of when we went into that first lockdown because I was so used to working From home anyway, and I was so used to this work life integration. For me that it, it was a, it was already part of me of how I schedule my week and how I run my day, and how I go between work the mom hat to wearing the entrepreneur hat and, and all of those things in between. And because for many years, I didn’t have one job, I had multiple jobs, right. So there was a lot of hats switching along that along the way. So the easing into like a lockdown was not too much of a big deal for me. So I just had to craft my day, the way that I would just with a little bit of restriction that okay, you could only go out for exercise and what have you. So that transition for me was was not so challenging. Whereas for my husband, it was because he was so used to being out and about and, and traveling for work. So I think he took that lock down a lot harder than I did. So then on the personal side of things you got to you got to balance and manage that. So that probably was more challenging for me than actually just running my own life. But I think we’ve come out of it stronger and closer and more functional. So there’s been some really hard times, but at the same time, I think in the grand scheme of things, we’re probably a little better overall.

Michael Waitze 31:23
So I want to ask about the platform again, right? We’re is a tech podcast, per se. And I was thinking that. And remember, I want to put this in the context of the I haven’t InsurTech podcast as well, we talk a lot about a full stack InsurTech company, right where some of the companies start with distribution, they want to change the way insurance is distributed. And kind of what you’re doing is changing the way that some of these extracurricular activities are distributed, instead of looking in the newspaper or looking in a free magazine, or just talking to somebody else’s parents. There’s now a platform where these things are hopefully curated, aggregated, rated, you know, removed if they’re not that good. And compared to other other of these extracurricular activities, and maybe categorized. So I know what I can try to find if you want to try to find something different. But if you’re gathering all this data, on the things for which parents are searching, the types of things that they’re trying to find how they perceive quality, and if there’s a thing that parents are trying to find, but the markets not already supplying it, do you get a sense that at some point, you can become full stack and do your own product creation, and create bespoke sort of class Bubbs classes as well?

Christina Sok 32:35
Absolutely. And we’ve actually been thinking about that right from the start, just because I have that art history background, right. And where I’m at in Singapore, and I don’t I don’t know about like my neighboring countries, but it could be similar. Like, in the universities in Singapore, for example, art history is not a major. So it’s like, in a way not recognized as its own discipline.

Michael Waitze 32:57
That’s like a thing. Yeah, me, that’s

Christina Sok 32:59
shocking, because it’s, you know, first of all, it’s a academically very rigorous program. And it’s one of these very multi and interdisciplinary fields, where you need a lot of background in many other disciplines in order for you to kind of make sense of this field of knowledge. I don’t want to call it curriculum development, but kind of development in in kind of areas of knowledge that might be missing, and something that you can kind of deliver to children has always been at the back of my mind as well, in terms of you know, even creating, like an educational product. Yeah, like art history in a box for kids. So yeah, absolutely. So class Bob’s in house content and programs, that’s definitely something that we’ve been thinking about as well, and how, in some ways white label it to, and for schools or other centers around the region. So that’s, and we even have a panel of education experts. So in phase two of where we want to go, is to have to develop personalized recommendation, right. So that would require some AI machine learning. And we would actually have to really develop our real data science. Yeah, full platform, you know, from scratch, to be able to have this in, but we have a panel of edge education experts that we can tap into. And I’m sure we can, you know, grow that grow that panel as we need to, but basically have kind of a learning framework that we can utilize to provide the personalized recommendation expert guidance to parents. So to me like that is the full extent of class Bubs we’ve only just launched and we’re only starting in a very small area of where we want to fully go to and expand and be able to deliver to parents. But you know, we’re starting where we can right now and we’ve got a network of over 100 educators in Singapore. So parents can already discover and in some ways, the whole personalized recommendation, I’ve been doing that. So parents will reach out to me and ask, you know, what would you recommend for my two year old or three year old, and all of this? And because I kind of have this knowledge of having spoken to all of these educators knowing what their programs about, I can kind of guide them to oh, you should really check this out, you should try this type of class, the feedback that I’ve been getting is that that’s what parents really like as well. Right? There’s so much out there. What do you where do you begin? What do you choose what will be good for my kids at this point, you know, and for this outcome,

Michael Waitze 35:42
and at some point, as long as you excuse me attach a little bit of artificial intelligence and data science to this, that that’s what’s going to give it scale, right? Because you cannot be just like, I cannot be doing 7000 podcasts a year, you cannot be doing giving out personalized advice to everybody as well. Yeah. You have a daughter, right? So in a way, and so did I, but in a way, at some point, you’re going to become a role model for that little girl. She’s not always going to be a little girl. What do you want her to get? When she looks up at mommy and sees her being an entrepreneur? Multitasking all the time? It just basically kicking it in a way that maybe some of her friends aren’t like, you know what I mean? Like, what do you want her to get from this experience that you’re having? What do you want her to learn from it?

Christina Sok 36:26
Yeah, that’s a great question. I’ll just say like, caveat, it’s not that I’m not fully free of the mom guilt I am. You know, I call class Bob’s my second baby, you know, instead of having a second baby, really, I put all of that on pause, because I

Michael Waitze 36:42
gave birth to this first this anyway. Yeah,

Christina Sok 36:45
this to me, you know, birthing This, to me is just as important as you know, having a sibling for my first because that first year, which I absolutely loved, you know, having spent all that time with my daughter, I definitely understood like, where my values are, like, what my values are, and who I am as a person. And I think having that strong identity and, and that fulfillment and the meaningful work for myself is just as important as being like a full on mom to my daughter. And exactly what you asked me was what I asked myself all the time, like, who, what kind of role model do I want to be for her? What do I want to show her and, like, tell her, and, you know, now she’s like, constantly imitating me, and she’s on calls and meetings. And, you know, she just doesn’t really understand what I’m doing. But you know, she’s working, right. And she’s a, she’s got a little desk behind me, and she’s, you know, fake typing away, and like doing calls and stuff, and it’s hilarious. But you know, especially because I have a little girl. And I mean, this whole, like, when women empowerment, I feel, I feel like the last, you know, 1015 years, girls have been so empowered, that, you know, they’re kicking it and like, boys have not not been propped up as much. But anyway, as a mom of girl of a girl, I do want to show her how you can figure out for your own because everyone has different priorities. And everyone, like, obviously, all of us are individuals, we have different needs and desires and everything. But whatever it is that you want your life to be, you are totally able to do it all. And you know, in some ways, I do believe women can have it all you know, to have your cake and eat it too. Obviously, you’ve got to kind of plan it and do some resource planning and wherever you can, delegate and an outsource, if it’s if if you can, if you’re in the kind of financial ability to do so, if your time is more valuable, where you can outsource certain things do that. And then I’m not gonna pretend like I can be a 24/7 mom to my daughter, but that’s not what she needs. She needs a happy mom, who has a strong sense of identity, and purpose and living that purpose. And she is also happier seeing that that I’m happy rather than you know, somebody who’s just like, always by her side and like, like wiping her bum every three seconds it kind of gives her that independence too. So of course, you know, in Singapore, we are very privileged that we are able to get a lot of help, you know, with child care and things. But no matter where you are, I think it can be figured out right whether it’s a combination of like the school and childcare options with nannies, you know, part time babysitters, you can design your life and plan your time and resources in a way that you I really talk about working in pockets of time. So I don’t have your traditional nine to five right? But I find pocket time to do all of the things that I need to So you work very efficiently, and you work purposefully. So at the same time, I’ll say that every day I get good chunks, several hours to spend quality time with her, you know, I can take her first swim, I can take her for classes, you know, obviously shared between the parents and everything, but, but basically, I get that time with her. And I’m still able to work throughout the week. And if I need to on the weekend, and stuff like that, I don’t really have that too much of a distinction there only when it comes to maybe scheduling calls with other people who work Monday to Friday, it’s showing her that you can achieve a lot and you can be that fullest expression of yourself, and you don’t have to compromise because you’re a mom, or you can’t be the best mom, because you have a career. And I think that message is really important because, as I said, even though little girls have been really empowered, especially these last, you know, 1520 years, at the same time in the workplace, there is still a gap for women, you know, there is still this gender bias where the women sacrifice more in their careers than men. Like if a man becomes a dad, nothing much changes for him. terms of his career trajectory and what is expected of him. There is still a pay gap. You know, there is still a leadership gap in many industries. I mean, I’ll give you an example. In December, I went into I attended this tech in Asia founders lunch, okay. And that room had probably, let’s see, we were sitting in tables of four, there was from probably like, 20 to 30 people in that room. And there were only two women. Right. And I made that comment, like, seriously, is this like, just the visual representation of what the best Monday? Yeah, yeah. So that to me was, it was so obvious. I mean, I don’t really know exactly what it’s like, like in the US, but at least in Asia, and there are more women founders now, but you it’s still a lot less than our male counterparts. And the stats show like women, women’s startups are way less funded, I think, overall was point 5% of the funding went to women. I’m in building a startup that is like, precisely in the space of, you know, parents and moms and in this in edtech space for kids. And it may not be as sexy as blockchain or, you know, web three, and Metaverse and all of that. But it’s a real problem that needs to be solved. And it’s something it you know, it’s something that should be talked about, and there should be a solution for parents and for kids. So, I mean, obviously, I’m very passionate about what I do. But I think that on the grand scheme of things, not just for my own daughter, but I really want to use my story and my journey of being a mompreneur, you know, woman entrepreneur, and building the startup to to really be that example and show other women, other moms, that it is there for them if they want this opportunity.

Michael Waitze 43:11
Yeah , look, I think that I think that’s the perfect way to end this conversation, Christina. And just a ton of stuff we recovered. I really appreciate your time today, Christina Sok, the founder and the CEO of ClassBubs.com. Thank you so much for doing this today.

Christina Sok 43:27
Thank you, Michael. I so appreciate this opportunity. And I absolutely love the conversation that we had. So thank you again.


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