EP 207 – Faye Yang – Founder of Unschul – Everybody Can Be Involved in Art

by | Jun 15, 2022

The Asia Tech Podcast really enjoyed our conversation with Faye Yang, the Founder of Unschul, the movement to liberate art.
Some of the topics we discussed with Faye:
  • Born in China but raised in the United States
  • Attending three different high schools and two middle schools
  • Living around the University of Michigan and experiencing one of the biggest street-art fairs in the US
  • Falling in love with art and selling her first piece as a young teenager
  • The impetus to focus on engineering rather than art
  • The belief that art should not be so expensive that it becomes unattainable
  • Fractional art ownership and profitability for more artists
  • Attacking the proximity problem for artists
  • Being inspired
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. Art Is Part of Every Culture
  2. Art Belongs to All of Us
  3. Our Art Tends to Be Undervalued 
  4. I Want to Create a Free Market for Artists
  5. Art Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
This episode was produced by Isabelle Goh.

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

Michael Waitze 0:32
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Faye Yang, (Don’t do that to me…) the founder of Unschul.com. They thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you doing today?

Faye Yang 0:47
Thanks for inviting me on the show, Michael. I’m doing great. Catching up on all the TV shows I can while sitting in the bedroom.

Michael Waitze 0:54
Is it lockdown again in Singapore?

Faye Yang 0:57
No, it’s not. I just have I just tested COVID positive so I’m locking myself in my room.

Michael Waitze 1:04
Oh, no. Well, I hope you’re okay.

Faye Yang 1:06
Thank you. I’m fine. Yeah,

Michael Waitze 1:08
hopefully you feel fine. Okay. Well, before we get into the main part of the non COVID, part of this conversation, sure. Can we give our listeners a little bit of your background for some context?

Faye Yang 1:20
Yeah, of course. Oh, okay. That’s a long winded answer. But in short, I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan, a small college town in the States with one of the biggest street art fairs in the country, I would say. And that’s where I experienced my first art sales. As a teenager. I give up art to study engineering. You have a question? You look like you have a question. Keep shirt. Because as a teenager, I knew from firsthand experience that I won’t be able to support myself being an artist. So my first job I worked on spacesuits, then got into oil and gas, went to business school at HP for has since worked in finance on gas, medical devices, and artificial intelligence. And now more to my art venture.

Michael Waitze 2:17
That is kind of amazing. I want to go back to Ann Arbor. Like, were you born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan?

Faye Yang 2:23
No, I was born. I was born in China, moved to the States moved around as a kid went to three different high schools, two different middle schools, then settled down in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my parents.

Michael Waitze 2:37
I’m guessing that your mom and dad were probably professors or something like that. And Arbor, obviously, University of Michigan, gigantic university there, but in a small town. Yeah. Do I have some of that? Right?

Faye Yang 2:47
Yes, correct. You have all of it?

Michael Waitze 2:50
Every now and then I get some stuff, right. I’m curious about the experience of having how many different high schools you said three or two

Faye Yang 2:59
to high school, three different high schools, two different middle schools.

Michael Waitze 3:03
So I went to essentially three different high schools, who knows how many different middle schools do you feel like this has had an impact on you at all? For me? And let me tell you why. For me, I feel like it’s given me this. Not just flexibility, but adaptability. I feel like you can drop me into any brand new situation, and I can kind of look around and in very short order figured out and go, Okay, I know where I want to be in this room. And I know how I can fit in. Does that make sense?

Faye Yang 3:29
Yes, definitely. So that’s how I feel as well. They’re quick to make friends. Very quick to judge the situation around me as well.

Michael Waitze 3:37
Yeah. But also this idea, like Were your parents artists?

Faye Yang 3:42
No. Nobody in my family is artists, I have to say, but then how do I see my cousin is,

Michael Waitze 3:48
but then how did you know when you were a kid? Was it just the street fair, that art thing that was going on in Ann Arbor, which does end up being a very arty town right? But was it just that that influenced you? Or was it something else in your family that did this?

Faye Yang 4:02
I’ve always loved art. So as a kid, I always do. I actually got into when I was six actually got into some quite high level art school, primary school for great one in in China, because of my art, so I’ve always loved it. And the street art fair was just a way for me to sell my art. That was my first exposure as an artist to be able to display and sell my artwork. Oh, wait

Michael Waitze 4:30
will tell me more. How old were you? You said when you were there and you were already selling artwork and what does it mean? Just like literally get a booth on the street and just start selling and talking to people.

Faye Yang 4:39
I was 13 or 14 at the time. There was a nonprofit organization for teenagers love it that set up the booth at the street art fair to help teenager artists or teen artists sell or display the work at least and I never expected to sell my first year. Somebody walked by and grabbed a piece of art and bought it.

Michael Waitze 5:09
And did they know you believe that was $45? No, I wasn’t even there. You weren’t even there.

Faye Yang 5:15
I wasn’t even there. Somebody else was manning the booth. So that was my first experience. And from then on, I expanded, I exhibited there until I was 17. This the year I applied for

Michael Waitze 5:25
college. But did you feel like if you had been there, you would have sold more? And the reason why I’m asking is because I have this philosophy that I think people connect with other people like really deeply, right? And if the artist is there, or if the, you know, the lady who grows the rice is there, or, you know, the farmer who grows, the papayas is there, you’re much more likely to buy from that person. I do this all the time, when I see somebody manning a storm, like Are you the owner? I want to know, do you feel like if you’d been there, that that community aspect of it matters.

Faye Yang 5:57
Potentially, it’s like, looking at it today, if I had been there, as myself today, I probably would have sold a lot more. But as a teenager as a pure artist who never intended on selling. I was very attached to my work. And I was actually very upset that somebody sold my

Michael Waitze 6:16
you’re upset, hey, wait a second, this stuff that’s for sale? Hopefully it won’t sell is what you were thinking?

Faye Yang 6:22
Well, it was for display, right? There were stuff that were for sale. And there were stuff that I really liked for myself. And I think that that artists, artists can relate to that a lot. There are scenes that you want to hold on to because you’re like, Wow, this is something that that’s out of my usual capabilities that I wouldn’t want, I wouldn’t want to sell.

Michael Waitze 6:42
So do you think then, are there so many ways to go here? What kind of art Did you like to make when you were a teenager? And has that changed over time to use? You still must produce stuff? Yeah.

Faye Yang 6:54
I would, I wouldn’t. So nowadays, I only draw with my daughter. Like we do our Disney stuff, which I never do before, of course. So she would draw character, she will pick a character and we would both strike. And then she will kind of learn how to draw from that process. Right? So nowadays, more like copying. Back in the day, that’s more what the teenager goes like animate stuff. Princesses and mean. Different things. So not Disney characters.

Michael Waitze 7:23
Did you feel like you had to leave something aside when you went into engineering? Or do you feel like there’s an art inside of math as well?

Faye Yang 7:33
Um, I don’t know. That’s a tough question. I have never really thought about it being Asian. We’re very pragmatic, if you will. So I thought of it from a survival perspective as in, I need to be able to support myself and then pursue my hobby.

Michael Waitze 7:53
Was that a family thing? Or was that something you figured out on your own? You know what I mean? Like, I’ll tell just me, really, because when I was growing up, like it was just drilled into my head, you have to be a lawyer or a doctor, like those are really your only choices. Turns out my brother’s actually a neurosurgeon. So I won’t say he did what he told. But I mean, I remember when we were like six or seven years old, standing in the doorway, my grandparents house and my grandfather going, okay, Alan, you’re going to be a doctor. And I just remember years later going, I can’t believe this actually happened. Anyway,

Faye Yang 8:27
so going into engine engineering school was something my dad kind of drilled into me not giving up art, like, my parents never said, you have, you have to give up something you love, right? Like they’re quite supportive in that way. That’s great. But when I said I don’t want to go into art, because I realized that I can’t support myself financially, if I would be and became an artist. I was I was extremely lucky. Then my dad just said that I want to do business because business was the next natural thing that made a lot of sense to me. And my dad basically said, Well, you’re gonna go get your MBA. Anyways, that was your long term plan. You have to get a science degree instead. Because you there’s no need for two business degrees. So that’s, that’s what you kind of instilled in.

Michael Waitze 9:12
I think it’s always great to have parents that are professors, they just end up being so pragmatic and so smart. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just my own envy talking. I like I

Faye Yang 9:23
think, I thought it was an Asian thing, but apparently not.

Michael Waitze 9:27
Maybe not. When and where did you get your MBA? Michigan to? You did though, didn’t you? Right?

Faye Yang 9:34
Did they give me they gave me scholarship and MBA scholarship so hard to come by?

Michael Waitze 9:39
That is awesome. That’s super Was it weird for you after growing up there in a way to then be at the school at the masters level? Do you know what I mean?

Faye Yang 9:49
I wouldn’t recommend it. Like go looking back. Hindsight. 2020 I should have picked another school. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else to go back to it. Police are familiar with, especially in Michigan because it’s cold and when people are doing stuff and you’re just like Been there done that don’t want to go.

Michael Waitze 10:07
Yeah, I think about it a lot, too. So I went to school in Connecticut, and I grew up in Connecticut, and I look back on it. And I think, why did I not go to California like back then it would have been easy for me to get into Berkeley or get into Stanford or get into USC. And like, my whole life would have been so different. And I went to a small school as opposed to a big school, I always look back and just think, like, I knew that from the beginning. So it must have been similar for you know, like, I’ve already lived here kind of thing.

Faye Yang 10:34
I didn’t know, unfortunately, I didn’t know it was like, Oh, they gave me scholarships, I can go get my MBA and be done with it in two years. I was too young, I would recommend going to business school a bit later. Because 24 was was a bit too young to understand the whole concept of the school. Yeah, I

Michael Waitze 10:50
mean, this is the problem of being young is that you don’t understand what it actually means. Because I remember the same thing when I was at Morgan Stanley. The super senior guys sat next to me at breakfast one day, and I was like, should I go back and get my MBA because everybody was doing that on Wall Street. And he was like, You know what, I don’t have an MBA and I run the entire fixed income division, do whatever you want, but I don’t think it’s necessary. But it was weird, right? Because everybody was leaving and going to do it. And I just thought I just don’t want to do that now. Like, I don’t think it’s gonna have any impact. I mean, at the end, and at the end of the day now, I feel like I should have gotten an MBA, but later, like, I definitely think you’re right about that. No.

Faye Yang 11:24
You could still go get your MBA, if you’re interested.

Michael Waitze 11:26
I think about it a lot. Actually, I’d love to learn like some of the no Masters of Business Administration stuff, I definitely think it would come in handy. I want to ask you this too, though. Like, at the end of the day, the pole of art was so strong, that like, here you are.

Faye Yang 11:45
Ah, yeah. So I mean, a lot of artists like myself, they go into design, they go into UX, or even web design. And they come back to art. And a lot of my artists that we represent we auction for they do art as a hobby, or they do art as a second career. So I got into art because I’m not at the stage of my life, career wise and family wise, where I can take a breather, and work on something that I’m passionate about. Unfortunately, my students is no longer in creating art today. But I can help others to realize their dreams,

Michael Waitze 12:22
I hope, fair enough. Talk to me about how about what unschooled.com is where it fits like in the art world. And then you also said some of the artists we support. So I want to talk about that too. But what is unschool.com

Faye Yang 12:37
so unschool, in a short sentence, as with a calm basically fractionalized his physical art pieces in Fiat, nothing to do enough to crypto by some, and by doing that we support we help support artists to monetize already. So I’m a strong believer that art is part of every culture. So we consider historic artifacts, they their everyday potteries incur Keepo use by various types weeks. Hey paintings, right. Greeks potteries Marian sculptures, their everyday items with unknown artists. And they’re culturally and historically important, I will need to go back to that basic. And that is art belongs to our everyday life in a belongs to all of us, and it shouldn’t be so expensive. That is unattainable. Right? So we’re so gotten. So unschool.com, we look at artists who are talented, who paint about their expressions, who are from different cultures, and from all walks of life. And we’re looking at how to help them to reach the masses, how to help the masses to gain interest demand in art, so that these artists and our art culture can thrive.

Michael Waitze 14:07
And how but how does that work, though? Like just logistically, if I’m an artist, and I’m good, but I’m not really connected to a market that understands, but I just want to walk through this process of how like unschool takes me. And then fractionalize is some of the artwork, right? Because most people that are focused on one thing, art or anything else really right may not understand the business side of it. They know they have stuff. They know they may be slightly attached to it. Does this sound familiar? But that they can monetize it. So taking the art world and actually putting it into the business world? How does all that work?

Faye Yang 14:42
So last year during the bull run, the NF tea market kind of give us a glimpse of how to generate the demand and interest in digital art, right? And digital art and then physical artwork actually runs in parallel, almost one for one to each other. And that’s the end NFT showed us that people are willing to invest in undervalued art and artists as long as they’re able to make monetary gains. So taking that into the physical art world and modeling after that, we find undervalued art, and share our findings with the public. Everyone can come and put a small amount in to support the art with artists. And we sell them we auction. So there’s artworks that VC will mention before the recording started, well, we also have an auction platform, then we sell them at market value at auctions, and then return the profit back to the early supporters of the art. Our average ROI for our for our Auctions is is about 147%

Michael Waitze 15:54
What does that mean, though,

Faye Yang 15:56
that means we the art is we find generally undervalued by the by the general market right now by 147%. So we can bring that to the market value and be able to sell it.

Michael Waitze 16:11
So I’m an artist, let’s say and I create something great, whether it’s a ceramic or a painting or something. And I’m a member, excuse me of on school.com Right, so I sign up I become a member of on school.com I get supported, so a bunch of other people through fractionalization I presume there’s there has to be some kind of tokenization in this if you’re doing fractionalization right.

Faye Yang 16:36
Yeah. So is this recorded on the back end? So think of it as stock or or NF T’s today right the ERC 20 contract terms

Michael Waitze 16:46
ERC 20 contract terms. Okay, so at some point, they have to switch into ERC. 721 I’m guessing, but let me just finish this thought. So you fractionalize it using ERC 20. So let’s just say 25 People buy a piece of my artwork, do I mean to but that’s at some kind of cost, right? And then you then take that and say, okay, everyone’s bought it. Now we’re gonna put it to auction to see what the larger market thinks it’s worth. And in that case, it’s worth 147% of where most people paid for it at the beginning, right.

Faye Yang 17:16
That’s pretty good. So it has nothing to do with NF. T. It’s all in fact, so we don’t get

Michael Waitze 17:22
enough T. But even on the ERC 20 side, it’s all in fees. No, no,

Faye Yang 17:26
we don’t Oh, sorry. Yes, you actually 20 was just an example. So it’s not. So it’s kind of like ERC 20 In terms of customization and tokenization. But it’s not. It’s just Fiat that we log

Michael Waitze 17:41
and the how does the platform itself? Like where does the demand come from? So you’re talking about a two sided platform? Right? On one side, you have artists on the other side, you have art interested people, right? They look at the art and say, Okay, we know this thing is gonna go to auction. It’s almost like pre IPO stock. Is that fair? Right? Yeah, correct. So I buy some pre IPO stock, because I think phase is going to create something insane, right? And then you put it to auction, and then that is also a field auction, and I bid somebody’s bidding dollars on it live. And then that’s 147%. So normal. And does the artists make more than the original price? Did they get any of that upside or?

Faye Yang 18:21
So currently artists do. But when we have artworks that we see, right, so if they auction directly with us, they do make the upside, we only charge the commission what we do for marketing. But when we open up the fascination part, they wouldn’t unless they choose to hold a percentage in their own artwork. So it’s almost like royalty, if you want to monetize early and not take that risk of we will auction this painting in three or six months. And that painting could go up and down in price, not take that wrist fractionalized early. So it’s just another channel for artists to monetize, because a lot of them are sitting on 10 year old paintings that they are not able to sell because they don’t have a channel itself.

Michael Waitze 19:07
So what is it like for you as a team? I want to talk about our worst VC because it seems to me that like the unschool.com feeds into our works, right? So this is you build the marketplace first where the auctions take place, Sir Not the marketplace. So you build the auction marketplace where that happens. And then you build a place where the artists can meet the art interested people. And then that feeds in right so before the fractionalization takes place, you can actually test the online auction stuff, right? Which is kind of cool. But what is it like when you go to an artist who’s been, you know, in my mind, like every artist is sitting on the street side in Paris, like painting stuff, having, you know, some baguette and a little bit of wine on the side. That’s not the way it works anymore. But you know what I mean, right? And I feel like all you know artists in some way or like entrepreneurs at the beginning of their career, they’re operating in a vacuum right? No one even knows they’re painting or or drawing or doing this kind of thing. Yeah. And this falls into my category of everybody’s. Everybody’s an overnight success. 10 years later, right? So if you have paintings that you did 10 years ago, someone discovers them today, they think Eureka, I found this gal who’s amazing. And that poor gal has been toiling away doing this. What has been the experience for you and the team at our works that VC when you go to artists and say, hey, you know, what, we have a platform that kind of democratizes your ability to monetize your art? What is because in some way, you’re selling the platform. What is the normal response? How long does it take for them to figure this out? You don’t I mean,

Faye Yang 20:33
well, artworks that VC or for for unschul…

Michael Waitze 20:37
I want to get to unschool in a second, because I think that’s okay, because you’re building basically from the top down. It seems to me, yeah. So I want to talk first about our works and then go to unschool. Because I feel like that’s where everything is going to bubble up into it. Right? Because the original stuff you’re doing it all works is not fractionalized yet. Yeah. Correct. But now you’re going wait a second, we can actually let them monetize earlier, with art interested people by selling some of it and they can maintain a balance of it, right? If they really feel like it’s good. And if there’s a lot of interest, right? Correct. So it’s kind of a cool thing, but I want to get to unschool in a second. What’s it like when you go to artists and go, Hey, you should be on our Woodstock VC, we can auction for you.

Faye Yang 21:20
There, I have to say they’re quite appreciative and grateful that there’s a channel for them to sell. Yeah, most of the artists that we’d speak to the introverts, there are great artists, one of the paintings behind you is from you’ll be Artists of the Year. And it only sells sold for $200. It’s amazing. And I felt, sometimes I feel bad for the artists in that. And I think their talents are not just not discovered by the public. And I get calls from artists after auctions. When they end and I update them on how much they’ve made that night. They offered to take me to dinner, they’re so thankful and it’s a good rush of feeling good feels, to me, anyways, good feeling to be able to help somebody.

Michael Waitze 22:14
The whole process to me is really interesting, right? Because one of the things that you’re doing is you’re attacking what I call the proximity problem. Right? In other words, I can have an art gallery in Bangkok, that’s gorgeous, that I put one artists works in, and 1000 people can go see it. But if it’s online, and the online representation of that artwork is actually really good, then it’s you’re removing the proximity problem, right? Because an artist in Singapore can have people from France look at it, it just by definition, if the supply demand dynamics change only. Right, even if it’s not linear, right? So if 200 people if you know 200 People look at it, and it sells for $200 Just if 2000 people look at it doesn’t mean it’s gonna sell for 2000 but it may sell for 400. Yeah. Because so but and I don’t want to say like democratizing the art world because I think in a way that that’s like just a buzzword. I think in a way, it’s a little bit of BS. But by giving this global exposure online, you’re removing this idea of there’s only a gallery in Soho, right or taking that girl I’m gonna say girl, because you were 13 was displaying her art in Michigan in the street fair. And say now the street fairs global right. Is that fair?

Faye Yang 23:30
Yes. So the art industry operates in a very complex chain have manipulated market go for were five galleries, and approximately 3000 individuals control where the market goes and control which paintings are hyped, if you will. And I say that it’s one almost one for one with an empty world because there are about five wallets and 3000 whales in the NFT world. So you can see the similarities there. So if you’re not connected to one of those five galleries, or one of those 3000 individuals, it’s almost by sheer luck if you ever make it as an artist, and about 90% of the paintings you buy from galleries today, you walk out the moment you walk out the door probably drops in value by about 50% at least yeah it’s worse so there’s no such thing as investment or today unless you’re buying over a million dollars

Michael Waitze 24:34
right so this is the this is the secret truth about the art world is that it’s no different than making a film in Hollywood, right or like the greatest filmmakers in the world may never get their films made because they’re not in the right little club. I mean, go. I’m not saying to you and I’m just saying to the world, like go into a little bit of work on who the top 10 movie stars are. And tell me that 60% of them their parents weren’t movie producers, also movie actors and part If this existing click like no one gets discovered, and I think in some way, it’s the same for the art world you read online, offline, same thing. They’re both wildly manipulated. And there needs to be a place where that manipulation doesn’t happen. But there’s just exposure and tech gives you the opportunity to do this. No.

Faye Yang 25:17
Yeah, exactly. So 90% of the artists today are need a second job or some other way to support themselves financially. They’re basically starving artists. So how can we help these artists match them up with the demand out there? And people? You know, I did 1000 People survey about 800 plus people answered it. And the question basically, was, is art expensive? And the answers are, yes, but 80 something percent of them. But it doesn’t have to be right. Like I just showed you. Our we don’t take anything over $1,000 Because we believe that’s not what the masses demand. Yeah, all our artworks that we auction are under $1,000.

Michael Waitze 26:02
Yeah, and I’ve had some pretty bad experiences actually buying some pretty expensive art, which never, ever, ever appreciated in value. I bought a piece of artwork from a famous very famous person, and it was expensive. It was like $70,000, and the artists died. And I remember feeling like okay, well, now it’s a million bucks, right? Never. Anyway. Can we back up now? to unschool? And just tell me, did this come out of the experience with our works? Was it always part of the plan to build on school because I feel like there’s a pyramid, right, where the auction is kind of at the top, that’s where I’ve done all this work, I’ve created all this art. And now I’m going to sell it, obviously to the public. But unschool is this place where I kind of get to almost like seed fund my artwork in a way. Right. And if the top of the pyramid is the IPO, the bottom part is like that seed funding in a way no. And as a as a founder of the artwork, I can hold on to some of my equity. Because you said it’s like equity. That’s like buying a stock. Yeah. Or I can sell all of it.

Faye Yang 27:05
Right. So I had to be I’m gonna be very careful. Yeah. And in my terminology, choice of terminologies.

Michael Waitze 27:13
So I come up with a stock background, right. So that’s why I think about it this way. But I understand what you’re saying. And yeah, let’s not get anybody in trouble.

Faye Yang 27:21
So, so it’s always been in the works. That was my original idea. But the idea came out of how do I help artists monetize earlier sitting on these paintings. And the main thing about art, appreciation is not Rarity is not scarcity. And it’s not. It’s not what you hear out there, right? That’s just a narrative created for a certain crowd of people. The main thing to advertise it, the main thing about artwork and how to help it appreciate value is to have more people know it, to have more people exposed to it, to market it and to market to a certain network. So we help artists. So the idea came out of how do I help artists get into this network? And how do we expand the viewership of different artists? So so that was the initial idea. And it was always about fresh, analyzing artwork and artworks that VC came out as a test product to auction artworks and making sure that we can actually auction works off.

Michael Waitze 28:30
Right, right. Because if that part doesn’t work on the bottom part doesn’t doesn’t work either. Is there in your mind when we talked about this really early in the conversation? And you mentioned it, this idea that like there’s every culture has their own art. And as the world develops, sometimes that culture that’s embedded in the art gets lost over time? Is there a feeling for you that there’s a preservation aspect to this too, and that that’s important

Faye Yang 28:59
from I believe so. So, Asian art, in general, are worth a lot less. So that was one of the things that being Asian, that was one of the things that strike me. Asian art is always sold for an auction for a lot less than the Western western counterparts. Right. There is definitely a cultural preservation part of art, but that’s more the job of museums, if you will, okay. I want to I want the message to be that everybody can be involved with art and as it is our everyday life, it is part of our culture. And that way it can have longevity because a lot of people we talk to today, most of my friends are not into art and nobody buys art. anymore and nobody paints anymore because you can’t make money with it.

Michael Waitze 30:04
You’ve got to also use it this really to like, I think in people’s minds, they feel like, first of all, art is expensive. And second of all, they feel like if they’re not buying something that’s ridiculously expensive, then it’s not art enough, if that makes sense. But is there a marketing angle here to do you don’t even like, does the marketing of this stuff need to get better? How does that work?

Faye Yang 30:24
So it’s its narrative, there’s a disconnect between what the public, or what your everyday, or average buyer wants than what the artist wants to sell in general. So artists always want you to interpret it, interpret the artwork, on your own, and feel whatever you want to feel about the artwork, versus, as a buyer, at least most of our buyers, they want to know what the artist was thinking when they’re painting the art, right? So you need to kind of bridge the gap there and kind of get that story out of the artist in order to sell. So there is a marketing angle, if you will, and other is there is a way to market works to the public.

Michael Waitze 31:07
And have you found the best way to do this yet? Do you know what I mean?

Faye Yang 31:12
It’s me asking the artists about their stories and to to really force them to tell me the stories.

Michael Waitze 31:21
I feel like there’s an entire podcast series on you talking to artists.

Faye Yang 31:27
Yeah, so they’re different, which is why a lot of them chose the past to do art. They don’t work consistently. And this is why it’s hard for artists to sell online. So NF T’s and a lot of the social medias claim that now is clear economy and artists can make money and cut out the middleman. But the problem is that they don’t work on a schedule. Artists are creative minds. And they are creative by nature. And there’s a reason for that. They don’t work on a schedule, they don’t turn out our artworks, and they don’t do marketing they there’s a lot of things that cannot do.

Michael Waitze 32:01
Yeah, and this idea that they don’t work on a schedule is actually really interesting. And I think the more you dig deeper into being a creative person, you realize that there’s no way to do this on command, like you think you know this, but until somebody expects you to create something for them, they’re like you said it was going to be done on Friday. And you’re like, Yeah, I haven’t been doing nothing. But this idea of like I need to be inspired is it’s hard to explain to people, but it’s not even really an inspiration. But at some level, it just needs to come to you. It’s really hard to explain, you need

Faye Yang 32:34
to want to do it. At that time.

Michael Waitze 32:38
You have it it’s so weird, because a lot of the things that I do I consider now I consider now to be artistic. And sometimes people will ask me like, how come it’s not finished yet? And it’s like, it’s hard to explain. But there are times where it gets finished instantaneously. Because the thought is just there just happens kind of a thing. Anyway, yeah, so

Faye Yang 33:03
So artists who are successful are the ones who can work very methodically. And it’s it’s almost different parts of brains at work that some artists just don’t have. Just like me being a very logical person today I can’t create. So it’s, it’s almost different parts of brains at work that, that you needed special talent to be an artist plus work methodically plus update your Instagrams everyday at a certain time and be able to sell

Michael Waitze 33:31
that I can definitely do. That part of methodical, I’ve completely figured

Faye Yang 33:37
it that’s great because I haven’t needed to take a lesson from you.

Michael Waitze 33:45
I want to talk because we were joking about this actually, before we started recording. You know, you were a little bit early. And I made this joke to you that you know, my women get my female guests are always early. And particularly my male guests that operate in the metaverse are always late. And I just think it’s hilarious. I actually tweeted once. Why are people in the metaverse always late? It’s not so really. Do I want to I want to answer

Faye Yang 34:15
Does anyone answer?

Michael Waitze 34:17
No, no, nobody answered. But I think part of it is that people that are building the metaverse feel a little bit self important at some level. I don’t know. We can dig into that a little bit later. But do you feel like you know, you’re obviously operating in the art world, which in and of itself is different from just the pure tech world, right? But do you feel like as a female entrepreneur, that you are different enough that you run into different challenges or experiences and stuff like that, that maybe a male entrepreneur doesn’t run into?

Faye Yang 34:48
Oh, definitely. So so there’s just I think mental differences in how we operate tell me where as a female entrepreneur, I I’m more risk averse. And I want to be sure that my idea is working. And I’m testing out little things differently. To make sure that my next step is the right step versus a lot of my male counterparts. I’ve seen a lot of startup founders who just dive in and do it. And if it’s not, right, this pivot, right, I feel I’m a lot more gingerly about the next step taking. But anatomically, we’re different in our brains are more compact we, that makes us great multitaskers. But we’re also different, we think differently, we act differently and behave differently. And we operate differently from men. And given our differences. I think we don’t need to enjoy the same things. We don’t need to take the same path. And we also don’t need to hold the same positions as men.

Michael Waitze 35:57
So this is a really interesting, so then what’s your view on like, being empowered? Like, does that matter? Do you know what I mean? Can somebody be empowered? Or can you really just have someone get in your way?

Faye Yang 36:10
So my is probably a more controversial view, if you will. So, so what really gets me when people talk about empowering females is a numbers game, the percentage of women in crypto, the percentage of women in finance percentage of women in engineering, bla bla, bla bla, like, as a female engineer, who has worked in finance, and oil and gas, and now found me my own startup, I will say this, too, how with the numbers, a lot of females just don’t want one. They just don’t want to work in these fields, and do these things. So we’re so different if we think differently, act differently, work differently? Why do we have to hold the same jobs as men. So empower us by first acknowledge and respect our differences? And stop telling us what to do? So a lot of people look at me as founder and will say, You’re too slow. Right? Because artworks that we see was founded last year was a proven concept. We have 300 subscribers the first shot, we saw our paintings, this and that. And how come you’ve only done starting to build your product today, like the main product, but I’m not I’m not a male? I’m not a man, I have other responsibilities at home. And I have more considerations when I’m launching my next step. And so knowing fewer women’s are in certain fields. It just doesn’t work in which shouldn’t insist that is always 5050.

Michael Waitze 37:44
Do you get a lot of pushback from this? Like, are you freely sharing no view on a regular basis? Do you get pushback from it? And here’s the other thing. I mean, because there’s so many questions here, right. But like, I believe very strongly that one of the reasons why pick a number 90% of startups fail is because only 10% should really be funded in the first place. Not that those other 90% Like, you know what I mean? So like, there’s just too much money running around to fund stuff. But the second thing is that the people that are building 90% of them, you would have known really, if you’ve done any work that they were going to fail and that they’re not methodical enough about building product and stuff like that. And if you want to make the distinction between the way men and women build stuff, is this really an argument? Right? Isn’t it just obvious from like, doesn’t the I test to work here? And isn’t being methodical a better way to build a business and just like running into a burning building and trying to see if you can put out the fire? Shouldn’t you stand outside first and go, Wait a second looks like the source of the fires in the basement. I think just gonna be two more minutes and I’ll figure out a way to get all the water down and or put this thing out? Isn’t it better to be methodical than it is just to be like seat of the pants? At some level? Male or female?

Faye Yang 38:57
Yes, though, females probably overthink or myself at least I can’t speak for all females, but myself my own personal experience that overthink a lot of pop ups. Right? So today I’m launching my my unschool.com. And then I’m also thinking how do I get customers? How do I get professional buyers? How do I get the first Vicky persons so I can tweak the products? Right? And how do I do marketing for the next steps? And how do I build my community all these things? When I know from all my past surveys and whatnot, prototypes that I’ve done that, you know, it’s probably a working product, I’m still thinking about how to do all these things. What if it doesn’t, so we, as female founders, probably overthink a lot of issues and we’re where or I am quite scared of the next step all the time.

Michael Waitze 39:48
Yeah, I also think and again, I’m not a lady, so you’ll have to tell me where I’m wrong here. But I think part of this is that maybe you’re willing to and maybe this is just a faith thing and not Female thing. But maybe you’re willing to be self aware enough to understand that you have that fear, and also willing to voice it, whereas most men just never. They’re scared shitless. But even more scared of saying how scared they are, if that makes any sense.

Faye Yang 40:16
Maybe I don’t know. But I’m pretty. I’m a pretty direct person.

I’ll tell you everything. And we can wait. I believe that my favorite.

So. So yeah, so it’s my view definitely is controversial. And you asked me earlier that whether I get pushback, it’s mostly from females, people who are trying to get females into certain fields, and females are trying to get females into STEM fields. That’s where I see the most pushback on. But still, I do believe that. By insisting on 5050 in workforce or higher percentage of females in certain in certain fields that we’re not interested in, then we must lower the standards to admit more women into the service. And this turns into a vicious cycle, because now we have less qualified people who are females in these narrow opinions won’t be respected because of these

Michael Waitze 41:10
loops conflict. And you run the risk of it having the opposite impact, right? In other words, if what if in your universe, this happens, and the standards get lowered? Well, then people look around and say, Why do we need to have lower standard people doing these high standard, necessary jobs? Exactly. Interesting. Can I ask you this? What’s the status of unschooled now? Has it launched?

Faye Yang 41:31
No, it has well, so we’re taking sign ups? We’re going to launch in the first week of May. Okay. Um, yeah.

Michael Waitze 41:39
And how do you spell spell like the way people would expect? So where do they find this if they want to go and sign up?

Unknown Speaker 41:46
It’s www.unschul.com, unschul.

Michael Waitze 41:53
I love it. And what kind of people do you want to go there?

Faye Yang 41:58
People who are interested in art who people who are interested in supporting artists, especially local artists, from various parts of the world, and interested in investment as well. So it’s not an investment product. But our our return on investment is fairly high for most of our

Michael Waitze 42:17
auction. super interesting. And do you see this being a global business? Like right now? You’re in Singapore? Is that right? Correct. And do you focus on the Singaporean market to start but do you see this blowing up into the rest of the world as well?

Faye Yang 42:29
I’m hoping so.

Michael Waitze 42:33
I love it. Now, do you find there a little bit of irony is probably the wrong word. But in the fact that your daughter is now drawing. So she’s, and I don’t know if like you encourage her to draw and she started drawing and you started participating, but like, where’s the 13 year old daughter of Fe gonna go to the street fair and sell her art. Disappointed, she

Faye Yang 42:55
loves joy. So she loves drawing to seven. So we’ve noticed that she loved drawing since she was three years old. Just so she draws non stop. We literally spent $3 on an art book every day. I’m not joking. I don’t want her to give up her dream like I did if she wanted to choose art as a career, right? So I want to pave a way for my daughter and all the other artists by creating a free market where they can survive and thrive, and which is why we’re doing our savvy CNN school.com

Michael Waitze 43:27
That is the perfect way to end. Really, really good. Thank you Faye Yang, the founder of unschul.com. And we talked about at artworks.vc as well go to both of them sign up. Thank you so much for joining us.

Faye Yang 43:40
Thank you, Michael.


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