Stacie Chan is the Co-Founder & CBO at 1Bstories.com, a.k.a 1 Billion Stories, a global content technology start-up that is changing the entire content ecosystem.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
My career has zigged and zagged since I was eight years old, from acting to journalism to technology. But the common thread amongst my various jobs is my love for storytelling. I’m originally from Los Angeles, so it was only natural I fell into acting in TV shows and cartoons. I absolutely loved being on stage and in front of the camera, telling stories with my voice and presence. Fun fact: I was even nominated for an Emmy for my role in the series, “Jackie Chan Adventures!”
But the journalism bug hit when I found my passion for storytelling– using a pen and going behind the camera. I worked across various news outlets in California from my hometown newspaper, the Pasadena Star News to leading a team of reporters at Aol’s Patch.com. We covered Silicon Valley, politics, and business in the San Francisco Bay Area, and won numerous journalism awards.
Life threw another curve ball when a journalism colleague connected me to a role at Google on the Google News product team. I was immediately enthralled by Google’s mission to help people find and access news and valuable information. Over 100 months, I worked in several roles across Google’s consumer products, including Search and the Google Assistant, moving from California to Singapore to London.
After working with media across the globe plus acquiring deep technical acumen, I felt ready to take the leap and join Anu, our CEO and co-founder, to revolutionize the content world with #generativeAI. We formed 1Bstories a.k.a 1BillionStories, a global content technology start-up, and launched our flagship product: Vidiofy.ai, an AI powered platform that converts text/audio/long-video into short-form video.
Vidiofy.ai makes video generation easier than ever before, helping brands and publishers build out their content strategy. We’re thrilled to see how marketers and social media managers are embracing AI and incorporating tools like Vidiofy into their daily workflow. This technology boom has truly revolutionized the way companies can scale their business with premium, customized content.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
I wish I could say I wake up with my day planned with my top 3 priorities. But that was corporate life. I wake up every day, and immediately think about our customers. Do they have questions? Have they used Vidiofy.ai to create more videos? Where have they gotten stuck? After I furiously comb through my inbox and text messages communicating with clients, I try to take a step back to think strategically about how to grow our young company in terms of revenue and product development.
Every day is a combination of: 1) delivering a world-class product experience to our existing customers and 2) getting their feedback to constantly improve Vidiofy. As we are an early startup, I’m constantly setting up processes and strategies to procure inbound and outbound leads, then onboard customers to our product.
Given we are a hybrid-remote team, with team members in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and I’m in the US, it’s essential to have a daily standup so we’re all on the same page. I know every day what my team is working on and what must get done.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
Work-life balance is tricky to define and even trickier to achieve. In the early days of a startup, the near 24/7 constant hustle is paramount. We are in the highly competitive generative-AI space, so customer acquisition remains my key priority as a challenger to the incumbents.
There is no neat divide when I’m “off work” for the day. I work every night because we have customers from Asia to the US that span every timezone. WIth that said, I do believe I have a very balanced life. Key for me is 1) maintaining physical health and 2) an active social life.
I workout 5x a week, even if it’s a short weightlifting session at the gym, or a game of pickleball with friends (killing two birds with one stone!) As an extreme extrovert, it’s necessary for me to routinely see friends for dinner. Then I head home and return back to work, but with a fresh break.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
It used to be a badge of honor, almost a competition of who could function on the least amount of sleep. Now I brag about how much sleep I get! I’m also militant about preparing for that good night’s sleep. My phone is in black and white mode plus Do Not Disturb an hour before I head to bed (let’s face it, I’m not saving babies, so no midnight calls for me!) I always have a book on my bedside, and I try to read at least a chapter to take my mind off of work.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
The New York Times Wellness newsletter always has great tips for sleeping better and easy exercises that don’t require going to the gym. While it may not be earth-shattering, this steady flow of information reminds us to take care of our mental and physical health.
I’m always reading two books: one non-fiction and one fiction. The non-fiction book was on my friend’s bookshelf and it caught my eye – Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis.
When starting a company, there are so many narratives that we (and society) form about success. And in this insanely intense period, it’s imperative for startup founders to understand our desires: are they really our own desires, or the desires of society/investors/friends and family?
This book helped ground me and remind myself of the ultimate goal: build a sustainable business that can drive real impact on businesses globally. The hyped-up illusion of becoming a unicorn or making millions of dollars is just a distraction.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
When you have those short moments of relaxation, indulge in what you love and what brings you joy. Every hour is an opportunity to work. So your free time should be spent binge-watching reality TV, crocheting, or whatever you fancy. For me, it’s spending time with friends and exploring the incredible food and art scene in New York.
While a startup demands an extraordinary commitment, don’t neglect your relationships. Your family and friends are your support system throughout this journey, and they shouldn’t be taken for granted. On your commute, call your mom, or text a friend that popped into your mind. It’s these little communications that will help you maintain some sanity in an otherwise hectic period!