'Survival' Issue Release Sponsors: Meet the Rsrve.me Team

February 1, 2012

The Rsrve.me team at Start-up Monthly's
Demo Pitch & Presentation Day where the
team came in first place within the Accelerator program and second overall. Co-founders from left to right: Poi Yu, Jennifer Kim Van Nguyen, Tony Yeung, and Christopher Ling.

Sponsoring Hyphen's "Survival" Issue Release party are up-and-comers Rsrve.Me, a web platform that provides the invaluable service for making hassle-free, customized date nights for San Francisco couples. Rsrve.me was conceived last year when co-founder Christopher Ling scoured Yelp and sought advice from friends on how to make plans with his girlfriend for their 6-year anniversary, but his sources just weren't that helpful. Rsrve.me was born out of that frustration and the site, which launched in January 2012, offers exclusive date experiences for those couples who want to save their energy for actually enjoying themselves.

We talk with two of Rsrve.me's co-founders, Jennifer Kim Van Nguyen (Design & Marketing) and Christopher Ling (Business Development) about surviving as a new start-up.

[Full Disclosure: Jennifer Kim Van Nguyen is a former Editorial and Graphic Designer and current business staff at Hyphen]

What does
"survival" mean to you?

CL: To me, survival means
always striving to better oneself and never being complacent. I believe in
pushing boundaries and following whatever your passion is. Whether
professionally, socially, or mentally, survival should not only be about
“moving onwards," but also about “moving upwards."

JN: Survival, to me, means to consistently be moving, growing and
striving to better oneself, but, more importantly, to also remain true
to yourself in the process. I think, more than often, it's really easy
to lose sight of that aspect in the pursuit of success in whatever
industry you're in.

What has been your
most rewarding moment doing what you're doing?

CL: Hands down, the most
rewarding moment is when I see happy customers. A lot of time and sweat goes
into every event that we create, so it’s a great feeling when the owners are
happy with the event and excited about creating something special for their customers.
It’s equally rewarding to receive feedback from couples who are ecstatic about
breaking out of their usual routine to not only discover something new, but
also receive a one-of-a-kind VIP experience.

What is the toughest
part about your trade?

CL: Solving the chicken and
the egg dilemma. Because we’re in the early days of Rsrve.me, it’s a constant
endeavor to increase merchant partnerships, as well as expand our Rsrve.me
community. Our mission is to offer awesome date experiences, but more
importantly, we need the community to want to be a part of the experience.
However, tackling this very problem is part of the fun in growing the overall
business -- nobody said it would be easy.

Do you see yourself
as a leader/activist? How?

CL: I view myself as a
leader with the Rsrve.me team, helping to push the bar in the overall
development of the company to ensure we’re making progress towards the overall
vision of providing awesome date experiences to everyone. Motivation and trust
go a long way in empowering everyone on the team to be a leader in managing
their work product, while emphasizing professional growth at the same time.

JN: Definitely. I believe in order to be a great and successful leader,
you have to inspire others to reach beyond what convention says is
possible, plan how you're going to accomplish your goals, inspire those
around you to believe that anything is possible and execute even when success is not guaranteed.

What is one thing you
know now about your career that you wish you had known in college?

CL: In college, you are
essentially handed a schedule of classes to take in order to graduate with a
certain major or emphasis. There is a path outlined for you with the necessary
steps required to achieve success. However, when entering the
workforce, there is neither a distinct path nor a single metric to define
success. I
believe the key here is to realize that you are not going to have everything
figured out and might not know what you’ll even be doing a year from now, but that’s part of the fun.

JN: Money is only paper. Experience is value.

Aside from being an entrepreneur,
what other impacts have you made in the community (Asian American or not)?

CL: One volunteering
experience I thought stood out from the rest was participating in Grid
Alternative’s Solar Affordable Housing Program, where a group of volunteers and
I installed a solar system on a low-income house that was provided by Habitat
for Humanity. It was a great feeling to help in something that would save a
family money on lower cost power while also learning about something I was
passionate about.

JN: Aside from working with Rsrve.me, I volunteer and serve as Chief Marketing Officer for Philanthro's San Francisco chapter, a national NPO that engages
young professionals in philanthropy. We connect young professionals
with charitable causes through volunteer, social and leadership
activities working with organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation,
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, etc.

7. How would you describe your team in
one sentence?

CL: An eclectic, insanely
intelligent group of individuals doing whatever it takes to get things done, no

A group of talented and insanely progressive
thinkers living a few years of our lives like most people won't so that
we can spend the rest of our lives living our dream.

"Survival" Issue Release Party is on Saturday, February 4 from 9:00 pm to 2:00
am at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA. Get
tickets here.