Jerry “JT” Tran is quite simply a “mack daddy.” He has transformed his own life and has successfully built a financially rewarding career out of helping others do the same thing; by teaching otherwise shy or reserved men the secrets to
He’s written books, has multiple offices, and has built an empire to envy. He’s even given lectures at great ivy league institutions such as Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Wharton’s School of Business.
Interrace Today recently interviewed Mr. Tran to get some background:
1. You started out as a spacecraft systems engineer. How and why did you transition from such a highly-specialized technical career to what you’re doing now, (which is also a highly-specialized career)?
JT: I was a very traditional Asian son. I studied hard, went to college, and got a job.
Over time I realized I wasn’t really advancing in my job place even though I was busting my ass and seeing my peers surpass me, not through quality of work, but quality of their networking abilities.
Everyone around me seemed to be getting promoted for doing less work. I began to realize that this was because I was Asian, quiet, and not outgoing. I got fed up with a 9 to 5 that wasn’t fulfilling me emotionally, socially, or monetarily. I discovered the pick up community on the internet and it became an outlet and a savior for me.
I learned a skill set that set me apart from the “average” guy. It freed me from the stereotypes and constraints of being a passive drone archetype and having to settle for second or even third best.
I started probably the first Asian American dating blog, before the whole blog thing was even popular and my career sort of spring boarded from there.
2. There are alot of offensive stereotypes about Asian men that persist today. Do you feel that they can ever become self-fulfilling for Asian men in particular?
JT: I believe both the media and some Asian guys are are our own worse enemies. It’s very easy for Asians to buy into the limiting beliefs that are being fed to them in the media and society. I’ve met a ton of Asians who actually perpetuate these stereotypes and misunderstandings.
I try my best, in my industry, to dissolve these rumors, myths, and stereotypes by being a positive masculine role model so that Asians as a whole, can finally be a confident group.
3. How did you switch careers and then build your media business to what it is now?
JT: To be honest, a lot of what I have learned was through a self-taught, trial by fire method. I read a lot on business and marketing and made a lot of mistakes along the way. I also saw what was working for others, even in different industries, and made it my own. It wasn’t an overnight transition-it was over several years that I was able to build up my image and brand.
4. How long did the process of building your business to what it is today take from when the idea first came to you? Did you have a mentor? Do you have any suggestions for aspiring minority entrepreneurs who would like to emulate your success?
JT: I initially did have a pick up artist mentor, but not necessarily a business mentor. I’m still growing my business every year and have not yet reached my ultimate goals. But from quitting my job as an engineer to actually being able to survive and flourish on a daily basis, I’d say the process took about three years of blood, sweat, and tears and a recession!
My advice to anyone growing a business would be, don’t be afraid to make mistakes!! That’s how you learn the most! Also, you have to be cautious, but no one ever got anywhere by playing it safe. It’s also important to brand yourself right away and see what niche you can fit into.
5. Interracial dating is still taboo to many people. What can be done to open more hearts and minds and create a more open dating arena?
JT: Well, I feel like I’m opening more hearts and minds everyday through my company, it’s message, writing, and speaking. No matter how hard anyone tries, there is always going to be racial prejudice.
For many people, it goes generations deep and will not be undone overnight. I think it’s important to stay positive in my own way as well as open minded to why some people may have these prejudiced opinions. By understanding their motives, I can better assess my approach to dispelling their feeling on the matter.
6. Has the need for your services increased or decreased with the economic down-turn?
JT: When everything started tanking around 2008, I was naturally concerned. In my head I was thinking, “Who’s going to be worried about self-improvement during these times?”
However, I was shocked to see that there was no downturn in my business, there was actually a spike. It’s one of those pleasant surprises that you secretly hope for, but don’t expect. We’ve garnered more positive publicity than most of our peers in the industry.
The media portrays these companies as womanizing,exploitative, misogynists, but we’ve been fortunate enough to being very well received. I’ve been invited as a special guest speaker to Harvard, Yale, and Wharton not to mention being featured on ABC’s Nightline. All of which have been positive and hopefully inspiring experiences. I consider our services a personal investment and I think a lot of guys were thinking the same way.
7. China has a disproportionate male to female ratio, and Japan does as well to a different extent. Why do you feel those inequalities exist and do you see that developing in other countries as well? Does one gender have a mathematical advantage in terms of negotiating? Are you received differently by different ethnic groups or do you have more clientele from any particular group?
JT: A lot of inequality has to do, in part, to China’s One Child Policy. There was a huge amount of female infanticide that will have long lasting consequences not simply today, but in future generations to come. The one child policy is going to catch up to China very quickly because that generation is going to come to maturity around 2020. There is going to be an even larger gap between the number of males vs. females.
There is a long-standing idea among Asians that male children are somehow better-perhaps because they carry on the family name-among other things. I believe this gender gap is going to result in more Asian males traveling to other countries to find a wife simply because there won’t be enough females in their countries.
Our clientele is very diverse. Of course we get a lot of Asian students because I’m Asian. However, we get all types of races and cultures.
8. Do you actively measure a success ratio? If yes, what is it?
JT: A lot of what we teach is immeasurable. Each student progresses at his own pace, some are naturals and some will take a little more work. I can list off who kissed a girl on a bootcamp or which alums have gotten married because of the skills they learned on a bootcamp. But a lot of what we teach is for personal growth and is individual.
To me, success is taking a lot of these shy, socially awkward guys, and making them come out of their shells. It’s amazing to see the progression of success form night one of our class to night three.
9. Do you work with women as well as men, or just men? Would you consider working with other groups such as gay men or gay women or other minority groups?
JT: We already work with a large range of minorities. As for females-what we teach in particular can’t really be transferred over to females. It just doesn’t work. The same could be said for the gay and lesbian crowd. Even though we are teaching men how to approach women, our techniques wouldn’t work for a woman to approach a woman because the dynamics are different.
I think it’s important to be very good at what you do and for me to branch out into other areas of seduction would be a disservice. Maybe in time we’ll branch out to offer different service products, but not now.
10. Have you ever considered matchmaking or hosting a reality program?
JT: Naturally my company gets equated to matchmaking and dating service sites but we don’t do that. I don’t think I’d really like to get involved in that. I like teaching guys how to have choice in whomever they want to talk to. I’ve been approached to do television, but I am a private person. I don’t think I could live with someone constantly following me around with a camera. I like to keep my work life and private life very separate.
Hats off to Jerry “JT” Tran.
Below are a few videos featuring JT Tran. First there’s a story about him on Nightline, then a few videos of him at Yale:
JT on Nightline: