How Terry Kim of NexGenT is Empowering Tomorrow’s IT Leaders

Episode Transcription

Glenn Harper [00:00:12]:

Welcome to another edition Empowering Entrepreneurs podcast. I’m Glenn Harper.

Julie Smith [00:00:18]:

I’m Julie Smith.

Glenn Harper [00:00:19]:

What’s going on, Julie?

Julie Smith [00:00:19]:

Well, I’m having a bad hair day, so I’m a little disappointed.

Glenn Harper [00:00:23]:

The Struggle’s real. If only I had my mullet, it would be great. But

Julie Smith [00:00:26]:

Yeah. You don’t get to have that hair day, do you?

Glenn Harper [00:00:28]:

You just let it have

Julie Smith [00:00:29]:

a hair day.

Glenn Harper [00:00:30]:

Pretty much. It’s pretty much the struggle. It’s real. But, no, we’ve got a great guest today. Like to introduce you to Terry Kim. Hey, Terry. How are you doing?

Terry Kim [00:00:40]:

I’m I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on the show, guys.

Glenn Harper [00:00:42]:

Oh, we appreciate you just taking some time and spending with us. And, I’ve got a little bit of a warm up here. And if, anything is incorrect or you wanna modify, please let me know. But I’ll give my best stab here.

Julie Smith [00:00:53]:

Glenn has The degree in stalking. So

Glenn Harper [00:00:56]:

It’s really I’m very, very limited in skill set, but I really wanna try hard. Terry Kim, a fellow entrepreneur and rock Star podcaster is a is passionate about fellow entrepreneurs but loves to protect them by elevating them from an from an engineering perspective, which is interesting. He is the founder and owner of Next Gen T Academy, a cybersecurity and engineering boot camp. As only an engineer can appreciate, he has a program called 0 to engineer for training and methodologies. He’s obsessed an obsessed entrepreneur that thrives on helping other entrepreneurs find their meaning of life. So I hope that kinda summarizes what you do, but I think that pretty much does it. Right?

Terry Kim [00:01:33]:

Yeah. I would say that’s a great intro. Yes. Yeah. So, yeah, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for probably the last 12 years in in the tech startup space specifically, and, NGT Academy is my 2nd startup, that I’ve kind of brought into the world.

Glenn Harper [00:01:53]:

Where where did you, you know, we always, like, start the beginning, we’re trying to figure out, well, where did the where were where you raised at, where were you born at, and where do you were raised at?

Terry Kim [00:02:02]:

Yeah. I was actually raised in Seoul, Korea For first half of my life. So, 1st generation Korean American, military brat, so my dad was army retired. And so I was naturalized really early, but, he was stationed overseas in Yongseon, Seoul, Korea for the longest. So I I was really born and raised in in Korea, Korean being my first language and then English being my second.

Glenn Harper [00:02:28]:

How about that? What age were you when you moved to America?

Terry Kim [00:02:32]:

I was I was 21. And when I moved, it was, by joining the Air Force. So, I didn’t know I was gonna get myself into tech, And it was in 1999 when, I actually got a spark or interest or passion into technology and Well, it’s really forced it really forced my reality at that time to explore a different career path because My original, career path was becoming a DJ and a world famous k pop star. So Awesome. It’s changed quite drastically.

Julie Smith [00:03:05]:

Well, it’s that that’s Still there, though. Right? You know? If it ever comes up.

Glenn Harper [00:03:09]:

Deep down inside, you wanna be that still?

Terry Kim [00:03:12]:

Yeah. I I think my music days are over, but I do have a Keen interest in music, and I’ve always had the love for music. I think music is just one way to express our artist artists, tree, and our creativity to express, you know, whatever message we wanna deliver to the world. So, Yeah. We’ll see if I end up doing some DJ ing down the road. But, yeah, I’m really just passionate about technology and And bridging, the gap between mission driven founders and helping them empowering them, inspiring them to find mission driven companies.

Julie Smith [00:03:48]:

So what was that spark that came up that made you pivot into that world? If you could share that story, if there is one.

Terry Kim [00:03:57]:

It so the story from, moving into tech or into entrepreneurship?

Julie Smith [00:04:02]:

Moving into tech. Like, what? But you said there was something that sparked that. What was that?

Terry Kim [00:04:08]:

Yeah. It was actually a movie. It’s called The Matrix 1999.

Glenn Harper [00:04:13]:

Great movie. Great movie.

Terry Kim [00:04:16]:

That movie literally, was a spark of of my interest into technology, and it was pre.com. You know? Boom. Everyone was talking about the y two k, 2,000. Like, all the electronic devices will crash and whatnot. But I I knew that it was the future. It was just we were just getting into information technology, and I knew it was the future. And I had No idea of even how a computer operates or even how to boot up a computer, so that’s how illiterate I was in in technology.

Glenn Harper [00:04:49]:

Did you were you Were you in the Air Force at this time, or when did you, and when did you join the Air Force? And how long did you stay in before you got out? And were you did you explore this tech thing while you were in the Air Force?

Terry Kim [00:05:01]:

Yeah. So, you know, the long story short is that when I discovered that movie, I wanted to get into tech, and I was working I was a DJ and doing some k pop albums at night. And then I to keep my visa in the country, I was working on a base, at a 4 star hotel called Dragon Hill Lodge, and they had these this MIS department with all the blinking lights and, you know, a lot of, the glass, you know, you couldn’t even see through it. And I’d be so curious, like, what’s behind there? And I do see all these, like, blinking lights, and I knew I wanted to get into that Apartment. However, they told me that I needed a bachelor’s degree at that time, and I needed more experience. And I knew that college was not the route for me because I’m a practical hands on learner, and I knew, like, The best way for me to learn was to get my hands dirty. And so my my father told me, hey. If you wanna get into tech and you wanna get your hands dirty, maybe the military route Is the option, but I wouldn’t join the army like I did.

Terry Kim [00:06:04]:

I would join the Air Force because those guys are super high-tech. And that’s when I, I explored different career path in IT and in especially in the Air Force and found this, AFC called, 3 c two is like a tech control communication field, and it, it required a top secret clearance to score high on your ASVAB and your electrical engineering. So I studied my butt off for those 2 kinda subjects, took the ASVAB, which is like a SAT for military, And got into this career field and started on the help desk, worked my way up to a network engineer, and then eventually became a technical instructor on Keesler Air Force Base. I’d served 5 years 3 years in the field and then 2 years as a technical instructor.

Glenn Harper [00:06:45]:

Let me see if I got this straight. You I mean, we always have this debate or you know, a lot of entrepreneurs go to college. Some don’t. Some self learn it. But Engineering, I mean, that literally should be one you should have to go to college for. So for you to be able to self study that, that’s impressive. I mean, that’s hard to do.

Julie Smith [00:07:06]:

But wait. I wanna go back to the fact that this whole story

Glenn Harper [00:07:10]:

Well, hold on. But To be an engineer, most, business majors don’t make it in engineering. They go into business world.

Julie Smith [00:07:16]:

Wouldn’t be.

Glenn Harper [00:07:17]:

That’s the standing joke. So for you to just bypass that, that that’s pretty cool. Was it the military that gave you that training that you just felt like that’s your best way to learn it, or was it just all self study? I’m I’m intrigued by this because engineering is really, really hard.

Terry Kim [00:07:31]:

Engineering is hard. So there’s this kind of notion that if you wanna get into engineering or or a law degree or even become a doctor, you need to go to, College. Well, it is true for the the doctor path, the scientist path, and also the lawyer path. However, for engineering, specifically in IT, it is a misconception. To break into IT, you need practical hands It’s on training. So to give you, an example, in our 16 week, boot camp training, these 18, 19 year olds would Come out of basic training out of Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for 2 weeks, and that that gives them the discipline. You know, waking up at 5 AM, all all that stuff It’s great. And the the level of maturity of an 18, 19 year old coming out of boot camp is that they’re ready to be trained, and they go to a technical Cool.

Terry Kim [00:08:24]:

So, for example, if you wanted to be an air traffic controller, one of the hardest professions to actually learn, it’s a Skill set. But we don’t send the 18, 19 year old off to college for 4 years. Right? They go to air traffic Training school for 6 months, and they graduate, and they’re in the field. The same thing is with network engineering or cybersecurity operations. We train them for 16 weeks, and they have to set up and support mission critical networks and secure that network from hackers and whatnot. So it’s a different level of training when it comes to job readiness, and that’s when, like, in 2015, 20 teen, I had this idea of 0 to engineer, which led me to write this entire book called The 0 to Engineer, a story of the American dream. Right? Breaking into IT without a college degree. And the truth of the matter is that in IT, all you have to do is Get practical hands on training, a few IT certifications, and you’re in the door.

Terry Kim [00:09:23]:

So why wait 4 years when you could do it in a matter of months? And that’s the concept of the 0 to engineer.

Glenn Harper [00:09:30]:

That is awesome. So here again, so one would say that even Joining the military and having them train you in that specific field, whatever that could be because you kinda get to pick, don’t you? I mean, you get certain triggers or whatever. But, Wow. What a what a shortcut to get the hands on knowledge.

Terry Kim [00:09:47]:

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, for every profession in the air force Or or in the military in general, you’re training for a minimum of 2 to 6 months max, and you’re in the field ready to go. And so it’s like, how can What we’re seeing is, like, Google, Facebook, Tesla, everyone dropping the degree requirement now because we’re seeing that the talent workforce needs a new, You know, generation of workforce that comes in that are job ready, and they have the right aptitude cognitive training, already done.

Glenn Harper [00:10:20]:

Go ahead, Julia. Sorry. I went in a rabbit hole there.

Julie Smith [00:10:22]:

I know. But I I’m I’m gonna go back to the fact of this American dream Started because he was working at a hotel and saw flashing lights and decided he wanted to be in that room at some point. And that’s where it all started. A I mean, your literally passion for life and what you were going to do was all built

Glenn Harper [00:10:45]:

Curiosity. Yep.

Terry Kim [00:10:46]:

Yeah. That’s correct. Curiosity and and understanding that you can become anyone you wanna become. And, You know, the best way to do it is to find someone that’s done what you’ve you you wanna accomplish. So, you know, if you’re listening to this, like, It took me 10 years to get my dream job. So at 21, in 2000, when I joined the air force, I I knew I wanted to go work for this company one day, which was called Cisco Systems at the time. They were building the infrastructure, the backbone of the Internet. And they were, you know, the Fortune 100 company.

Terry Kim [00:11:18]:

I’m like, I’m gonna go work for them one day as an engineer. And 10 years later, I was a systems engineer at the top of my field working at Cisco when then I felt like, What’s next? Because I did feel like a cog in a wheel at Mhmm. At an employer that had 70,000 employees, And that’s when I got the the startup bug, at the peak of my career in 2012.

Glenn Harper [00:11:42]:

Did you, Oh, I’m sorry. Did you oh, go ahead.

Julie Smith [00:11:45]:

Go ahead. From 2001 to, you know, 2010, can you think of someone who was Had a really big impact on your life, that kinda sets you where you are, someone who you might call a mentor or Someone who just really took you under their wing and helped lead you to where you obviously ended up in 2010.

Terry Kim [00:12:06]:

I wouldn’t say I I had a specific mentor. It was just this this big lofty goal of mine. Right? Like, 1st generation Korean American coming out of poverty. You know, we live paycheck to paycheck, and, I I went, like, out of my house. Right? I I left the house at 16. So I started pretty early in terms of, like, being, self independent and wanting to make money and to carve out my own path or destiny, at a early age. And so, I would say it was just that dream that that big dream of working for Cisco Systems one day, and I thought that would Be the the pinnacle of my career. Like, that was it.

Terry Kim [00:12:52]:

And and so when I hit that goal at 31, because I was just marching towards that goal, And and when it when it arrived, it was like, okay. I need I need to find something new that excites me and and and Moves me into a different chapter of my life.

Glenn Harper [00:13:09]:

Did your you know, growing up, did was it all just you know You know, as being a military brat and going around and traveling and doing those things, and it you know, that’s tough. Right? You gotta meet new friends everywhere you go. And does Did your parents or family members, did they have entrepreneurial desires, or did they like being plugged into a structured environment and doing their thing that way? I mean because, Again, entrepreneurs, I don’t know if they, I I think most of them are born that way, and and sometimes it has to be awakened. But sometimes Mhmm. They just learn, and they’re like, wow. This is a better option For me, they they not may not be 1, but they can become 1. But did you just know it, or did you see somebody that said, hey. This looks like a pretty cool thing?

Terry Kim [00:13:49]:

It was really just curiosity. They used to call me the question man because I would ask all the questions, And it was just not being afraid to ask questions and having humility and just being humble to learn new things. And it was in 2012 when I was at the peak of my career, was just thinking, wow. Like, there’s just so much technology. And I saw these founders that had Engineering background, startup companies, in the tech sector. Maybe it’s like creating a new wireless device, Wi Fi router. It could be as simple as that for a small business. And, that intrigued me.

Terry Kim [00:14:25]:

So I started reading on a lot of TechCrunch articles and founders building companies. And In 2012, there was a language called Ruby on Rails. It was really taken off. People were creating these beautiful apps, and designing it. And and I I was thinking like, what if I turn my, skill sets of learning these new technologies, engineering, and start learning software development and application life cycles and things like that. And That’s when I got the bug to create a software app in the cloud, that could be used for managing large IT projects, And that was kind of my 1st venture into, the tech startup world.

Glenn Harper [00:15:07]:

So are you more of a software or hardware guy on the tech space? Or you like them both?

Terry Kim [00:15:13]:

I like them both, to be honest with you. You know, if you think about network engineering or cybersecurity, you’re you’re you’re You’re working on a lot of devices, but the software that’s on top of it is what needs to be programmed. So whether it’s through a user interface or through a Command line, like you see on these kind of hacker movies, we’re configuring away the firewall, the router. Like, this Zoom call is happening because is the infrastructure that’s built, the architecture. So, you know, I I love both architecture from an infrastructure standpoint, but then I love the software that brings that Device to life, if that makes sense.

Glenn Harper [00:15:52]:

It does. And and, again, a nonengineering person like myself, I love watching how it’s made and see how things work, But this kind of stuff is way beyond my brain capacity. And and, like, I just turned it on, and it’s supposed to work. What do you see, you know, from back in two 1,001, when you saw those lights behind the the curtain there, and now here we are today, it’s gotta be amazing to Be part of knowing how this change is happening and be integrated and and know what this is. Like, what’s next? I mean, what is the next thing? I mean, I it’s gotta be the start of financial intelligence. It’s gotta be people hacking you. How do you protect and and know A typical like, your clients from when I looked at your bio here, you know, a typical client to help them navigate that to be secure but also not get AI it out of out of existence. What what do you see this trend going to?

Terry Kim [00:16:44]:

Yeah. So AI AI is taking the market by storm, especially in IT. I see it affecting a lot of job positions, especially even software engineering, which at NGT Academy, we have no programs around software engineering. In fact, a lot of people make that mistake, think, hey. We do coding boot camps, but we focus on, the other, You know, hundreds of jobs, outside of software engineering. So it could be network administration, systems admin, network engineering, cyber ops, Consulting, IT management, project management, data science. You know, we we just launched the data science track. Well, we’re launching it next week.

Terry Kim [00:17:22]:

We have DevOps and cloud. We have data center. Just so many variety of jobs. So we we offer 6 tracks here at NGT Academy from 0 to engineer. We also have some kind of, different programs that help people stuck in IT to level up them into engineer status. But what I see with AI is that we have to become more like architects. We have to become more creative artists even in the IT industry because a lot of the mundane tasks that we used to do are getting automated with with automated scripts and things like that. So, the world will need a new generation of thinkers and and and creative people, designing these solutions, And it’s just becoming more and more easy to deploy it.

Terry Kim [00:18:07]:

So I think automation, AI is, in our favor, meaning we we can automate All those mundane tasks that, you know, we used to do manually before, and now we can spend more time architecting, more time Intentionally designing the solution for a better user experience.

Glenn Harper [00:18:27]:

I’m telling you, the, AI thing is so bizarre, the a little bit of old school we’re used to you know, even in our industry and, you know, tax accounting, you know, it everything’s kind of just imported in, and You don’t have to do that data entry anymore. And because nobody really wants to do it, and no who wants to grow up and say, I wanna be a coder? Right? You just

Terry Kim [00:18:46]:

Right.

Glenn Harper [00:18:46]:

I think Your from your standpoint, it’s like, well, what are we trying to accomplish? And we can just AI the code, but we need to what is we want it to do. Right? And I think that’s what you’re probably So when you teach this, is your passion as an entrepreneur, it was learning how to do these systems and and build these things. Now you’re teaching people how to do it. But is there really the endgame to help teach the people who are gonna teach the companies who are gonna make the new stuff? I mean, where is your path going here. Like, what are you trying to really accomplish?

Terry Kim [00:19:16]:

So right now, there’s 572,000 open cyber jobs in just the USA market.

Glenn Harper [00:19:22]:

What?

Terry Kim [00:19:23]:

Yes. So CyberSeq .org, you can check out the heat map. Right? Like, Texas alone probably has, like, 55,000 open jobs. So The amount of, cybersecurity workforce needed in the IT industry is is huge demand for it, and it’s gonna soar up to about 2 and a half 1000000 over the next few years. And so our our mission here at JT Academy is, right, like, how do we change a 1000000 lives? A training company. We’re a transformational company because what really led me and propelled my career was just this passion of getting into IT And learning the hands on skills and you’re just passionate about, getting these, solutions out into the world. So, you know, we’ve been around for 7 years, and, NGT Academy is on a mission to just be a true alternative to college. So instead of putting 18, 19 year olds on 100 k debt decisions where it’s like, k.

Terry Kim [00:20:17]:

Sign on this dotted line. I mean, we’ve we’ve accumulated $1,000,000,000,000 in student debt in the past 10 years. It’s it’s The parents thing. That parents and and students, they both are, let’s just say, brainwashed that they have to send their Kid to college. And the student that cannot afford or the parents can’t afford a 529 or don’t have any savings, then they’re gonna go to community college And put them in into debt and and find a way to get that bachelor’s degree. And it’s, like, 4, 6 years into the journey, and there’s no promise that they’ll even get, A IT job once they come out of college, because college is 90% theory and concept and 10% practical. And and and a lot of those professors, they’ve never touched The real world. You know, a a data center or configured, you know, real world IT solutions in the field.

Terry Kim [00:21:07]:

So, Yeah. The world is changing, and we’re excited to be part of that to really, allow people, to have a alternative path to college. It’s a program that I would have joined Instead of the Air Force, in fact, even if I discovered something like this was available in in 2000.

Glenn Harper [00:21:24]:

That’s that is just really the cool thing. Now when you started decide to start your business and do your thing, you know, It’s a it’s a big deal to leave a comfy comfy com company like Cisco and be one of 70,000. You have a you have help desk for everything. There’s Processes, systems, and you’re just a cog in the wheel. You know what to do. And you’re like, yeah. It doesn’t do it for me anymore. I wanna go do a thing on my own.

Glenn Harper [00:21:48]:

I mean, That is, by definition, just really crazy, right, by all intents of what people think. But is it was the driving force more that you wanted to do it your way, or you just didn’t wanna be kinda told what to do, or you just felt like they weren’t doing what you really like doing? I mean, there’s always a reason why you would leave that. Right? It’s it’s a big decision. Right? Most people would not leave that.

Terry Kim [00:22:11]:

That’s correct. Yeah. People thought I was kind of, crazy because, it is a position that a lot of engineers seek out, especially at Cisco. And there’s a great quote, By Albert Einstein that says the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. So for me, it’s like, My mind, the way it works is, like, when I’m in a certain position or a pathway, it kinda projects out, like Like, the next 10, 20 years. And so when that played out, it it it it became mundane for me. Right? Mhmm. So I could have stayed at Cisco and worked my way up the corporate ladder, but, You know, life is short, and I wanted to make a bigger impact.

Terry Kim [00:22:52]:

And when I saw ITT Tech charging $85,000 for these network engineer degrees, I knew it was a scam, and and I Knew that there was a better path and a faster path without the debt and without all that time wasted on nonpractical learnings. And So that was a spark. I was like, hey. I I’ve done this in the military. I’ve trained thousands of 18, 19 year olds. Why not take that Model and deployed out into the civilian sector, and and that’s what really sparked that idea.

Julie Smith [00:23:21]:

But did you meet some I mean, along this way in getting those thoughts, It’s like, did someone ask for your assistance and that created that kind of spiral and projecting that you talk about? Or I mean, something had to have happened somehow along the way. I mean, not only were you bored, but I would think, you know, if I was bored in your position, I’d be like, well, how many of these things Can I build? Like, you know, how can I emulate Cisco in the job that I’m in? And you totally pivoted into how can I help this career, Which is different than what you were I mean, to me, that’s different than what you were doing? And so

Glenn Harper [00:23:56]:

For sure.

Julie Smith [00:23:56]:

That’s why I’m that’s why I said, did someone ask you for help and assistance and that Sparked that pat that ignited that passion behind that or no? Not at all?

Terry Kim [00:24:06]:

I think it’s a culmination of a lot of conversations, just, trends, seeing the market move, talking with CIOs and IT directors and hey, Terry, I I I need some engineers. Do you know anyone in your network? Like, I’m hiring these college students and and They know nothing. They don’t know nothing. And so, like, that really kinda sparked the idea, and I would mentor people that wanted to break into the IT industry be as well. So it was it was more about impact. Right? I think we find, you know, a time in life where it’s like, hey. Is this still my my passion? Is this Still my ikigai. Beautiful Japanese concept of where, you know, your passion, what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and And and what you can get paid for.

Terry Kim [00:24:52]:

And finding that Ikigai has been my North Star. I would say every 5 years, I kinda revisit that, to see, like, what am I truly excited about, and what what can I, be in service into the world for? And and I think that’s what really sparked that Idea of, taking that concept and really deploying it, out into the world. And that was my 2nd start up. My 1st start up was not this company. Actually, when I left Cisco, I I I built a software management, app in the cloud for IT teams. And, I I I did that venture in Atlanta, and, when I crashed and burned after, pouring about a quarter 1,000,000 into that Business venture and enough runway. I actually was in massive debt and massive failure and In severe depression for about 3 months. And, it was it wasn’t until I I started listening to Tony Robbins, which Picked me out of depression and got me back into the workforce for about 18 months until I got the idea for 0 to engineer and and Decided to do it again at even at at a better company, at a better job, at Arista Networks.

Terry Kim [00:26:06]:

I was probably make Looking to make 2 times more than what I made at Cisco, and and at Cisco, I was making about 175. So it you know? Again, wanting to do it again, it was pretty crazy too.

Glenn Harper [00:26:19]:

You gotta have your head examined, but that’s what you do because, you know, to your point, Julie, like, how did it get where he got? And so it’s like, Look. I wanna go build my own thing as an engineer because that’s what engineers do. They build stuff. Right?

Terry Kim [00:26:31]:

Yes.

Glenn Harper [00:26:31]:

You did that, and it’s like, wait a minute. This is not This isn’t working the way it wants. Well, what do I do now? Well, that transformation that we see with entrepreneurs is that you end up starting to do this thing, And then you realize this is bigger than me. Right? And you have a skill set that says, well, I’m gonna teach everybody else how to do this. And so now I don’t you probably tinker and build some stuff in your shop. In the corner, you probably put on a funny hat. You do this stuff, and you, you know, build some cool stuff. I would imagine you still do that, But now it’s about teaching others to fill a void, and there’s a business opportunity there.

Glenn Harper [00:27:06]:

And that didn’t really even exist when you were doing building your the 1st company you did. Right? So there it is. Love it.

Julie Smith [00:27:14]:

But I also wanna you know, as a reflection, and I think, you know, for all of our listeners, you definitely went through a valley Oh, boy. You hit your peak. Right? Maybe the low lowest of lowest valleys for you. And If any of our listeners you know, what could you glean from that that from a positive take as you’ve kind of you know, I think you’re at a peak right now, you know, being able to impact So many lives, and you’ve been able to kinda have a plan for the future. For all of our entrepreneur listeners who may find themselves in a valley right now, What advice, now that you’re out of it, would you give them?

Terry Kim [00:27:51]:

I think we’re always going through this hero’s journey. And the hero’s journey, I like to tell people whether you’re an entrepreneur or a aspiring professional in whatever career path, Is that you’re going to have to go through the hero’s journey. Like, any any any Hollywood movie, we’re going to have to go through the pain and suffering of Becoming the best version of ourself in any new skill sets that we learn. And so if we embrace that, we understand that everything is happening for us And that everything in life is a lesson to help shape to become to help shape who you need to become, Right? As an entrepreneur, it’s just it’s it’s a beautiful thing, but you have to fall in love with that process, meaning that journey. For example, when I failed and I was licking my wounds and, feeling sorry for myself, that’s the hero’s journey. But in that Reflection. In that darkest moment, you will find the greatest gifts. And and and it’s just hard to explain, but that’s when you will be able Rise from the ashes like the rising phoenix, I like to say.

Terry Kim [00:28:55]:

Mhmm. And learn from all those mistakes. Learn from all those failures because I’m a stubborn guy. Like, you know, you can tell me to do something one way, but I gotta do it on my own. And I have to fail, and I have to fall on my face in In order not not to make that mistake again, I think it’s just, it’s it’s it’s Entrepreneur. I don’t I don’t believe anyone is born an entrepreneur. You anyone can become an entrepreneur in the right timing if If you find a passion project and you wanna bring it out to the world, that’s why some of the greatest entrepreneurs stumble upon their ideas In an environment, in a setting when they get so frustrated with a problem, like I was, I was so frustrated with The the college, industry and and and these high degrees that were just charging people massive amounts of money. So, you know, when I can change someone’s life, that’s when I get most excited and and the impact that I can make.

Terry Kim [00:29:55]:

So As an entrepreneur, it’s about learning the skills along the way and that know that at any given time, you can pivot or generate a new idea. And And, yeah.

Julie Smith [00:30:07]:

I don’t think you ever failed, and I think this is a really interesting reflection. Because Just like you kinda talked about the hero cycle, you never failed. You just were pivoting or figuring it out And what was being given to you and what you could make out of it. You never failed. You just took that moment to be able to pivot to do what you were supposed to be doing.

Terry Kim [00:30:31]:

Yes. That’s that’s that’s correct. Like, it’s it’s like on the journey. You know? I’ve been running this business for 7 years, and I’m actually looking to kind of, groom the next CEO to take this business over. And it’s not because I’m not passionate about the mission. I want I want this mission to go on, but I have new passions. Right? Like, right now, I’m big into, holistic healing, sleep, and breath work. And and this is something that’s just kind of Encompassed into my life, like, over the last few years, but I’m really excited about my my stealth start up.

Terry Kim [00:31:06]:

I just, we just launched it literally about a week ago, and my cofounder is my 19 year old, daughter. And we formed a company in the sleep wellness industry. So, and and this came about due to frustration, frustration of not being able to sleep well anytime, anywhere, Really frustrated with all the sleep aid market, tools out there, especially in the sleep mask industry. So we developed, the world’s most advanced sleep mask. This is my 1st physical product as an entrepreneur. It’s called Ohmsleep, and we spent 16 months, building this. So there is a tech component which pairs with the mobile app, but this is, the world’s 1st, sleep mask with, zero pressure on the ears. So, like, the headphones that you have, it’s got Bose like comfort, and I’m a side sleeper.

Terry Kim [00:32:01]:

But we developed this sleep mask. It’s it’s from, you know, a passion of mine. Right? So, like, as an entrepreneur, you have to find something that ignites you and that you’re super passionate about. And you have to ask yourself, can you can you create a product or service that’s better than what’s in the market? And if you can, That becomes a new product or a new company that you can start.

Glenn Harper [00:32:24]:

So I’m gonna go back to a couple things here because there’s there’s So many nuggets in here. This is unbelievable. So the the first thing is that

Julie Smith [00:32:31]:

Oh, he got his coffee. We can start now.

Glenn Harper [00:32:33]:

Alright. Now he’s awake. No. Gosh. If he’s on coffee, I don’t know what is gonna happen now. The you know, as an entrepreneur, it’s a very lonely place. And when your business did not Was not financially successful, the first one. You know, there’s nobody to to comfort you.

Glenn Harper [00:32:49]:

There’s nobody that can empathize with you. The same way when this new business took off, Like, you know, when Next Gen T took off, like, there’s there’s nobody to share that with. It’s it’s you. Right? You’re the only one they have to rely to, but but understanding as an entrepreneur that You have to go through that valley to appreciate and understand that it’s about the cycle that we were talking about. Right? So that’s that’s the 1st nugget that I think is important to note that You didn’t know that Valley was that important at the time. You just were like, you know, I’m the big l word, and this is horrible and whatever. And then You come out of it, and you’re like, ah, that’s that’s the why. So it makes you tougher.

Glenn Harper [00:33:25]:

But the other thing is, as an entrepreneur, you went from a again, building Something tangible trying to build even though it’s a cloud app, whatever, you’re still building something to, like, teaching people. But once you make that transition from an Owner operator. You now wanna be an owner investor, which is you built a company. Now you have somebody else run it you can do the next thing that you like. And I knew you were tinkering on something in the basement. I knew it, and then you just showed it. So you can’t tell me you’re not doing that. So We we know that’s how it is.

Glenn Harper [00:33:55]:

And then now here’s the next opportunity, and look at the next you know, you’re taking your daughter, teaching her how to be an entrepreneur. She may have the tendencies, may not, but You’re gonna she is gonna skip to the head of the line because all those shortcuts you’ve learned and all those pitfalls, You already know what to do. So she’s gonna plug and play a little bit. Now I hope she doesn’t, you know, have a hard time, but I hope she does because then you’ll make her tougher, And she’ll be smarter after that. Right? I I assume you’re thinking the same thing. Right?

Terry Kim [00:34:23]:

Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, she’s like my protege. Right? So, like, I I mentor her, like, and I I let her, you know, know and give her space and give her, enough space to fail and try and to be bold. Right? Because In when building a new company, it’s all about innovation. And so in order to innovate, you need space to time, to create that innovation. And and and in that space and time, you need to fail. Right? Like, Thomas Edison, you know, failed a 1000 times.

Terry Kim [00:34:52]:

Well, that’s a 1000 lessons to Build the electron or the the light bulb. So yeah.

Glenn Harper [00:34:59]:

And yet he kept going, and he would sleep, what, like, Ten minute naps, like, 4 times a day. That was it. I mean, he barely slept at all. And I mean, he’s Well, he

Julie Smith [00:35:06]:

needed his sleep

Glenn Harper [00:35:07]:

mask. Yeah. If he had the mask, imagine what we would be doing right now. We’d probably be teleporting something cool.

Julie Smith [00:35:13]:

But tell me a little bit more. So the sleep mask, I’m kind of I’ve, tinkered in that, realm of, You know, researching and trying to understand. Because like many people, sleep sometimes doesn’t come easy to me. Right? Because it’s hard to shut your mind off. But the other That’s correct. The other thing that you’re doing that I think is newer or is gaining traction is this breath work. So tell me a little bit more about that.

Terry Kim [00:35:40]:

Yeah. So, let’s touch on sleep a little bit, and then we’ll move into the breath work. So sleep, you know, What we don’t do is like, most people do not optimize their sleep. And if you think about it, you know the days when you lack sleep, Like, your whole day goes wrong. Right? You you know, you could be, you know, more frustrated. You could, you know, Feel less confident. Like, lack of sleep just, like, hurts you overall. As an entrepreneur, as a person, it doesn’t matter.

Terry Kim [00:36:14]:

So it’s like, why do we not optimize our sleep? We are optimizing everything else, like mornings with caffeine and going to the gym and all of that. But at the end of the day, sleep actually is the number one thing you can do, to better heal, to to be a better person. Like, overall, what I found In all my habits and routines was sleep. Sleep was the one area that I needed to optimize. And so I got really obsessed around sleep, especially because I had this Chronic illness that I was going through back during the COVID days in 2019 to 2020, and I discovered that Sleep was the modality to heal. To sleep was the modality to vision something new for my life. And it’s interesting. When you fall asleep, when you start getting groggy or a little sleepy, that’s when your brain goes into, like, a delta wave.

Terry Kim [00:37:06]:

And, If you can really figure out how to do your evening routine right, you can drift away into a peaceful, calm sleep Versus being on your phone all the way to the last minute and then trying to go to sleep, your mind is completely wired. So We’re we’re so accustomed to all these dopamine hits, like Mhmm. Constantly and constantly, and we don’t know how to wind down. So what I found is When I discovered these frequencies called solphasial frequencies and binary beats, these frequencies are designed to release melatonin, to re release and to Unwind and to clear the mind. And that’s the best time to manifest or write down and journal what is it exactly that you desire. What do you wanna bring more into your life? What do you wanna let go, and what do you wanna be grateful for? And so once I man one once I created these, Really, routines or habits, I saw my life completely shift around. And so going back to sleep is it’s important to understand that sleep is actually there’s 2 ways to manifest your reality, and and this is not some woo woo stuff. This is things that I’ve applied my whole life and manifested Every reality, into existence due to my thoughts, my thinking, and how I think of myself.

Terry Kim [00:38:24]:

And the going back to 2 ways to manifest, 1 is through prayer. Prayer could be a form of meditation. You can pray. You can meditate, visualize. That is a way To take a thought form and to take action because you start believing in that thought form, and then it starts manifesting in your in your field. The second way to manifest anything in your life is actually through subconscious programming. And how do you program your subconscious? It’s during your sleep. So so subconscious the brain has 95% of the conscious mind, their waking mind.

Terry Kim [00:39:00]:

Like, You’re reacting to the world, waking up. I gotta do this. I gotta do that. The subconscious is your belief system. It’s it’s it’s What really drives you? What’s your desires, your passion? And so to be able to go into the subconscious and plant new ideas and new seeds, You have to do it right before you go to bed, and that’s one of the secrets to being able to understand this, understand the metaphysics, To understand the science behind the importance of sleep. So I like to use sleep for manifesting my new life and to be able to sleep deep, to unwind and to get that, sleep that’s needed in the circadian rhythm. And then I got introduced to breathwork, accidentally, first time with Wim Hof, the ice man that climbed Mount Everest in shorts, and it was very intriguing. I took my whole team out there.

Terry Kim [00:39:51]:

We did Ice bath in San Jose and, got introduced to Breathwork, and I was just like, wow. Like, 30 breath, and, like, I feel So amazing. Like, I feel I’m in bliss. And, you know, I kind of walked away from that practice after a couple years until I discovered a holotropic breathwork. Have you guys heard of Holotropic?

Glenn Harper [00:40:12]:

Please do tell me.

Terry Kim [00:40:13]:

Yeah. Holotropic is is very fascinating. So 2 doctor psychiatrists in the seventies, doctor Stan, Grofen. I’m butchering his name, but, Stan Grofen. Anyways, 2 psychiatrists studying LSD and the profound effects of LSD in the seventies were looking at this, Psychedelic and seeing that people can get into these altered states of consciousness, especially around unity consciousness or just Feeling complete in love, and in bliss. And they started studying this. And when when they ban, LSD in the late seventies, They wanted to continue the research and find out, are there ways for people to experience these altered states of consciousness? And they they studied breathwork, and they developed a 3 and a half hour breathwork journey of deep taking deep inhalations through the mouth and deep through the mouth, and doing this for three and a half hours. And then what they found is from their studies, and they took these studies to John Hopkins University and continued it And found that people can reach these altered states of constant consciousness where the body starts tingling, the emotional body starts Releasing any trapped emotions, trauma, you name it.

Terry Kim [00:41:33]:

And then they would reach these higher states of consciousness where they would feel blissful. And it’s been it’s been fascinating to experience that. So my 1st time I experienced that, I was, like, in heaven, like, Completely in bliss. And I was like, wow. This is very powerful. And so I started studying more chi kang metaphysics And, Reiki, healing, things like that. And, I actually now hold breath work. I facilitate breathwork journeys.

Terry Kim [00:42:02]:

So just had 1, this past Sunday at our local Buddha Bella center here in Phoenix, And I’m actually doing a virtual one on December 14th, but it’s a 2 and a half hour journey where we intention set, Go deep into a 90 minute breath work, and then we down regulate with a beautiful sound bath.

Glenn Harper [00:42:23]:

That is fascinating. Yeah. So,

Julie Smith [00:42:26]:

I’m kinda speechless. Like, I’m just thinking about your journey, and I’m like, okay. We’ve done all these things, and now we’re here.

Glenn Harper [00:42:33]:

And all of a sudden, he was doing this now is doing this thing and the other thing. And so, you know, I guess the the takeaway of this is I’m really intrigued on this, and I’m sure our listeners are as well, is can you throw out a A plug for the 3 things that you do here, the not only the breath work, but the the the mask thing, the sleep aid, and also the engineering thing. So to plug so people can get ahold of you. If you don’t mind doing that, that would be awesome.

Terry Kim [00:42:58]:

Yeah. Absolutely. So, you know, if you’re listening to this and you have a son, kid, Or or relative or a friend or a cousin, like, that wants to break into tech, and they’re just sick and tired of their job, and they have no purpose. You know, the tech The tech career path is not going away, so you can go to 0 to engineer.com, and check out what we have to offer. If you go to 0 to engineer.comforward/book for those listeners, you can get my book for free. This will break you into your 1st Job. All you have to do is pay 9.95 for shipping anywhere in the world, and you can break into your I your your field with just this book. You don’t even have to by any of our programs or courses.

Terry Kim [00:43:38]:

So, that’s my gift, to anyone listening that wants to break into IT. Secondly, if you are having trouble sleeping, if you are having trouble with anxiety, depression, Wanting to find meaning and purpose in your life. Quite funny enough, I would recommend the Ohm mask. The Ohm mask, you can get Ohmsleep.co. And the reason I say get an Ohm mask, not only will it help you with your sleep, but this app, you’ll get lifetime access to the Awaken app. And that’s the most important thing. For our early Kickstarter backers, we’re giving you lifetime access. This app will replace, like, Calm or Headspace that you might be already paying 100 of dollars for.

Terry Kim [00:44:18]:

But our app is designed from the ground up with beautiful soundscapes and binary beats and meditation and breathwork guides to help you Get to balance your mind, body, and spirit. So it’s really good for overall well-being. So that’s a plug in for Ohm Sleep and the Ohm mask. And, lastly, if you wanna experience breath work, I have a free virtual event. You can go to awaken with Om, o m. So awaken with o m dot come and register for the free virtual, breath work, session. Who knows what’s gonna happen in that? Because lot of magic happens in these containers.

Glenn Harper [00:44:53]:

Is the is Ohm mask o m then mask?

Terry Kim [00:44:56]:

Yes. Ohm Sleep. It’s the company is Ohmsleep.co.

Glenn Harper [00:45:00]:

Got it. Awesome. So here’s the takeaway today for everybody. This is,

Julie Smith [00:45:05]:

Well, I have lots more questions.

Glenn Harper [00:45:06]:

We got lots of questions. We’re running

Julie Smith [00:45:08]:

I know. We’ve got the time.

Glenn Harper [00:45:10]:

So I think the the crazy thing is as an entrepreneur, it’s lonely out there. You’re gonna have peaks and valleys. And no matter what you do, If you stay with it, you and and just be dedicated to whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, you don’t even know what that is until you try it. And as you try it and you’re curious, just like every other entrepreneur, excuse me, there’s there’s opportunity everywhere. You master what you’re gonna do. Excuse me. Then you gotta go to the next thing and then the next thing. And then that’s the question for Julie is

Julie Smith [00:45:42]:

Well, I have 2 questions. Okay. So The first one is, what is your superpower?

Terry Kim [00:45:52]:

I I would say my superpower is to

Julie Smith [00:45:59]:

I had my finger on it till you brought out the sleep mask and the the breath, and then I was like, well

Glenn Harper [00:46:04]:

It could be anything.

Julie Smith [00:46:05]:

Now everything’s back open.

Terry Kim [00:46:07]:

I I think my superpower is to inspire people, to to empower them. Right? And So I I truly believe that one of my gifts is that, once you’re in my field, I think I feel

Glenn Harper [00:46:20]:

like I I

Terry Kim [00:46:20]:

can really help you. I can really help you. I can I can inspire or empower or help you find purpose and meaning, through the different kind of modalities or tools That enabled me to always be curious, to always learn? And and so I have this, this philosophy in life called Kaizen. So the way of kaizen is what I’ve really anchored into, you know, My daily life. And the Kaizen principle comes from, a company called Toyota, in Japan, and it’s this concept of changing for good. So I use it for 2 things. 1, Kai means change. Zen means good.

Terry Kim [00:47:02]:

So change for good. But the whole concept of this Kaizen concept is about improving, 1% every day. So it’s it’s about getting better every day. That’s okay to fail every day, to learn from that. And if you grow 1% every day and you do that 300 65 days of the year, you’re gonna get a 37 x multiple. So you could improve 37 x In any area of your life, if you tackle it as a single concept of, I’m gonna just improve every day. I’m gonna do 1 push up. Next day, I’m gonna Two push ups, and I’m gonna continue to grow 1% every day.

Terry Kim [00:47:41]:

And that’s the power of compounding interest versus, looking for overnight success.

Julie Smith [00:47:47]:

Then I have 1 last question. And I wanna know, what is your end game?

Terry Kim [00:47:57]:

My endgame. Interesting question. So I think I think the way I kind of look at that is just being being Comfortable that that I’m on a path of reaching my full potential. So my endgame is to make sure that I can reach my full potential to serve humanity and to serve the world in a way that makes a a lasting impact. And and that that would be the end game is if I can truly impact the world, with my products or services that I brought into the world to make make the world better.

Glenn Harper [00:48:41]:

And I think that probably means you’re gonna never gonna stop doing that because you’re good at it. You like it, and it seems to work. So the endgame is there is no endgame. You’re gonna just keep going.

Julie Smith [00:48:52]:

It was a trick question.

Glenn Harper [00:48:53]:

Trick question. Oh, Terry, you’ve been a pleasure having on this. This this has been a, think it’s a great podcast. Lots of nuggets. I hope you enjoyed your time with us, and we look forward to seeing you in the future because, like, I’m gonna get in and go buy a bunch of stuff after this so, again, appreciate you being on the show. Another edition of Empowering Entrepreneurs. I’m Glenn Harper.

Julie Smith [00:49:16]:

Julie It’s my thanks. Thanks.

Julie Smith [00:49:22]:

You definitely have had a journey that.

Episode Show Notes

In this episode, we are honored to have Terry Kim, the founder of NexGenT Academy and a serial entrepreneur, sharing his journey from the military to breaking into the IT industry without a college degree.

Terry’s commitment to empowering the next generation of IT professionals is truly inspiring. We’ll delve into his entrepreneurial endeavors, his passion for holistic healing and sleep optimization, and how he’s forging new paths in the tech field.

This episode offers an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable entrepreneurial wisdom and take a glimpse into the future of IT education.

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