Neil, Steve, and Sophia prototyping their first products

The first draft of Steve Aoki and the Dim Mak

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
- Reid Hoffman

I can think of a ton of reasons to NOT show you the first draft of Steve Aoki and the Dim Mak:

  • The rhyme schemes don’t work
  • There are typos all over the place
  • The illustrations are incomplete
  • The story doesn’t have a satisfying resolution
  • I’m afraid you’ll hate it…

It’s easy to tell the world about an idea, but when it comes time to reveal the naked details, it exposes a side that is fragile and insecure.

But we’ve decided to show you our first draft because my 10 years of startup experience has taught me to get feedback early and to get it often.

If you’re reading this, then I ask you for one thing: your brutal honesty. If you hate it, then tell us why you hate it; if you like it, then tell us what we can do to get you to LOVE it.

Sugarcoating your feedback won’t help us — only your brutal honesty will.

Without further ado, here is the first draft of Steve Aoki and the Dim Mak.


There once was a kid named Steve Aoki, who loved to eat lots of tuna poké. Steve played video games, sports, the cube of rubik, but most of all he had a love for music.
Growing up, be yourself was the only rule, but things changed once Steve went to school.
He tried football, soccer, and basketball too
Until he found a home with the badminton crew
During a badminton tournament Steve was playing his best. His opponents got jealous and retaliated to show their detest.
Hey Steve! You know no one likes you, this was all just pretend. You look and talk weird and no one wants to be your friend.
Steve couldn’t believe it, the words hurt inside his chest. He expected his friends to stand up in protest. But everyone stayed quiet, no one said a word. Steve felt truly abandoned and alone in this world.
Steve ran home as fast as he could, jumping over rocks, fences, and pieces of wood.
He slammed the door shut and cried tears he couldn’t contain and vowed to never let this happen to him again.
The next day Steve woke up to a hot cup of tea and turned on the TV to watch Dim Mak with Bruce Lee. “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
On his walk toward school Steve thought about what Bruce Lee said, to live for yourself and not be misled. When all of a sudden out of the corner of his eye, he saw the kids that teased him and made him cry.
Steve got angry for revenge, to put these guys in their place, but before he could take action, a flyer hit him in the face.
Come one, come all! Sing, dance, or play the banjo! It’s your opportunity to shine like a star at this year’s talent show! すごい (sue-go-ee) Steve cheered with a courageous grin. This was his chance to show everyone that he really does fit in.
At home, Steve tried to discover his hidden talent. He tried to draw, do magic, juggle, and even explored miming while staying silent.
The next day Steve persisted and juggled water balloons while listening to music and singing some tunes. A girl happened to walk by and casually said, “You got a nice voice Steve” and patted him on the head.
Her words of encouragement were quite therapeutic and for the first time, Steve sat back, took a deep breath, and truly listened to the music. A faint light appeared with colors and waves that were unrecognizable. Steve felt calm and creative with a potential for talent that was undeniable.
Steve rushed to his garage to experiment as a musician. He played the guitar, the bass, the drums, and the vocals on a mission to win the talent show competition. With each strum and each key his creative juices began to flow. The creative artist was inside of him, he just needed to learn to let it go.
On the day of the talent show Steve was super nervous. What if his peers hated his music and boo him on purpose.
“Hey Steve you’re up!” called the talent show coordinator. As Steve walked to the stage the crowd grew silent in the big amphitheater.
Steve was about to start playing when he heard the bully make a sly remark, “I bet his music is as lame as he looks”, the bully said with an incredulous bark. Steve desperately looked for an exit across the vast crowd, when in walked his mother, beaming, smiling, and proud.
And that’s when he realized, all this time he thought was was alone, when his mother has always been with him with a loving place called home.
Steve took a long deep breath and thought of Bruce Lee one more time, “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine. Music. Color. Feeling. Rhyme. Steve discovered his passion in life and what he wants to do for the rest of time.
With his song ended, Steve opened his eyes to face the crowd and to his surprise they erupted with a cheer incredibly loud.
Steve surfed through the crowd for a moment that felt too brief. He ran to his mom for a big hug and a sigh of relief.
“I’m sorry you didn’t win Steve-chan, I know how much this meant to you”. But Steve held his head high with a grand big smile too. “That’s ok mom, I didn’t do it for the prize or for anyone else. I did it to share my music and creatively express myself.”

Thank you very much for your feedback. We truly value it.


If you would like to support us, then you can help us in two ways:

  1. Follow this publication on Medium, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when our story publishes
  2. If you know Steve Aoki, then we’d really appreciate an intro

Dream on!