Jing Cho Yang

CEO, Co-Founder


Hi, I'm Jing!

Joined 2012


I grew up in California, studied at Berkeley, traveled the world after college, arrived in Bali where I met my wife and co-founder, Wayana, and managed the entire country of Indonesia for Airbnb. We started a family and founded Bukit Vista with one of our first believers, Bayu. Our company started based on finding accommodations for adventurous travelers coming to visit our inspirational part of Bali, Uluwatu. Now, we’re building delightful apps, engaging data science to achieve revenue records, and leading innovation in hospitality in Indonesia.

I’m excited to bring together the innovation culture of Silicon Valley with the magic of Balinese hospitality. My mission is to inspire delight for all our guests, partners & employees. I think we can transform the world positively one experience at a time.

First Jobs

  • After a few months now living in Bali, I decided to see how long I could survive on this island. So, I went about looking for a job and found my first job at Karma Kandara, as a sales executive for luxury cliff-front properties.
  • The experience was exciting but the sales were very slow, and I wasn’t the best salesman, so I jumped at a new opportunity to work at Accor on vacation rentals in Nusa Dua.
  • The Accor job turned out to be something very different than I had expected, and I had mistakenly fallen into the world of timeshare.
My Career begins
  • I reached out to a great client I had met at my first job at Karma, and he recommended that I follow a small real estate agency in Jimbaran. This was a franchise of Exotiq, which was the largest property agency in Bali at the time, and I worked for three and a half years as a sales manager in South Bali.
  • This job advanced my expertise in the industry, where I met and befriended real estate developers, architects, interior designers, contractors, and engineers. The pay wasn’t great, but the commissions were fair, and over time, I found my rhythm.
  • A typical day would begin with opening the inbox, checking for new leads, and making appointments with prospects to pick them up at their hotels and bring them to inspect land, homes, and villas the next day.
  • Whenever a client was staying in a luxury property, my land scout, Made, and I would get excited – there was a higher chance we might make a sale for that day. Visits to budget hotels to pick up prospects didn’t result in many sales contracts.
Growth period
  • On the last year in my career as an agent, I met a client that would later become an inspirational mentor for me. We met by accident. I was taking inventory for a villa in Goa Gong that was preparing for a sale, and Ron, my future boss & mentor, was staying in the property as a guest of the owner. He was a Connecticut Yankee working in Tokyo and had an executive position at Lehman Brothers. We talked over the kitchen table, had a few beers and made arrangements to meet again.
  • Later Ron and I would work together to build one of the most luxurious resorts in Nusa Dua, the Aman Nusa Villas, a complex of ten super villas for the ultra wealthy of Asia. I got a front row seat to raising a hotel from the ground up, and peered into the rarified world of the powerful businessmen in Asia. Aman’s brand attracted a particularly refined type of clientele. As a reference, in my real estate day before, our agency was lucky to get three inspections a year for million-dollar and above properties. Ron found six buyer, for leasehold, million-dollar properties, in a matter of month.

First Bukit Vista

  • The lure of starting my own business arrived before I turned 30, so my wife and I set up our first business with the enthusiasm of two kids opening a lemonade stand. We set up a signboard on the side of Jalan Uluwatu, and declared an open house for Villa Casa Michael, which we had hoped to sell. But instead of getting a buyer, we found a nice Russian couple who decided to become our tenants and rented the property for three-plus years. My wife learned the Russian alphabet, I got to peek into the world of a young & beautiful Moscow couple and we expanded.

  • The next opportunity came one afternoon when a group of students in a taxi found my wife and asked her to rent a villa for three months. Not taking them seriously, but also very open-minded, Wayana brought the group to see some properties on the market for sale. Once they revealed their budgets, we found many willing owners to rent their villas now to student groups.

  • The business expanded and expanded, and we hosted amazing parties to promote our properties, culminating in over 20 properties and 2 hotels under a partnership with Bukit Vista.

  • Our ambition exceeded our reach and pretty soon we had invested heavily into promoting events, parties, and strayed from our core business. Although that ultimately bankrupted our business, the lasting legacy is that people now celebrate Halloween in Bali. We held the first Halloween party on the island on Oct 27, 2012.

Bankruptcy and the fall of Bukit Vista 2.0

  • After failing in business and losing almost $35,000 USD in two evenings, I scaled back my ambition and accepted that our previous business hosting students on study-abroad programs was over. The school closed and I was without a job or really any meaningful work, occasionally leaving the house to meet a guest checking into a small hotel in Uluwatu.
    We created a profile for the hotel on this new website, Airbnb, and started receiving inquiries and bookings. Not nearly as massive as the previous business, but the guests struck me as entirely unique.

  • My guests would read my biography and speak to me as if they had known me, I planned on simply checking them in, and seeing if they had any issues with WiFi or clean sheets, but many a times, we would sit the entire afternoon, enjoying the pool, the ocean views, and they would listen to my silly stories.

  • Even if the money wasn’t great, the thrill of meeting a new friend every afternoon at check-in time, 2pm, gave me motivation. And seeing myself personally mentioned in the reviews reinforced my commitment to deliver fun experiences for our guests.
    The experience was amazing, but the money wasn’t enough to support my wife and infant daughter, so I had to make the fateful decision of relocating back to California, and rejoin the corporate tech industry & rat race again.

  • I flew solo back, promising to return, but not knowing when, and moved back in to my dad’s home. Feeling like a total loser.

  • During this time, I applied for work, but reconnected with my college roommate, who was working in a small startup that had been acquired by Facebook. Sid told me that I should go to tech meetups, they were fun, there was free food, and it would be faster than applying online.

Moving back to San Francisco

  • This was in 2013, and each weekend, I busied myself with signing up for hackathons and meetups all week and took the very long commute via two buses and a train to reach San Francisco. I shook thousands of hands, made countless introductions and braced for a cold reception. I was terrified that strangers would find me despicable as a jobless 30-year-old living at home.

  • However, the reception was quite the opposite. Meetup attendees were curious, thought I was some sort of hero for escaping to Bali, and genuinely wanted to talk about tech, solving problems and finding users.

  • I reached out to Ron, my mentor from Aman, the boss whom I had quit in order to start my own business. I remembered his words of “live by the sword and die by the sword” when I revealed that I would leave Aman to start Bukit Vista. He happened to be in SF, with his new wife, and had been initially unwilling to take my invitation for lunch.

  • We had lunch, and I grew worried at the bill since Ron had chosen a seafood restaurant right by the bay, there was three of us, and since I had invited him – then I should pay.
    Ron asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and listened patiently while I stumbled upon this seemingly simple question. I said I wanted to become an engineer again and work at Google, Facebook, or Airbnb. He recoiled, laughed and said I wasn’t an engineer. I asked him what he thought I should do instead. He boldly stated, “Pick up the phone and call the CEO of the company you want to work for and they’ll respect you”

I wrote a post on Quora about What’s it like to “drop everything” and go to Europe/Asia/explore the world? Check it out here.

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