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Spreading the joy with Grammarly

In case you didn't know, I was once featured in this Grammarly Commercial Video.

To my surprise, it has 30 million views to this date.

I am not here to brag about it.

I like to share the story of how it came about and its impact on my life and others.


I am in a beautiful custom kitchen showroom with beautifully designed quartz surfaces.

A small group of 5 people is watching me about to move my Sashimi knife. The Yanagiba knife has a very thin 9" blade. It is referred to as a willow leaf knife.

A block of deep translucent red Tuna lies on the cutting board. I move my knife and make a 1.5cm cut of Tuna sashimi.

"Sashimi is the most difficult technique I am showing you today," I say.

Learning to make Tuna sashimi is deceiving. It involves slicing the fish with a knife. That's it. Your mind will say, "how hard can it be? Isn't it only slicing?"

Yes, it is only slicing with a knife. Then, yes, it can be hard to do it well.


I often compare it to writing. "Isn't it just putting some words together to form a sentence? Can't anyone do it?"

Those who tried to write something know writing well is more challenging than it sounds. Making Sashimi is the same. You only know how difficult it is to do it well after you do it.

After the class, one of the participants, Rene approaches me.

"Kaz, that was a great class," she says.

"Thank you."

"I work at Grammarly in the marketing department. We are planning to make some commercials for Grammarly. I read your profile and story. I think you will be a good person to be featured in one of our commercials. Would you be interested?"

"Yes, I'll be delighted," I reply without hesitation.

After many emails, questionnaires, and interviews with the marketing team, I am chosen to be featured for one of four commercials Grammarly is making.

"It will be a series called 'Write the future.' Each one will feature different Grammarly users to highlight how they use and what they have achieved," Rene explains to me.

Fast forward several months, and the commercial is released. I see mine on the Grammarly YouTube channel. The video looks great. I share the link with a few of my acquaintances and business partners and on social media. A few more months pass by.

Then bizarre things start to happen. Or, shall I say, unexpected things start to happen.

One by one, people come to me and ask the same question: "Hey, didn't I see you in a TV or commercial?"

These are people from all walks of life. The owner of the café, the manager at the condo and the clerk at the supermarket. One thing is common: I don't know them, and they know me.

A man walks up to me during the sushi catering we are serving.

"Hi. Is this you?" He is holding his mobile phone, showing me a screenshot of "me" in the video.

"Yes, that's me, "I reply quietly. I feel uneasy. I don't know why

It's a strange feeling. One part of me says it's nice to be recognized. The other introverted and shy part of me is saying, "Oh boy, it feels awkward."

This "Hey, I've seen you in a commercial" phenomenon has lasted for some time. Even now, six months after the video's release, people recognize me and ask that question.


(with Grammarly executive team, including CEO Brad Hoover)

It's been four years since the Grammarly video's release.

I find an email from Sara. The email tells me she is planning a team event for the Grammarly operations team.

"It's a small group of 7. They all like sushi and want to do a class with you," Sara says in her email.

"Great. I am happy to host the class because Grammarly holds a special place in my memory," I reply.

Then, I email her the Grammarly video link saying, "BTW, did you know about this video?"

"Wow!!! I had no idea!" she responds. It turns out Sara is new to the company. "This is for the executives, including the CEO. He says you are a 'Grammarly YouTube Star."

On the day of the class, I welcome the Grammarly executives. Like the last class I hosted for Grammarly, it's a small group. After making a few rolls, we are about to do Sashimi, just like the last time.

"This is the hardest technique we are showing you tonight," I say.

Just like the last time, I explain how difficult it is, despite how easy it looks.

Yet, there is one thing that is different this time. I am signing my book. A memoir, which I did not have the last time.

"I wrote this book using Grammarly," I tell the CEO and the executive team.

"The best part of being featured in the Grammarly video was not about me being 'internet famous.' It brought so much joy to my clients, friends, and business acquaintances. Everyone who saw the commercial was so glad to see me in the video. For that, I am grateful."


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