Working With Entrepreneurs

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Meet the individuals who are all out to make a difference in the world. Consisting of three teams, they came up with 3 value propositions to tackle issues observed within the furniture, fashion and baby business. They presented their ideas to some of us for feedback and validity. The best way to find out is to build the simplest form of the solution, launch it into the market place and test them as soon as possible. Sign customers on board and get solid stats before raising funds. Like any product, whether it is a dish, a book, an app or a painting - most importantly is to be consistent with its development and to push for completion, no matter what. The old saying - always finish what you started - only if you can help it.

Speaking with BFM 89.9

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The phone rang one afternoon, a lady with a sweet voice introduced herself as Christina Wong, and she asked me whether I was interested to talk about my books. I have gotten many interview request from entrepreneurs in the past but this time was a going to be a little bit different.

Christina Wong represents BFM 89.9, a radio station that I listened to whenever I am driving in my car. This station will give you the right mix of business, politics and other exciting topics that will enlighten you. Even their collection of music has a good mix to it.

I was there early as I was curious to find out where BFM 89.9 radio station is. Many interesting and smart people from all walks of life have been to the office for their interview sessions, and I thought that I could get a scoop of their presence while I am there.

The office space is like a startup, with staff dressing down in jeans and t-shirt. This place is not an up-tight pure business station like I thought. I saw a mother working with her kid next to her. The desks around her are stacked with papers and other interesting items.

I was invited to the pantry by Christina to discuss the interview sessions. There were packets of nasi lemak and coffee for free. A normality which I have seen so often in contemporary workspaces these days. Food and beverage is given.

Soon, I was heading towards the recording room.

The feel of the recording room was raw and real. The interior design was just bare with the necessary equipment for the interviewer and the interviewee to operate. I liked it like that. The culture of BFM stems from room like these. I was encouraged to speak freely and candidly as possible.

The whole interview took no longer than 20 minutes, and that was it. We had a photo session at the end near the famous BFM wall, where founders and leaders have stood. That was what I have come here to do - to stand amongst the great minds and achievers.

Picture courtesy of BFM 89.9

Ease Of Doing Business In Indonesia

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New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is an international business development agency, focusing on helping governments and businesses grow faster internationally. They recently brought together a group of companies to share their ideas and experiences around the digital strategies implemented by the New Zealand government. A move to make it easier for international businesses to setup up faster there. There is no doubt that New Zealand is ranked number 1 in the world by The World Bank for their ease of doing business. Most countries around the region would take weeks to register an international company locally, but in New Zealand, it will take only a day.

I was part of the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise delegation to share the changing trends and strategies of digital governments that are changing how citizens and businesses interact with their governments. For example, the Singapore government is quickly maturing from their digital strategies by introducing Smart Nation IoT to improve its service quality and responsiveness. New Zealand is also working on their digital identity capabilities like RealMe to make it easier for citizens to prove their identity online.

Besides the sharing session, design thinking workshops were organised for the governments of Jakarta and Bandung. Much of the challenges that they were working on were related to infrastructure needs like traffic congestion and internal operations. I have facilitated many design thinking workshops in the past, but this is the first time we were only given a day to run through the whole process from ideation to prototyping. We were up for the challenge and did it anyway.

Sharing Our Core Purpose At Datacom

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I was offered the opportunity to share my knowledge at Datacom around the idea that we all share the same general purpose in life, which I tend to address them as our core purpose.

The objective of the brown bag session was not to help everyone discover their personal purpose in life. That is for all of us to find out on our own. What I was suggesting is that we already have a common set of core purpose to live up to. We may have just forgotten them. Decide to do without them, our life may just take an unexpected turn towards a less memorable one.

If you want to find out more about our common core purpose, ask the special person deep inside you - What are the two things that you have to do every single day in order to make it a well-lived one? Or else, just ask me and I will tell you.

Settling In With My Second Book Launch

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My second book launch in a year. How is this possible? New and past supporters came this time around. Looking back, I am blessed to have all of them experience the moment together with me. It is always a pleasure to learn about their life stories as they openly relate them to the books and stories I wrote in the past. There is nothing more satisfying and uplifting to me than to connect with someone new at the heart and emotional level. Here are 3 steps as to how I am able to achieve this.

Be a great listener. There is a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth, and that is for us to listen twice as hard as we talk. In this world of distraction and noise, people want to be listened to when they are slowly opening up to us. It builds trust, respect and understanding in the relationship.

Be humble. Before you even decide to speak up and share your thoughts, remember to be humble before the person that you are speaking with. Exercise gratitude for what he has shared with you and the time he has given you in return. Remind yourself that the person has decided to open up to you by trusting you in the first place.

Speak from the heart. Be yourself because people can quickly pick out when you are pretending to be someone you are not. I like the way the French put it - wear your heart on your sleeves. Be honest. Failing to do so will eventually build distrust in a relationship.

An Unexpected Meeting With Prince Charles

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The meeting was highly private and confidential, with strict instructions to keep it 'hush' before the actual day. Richard was selected as one of the participants to meet with Prince Charles during his visit to Malaysia. The meeting was to be about the future of technology in Malaysia and how the startup ecosystem is changing the way Malaysians embraces entrepreneurship. He had the opportunity to share about what he felt the future was going to be with the rising demand for high-tech and how the intelligent systems of tomorrow will change the way we see the world. In return, Prince Charles honestly shared his faith in the reliable pencil and paper to store his ideas, in which he would not have to worry about hackers, identity theft and digital viruses.

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I still have faith in the reliable pencil and paper to store my ideas.”

- Prince Charles

Ideating With Sunway Malls

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Over the last 2 decades, people are spending more and more of their time in malls. Sunway Malls knows this very well. With new malls opening up every few months, the stiff competition is evident in the retail industry. This has since placed growing pressure on Sunway Malls to create more value for their visitors.

Richard was engaged to run an innovation challenge for Sunway Malls, to help their staff think of innovative ideas to create change and innovations for their customers. He was also instrumental in letting them know that that they are all in the position to create value for their company and their customers.

Richard's ability to help participants think empathetically about their customers was a key driver for the whole exercise, even before the ideation process starts. All ideas were validated at the end which indirectly helps the participants to overcome their messiah complex; a psychological bias that eludes us to think that our ideas are right and will always work.

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“Richard, thank you for what you taught us for the last two days.”

- Sarah Q