Category Archives: Audio Interviews

Audio Interviews

EIA 041 Liming at the Lime House

Chris Morris is a Relationship manager & Entrepreneur his previous career roles have been with NHS Trusts and Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in the UK. This was before setting up a new life in Singapore where he initially supported his wife’s career before finding a role in Change Management and then as an independent consultant. Now, he splits his time between being a Regional Relationship manager and his real passion as an Entrepreneur with his restaurant the Lime House in the heart of Singapore.

“I took on the lease for Lime House I didn’t have a chef. So I actually took on the lease, because a lot of people think I am a restaurateur and I am not. I don’t cook at all. My wife is a very good cook not me. But I like to entertain and so I see myself very much as a founder anyway, so I took the lease on and I thought oh shit you know we’ve got to find a, we need to find a chef from somewhere. So actually got a plane flew to London, on the way to London I googled top Caribbean chefs in the UK. I landed I interviewed three of them, two of them thought I was just crazy Caribbean guy from Singapore and didn’t want to engage.”

During our conversation Chris reveals the motivations behind his founding of the Lime House, difficulties, career changes, family and his positive purposeful attitude he creates for the future.

As well as:

  • The only Caribbean establishment in Singapore
  • Arrived in Singapore as a trailing spouse in 2008
  • Background as Management consultant
  • Start of the job business transformation practice as a consultant for five years
  • The reason for the row
  • Then became a entrepreneur
  • Passion of the Caribbean led to him creating a Caribbean footprint in Singapore f or his children and the Caribbean diaspora
  • The opportunity for a positive Caribbean experience in Singapore
  • Its all about the food and ambience
  • The size of the ground floor restaurant, second floor bar and third floor event space.
  • The Trinidadian and Tobago meaning for the word “Lime” and its origins
  • A history and cultural lesson of rum and the largest rum collection in Singapore at 168
  • The journey of growing up in the Caribbean, moving to London and then to Singapore, Corporate to Cultural Entrepreneur
  • Specialism from IT to change programs in organisational culture in government agencies.
  • However mentor and locked his passion to mix food culture.
  • Overcoming opening a restaurant with no cooking skills.
  • The top Caribbean restaurant chef in London solving the cooking issue for a crazy Caribbean Guy
  • Using passion, belief and culture to achieve success
  • The years of pain to produce success
  • The dark lonely moments of being an entrepreneur and the don’t do it message from the naysayers,
  • Singaporean success Fridays and Saturdays full
  • Singaporeans creating authentic Caribbean food
  • Localised in the food.
  • The connection between the food in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia
  • The competitiveness of the Singaporean restaurant market, fine dining the failure then the chance meeting
  • Creating a grab and go experience in Singapore that failed and then moving it halfway around the world to London using the lessons learned in Singapore
  •  
  • Three minutes to walk out with a meal learned in Singapore.
  • A new fusion food experience.
  • The entrepreneurs need for the support of family but it helps when they eat the food
  • Creativity is in the family fashion design father, set designer sister, artist brother and the link to Central St. Martins
  • Chris’ excitement of changing perceptions of the Caribbean diaspora
  • The most difficult task for the entrepreneur is always dealing with failure
  • The painful road of luck
  • When did you realise you have to close
  • How an entrepreneur knows when to stop
  • Being comfortable talking about failure and playing it safe and the role exposure plays to opportunity, capital and expertise through mentors
  • Caribbean business groups in the UK and the importance of mentorship both Singapore and London.
  • The location of home Singapore or London
  • Finally making time for relaxation

Links

[email protected]

EIA 040 User Experience: It’s More than Just Looks

Wilson Chew
Wilson Chew

Wilson Chew is a User Experience designer with a varied background that revolves around the power of the story. He is also a Co-Founder and Content Strategist of REASSEMBLE, a start-up, which came into existence in March 2018. In previous roles Wilson has worked as a digital marketer and charity fundraising coordinator, Where he made use of stories to influence and change behaviours of the target audience.

Now he approaches stories from a different angle when helping entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop their user application interfaces. He believes every user has a story, built from their needs, frustrations, behaviours and ways of thinking. His job is to create digital designs that cater to users’ stories and resonate with them.

“I think that when people hear that we’re a user experience design agency They think we’re just there to, again we’re just there to make things look really nice. Which we can do, but then we tell them that we’re not hear to make things look nice…”

During our conversation Wilson reveals the fundamentals of User Experience Design, its purpose and the benefits it brings when carried out correctly.

So now without further delay

As well as:

  • Explaining the role a user experience designer plays is the development of a product
  • The architects of the computer interface
  • From nice to
  • The role Don Norman plays in the UX design world
  • The movie app as a case study, film and snacks
  • The role that “User Needs” play in the design
  • Don Norman and the door knob, link to the digital and physical world and the Hawaiian missile alert
  • Where UX Design is managed well and considered normal and where knowledge and enthusiasm fail due to the drive to make things pretty and nice.
  • The difficulties to be overcome to get UX Design to be accepted by entrepreneurs.
  • The percentage of work that can be saved by coders
  • The difference is rising costs to errors in the design, coding and post launch phases
  • How to reduce 75% disappointment for app purchasers
  • Should you release a minimum viable product and the pushback it is receiving?
  • Degree in international relations to Digital marketing in London to an Anti-slavery charity then back to singapore with a Children’s Charity.
  • From marketing to user research and finally UX Design
  • Teaching
  • Is coding ability necessary and is it an advantage or disadvantage in UX design
  • The biggest challenge in UX design and persuasion
  • The research that goes into the construction of the wire frame.
  • The role that Contextual Enquire, User Interviews, Usability Testing play
  • Off the peg apps and solutions leading to how do we know that it is good
  • The benefits of Quantitive data and UX Design which is looking at the Why.
  • How to UX design can help reduce the bounce rate for peg apps and Template Shops such as Shopify

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilsonhjchew/

Reassemble

EIA 039 Comfortable, Affordable and Eco-Friendly Electric Vehicles

Christie Fernandez
Christie Fernandez

Christie Fernandez is an Entrepreneur on a mission to create a positive impact in clean transportation & energy in the emerging markets of the ASEAN region, Indian subcontinent, Africa & South America. Christie is the Founder of  Sooorya EV, which is headquartered in Singapore and is focused on providing affordable, comfortable & eco-friendly transportation. What’s unique is that Sooorya is redefining how automobiles are designed, manufactured and sold, with a strong focus on sustainability, profitability and societal impact.

At first Christie tried this with his idea.

“It’s kind of stuck with me. I tried giving it away but it didn’t happen”

During our conversation, Christie reveals his motivations behind the idea of creating his startup, his vision of how it can help farmers in rural communities by harvesting solar energy, and how he tried to give it away.

As well as:

  • The goal of last mile connectivity
  • Affordable, comfortable and eco friendly transportation
  • The regions of the world where this technology is needed.
  • How the countryside can produce a sustainable source of electrical energy using swappable batteries
  • Energy production as a handicraft opportunity for farmers to earn additional income.
  • The contrast with the big automobile manufactures that focus on speed, range and fast charging and the need in rural communities for low cost affordable transportation
  • The business model mix of large and small.
  • The
  • The uniqueness of his idea and what is required for the cost to come down.
  • Incorporating the IKEA business model
  • Frugal Engineering and how the
  • Incorporating the Apple manufacturing business model and transferring ideas from the mobile phone industry
  • Changing the car industry
  • Moving around the Asian Region and the reason for choosing Singapore a a base for operation and HQ
  • Legal protection and holding on to your IP.
  • personal impression of Singapore
  • The timetable to production of an affordable car launch and location
  • His background in IT, Marketing and the factors that encouraged the switch to the auto industry
  • The influence conversations with colleagues from the farming communities of India and he can help to expand the take-up of electric cars and his vision of the future.
  • His reluctance to be seen as the Elon Musk of the affordable electric car

 


 Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christiefernandez/

 

EIA 038 Connect Over Coffee to Develop Your Business

Gary Guwe
Gary Guwe

Gary Guwe is one of the cofounders of the Business Development Society of Singapore. In the previous podcast, EIA 037, I had conversations his fellow cofounder Gunes Altungunes, and a couple of attendees. At the time Gary Guwe was out of the country and Gunes suggested that I return at a later event and speak with Gary.

However, in this cast Gary and I don’t actually converse but we have a brief Fly-on-wall experience of the event organised by Gary and Gunes and titled Connections Over Coffee – Monthly Casual Networking, which is held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month .

Gary plays a key role by running the event in a relaxed manner, encourages entrepreneurs to give a two minute introduction of themselves and the company they represent and gives his own advice.

After Gary opens we move on to Joshua Chua (an experienced Sales Excellence Coach), Hussain Sayeed (In the third week of his startup), Arthi Ramakrishnan, (a recent arrival to Singapore from India) and finally, he ropes me in unexpectedly to present myself and the fact that I’m volunteering my services by recording the event.

Also mentioned

Gary Guwe

  • The Chinese New Year celebration
  • The mission of BDS and its role in building business relationships.
  • The BDS origins in 2015 and its current number of members
  • The reasons behind the sharing sessions and the link to Free Publicity
  • How Gary Guwe turned himself from an introverted and shy business person to a headhunted target and the co-founder of the BDS.
  • What’s on offer from the BDS to SME’s

Joshua Chua

  • His promise for your jump in sales
  • The free 90 minute consultation with tweaks
  • Back to Gary and advice for speakers to share their origin stories

Hussain Sayeed

  • His origin story with BT and HP
  • Reasons for attending the BDS meetup
  • The promise of a safe pair of technology hands in his third week as an entrepreneur
  • Cisco, the Cloud are not always the answer for SMEs
  • Back to Gary and more advice

Arthi Ramakrishnan

  • An Indian Corporate Solution provider
  • Skills Development in Information Technology, Telecommunication and Soft-Skills
  • The company origin story
  • Arthi’s time in Singapore

Back to Gary and more advice

Neville J. McKenzie

  • The importance of getting your message across
  • How can AsiaBizStories help you
  • Self help advice with public speaking with everyone has one of these

Finally back to Gary with some love to me.

 

EIA 037 Entrepreneur Events: The Organiser, The Experienced and The Newbie

Gunes Altungunes, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih
Güneş AltunGüneş, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih (L-R top to bottom)

 Güneş AltunGüneş, Chris Dawson and Norrapat Shih are three attendees that attended a recent event in Singapore. Güneş AltunGüneş is a Director of Marketing, Chris Dawson is a Director of Business Development and Norrapat Shih is a Research Fellow at National University of Singapore. The event was organised by the Business Development Society of Singapore.

The first conversation is with Güneş AltunGüneş, who is a cofounder and organising member of the Business Development Society of Singapore reveals about herself and some of the background and motivations behind the Business Development Society organising an event called OTOT.

“So whatever comes in its goes back to the marketing, operations and so it’s like a circle we’re trying to build like a self-sustaining community.”

In the second conversation Chris Dawson reveals something typical of many entrepreneurs that they work with multiple organisation. In his case Bam, who he represented at the event and Nimbus Design Consultants, a company he works with run by wife.

“She’s the brains, she’s the designer, she knows where she wants the company to go.”

Third and final conversation Norrapat Shih reveals his background as a research scientist at the National University of Singapore and the route he is taking to become an entrepreneur in the field of medical science

“So basically a lot of people in my lab we catch snakes different venomous animals, ticks leeches”

This entrepreneur event like many is attended by individuals with varied backgrounds and experiences. So now without further delay let’s begin.

As well as:

Güneş

  • Why the business development society call the events OTOT.
  • Other entrepreneur events such as connections of coffee, COC.
  • Reasons for choosing Singapore.
  • Organisation structure of the business development society.
  • Profit or non-profit organisation.
  • The reason for creating the business development society.
  • Why the founder whose idea what’s to create the business development society, isn’t present.

Chris

  • The reason why Chris left his native USA for Singapore.
  • His role in the company and the service it provides.
  • Reasons for attending the event.
  • His office location in a co-working space.
  • Platforms and different types of events organisers

Norrapat

  • Commercial drug research from venomous animals in Singapore.
  • Moving from research to a start-up in the pharmaceutical Industry.
  • How his research could help heart-attack patients going through percutaneous coronary intervention.
  • The cost of creating a new pharmaceutical drug.
  • Venture capitalists fears.
  • Patent ownerships and licenses
  • The hope of grants from the Singapore government to create a start up.
  • Taking your specialist knowledge and finding app and software developers
  • The road from Thailand, Canada, a failed start-up and finally to Singapore.
  • The attitude of scientists to research and commercial Products.
  • How to teach yourself Chinese.

Podcast Updated 2018 01 26


Links

Güneş AltunGüneş on Linkedin

Chris Dawson on Linkedin

Norrapat Shih on Linkedin

Business Development Society Website

Bam Website

Nimbus Website

 

EIA 036 Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller Part II

FocusDigit Team
FocusDigit Team

Shubham Barat, Anushka Singh, Anchal Gupta and Vipul Srivastava are four of the staff members that work with Abhinav Sharma the CEO and Tanisha Chawla the COO, of the startup FocusDigit. An eCommerce platform that provides sellers with end-to-end solution to reach their customers online across multiple channels. In the previous podcast “Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller” (EIA 035) Abhinav and Tanisha discussed FocusDigit and if you haven’t listed we suggest you do. All six live and work in Dehli, India and represent the growing number of entrepreneurs that are building companies successfully out of India to challenge on the world stage.

During the first part of this podcast we get insights from Shubham, Anoshka, Anchal and Vipul four members of the execution team. In the second part we continue where we left off in EIA 035 with Abhinav and Tanisha revealing more of what is driving their success. Following on from Tannish’s the revelation that Abhinav’s kept and from who in the first 6 months, in EIA 035, Abhinav reveals Tanisha’s secret passion, which she is finding difficult to indulge in due to her commitment to the startup.

“Adding to her persona she plays…”

The dynamic and humorous relationship between Abhinav and Tanisha is still apparent.

As well as:

  • Shubham Barat, Anushka Singh, Anchal Gupta and Vipul Srivastava describe their roles and some of the task required in FocusDigit.
  • What employees look for in a company
  • Abhinav reveals another source of income.
  • International and local coworking spaces in Delhi.
  • Abhinav and Tanisha reveal weaknesses and what they do or plan to do about them.
  • Employee expectations from management
  • The competition, execution and the business environment and Blue Ocean.
  • FocusDigit’s approach to meetings with customers.
  • Advice to those following in the Startup arena.

Links

 Focus Digit Logo Website

Abhinav Sharma on Linkedin

Tanisha Chawla  on Linkedin

EIA 035 Supplier and Client Fighting for the Seller

Abhinav Sharma & Tanisha Chawla

 

Abhinav Sharma is the CEO and Tanisha Chawla is the COO, entrepreneurs of the startup FocusDigit. An eCommerce platform that provides sellers with end-to-end solution to reach their customers online across multiple channels. Abhinav and Tanisha live and work in Delhi, India and represent the growing number of entrepreneurs that are building companies successfully out of India to challenge on the world stage.

During the conversation Abhinav and Tanisha reveal what makes them a successful team, based on their knowledge and experience with a touch of humour. Tannish also reveals the secret that Abhinav’s kept and to who in the first 6 months of the company,

“Six months later he actually broke the news to her.”

In the podcast Abhinav reveals Tanisha’s secret passion, which she is finding difficult to indulge in due to her commitment to the startup. Abhinav and Tanisha also kindly allowed me to talk briefly to other members of the company, which is why the podcast is over two episodes (EIA 035 and EIA 036).

As well as:

  • Abhinav Describes his entrepreneurial journey that started when he was still a student to earn money.
  • His early failure because of his lack of maturity.
  • The start of his passion for retail industry.
  • Tanisha’s conventional educational path before breaking away and turning a hobby into a business and realising it was not what she wanted to do.
  • Her father’s entrepreneurial influence and working in the family business.
  • How supplier and client came together to help build the business.
  • What occurs on the bad days.
  • The source of the difficulties they face.
  • Spending zero on marketing and still grow the business.
  • Being operationally profitable in a year and a half.
  • Starting in a basement.
  • Where to recruit and what to look for and the key qualities in a startup employee.
  • An Indian’s approach to working internationally with colleagues.
  • The problems faced and working to the rules of my company.
  • The support of family, single mother’s influence, secrets, and an entrepreneur as a father role model.
  • The madness of being an entrepreneur and the shift from the old rat-race to the new.
  • As we are in India we have a cricket anecdote to discuss failure along with a Hindi saying for the road to profitability.
  • The entrepreneurial game of short-term gain vs sustainable long-term business.

Links

Focus Digit Logo Website

Abhinav Sharma on Linkedin

Tanisha Chawla  on Linkedin

EIA 034 Experience and Opportunity Creates the Training Solution

JC Sekar
JC Sekar

JC Sekar is a cofounder of the startup AcuiZen. A startup that is looking at simplifying training and empower a dynamic and dispersed workforce. JC as he is know has after a career that spans 3 decades in the corporate world decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur. This is based on the belief that a career interacting and working closely with customers across different sectors and geographies has enabled him develop the skills to uncover unstated pain points. To then create and conceptualise solutions and produce new service offerings.

During the conversation JC revels his thoughts and experiences as one member of a team of cofounders in a thoughtful and controlled manner. Find out in this episode some of what it takes to make the jump after thirty years from the corporate world to entrepreneur.

“I keep telling people that this is probably a startup which somebody out of college would not have come up with because it’s really a distillation of my experiences together with that of my cofounders”

“my company believed that it was pointless to go and waste your effort with so many small companies”.

As well as:

  • A career that spans several continents, industries, public and private sectors.
  • Gaining experience through changing rolls within a company and between companies
  • The conversation with a senior parliamentary secretary at the World Safety Congress in Germany that was the genesis for the startup
  • The different decisions that small and medium local businesses compared to large multinational businesses have to make when deciding who to serve.
  • Singapore’s businesses need to look to the world for their market after starting with the home market.
  • The relationship between protection, comfort; the talent from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and going international.
  • Where the opportunity lies for his startup with “Point of Need Learning”.
  • The cofounder structure and how developers are selected
  • Deciding the focus now is Singapore but what about India, the Middle East, China the USA and Europe?
  • Dealing with the cultural diversity of Singapore.
  • The weekend sacrifice his family has made.
  • The advantages of becoming an entrepreneur when he did.
  • Making money and when to look for outside money.
  • The process of the startup refining the product.

 


 Links

AcuiZen website

JC Sekar on Linkedin

EIA 033 We Launch in Three Hours!!!

Adeesh Agarwal

Adeesh Agarwal, is the founder of the startup dKreator, a furniture marketplace personalised to a buyers preferences. It applies data science to connect buyers ‘likes’ to a sellers products. Its aim is to get buyers to collaborate, discover products and social proofs, manage their budget and buy the product using its online platform. Adeesh has diverse experience in many roles and by following his path you can see how the dots connect architecture, real estate and healthcare, which lead to him becoming a consultant and then a Business Development Advisor, the final stepping stone into the perilous world of his own startup.

During the conversation Adeesh revels quite unexpectedly that things are not going to plan as a major disaster is taking place. His manner shows that the experience he has gained allows him to take it in his stride as he looks into the future to find solutions with a positive frame of mind. Find out in this episode how when bad things happen you should behave.

“All of that to get to where we were three hours prior to launch. To give it all away just because one person is off the grid. Doesn’t make sense to me. And honestly, I don’t have a Plan B.”

As well as:

  • The links between Architecture, Real estate, medical devices and finance come together to make and entrepreneur.
  • Looking back with fond memories at the secure company job with Medtronic.
  • The founder is full-time and everyone else is part-time.
  • Disaster strikes when you least expect.
  • Ask yourself, how would you handle the situation?
  • Challenges and building things makes you look past the temporary disaster with a positive look to the future.
  • Family support and where it leads
  • Insights into an online startup: how to measure success, knowing what you want to achieve and how to test the market.
  • Finally a mention that bigger startups have fallen.

Links

dKreator website

Adeesh Agarwal on Linkedin

EIA 032 The Challenge: the Entrepreneur Who Makes the Hotel Industry’s Environmental Sustainability Real

Muriel Boutin-Becuwe

Muriel Boutin-Becuwe, is a Co-founder of PAPAYAPATHS and Originator of the H3Rs Giveaways Program, a business focused on environmental sustainability and social impact. Muriel previously worked for Schlumberger in North and South America, Europe and Asia, learning a great deal in her various roles. Now an entrepreneur based in Singapore we spoke together a few weeks before the official launch of the PAPAYAPATHS web platform. During the conversation Muriel reveals part of her journey and what it takes to bring her vision to reality covering many aspects of the entrepreneurial journey, and to bring the vision into reality of enabling the Hotel industry meet the growing demand for sustainability by facilitating access to best in class pre-validated green solutions that can demonstrate positive returns to all stakeholders.

In this conversation Muriel reveals the determination and some of what has been overcome to make her vision a reality.

Muriel talks about the decisions she made to leave her native France for the US, being employed by a major MNC. How the dream to challenge herself to create a Business focused on environmental sustainability and social impact grew to the point in her life when she made it happen.

“If you work alone you’re doomed. You have to surround yourself. So surround yourself with the right people. Filter out the toxic people. Be patient and have faith, don’t give up.”

As well as

  • Graduating then looking forward and choosing to leave for the USA to be employed by Schlumberger
  • The mayhem of divorce, moving, death in the family and leaving your job for a startup occur at the same time
  • Beginning the dream with a cofounder with the same ideals
  • Carrying on when her cofounder had to step down
  • Making the decision to sell up, move house in order to save the business
  • How to include children in the important decisions that need to be made and spending time with them.
  • What the Angle that believes in you is willing to do to help you establish the business dream
  • What she learned from applying for government grants in Singapore compared to other countries
  • The role of interns partners and sweat equity
  • How to select and reject Hotels, NGOs and Do Good Organisations to join the H3R platform
  • Controlled grow and a hint of the future objectives
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people and removing toxic people from your life
  • What was learned working in the different cultural environments of North, South America, France and Asia and getting results
  • Who, where and how to spend time with do deal with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship
  • Reveal a possible cure for insomnia
  • Who and where inspiration comes and the result of coaching
  • How to get over screw-ups and the difference between a community and a network
  • Wishing and knowing that the clock can’t be wound back and what to do about wasted time in the future
  • Setting goals and measuring progress
  • Advice if anyone is thinking of creating a startup business

Links

PAPAYAPATHS website