Category Archives: Audio Interviews

Audio Interviews

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

 

EIA 029 WordPress to Improve Business; The Mobile Friendly Website

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures; a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and non-profits.

This is a follow on from the previous podcasts where we discuss how small business owners can develop their websites in order to improve their business. In this episode Mark takes a look at the making a website mobile friendly and helps us to understand better some of key features and terms that newbies should be aware of.

  • What is a mobile friendly website
  • Does my website need to be mobile friendly
  • What are the advantages apart from the look of your website
  • Your current website and what is needed to make it mobile friendly
  • Making an old website mobile friendly using current content
  • Optimising content for a mobile friendly website
  • Popups are annoying even on a desktop
  • The hamburger or three horizontal lines stripes
  • The effect of social media and share buttons
  • The differences for mobile friendly SEO
  • Business advantages of having a mobile friendly website

Links

google mobile friendly test

EIA 028 Pastor Trained Music Teacher Trying F&B

IMG_7091
Daryl Saw

Daryl Saw is the CEO of the Stewords Riverboat a food and beverage facility that caters for 100 diners as well as having a bar for 150, which is located at the Marina South Pier in Singapore.

 

“A large portion of the young people want to start their own cafes… but they are not aware of the sustainability and the amount of hours of hard work that goes into it.”

During the conversation he touches on the following:

  • His introduction to F&B without having a formal education
  • Surprising legal requirements for boats and cooking in Singapore
  • His own personal touch for building his network
  • Social networks, Instagram vs Facebook
  • Wine tasting qualifications, corporate, birthday and running events and eating as much as you can
  • The limit reached as a young F&B CEO and the work and the sacrifice required
  • Look ahead into the future for business
  • His understanding of the pros and cons of the restaurants location and its special features
  • The gamble his father took when the family bought the business
  • Knowing his limit and a warning to others that wish to follow him

 

 

EIA 027 WordPress to Improve Business; The Theme

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures; a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and nonprofits.

This is a follow on from the previous two podcasts where we discuss how small business owners can develop their websites in order to improve their business. In this episode Mark takes a look at the WordPress theme, and helps me to understand better some of key features and terms that newbies should be aware of.

  • How is a theme created
  • How to select a theme
  • Security issues around a theme
  • The advantages and disadvantages or free verses paid for themes
  • Factors to consider when selecting a theme
  • How easy is it to change a theme
  • HTML, CSS and coding
  • As a business develops what can be done with WordPress
  • How long does it take to become a developer
  • The visible and hidden things that slow down a website and how they are found
  • Selecting a developer to work with you on your theme, the questions to ask and what the developer should ask you

And finally: if you have any questions you’d like Mark to answer send them to comments and suggestion.

EIA 026 WordPress to Improve Business; The Dashboard

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures; a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and nonprofits.

This is a follow on from the last podcasts where we began taking a look at how small business owners could develop their websites in order to improve their business. In this episode Mark takes a look at the WordPress dashboard of my own website; asiabizstories.com, and helps me to understand better some of key features and terms that newbies should be aware of.

In this episode we look at:

  • The purpose of the dashboard
  • Post, Widgets and Plugins
  • How a business can use a website to improve business.
  • The standard options, posts
  • Organising by categories and tags
  • WordPress’s management of Media images, hot linking and image size
  • The difference between Pages, Post and meta data
  • The required basic Plugins and updating
  • Free, Premium and Paid for Themes balancing features and speed
  • Import security changes that should be made
  • Tools selection
  • Domains and sub domains to create more websites
  • Basics settings to improve your websites speed
  • The best option for the address bar

And finally: if you have any questions you’d like Mark to answer send them to comments and suggestion.

EIA 025 Introduction to WordPress to Improve Business

Mark Linkedin
Mark Kay

Mark Kay is the CEO and Founder of MJ Creative Ventures, a company that specialises in providing mobile friendly, SEO optimised websites for Small Business owners and nonprofits.

This is the first in a series of podcasts to help small business owners improve their websites in order

  • Reason why a business have a website.
  • Advantages of having a webpage over a Facebook page and Linkedin page
  • Solutions for a business with zero budget.
  • The suitability for WordPress as a solution
  • Skill level for a professional looking page from 0 to 100%
  • The next step to improve the website to develop the business
  •  What is SEO and how to improve your Google ranking?
  • The three big mistakes made by novices, images, widgets and cheap hosting account.
  • Where to start as a business.

And finally: if you have any questions you’d like Mark to answer send them to the comments and suggestion.

 

 

 

EIA 024 Pawn Makes Sustainability Fashionable

Jane-Jia-Jia-Wenting-Portrait 0
Jane Jia, Jia Wenting

Jane Jia, AKA Jia Wenting is the founder of Pawnstar, Shanghai. As sustainability, recycling and upcycling become more main-stream Jane positions herself as a pioneer in the changes that are taking place in China by breaking the negative traditional view of second hand clothing and goods in the Middle Kingdom. Passing through the Pawnstar consignment store are great quality high-end fashion items at vastly discounted prices.

In this conversation Jane helps me to understand the world of the high-end fashion consignment.

Jane tells us how as a girl she would ask other girls for their unwanted clothes and carry plastic bags with her to avoid waste. Her constant laughter is an expression of how much she enjoys what she is doing as she tells her story

“When I was a kid I hated plastics so much, when polyester became very popular in China I just couldn’t bear it”

  • Her background in software design and energy management for government departments and starting a company at the age of 26.
  • Her career switch to recycling and sustainability lifestyle based on her childhood and work experience.
  • A look behind the scene at the running of the Pawnstar consignment shop, which is follows on the examples of similar shops found New York’s Manhattan Island and Central London’s Camden.
  • How to use the technology platforms, WeChat and TaoBao, available in China as business tools to connect with your customers.
  • The issue of fake goods being sold online and quality control.
  • The Monday Carnival free give-away that creates positive online revenues
  • The reaction of her family, friends, peers and other people feel about what she does.
  • How she sees the future of the recycling, upcycling industry in China.
  • The range of items varies from unusual prints to high-end fashion.
  • As well as advice to those that wish to follow in her footsteps.

Links


Pawnstar on Stylites”

 

EIA 023 Click to Engage Your Audience

Nick Moritz
Nick Moritz

Nick Moritz is the founder Wolfpack Response Limited, Shanghai (上海狼群信息技术有限公司). He is an entrepreneur from Detroit Michigan, United States and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in communication. After graduating he moved to Chicago for a couple of years where he worked as an IT salesman for CDW a large third-party reseller of IT equipment. There he learned about supplying enterprise equipment for IT infrastructure. Significantly, since he was a child he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. At nine years old he had a paper round and worked throughout high school and university.

He first came to China in 2010 during the depths of the financial crisis in the United States to work as a teacher,

His drive to search for ways to improve his students’ education and his failure to convince his bosses of the benefits of his idea led him to getting involved in the start-up community in Shanghai. After entering a start-up weekend in July 2014 with a version of his tool and a business proposal and then winning second place he quit his job and founded WolfPack Response Limited, Shanghai.

He has ensured that his business is built on a solid base by involving a well know mentor Dean Merritt who led him through the WFOE registration process and other important business building processes in China, which also secures his Chinese visa as a business founder and helps him to be fully focused on driving his business forward.

The challenge of finding the correct message that can convince people that the service he offers is one that can enhance an audience experience. His biggest regret is that he didn’t buy fifty clickers and get them into peoples hands so they could test them out earlier and see how audience engagement is improved. He has secured partnerships with a Chinese manufacture called SunVote after being turned down by US companies that didn’t see the benefits of entering the Chinese market.

Also discussed:

  • The value of the experience learned by being a teacher
  • Communication and being concise with language
  • Participating in the start-up community and its events with your idea to get feedback on its feasibility
  • Obtaining a mentor, its importance and ensuring that you are taken seriously
  • Being well informed by reading from various sources
  • Understanding what the challenges are that the business face and overcome them
  • Knowing what your core business is and explaining how it benefits its target customers
  • Applying correct and legal practices to enable a focus on building the business
  • Seeking out the right strategic partner to create mutual benefit through barter exchange
  • Creating your own videos using freely available software applications
  • Using the benefit working with you brings to others as a negotiation tactics
  • Knowing your character and how it relates to others and what you bring to any interactions

Links


Nick Moritz can be found by search on Linkedin