Week in Review: ‘How’s business?’

  • Common question that entrepreneurs get asked miss the point
  • Reflective of mindset in Asia – but you don’t have to accept it

Week in Review: ‘How’s business?’“HOW’S business?” That’s a common question I get asked regularly, the most recent being on Wednesday.
For a long time it disturbed me because the question puts the sole focus of the questioner on the financial aspect of Digital News Asia (DNA) – not on the motivation for setting it up, or the vision that the team is aiming for, or even about the actual product.
But I was beginning to train myself to get used to that question. I was accepting that this is just how Asian entrepreneurs think – the business has to be making money (sooner better than later) or why bother with it.
Who cares about vision? Why bother with filling a gap in the market, even though it may not be very profitable?

But now I have decided this is a question which I refuse to get used to. That I will now answer the question by talking about the reason DNA was launched and what we are aiming for in South-East Asia.
So, what triggered this?
I was listening to Mindvalley founder Vishen Lakhiani talk about how he was going about building a work culture that would, by 2020, help him achieve the target of being the world’s best place to work. And he was going to do it in Kuala Lumpur.
Vishen was invited to present the keynote at the Sweden-Malaysian Innovation Dinner on Sept 19. To put it simply, he just refused to accept that he could not build a world-class company out of Malaysia, despite the fact that Malaysia was regularly losing some of its best people to emigration every year.
I actually know Vishen’s story, but somehow the way he presented it that night just made that small voice in the back of my head remind me that I do not need to accept something just because that is the prevailing culture or mindset.
So the next time someone asks me “How’s business?” they are going to get a dose of passion from me because when I start talking about why DNA was born and what we hope to do, it comes from deep inside me. Talking about ‘the business’ just comes from my head.
Earlier on the same day, I moderated the DNA-TeAM Disrupt session where the topic was ‘Hacker secrets from the Valley.’
Unfortunately, no secrets were revealed, although Ngeow Wu Han – chief designer at Mindvalley and founder of WebCamp KL – did show off his sexy legs to the world, becoming the first Disrupt panellist to appear in shorts!

But check out Asohan’s insightful article on the key points highlighted.
I was earlier inspired on Wednesday the 18th when speaking to the Macrokiosk founders. Brothers Kenny, Goh and CS Goh visited Silicon Valley early this year and dropped by Google, Facebook and Apple.
Incredibly, they came away not in awe, but thinking, “We can build our company up to match these guys too!”
I will share the highlights of that inspiring chat with you next week. Look out for it.
Let me end by encouraging you to read the press release Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) issued earlier this week on the progress Digital Malaysia has made in the one year it has been launched.
While there may not be much excitement among tech entrepreneurs over Digital Malaysia, make no mistake, this is a key initiative which will have a deep impact on the lives of all Malaysians and on the future competitiveness of the country.
Follow the initiative closely and play your part where you can, and push for more progress to be achieved.
Have a good weekend and stay passionate!
Editor’s Picks:
Mobile advertising growing, needs new approaches: Google
Pouring cold water on the startup Kool-Aid
Century of the photon, and bridging gaps via startups
Digital Malaysia: First Year Report Card
Disrupt on tech startups: It’s about people, people
This ‘bus’ is worth catching
If it wants to, Apple can read your iMessages: Quarkslab
Previous Instalments:
Week in Review: There’s so much more to hackathons
Week in Review: We are hustling all the time
Week in Review: The pain they go through …
Week in Review: Is listing the end or the beginning?
Week in Review: It’s ALL about execution
Week in Review: What’s driving Syed Mokhtar’s telco interest?

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