What’s Next 2016: The third digital disruption wave is here

  • From brick-and-mortar to click-and-mortar
  • Every step taken has a learning curve
What’s Next 2016: The third digital disruption wave is here

WHILE many are still worried about startups disrupting incumbents, the third wave of digital disruption is already here, according to a panel discussion at the second annual What’s Next conference organised by Digital News Asia (DNA) in Kuala Lumpur today (July 28).
“The third wave is the transformation of brick-and-mortar to click-and-mortar,” declared Leslie Loh, managing director of Singapore-based seed stage venture fund Red Dot Ventures, referring to the trend also known as ‘bricks and clicks.’
Every step taken is a learning curve, said Loh, an entrepreneur-turned-investor, in a discussion titled What’s the Secret Sauce?, which was moderated by DNA founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Karamjit Singh.
The session included including the CEO of Malaysia’s national ICT custodian Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Yasmin Mahmood; and founder of maid on-demand services startup MaidEasy Azrul Rahim.
In discussing that so-called ‘secret sauce,’ Loh said that one trait was the ability to learn from your mistakes.
“I have learnt that an entrepreneur has to be an absolute keen learner because it’s the opportunity to learn that has given me the multi-disciplinary skills that I need to run my own business,” Loh said.
It is also necessary for an entrepreneur to be an innovator to stay ahead of the curve.
“As an individual, leadership skill was the biggest challenge I faced when growing a one-man startup into 500-person company,” said Loh.
“You have to be a person who can do everything. And till today, I believe I’m still learning,” he added.
MaidEasy’s Azrul concurred, saying that startups have to move out of their comfort zones to constantly grow and learn from mistakes.
“Startups that failed to go far are those which enjoyed being themselves too much,” he said, adding that speed and decisiveness are crucial when it comes to innovation.
Entrepreneurial spirit
Meanwhile, MDEC’s Yasmin suggested that failures should be told in the same tone as success stories.
“I’m inspired by the new skillsets required to be successful in the digital world. The mindset is so different compared with the past,” she said.
“To me, the entrepreneurial spirit is the secret sauce in building a successful business,” she added.
MDEC is the agency in charge of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project, which seeks to further develop the ICT sector in the country.
When it comes to attracting foreign and domestic companies to invest in Malaysia, the ‘secret sauce’ would be the ease of doing business and the country’s strategic location in South-East Asia, according to Yasmin.
Last year, we [MSC Malaysia] recorded the highest ICT investment amount, with investments into areas like the Internet of Things and big data analytics growing by five times,” she said.
“For instance, we have Belgium-based Materialise NV setting up a research and development centre here in Malaysia for 3D printing. It shows that we have good talents here.
“Without the talent pool, nothing is going to be effective [in attempts to create a digital economy],” she said, adding that the recent announcement of making coding part of the syllabus in national schools would also help address the ICT-related talent shortage.
Earlier What’s Next 2016 stories:
The generational clash, and sharing vs privacy
A digital strategy? You’re behind the times
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