CEO Roundtable: Leadership in a Changing Global and Regional Financial Landscape at the 18th Malaysian Banking Summit. Thoughts from a Gen Y in the Corporate World during the CEO Rountable, summarised in 10 key points.
– Mr. Ashok Ramamurthy, Group Managing Director, AmBank Group
– Mr. Goh Peng Ooi, Chairman, Silverlake Axis Ltd
– Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, President, Malayan Banking Berhad
– Mr. Osman Morad, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad
– Mr. Sanjeev Nanavati, CEO Citibank Berhad
Moderated by: Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Director, ASLI & former CEO, Bank Buruh
1. 30 million in Malaysia is not enough; we need to grow beyond that. As an entrepreneur, look at scalability, can we go beyond our shores of 30 million to reach a potential of 600 million across the ASEAN region?
2. Productivity is the name of the game. Always measure and benchmark. Passion, drive and grit is key but ensuring that you and your employees are productive is essential via benchmarking and as Dory says it in finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming.. Just keep swimming..’
3. A banker has to be a good juggler, keep everything in balance. Margins are shrinking, there is a chase for liquidity and sticky deposits which is at odds with growth and shift of power with the rising middle class. Leaders need to balance this.
4. In a CEO’s role lining up priorities, there is a restorative role in credibility and reputation. We have to create a set of values to create a corporate identity, known to the community.
5. Bankers are not great innovators but we are not too bad at cloning things. Sometimes, a good idea there is a good idea here.
6. Banking used to be a lifetime job, Gen Y now believes in doing what you are passionate about. People now jump jobs for small amounts of increment, so do customers. How do we respond to this?
7. Banking is really a business of human interactions. In fact, majority of businesses consist of a series of human interactions. Knowing this, it is important to learn to delight, motivate and lead.. humans.
8. Leadership is contextual: what makes a good leader at one point in time and place doesn’t make him a good leader elsewhere.
9. Problems but opportunities: There is rising prosperity, pervasive technology; an acute shortness was of talent but greater opportunity for banks to separate themselves.
10. The story of the frog in boiling water – our business is being chipped away by technology, a slow erosion we need to address. Transaction is now instantaneous, instant gratification. It used to be via branches but now there are various touch points for customers.
In conclusion, banks need to understand how to unlock the value within the area in which they operate.
### Special Guest Post ###
Jason Lee is an International Graduate, Standard Chartered Bank graduate programme. As a Gen Y in corporate world, he believes that there is an abundance of opportunities to be entrepreneurial wherever we operate. Connect with him @jasonleecj on Twitter.
The general consensus amongst society is that being born disabled is an affliction often associated with unhappiness, failure, dependency on others and helplessness. These young entrepreneurs have proven otherwise, inspiring lives through adversities.
People often look at those with disabilities and think to themselves, what misery they must be in. But is that always true? Are those who are afflicted with physical disabilities really less capable than the rest of so-called “normal” society?
Measuring society’s attitude and opinion toward the disabled is no easy task as these opinions are based upon social norms, attitudes, as well as a complex mix of misconceptions and stereotypes.
A survey done by the UK government in 2009 shows that 38% of people who were surveyed see the disabled as less productive than non-disabled people while 35% of people felt that the disabled took more from the economy than they contributed.
Such opinions are largely derived from the belief that the disabled require extensive care and looking after. While there is some truth to this, disabled who need round the clock care are neither the exception nor the rule.
Fast Cars & Celebrated Automotive Trading Entrepreneur
Melvin Tong was one of the many 17 year old candidates about to take the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examinations when he started experiencing a sharp pain originating from the back of his knee.
“It started off with minor pain, like a sprain, and I guess you don’t really worry about it,” said Melvin, “By the time I actually went for my checkup in the hospital, I could already see a small lump the size of a peanut.”
It was later confirmed that Melvin had Fibrosarcoma.
Fibrosarcoma is a cancerous tumor that originates from connective tissue found at the ends of the bones of the arms or legs.
In the course of the next five weeks, 3 biopsies and several opinions from different oncologists later, the tumor grew to the size of a tennis ball and the decision to amputate was made.
By the time he was confronted with the decision, Melvin had grown weary of bouncing from doctor to doctor, the countless referrals and undergoing test after test. He willingly went under the knife in hopes that it would conclude the endless biopsies and regular visits to oncologists.
Melvin, 29 this year, has from then on devoted his life to his love of cars as well as his love of people, taking part in many philanthropic activities in his time including raising awareness for victims of child abuse. In 2010, he entered the Malaysian book of records as the first amputee to climb Mount Kinabalu.
He now owns Extreme Supercars, a thriving business importing, refurbishing, renting and selling luxury vehicles.
“My car business started back when I was 13 years old, shortly after I got my first computer, I made a website for the Need For Speed game,” said Melvin.
It was then that Melvin knew that he would never be able to work for anyone other than himself and made the decision to go into the luxury car business. Melvin says that it had never occurred to him to look for a job.
It was only a few years after college when he was introduced into the car industry, beginning his business selling smaller cars such as the Volkswagen Polo for small commission, comparing himself to a low-pay salesperson.
His business began by brokering the sale of foreign cars to local people, Melvin says that he began the business with no capital, slowly working his way up, building his business into what it is today.
“My disability didn’t stop me from taking my SPM or going to college, everyone knew who I was, but somehow, none of them became really close to me.”
He spoke of the barrier that existed between him and everyone else and said that sometimes it is easier for people to simply alienate someone like him.
The World Health Organization estimated that 10% of any population is disabled in some way. Translating this into Malaysian context, the number would come to 2.7million disabled people currently living in Malaysia.
In 2009, according to the social welfare department, the total number of disabled in Malaysia was 258, 918 with an average annual increase of 20,000 a year. These are only the ones who are registered.
Of that number, those who are capable of work amount to over 200,000, discounting those with cerebral palsy and those listed in the survey as “others”. A staggering amount of manpower.
Unfortunately, governments have not been able to take full advantage this and the disabled, along with their families, are often persecuted or looked upon as a burden to society.
A prime example of the contribution from disabled people is Zharif Affendi.
National Youth Icon and Beacon of Hope for Youths
Zharif is the proud owner of the Zharif initiative, a Malaysian creative communications company that specializes in corporate social relations consultancy. The company branches out into many fields including public relations and even having his own independent record label.
He also works for MTEM (Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Malaysia), an NGO which facilitates and assists in the empowerment of the Malaysian economy.
Zharif was born without arms, and when asked what the exactly the ailment was that caused his birth without upper limbs, he nonchalantly replied that he didn’t know.
“There’s probably a name for it but I never looked it up, I never bothered to know what the reason was.”
Zharif had never required any form of special care, attending run of the mill government schools growing up.
In fact, when he was young, his mother registered him in a primary school that had rejected his application because the headmaster felt that they did not possess the facilities to accommodate a person of his condition.
The day before registration, 6 year old Zharif waited outside the headmaster’s office, asked to meet with him, and when he did, he asked the headmaster’s name, he spelled it, writing on his notebook with only his feet.
Today, he holds a law degree, bachelors of Arts degree and a bachelor of psychology degree. Even being an avid sportsman, listing his hobbies as skateboarding, football, ultra thrill running, scuba diving and taking part in swimathons.
These are only two prime examples of what a disabled person can contribute to Malaysian society. Melvin Tong, owner of one of the most renowned luxury car distributors in Malaysia, and Zharif Affendi, who works toward the growth of Malaysian economy in MTEM.
They are the model of what the disabled community in Malaysia has the potential to be. Sadly most are underestimated and aren’t given the opportunity to contribute.
But things have been changing recently with newly introduced government policies.
The government hopes that providing vocational and academic training to the disabled will sufficiently encourage them to find jobs. Congruent to this, the government has allocated 1% of all public sector jobs to those who are disabled.
And in 2008, the Department Of Social Welfare gives an incentive to the disabled who earn a monthly income of less than RM1200, as well as grants that do not exceed RM2, 700 to aid the disabled in the launching of their own businesses.
Alas, some of these policies are poorly implemented or not properly enforced by government authorities and are altogether ignored or unbeknownst by most.
In the year 2000, it was estimated that the disabled contribute USD1.68 billion to the Malaysian Gross Domestic Import (GDP), while studies conducted to estimate the total global annual loss of excluding the disabled from the economy to be somewhere between USD1.37 to USD1.94trillion.
According to these statistics, it is not the lack of ability that holds back the capabilities of the disabled, but a vicious cycle of poverty, charity and excessive amounts of sympathy that result in their continued reliance on society.
The equalization of opportunities for the disabled to be on par with those who aren’t is crucial to the Malaysian economy and the overall quality of life of persons with disabilities.
Those who are disabled are not necessarily impeded, but it is the inaction of irresponsible parties that truly deprives them from the achievement of their true potential.
Gen-Y College Students Speak Out on Inspiration
1. Melinna Loone
2. Nazreen Zainurin
3. Pang Yat Haw
4. Daniel Ibanez Lau
5. Justin Wong Zhe Xuan
6. Vigneshan Kumar
Thoughts from Student Interviewers: We are extremely grateful that we’re able to complete and execute this project on time and up to the standards of our lecturer and also our employer. The hardest part of this project is probably the video part, it was difficult to brainstorm any creative ideas to be put into our video as a documentary video is meant to be serious and if anything that goes against that vibe or would disrupt that atmosphere will need to be thrown out of the window.
It was an inspiring experience to listen to both such amazingly positive stories. Before this, we’ve always had this sympathetic or pitiful feeling towards physically disabled community but after this project, we’ve realized that they are even more positive about life than some of us are. Their determination and spirit to thrive in life has indeed made us reflect on ourselves.
### Article Ends ###
Credit Note: INTI College Subang students from the School of Mass Communication undertook a project by Founder Method to interview successful yet challenged individuals in Malaysia, who have had a lasting impact in society through their business and work. This was a collective effort done by the students, coupled with industry mentors from INTI College Subang and from Founder Method in the implementation of this project.
BarCamp Penang- Malaysia’s best known Unconference.
As a follow up to last years successful Barcamp, BarCamp Penang organisers and its myriad of community volunteers has announced the much anticipated Unconference of the year — Barcamp Penang 2014. This year’s official theme is Entrepreneurship and will be held at INTI International College, on Saturday, 17th of May 2014.
An unconference, Barcamps are an international network of ad-hoc, user generated conference meetings where attendees determine what will be presented. Breaking free from the traditional conference mold, it is always an interesting and unique learning experience for all who attend.
While the desire to keep learning keeps heart of Barcamps around the world going – participation, community voting keeps blood pumping through its veins. The message wall with Post It Notes in which all participant-speakers put up their names and topics, allows anyone to speak.
Sharings becomes alive via voting on topics which may cover interesting experiences, discussions about new novel ways of doing things, localised ideas that people find relevant. The fun comes from the interactions that occurs from participants coming from different backgrounds and levels on an open platform – an aspect less underscored by traditional conferences.
“We are glad to be able to organise the casino 5th Barcamp here in my beloved hometown Penang. It is my hope that Barcamp will be able to bring startups together with traditional and new entrepreneurs and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs – one that is true to ourselves as Malaysians.” – Vivien Ooi, BarCamp Penang 2014 Chairperson.
This year, the iOS & Android apps are back to further act as social catalysts for participation and networking especially for those who are new and unfamiliar. A new addition to the app family this year is the Windows phone app. In the spirit of openness, the source codes are also open sourced and shared back to the community.
Barcamp participation is open to students, software developers, social media practitioners, small business owners, entrepreneurs, tech startups, journalists, hobbyists or anyone who is interested to share – all adhering to the Barcamp rules listed on the website. Realising some of the most well known Internet startups or it founders has its roots in Penang, the organisers have also invited several well known local & international entrepreneurs to participate to further catalyse sharing and discussions.
For more information about BARCAMP PENANG 2014, getting there, updates and rules, please visit www.barcamppenang.org . Registration is officially open.
Rue-Hann Lim, the Co-Founder of www.healthworks.my. She is on a mission to inspire fellow Malaysians to make better choices for their health and wellness.
Getting to know about The Start-Up
1. Tell us more about yourself – Who are you, what do you do, what are your qualifications (If any) and what have
made you into the successful entrepreneur that you are today?
I’m Rue and I love purposeful ideas, helping people to be better in life and also all things fun! I’m running a health start-up called HealthWorks.my. Our mission is to build the largest health community in Malaysia and inspire Malaysians to make better choices for their health, fitness & happiness. It will serve as Malaysia’s one-stop-health-hub for education, shopping and community.
I graduated with a first class honors in Nutrition & Community Health degree. Worked at a health-communication company and took on projects from global brands. I then spent 3 years kick-starting Groupon Malaysia’s Operations team and was part of the leadership team.
As we are fairly new, I wouldn’t consider myself as a successful entrepreneur, yet. What made me the person I am today are the experiences and hardships that God took me through.
2. Why did you get started on this path towards building your own business?
I wanted to build something purposeful that can help Malaysians. I’ve learnt a lot about people & process management during my experience in Groupon MY. So I want to take these learnings to a different level of playing field. I also want to build a company that has great culture, and provide awesome work experience for its people. Together we can make a positive difference greater!
3. Was there any inspiration or anyone who inspired you to pursue your dream to become an entrepreneur today?
Many people inspired me in different ways. From big names like Richard Branson, Gurbaksh Chahal, to someone closer to home – my leader Joel Neohand Chen Chow. But these people are the ones that inspired me most: my mother, my pastor, the hairdresser I visit, the family that runs a western restaurant at my neighbourhood, and the tailor who alters my dresses. They have such perseverance to run a mission or a business for decades, and focused on their service quality for the community around them. So I decided to take this step, get out of my comfort zone and start something that can benefit others!
4. In your experience, what are the 3 Winning Traits that Entrepreneurs should possess when they start their business?
I’d like to see this as the Entrepreneurial spirit – which you can find in people who might not have their own businesses but are doing epic stuff in their company too! In the past 4 years, I’ve learned that these 3 traits are vital:
1) Be purpose driven. Knowing why you are doing something drives you forward, even when all else fails. It helps you communicate clearly to stakeholders, leaders, team members, clients, even friends!
2) Be a teachable explorer.Be curious. Ask questions. Imagine stuff. Talk to people. Read a lot. Explore. Dream. Discover.
3) Have grit. Having the grit to persevere on is vital because there are too many temptations asking you to give up – like that Korean drama chase.
What’s he doing with $30 million? As Nick D’Aloisio says, “I can’t even buy a car because I don’t have a licence yet.” So he’s going to buy a new bag. Why? “Mine is broken; it’s old and the strap’s not working.”
Recently, Yahoo bought 17 year old Nick D’Aloisio’s iPhone app, Summly, for $30 million. When Yahoo was founded in 1994, Nick wasn’t even born yet.
3 STEPS ON HOW NICK D’ALOISIO GET TO $30 MILLION
Nick’s app has delivered over 90 million news summaries in the four short months since he launched it on his 17th birthday in November. But Nick isn’t even old enough to be a Director of his company, so his mum is the Director while he sits in as Company Secretary.
What has gotten Nick D’Aloisio to success so quickly in 15 months when so many of us are still struggling after 15 years? Here’s 3 steps his journey has in common with most super-success stories:
PROBLEM + PASSION = $300K SOLUTION
Nick’s Summly App was the solution to a real world problem that no one else was solving well. As Nick relates, “I was 15 years old and I was revising for some kind of history exam. The problem was I was trying to find information that was useful to me.”
Searching Google on his phone didn’t give him enough detail to know what was or wasn’t a useful link. So he put his own iPhone app together. The app quickly rose up the download ranks and Apple featured it in their store.
Then came a fateful email: “About a month later, the private fund of the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing cold emailed me and expressed an interest to invest, but they didn’t realize I was 15…It turned out that they actually liked my age because it demonstrated I was net-native, so I’d only grown up with the Internet. They flew to London about a month later and invested $300,000. That kick-started this whole journey.”
$300K FUNDING + EXPERTISE = $1.3M REPUTATION
Nick D’Aloisio used the money to bring in world experts to help relaunch the app. At 16 years old, he teamed up with the leaders in Natural Language Processing, Stanford Research Institute (Who create Apple’s SIRI – named after the company’s initials, SRI).
In between high school classes in London, Nick worked with SRI in the US by phone and text messages to build the new app. SRI’s solid reputation and Nick’s focus on approaching well known celebrities to help him attracted high profile investors Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher and Yoko Ono who invested $1.3 million. Nick made the most of his investors, with Stephen Fry starring in the launch video for Summly.
$1.3M REPUTATION + SINGLE-MINDED FOCUS = $30M STORY
With world class partners and world class investors, Nick D’Aloisio gave up full-time school at the end of 2011, with his parent’s blessing: ““I talked about it with them and my headmaster and we decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it would be silly not to run with it. Now, looking back, I can say it was a massive gamble. But it was a good gamble.”
From a standing start to $30 million, Nick has taken the age old 1-2-3 formula of solving a problem in a smart way, then using the resources he attracts to bring in the best talent, and leveraging that to attract the most influential partners.
What made him think he could just go and knock on the door of the best companies and most well known people in the world? As he says “I was naive. I didn’t know I couldn’t.”
Nick D’Aloisio is now reflecting on this week’s news: “Numbing is probably the best word to describe it. It’s a shock to be honest. The only thing I can take from this is that I’m genuinely kind of proud that I’ve been getting a lot of tweets where young people are commenting and saying, “This is really inspirational, I want to go and start my own thing.”
How many of these 3 steps in the 1-2-3 formula have you taken in your business? What can you do to upgrade your product, your talent or your partners?
Or maybe it’s time to be a kid again, be naive again, when you didn’t know you couldn’t. And start something entirely new.
One of the most luxurious venture that an entrepreneur can pursue with hassle-free worry about systems and branding campaigns, would be to purchase a Franchise Business or become a Franchisee for established businesses. Launching a franchise may require entrepreneurs to invest some amount of capital to acquire the rights towards the brand, the products and services and the processes in which it conducts its business. Seeing how franchising is a growing trend in most emerging markets in Asia, here are 11 Steps that Entrepreneurs Must Know when they decide to Open a Franchise. Continue reading 11 Franchise Business Steps→