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Alan Soon, Founder & CEO of The Splice Newsroom

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Alan Soon is using his media and journalism experience to help clients keep up with the ever-changing media landscape.

What’s your story?
The Splice Newsroom is a consultancy that helps to build and transform newsrooms in the ongoing shift to digital. We exist because the evolution of media is fraught with fundamental challenges, like getting the right people, culture, tools and workflows in place.
As a whole, society is better served by a diverse and healthy media ecosystem. We want to be a catalyst in that transformation.

I’ve spent 20 years in the industry as a reporter, producer, editor and eventually running the media business at Yahoo. There’s never been a more exciting time for the industry. But we do have a lot of work to do to keep up with the changes.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s changing faster than ever. The definition of journalism has expanded significantly in the last 5 years alone. It’s not a question of who’s a journalist, but rather, what needs to be done in service of journalism.

We’re now pulling in skills as diverse as product management, social marketing, data analytics and visualization. The expansion of roles and skills means we’re now able to cover and distribute stories in ways we never thought possible only a few years ago.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore; I left when I was 16 to attend school in Vancouver. I came back for military service and left for Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei. Asia is home for sure. I just haven’t figured out which city yet!

IMG_0100 splice logo-2000px-black-web-text

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Like Singapore, Hong Kong is great for predictability, which is essential for business travel. You want to get in and out as planned with no surprises. If it’s surprise you’re after, I’d say it’s a toss up between Jakarta and Bangkok. There’s always something interesting!

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
This didn’t come from one single person, but from several people in bits and pieces over the years. This is what it sounds like in my head if I had to summarize it: Seek curiosity and knowledge — not titles and promotions. Read more than your rivals; read more than your bosses. And after you learn it, give it away generously.

Who inspires you?
If I had to pick one person I admire, with whom I’d love to have coffee with, it would be the late New York Times reporter David Carr. I saw him speaking in London some years back. Something incredible happens when you combine life experience, intellect and humanity in one person. Someone described him as “the most human of humans”. When I grow up (and leave this life), I want to be remembered as someone like that.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Pluto. The recent photographs from the New Horizons mission blew my mind… the fact that we were seeing a planet in all its glory for the first time ever! The geology suggests that the landscape is still shifting — which is remarkable given its distance from the sun. Something incredible is happening below the surface.

And there’s also the fact that we’ve now discovered a cousin planet, similar to the conditions of Earth. That blows my mind.

This is the moon landing of my generation — a shift in knowledge that opens up a wider imagination. That’s incredible.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
That’s a really tough one. I wish I took bigger risks earlier in my career. I would push myself to imagine life differently, but this time with the courage to actually do things differently. I wish I believed in myself more.

How do you unwind?
My dream day looks like this: Newspaper (in print, which I would read cover to cover), a flat white, yoga, and the time to let it all sink in.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I don’t seek relaxation in the traditional sense. I like to stumble on things that change the way I frame the world. I like discovering something new. While I don’t like surprises necessarily, I do welcome fascination.

So two places come to mind: Yangon and Bhutan. I love discovering things that are different from my day-to-day life. It’s humbling.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen.

Shameless plug for your business:
Someone said to me recently, “You’re the newsroom guy”. Exactly that. If you need to build or transform a newsroom, let me put 20 years of media experience to work for you. I love helping teams win.

How can people connect with you?
Just email me: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@alansoon or @splicenewsroom

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Marek Danyluk, CEO of Space Ventures

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Marek Danyluk has a talent for assessing the competencies of management teams for other businesses and pulling together exceptional teams for his own businesses!

What’s your story?
I am the CEO of a venture capital business, Space Ventures, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses. I also own and run Space Executive, a recruitment business focused on senior to executive hires across sales, marketing, finance, legal and change.

My career started as a trainee underwriter in the Lloyds market but quickly moved into recruitment where I set-up my first business in 2002. The business grew to around 100 people. I moved to Asia in 2009 as a board member of a multinational recruitment business with the mandate to help them scale their Asian entities, which helped contribute to their sale this year, in 2017.

My main talent is assessing the competencies of management teams as well as building high performing recruitment boutiques and putting together exceptional management teams for my own businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
Building the business is very much about attracting the best talent and being able to build a culture which people find invigorating and unique. It’s an exciting proposition to be able to define a culture in that regard and salespeople are a fun bunch, so when you get it right it’s tremendous.

From a VC point of view there is just so much happening. South East Asia is a melting pot of innovation so the ideas and quality of people you have exposure to, is truly phenomenal. The exposure in the VC has taken me away from a career in recruitment. Doing something completely different has given me a new level of focus.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Whilst I came here with work, both my boys were born in Singapore and to them this very much is home. That said, my father in law spent many years in the East so coming and settling here was met with a good degree of support and familiarity.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Possibly Hong Kong. It’s the closest I’ve been to working in London. Whilst there are massive Asian influences people will work with you on the basis you are good at what you do and work hard. I find that approach very honest and straightforward.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Always treat people well on the way up!”

Who inspires you?
I like reading about people who have excelled in business such as Jack Ma, James Kahn, Phil Knight, Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, all have great stories to tell and they are all inspirational. No-one has inspired me more than my parents and they are well aware as to why…

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Pretty much any technology innovation blows me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Whilst it is important not to have regrets I do continually wake up thinking I’m still doing my A’ Levels. So, I’d have probably tried a little harder in 6th form.

How do you unwind?
I like the odd glass of red wine and watching sport

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan skiing. I love skiing and Japanese food and it’s a time when I can really enjoy time with the wife and kids. I recently tried the Margaret River which was divine, although not technically Asia.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Barbarians at the Gate

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive is the fastest growing recruitment business in Singapore focused on the mid to senior market across legal, compliance, finance, sales and marketing and change and transformation. Multi-award winning with exceptional growth plans into Hong Kong and London this year, and the US, Japan and Europe by the end of 2022. We are building a truly global brand.

Space Ventures is interested in any businesses that require capital or management and financial guidance or any or all of the above. We have, to date, invested in on-line training, food and beverages, peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring as well as other tech and fintech start-ups. We are always interested in hearing about potential deals.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
@Spaceexecutive

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings

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Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched.

What’s your story?
I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position.

Who inspires you?
Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start.

How do you unwind?
I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki

Shameless plug for your business:
Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning.

How can people connect with you?
Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@malcolmABM

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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