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Great Business Leadership with Bobby Ting Sie Ching of Hydro-Icon




As a Managing Director, Bobby Ting Sie Ching has shown great examples of leadership in running a business, guiding it from start-up to a fast-rising company.

As part of Sarawak’s prominent Ting’s family, headed by his parents Tan Sri Dato’ Paduka Dr Ting Pek Khiing and Puan Sri Datin Paduka Wong Sui Chuo, it should come as no surprise then that Bobby Ting would want to step forward and be counted, stamping his own mark in the world.

Bobby eventually ventured into the construction business, which all began after he came back to Kuching and his father put him into selling mangoes. “I was the one that helped my father start up and somewhat commercialise the mango business. It was from a very canteen approach as we did not have a brand or logo at that time. A few others and I reorganised and branded it, and so that is why you can see Ming Kiong’s red boxes as quite prominent now,” said Bobby. He handled this line of business for few years, which proved to be successful.

“My first job happened to be in construction,” he shares. “This was when I was still in Sydney. And, although working for others was a great learning process, I soon realised that all this effort would reward the business owner rather than contribute to the family business. So, it didn’t take long before I rushed to complete my MBA so I could rejoin the family. But, truth be told, I didn’t really know that I would end up in construction at first, as my father had a diverse range of businesses, which ranged from hospitality, plantations and other agricultural businesses. It was only after touching base in a few of them that I realised building and construction was where my passion lay. So, I took it on full-fledged and never looked back.”

Today, as Managing Director of two highly-regarded companies – Hydro-Icon is a construction Company incorporated in year 2007 specialise in the water treatment plant, design, engineering and construction of water and wastewater treatment equipment and systems; and Elica, a new development group that is currently making headlines for its debut project, The Republic in Kuching – Ting has made it clear that, although he’s the youngest in his formidable family, he is a force to be reckoned with in his own right. After all, “age is just a number,” as he rightfully points out. As the managing director now for both Hydro Icon Sdn Bhd and development group Elica Sdn Bhd, it can be said that Bobby has come a long way from being a beginner in the construction business.

And, if last year was anything to go by, it would seem his time in the sun has come. His maiden property development project, The Republic by Elica, in Kuching’s Kempas Heights, did him proud by clinching the prestigious Best Residential Property Development award at the 2014 South East Asian Property Awards Malaysia. Having had always to work extra hard in order to prove himself, such accolades prove sweet savour for Ting. “We were cautious when we launched it, uncertain of the economy. But we took a gamble to embark on a high- end, luxurious and niche product. It’s been a wonderful journey so far – plenty of hard work and planning – but we have strived as a team to get to where we are today. Construction and property development have always been my passion this was great recognition for what we have done to date.”

Touching on the Chinese adage that wealth seldom lasts beyond three generations, Ting brushes it off as an over-generalisation.

“It is not important that wealth survives as much as life lessons learnt,” he muses wisely. “Wealth may dwindle due to economic factors and that’s a lot for future generations to overcome. But, transcending the importance of family and togetherness and following one’s dreams is far more important. If future generations can follow a genuine passion of their own, success will surely follow. Young people need to follow their passion and intuition because, if you have that, success will come. All you need is just to work hard at it. Young people want to be successful yet, these days, everyone wants fast results. But success and wealth has never come easily. You have to endure challenges, work hard, persevere and grow on them to ensure success.”

On his own plans for continuous success, Ting is pragmatic and states that “having an edge and constantly innovating is a must.” A firm believer in the importance of differentiation and standing out from the crowd, he has also strived to ensure that his teams at Elica and Hydro- Icon follow suit. He acknowledges that the completion of each project is always a highlight. “Each site has its own challenges and is always different and unique from the last one. We have learnt and built upon each task, which, for Hydro- Icon, gives us our competitive edge in water treatment plants in Sarawak.”

Aside from innovation and gaining the proverbial edge, Ting also stresses the importance of having the right team to back you up. “I am extremely fortunate to have the team I do – they are the core of the business. I also think a vital key to our success is the ability to let go and not micromanage too many issues. You have to, ultimately, trust the people you work with while working with them to solve issues. And, when you can see eye to eye with your team, rest assured they will have the company’s interests at heart.” This certainly stands Ting in good stead as he welcomed the latest addition to his family, a baby boy named Kingston, born in December last year – yet another blessing for him, his wife Shen- Tel and toddler Benjamin.

Drive, determination and a razor-sharp focus are all qualities Ting has honed over the years. It certainly helps, of course, that he spent much of his youth basking in the sporting limelight as Australia’s Under 17 rugby and rowing champion – an experience that has made him clearly aware of the benefits of teamwork as well as how to best contribute in a team environment. “What I’ve learnt, as a sportsman, is that no matter what you do, you must do it with righteousness – play by the rules and with integrity. If you win, do so with grace. But, should you lose, learn from your mistakes and build on it to take on the next match.”

Despite what the future may hold, Ting is clear that all he wants is “to give future generations a bit more than what I had. Even for my staff – I want them to build upon what they have experienced working with me and to build on that for their own future generations.” But for now, his ‘bigger picture’ includes continuous growth. And foremost in Ting’s Five-Year Plan includes a trio of D’s: Diversification, Development and Definition. “I want to see Hydro-Icon and Elica moving into other infrastructure projects like developing large-scaled land plots into new aged suburbs as well as redefining conventional building practices using more innovative construction methods. Construction doesn’t mean Hydro-Icon is doing just water treatment plants or Elica only building high-end residential condominiums. I want to see us further ourselves and build more diverse products, from infrastructure and housing to roads, while leveraging on the skill-sets learnt from our current projects so we can tackle more challenging jobs!” Tellingly, he also adds that “I’d also like to see both companies expand into Peninsular Malaysia to take on larger, more established companies.”


Bobby Ting is a winner of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015 BIMP-EAGA, under the Most Promising Category. The Awards were held on 1st August 2015 at Miri Marriott Resort and Spa, Sarawak, Malaysia.


How to Create Buzz around Your Startup Idea



Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.

– Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

There is something very exciting starting up a business. Startups offer you a chance to do something fresh and take new ideas to the public. But if you’re going to succeed, you need to get it right from the very start of the journey. Creating buzz around your startup’s launch is possible, and here are some ideas to help you do it.

Blog About Your Startup Journey

This is a great thing to do if you want to create a personable and refreshing brand image. People like to see how your business is doing and how it grows from an idea into a fully fledged business. Blog about what you’re doing and how your business is expanding. If you can develop an audience of readers ahead of your startup’s official launch, it will be easier for you to hit the ground running. You can then make the blog the voice of the company as it grows and starts to turn a profit. This is something that you should think very carefully about when starting up a business.

Make Plenty of Announcements

You should try to make a lot of announcements when you are leading up to the launch of your startup. There are plenty of people out there that will be interested in hearing about what you’re doing. You need to start by creating a strong presence on all the key social media sites. If you can do this, you will build up an audience that will then be receptive to your messages. They will also be there to spread the word and share announcements with their friends on social media platforms. This can be hugely important when you’re trying to raise brand awareness and expose your announcements to as many people as possible.

Organize an Event and Invite People

Organizing a real event that people can turn up to and attend can be a great idea. It makes your startup’s official launch feel more real. If you just set a random date for the launch and don’t mark it in any way, it will be much more difficult to create a buzz. Hire a stage, sound system and find bleacher rentals to host the event. Then you can write a speech and make a plan for the schedule of the launch. If you can do this well, you will create a lot of buzz, and maybe get some more coverage for the startup too.

Reach Out to People Who Can Give You Publicity

There are plenty of people out there that might be able to help you achieve the publicity and coverage you crave. When your business is being talked about, people will hear about your brand and what it’s doing. So, you need to make sure that you reach out to many people in the press, the media and the blogosphere who can help you. There are many business magazines and websites that write profiles of new business and young entrepreneurs. If you can contact some of these people, they might be interested in offering you some coverage. Don’t underestimate how important this could be. Hopefully these ideas will help you with starting up a business.


About the Author

This article was produced by SolVibrations is a multi-author self improvement blog, aiming to inspire creativity within.

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Why is Facebook so Successful?



This morning I thought I’d do some digging to try and find what people think about why Facebook became so successful. Most answers that I found didn’t really capture what I thought about the issue (not even Zuckerberg’s own opinion), so I decided to give a bit of an alternative perspective on it.

The One Thing We Learn From History…

As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in Outliers, someone’s success is not independent of their history. For example, Bill Gates had already built up over 10,000 hours’ experience by the time the opportunity to start Microsoft came along, and there are probably a number of examples of people who had similar experience to Gates but were just “one year too early or late”. Success is obviously a combination of both hard work and opportunity.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me state why I think Facebook’s strategy was so successful – I’ll get to why Google+ wasn’t. The closest answer to mine that I could find was this one on Quora (see point 1 of Todd Perry’s answer relating to “attacking hubs”). Yes, Zuckerberg had the right amount of technical expertise, but that isn’t the chief reason why their strategy was successful – many people have similar or even greater levels of technical expertise, but haven’t started Facebook. Yes, the owners have been aggressive about growing the site – show me someone who isn’t aggressive about growing their business. Yes, Facebook appeals to a side of ourselves that struggled to find expression prior to the existence of social media – MySpace, Friendster and countless others (including Google+) all do similar things, yet where are they today, really, in comparison to Facebook?

Zen and the Art (and Science) of Business Strategy

The answer, in my opinion, can be best articulated using terminology from Lila, the sequel to the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, as well as an understanding of social influence (power). This is a bit philosophical (abstract) at points, but I guarantee you it’s worth understanding if you’re in business.

In Lila, Pirsig divides reality into four “levels” of patterning: inorganic, biological, social and intellectual. Biological patterning (such as cells) cannot exist without inorganic patterning (the molecules that make up those cells). Social patterning (immediate, pre-intellectual gestures and responses between biological organisms, and social influence/power) cannot exist without biological patterning. Intellectual patterning cannot exist without social patterning (for a discussion of how we think mind emerges only from social interaction, see this article).

One thing we’ve been missing out on in our understanding of business is a thorough understanding of power and its role in society, and my opinion is that Facebook inherently managed to leverage the right amount of social influence at the right times to slingshot them to success.

How exactly did they do it? It was both easy and difficult (easy for Zuckerberg, difficult for the rest of us). Think about it: the first institution whose members were up on Facebook was Harvard – one of the most powerful, influential institutions in the world, with their students being incredibly influential people in society. Several other influential institutions followed, and before they knew it, everybody who was anybody was on Facebook. It was only a matter of time before the nobodies (such as myself) were on Facebook. (By the way, I’ve since deactivated my account, for a variety of reasons).

Where Google+ Went Wrong

According to this perspective, therefore, I (being a nobody) should not have received an invite to the Google+ Beta version, but I did! Who the heck am I in the bigger scheme of things? Apart from being a few years too late to jump onto the social bandwagon, this was Google+’ single biggest failing. Their entry strategy was flawed from the beginning. According to this article, Facebook has around 850 million users at the moment – Google+ has around 10% of that (90 million – and even that might be an optimistic estimate). (And no, I’m not on Google+ either, for a variety of reasons).


I am not at all discounting the value of incredible technical skill – it’s an essential component to getting your business up and running, and is mission- critical for high-tech businesses. You simply cannot afford, as a small start- up, to have your site/application fall over just when people start liking it, because then, just as quickly, they stop liking it. Also, I am not at all discounting the value of getting the right amount of start-up capital, if you can’t bootstrap your business, at the right time, or addressing the real customer need/desire, or having the right people, etc. Facebook certainly got a lot of those things right too.

What I am saying is that a successful strategy seems to be one that also takes into account social influence. Start off by convincing the right users – those with the most social influence – to use your product/service, and you’ll find it’ll be much easier to convince everybody else to do the same. That could be an incredibly easy or hard task, depending on how connected you currently are, and Zuckerberg was fortunate enough (this is the “opportunity” component of the opportunity/hard work mix about which Gladwell talks) to have direct access to some of the most influential people in the world to promote Facebook for him.


About the Author

This article was written by Thane Thomson, who is currently working for DStv Digital Media in research and development.

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