Connect with us

Entrepreneurship

Dan Khoo, Malaysian Youtuber

Published

on

Dan Khoo is a prominent Youtuber from Malaysia, he is the founder of DanKhoo Productions, a renowned Youtube channel where he publishes his work. Originally an Economics degree graduate from the London School of Economics, Dan’s life took an unexpected turn when he decided to embrace and share his passion for making films. Via Youtube, Dan’s incredible talents for acting, producing and directing films were discovered by the nation. Along with other Youtubers, he spearheaded the “Youtube Boom” of Malaysia, a period which marked the emergence and rise of locally produced Youtube entertainment within the country.

Having been on such an extraordinary journey, Dan Khoo is here to tell us his story from when he first picked up his camera and the insights he developed since.

Dan, when did you decide to shoot films?

It’s actually more like an unintentional thing. Although, this is what I do now, I didn’t set out to make shooting films my career. I think in around 2011, I just decided to buy a camera and started to shoot some videos. At the very beginning, I sort of had in mind what I wanted to shoot so I got a camera to shoot it but even then I didn’t picture myself doing it full time. I thought I would just do all of this for fun.

At which point did you decide to take it up onto Youtube?

There wasn’t anywhere else to put it on, that I knew of. Youtube was free anyway so I just decided to try to put some of my earlier works there. Of course, it didn’t become a hit straight away, it just eventually more and more people started to recognize it.

When did you realize the videos have become hits?

I guess it was sometime in the start of 2012, I met with other Youtubers in Malaysia. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, like Jinnyboy. We consider that the first boom. We got together and started appearing in each other’s videos and then we started appearing on newspapers and stuff. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, people actually recognize this.’

Did you expect the results at all in the beginning?

When I started, to reach 100 subscribers was like: ‘Wow, wouldn’t that be nice?’ Then after I reached it, I was thinking to myself: ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to reach 1,000?’ I thought ‘Surely, impossible.’ Then I reached it eventually. Then, ‘How about 10,000?’ I thought: ‘Okay, it’s going to take a few years to reach 10,000’ but I reached it anyway.

36

Did you face any major challenges trying to break into the Youtube scene?

Right now because people see us as the standard, so they are trying to break into the market. When I started there was no market. So there was nothing to break into. So we became the market. I didn’t want to break into anything, I wasn’t trying to prove anything. So I just went in for fun.

What can you tell us about the Malaysian youtube scene?

We are quite close because we do the same thing so its pretty fun to work with each other and sometimes, we just throw ideas. Its a really fun community if you don’t try to take things too seriously.

What do you think are the major differences between the Malaysian Youtube scene and the American Youtube scene?

I think the U.S. is definitely a bigger market. In Malaysia, the boom just happened recently. There are more people getting introduced to this industry. Even, for example, clients; Not everyone knows that it is a very good platform to get your brand out. If you are talking about Youtubers in Malaysia and the U.S., I think there is still quite a distance because all the big things happen in Hollywood they say. So you can make it there, you can make it everywhere.

Would you say there is a secret to making a good Youtube film in Malaysia?

I think you have to understand what people would like to watch. Sometimes things that may be funny to you, you have to take a step back and view it from a third person’s point of view to see if it is funny. I just upload videos and notice the views. If there are more views, it means people tend to like it more. Before, I was doing a lot of love stories, there views were okay, they were high digits. Then I just tried out humor and the views went up to 6 digits, so I realized that people like that.

37

What are some lessons do learn from being a Youtuber?

Because there are many types of Youtubers, I can only share based on what I am. So, for someone like me, which is almost like a one-man-show, given I write the script, I settle the actors; it really builds you as a person on a wholesome basis. You learn everything. You learn from the scratch to this and that, to clients. So, it’s a very hands-on job and its a humbling experience because you get to meet all kinds of people and do all sorts of great things.

How is a typical week like for you?

I normally sleep late and wake up late. Sometimes, I miss breakfast or lunch. I often meet clients, if not, I am usually at home writing scripts or editing videos. Usually at night, depending on what events, I just hangout with my friends.

Does the release of the ‘Magical Blackout’ video mark the beginning of more videos that satirize Malaysian politics?

Not really. I rather not go towards the political if I can. Unless, if I really can’t resist it, like the blackout. I couldn’t resist it. I just had to take a jab at them because when I heard there was a blackout again, I was like: “Oh man! Not again!” I had to say something. I just did it on the spot and they called me a cyber-trooper and they called me a lot of things. People couldn’t believe I released it so fast.

38

What are some personal principles that you hold dear?

Sincerity. I try to be a good person, I try not to make enemies. A friend is always better than an enemy. It has obviously affected my career as a Malaysian Youtuber as well.

So what are your future plans?

Build the brand and make more videos. Expand my network and hopefully fly over to the U.S. to shoot one day, collaborate with the Youtubers there. I have some contacts arleady. So when I am more established with abit more free time, I will probably head towards there, L.A.

In your opinion, what is the key to success for a person building a career or establishing a venture?

For me, I would just say: “If you want to do it, just do it.” Stop thinking about what it is, stopping you or what can’t you do. That is because, for me, I just went out and did it.

Any parting words of wisdom for our readers?

Just pursue your dreams and don’t let anything stop you.

39

Connect with Dan and DanKhoo Productions today:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DanKhooProductions
Website: http://dankhoo.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dan_khoo
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DanKhooProductions

Callum Connects

Benedict Heng, Founder of Mr. Farmer

Published

on

Benedict Heng is bringing back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your story?
I’m Ben from Mr. Farmer. Mr. Farmer is an online grocer dedicated to supplying the freshest produce to our customers. We believe in sustainable and ethical farming. Since a young age, I have always been an avid food lover (especially meats), developing a strong interest in all things delicious. That is why I ventured into the F&B industry, working as a junior cook for 3 years.

Midway through my career, I made a move to the finance industry to pursue monetary rewards. I dove into high-risk investments and I made lots of money from these investments. However, the good fortune did not last long and all these came crashing down when I suffered a tremendous loss. This coincided with the time that I had just started my own family and it was a huge blow to me both materially and mentally. It was this crash that made me realize that this life wasn’t for me. I went on a hiatus and eventually, it was only through the strong support from my family that I managed to tide over this tough episode.

I went back to help the family business and this was how Mr Farmer came about. My family has been in the food industry for many decades and one thing they noticed from years of experience is that sustainable farming practices are not as developed as in Europe. This is why through Mr Farmer, we hope that we can provide the best quality products to families out there who want the best ingredients for their loved ones.

What excites you most about your industry?
Delicious and wholesome food excites me. I believe food is a critical component of life and it brings people together. The opportunity to serve the community with fresh produce for a healthy life, that brings me joy.

I feel that there is still so much more we can do to improve the quality of food and bring it to the masses. One of the key components of ensuring greater quality of food is to support ethical and sustainable farming. Due to commercialization and urbanization, most farming practices these days are no longer the way they were in the old “kampong” times. Shortcuts are taken, standards are compromised, all in the name of profit. At Mr. Farmer, profit is important too but we want to focus on the concept of One Welfare – sustainable farming directly impacts our health. Our vision is to bring back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I call Singapore my home as it’s where my family and close friends are. I also travel frequently to Malaysia and APAC for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s definitely Singapore. There is just so much this tiny city can offer! Singapore has been globally recognized for its top-notch business environment providing its residents with developed infrastructure, political stability and excellent connectivity. These factors have given us an outstanding support system for businesses to strive.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better and, keep them in your life.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my uncle, who is the head of both the family and business. He takes care of our family matters at home and manages hundreds of employees at work. Handling both the family and business side of things can be tricky, but he has shown me that success can be sustainable and done with a conscience. His guiding philosophy of handling business and family is simply, to have a big heart.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Even just one day of separation from the day the meat is slaughtered, makes a world of difference to its flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have come to learn that awareness is the beginning of everything. If I had my time again, I would have probably spent more time figuring out who I truly am and with that self-awareness, begun to lead my life with more purpose and meaning.

How do you unwind?
I like to spend my free time sipping white coffee at my favourite coffee place. I enjoy taking in the surrounding sights and letting my mind wander freely. It allows me to unwind and gain clarity at the same time. It also helps me organize my thoughts to prepare for the week ahead.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It would be Bangkok as the people there are genuinely friendly and hospitable. They say people are what defines the city and I couldn’t agree more with this. I also enjoy the ‘laid back’ vibe of Bangkok. Not to mention Bangkok has all the good food and awesome shopping choices too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Spin selling” by Neil Reckham. It’s an amazing book that teaches you a process designed to help you successfully sell your products and services to business buyers.

Shameless plug for your business:
We at Mr. Farmer have the best tasting meats in Singapore, do a blind test and you will know why it’s Michelin chefs’ preferred choice. Not only are we very confident about the taste, we are also proud to say that all our products are chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. We also focus a lot on supporting ethical and sustainable farming practices believing in the ‘One Welfare’ concept. Do check us out if you enjoy good quality food like us!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet

Published

on

Zac Chua’s popcorn business validated itself straight away and fast tracked him to the startup world. Zac now employs 11 people and shifts 500 bags of popcorn daily.

What’s your story?
It’s a crazy one. It was an accidental startup. If you think about it, no university graduate would ever dream of becoming a popcorn seller. We crashed our first tech event to validate our idea and it took off from there. I bought a logo for $7 from a designers marketplace, printed some cheap name cards, and built a 1 page landing page. Sales started pouring in and eventually, we were serving B2B clients (corporate pantries) and we have never looked back. Today we move about 500 bags daily, we have 11 employees and we are growing. Talk about a validation that worked in our favour.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s food! Everybody loves food! In Singapore the F&B scene is brutally competitive and it spurs me on to fight and compete for market share and to prove to myself that I can do it. It keeps me going and I won’t stop until we become the market leader.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore, and have traveled to most of Southeast Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Even though Singapore has a high cost of living, the Government is actually very supportive of startups. They provide grants for us to tap into, and the technological infrastructure makes it possible for us to compete on a global scale. I believe if you can succeed in your business in Singapore, you can succeed in most of Southeast Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only need to be right once, and the rest is history.

Who inspires you?
My father, who was a VC. In fact he was the one who gave me the best piece of advice which I shared above. Having one successful exit, he showed me that it’s okay to fail a million times – all it takes is just one time for you to win in business and in life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The power of compounding.

  • Mary and John are the same age.
  • Mary saves $2k annually from the age of 19-25 – so she puts $14k into her portfolio
  • John saves $2k annually from the age of 26-65 – so he puts $80k into his portfolio, but 7 years after Mary.
  • If both are able to generate 10% per annum, who would have more at age 65?
  • John of course! But how much more?
  • Mary will have $944,641 whilst John will have $973,704
  • Think about it! Mary puts in only $14k but John delays for 7 years and puts in $80k.

CRAZY RIGHT!?!?

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, my mistakes taught me how to become a better me. But if I really must choose, I’d say take more time to find the right business partner.

How do you unwind?
Poker, Mahjong and Dota 2.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam! Things are cheap, people are warm and friendly, and their coffee fills up my life. I would love to retire there if possible.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The richest man in Babylon

Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t need a plug. Just try our competitors and you’ll understand why!

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuazongyou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacchua

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

Continue Reading

Trending