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Doug Peris, CEO and co-founder of AdZtream

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Great to watch Doug building his new business up around the region.  Doug is hugely well connected and does some great work for charity.

What’s your story?
My background is that I had successful corporate career, running regional operations of global technology companies. For years, I was a regular speaker at technology events and conferences, and I have built and sold 2 technology companies in Australia and in Singapore. I mentored people at my work, helping them to build successful careers. I have also mentored start-ups, to help them along their entrepreneurship journey. I am also actively involved in an international charity in Cambodia that teaches people to have a better way of life. After I sold my business in late 1999, and wondering what I would do next, I came to Singapore in early 2000 to take up a job with a global telecommunications company.  That’s how I got to be here for the past 15 years. I am now the CEO and co-founder of AdZtream, a digital media company that does advertising over wi-fi networks.

What excites you most about your industry?
I believe that there’s no better time than now to be part of the huge growth in mobile advertising and wi-fi hotspots.  It’s impossible to ignore the growth in mobile telephone usage, and also that there is wi-fi almost everywhere you go these days, almost anywhere in the world.  I’m excited that I can bring together media solutions that link up digital advertising, mobile phones and wi-fi networks into a cohesive, real-time and relevant eco-system.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, but moved to Australia at a very young age.  My parents heritage is Asian and European, my wife is a Singaporean, and I love the diverse tastes and flavours of Asian food.  I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Malaysia and now Singapore, which is where I call home.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore.  It’s easy to do business, everyone recognises a fair deal here, there’s good governance…and it’s got the best airport in the world. I just love the ‘can-do’ attitude that’s been encouraged within the entrepreneur community. It’s getting expensive to live here but the mix of local and foreign talent, my family, my friends, the startup culture and the vibrant social scene makes it very difficult to move away. I’ve travelled to most of the major cities in Asia, and they all have their special things that makes them unique from the other cities, but Singapore is still my favourite.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It sounds simple but “don’t quit” was a piece of advice I’ve received many times over many years of my life. That doesn’t mean stick at something stubbornly even after you have realised that failure is inevitable.  What this means is don’t quit on your purpose and objective. There may be more than one way to achieve this but don’t give up on your dream, on what you want.  You’ll always find your way around an obstacle, as long as you don’t quit.

Who inspires you?
Many people have inspired me throughout my life.  My father was my biggest inspiration. He was an administrator in the Malaysian Government and was actively involved in the creation of the Federation of Malaysia. Years later, after racial tensions in Malaysia, he took his whole family to Australia so that his children, me and my siblings, could lead better lives.  He gave up everything he had worked for so that we could have a chance at a better future.

I’m also inspired by entrepreneurs, people who believe they can create something, make a difference, and make a living at it. I love how clever they are to come up with some brilliant ideas, how they take their product to market,how they raise funds and capture customers and market share.  They inspire me to do better at what I’m doing now.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In Singapore recently, the nation mourned the loss of the founding father of modern Singapore, its first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. In the 7 days of mourning, so much of his life was broadcast on radio and tv, and published in the newspapers. I never realised how much he did to change Singapore into the powerful economy it now is. As I reflect on his life, it’s easy to see that he was an entrepreneur and he built the biggest start-up in the world…ever!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Actually, I love my life and most of what I achieved. I believe that things happen for a reason, and much of what happens to us was going to happen anyway. I could do anything different though, I would have spent more time with my sporting love of rugby, and spent much less time I’d spent climbing the corporate ladder.

How do you unwind?
I love spending time with family, cooking for them, and watching movies at home. I actually love to go to the market, buy some good products and cook a great meal at home. I try to watch big international sporting events like the rugby union and the F1 when I can. Going out with friends is a big way for me to wind down after a long week, and I enjoy beach vacations.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Asia is blessed with so many different and fantastic places to visit, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit many places. However, without any doubt, my favourite relaxation destination is Koh Samui in Thailand. I have been going there for about 14 years, and usually go back to the same places that I’m familiar with, and where the people also know me. It’s a perfect getaway, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired type of place.  Great beaches, great food, great people…I’d like to go and live there someday soon.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Do yourself a favour and read “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. You don’t need to be handcuffed to your corporate office, whinging about the rat race that you are a part of. You can live the mobile lifestyle, and you can do it now.  Escape the 9-5 and live anywhere. This may not be everyone’s idea of a lifestyle they desire but it does offer many ideas about the different ways to live and work.

Shameless plug for your business:
AdZtream is a provider of innovative wi-fi advertising solutions. We get your brand in front of millions of people who use their mobile phones to access public wi-fi networks, and we make money for wi-fi networks by providing relevant advertising to their customers. Our goal is to partner with the world’s best brands and ad agencies, and also with the best shopping malls, hotels, stadiums and convention centres. We now operate in 4 countries across Asia, and our customer base is growing each month.  

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
@dougperis
@adztream

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

CallumConnects

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.

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

Benjamin Kwan, Co-Founder of TravelClef

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Making music to create a life for his family, Benjamin Kwan, started an online tuition portal and his music business grew from there.

What’s your story?
I am Benjamin and I’m the Co-Founder of TravelClef Group Pte Ltd, a travelling music school that conducts music classes in companies as well as team building with music programmes. We also run an online educational platform which matches private students to freelance music teachers. We also manufacture our own instruments. I started this company in 2011 when I was still a freshman at NUS, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

I was born to a lower income family, my father drove a taxi and was the sole breadwinner to a family of 7. I have always dreamed of becoming rich so that I could lessen the burden placed on my father and give my family a good life.

After working really hard in my first semester at NUS, my results didn’t reflect the hard work and effort I put in. At the same time, I was left with just $42 in my bank account and it suddenly dawned on me that if I were to graduate with mediocre results, I would probably end up with a mediocre salary as well. I knew I had to do something to gain control of my future.

During that summer break, I read a book “Internet Riches” by Scott Fox and I knew that the only way I could ever start my own business with my last $42 would be to start an online business. That was how our online tuition portal started and after taking 4 days to learn Photoshop and website building on my own, I started the business.

What excites you most about your industry?
Music itself is a constant form of excitement to me as I have always been an avid lover of music. As one of the world’s first travelling music schools, we are always very eager and excited to find innovative ways to a very traditional business model of a music teaching.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore and I love the fact that despite our diversity in culture, there’s always a common language that we share, music.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hands down, SINGAPORE! Although we are currently in talks to expand to other regions within Asia, Singapore is the best place for business. I have had friends asking me if they should consider venturing into entrepreneurship in Singapore, my answer is always a big fat YES! There’s a low barrier of entry, and most importantly, the government is very supportive of entrepreneurship.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have been blessed by many people and mentors who constantly give me great advice but right now, I would say the best piece of advice that I received would be from Dr Patrick Liew who said, “Work on the business, not in it.” This advice is constantly ringing in my head as I work towards scaling the business.

Who inspires you?
My dad. My dad has always been my inspiration in life, for the amount of sacrifices that he has made for the family and the love he has for us. He was the umbrella for all the storms that my family faced and we were always safe in his shelter. Although my dad passed away after a brief fight with colorectal cancer, the lessons that he imparted to me were very valuable as I build my own family and business.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can not buy time, but you can spend money to save time! With this realisation, I was willing to allow myself to spend some money, in order to save more time. Like taking Grab/Uber to shuttle around instead of spending time travelling on public transport. While I spend more money on travelling, I save a lot more time! This doesn’t mean that I spend lavishly and extravagantly, I am still generally prudent with my money.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken more time to spend with my family and especially my father. While it is important to focus our time to build our businesses, we should always try our best to allocate family time. Because as an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as “after I finish my work,” because our work is never finished. If our work finishes, the business is also finished. But our time with our family is always limited and no matter how much money and how many successes we achieve, we can never use it to trade back the time we have with our family.

How do you unwind?
I am a very simple man. I enjoy TV time with my wife and a simple dinner with my family and friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Batam, it’s close to Singapore and there’s really nothing much to do except for massages and a relaxing resort life. If I travel to other countries for shopping or sightseeing, I am constantly thinking of business and how I can possibly expand to the country I am visiting. But while relaxing at the beach or at a massage, I tend to allow myself to drift into emptiness and just clear my mind of any thoughts.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Work The System, by Sam Carpenter. This book teaches entrepreneurs the importance of creating systems and how to leverage on systems to improve productivity and create more time.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you are looking for a team building programme that your colleagues will enjoy and your bosses will be happy with, you have to consider our programmes at TravelClef! While our programmes are guaranteed fun and engaging, it is also equipped with many team building deliverables and organizational skills.

How can people connect with you?
My email is [email protected] and I am very active on Facebook as well!
https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.christian.kwan

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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Nadia Al Sheikh, Founder & CEO of Flenco & Deal’n

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Nadia Al Sheikh has created a business module which incorporates philanthropy and business to empower others, and herself, she’s called her business Deal’n.

What’s your story?
My story is mirrored in my work. Flenco and our Singaporean eco skin care brand, “Flen” combines Dead Sea minerals from the lowest point of earth with Chinese medicine, which represents the wisdom and mystics of the east and these things represent my journey. I’m a single mother rediscovering my identity at a low point in life. Throughout my journey, determination, flexibility and assertiveness are the pillars of innovation. Thus Deal’n was born after years of groundwork in volunteering with various NGO’s and pursuing my masters degree. Transforming a vision, into a module that incorporates philanthropy and business, with tools to empower others and empower myself!

What excites you most about your industry?
The endless opportunities for improvement, innovation, creativity, free thinking which is mastered through interaction with other players in the market and customers creating a virtual place for brainstorming and the exchange of ideas. An evolving industry that challenges each and every person to use their skills, talents, expertise and utilise all their abilities to claim a slice of the pie.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Asia and specifically Singapore are my second home. It’s my spiritual and business safe haven that provides fair opportunities for everyone to succeed. If I was back in the Middle East as a single mother, I’m pretty sure my struggle would have been much longer and more difficult, however, it wouldn’t have stopped me from achieving my dreams. Singapore specifically empowered me professionally and Asia spiritually in redefining who I am as a person and understanding myself better.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, although it’s a very tough and competitive market for entrepreneurs to start a business, it provides them with support and motivation through grants, competitions and subsidising the cost of exhibiting or promotional events to promote their business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Success is measured by achieving your own personal goals and dreams and not what others think you should achieve.

Who inspires you?
Those who go unnoticed. From senior citizens, cleaning tables at food courts regardless of their wealth of knowledge and experience to single mothers, who are fighting everyday to overcome the social stigma and manage taking care of their children while earning an income. The amazing people who give their lives to start an NGO to empower others asking for nothing in return except the success of their beneficiaries, the humble members of our community that work in silence changing lives not for the spotlight but for their belief in making the world a better place.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
To step onto the balcony! In order to evaluate situations and understand people’s motivations from different perspectives and even to understand ourselves better we all need to step onto the balcony and become observers rather than participants. It gives you the power to see life through a variety of lenses.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d be wiser with my decisions, evaluate situations from different perspectives and believe in myself and my capabilities. That all came with experience and the ups and downs throughout my journey so I guess, to be who I am today I would have accepted the rough times and embraced them because they were my best teachers. So I wouldn’t undo the past but I am changing my future.

How do you unwind?
Meditation, exercising, listening to music, reading a book and a walk in the botanical gardens.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Maldives, I love the peace and harmony in the simplicity of what it offers; beautiful beaches and wonderful people.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Wisdom Of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Shameless plug for your business:
Deal’n provides opportunities for all members of the community to utilize their skills, talents, expertise, capabilities and abilities in various ways, aiming at empowering all users to become productive members of their community. Using the services of other users for all to grow and benefit, interact with each other through the Deal’n community, thus enhancing their self esteem, level of confidence and as a result, a more empathetic and happier community!

How can people connect with you?
Through my FB page Nadousheh, my email [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@nadiaalsheikh

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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