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Emad Ayad, Managing Director of Dot Design Group

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Emad Ayad started Dot Design Group in the design and marketing industry. E enjoys pushing boundaries and creating memorable products for his clients.

What’s your story?
My story started in 1993 when I was playing competitive basketball in Sydney. I met a fill-in player who only played one game and our 5 minute conversation changed my life. I asked him what he was studying and he said Industrial Design. I then went on to apply for an Industrial Design degree at Newcastle University in 1994.
4 years later I graduated and started my career in Design and Marketing in Sydney. 2 years in the industry I realised that I had the appetite to take on the world. Starting Dot Design Group Pty Ltd with a fellow Industrial Designer Mr Rabah Maraby we managed to secure business accounts with Nestle, Bacardi and News Corp, working from a humble 40sqm office in Sydney’s colourful Kings Cross. We have now been operating for 17 years with our head office in Sydney and equally impressive offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and St Louis USA. Our customer base now includes Diageo, Clorox, Coca Cola, Canon, News Corp, Moet Hennessy, AB Inbev, 7-Eleven and Bayer. We design and produce custom in-store display solutions that vary from branded utilitarian solutions to sexy standout marketing props.
One of our claims to fame is the world’s first cooler box (The iSEE Cooler Box) with a clear front window allowing customers to see what is on ice at the point of sale.
We design 100% of our creative work in Australia and prototype and produce 90% of the work in Asia using various accredited manufacturers.

What excites you most about your industry?
The marketing industry is always pushing boundaries to create standout memorable experiences for its target audiences and brands. Coupled with an ever-evolving manufacturing industry which enables designers to create unimaginable solutions for their customers.
The internet age means we can work with customers in multiple cities and countries and having Asia as our hub for manufacturing allows us to be competitive when it comes to cost of goods.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Initially it was manufacturing and now it is customers looking for great design solutions for their respective markets. We set up an office in Hong Kong and now have an office in Shenzhen with production staff.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is by far my favourite city for business with most of our customers having offices in Hong Kong. There is only 3 hours time difference between Sydney and Hong Kong and 9 hours by air so this means we can do business in real time. Did I mention the food?

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Having a sense of urgency in life is what keeps you ahead of the game.” Raff Ripoll.

Who inspires you?
My father. A successful businessman who did not finish his senior school due to family obligations in Lebanon. Leaving a small village at the age of 17 to start his life in Beirut in its hay day. Then migrated to Sydney in 1974 with his wife and 2 kids with only $500.00 to his name. Starting from scratch he worked every day to make an honest living creating a successful gardening business which he has sold 3 times.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The older I get the more I realise that it was never about the money. It is about my life journey and how I can share my knowledge and experiences with others.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would take more business risks knowing that if I fail I can always get back up again.

How do you unwind?
I go to the gym 6 days a week at 6am in the morning.
I like to go camping and spend time with my lovely wife, daughter and son.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City. The people are accommodating and very lovely considering their history.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Traction by Gino Wickman

Shameless plug for your business:
www.dotdesign.com.au
www.isee3dinnovation.com
www.inck.com.au
www.kurveproducts.com

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/emad-ayad-a7245314/

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

CallumConnectsCallum 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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