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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah, Co-founder of With Love

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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. He later travelled to Melbourne where he furthered his studies. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in Engineering with specializations in electrical and computer systems in 2005. He then started his career at Intel Malaysia in 2006 as a software engineer and then took on the role of a project manager later. Euwing found love and married Teh Win Nee on March 13th, 2010 whom he had met at Excel Point Community Church in Penang. In July 2012, Euwing quit his job at Intel to pursue my passion for mobile app development and videography. His wife, Win Nee followed three months later, and the two started With Love together.

Tell us about With Love, what do you guys do?

“Photo, Video, App” which translates to photography, videography and mobile app development. We started With Love with videography, producing short films especially for weddings, events and corporate. Win Nee turned her interest into business when she started selling cakes and such. Then, we added mobile app development into our portfolio by developing apps for companies, organisations, and even just fun stuff like games. Only just recently we added photography into our list of services which also includes party booths.

So what led to its’ birth?

Our company name is With Love, and our motto is “Do everything with love”. Because we believe that God is Love (1 John 4:8), and that God is always with us, when we do anything with love (1 Cor 16:14), we are doing everything with God. We started off with videography, but we knew we would expand the business so we made sure the name was scalable, and thus we did not to include our own names. From With Love, we introduced Bake With Love, Party Booths With Love and Apps With Love.

With Love officially started in 2011. It all happened when Win Nee, who also worked in Intel Malaysia as an Internal Communication Specialist, was asked by her manager to capture an event using a video camera. On the morning of the event, when she was supposed to arrive at 8am, my alarm clock didn’t wake us up until8am! Panicked, we quickly got up, washed up, and drove as fast as possible. It still took us an hour to get there but thank God, she wasn’t late because the event hasn’t started! She wasn’t feeling well so she passed me the video camera instead, and that got me interested in videography! Little did we know that that was a defining moment in our lives!

A couple of months later, despite little experience, and learning all about videography only from YouTube, we splurged on several professional videography equipments. Our financial status weren’t great then, especially after the wedding and the purchase of a home, but I knew it was something that God wanted us to do, so despite that, we did it. In 2011, we started working in the weekends shooting weddings as a part time. In the middle of 2011, there was opportunity to shoot and produce videos for Intel, so I volunteered. There were multiple projects at Intel but there was a special one, which was a short film that was entirely written, directed, and edited by us. All that took a toll on our weekends which led to us missing church services on Sunday.

On one occasion in church, God spoke to me and said that I should leave my full time. Although it was a calling, we weren’t prepared because where would we get the finances to support us? Exactly eight months later, missing church for all of those weekends, the pastor who married us, Pastor Mei Soon, sent me an SMS, “Hi Euwing, how are you? Haven’t seen you for AGES! Are both of you keeping well? Hope to see you in church soon 🙂 God bless!”. Exactly an hour later, Pastor Sam Surendran, our senior pastor left me an SMS, which reads, “Hi Euwing. Greetings to you. How are you? This morning as I prayed, I felt a burden for you. I have not seen you in church. I have not seen Win Nee even longer. Is all okay with you? Praying for you!”. The messages were timely! And no, they didn’t plan to send it together. It just felt like God has spoken to them to remind us about church and although we weren’t planning to go that Sunday, we did because of the SMS-es! The message in church that weekend was the exact same message I heard eight months ago, to take the step of faith and leave my full time! This time, I knew it was truly God! It was crystal clear and without denying God’s will again, we made our plans to leave. Within a few months, I had left and then she followed.

God has blessed us tremendously ever since! With the ability to manage our own time and with more time on our hands, we traveled to a few countries in Middle East and many more in Europe for 2.5 months. We have also managed to increase our savings! It is truly God’s abundance of blessings!

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How was the reception for With Love initially?

We had friends who were very supportive of With Love from the start, giving us the honour to be a part of their wedding. Our first paid wedding was a Christian couple. We knew it was from God. Time and time again He reminded us that He is always with us, and that this is His will for us. Very soon, we were shooting weddings all around Malaysia. On our very first year, we covered almost 30 weddings, and on top of that, we produced more than 30 videos for events and corporate. It was an outstanding first year!

How did you market it initially?

It’s all social media nowadays! So it was Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. We also had a blog but we weren’t serious about it and left it alone after the first few months. It’s actually a good marketing tool but we just didn’t have time for it. Later, we bought our own domain, and hosted our website and blog. We still don’t update it as much as we like but it’s good enough. I’m currently working on a mobile app which will allow our potential customers to view our work from anywhere!

Did you find any particular aspect of working on With Love challenging?

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

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How is the videography industry like in Malaysia?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur. We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

How do you guys manage to stay relevant in this industry?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur.

We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

Are you guys working on anything new at the moment?

We’re in the midst of bringing With Love over to Australia. We are working with photographers, videographers and even wedding planners here. We hope to start offering our videography services here in Australia as soon as next year. We will ramp down on videography in Malaysia to focus on mobile app development. We’re in the midst of working with several Malaysian startups who needs assistance in mobile app development. We will expand both the businesses as much as we can.

Why did you choose the path of an entrepreneur?

One of the defining moments in my life is a visit to a church in Singapore. Most of them run their own business, which means they have full control of their time. They can do whatever they want whenever. They can take however much time they need for church ministry, and on other times, they will use it to earn a living. It has changed my perception of life! Think about it. An occupation is just to occupy one’s time. It shouldn’t be taking up most of the hours of one’s life! Ever since that trip, I was on the look out for something that will help sustain us without our full time and thank God He brought videography into our lives. We believe strongly that it is God’s calling for us to step out, and videography is just to help us sustain it. We’re sure that He’s got greater plans for us!

Do you attribute your results so far to any particular principle that you have?

First and foremost, we believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. Our motto from 1 Cor 16:14 which says, “Do everything with love” is our main motivation. We strive to serve and we want to serve with love.

Money is not everything. It is important but it shouldn’t be the main motivation or end goal. I’ve seen opportunities missed because of money. I’ve seen relationships break down because of money. I’ve seen rich people who has made it but are still looking. Money doesn’t fill the void in us. If we’re running for money, we will never stop running! I strongly believe in 1 Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us”. This very much relates to what I’ve mentioned earlier about the use of the words, “should have” and “shouldn’t have”. I always believe that when God closes a door, it means it is not the right time for it now, but He will surely have another one open at the perfect time. We just have to keep knocking and knocking. There’s no harm in knocking, so why not knock? There’s no harm in trying, so why not try? If we fail, we will learn, and move on with it the experience of failing. We would then know one way that will not work. We should try a different way. If we don’t try, we will never know if there was a door opened for us or if we’re able to go through it, and we will never know what fails and what doesn’t. There’s really nothing to gain in not trying but there’s so much to lose. As mentioned earlier, experience is priceless!

I always think with the end in mind, especially in difficult situations. Thinking, and pondering about a difficult situation will not get you anywhere, and in fact may cast more doubts and affect your performance. Focusing on the end goal is most important. For example, it is tough getting on stage and speaking to hundreds of people, but there’s really no point in answering questions such as, “What if I embarrass myself? What if they think it’s a foolish idea? What if they laugh at me?”. Instead, focus on what you’ll have to say, and focus on the end goal, which is to deliver the speech. In just a matter of minutes, the speech would be done, you’d be breathing a sigh of relief, and you’d be off the stage! Be positive and let not negative thoughts rule

Words of advice for entrepreneurs out there.

Compete with yourself! Once you’re satisfied with a result, set a higher expectation for the next one, then try to exceed that new expectation. Throughout the whole process, you will learn to be creative, and it will give you the drive to further improve and better yourself. If a person is satisfied where they are, they will slowly be complacent and lose the motivation to go further. It will just be downhill from there.

If it’s money you’re after, stay in the corporate world and climb the corporate ladder. Yes, we’ve heard of many entrepreneurs doing well, making it great, but do you know that the majority of us fail? It’s safer with the steady income, and with the benefits, you can save. If you think it’s all great being your own boss, think again, cause without a steady income, you’ll not know how to pay the rent, the bills, or even putting food on the table!

We all go through ups and downs, and sometimes, it could be down for a long time and it would discourage you, but always remember the answers to these questions – What was the defining moment in your life that made you do what you do? Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose in life?

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Connect with Euwing Tham and With Love today:
Website: http://withlove.my/
Facebook: http://facebook.withlove.my/

Callum Connects

Trung Nguyen, Founder & Managing Director of Advertising Vietnam

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Having initial success with his first start up in the ad industry, Trung Nguyen went on to start other ventures in the ad world in Vietnam. He now has the largest agency community in Vietnam.

What’s your story?
Three years ago I got my first job in the advertising industry. I worked for a local agency in town, and I fell in love with the creative industry. In June 2015, I founded Agency Life Community in Vietnam. It quickly became the most engaging community in the ad industry. The main content focuses on entertainment. After six months we had over 30,000 organic followers, now we have 120,000 followers.

Because the industry had been good to me, I decided I had to something for the industry to help the industry be better. So, I opened http://AdvertisingVietnam.com – a creative industry ad site which keeps advertising informative, creative and inspiring.

After more than a year in the ads industry in Vietnam, I figured the industry needed a better solution for the recruitment of good staff. Given I own the largest advertising community platform, why don’t I utilise Agency Life to help connect talent with ad agencies. So, I founded job site, AdJob.Asia in January 2017.

What excites you most about your industry?
The ad industry is a creative one with very passionate people who are always challenging themselves. The exciting part for creatives, in the morning they might be working on a baby brand and in the afternoon they are answering a beer brief. There is so much diversity. Every day is the new journey.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am Vietnamese.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Thailand. The Thais are the kings of the creative industry in SEA. Thai ads are very smart and creative.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do what you love.

Who inspires you?
My friend, mentor and partner Mr Nghi Nguyen, founder of BrandsVietnam.com. We started our businesses at a similar time. He doesn’t see us as a competitor but rather, he believes that we share the same passion and we are working to provide better knowledge for the ad community.
Mr Nghi also guided me a lot when I first opened the business. I am inspired by his vision to make our marketing industry better.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Our business is a startup company and as a founder I do everything from operations, business development, planning and strategy. However, this is not the good way grow our business. You have to share the workload – find a co-founder or hire a great employee to help share the workload. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Quit my full time job sooner.
During the first year of running my business, I was still working as an ad manager for an agency. However I lacked focus at work due to the overload of work and it affected the company I used to work for. I strongly recommend people who have an idea to start their own business, quit their job early on and focus 100% on it from the get go!

How do you unwind?
Play with my cat.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love to travel throughout all of Asia. I enjoy new places and meeting new people.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Carpenter: A story about the greatest success strategies of all.

Shameless plug for your business:
AdvertisingVietnam.com is a site where you can quickly update yourself on the advertising news in Vietnam. We have 15,000 unique monthly readers who are professional people in the advertising and communications industries.

The Agency Life, https://www.facebook.com/agencylife is largest agency community in Vietnam. This is the right place for ad agencies to share their creative work.

AdJob.Asia now has more than 160 agencies in Vietnam who use our services. We are a leading recruitment service for the advertising industry in Vietnam.

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trungnx26
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trungnx26/

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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Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Minette Navarrete, Co-Founder, Vice-Chairman, and President of Kickstart Ventures

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is our interview with Minette Navarrete, Co-Founder, Vice-Chairman, and President of Kickstart Ventures. Kickstart is an investment firm that funds early-stage digital startups, providing capital, incubation and mentoring, and market access.  Minette has held CEO/COO positions in various industries, ranging from Philippine startups to iconic multinationals.

What makes you do what you do?
I’m keenly interested in innovation and ecosystem development, and committed to contributing to nation-building. I love that my job combines all of that, and allows me to leverage all my past experiences into a new role that creates value for founders and fund-providers alike.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Counter-intuitively! I don’t have a background in tech; nor do I have a long history of venture investing. My skill sets are in strategy, general management, and marketing; and my experience has largely been in innovation and business turnaround. But I have a broad range of work experience (FMCG, apparel, property, and online game publishing in a startup), and that has helped inform my views. More than anything, though, Kickstart has made this progress because of the trust of our principals, and the initiative of a wonderful team. Truly, people make the difference.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
All throughout my career, I’ve only taken on difficult roles. There’s little growth in a role that is easy; and the challenges are what makes a role worth doing.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I’ve had the benefit of a number of good mentors through my career.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
First off: I have had both male and female mentors. Generally, I’ve met mentors in work situations: i.e. they started out being an immediate superior, or being on my Board of Directors. The close work association evolved as both sides found the experience productive, intellectually satisfying, and fun.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
Mostly through the same process: nothing compares to actually working together. That said, with more and more experience, I think people develop a sharper instinct about talent, and the potential for development. It’s also important to build the relationship over time, and to invest in actively supporting talent by both seeing things through their eyes as well as helping them find other lenses with which to view the situation they find themselves in.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
Yes, we care about diversity, although the primary filter for Kickstart is always ability and performance. Many studies have shown that diverse teams are closely correlated to better results; and given the kind of work we do, it’s important that we all sharpen our ability to deal with varied types of people and situations.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
It’s important to be trustworthy, especially given that venture investing deals with the highest-risk asset class. Trust is earned through competence, diligence, honesty, clarity, and courage.

Advice for others?
I say this a lot: Build strong foundations. Be clear about your values, principles, and priorities. Volunteer for the toughest jobs. Do the unsexy stuff. And work with conviction, commitment, courage, and honour. None of this is particularly glamorous, and they don’t deliver instantaneous results, but the value-creation is real, authentic, and sustainable over a longer period.


If you’d like to get in touch with Minette Navarrete, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/minettenavarrete/

To learn more about Kickstart Ventures , please click here.

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