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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

Sun Ho, Founder of LittleLives Inc

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Sun Ho has an edtech business, LittleLives. She’s helping turn complex school operations into simple and enjoyable processes.

What’s your story?
I’m just a small town girl who won’t stop believing.
Someone recently told me that the curious little 10-year-old girl in me is still shining through with excitement for the world today. Although, now, instead of being curious about how things work, I am interested in how we can solve real world problems. Today, I get to learn and build everyday on our dream to turn complex school operations into simple and enjoyable processes.

What excites you most about your industry?
Have you been to a preschool lately? In our day-to-day, we get to hear the wonderful laughter of children. We see the innocent smiles of our little ones, who learn as they play. We meet the tirelessly loving educators, leaders and parents who give their best. These are the people we serve everyday at LittleLives. It excites us greatly to be in an industry that meaningfully impacts the future of our world. When we see a new feature we have implemented in our system helping to shave off minutes or hours of administrative work for schools (and put a smile on many faces), it is deeply satisfying.

What’s your connection to Asia?
LittleLives started in Singapore. We have since expanded to multiple cities in Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Everywhere we go, we gain unique insights about different cultures. One thing that remains unchanged around the world is the passion to improve education. This includes the desire to refine school processes too. I absolutely love the people I work with, in schools and in my own team overseas. They have taught me so much about their cultures and countries.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It is so hard to choose one. We love Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Beijing and pretty much every city we have visited. Setting up in multiple Asian cities has really become faster and more transparent than ever before. What a time to be alive and working on a startup, and even more so for a young woman in Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be true to yourself.

As a woman and as the founder of a tech startup, I have heard the many ways in which people express their surprise that I do not fit into – for lack of a better word – the norm. I am my own mix of feminine and geeky. I have a computer science background that I am passionate about and, at the same time, I love fun aesthetics and product development. Technology is an industry in which venture capitalists traditionally favour white, male founders as the stats show a concentration of success in this small demographic. Despite this, I have found that the people around me will respect me for being me because I let my personality and passion take the stage.

Who inspires you?
Beth Fredericks, the Executive Director at Wheelock College. She is a wonderful educator, leader and orator. At 67, she is as active as any young teacher and as wise as the oldest, most experienced professor. She has inspired so many early childhood educators with her stories, her teaching and above all, her warmth and delightful personality. She has contributed so much to the early childhood field here in Asia, and all over the world, over the span of her illustrious career. Her charm and kind heart makes her one of the most sought-after collaborators in our industry today. Yet, she remains humble, approachable and personable. Her enthusiasm for education and children, coupled with her infectious humour, are what I aspire to.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
What continues to blow me away every time I witness it, is incredible potential that can be unlocked when a great team comes together. When you put together bright, experienced, communicative and open-minded people in a team, miracles can happen.

Creative ideas that were recently put forth in a small ad-hoc project team are now being turned into a new product that LittleLives will soon offer. When we first began discussions, we had no idea where they would take us; the only thing we knew definitively was that we wanted to help educators gain better access to resources to help them in their everyday classroom. It all fell into place when our team started brainstorming ideas that were based on the problems we knew were present in early childhood education.

Now, we have the trial version of a new module, LittleAcademy, and I am in awe of how all of this came together. I would like to quote Margaret Mead here, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
To be honest, I would not change a thing. We made so many mistakes when we started this journey, but the lessons we learnt from our failures are what make us stronger today.

On a related note, there is this beautiful quote from Batman Begins:
Thomas Wayne asked, “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

How do you unwind?
It is important for us to allow our body, mind and soul to unwind and recharge. Badminton is my go-to exercise. I play twice weekly to keep fit and nimble. Recently I have picked up Yoga Nidra with an excellent instructor who has opened my eyes to all the good that meditation does for our minds.

Beyond this, I find that spending time with my loved ones, friends and teammates helps me feel grounded and loved.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I travelled to China twice last year and truly fell in love with the country. It provides such a rich variety of experiences, from culture and art, to commerce and tech. I was in a constant state of amazement. It is a fast advancing nation that I really enjoy my time in, both learning and relaxing with the people I meet.

Everyone in business should read this book:
High Output Management by Andrew Grove, late CEO and Chairman of Intel. This is a book written in the 90s, but its ideas are still very much applicable to businesses today.

Andy lays out what you need to do to successfully manage your business in simple and concise terms. This does not mean that it is easy to grow as successfully as Intel did, but the book shows us that the path to greatness is apparent. What I personally love about this book is that it presents its ideas both logically and emotionally without judgement.

On the issue of an underperforming teammate, Andy offers a very simple explanation:
“When a person is not doing his job, there can only be two reasons for it. The person either can’t do it or won’t do it; he is either not capable or not motivated.”

And as a manager, all you can do is to train and motivate.

This is an excellent review of the book by Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz: https://a16z.com/2015/11/13/high-output-management/
I highly recommend this book to all entrepreneurs.

Shameless plug for your business:
LittleLives is a leading preschool edtech company with a strong presence in over 700 schools in Singapore, 20 in Vietnam, 130 in China and 100 in Malaysia. LittleLives develops and provides applications that allow preschools to record children’s administrative records digitally, from attendance-taking to portfolio management. In addition to reducing the hassle of physical filing and documentation, the LittleLives system allows parents to keep track of the progress of their children’s learning at school through LittleLives parents’ app.

As an edtech company, LittleLives does more than facilitate day-to-day school operations. In 2017, LittleLives hosted the first ever International Pre-school Conference in Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by educators representing 1200 preschools in the region. LittleLives has helped over 215,000 children, 430,000 parents and 23,000 teachers bring schools into the 21st century and we are hoping to continue empowering many more around the world.

Reach out to us if you are involved in education or entrepreneurship. We’re always happy to chat!

How can people connect with you?
Just drop me an email at [email protected].

Twitter handle?
With so much to say, 140 characters is not enough. Hence, it is best to follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/littlelivesbigdreams), Instagram (littlelives_inc), YouTube (youtube.com/user/hosunSG), and check out our LittleLives Blog (blog.littlelives.com) to get to know us better!

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 – Daphne Ng, CEO of JEDTrade

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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.)

Daphne Ng is the CEO of JEDTrade, a blockchain technology company focused on trade, supply chain, and financial inclusion projects in ASEAN. She is also the Scretary-General at ACCESS and Exco. of Singapore Fintech Association

What makes you do what you do?
I was introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 after I left my corporate banking career after 10 years. It was my mentor who first got me interested in this technology, which I then went on to delve further into, on its potential applications in the lending and trade finance space – domains where I came from.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Being in the space for 2 years and actively involved in the ecosystem, I was able to bring on the projects, network and a good degree of thought leadership in this vertical. Early on in the startup journey, our team faced many challenges. And to me, the key to rising above failures are two essential factors – resilience and support. While resilience is innate, I received a lot of help be it in terms of connections or advice. ‘Nobody succeeds without help’ rings very true for me.

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)?
From the start, I focused on my domain expertise in trade finance and the application construct of how blockchain and DLT can be applied to these use cases. Also, my strategy from the start was to build a technology company made up of 80% tech and engineers, which is also our key competitive advantage today. At the end of the day, deliverables are about strategy and execution, which includes building and leading an ‘A’ team.

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 have many mentors, which includes our company advisors (all of whom are well-known in this industry) and mostly informal mentors I meet via my connections, and on various occasions and circumstances. Creating opportunities also means putting myself in the right place, at the right time. And in my case, these were mostly organic and genuine friendships formed from the initial connection.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
To me, a match in values is very important. It also takes humility to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice, which is important in order for mentorships to be successful – be it formal or informal.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I love this question! I am passionate about building strong teams and helping my people grow. I abide by the 3Rs when identifying talents: resourcefulness, resilience and right values. And then I invest in the ‘potential’ and this means giving them room to lead, make decisions and take risks.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
My support of diverse talents, skillsets and characters can be seen in the make-up of our core team – all helming specific roles and each bringing their own value to the table. We need the sum of all parts to build a great company.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Great leaders emerge in times of failures and challenges, never abandoning the team, and always putting the team’s interests before her own. And I consciously live by these mottos every day.

Advice for others?
My advice to other entrepreneurs: be resolute and dare to be different. If you are going to follow others, then you will end up on the same path as them. No right or wrong; but I would rather chart my own path. This June, we are officially launching our blockchain project, Jupiter Chain (www.jupiterchain.tech), which have garnered much interest in the industry, even before we made it public. We believe this project is the epitome of marrying innovation with practical implementation, and we want to be the first to truly operationalize blockchain for our ecosystem projects in this region.


If you’d like to get in touch with Daphne Ng, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-ng-%E9%BB%84%E7%91%9E%E7%8E%B2/

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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