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Haris Siddique, Co-Founder of Artimization

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Haris Siddique set-up Artimization, Pakistan’s leading digital agency.

What’s your story?
To know more about the market, I joined a freelance portal and was able to win a contest of $50 on that portal. That achievement inspired me, and I with my co-founder started working enthusiastically to set up our business, Artimization.

After two to three years hard work, we along with our team were able to build a good reputation in the world of digital marketing. We are working in the development and design of applications and websites. We build customer`s corporate branding, we do creative design, packaging, animations and online marketing.

What excites you most about your industry?
There is plenty of opportunity to do things in your own way. If you are creative and have your own specific style, and you can pitch it to the clients, you will rock!

It’s innovative and unique. From marketing plans to designing, it’s imaginative, artistic and there is a focus on statistics. Besides creativity, we focus on being global. Connecting people around the world is a source of learning. You can become an expert in dealing with human psychology because this field gives you a one on one experience of dealing with humans in terms of branding according to their mindset, culture, and philosophies.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Pakistan. I spent my whole life here in the city of Karachi which is the metropolitan city of Pakistan. I established my business in Karachi because it is the media capital of Pakistan, 4 times bigger than New York, yet inexpensive to live and provides a platform to start new businesses with fewer investments and multiplied profit.

I have visited Dubai multiple times and I am inspired by their way of living and the commercial standards of Dubai. I loved the energy, always a vibrant and alive style of working there and I wish to establish my business in Dubai as well.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my choice because of the easy immigration process, easy business laws, and great market aspects. It is full of natural beauty that inspires the mind and a lot of proficient benefits like a wide spread of smartphones and numerous opportunities for people related to e-commerce business. Singapore is currently accommodating more than 3,600 active startups and has the strength for more as well. As my industry is marketing and design, Singapore has a good track record for advancing businesses related to gaming, social media, animation and design. That`s why I am attracted to it.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Don’t let your idea just stay in your mind and wait for the environment to be ready for you.”

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma (Alibaba Founder) started with a pay cheque of $12 a month and is now the richest man in China. He is a man who has impacted the entire economy and internet industry of China almost single-handedly.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Go to a random Wikipedia article, Click on the first link (skip parentheses). Repeat. You will always end up on “PHILOSOPHY”. I tried this with almost ten different searches from entirely different subjects and the result was same. This actually surprised me and along with that my love of reading philosophy related topics has increased as well.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
We all have limited time but we always wish for more. I am very fond of travelling but due to my work burden, family responsibilities and other life hassles I don’t get much time to travel. If ever I got my time back, I would have been a solo traveller during my college and university years and I would have started more businesses when I was younger.

How do you unwind?
I love travelling and I enjoy long drives. For relaxation, I plan exclusive trips to places where nature speaks its beauty. I love hill stations and tracking.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Singapore, Dubai and the northern areas of Pakistan. Singapore I like for its diverse, amazing and unique food, natural beauty, heart taking beaches and raw seafood. Dubai is great for festivals, shopping is great fun there and the commercial market is of a kind that you can learn a lot there. The northern areas of Pakistan are simple and full of natural life. Hospitality and the welcoming nature of the people will surely win your heart. Places like Kashmir, Nathiagali, Kalam, Kaghan and Naran are full of natural beauty, green belts and tracking is plenty of fun.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen.

Shameless plug for your business:
We do Quora management and link building through Quora for any brand. When services or products are too technical and we know that we cannot get replies to our questions, my media manager always mixes the question with any social matter or beauty related topic to get satisfactory traffic.

How can people connect with you?
I am available at my office which is in Karachi. International clients and people living other than Karachi can contact via email address. Clients can also generate queries on the company website. I am very active on Facebook and Instagram and use Quora and Skype as well.

Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harissiddique
Website: www.artimization.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harisiddique/

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

Callum Connects

Denise Morris Kipnis, Founder & Principal of ChangeFlow Consulting

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Denise Mossis Kipnis’ curiosity in people and the world, lead her to set up ChangeFlow Consulting.

What’s your story?
I’m driven by curiosity. Having been the only one in a room who looks like me for most of my life, I developed a curiosity about who stays, who leaves and who thrives in minority/majority situations including when and how connection and collaboration happen. I was a systems thinker long before I knew what that was, always asking why and so what; and seeing the pieces, the whole, and the places in between. So helping people and organisations move through the complexity of transformation feels natural to me.

What excites you most about your industry?
I see change and inclusion as two sides of the same thing; I don’t practice one without the other. Some people see change as death, as loss, as exhausting. And it can be. But I see in the work I do as an opportunity for something new or hidden to emerge. When an organisation understands that it is first a group of people, who themselves represent and belong to groups of people, and it begins to tackle what it would mean to understand and learn from all that talent, all that diversity, to have them all working for and not against the organisation, to truly unleash all that their people have to offer; that’s magic.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Change and inclusion are personal values as well as professional strengths. For me, living and working outside of the States was a bold experiment to see whether any of the stuff I’d learned about change and inclusion would work outside of the US. My husband and I targeted Asia specifically: it would be the greatest contrast, culturally speaking, for me; and a unique career springboard for him.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Although I’ve practiced in other cities, I am biased towards Singapore. In some ways it’s what Los Angeles is to the rest of the United States, a microcosm of sorts. The regional/global nature of it means that so many different nationalities and cultures are represented. As a result of this mix, you never know what you might get. In some situations, cultural dynamics are obvious, sometimes subdued. The variability is compelling.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” Michael Rouan.

Who inspires you?
Often it’s a “what” not a “who.” I can get inspiration from a passage in a book or a situation in a movie, as well as a turn of a phrase or watching people interact. I often make the biggest connections between the various threads I’m working on when I’m sitting in someone else’s event.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m honestly not blown away by much. Instead, I’m struck how circular things can be: ideas often come back around with a slightly different twist and I watch the way it shakes things loose for people. I recently sat through a workshop on Self as Instrument, and despite being thoroughly versed already, I learned something. In preparing for a panel on design thinking, I unearthed a new language to describe things.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
You’ve caught me at a good time. I’m sitting in appreciation and gratitude for all my experiences, because I wouldn’t be who I was today if all that has happened, didn’t. And yet one thing comes to mind: It wasn’t until I redesigned my website two years ago (shout out to Brew Creative!) that I realised I hadn’t made explicit agreements with my past clients as to what I could share publicly about our engagement, or whether I could use their logos in my promotional materials. In my business, confidentiality is so important, and yet I need to be able to talk about the work as reputation and experience leads to the next success, and so on. It turned out a lot of the contacts I had known had left the organisations where the work was done, so they couldn’t help at that point. So the practice I’m carrying forward is to get those agreements up front, and to make sure my relationships in client systems are broad as well as deep.

How do you unwind?
Science fiction, puzzles, wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. I don’t travel to relax, I travel to learn and explore.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Built to Change, by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. To my knowledge, it’s the first pivot from advising organisations away from stability and toward dynamism, from strategic planning to strategizing as an action verb; to blow up the traditions and rigidity that impede organisations from developing change capability.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re taught that there are two kinds of people: those who see forests, and those who see trees. There is a third type, my type, and we see the ecosystem. Worms, climate, birds, the spaces in between. This is the perspective organisations need to be successful in solving complex problems and thriving in change.
ChangeFlow uniquely blends four disciplines (two of which are multi-disciplinary in themselves): organisation development, culture and inclusion, change management and project management.

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeFlowConsulting/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmorriskipnis/
LinkedIn Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4862954/
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.changeflowconsulting.com

Twitter handle?
@ChangeFlow

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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Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

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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