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Joseph Germani, Founder of Germani Productions

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Joseph Germani is the famous internet celebrity that Malaysians across the country have come to adore and recognize, primarily through Youtube videos that he passionately produces and stars in. Despite having rose to prominence in the entertainment scene and achieving stardom, very few people know that Joseph is a self-made man who came from humble beginnings.

Originally, a student who was pursuing his studies in Interior Design, Joseph’s life began to take an unexpected turn when he began to experiment with YouTube. With nothing else but a small room, an adequate camera and a voice that wants to be heard, Joseph began making and posting videos on YouTube in 2011. His commitment, quick wit, incredible sense of humour and knack for video production was quickly recognized by many who had seen his work online. Within a span of a few short years, Joseph quickly rose to forefront of the YouTube scene in Malaysia. Widely celebrated today, Joseph continues to make videos, a passion that had now led to a successful full time profession.

The Asian Entrepreneur interviews Joseph today, who shares a few words about his journey, his thoughts on the YouTube scene in Malaysia.

In your own words what do you do, Joseph?
I would say I post videos on YouTube with contents based on my personality. With those, I say what I feel is right or wrong. Basically, my point of views in different situations.

How did it all start for you?
I wanted to join a “Apprentice” inspired reality web series, so I sent in a 1 minute video telling why I deserve to join the show. Yeah, they didn’t pick me and that spiralled into this.

Could you walk us through the process of how you got into the Youtube scene?
Well let’s see. I mean, as for me, it wasn’t something as highlighted in my life in the beginning. It was fun being recognised on the streets for some videos I made, but I didn’t really take it as a serious thing, until I have decided on pursuing YouTube.

Generally, the YouTube scene was interesting at first, because I tend to say things that people don’t usually dare to voice out, and of course when that happens, the party that felt threatened, starts typing out comments to defend their point of view, which was fine! It’s fun, I like healthy arguments. Proves that there’s different people in the world.

What would you say are the major perks of being in the scene?
I get to meet so many idols, and the awesome thing is, they knew who I was and what I do online. So, that’s really awesome.

Did you find anything particularly difficult initially and how did you overcome it?
For me, the biggest challenge was going through things that an entrepreneur must go through. I mean, I studied interior design, so I have limited knowledge on what to do, to sustain a company or even especially dealing with YouTube and the Advertising and Marketing scene in Malaysia. But through trial and error, and a few books, I sort of got the hang of how things are done; so really putting those things into practice, is what got me here now.

How do you find the Youtube industry in Malaysia?
So far, so good, I mean, I think the beauty of it, is that you can find so many different type of things on YouTube, and everyone has different taste. All I see is the future of YouTube in Malaysia is going to be bright, if the right people with the right attitude comes into the community.

Do you think there are major differences in the approach to entertainment in Malaysia as compared to the West?
There certainly is, I think Malaysia is still a blue ocean when it comes to entertainment, there’s so many sectors unfilled, unexplored. So I hope this generation would take control, and gear our entertainment industry to a higher entertainment level.

What can we expect from Joseph Germani in the next few years?
I think, hopefully I will initiate what I have in plan. Trust me, it might change the Malaysian entertainment industry in a exciting way. But the pyramids aren’t built in a day, so let’s hope that I could do everything I can do make that happen!

What are some personal principles or personal values that guide you and your career?
Believe in yourself, don’t get shot down; in fact, dream big.

What is your definition of success?
The moment when you finish something, you take up a cup of tea, staring at what you’ve done, and feeling good about it.

What is the secret to good entertainment?
I can’t tell you yet. It would be spoiling it for everyone! It’s better to know less, and feel entertained!

In your opinion, what are the key to success?
Discipline, and good health. Both, I am trying to achieve. Getting more work done, and more sleep!

Connect
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/GermaniProductions
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheJosephGermani
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mistergermani
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jgermani

Entrepreneurship

The 6 Habits of Amazing Leaders

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Great leaders all seem to have this commanding and magnetic force about them that follows them in and out of each room they enter. It’s that something that you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe it’s charisma, ambition, drive or personality. In many ways, it’s probably a little bit of all those things, which is why great leaders always seem to be the total package.

But it’s also accurate to say that these effective leaders didn’t just wake up one day with all of these skills and expertise. On the contrary: any good leader knows that, in order to be effective, you need to make time for personal growth and develop good habits that hone these skills.

There are many lists out there with great suggestions, but we’ve put together the six most important habits of truly effective leaders.

1. Lead without title.

Some of the best leaders out there got themselves started by stepping up in the work place and self-leading. Having personal initiative is the key to personal professional growth and turning your methods and attitudes into a productive and, at times, commanding presence. This doesn’t mean arrogance. In fact, it really means the opposite.

As you continue to grow and develop as a leader — and actually gain titles — it’s important to remember where you came from. In this way, you can identify other individuals under your leadership that exhibit the same type of self-motivation you did. Be understanding and welcome failure as you lead. If you don’t get caught up on your title in the workplace, you’ll foster an environment that encourages inquiry and innovation.

2. Take responsibility.

And when failure does indeed happen, don’t create a scapegoat. You’re the leader of the group, and you are responsible for that group. Take this moment as an opportunity to teach and mentor those around you instead of assigning blame. You’ll keep the work environment productive and positive this way, and encourage more and better dialogue between your team members.

Remember: failure is ultimately necessary for truly great success, because it serves as one of the best teaching tools out there. Knowing you support them, no matter what, will allow your team to really get creative.

3. Think outside the box.

Leaders are innovators — there’s no question about it. Really effective leaders tend to look at things in very different ways than most people, and they encourage those they work with to do the same.

This also means reframing an idea once the first attempt has failed. If you can continually inspire flexibility, invention and adjustment — and treat them as positives — you will sit among truly world-class leaders like Steve Jobs of Apple, Sheryl Sandburg of Facebook or Reed Hastings of Netflix.

4. Have a vision and objective that’s shareable.

Nevertheless, this innovation and out-of-the-box thinking has to be easily communicated to your team. You not only need to be clear, organized and honest, but you also need to be a persuasive communicator that’s adept at listening to grievances, questions and feedback (without arrogance).

If your grand vision can’t be shared and adopted by the team you’ll be working with, the likelihood of success is virtually non-existent. There’s a reason why leaders have a team: people are stronger together.

5. Don’t be afraid to delegate.

Working together with others means that, as a leader, you recognize you can’t do everything by yourself. The best leaders learn to delegate and the most effective daily habits of business leaders focus on ways to involve the whole team. Accounting for the importance of effectively organizing and delegating tasks not only makes others feel included, but is essential for the daily functioning of your business.

6. Find time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Finally: remember that all this talk of productivity is useless if you’re feeling burned out, or less than 100%. It’s extremely important for strong leaders to make sure they maintain a work/life equilibrium. Don’t shy away from physical activity or time off. These two things are extremely important for maintaining your sanity and health.

Practice daily meditation exercises, and make sure you take time to disconnect. This also sets a great example for your entire team and has a ripple effect. If they understand that you place importance on self-care, then they’re likely to practice the same methods — which will make everyone more productive in the end.

If you’re toying with the idea of a leadership position, take the plunge! Be a self-starter and inspire others. Leadership can be difficult, it’s true, but the results of carrying a team successfully through a project and inspiring them to step into new roles themselves is extremely rewarding. It will also give you the opportunity to push your limits and grow personally and professionally.

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About The Author:

This article was written by Kayla Matthews, an editor of Productivity Theory.Kayla is a freelance writer, blogger and topic researcher and, because I want to churn out tons of articles and blog posts every week, I have to manage my time as efficiently as possible. I use lots of Google Sheets, Google Calendar reminders, tons of apps and lots and lots of personally cultivated habits to stay on top of everything.

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Callum Connects

Andrew Schorr, Founder of Grata

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Taking a different route throughout his life, Andrew Schorr ended up in China and started several businesses.

What’s your story?
I moved to China after I graduated from college in 2004. English teaching was the easiest way to get there, so I looked on a map and picked a small town in Hubei, because it looked to be more or less in the middle of China. I was the only foreigner there.

Back then, everything was about the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, so I moved to the capital after my year of teaching. Pretty soon after arriving, I met the co-founder for all three of my companies. We decided to start a company together the first day we met. He has now moved back to the US and builds flight software at SpaceX.

Our first company, an online city guide, was re-purposed into our second company, GuestOps, a web concierge platform. We sold GuestOps to most of the major international hotel brands in China and still operate it. The genesis of our latest company, Grata came from looking at the intersection of hotels and WeChat in 2012, when WeChat was just starting to blow up. Grata expanded from hotels into a live-agent customer service console.

What excites you most about your industry?
Our thesis with Grata has always been that what is happening with WeChat in China is the future of messaging platforms globally, and as an international team building on WeChat, we would be well-placed to capitalize on that trend. It’s taken longer than we expected for the industry (and us, for that matter) to get there, but finally, we’re starting to see messaging as a platform to get better traction in other markets.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. I grew up in Texas, where all my friends studied Spanish in school. I studied German for no reason in particular. I took a similar path in college: Chinese and Japanese seemed like languages that not a lot of people who look like me studied. I was one of only two students in my third-year Chinese class.

Concur conference in San Francisco, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (Photo by Paul Sakuma, Paul Sakuma Photography) www.paulsakuma.com

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Shanghai. I should live there, but Beijing has been home for so long. I take the night train down to Shanghai every two-three weeks to meet with clients. Domestic flights are way too unreliable here.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t plan too far ahead; otherwise, you plan yourself out of good opportunities.

Who inspires you?
Has anyone said “Elon Musk” yet? Barack Obama would be another.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The gravitational waves recently detected from neutron stars colliding, were so subtle as to only affect the distance from earth to our closest star, Alpha Centauri (4.24 light years away) by the width of a human hair. Perhaps in another life or in the future, I’ll be an astronomer, but a telescope doesn’t do me much good in Beijing.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
When I give advice to students looking to get into entrepreneurship, I advise them to work for a post-Series A startup first and learn from a company that’s already doing things well. I learnt everything on my own, which is slower and you pay for your own education. If you work for a startup that’s small in the beginning, you risk learning bad habits.

How do you unwind?
I Hash! The Hash is a drinking club with a running problem. The Hash attracts good people from all walks of life and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a great way to meet fun-loving people all over the world. It’s also how I met my co-founder, our first lawyer, and my girlfriend.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia. A fantastic beach and where I first learned to scuba dive.

Everyone in business should read this book:
For business in China, Tim Clissold’s, Mr. China.

Shameless plug for your business:
Grata does WeChat contact centers for many top-tier brands in luxury retail, travel, financial services and hospitality. We started developing on WeChat before they even had an open platform. Grata provides the most value for large enterprises with complex routing and content demands for their contact centers.

How can people connect with you?
Check out www.grata.co or email me: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
My personal handle is @andrew_schorr and we tweet about messaging from the company handle @grata_co.

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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