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Karen Farzam, Founder of W Hub

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From equity trading, to non for profits and now raising funds, Karen loves the buzz of being an entrepreneur in the vibrant city of Hong Kong.

What’s your story?
I am a third culture kid who found my passion in Hong Kong. I switched my career from trading equity derivatives to become a web developer. I co-founded women who code HK, a non-profit organization that serves to inspire women to excel in careers in technology. Web development empowered me to create my own startup WHub.hk with my co-founder Karena Belin.
W Hub is a slice of the Internet for Hong Kong and Singapore that promotes community building, startup product insights and also serves as a resource for startup job openings and raising funds in Hong Kong.

What excites you most about your industry?
Technology has limitless possibilities, and you can now create and launch your startup in a very short time, therefore there are so many new projects to discover. I have the chance to work with passionate entrepreneurs and that is very exciting!

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Tokyo and lived most of my life in Asia. I don’t see myself living anywhere else.

201407 talent unleash-2

#StartupPassion

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong of course! You already know all the usual advantages (efficiency, profit centre, world’s freest economy…), but there is more: a vibrant, growing and tight tech community.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no’.

Who inspires you?
My mum! Nothing is impossible for her, switching career or adapting herself to a different culture. I admire her strength and passion for life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can actually do what you want, learn what you wish, just go for it.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I have made mistakes and bad choices but that is how I learnt and became who I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing.

How do you unwind?
Typical but effective: spend time with my family, a good sweat at the gym or a nice glass of wine with good friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hong Kong Beaches, Shek’O, South Bay Beach! Close to my home, I can just relax and enjoy the sun with my kids and husband. You don’t need to escape too far to relax, especially in Hong Kong.

Everyone in business should read this book:
It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow by Jason Jennings

Shameless plug for your business:
Free, easy, simple, fast way to showcase your startup and build your team.
Raising funds is hard, stressful and time consuming. Let us reach targeted investors for you, contact us now.

How can people connect with you?
On our website: http://www.whub.hk/ or in social media: https://www.facebook.com/whubhk, https://twitter.com/whubhk

Twitter handle?
@chleozam

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

CallumConnects

Callum 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

Brad Adams, Managing Director of Ocean Grown Abalone

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Ocean Grown Abalone’s, Brad Adams is revolutionising abalone production in a clean, green and sustainable way off the south west coast of Australia.

What’s your story?
I grew up in the remote town of Augusta in the very south west of Western Australia where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.

My family have a long association with aquaculture and the fishing industry. I’m a 3rd generation fisherman and my father founded the commercial wild abalone diving industry in Flinders Bay in the 1960s.

I followed an aquaculture route, and after I completed my studies in Tasmania, I returned home to start the development of a new technique of growing abalone.

After close to 20 years researching, developing and inventing a new technology, OGA’s sea ranching technique was born and the ‘abitat’ was developed.

Sea ranching is an aquaculture technique where hatchery bred juvenile abalone are placed on OGA designed artificial reefs, ‘abitats’, which are placed in the ocean and left to nature to grow for 2-3 years until they reach a marketable size. They feed and survive in the wild.

The abalone produced from the sea ranch is identical to the highly sought after wild catch product, but has the competitive advantages that only aquaculture can provide. OGA can supply year round to meet market demands to whatever size or product specification the market requires.

Importantly, the sustainability of the abalone using the sea ranching technique is proven and monitored on an ongoing basis. Monitoring the ‘abitats’ and the sea ranching technology is paramount to OGA.

What excites you most about your industry?
That we can grow a premium seafood product which is highly revered in Asia, in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. The sea life we are seeing in Flinders Bay now that the reefs are down is incredible. We are seeing many different types of fish which were no longer in the bay as well as plenty of sea grass creating an underwater sustainable ecosystem.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am born and bred in Augusta in WA. OGA exports premium greenlip abalone to Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. It has a strong seafood (especially abalone) culture developed with Australian exporters over many years. Also the buyers are great; relaxed people who enjoy having a good time showing you their amazing city.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only live once, so always follow your passions.

Who inspires you?
Andrew Forrest – his single minded purpose and determination, and how he uses his wealth to improve the lives of others.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories per hour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
There are many things I would do differently if I had today’s hindsight as foresight, however all my mistakes, successes and decisions have made me the person I am today. I am comfortable with that.

How do you unwind?
I am a keen surfer. Being at one with the ocean is important to me.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Lembongan, Indonesia. Great waves, great food, great people

Everyone in business should read this book:
Grit – Angela Duckworth
“Success is the result of passion and persistence, not talent and luck.”

Shameless plug for your business:
OGA have developed the world’s first commercial greenlip abalone sea ranching facility. We build our own artificial abalone reefs (called abitats) on our leases in the pristine waters of Flinders Bay. We place hatchery reared juvenile abalone on them – then let nature (with a little help from our divers) do the rest to produce this marine delicacy. A totally natural, ‘wild-harvest’ product. Because we have some control of the process we can harvest to market demand to whatever size the market requires. We call this aquaculture technique sea ranching.

This video explains the business in 7 minutes: https://vimeo.com/225797022

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected] or
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oceangrownabalone/

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

Lex Na, CEO of Bountie Pte Ltd

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Lex is the founder of a digital agency, a couple of e-commerce businesses and he has just started a gaming, tech, blockchain business, Bountie.io which is his main focus.

What’s your story?
I’m a workaholic, not because I’m forced to but I absolutely love the grind. I may be conditioned due to my previous gaming experience. We as gamers have to play long hours everyday to level up as the difficulty increases. Everything I do right now is a step towards the greater good.
I’m the founder of a boutique Digital Agency and a couple of e-Commerce businesses. I have been in tech for more than 10 years. Those businesses are currently automated to hand to my partners so I can solely focus on Bountie.io.

What excites you most about your industry?
Bountie is in the Gaming/eSports/Technology/Cryptocurrency/Blockchain industry. It’s a combination of all the things I love to do and have been doing since I was young. Right now it’s at the forefront of the world’s economy.
I love the crazy pace, the hype and the future of this industry and it’s drawing the best and the brightest, the upcoming generation that will be the leaders of our future.
Everyday there’s something new, different and revolutionary happening.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I have been to most parts of Asia and I have been learning and observing other cultures, languages and lifestyles. I have also been to Europe and America. I still love the diversity here.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s one of the many cities that’s truly efficient, meritocratic and frictionless. The only con is that it’s too small! Other than that, I love Singapore. We have great infrastructure and support. Low corporate taxes as well.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Live each day as if it’s my last. By Steve Jobs in his 2005 commencement speech in Stanford. Although I didn’t receive it personally, I took it to heart. I listened to that speech multiple times, sometimes putting it on repeat whilst I was working. I really believe in giving everything I have every single moment of my life. Because life is so fragile, you’ll never know when your last day is. So I live everyday without regrets.

Who inspires you?
As above, Steve Jobs. He has an amazing story. I read his biography, watched a keynote presentation by him, saw the movie about him. His ideology and way of life inspires me. His attention to detail and perfectionist mindset, resulting in a legacy that’s still impacting our lives until now.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It was from someone whom I just knew for an hour. He told me that if I can find happiness in the same thing that makes me sad, that’s when I truly would be happy. I didn’t understand until he explained further.
An occurrence may result in a few reactions to a person. You can either look at the positive side or negative side, both are dependant on you personally. For example, a difficult boss may result in you becoming a more detailed employee, but you only think about how miserable your life is under him.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would do all this again, if not I wouldn’t be at the stage where I am at currently and where I will be in the future. I believe every single step of the way resulted in who and what I am presently. The tough times I have been through, regardless of how bad it was back then, made me stronger. If I could go back and change it, take the easy way out, I’ll be a softer person now.

How do you unwind?
I have been practicing yoga and meditation for about 3 years now. These two activities allow me to slow down and maintain a sane mind from my 14-16 hours of work, Monday to Sunday. I would strongly encourage anyone interested to try a “Calm” mobile app, it has free content for you to try before purchasing their premium content.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Langkawi Island in Malaysia. I unknowingly booked a flight there for my wife’s birthday about 2 years ago because it has a Starwood Hotel (I’m a platinum member). When I reached there I understood why it was one of the best islands to visit in Asia. The best experience I had was the island hopping on jet skis. We could ride fast and there weren’t caps like other touristy places and across huge distances with the guide. The waters were also clean and clear. A perfect getaway.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. One of the many books of our time that would remain as a timeless classic for entrepreneurs and business owners. Great interview questions which reveal deep insights into the inner workings of each and every one of his guests. He also asks some similar questions to multiple guests, from there the reader is able to distinguish that there isn’t one fixed method that the successful people follow, but each of them have a different path. So follow the ones that resonate with you and you’ll still be able to reach the point of success.

Shameless plug for your business:
1. Advisors and Mentors – Industry experts who have been there and done that. We need your wisdom and guidance through this challenging path.
2. Investors – In order to achieve what we aim to in our projected timeline and pace, we need more money to give us the runway and fuel to do it.
3. Team members – We are expanding at breakneck speed, from 2 guys to now 24 people working to make Bountie a success. But in order to increase the speed of growth, we need more “A” players who share our vision and are willing to work hard together to make this happen.

How can people connect with you?
It’s usually the case if you want to reach out to people in a company, by emailing [email protected] So make a guess, drinks on me for the right answer.

Twitter handle?
Unfortunately I do not have Twitter nor Instagram. I do have Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lexfromhotmail) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexna/) if you wish to connect via social. From there we can connect and chat further!

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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