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Scott McCorkell, Owner & CEO of McCorkell & Associates

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Scott McCorkell doesn’t just think about the bottom line in his creative marketing business.

What’s your story?
My path isn’t quite like your typical CEO. Back when I was in school, I was told by everyone to be a commercial artist. I was number one in art, in architecture and won awards for my work. I ignored everything and became an entrepreneur, building a multitude of organisations in the computing industry before realising there was a gap in the market for agency services that could speak the language technology companies wanted. So I created one. This is why M&A is different: We’re not just another agency; we’re marketing, we’re creative, we understand sales and the technology dialect. This is what the client needs and is why we’ve grown to become one of Asia-Pacific’s most trusted marketing organisations in the IT&T space.

What excites you most about your industry?
I get excited when I see really great ideas being delivered exceptionally well. I love the creative side of marketing and I get excited when I see really good stuff; the sort of concepts that are lightning bolt moments that make you wonder “how did they think of that?” You don’t see that from many places anymore, so when that happens, when people think about who is going to see their message, I get excited, because finally, someone other than myself is thinking about more than just the bottom line.

What’s your connection to Asia?
The first city McCorkell & Associates invested in, outside Australia is Singapore, which was prescient given how much of a regional hub it has become for multinational technology brands. Much of our business for those brands connects to the activities of the Asian market and it is a real growth hotspot for many of our clients.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I really enjoy Singapore, not only because it is a hub of activity for technology brands but also because of the focus it’s had on becoming a great place for businesses to start up and grow throughout Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My dad used to say, “You only live once, you’re a long time dead,” and it’s a phrase that has stuck with me over time. Twenty eight years ago, I had cancer, and I learned first hand that this statement is very true. I fought hard, beat the cancer and have lived life as fully as I can every day since. Dad’s advice and that experience have played a large part in the way I do business and the outlook I have as a CEO.

Who inspires you?
From an aspirational point of view, I don’t want to be anyone else; I want to be me and this has served me well to date. I get out of bed and go to work eight days and nights out of the seven. I work 23 hours a day and am in the boardroom on a Sunday morning at eight. So if you ask who inspires me, I don’t actually have a role model as an individual, I have people I just want to surpass.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
There’s a statistic I read the other day – the top eight wealthiest people in the world own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the population in the world. That scale is quite amazing when you think about it.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
There isn’t much I’d do differently. I’ve achieved much of what I always set out to do. I found a way to use my creative talent to build a business that affords me the ability to pursue many other passions.

How do you unwind?
If I have water under my feet, I’m happy. If there’s an engine, a boat, a car, a motorbike, doubly so. I unwind by hitting the horizon, by charging into the unknown and exploring the world. I’m a keen traveller, so any chance I can get where I’m venturing off into the unknown with the speed and thrill as the wind brushes through my hair, I’m happy and relaxed.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Not everyone will see it as relaxation, but I absolutely love Hong Kong. There’s just something so alive about the city. You feel like it has a speed, a pulse, a pace. It gets you going and tantalises the senses in a way few places do. It’s the sort of city you want to let under your skin and never let go.

Everyone in business should read this book:
It sounds a little arrogant and I don’t mean it to, but I haven’t written it yet. There aren’t books that have taught me how to run a company or how to lead. That’s just me and that’s just life experience. When I write my book, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Shameless plug for your business
McCorkell & Associates delivers over 26 services across the Asia-Pacific region in over seven languages and cultures, working throughout all major areas of marketing delivery, including creative, advertising, events, content, branding and contact centre. We are headquartered in Australia and have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, as well as being part of the BBN alliance which extends our reach into the USA and another 89 countries besides. We’re a one-stop shop for improving the bottom line and delivering ROI amidst a more personal and thoroughly individual way of doing things.

How can people connect with you?
The best way to get in contact with me is to give us a call at McCorkell & Associates or to message me through LinkedIn. I’m always there, as any and every entrepreneur should be, too.

Twitter handle?
@scottmccorkell

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

CallumConnectsCallum 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

Benedict Heng, Founder of Mr. Farmer

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Benedict Heng is bringing back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your story?
I’m Ben from Mr. Farmer. Mr. Farmer is an online grocer dedicated to supplying the freshest produce to our customers. We believe in sustainable and ethical farming. Since a young age, I have always been an avid food lover (especially meats), developing a strong interest in all things delicious. That is why I ventured into the F&B industry, working as a junior cook for 3 years.

Midway through my career, I made a move to the finance industry to pursue monetary rewards. I dove into high-risk investments and I made lots of money from these investments. However, the good fortune did not last long and all these came crashing down when I suffered a tremendous loss. This coincided with the time that I had just started my own family and it was a huge blow to me both materially and mentally. It was this crash that made me realize that this life wasn’t for me. I went on a hiatus and eventually, it was only through the strong support from my family that I managed to tide over this tough episode.

I went back to help the family business and this was how Mr Farmer came about. My family has been in the food industry for many decades and one thing they noticed from years of experience is that sustainable farming practices are not as developed as in Europe. This is why through Mr Farmer, we hope that we can provide the best quality products to families out there who want the best ingredients for their loved ones.

What excites you most about your industry?
Delicious and wholesome food excites me. I believe food is a critical component of life and it brings people together. The opportunity to serve the community with fresh produce for a healthy life, that brings me joy.

I feel that there is still so much more we can do to improve the quality of food and bring it to the masses. One of the key components of ensuring greater quality of food is to support ethical and sustainable farming. Due to commercialization and urbanization, most farming practices these days are no longer the way they were in the old “kampong” times. Shortcuts are taken, standards are compromised, all in the name of profit. At Mr. Farmer, profit is important too but we want to focus on the concept of One Welfare – sustainable farming directly impacts our health. Our vision is to bring back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I call Singapore my home as it’s where my family and close friends are. I also travel frequently to Malaysia and APAC for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s definitely Singapore. There is just so much this tiny city can offer! Singapore has been globally recognized for its top-notch business environment providing its residents with developed infrastructure, political stability and excellent connectivity. These factors have given us an outstanding support system for businesses to strive.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better and, keep them in your life.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my uncle, who is the head of both the family and business. He takes care of our family matters at home and manages hundreds of employees at work. Handling both the family and business side of things can be tricky, but he has shown me that success can be sustainable and done with a conscience. His guiding philosophy of handling business and family is simply, to have a big heart.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Even just one day of separation from the day the meat is slaughtered, makes a world of difference to its flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have come to learn that awareness is the beginning of everything. If I had my time again, I would have probably spent more time figuring out who I truly am and with that self-awareness, begun to lead my life with more purpose and meaning.

How do you unwind?
I like to spend my free time sipping white coffee at my favourite coffee place. I enjoy taking in the surrounding sights and letting my mind wander freely. It allows me to unwind and gain clarity at the same time. It also helps me organize my thoughts to prepare for the week ahead.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It would be Bangkok as the people there are genuinely friendly and hospitable. They say people are what defines the city and I couldn’t agree more with this. I also enjoy the ‘laid back’ vibe of Bangkok. Not to mention Bangkok has all the good food and awesome shopping choices too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Spin selling” by Neil Reckham. It’s an amazing book that teaches you a process designed to help you successfully sell your products and services to business buyers.

Shameless plug for your business:
We at Mr. Farmer have the best tasting meats in Singapore, do a blind test and you will know why it’s Michelin chefs’ preferred choice. Not only are we very confident about the taste, we are also proud to say that all our products are chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. We also focus a lot on supporting ethical and sustainable farming practices believing in the ‘One Welfare’ concept. Do check us out if you enjoy good quality food like us!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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

Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet

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Zac Chua’s popcorn business validated itself straight away and fast tracked him to the startup world. Zac now employs 11 people and shifts 500 bags of popcorn daily.

What’s your story?
It’s a crazy one. It was an accidental startup. If you think about it, no university graduate would ever dream of becoming a popcorn seller. We crashed our first tech event to validate our idea and it took off from there. I bought a logo for $7 from a designers marketplace, printed some cheap name cards, and built a 1 page landing page. Sales started pouring in and eventually, we were serving B2B clients (corporate pantries) and we have never looked back. Today we move about 500 bags daily, we have 11 employees and we are growing. Talk about a validation that worked in our favour.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s food! Everybody loves food! In Singapore the F&B scene is brutally competitive and it spurs me on to fight and compete for market share and to prove to myself that I can do it. It keeps me going and I won’t stop until we become the market leader.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore, and have traveled to most of Southeast Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Even though Singapore has a high cost of living, the Government is actually very supportive of startups. They provide grants for us to tap into, and the technological infrastructure makes it possible for us to compete on a global scale. I believe if you can succeed in your business in Singapore, you can succeed in most of Southeast Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only need to be right once, and the rest is history.

Who inspires you?
My father, who was a VC. In fact he was the one who gave me the best piece of advice which I shared above. Having one successful exit, he showed me that it’s okay to fail a million times – all it takes is just one time for you to win in business and in life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The power of compounding.

  • Mary and John are the same age.
  • Mary saves $2k annually from the age of 19-25 – so she puts $14k into her portfolio
  • John saves $2k annually from the age of 26-65 – so he puts $80k into his portfolio, but 7 years after Mary.
  • If both are able to generate 10% per annum, who would have more at age 65?
  • John of course! But how much more?
  • Mary will have $944,641 whilst John will have $973,704
  • Think about it! Mary puts in only $14k but John delays for 7 years and puts in $80k.

CRAZY RIGHT!?!?

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, my mistakes taught me how to become a better me. But if I really must choose, I’d say take more time to find the right business partner.

How do you unwind?
Poker, Mahjong and Dota 2.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam! Things are cheap, people are warm and friendly, and their coffee fills up my life. I would love to retire there if possible.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The richest man in Babylon

Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t need a plug. Just try our competitors and you’ll understand why!

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuazongyou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacchua

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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