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ShuQi Liu, Founder of Q Communications



ShuQi is a Gen-Y entrepreneur who recently started her own public relations company, Q Communications, in May 2014. Through quality execution, ShuQi is committed to helping newly formed businesses achieve open communications with various stakeholder groups. Besides building a young business, ShuQi enjoys yoga, music and reading in her free time.

In your own words what is Q Communications?

Q Communications is a Singapore-based branding and public relations agency. We are not the biggest in the industry, but we are a force to be reckoned with. It was founded when online and digital media began merging; more corporates were leaving their jobs to start their own business and employees in the creative industry were demanding more flexible working arrangements.

How did you come up with the idea of Q Communications?

I came up with the idea of Q Communications when PR agencies were struggling to sustain a stuffy corporate culture. Clients were also leaving their high-paying jobs to set up their own businesses. It was only a matter of time before the market required someone well versed in branding and PR principles to take up new jobs that required more flexibility and autonomy.

Could you walk us through the process of starting up Q Communications?

Starting up Q Communications was not easy, especially since I am young, Asian and female! Nevertheless, I persevered. Eventually, people gave me opportunities to help them meet their outreach objectives. Over time, I could build a good rapport with my clients. More importantly, the media also found it interesting that a PR start-up was representing clients in the start-up space. Now, I am glad to see my clients have a media presence.   

How have you been developing Q Communications since startup?

Ever since Q Communications was founded in May 2014, it was clear that the company would set out to be a well-known brand, just as Ogilvy will always be synonymous with effective advertising. With this goal in mind, the challenge was to build up the client base and a capable team of creative communicators. To do this well, it was important to always stay focused on the big picture and be patient about gaining traction.

What kind of feedback did you get for Q Communications so far?

So far, the feedback for Q Communications has been great! Clients are very happy when their outreach objectives are met. The team also feels good about contributing towards the company growth.

Do you face a lot of competition in this industry ? 

Q Communications is still operating as a small scale business, so thankfully we don’t face a lot of direct competition in the industry because not many agencies in Singapore are willing to offering marketing and PR support to newly formed businesses. In time to come, it is important that Q Communications differentiate itself from the competition by constantly evolving with the times and thinking a few steps ahead of what everyone else is doing. This ensures that we are a competent, trusted and reliable PR agency in the long run.

Have you developed any industry insights that you could share?

As PR professionals, we need to understand our clients’ business in order to engage the media. We must also simplify the messaging so reporters can cut thru the clutter and get to the crux of the clients’ standout points. More importantly, we must have the creativity and knowledge to leverage when the right opportunity comes along.

To do this, a lot of time and effort is spent on researching and listening to what others have to say. A good PR professional must always be open to new ideas and possibilities. This principle remains as the industry will always be changing with the times.  

What is the future of the industry and how do you plan to stay relevant in this industry?

Like every other industry, work processes in marketing and PR will be automated by disruptive technologies. To stay relevant, it is always important to collaborate with like-minded individuals and be part of the ecosystem. For example, researching for the right media contacts used to be a tedious process. This involves buying the publication and manually flipping through it to find the suitable section and reporter. Today, there are companies which share these media contacts through a subscribed database. With the internet, we can also readily access the publication online. Another example would be working with strategic partners who complement your skillsets. At Q Communications, our strengths lie in media relations and copywriting. As such, we make an extra effort to work with graphic designers to bring out the visual aspects of the brand. This way, clients can better reach their outreach objectives through a collective effort.

Were there anything that disappointed you initially?

It is always disappointing when people perceive Q Communications as young and inexperienced, and try to take advantage of our expertise to reach their own goals. As such, Q Communications is very selective about working with the right partners. We are always open to trying out the working relationship first with anyone who is happy to give us the opportunity. However, in the long run, we want to achieve a win-win situation and not subject ourselves to anything lesser than our partners.  

What do you think about being an entrepreneur in Asia? 

Being an entrepreneur in Asia is very exciting. I think it is easier than our counterparts in other parts of the world. Asia is rising, and that means business opportunities are plenty. As long as you are willing to take risks and try new things, being an entrepreneur in Asia will be a very rewarding experience in time to come.

What is your opinion on Asian entrepreneurship vs Western entrepreneurship?

I would like to think that the principles in entrepreneurship, such as working hard, capitalizing on new opportunities, transforming a vision into a reality, taking that elusive leap of faith and such, is constant in both contexts. What differs in Asian and Western entrepreneurship lies in geography and culture. Asia, like the West, has its own unique characteristics. It takes time and effort to understand the differences and fully embrace the challenges in these regions.

What is your definition of success?

At a professional level, success is when Q Communications becomes a well-known PR agency in the industry. Clients are very happy with the work we do, the media loves to engage with our clients, we get new business through client referrals and word-of-mouth. More importantly, people value the work executed by a sensible, logical team of creative communicators. I don’t have to be driving the business on a daily basis at all, the team is competent and motivated enough to do the best they can.

On a personal level, success is doing what I’m good at and enjoying it to the fullest. It is always rewarding to see clients establish a public voice so more people can get to know the great work they do.  

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Honestly, I never thought I would become an entrepreneur. I joined the industry thinking I would do my best to climb up the corporate ladder. Over time, I came to realise that my career ambitions were better fulfilled if I started something I really believed in. Which seems to be working out pretty well thus far!

In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?

Entrepreneurial success comes with tenacity. Go after what gives you goose bumps!

Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there from your personal experience?

Being a young entrepreneur is not as glamourous as it sounds. It actually requires a huge sacrifice to build a business. If you are willing to make major lifestyle adjustments and bid goodbye to your social life, entrepreneurship can be very rewarding in the long run.  





Fear & Desire with Emerging Technologies



For all their complexity, we tend to think about emerging technologies in surprisingly simple ways. Either they are a force for good. That is, for eliminating disease and pain, and offering the prospect of not only extending our lives but bringing a level of physical and cognitive enhancement that even the previous generation could not have imagined. We get a sense of the apparently limitless power of artificial intelligence to help us grapple with the widest array of personal, social and physical problems, especially as we apply it to the massive and growing resource of Big Data. And we particularly enjoy the expanding connectivity that comes with all this.

Or we see them as threatening, especially as artificial intelligence increasingly makes important decisions for us, as that same connectivity is used to exploit us and as it distorts our view of the world, and as genomics explores and alters the very codes of life. They are also seen as a threat to the ecosystem through the toxicity from mining rare metals, from the gases and microplastic waste from modern appliances and through the dumping of ‘old’ technologies as the replacement cycle shortens.

Or, even more commonly, we see them as being all of this, leading us to think that all we have to do to enjoy all the benefits is to constrain the risks they pose. A comfortable trade-off, a pact of some kind.

But the story of emerging technologies may be far more interesting than this, especially if we ask questions that have not been asked before. Why is it that this ‘fear and desire’ relationship that we have with technology seems to echo a similar ‘fear and desire’ relationship that we and our forebears have had with God, with the State and even with the large corporations of the Market? Do we have – or have our forebears had – a fear of these but also a desire that the power that causes this fear be brought to bear to create sympathetic conditions for us? A series of powerful protectors and providers? Is that not similar to the relationship we are increasingly having with the new technologies? If we can see some resonance here, doesn’t that change how we should think about technology? What further questions do we then need to be asking about how this relationship works?

Technology and the Trajectory of Myth answers these and other questions. It identifies the nature of the dynamic that drives this relationship and presents evidence to show that such a dynamic has long been in play, not just with the new technologies but similarly with those ‘magnitudes’ of Deity, State and Market. This evidence is found not only in the respective fields of those magnitudes but also in science, the legislative process and in law more generally. All this allows an argument that the magnitudes have formed a trajectory that has shadowed the history of the West from the start, a trajectory in which the new technologies are a key factor in the occupation of the space previously and sequentially occupied by those magnitudes.

This dynamic is proposed as a combination of psychology and history, which not only explains the relationship between individuals and the magnitudes across this trajectory but which argues that this relationship is strongly present today. The idea of it was drawn initially from the account of mythology presented by the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg but it has then been extended and widely re-worked. The result has been the imagining of this series of magnitudes as mythological entities, the purpose of which is to deal with the pressing and persistent existential fears and desires that all individuals experience. These magnitudes are claimed by their respective dominant interests to be not only absolutely empowered – they must be so to cope with the absolute nature of those existential experiences of individuals – but which have had that fearsomeness engaged to create sympathetic conditions for each individual.

The condition on which all this relies is the full subjection of the individual to the regime of idea and practice of each such magnitude in their respective eras. In fact, it is that subjection which fully empowers the magnitudes. The outcome is that, ironically perhaps, each absolute magnitude is ‘brought to earth’ by its conversion into a sympathetic form, with its power moving from absolute to conditional. The consequence of this loss of absolute status is then a search for a replacement absolute magnitude. These successive creations and failures – which see each magnitude descend into a field of failed but persistent magnitudes – constitute the trajectory. Within this field there are competitions and alliances as the dominant interests of each magnitude seek its re-emergence into an absolutely powerful condition. The operation of this field is a way to understand, for example, the contemporary alliance between the Market and both the State and emerging technologies.

This leads to the end point, the point of our present condition. That is, that technology can only take its place in this trajectory if it acquires an absolute form. We can see this emerging in the claims that technology will fully empower the individual as an Absolute Subject. Unlike the secondary position that the individual occupied in relation to the earlier magnitudes in their absolute condition, such an individual will be empowered to deal conclusively with her own existential fears and desires.

So we come back to the point at which we began. That is, the common view that technology should be seen as comprising contradictory utopian and dystopian features and that the former will be realised if the latter are eliminated or severely constrained. In fact, both features are together essential to this story of modern mythology. We need technology to be fully empowered – thereby fearsome – so that claims can be made that it will deal with the absolute existential condition of each of us. This to be done by the full power of technology in which we are to be embedded as Absolute Subject and by which each of us can create absolutely sympathetic conditions for ourselves. Utopia and dystopia need both to be brought into the context of the modern mythology not as contradictory elements but as working parts of the mythological dynamic.

But that is not the end of the story. As we have seen, the relationship between the individual and each of the magnitudes of the trajectory is based on a subjection which is best understood as the foregoing of responsibility for oneself. To recapture this self-responsibility – and experience the respect which accompanies it – means to reject this subjection. This in turn means opting out of the mythological way of organising both our sense of self and our social arrangements and dealing with existential concerns very differently, respectfully and in radical self-reliance.


About the Author

This article was produced by Elgar Blog, Edward Elgar Publishing‘s blog is a forum filled with debate, news, updates and views from our authors and their readership. see more.

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How to Create Buzz around Your Startup Idea



Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.

– Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

There is something very exciting starting up a business. Startups offer you a chance to do something fresh and take new ideas to the public. But if you’re going to succeed, you need to get it right from the very start of the journey. Creating buzz around your startup’s launch is possible, and here are some ideas to help you do it.

Blog About Your Startup Journey

This is a great thing to do if you want to create a personable and refreshing brand image. People like to see how your business is doing and how it grows from an idea into a fully fledged business. Blog about what you’re doing and how your business is expanding. If you can develop an audience of readers ahead of your startup’s official launch, it will be easier for you to hit the ground running. You can then make the blog the voice of the company as it grows and starts to turn a profit. This is something that you should think very carefully about when starting up a business.

Make Plenty of Announcements

You should try to make a lot of announcements when you are leading up to the launch of your startup. There are plenty of people out there that will be interested in hearing about what you’re doing. You need to start by creating a strong presence on all the key social media sites. If you can do this, you will build up an audience that will then be receptive to your messages. They will also be there to spread the word and share announcements with their friends on social media platforms. This can be hugely important when you’re trying to raise brand awareness and expose your announcements to as many people as possible.

Organize an Event and Invite People

Organizing a real event that people can turn up to and attend can be a great idea. It makes your startup’s official launch feel more real. If you just set a random date for the launch and don’t mark it in any way, it will be much more difficult to create a buzz. Hire a stage, sound system and find bleacher rentals to host the event. Then you can write a speech and make a plan for the schedule of the launch. If you can do this well, you will create a lot of buzz, and maybe get some more coverage for the startup too.

Reach Out to People Who Can Give You Publicity

There are plenty of people out there that might be able to help you achieve the publicity and coverage you crave. When your business is being talked about, people will hear about your brand and what it’s doing. So, you need to make sure that you reach out to many people in the press, the media and the blogosphere who can help you. There are many business magazines and websites that write profiles of new business and young entrepreneurs. If you can contact some of these people, they might be interested in offering you some coverage. Don’t underestimate how important this could be. Hopefully these ideas will help you with starting up a business.


About the Author

This article was produced by SolVibrations is a multi-author self improvement blog, aiming to inspire creativity within.

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