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Taru Jain, Founder & CEO of FutureMarketer

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“Daddy, are babies downloaded from the internet?” This question asked by his daughter inspired Taru to start his own business.

What’s your story?

My entrepreneurial journey started with a question my daughter asked me several years ago when she was a little girl,  “Daddy, are babies downloaded from the Internet?” That innocent question got me thinking. There are so many misconceptions around technology and digital platforms and unlike children, business leaders and executives have a huge inability to get these answers in a simple, helpful and applicable way. This is holding them back. That sowed the seeds of FutureMarketer. After a successful corporate career of nearly 20 years, I wanted to give back and help these executives become more future-ready, especially regarding digital marketing and business change. I found a great partnership with Rachit and Prantik of Happy Marketer, who were doing excellent digital training for marketing practitioners. So, it made sense to come together.

What excites you most about your industry?

Every day a 20-year-old can teach me something I didn’t know yesterday. I’m a firm believer in the saying ‘go to bed smarter than when you woke up.’ To succeed in this industry, you have to live this saying everyday!

What’s your connection to Asia?

Deep. I grew up in India and spent my formative years there. I have been in Singapore for eight years. Even though I worked  in the U.S. and the UK for 10 years, my heart and cultural values are rooted in Asia. And professionally, I think it is the most important region in the world because a lot of innovation and progress is happening here. FutureMarketer Team - 1

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?

Singapore. I know it sounds clichéd but things just get done here! If you want a lot of adventure in doing business, try New Delhi and Beijing – you will be tested a lot and you will learn a lot!

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

The Wright brothers who built the first aeroplane. The professionals who built the Titanic. So always give it a go if you believe in yourself, my friend!

Who inspires you?

Many people. Stephen Covey with his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ It is brilliant and inspiring. Richard Branson, because he has shown us how to do so many amazing things and really defies age and stereotypes. Rudy Giuliani, who cleaned up New York in a very dramatic and very firm way. Lee Kuan Yew, because he shows what can be achieved if one really focuses on something.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?

In today’s world, there are more mobile phones than toothbrushes. That says so much!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I have absolutely loved everything I have done and genuinely believe that everything has helped me do what I am doing now. I wouldn’t change anything, except spend more time with the family.

How do you unwind?

I love exercising, playing tennis (which I play poorly but enthusiastically), playing board games with the kids and watching movies.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?

I really like Chiang Mai. It has got the hills, Thai service and comfort, as well as great food! And Mumbai. I spent some good years there and can find myself strangely at peace in all the mad hustle and bustle.

Everyone in business should read this book:

‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. And another very powerful book is called ‘What Colour is your Parachute?’ It truly helps you understand what job or career is completely written in your DNA and no one else’s. I have used that book three times and made some seriously good career decisions.

Shameless plug for your business:

Are you looking to transform your business through digital? Lead your marketing efforts in a world increasingly shaped by digital innovation? We can help you become future-ready.

FutureMarketer is a digital marketing training and consulting firm headquartered in Singapore. We offer short and long-term digital marketing learning programmes to help business leaders and marketing practitioners become more digitally savvy.

Our digital training programmes include Digital Fundamentals, Digital Transformation, Digital ROI, Digital Strategy, Digital Business Models, Digital for CXOs, Integrated Digital Marketing, Social Media, Google Analytics, Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Video Advertising and User Experience & Design.

How can people connect with you?

You can drop me a line at [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Twitter handle?

You can tweet me @tarujain.

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

Jason Feng, Co-Founder of Pillpresso

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Mr. Jason Feng is re-engineering the healthcare industry.

What’s your story?
I am an engineer at heart. I enjoy the process of problem solving and have been actively developing innovative solutions to existing problems. Me and my co-founder settled on the problem of poor medication adherence among the elderly. This was a problem which struck a chord with us because we all have loved ones who have to take multiple medications on a daily basis. The complex medication regimen, coupled with declining cognitive abilities of the elderly tend to exacerbate the lack of medication adherence, which may lead to disease relapse and hospital readmissions, ultimately increasing the burden to caregivers and the society.

What excites you most about your industry?
The problem of medication adherence is not a new one in the healthcare industry. In fact, lack of medication adherence is a well-researched problem in many countries. Solutions which have been developed to address this problem face three major issues:

  • Entrenched mindset within the healthcare system, many of which are used to and unwilling to change from the legacy systems which were implemented decades ago.
  • Complex nuances in healthcare delivery across different countries, making it hard to “copy” and “paste” solutions which have worked well in other areas.
  • Because poor medication adherence is multifactorial, and many solutions focus solely on a few aspects, and do not employ a holistic approach.

Nevertheless, entering this industry at this time excites me because we are in the midst of a global shift in healthcare models; one where the industry is moving away from a service-based model, towards a more value-based model. This shift means that traditional players such as insurance companies and pharmaceuticals are under increasing pressure from patients and payers to demonstrate the value of their products under real-world use. Medication adherence data is one crucial missing link in this puzzle to deliver better care to patients. Being able to build a business around these incumbents and pioneer a new way of care is something which I look forward to.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean. Most of my experiences throughout my life have been in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have not worked in other Asian countries outside of Singapore, so I can’t comment on other Asian countries too much. Singapore has a relatively low barrier for starting a business, and all business rules and regulations are clear and transparent. The startup ecosystem is also rather comprehensive and easily accessible. Being a small country, Singapore has a very limited market for products and services. However, due to its size and efficiency, it serves as an excellent test bed for new ideas. Being a travel hub, travelling to other Asian countries is cheap and easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Fail fast, fail often. The greatest lessons are never learnt through success.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Successful launch of Falcon Heavy and the recovery of the 2 side cores. The way the 2 cores landed was like something you’d only see in CGI. Very well calculated.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Applied for NOC (NUS Overseas College)

How do you unwind?
Go rock climbing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Nepal. I’m an outdoors guy. Being able to trek around the Himalayas is probably the best form of relaxation for me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Creative confidence, by the Kelly Brothers

Shameless plug for your business:
Pillpresso is an award-winning health-tech startup that aims to improve medication adherence. We’re developing a medication management system that empowers seniors to manage their medicines independently and deliver proactive healthcare in the community through technology. Comprising individuals with complementary skills across business, engineering and medicine, our team is driven by a desire to improve healthcare and the human condition.

Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Tech Factor Challenge
https://www.opengovasia.com/articles/8072-top-4-grand-prize-winners-for-3rd-edition-of-ageing-in-place-tech-challenge-announced-in-singapore

Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Modern Aging
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/3-teams-receive-s-125-000-of-seed-funding-for-elderly-friendly-i-8246318

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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Elizabeth Wu, Co-founder & COO of Trehaus

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Elizabeth Wu is making work-life integration a reality for working parents in her new family friendly coworking space.

What’s your story?
I co-founded a coworking space in Singapore that comes complete with a child-friendly facility. We’re the first of our kind here and we’ve been making work-life integration a reality for working parents since we opened.

What excites you most about your industry?
We are the first of our kind, and there’s no other coworking space like us. Sure, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Singapore, but we are the pioneers of championing ‘BYO-kid’ to work by creating a conducive workspace and enriching kids play, all under one roof.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I’m a local through and through.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, of course! It’s safe, well-regulated and has a diverse community. Barriers to entry for starting up a business is low, and generally there is good support for small to medium enterprises and startups, which is great.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is short. Do stuff that matters.” I think I decided to do “stuff that matters” a long time ago and that’s why I became an educator. When motherhood beckoned, I decided again, to do “stuff that matters” by staying home to be with my kids. Then, I began to desire a meaningful career while raising my kids. So, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, because I am governed by wanting to “do stuff that matters!”

Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. My members at Trehaus inspire me with the things they do and the changes they make. But if I have to pick someone, it would be Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street; who is a seasoned entrepreneur. She started from humble beginnings, went through setbacks and never said never to new journeys in entrepreneurship. I love that she always looks for ways to give back to society and mentor the next generation with her wealth of wisdom and experiences.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I learned the 5-by-5 rule recently: That is, ‘if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.’ This helps me puts things in perspective, and I try to remember this every time the urge comes to dwell, to brood, to beat myself up or to sweat the small stuff.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely be more careful with the people I hired to build the team. I’ve learned that it is important to find and build an entrepreneurial team that will plough and work hard alongside the founders. Like Jack Ma once said, “Don’t hire the most qualified candidate. Hire the craziest.” I should have done that right from the start. It would save us so much time and heartache.

How do you unwind?
I take long walks to clear my or I go for a fruitful session of self care, like yoga or a massage.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I really enjoy getting out of Singapore to the outskirts of Bangkok to live amongst the locals. My family of 5 used to do that each December; just taking off to live amongst the locals where street food is aplenty and warmth and hospitality is everywhere. I enjoy their slow pace of life and how simple things can be.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Shameless plug for your business:
Trehaus is Singapore’s first ever family-friendly coworking space that lets you build a career while prioritising family. If it takes a village to raise a child, then Trehaus is the modern village where you will find a robust community and supportive ecosystem that lets you be an involved parent – never missing a single milestone in your child’s early years – and at the same time do efficient and productive work. We’ve made magic happen in what we’ve created!

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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