Great to see young entrepreneurs in Asia shaking up established businesses!
What’s your story?
I am Adrian and I run Drive.Rentals (Drive.SG/Drive.MY/Drive.ID). Together with my co-founder Paul and my team, we make car rental really really easy and safe for everyone! You may not know it but car rentals is a messy business and drivers need 1) a convenient way to rent a car online, and 2) better consumer protection against unscrupulous businesses. We are here to make it possible.
What excites you most about your industry?
It is an old and ugly industry that is in need of an upgrade. Your image of car rental is of those big US car companies – clean, professional, efficient. Now drop that thought, this is Asia. Asia is a different beast and it is opposite of what you are thinking..
My team have the pleasure of fixing all that in Asia. We started 3 years ago and we 1) brought many car rental businesses that didn’t understand e-commerce online, 2) made it possible to book a car via Web/Mobile Web/Apps, and hopefully soon 3) an industry watchdog program to protect consumers.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and bred here in Singapore. I spent most of my life in the north, close to the causeway checkpoint (customs). My father had a small insurance agency in Malaysia and he commuted daily between the two countries. Time to time, he would bring my family to Johor Bahru for grocery shopping, or just me on his business trips.
I travel quite a bit for both business and leisure. I simply love the diversity in Asia. Fun fact – I have been mistaken as a Malaysian, Filipino, Thai, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (PRC), Indonesian because of my generic Asian look.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I want to say Singapore but I am going with Malaysia. The customers there are less picky, business owners are open to new ideas, and people are just down right awesome survivalist – car side mirror missing? Tape a hand mirror to the side of the car! Shame politics there is a bit tussled.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
This piece of advice came from the Internet – haters gonna hate. So do what you think is right, worry less about the naysayers and run with it!
Who inspires you?
I will say Bill Gates. An amazing (ruthless) dork that made truck loads of money in the 90s and the 00s and obviously had a lot of fun doing it. He later used his wealth to become an amazing philanthropist. His work is making an impact on the world, everyday! As an engineer, I admire his measured and scientific approach to philanthropy.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Apparently, for good luck, I have to reopen the office (after Chinese New Year) at a precise hour and I must be the first to enter the office. I must then throw-roll a pineapple all the way from the door to the end of the office. I shudder to think what will happen if lacked the strength to do get the pineapple all the way to the end of the office.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If Groundhog Day is happening to me right now, I wished I spent more time in classes. No, I wasn’t a slacker. I just wished to have attended more (different) classes so I can learn more about the world. Learning in a safe environment is just no longer an option for the working crowd.
How do you unwind?
I like to spend time reading (online) about tech and cars. I also WoW (World of Warcraft) with my varsity friends. Doing house chores relaxes me too but I detest ironing though. Ironing clothes is unnatural and serve no purpose. You do laundry because the clothes are dirty, you mop the floor because the floor is dirty, but ironing clothes doesn’t make them cleaner or better for me. It is just neater for other people’s visual benefit! For me, if the clothes want to be crumbled then let them be crumbled!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
A relaxing drive up to Malacca with my girlfriend. Love the journey, love the company, love the destination.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Instead, I like reading essays such as those by Paul Graham. PG is the straight dope on business, people, and life. (He did author several amazing books.)
Shameless plug for your business:
Think Car Rental, Think Drive.
How can people connect with you?
I spend a lot of my free time working with interns and fellow startups. Anyone who wants to chat is free to write at [email protected].
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>