Callum Connects David Wong, Founder of Deemples Published 4 months ago on January 9, 2018 By Callum Laing Share Tweet David Wong set up a golf app, Deemples to connect golfers around the globe. What’s your story? Born in KL, went to the US to get a finance degree, started my sales career selling books door-to-door in the US, then food and then onto vacuum cleaners back in KL. The last 9 years was all about digital advertising media, from social media, to analytics technology, launching businesses across Asia Pacific based in KL, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. Golf was the thing that made me look forward to every weekend, however getting around was never easy since I had to find people to play with. It didn’t help that I was always moving countries, so there were never a permanent group of golfing friends. I needed a solution, so I decided to build something myself. We built the Deemples Golf App and tested it in Malaysia and Singapore to much success. Golfers had finally found a solution to a common problem. What excites you most about your industry? It’s very hard to explain why golf is exciting to a non-golfer, but the most exciting thing about the golf industry is just being able to play it! That’s the main motivation that drives us to continue to help golfers play golf whenever and wherever they want to. Aside from helping existing golfers, since only 1% of the population plays golf, sharing that joy of golf to non-golfers, enabling more people to pick up the sport also drives us everyday. What’s your connection to Asia? I’m born and raised in the Malaysian public schools. I speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay, which helped when I was based for 4 years in Beijing and Shanghai and 2 years in Singapore where I was in a regional role opening markets in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Shanghai in China. It has become the capital of the world in the last few years and the sheer size and opportunity within it eclipses many of the largest cities in the world, both for business and pleasure. Both Shanghai and Beijing are often the national HQ for a lot of large corporations, but aside from these 2, other cities in China cannot be taken lightly as they’re the size of small countries! What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “Don’t just think of making money, think of solving problems, this will drive you much farther than money, and in turn the money will come.” Ava Yu, entrepreneur and friend from Shanghai. Who inspires you? No specific person, but I do have a lot of people I admire, that have come from nothing but believed in something, worked hard at it, and made it happen, both as an entrepreneur or an employee. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? That a big chunk of “e-commerce” in SEA is still done in a manual way. Most of the e-commerce that we hear about in the region is related to brands like Lazada, Redmart, Taobao, Shopee, and MatahariMall, where payments are done online through these retailers. However, in rural areas, “e-commerce” happens through Instagram, Whatsapp, Wechat and FB messenger and the cash transactions are done “offline.” After some trust is established between buyer and seller through IM, the buyer will then go to a nearby ATM, deposit the cash into an account provided, take a picture of the bank-in slip, and then send it to the seller. While products are still marketed through online channels, transactions are taking place offline. Very “carousell!” If you had your time again, what would you do differently? I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I cherish all the experiences I’ve gone through, good/bad/stupid, to get me to where I am today. Am I satisfied? No. Could I have done better? Probably. Have I always pushed myself? Yes. What’s more important, is what I can do from here. There’s only so much brain bandwidth, so thinking about the past is useless when you can’t change it. I try to focus on what I can do today, and plan on what to do tomorrow. How do you unwind? Play golf! Aside from that, do a lot of other activities – wakeboarding, running, working out, swimming, going out to listen to some jazz performances, catching up on TV series. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Anywhere along the beach in Thailand. I love beaches, Thai food, Thai massages and Thai hospitality. Everyone in business should read this book: I rarely read books, I know I should read more but I rather just get summarised versions from articles. I’m very trashy when it comes to books, last 2 books read were Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, both by Kevin Kwan. The former is currently being made into a movie, which I’m looking forward to watching. Shameless plug for your business: When business is up, celebrate with a golf game, when business is down, play some golf since there’s nothing to do. And if no one can play with you, just get on Deemples and find others to play with. For all you know you might meet your next business partner, next client, next supplier or next wife. How can people connect with you? [email protected] https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidwpy https://www.facebook.com/davidwpy Twitter handle? @davidwpy — 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 Related Topics:asiaasianAustraliabadbusinesscommone-commerceEntrepreneurequityfinanceFocusinterviewinvestormalaysiaMarketingmeonlinePrivate EquitysingaporeStorysuccesstechnology Continue Reading You may like Will Financial Liberalisation Trigger a Crisis in China? Georges Tchokoua Women on Top in Tech – Chrissa McFarlane, Founder and CEO of Patientory Why Angel Investors are Shaking Up the Global Startup Scene Emmanuelle Norchet Myths & Facts about Entrepreneurship Callum Connects Elizabeth Wu, Co-founder & COO of Trehaus Published 3 days ago on April 23, 2018 By Callum Laing 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 Continue Reading Callum Connects Mark Winterton, General Manager of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay Published 6 days ago on April 20, 2018 By Callum Laing Mark Winterton has dedicated his life to achieving unparalleled and extraordinary guest experiences in the hospitality industry. What’s your story? I’m a seasoned hospitality professional with over twenty years international experience launching luxury brands, repositioning existing brands and driving innovation for some of the world’s most successful hotels. As General Manager of InterContinental® Singapore Robertson Quay, I’m responsible for the strategic positioning of the property as the next generation of the InterContinental hotel brand and have been spearheading the hotel since its opening in October 2017, with the goal of achieving a unique and unrivalled market positioning as Singapore’s most luxurious residential hotel. I started my career with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) in 1995 and have since been dedicating myself towards achieving perfection. I find immense fulfillment in leading my team towards achieving extraordinary and unparalleled guest experiences. What excites you most about your industry? The hospitality industry boasts an extremely dynamic landscape, and we are always seeing new hotels opening alongside the entry of burgeoning brands. This growth has, over time developed positive competition and generated positive driving forces that have elevated the overall standard of the industry in Singapore. The industry has a dynamic landscape. There are many opportunities to bring the right people together and create amazing teams to launch or reposition hotels. The process of creating teams, inspiring individuals and then working together to bring a project to life is where I find the excitement lies. What’s your connection to Asia? The lure of Asia has always been very strong for foreign economies and companies, with great accessibility to new opportunities, customers, consumers and clients. My first foray into Asia was back in 2007, when I launched Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore. Following that, I was also based in Bangkok for a couple of years for the rebranding of Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park. Over my years in Asia, I have had the opportunity to truly immerse myself in new cultures, establish new connections with key counterparts and friends; and these have further solidified my interest in and strengthened my connection to Asia. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Definitely Singapore. Commonly known as the gateway to Asia, we’ve been blessed with a stable government, a sound political economy and a comprehensive infrastructure for reliable business operations. With tremendous efforts put in by the Singapore Tourism Board towards elevating the city as an attractive venue for visitors, the growth of Singapore as a key MICE destination, coupled with a cosmopolitan pool of talent, Singapore remains my favourite city in Asia for business. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “You can never be 100% ready for a new role.” I believe that there will always be room for growth and learning on the job. As long as a person is 80% ready for a new role, the opportunity should be extended. I am a strong believer in the development of people and the grooming of talent, and this piece of advice has allowed me to take more chances on people I’ve worked with and developed over the years. Who inspires you? Simon Sinek, a speaker with TED Talk. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? I don’t think I can pinpoint just one lesson learnt recently, as learning is an ongoing process. No matter how small a piece of knowledge may seem, it should be valued. Everyday is a journey of learning and development. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Nothing at all. I don’t believe in regrets and everything that has happened thus far, has had a part to play in who I am and where I stand today. How do you unwind? Spending time with friends over relaxed conversations and wine or working my green fingers in my balcony garden. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Bali. It’s one destination where I’ve always returned to, simply because it offers me the same level of comfort and familiarity each time I return. It’s where I can feel most relaxed, yet still be able to enjoy the vibrant dining scene. Everyone in business should read this book: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. Shameless plug for your business: Officially opened on 12 October 2017, InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is the first international luxury hotel brand situated at Robertson Quay. Set amidst a dynamic, sophisticated neighbourhood along the Singapore River, known for its dining options and arts houses, the luxury residential-inspired hotel has been carefully curated by world-class designers, architects and culinary purveyors. Located minutes away from the CBD, the hotel still maintains a stylish but laid back, relaxed feel in the leafy, upscale neighbourhood of Robertson Quay. The hotel offers 225 luxurious studios and suites, including an expansive Penthouse, which has unparalleled views of both the Singapore River and vibrant city via floor-to-ceiling windows. The residential-inspired property combines elements from Robertson Quay’s industrial and intriguing past with sleek contemporary finishes whilst seamlessly blending into the residential surrounds. Light-filled room interiors have been designed to magnify the familiar comforts of home where guests may enjoy bespoke amenities such as a specially designed in-room cocktail kit. Established as part of a holistic dining and lifestyle destination, the hotel boasts a wide range of restaurant and bar concepts. Flagship restaurant Publico, representing the central core of Italian culture, is a multi-concept dining destination comprising a variety of Italian experiences under one roof – a neighbourhood deli and bar and a ristorante with adjoining terrazzo by the river. Other highlights throughout the hotel include New York institution Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, and a bar and dining concept from the team behind Izy Sushi. Over 40 other dining options await at the hotel doorstep, in The Quayside precinct. How can people connect with you? LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markwinterton1/ — 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’. 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