Nick Ramil jumped head first into entrepreneurship. Despite a few initial set-backs he is now 100% dedicated to his IoT business.
What’s your story?
I studied abroad in Shanghai in 2009, and witnessed the rapid growth firsthand. I knew China was the place to be. I graduated from university in 2010 and immediately moved to Guangzhou, China to build my dream business and jump headfirst into entrepreneurship. I failed multiple times, but learned from all my mistakes and this eventually led me to success. Today, I put 100% of my focus into Brinc – the world’s first end-to-end IoT platform based in Hong Kong. I am one of the founding team members and the Head of Validation.
What excites you most about your industry?
IoT helps us quantify the data in our lives and figure out how to enhance it. Technology can directly solve and/or support solving problems that affect all of us. We have the unique opportunity at Brinc to help founders find solutions. Brinc is passionate about enabling IoT founders to build their company and the next generation of smart devices. For example, our investment Kello’s goal is to help people love their mornings; this is an exciting challenge and opportunity to be a part of. I truly believe our teams want a better tomorrow, so it’s our goal to support them along their journey.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My father was born in the Philippines and I practiced Asian martial arts for most of my life. I’ve always been intrigued by Asian culture and when the opportunity to study here presented itself, I had to take it. I should also mention my freshman advisor at Gonzaga who told me to study Chinese; forever grateful for her advice. Today I’m based in Hong Kong. We chose to set up Brinc in Hong Kong because of its perfect blend of east meets west, strategic location and proximity to the Pearl River Delta, historic roots in manufacturing, sourcing/logistics, competitive tax and registration abilities.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love my life in Hong Kong and would much rather live here, but Guangzhou will always be my favorite city. It’s where I learned and witnessed hard work pay off for people willing to put in the effort. The ability to learn essential knowledge through hands on experience around manufacturing, doing business abroad, etc. is accessible right outside your door. It’s true immersion into the must have skills and knowledge and we make sure our founders at Brinc experience the process as well. Lastly, the expat community is heavily focused on entrepreneurship and it’s important to surround yourself with likeminded people.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Less is more. It’s the achilles heel for many entrepreneurs to want to do too many things instead of focusing on what their best at or most passionate about. I dealt with this as well and it greatly hindered my ability to make progress in the past. At Brinc, we have a proven 700+ step checklist to make sure our teams stay focused on their priorities because if you set out to do everything, odds are you accomplish nothing. After you learn how to build one thing well, then it’s easier to learn how to optimize and scale your most important resource – time.
Who inspires you?
Tony Robbins and Richard Branson are two people I look up to and learn from. Robbins inspires me because he has been practicing his craft since the late 80s and he remains relevant, intriguing and passionate today. Branson’s approach to building and growing a business and overall attitude towards life is inspirational.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I was at Elon Musk’s Venture Forum talk in January in Hong Kong and it was incredible to hear a few of his statements and plans. Some of these include; powering China with solar, also he is working on an amphibious Tesla and his plans for Mars were also impressive. It goes without saying he is an extremely driven individual and I admire his desire to put himself out there and always push new limits and boundaries.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I’d never change anything from my past because this would change where I am today which I could not be happier with. We all make mistakes, we all wish we could “re do” a few decisions, but this is how you learn and grow as an entrepreneur. I had an extremely hard path to arrive where I am today, but this shaped me into who I am today. You cannot rewrite the past, but the future is up to you.
How do you unwind?
Travel, fitness, and writing. I love to travel and I’m fortunate enough to be able to do so on a regular basis. Health is the most important part of everyone’s life, so I enjoy spending time working out. It’s also a great mental break as all your focus is on your physical performance. Writing is my release. I’ve had a journal since 2009 and I’ve written thousands of pages. This is the best self-evaluation tool for me and I highly recommend it!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
This is hard! I’d say Gaya Island in Borneo (Inle Lake in Burma is a close runner up). I love all of the incredible destinations in Asia, but if we’re focused on strictly relaxing then my answer is Gaya Island. It’s a small resort (Gaya Island Resort) with impeccable service and their only goal is to make sure you enjoy your time as much as possible.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is one of the first and still today most influential books I’ve read. This is always my go to recommendation.
Shameless plug for your business:
I’m excited about what we’re doing at Brinc, the world’s first end-to-end integrated platform designed to support global IoT entrepreneurs by accelerating startups from concept to sustainable commercialization.
Every day I work with entrepreneurs from all over the word who come to Hong Kong build their products and launch their businesses. Along with a dedicated team of in-house experts that combine the best from accelerators, consultancies, service providers and distributors, it’s a gift that we have to come into work and help enable IoT founders to focus on building their company and next generation of smart devices.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
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.
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