TimothyTiah.com

When your son makes your Dad Happy

My Dad doesn’t generally like to appear on my social media platforms but I just couldn’t resist this picture of him and Fighter. In this picture, he’s showing Fighter some video of some animals playing some musical instruments and Fighter seems really happy about it.

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I quickly whipped out my photo and took this picture to capture the moment. It’s at this moment I thought about my childhood days, when my Dad took care of me and did all these things with me. I’ve seen many things that made my Dad happy in life. The times when he bought a new car, or when his friends praise him or many other things. But the one thing that consistently makes him happy is his kids and now his grandkids.

This happiness spills down to me too. Many things make me happy in life, but nothing makes me happier than time with my kids. Ten years ago I couldn’t imagine how my kids would look like or be like. Now I can’t imagine my life without them.


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What I hope to change in myself in 2017

This post is in collaboration with Pharmaton

I’m supporting the new Pharmaton campaign that is looking for people to share what they achieved in 2016 and their 2017 resolution. . ‘Pharmaton®  Reward Your Achievement” Contest is organised by Pharmaton® with multivitamin and minerals + Ginseng extract. They’ll reward 15 people with prizes of up to RM50,000 worth to help them with their 2017 resolution.

When composing this article, the hardest part for me was thinking about what I achieved in 2016. Sure there were the small wins here and there but I don’t think people generally like to hear a “success” brag (no matter how humble) from me. So I decided to dig deeper. What did I really achieve that is not in material nature… I think completing a 160KM cycling ride would qualify for that but I did that in 2015, not 2016.

Then it hit me what I did last year that mattered the most to me.

After leaving Netccentric in November I spent the last two months of the year with a lot more time on my hands than I was used to. I spent that time with family, I spent that time working out and I threw away quite a significant amount of that time on War Robots. Fortunately though I did spend some of that time on something else… personal development. I read a wide number of books ranging from the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People to Elon Musk’s biography.

I also watched a lot of Ted Talks and YouTube videos or different speakers that really talked about self-development. My conclusion at the end of these two months was that I am doing so many things wrong in life. Here’s what I learned and what I’ve resolved to change starting from the first month of 2017. Note that the below are sins that I have been committing all my life.

  1. Never Criticize 

Very little good ever comes from criticism. When we criticize somebody, we automatically put that somebody in a defensive position. That person then in order to protect his/her self esteem or ego would immediately be thinking of a rebuttal to your criticism as opposed to truly considering if your criticism is really warranted.

The end result is that criticism hurts people and while it may occasionally work in drumming in the point you’re trying to make, that benefit is often offset by the resentment that you create.

The first thing I thought about when learning this was “What? Does this mean I can never tell any of my colleagues off for something they did wrong?”.

I learned then it’s a matter of language.

So here’s how the average boss might have told off an employee: “Do you realize that the mistake you made in the purchasing order cost us an additional RM10,000. I already told you to always double check these things before sending it out. Why did you still make this mistake? I don’t care how you settle this but just do it!”.

Here’s how it could be better communicated. Assume that the person’s name is Daisy.

“Daisy I know you work really hard for this company. Your commitment is second to none. This mistake though is really unfortunate. It ended up costing us RM10,000. I’m sure you didn’t mean to make it and I’m confident you’ll learn from your mistake and never make it again but now that it’s done, how do you suggest we rectify it? Do you think you’ll be able to resolve this on your own?”.

Notice how if you absolutely have to criticize, start off first with a praise, then slowly go into it. Never go flat out criticism. This works not just on the basis of work but also at home. When we speak to our brothers and sisters, our parents and our wives or husbands or even friends.

2. Listen. Like REALLY Listen

Many of us aren’t really good at listening. Next time you’re having a conversation with someone, pay attention to whether you’re really listening or whether you’re “listening to respond”.  Most of us listen while our mind processes what we could say next in response to what he just said. Sometimes in our hurry to respond we don’t let the person finish before we give our response.

Really listening means really doing nothing but having direct eye contact with that person and listening to every word that person says until he stops and waits for you to respond. If he doesn’t stop… then you just have more to listen to.

This is important because listening helps you learn things. Helps you understand more about a person but most importantly, listening helps that other person feel important. Making someone feel important makes it more likely that the person would feel more positively towards you.

3. Have a Life Constitution

When we ask ourselves the question of what we want in life, we normally get a really short answer. “To be a billionaire” or “To be happy” or “to be a star”. The thing about these answers is that they tend to be one dimensional. “To be a billionaire” however focuses our life goals at being rich, but then what about family? or personal happiness?

We end up neglecting all that in our pursuit to “be a billionaire” and at the end of it could end up a little depressed. To make things worse life is full of surprises. Good ones and bad ones too. So sometimes life hits, like you fall sick and then you run into disarray. Or you have issues at work and you neglect family and personal happiness.

What I learned from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to have a clear mission statement or constitution in mind on what and who we want to be. Describe your life 10 years from now, what do you want in terms of business, family and personal.

Then describe what kind of person or values do we want? Maybe you want to be empathetic, someone who doesn’t judge until you hear both sides of the story or someone who finds happiness in the smallest things. This constitution just like the constitution of a country becomes the base in which we live our life.

The base in which we decide what decisions to make when life throws all sorts of crisis at us. I talked to my dear wife Shorty about this and she agreed that was something she needed. A direction and a purpose for everything we do in life. Hence what we’ve decided is to take some time away together. Go to a nearby beach resort in Phuket or something and then just spend a few days without distraction working out our constitution.

Maybe if I’m lucky I might win something like that from Pharmaton but if not… I think it’s something we have to be able to do. So you see towards the end of last year I feel that through books and personal development I have achieved self-awareness of who I am.

My strengths and my weaknesses. 2017 is going to be about fighting my nature to do better in these things. To not criticize people, to listen… and there are a lot more things that I need to do to improve. Share your 2016 achievement and your 2017 resolution here (www.pharmaton.com.my) and maybe Pharmaton might help you keep that resolution.

Hurry and Join as this promo will run until 31 March 2017

Oh and don’t forget to pick up some of these to help you to achieve your resolution.

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How to train for a marathon like a boss

If you asked me a year ago if I would be training for a marathon I would be like “NO FUGGIN WAY!”.

So why am I doing it now?

Because of these guys.

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My EO Forum mates. They all decided they wanted to check something off the bucket list this year which includes a half marathon in a month’s time and a full marathon by the end of the year. That’s crazy because that takes training and while I enjoy cycling training… running is super boring to me.

Still… out of not letting my friends down I decided to do it.

So just yesterday we invited another friend named Keat (on the left in the picture above) to share some tips with us on how to prepare for a marathon. Keat is a season Iron Man, Marathoner and Century Rider. He has done everything.

He gave us a lot of tips but here’s what I’m going to list down.

  1. Have a running schedule

He came up with this running schedule for us. That is how many KM to run each week which include some weeks of less running for recovery.

 

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The first thing I noticed about this schedule was “Wait.. when do we actually go for a practice run of 42KM ?”.

The answer though is never. Keat said that marathon runners don’t run 42 KM on their training rounds because it just takes too much out of the body. The most we ever run is 32KM and that’s like a couple of weeks before race day.

This was a paradigm shift for me because I thought running and endurance was all about doing more and more distance each time. What I learned though is that when it comes to training, it’s not about distance, it’s about consistency.

2. Vaseline up your nipples and your thighs. 

It’s called chafing. Because apparently the friction you get on your nipples from running for hours causes your nipples to bleed. That’s pretty scary.

3. Stretches after a run are very important to prevent injury.

I do some stretching before a workout but I never really used to do a post run one because after a run I just feel like sitting down and chilling. That’s wrong. There are a lot of basic stretches we can find on YouTube and that’s something we gotta do to prevent injury.

4. Drink before you’re thirsty. Eat before you’re hungry.

On a long run we normally need to bring our calories with us that come in the form of gel, energy bars or fruit. Always eat or drink before we actually get hungry because by the time we do it’s too late. Keat also recommended recovery drinks like Endurox so I went out to buy some today.

5. How to trick the mind and fight the mental war

42KM is a long way to run and sometimes our mind gives up before our body does. Keat said what he did was to break down the whole route into 10KM and then 5KM and then 2KM segments so that it’s mentally easier to keep it up.

He also said that if we’re not running to get the best possible time and just want to complete then don’t be afraid to walk.

6. Don’t save on a good pair of running shoes

I learned this the hard way actually. I went for a 10KM fun run and ended up hurting the sole of my feet. So I searched online for the best running shoes in the world and bought any pair that I could find in Malaysia.

And that’s my key takeaways from the session.

Used stuff that sell online and stuff that don’t

“FATS! Please throw out all your old stuff or sell them before I do it for you”.

That was when I realized my wife was serious about her spring cleaning warpath. So I went online to start selling stuff.

I’ve sold stuff on many different sites like Mudah but this time I decided to try Carousell. I proudly put together a collection of things that I thought would sell and even threw in some stuff that I thought won’t sell.

Here are the things I put up for sale. Try to guess to see if it would sell or not and I’ll give you the answer below.

  1. A pair of authentic G-Star jeans – RM100

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I went through a phase where I loved designer jeans years ago. So I bought a number of jeans like this. When I put them on again I was like woah fug… they were all baggy and stuff which probably was more acceptable then but not in 2016 or 2017. Maybe the trend of baggy jeans will come back again in a few years but not for now.

I thought nobody would wanna buy it so I was going to sell it for RM25. Then Shorty stopped me and said “What? At least RM100. Trust me. I know fashion”.

So guess if I had any buyers for this pair of jeans at RM100.

The answer is….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

In fact I had no interest so I dropped it to RM80 and then to RM50. And still no interest.

2) My old Crumpler laptop bag – RM 20

 

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Shorty was initially offended when I decided to put this up for sale. She said the bottom part was all torn… who would want to buy such a thing?

Well I believed that everything has a price. And it was a good functional bag. So I posted it up along with clear pictures of the torn part at the bottom.

Guess if I managed to sell it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLD! For RM20!

3) Mont Blanc Watch Winder – RM90

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I actually won this when I won the Prestige 40 under 40 a few years ago but I’ve never really used it. I didn’t want to throw it away because it was still brand new and it’s a really nice thing. Just not something I use. So I decided to put it up for sale for RM90.

The big question though was who would want to buy such a thing? Are people who would buy a watch winder shopping online for second hand stuff like this?

So did I sell it….?

SOLD! FOR RM90. One guy came about and said that he was buying it for his Dad’s birthday.

4) Authentic pair of True Religion Jeans – RM80

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At one point I loved True Religion jeans. So this is the same story as the G-Star one above.

So did I sell it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nope. Not a peep. Crickets.

5) My old Adidas running shoes – RM40

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These shoes are quite a number of years old. I’ve been running in them for a while and my feet hurt from them when I started to do longer distances. So I ended up buying a new pair of shoes (Nike). I had no use for these shoes and they were taking up room in my shoe cabinet so okay… I put it for sale for RM40. And the answer is….

SOLD!!

6) My Scott Addict 10 Road Bike – RM 5,500

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Love this bike when I used to cycle. It has taken me for rides over thousands of KMs in its lifetime. It’s also heavily modded. The bike alone costs RM10K but I think all the add ons probably bring it to like RM15K or so in total. I put it on sale for RM5,500. That’s 66% lower than what I probably paid for it and…..

 

 

 

 

 

NOT SOLD!!! Not a single offer.

 

7) My Sony PlayStation 3

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Since I don’t play console games anymore I thought I put this up for sale for RM650. The answer….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT SOLD!!!

8) Bunch of old cycling jerseys – RM50

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Okay… I don’t know who would buy cycling jerseys that I had worn and soaked with sweat over a number of rides. But these cycling jerseys were taking up a lot of space.

So I put them all up and decided to test the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLD!! In fact I offered the guy more jerseys and some cycling shorts (I thought hey who would buy my shorts since you know… people go commando in cycling shorts). But he took it. For RM80 he bought almost every cycling jersey and shorts I owned.

He told me that he took it then and sold it to his bicycle group of friends for a profit. So probably a good deal for him.

Okay so of the 8 of the above.. how many did you guys get right?

How marriage surprised me

Coming back from Singapore by car last weekend, Shorty was suffering from a very quickly escalating condition of UTI (urinary tract infection). The symptoms was pain, which she was feeling and her constant need to go to the bathroom. Which made us thankful that Malaysian highways had so many rest stops.

When we got to KL we immediately went to see a doctor. The doctor told her to pee in a cup. When she held up the cup for me to see, I had a shock of my life. Her pee was the colour of Ribena.

The doctor confirming that it was UTI offered her an injection to cure the symptoms. He felt that she would hesitate an injection like any normal person but little did he know, Shorty wasn’t normal. You see, Shorty has a phobia for taking oral medication and given a choice she would rather take an injection any day. Heck if Panadol came in the form of an injection she would stop up a rack of them at home just for herself.

As we stood outside the clinic waiting for our Uber that rainy day, Shorty looked at me and said “Thank you” (for taking me to the doctor).

I said “What are you thanking me for? It is my duty. Through sickness and in health right?”.

It was then that I was reminded about what many marriages have… what Shorty and I have. Before you find the one to settle down and get married, relationships were all about discovery, about fun and sometimes about the petty little fights that help us know each other better. After a long relationship though there’s always that fear about taking that next step. Is the one I’m going to marry the right one? What is it like to be with one person for the rest of your life?

The latter question is the one most guys go through and here I am, married for almost 5 years now and I’m actually really happy that I am. I don’t see marriage as me being with one woman for the rest of my life. It’s like over the past 5 years, my wife has become a real part of me. Conjoined to me like my personality is, my soul and my heart. If she’s happy I’m happy. If she’s sad I’m sad. If she’s sick I feel sick too. What marriage gives us isn’t really variety, nor discovery nor many of the other things we had when we were just dating. It gives me much more than that.

It gives me a sense of partnership that have a commitment to be together through thick and thin. That through our kids we have a common goal in wanting to raise them well and give them the best. That life is not just about me anymore. It’s about us. It’s about family.

Watching the rain fall that day outside the clinic with my wife standing next to me I thought to myself that it’s been almost 5 years of marriage now. I hope the next 30 years are just as good.

How telling the truth about social media moms resulted in 800,000 views in a day

As we sat down at the Starbucks of a suburban mall in Subang, Pierre said to me

“Tim. We have a new product for Mamee coming out. It’s called Mamee Monster Biskidz and because the Mamee Monster brand goes a long way back for the company, we need to make sure I put together a campaign that works. But because it’s a new product, I don’t have a big marketing budget… so I need it to go viral on social media. And you’re the only person I know in Malaysia who consistently virals stuff so please help me.”

The target market was moms. They created a product that has the thin crispiness of a potato chip, but it was actually a biscuit. So it was a healthier snack alternative to chips. It was available in slim packaging so it’s easy to carry around to act as an emergency snack when moms are travelling with their kids and their kids get hungry.

The good news was that the product was great.

The bad news was that its main target market is one of the hardest target markets to market to. Moms.

Moms are the most powerful and lucrative consumer market out there. They are the decision makers in buying just about every household item. In my home my wife chooses what eggs to buy, what tissue paper, what milk, what soap, heck she even chooses what bed sheets I sleep on. I pay for it… but she chooses. Because moms are so powerful, just about every single brand is finding different ways to sell something to them be it household stuff or things for their kids.

And this brings us to an even deeper problem.

Moms are the guardians of their kids and they have the highest standards of everything their kids use. Higher than even for themselves (how many moms do you know who drink Coke but don’t let their kids have any).  Yet brands are pushing product to moms on a regular basis and all more or less in the same way.

So how do you sell to moms?

You have to build trust.

How do you build trust?

You build trust with a person when he or she takes an effort to really listen, understand and empathize with how you feel.  Trust is further built when after doing that, that person does something to help you.

So idea is first to empathize… then to provide the solution which Mamee Monster Biskidz was made to be.

The question though is what and how.

I spent the next week after our meeting at Starbucks talking to moms and really just listening. One thing that really stuck with me was the struggle of the modern mom. Society is really harsh on the modern mom. Modern moms are expected to sometimes work and earn a living like their husbands, yet they’re also expected to take care of the kids, manage the household and even take care of their husbands. On top of that all they’re also expected to ensure they take care of how they physically look to other people.

That’s just really really hard and I found that many moms fall deeper into depression under all this pressure. The one thing that makes all this worse? Social media.

The Facebook or Instagram posting that your favourite parenting blogger posts of the perfect beautifully decorated meals that they cook for their kids, or the beautiful family photo shoots when everyone is happy or how our celebrity moms manage to deliver kids and lose all their baby weight in a month.

The problem with social media though is that it’s not real life. People post the best of them on social media so we only see one side, but as a result of that moms start feeling that they’re not doing a good enough job as a mom and get even more depressed.

So the idea I had?

Tell the real moms the truth. That there is no perfect mom and there should be no pressure to be a perfect mom. Every mom no matter how imperfect in the eyes of mothers need to know that they’re great moms and that’s all that matters. That we should stop embracing perfect moms and instead celebrate imperfect moms!

How do we do that?

I thought of creating a video that told the story of 3 real life celebrity moms in Malaysia and how their beautiful Instagram photos don’t necessarily reflect real life.

Pierre thought it was a brilliant idea but great ideas are only as good as how they’re executed. So we put together a team of the most capable people we know.

There was the team of Sashimi who was Mamee’s digital agency, Reelity.TV (a Netccentric company) and Playground Productions that put together the video and a great team at Mamee who oversaw the whole thing. It was one of the most turbulent video productions I’ve ever seen. We’ve had problems like a key talent falling sick on the day of the shoot and us having to replace that person. Or that we thought we had a great video made on to test it and see that it failed to get a good response from a different demographic.

While I was involved in the first half of the project, by the second half I had taken a step back and the team from the agencies above handled everything on their own accord. It was the most amazing team I’ve ever seen. Everyone was motivated to create a video that really impacted people instead of thinking of their bottom line.

When you put 10 very very capable people in the room, there’s bound to be a lot of pressure and differing opinions but the team at Mamee held everything together. Mamee also worked with Sashimi, Reelity.TV and Playground as partners rather than vendors. Listening to their opinions and taking risk. They weren’t worried about how many seconds their product appeared in the video. They were only concerned about whether the video spoke for moms. There was authenticity in what everyone was trying to do. We weren’t trying to sell product. We were trying to build a brand.

Finally the video came out and with only an initial marketing spend of RM1,700 on Facebook ads, the video reached thousands of shares and over 250,000 views in 8 hours. A day later the video hit 14,500 shares and almost 800,000 views. The best part though was in the comments. Moms commented about how grateful they were that Mamee Monster as a brand understood them. That this brand hadn’t looked to push product to them at the first encounter, but to first empathize.

This is the new start of the Mamee Monster brand. It’s not a biscuit or a snack brand. It’s a brand that aims to support mothers by sometimes saying things that moms themselves don’t say and by creating products that solve their problems.

It’s a brand that understands that you first have to empathize with your customer before you sell him or her something.

Special thanks goes out to the people who worked together through blood sweat and tears to put this video together:

From Sashimi: Desmond, Lee Fen, Fayth

From Reelity.TV: Michael and Isaiah.

From Playground Productions: Faisal, Megat, Azman, Ismail, Razaisyam and Bajai.

And last but not least from Mamee: Li Yein, Meng Yang, Alysha, Kenneth and Hui Ying.

I was going to make RM13K in a day until I realised….

For the longest time I’ve been looking to buy this drone called the Mavic Pro. It is supposed to be one of the best drones in the market. They first announced it in September or October last year and it’s now January and it’s still really hard to find.

My usual drone and camera equipment supplier is a nice guy named CM who has a shop in Berjaya Times Square. If anyone could get it for me it was him, but it’s expensive (partly because it’s so limited).

So I started looking around online and I found this ad on Mudah.

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Most other ads price the drone at RM5-6K onwards so I was shocked when I saw one selling for RM3999. That’s even cheaper than the $999 they sell it for in the US (especially with our current exchange rate).

That’s impossible I thought. They say if something sounds too good to be true it probably is right?

So I read on to see how this seller managed to get the drone at such a cheap price.

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Okay… to the regular Joe on the street that sounds reasonable. Until you remember that just about every retail shop that sells drones probably are trying to place an order for 65 units or more too. Yet none of them are giving this kind of discount.

What was the catch though? I decided to message this guy and ask him.

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Ok. We have to go pick it up at Kuantan which is kinda odd but fine. If he really could sell me that many units it could be worth the trip. Heck I calculated that if I could really buy 26 units off him for RM4K and sell it to a retailer  like CM for RM4.5K I could make like RM13K profit from a day trip to Kuantan. And if I sold it directly online I could probably make RM1K per unit or RM26K.

Why can’t he meet us in KL? Well… I asked…

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Even with the trip it sounds like a good idea. I rounded up my friend Arnold to see if he would go on the day trip with me and he came up with the idea first of asking this guy to do a video call to show us his stock. To prove it’s legit.

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He wasn’t up for it and showed he was really willing to walk away from it all if I wanted to make him jump through hoops for it.

Okay but still I can’t figure out where’s the downside here. What was he going to do? If we made a trip to Kuantan was he going to mug us? Steal our car?

Heck he even sent us a picture of his IC and told us how he’s from Kuantan but is now working in Singapore.

I probed a bit more and then I finally found the catch.

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He wanted me to make a 50% deposit before I even go to Kuantan.

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I tried to ask him for cash on delivery but he didn’t want that. And this was his lame excuse.

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I found this part really ironic because here’s a guy who’s probably hiding from the police but yet he’s saying the police is warning him against guys who might scam him.

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I then called it off politely. I didn’t want to call him a scammer and all that because hey how would I know with absolute certainty. From this I’m 90% sure it’s a scam, but heck there is that chance he’s legit so why offend him. Anyway I talked to my friend CM who sells this drone at his shop in Times Square and he seemed more certain than me that it’s  a scam.

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I got him worried for a while there. 

In the end I bought my drone from CM for a lot lot higher than the RM4K.

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If you’re looking to buy a drone or camera equipment from a legit source, please call my friend CM at +6012 515 5510.

Here’s the blueprint of my next entrepreneurial journey. Who wants to come along?

The past 3 months of being unemployed has been really good for me. I’ve been reading a lot of books that helped me with self-actualization. Knowing who I am, what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. For example I know that a weakness of mine is that I’m really highly-strung and prone to making reflex actions sometimes out of emotions or anger.

I’ve learned to mentally remind myself of my nature and counter what would have otherwise been a bad reaction or decision. I’ve also really pinned down what I’m good at and what I’m not good at.

The next big decision is what I’m going to do next. What’s my career choice? What kind of business do I want to build?

I’ve come to these 3 thoughts.

1) Forget about paper wealth

In the past decade money has been cheap. Startups are raising money at all sorts of valuations, minting more young millionaires than ever before. The one thing we gotta realize though is that net worth calculated from a startup’s valuation is paper money.  It’s not real until someone pays real money for it in the form of an exit or IPO and in this part of the world, there are few opportunities like that.

So I’m resolved to make sure I’m not distracted by paper valuations by playing the corporate finance game of raising money round after round for bragging rights till we achieve “unicorn status”. No.. I’m not.

What I am resolved to focus on is in my next point.

2) The business must be able to make an ENORMOUS amount of money in profits

The key word here really is ENORMOUS. There are a lot of SMEs that make good money. Maybe they make RM1-10 million a year in profit and this money gives them financial freedom and a very very comfortable (even luxurious life). They can buy big houses, have expensive cars parked in their driveways and travel business class when they go for holidays.

That’s a lot of money and heck RM10 million is more money than I have ever made in a year. But that’s not enormous.

ENORMOUS profits to me are companies that make profits of RM100 million a year and above. That’s when we’re really talking. That’s when it’s BIG. The problem with building a business like this though is that it totally goes against our startup culture.

Startup culture says build fast and fail fast. Look at the businesses that make RM100 million a year and above. Most of them have taken not years but decades to get where they are today. Decades of successes, failures, joy and hardship. If they lived with the “fail fast” mantra many of them wouldn’t have made it to what they are today.

I’m under no illusion of what I want to build. I don’t want to build something to be sold or IPO’ed in a few years. I want to build something that lasts. The only way businesses last is if they eventually make good profits.

Different businesses I do will require different amounts of capital, different people, different skill sets but they all require the same amount of time and commitment from me. So if I’m going to invest the same amount of time in a business, it better be something that could be BIG.

3) The business must be IMPACTFUL.

What I’m going to do next is not going to be in the media and advertising industry where I spent the past 10 years building experience and a network. That was a hard call for me because advertising is a great industry. The people there are awesome to work with and it’s a lucrative industry. Many many people build great and rewarding careers and businesses in the industry.

So why is it I don’t want to go back to advertising?

Because I don’t feel I really make a change in my work there. We spend a lot of time working on great campaign ideas for clients and sometimes we do a great job and meets their objectives: ie sell a lot of products as a result of our campaigns. Once that’s done though we start again and move on to the next campaign, and the next and the next.

Compare that to the other end of the spectrum where Elon Musk with SpaceX is taking gradual steps closer to his master plan of having a human colony on Mars.  Allowing humans to be a multi-planetary species  and save the species should our Earth eventually fail on us.

I’m not saying I’m gonna do something like that but heck maybe something just a little more impactful than what I’ve done in the past. If I’m going to do something or offer a service I’m going to ask myself, whose lives do I impact, whose lives do  I improve as a result of the service or product I just sold?

Shorty and I have decided to work together on two different projects that we’ve shortlisted. One is more unconventional than the other. We’re not ready to announce it yet but when we do we’re going to need help.

We’re going to need to hire a great team with common values and a mission to do something greater than we already have right now.  In the past few weeks I’ve been getting a number of emails from people who want to be part of whatever I’m doing next and I’m really flattered to get all that when I haven’t even asked anyone to reach out.

Today though I’m going to ask you guys to reach out to me if you guys want to be part of this journey with us. If you’re tired of your job, if you want to do something different, if you want to make an important impact on human life… drop me an email at lengmoublogs@yahoo.com.

Do include your background, what you do for a living now, what you think you’re good at and what you think you’re not.  :)

An EtonHouse Group School is Opening in Penang and it aims to be affordable

Remember when I mentioned on Dayre that my brother was opening a pre-school in Penang. When I was back in Penang over Chinese New Year I paid a visit to the pre-school just before its opening.

First let me give you a bit of a background of my brother. I’ve never talked much about Patrick because he’s social media shy but I’m gonna do it now. Patrick is my older brother who spent the past 10 years as a Goldman Sachs banker in Singapore. He has a family of four kids. Yep four. In Singapore. He jokes with me how every dollar he earned in his Goldman years was spent on his kids.

Last year though he left Goldman Sachs and decided to try something new on his own. He was interested in education because he has always been a very involved parent. In Singapore his kids went to EtonHouse and he marvelled and how well served the pre-school market in Singapore was. There were all sorts of options that satisfy difference prices and learning approaches.

He then came back to our hometown of Penang and found that this wasn’t the case in Penang:

  1. In Penang most of the great schools were congregated around the north of the island; Leaving a vacuum of major pre-school brands in the south.
  2. Even in the schools in the North there wasn’t enough supply to cater to the demand. The pre-school my parents sent me to when I was a kid (St Christophers) is known to have a long long waiting list.

So  with this in mind and with family in Singapore, my brother decided to take a leap of coming back to Penang to start a preschool.

He didn’t want to simply start any school though. He wanted to make sure he brought a great brand in so he talked to EtonHouse about opening a branch in Penang. The thing about EtonHouse though is that it’s pretty high end. My brother wanted to be able to offer something affordable to working parents in the free trade zone area of Bayan Lepas and the likes.

So he convinced EtonHouse to bring their more affordable brand to Penang. It’s called E-bridge and it’s opening this April 2017.

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Here are some pictures I took of the school when I visited.

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This is an indoor playground area for the kids. I like how they built like a track around the playground.

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They also have these kind of baby gyms. The kind of thing Penny and maybe even Fighter still enjoy playing.

The school is pretty big with 8 classrooms. Here’s how the classrooms look like.

  IMG_20170127_114406 If I brought Penny and Fighter I think they might have want to brought one of these colourful balls home so I imagine the number of balls on this table would slowly get less and less.   IMG_20170127_114501

Another classroom for all the kids. Love the cute little stools.

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Which is kinda different from the stools that some of the other classrooms have.   IMG_20170127_115531   It’s like every classroom is a little different.   IMG_20170127_115015   I particularly like how the classroom has a sink with different types of taps.

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I didn’t notice it at first but Shorty was telling me how it’s intentionally done this way so that kids learn how to turn on the different type of taps.

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From turning to pushing upwards to winding.

IMG_20170127_115551   I came across this classroom that had a lot of art material in it.   IMG_20170127_115313

I also noticed all these figurines on display representing the different type of jobs that people have. I imagine teachers using them to educate kids on all the different jobs.

There’s also a nursery here for all the babies to nap.

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And this classroom that looked to me like a science room cuz it had microscopes and stuff.   IMG_20170127_115150

Lots of toys around the school too.

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And neatly packed building blocks. Something I think Fighter would appreciate.

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EtonHouse and E-Bridge both adopt inquiry based learning, and is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. This is very different from our Malaysian education system, which is based on the British system that is more structured and didactic.

In Malaysia, we are very used to listening to the teacher-  teacher is right, kids wrong. However – with Reggio Emilia, the school recognises the child as a sophisticated independent individual. My brother’s own kids are brought up with this approach and he says it surprises hinm what they know and the opinions that they have. The Reggio approach looks to harness those views and structure projects around them. The lessons are led by the children where the teachers are there to facilitate and learn together with the children.

If you’re keen to check it out, visit their website here.  You can also give them a call at +604-3701788.

They’re having an Open Day on the 12th of February so feel free to pay them a visit. Here’s the address:

Address: E Bridge Childcare PLT,  Arena Curve, Jalan Mahsuri Unit 72-1-73A,

How Malaysia Airlines fucked me in just in time for the year of the cock

I used to be a huge supporter of Malaysia Airlines. Like it’s always my first choice of airline even though their planes are getting old and even though there’s a safety stigma to it. I stuck with it through thick and thin.

Not anymore. Here’s why.

Today was the day I was supposed to fly back to Penang with the kids.  I packed my wife and two kids into the car as we headed all the way to KLIA. I proudly marched to the check-in counter and served up our ID and our air tickets.

The lady behind the counter punched away at her computer only to look at me a few seconds later and say
“Sorry Sir your flight is full.”

Naturally my response was

“What do you mean it’s full? I booked it long before. Here’s my itinerary”.

She then replied
“You checked in too late.”

I first looked at my watch to confirm I was 1 and a half hours early, then at the bunting next to me that reminded passengers to check in “60 minutes before departure”. So okay I was 50% early in terms of minutes. Once certain that I was indeed early for check-in, I relayed that to her in which she replied

“Oh check-in opened 48 hours before departure time. So everyone else checked in before you”.

The logic of that dumbfounded me. I grabbed my head and banged it repeatedly on the hard counter top in front of her… okay I didn’t really do that but instead I gave her this look.

She then said the flight was overbooked and they had to put me on the next flight which is 4.20PM. 6 hours later. I asked for business class instead then but even that was full. So I went

“What am I supposed to do here for 6 hours with my two kids?”.

I don’t know what I expected her to say. Maybe something like “How about I give you shopping vouchers to Mitsui Outlet or a free 3 hours spa session that will leave you with jelly limbs”. Instead, the response Malaysian Hospitality gave me was “I can give you lounge access”.

I looked at the Enrich Gold card in my hand and thought “Lounge access….. like the one I already have with the card in my hand?”.

My imaginative mind flashed to a scene where invading Mongolians were pounding at the Great Wall when the Emperor of China at the time came out and said
“MONGOLIANS! STOP! DO NOT INVADE CHINA!  Go back where you came from and I shall make it worth your while. I shall give you…. wait for it…. SUNLIGHT! (But only for 12 hours a day).

Back on Earth I looked at the MAS lady behind the counter and said “I can’t spend 6 hours in the lounge even with my kids. Can you just cancel my flight and fully refund me?”.

She said okay she’ll check and she darted away for  while. Meanwhile my Supreme Leader (aka wife) approached me and asked me what was going on. When I told her she took a bottle of 12 year Chivas, smashed it on the counter and pointed the jagged edge of the bottle in the air in anger. Okay fine that didn’t happen, but it might as well have…  every sip of a 12 year Chivas is like a kick in the throat. Seriously Chivas what do you put in there?

The Supreme Leader was angry and possibly even more angry considering that I was so calm and casual about the whole thing. Well I’m normally not, these kind of things normally piss me off and I go all apeshit and all but these past few months I’ve been trying to control my temper and be zen and all. Supreme Leader made no such commitment though, so without being able to find anyone to scold she hunted around for the nearest male wearing a green suit jacket or a lady wearing the MAS batik.

Fighter trotted next to her on to her next battle while Penny stayed with me at the counter.

A few minutes later MAS lady came back and she told that I have to write a letter to get a refund. Okay… annoying but I was still zen so I appealed to her to not inconvenience me for having to do that when I’ve already been inconvenienced for coming to the airport with my family only to find out we’ve been kicked off our flight.

She sheepishly said “I’m sorry this is company policy” and then looked away, She looked scared. Something told me she had been through this before and she knew that the words “Company Policy” brings out the “FUCK YOU UNDERSTAND” in any customer. So she was waiting for me to blow up… but instead I curled my palms upward and touched my index fingers with my thumbs.

Next thing I know I saw her printing out a boarding pass and I realized she was checking me into the 4PM flight. I told her woah woah I can’t wait for 4PM. Please cancel my flight in which she again said she can’t… company policy and shit.

Still zen about the whole thing I asked

“I know I know this is not your fault. It’s your company and you’re just doing your job. Can I speak to your manager?”.

She then brought my family and I (Supreme Leader had just returned from her hunt of anything in green) went to see her Duty Manager. There we sat down and after explained our situation the Duty Manager that went by the name Jeffrey basically said:

1) It’s not our fault. It’s the airline’s fault. We did nothing wrong.. But there’s nothing they can do (Actually there is but it’s just too much effort Tim… too much).

2) Yes they could have informed us ahead of time that they moved our flight but they didn’t. (Neh neh ni boo boo)

3) Because my flight was redeemed with points I won’t get a refund. (That’s right Tim. FUCK YOU! Because we can).

4) This happened yesterday too but today is worse (So don’t be sad you’re not the only one that got fucked today).

5) Oh by the way the 4PM flight is now overbooked so our earliest flight is 7PM (and because you came here to complain to me here’s another FUCK YOU).

Sitting across from me I could see Supreme Leader heating up. Her face was flushed red like she had just emerged from a volcano and she shouted in her cute voice at the guy. I say cute because Supreme Leader doesn’t seem to have a loud voice box. Shouting to her is like talking loudly to an average person and while she normally speaks in a low voice, Shouting Shorty is high-pitched.

After Supreme Leader completed her artillery small arms barrage I stepped in and asked Jeffrey
“Okay are you sincerely telling me that there is really nothing you can do?”.

He nodded. I said ok, thanked him and then rounded up the family and left.

We ended up taking a car back to Penang with the kids. When we called their customer service to ask for a refund they told us the people on the ground said we requested to change our flight time which is not true.

I later found out that I wasn’t the only one affected by this. I remember overhearing one guy on the phone apologising to his mom in Hokkien (probably same flight to Penang as me) saying he won’t be able to make it home in time for the dinner. He sounded like he was getting a full blown fucking over the phone from his mom because he was just taking it like a man. After he was done he called up the customer service officer and I heard him doing the fucking then.

So much fucking here and there… what a way to start the Year of the Cock Rooster.

By the way here’s Supreme Leader’s account of the incident.