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“Destiny’s role is to twist, but it will always be your role to fulfill that twisted part of it”
I wasn’t one of them, those whom since a young age you could tell that they were destined to be entrepreneurs. Being of Chinese descent, my parents placed the Chinese characters of Wei Shang (伟商), which stands for business, within my name. A noble businessman, the very definition of my Chinese name. A definition I brushed off throughout my entire phase of being a generation Y candidate.
Fast forward to June 2015, within that peculiar boardroom filled with thundering echoes from my then boss, it was just another day at work. Being in a firm where high-tech stuff gets churned out on a regular basis, the stress and overtime level is frequently produced at an alarming level which becomes all just too common for the people there.
“If all of you were to continue to be so stupid, when will my dream ever be fulfilled?!” was what my dear boss said that day. Probably a meaningless phrase which gets recycled through my colleague’s ears, it was something that greatly changed how I feel and think deep within. It was on that very day, I realize that “Dreams” to me is not something I would take on selfishly, but it’s something that has to be achieved together.
“Are you out there to achieve dreams, or just there to fulfil it for someone?”
After quitting, I started my first company called Tinka with a dear friend of mine at McDonalds, a place where many start-up founders surprisingly concoct their world changing ideas. The idea was simple, to introduce Augmented Reality into Tourist Souvenirs. The execution? Way beyond what two naïve men could comprehend. In other words, what were we actually thinking? Something along the lines of world domination perhaps.
We might have the skills to develop a mobile augmented reality application, but getting it to be accepted by the market is one of the toughest things we had to face. All this happened before the existence of Pokemon GO, where augmented reality became popular due to it. It was an uphill battle to get the public and our users to accept what we were trying to provide. The first introduction of “Augmented Reality Souvenirs” to your potential customer will usually leave many baffled!
The obvious strategy when selling products like souvenirs would of course be handled by approaching major souvenir distributors and retailers within that field. By title I was founder and CEO of Tinka, but by reality, I was nothing more than a door to door salesman. I realized there and then that leadership is not just the ability to provide ideas and instructions to people, but the willingness to get down and dirty when it matters. That cold approach was honestly unforgiving, however the lessons I learned from that experience are worth more than what my face has lost.
“True leaders are grown from concrete, where hardships of life have been experienced, therefore guiding as an example to a team that shall not face the same fate”
How do we grow and move on from here to achieve bigger accomplishments? With the rate my start-up was moving, we will be taken down just as easily as how we started. I then plunged and took the route that every founder will usually do in this situation, the never-ending pilgrimage of investor searching.
Was it smooth? Not at all. Days of getting reminded from the initial cold stages of business crept up again. However, by identifying your direction and have the heart to persevere, you will bound to have a breakthrough. Our ever-relentless marketing efforts to our customers finally caught the eye of the most unexpected audience instead. A product video we produced landed on the eyes of a powerhouse in the marketing industry of Malaysia.
DEALING WITH FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES
Marke 360 has been a forefront in marketing executions in Malaysia within the past few years for tech giants like Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett Packard. Being highly affiliated with major tech corporations would only mean one thing, having a stronger head-start in pushing out new technologies & development from our side. Our whole team then agreed to move on and join them as partners.
What was it like being engaged into huge projects from giants? Highly BRUTAL. I remember the first few months into our endeavour, there were countless nights where we slept in the office and only returning to our apartments to bath at 8am in the morning. Being in the line of business where you work to serve others, it’s all about serving the purpose of your clients.
Despite that, being exposed to various industries and adapting to their work process and protocols opened my eyes to what it means to run companies worth millions. The more knowledge you acquire, the more educated you are for your own company.
“The world you know now might not be the world that will prepare you for the future”
The journey till now, still feels like things are just starting. With many more huge projects coming along way for Fortune 500 companies, the only direction one must pull their team through would be up. Earning higher than expected profits last year made me target various other aspects of life onwards, like the art of giving back to the community. Maybe at the end of the day, I would then be able to fulfill the destiny of my own name after all.
I am the founder of Malaysia’s 1st Augmented Reality merchandize and currently is a partner & director of an integrated marketing agency that focuses on making brands exciting through on-ground & online strategies. Thus far, I have served various Fortune 500 companies into solving their projects and challenges with digital solutions. For any advice and enquiries, please contact me at my contact page!