Lessons From The Year That Was

2017 has parted and left us with memories to remember it by. A mix of experiences; some life-altering, some mundane, others downright questionable. But hail the (albeit controversial) law of averages, it all turned out okay. And we celebrated that, in ways that appealed to us. For me, it was important to know what I was celebrating. Was it the achievements? The pitfalls? Or was it just the mere passage of time?

After giving it some thought, I decided to celebrate my newfound understanding of the ways of the world.

Here are my observations. Continue reading “Lessons From The Year That Was”

Not Your Average 24-Year-Old

Looi Qin En is unusual, to say the least. He doesn’t just think out-of-the-box, he refuses to acknowledge the existence of a box.

When in school, he worked with Singapore’s premier research organisation, A*STAR, to publish 13 papers on human-computer interaction. Shortly after, he was offered a place at Stanford with a full scholarship. He would begin in two years’ time, after completing his National Service (NS). But with Qin En, norms, rules and conventions often get thrown out of the window. By the end of two years, he had built a company called Glints, and was well on his way to raising half a million dollars in seed.

He still went to Stanford, only to return 6 months later. He would focus on running Glints full-time. Stanford could wait. It turned out to be a decision he wouldn’t regret. Glints went on to become a massively successful career discovery and recruitment platform that helped more than 250,000 youths across South East Asia find internships and graduate job opportunities from over 10,000 companies. This year, he also featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia.

In October this year, he stepped down from his role as COO at Glints. He now plans to complete his degree at Stanford come January 2018. But classic Qin En, he couldn’t not do something in the meantime. So he joined a pre-seed startup accelerator in Singapore called Entrepreneur First (EF). This was around the same time that I joined EF too, and that’s how we met.

I don’t write about everyone I work with. But Qin En intrigued me. He’s extremely smart, hacky, and tremendously competitive. And yet, he’s also immensely supportive and insightful. Despite his gargantuan success, he’s unexpectedly modest. Heck, he even has a killer sense of humour.

So Qin En, as you leave EF, this interview is my parting tribute to you.

Continue reading “Not Your Average 24-Year-Old”

Notes from the South of France

Dear Readers,

I spent the month of March in a charming little town in the South of France: Gémenos. It was a work trip, a training that my company arranged. Quite honestly, I was looking forward to a month of relaxation and self-discovery. Exploring quaint French towns with a pain au chocolat in one hand and a piece of Brie in another, sun-kissed by the warm Spring Sun. But along the way, I started writing down my personal observations of things around me: the sights, the culture, the people – just about anything I found interesting. To confirm or correct my theories, I discussed them with local colleagues, expats, strangers I met on trains and even fellow visitors.

And then I compiled all my thoughts into this one article. So here it goes.

Continue reading “Notes from the South of France”