The Power of Public Speaking: From Thought Leadership to Business Opportunities

In the bustling landscape of startups, public speaking is often perceived as just another marketing strategy. However, my journey with my startup, Favoriot, taught me that it’s much more than that. Here’s how public speaking not only established me as a thought leader in IoT, Smart Cities, and IR 4.0 but also subtly paved the way for business opportunities.

The Early Days: Building a Personal Brand

When I started out, I was often invited to share my knowledge on various tech topics. And I did, wholeheartedly. These engagements were purely knowledge-based, leaving out any mention of Favoriot. This approach was intentional, aiming to build trust and credibility without appearing overly promotional. Over time, these efforts earned me a reputation as an IoT thought leader. But while this title brought recognition and esteem, it failed to translate into tangible business leads for Favoriot.

The Pivot: Injecting Favoriot into the Narrative

I soon realized that while being recognized as an expert is rewarding, it wasn’t fulfilling my ultimate goal – to get Favoriot known in the industry. I needed a new strategy.

Instead of keeping my talks strictly academic, I began to subtly incorporate elements of Favoriot’s products and services. I showcased real-world examples of how IoT platforms, especially like ours, can build effective IoT solutions. A couple of slides bearing the Favoriot product logo turned out to be enough to sow the seeds of brand awareness.

The Impact: From Awareness to Business

Gradually, the narrative began to shift. The moment of epiphany would often come during networking sessions or casual interactions when someone would say, “Oh, you’re from Favoriot? We’ve heard of you.” That statement epitomized the change.

While turning awareness into paying customers wasn’t instantaneous, it certainly laid the groundwork. Over time, some of those who had a mere awareness of Favoriot became interested parties, and eventually, paying customers.

Conclusion: A Strategy Worth Investing In

Public speaking is a long game, especially when it’s used as a business promotion tool. However, its effects can be long-lasting and profound. By transitioning from pure knowledge-sharing to subtle brand promotion, I found a sweet spot that not only solidified my position as a thought leader but also carved out a niche for Favoriot in a crowded market.

So, to all startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, remember: Public speaking is not just about sharing what you know; it’s also about weaving in who you are and what you offer. That blend can be a game-changer.

The Myth of Overnight Success: The Inspirational Story of Colonel Sanders and KFC

In our society, there’s a pervasive belief that if you haven’t achieved your dreams by a certain age, you’ve missed your chance. We often hear tales of prodigies and young entrepreneurs, creating a skewed perception of success. However, the story of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC, busts this myth wide open. At 62, an age when most people think of retiring, Sanders started what would become a global fast-food empire. But is the story as straightforward as it seems?

Colonel Sanders: Behind The Age Number

It’s tempting to see Sanders’ journey as an overnight success story that happened late in life. Yet, to fully appreciate it, one must delve into the details. From a young age, Sanders took on various jobs and faced his share of challenges. By 40, he ran a restaurant, which means he had two decades of experience in the food business before KFC became a household name. This was not a sudden leap into the unknown but a culmination of life-long learning, grit, and passion.

The Secret Recipe and Building from Scratch

Sanders’ secret chicken recipe was renowned among locals and travelers long before the brand KFC existed. This gave him a unique advantage. In contrast, many entrepreneurs, like myself with Favoriot, have to start with a blank slate, forging a brand identity and customer base from scratch.

Yet, this difference is precisely what makes the entrepreneurial journey so fascinating. Each story is unique. Every path is its own, filled with its own set of challenges, risks, and rewards. Some entrepreneurs may find smooth sailing, while others brave tumultuous storms. Some have a well-laid roadmap, while others venture through uncharted territory.

Entrepreneurship: A Journey of Resilience

The tale of Colonel Sanders is not one of immediate success but of persistence. He faced numerous rejections before his recipe was accepted. The narrative underscores that it’s not about when you start but how you persevere.

For those of us in the entrepreneurial world, these stories resonate deeply. Our journeys may differ in detail, but the underlying themes remain consistent. Determination, resilience, and adaptability are paramount.

In Conclusion

Colonel Sanders’ story with KFC is not just about age but about resilience, experience, and the value of never giving up. For budding entrepreneurs, his journey is a beacon of hope and a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. Every journey is unique, and while not all paths will lead to global success, they all provide lessons that shape and enrich us.

Remember, entrepreneurship is less about the destination and more about the journey, the lessons learned, and the passion that drives you.

From Spiritual GPS to Emotional Outlet: How Blogging Became My Second Sanctuary

Life’s a whirlwind, right? We’re all hustling between family commitments, work obligations, and for me, religious practices. Praying five times a day is my constant, my spiritual anchor. But there’s another habit that has surprisingly become just as meaningful: blogging. So let me pull back the curtain and share how this daily ritual has become more than just keystrokes and screens.

A Sanctuary for the Soul and Mind

Okay, so we all have stuff that messes with our heads, right? Worries about work, family stuff, life’s curveballs. For me, my daily prayers offer a spiritual cleanse, but blogging? It’s like my mental spa day. I jot down thoughts, make sense of my day, and get to put my emotions on the screen. And when I hit publish and someone messages me to say, “Hey, that really resonated with me,” it’s like a high-five for the soul.

It’s Not Just About Code and Business Hacks

The word ‘blog’ might conjure up images of long tech manuals or ’10 Ways to Boost Your Sales.’ Sure, I dive into tech topics — gotta put my geek cap on sometimes! But I also get real and talk about my journey in setting up a business. It’s not just about celebrating the highs; I’m equally honest about the facepalms and screw-ups. These posts become my entrepreneurial diary, and it’s kind of amazing to flip back through the ‘pages’ and see my own evolution.

Sharing is Soul-Warming

Remember when we were kids and we were taught that sharing is caring? Well, that lesson is alive and well in the blogging world. Each time I share, whether it’s a valuable life lesson from a business blunder or a moment of joy, I feel like I’m sitting down for coffee with friends — a virtual community that’s as real to me as my next-door neighbors.

A Blog: More Than Just a Diary, It’s My Stage

Think of my blog as a Swiss Army knife: It’s a diary, a confessional, and also a stage where I get to spotlight the issues and topics that I’m passionate about. I can talk about the importance of faith in my life, share a crazy new business idea, or discuss how to balance spirituality and ambition. It gives me the freedom to be me and to broadcast that to the world.

Emotional Fitness Check-In

Blogging has become more than a daily to-do; it’s like my emotional gym session. The same way you’d work out your muscles, each blog post helps me work through emotions, find clarity, and leave with a sense of mental refreshment. It’s like an exercise routine for my emotional well-being.

What’s the Big Deal?

If you’re bogged down by the daily grind and looking for something to enrich your life, consider the small but mighty power of daily habits. Blogging became an unexpected yet crucial part of my everyday life. It’s not only made my days better but has also brightened someone else’s screen (and maybe even their day). So whether you’re looking to connect with your spiritual side, share your entrepreneurial escapades, or just yearn for a space to be heard, give blogging a shot. Take it from me: It’s way more than just words on a screen.

Don’t Ignore Strangers: The Untold Secret of Our Startup’s Early Customer Base

In the embryonic stages of a startup, every founder’s vision is filled with the friends and family they imagine using their products. The mindset is that those who already know and trust us will likely be our first customers. But what if I told you that’s not always the case? For us, our earliest and most loyal customers were not people we knew. They were not the ones showering us with praises or feedback. Strangely enough, they were complete strangers.

From Strangers to Stakeholders

When we launched our Internet of Things (IoT) offerings, our instincts told us that our first customers would come from our immediate circles. But the opposite happened. The majority were people we had never met, who learned about us from someone else or stumbled upon our social media posts. Without a single request for a product demo or a questionnaire, these individuals took a chance on us. They were willing to pay for our solutions, no questions asked.

The Value of the Unknown Customer

The phenomenon of strangers becoming early adopters is not just surprising; it’s enlightening. These are individuals who don’t have any preconceived notions about us or our capabilities. Yet, they believe in the solution we offer enough to invest in it. These early adopters give us something invaluable: proof of concept. With them on board, we have tangible evidence that our solutions have market value, a powerful tool to attract more customers.

Trust, But Verify

While we are grateful to have these strangers believe in us without solicitation, it’s also a double-edged sword. The absence of initial feedback means we have to be extra cautious, constantly iterating and improving to ensure we meet the expectations that these customers have implicitly set by trusting us.

Why Strangers Matter

The power of these unknown first customers lies in their organic discovery of your product. There is no bias, no friendship obligations, just a straightforward transaction based on perceived value. The chances are high that if a stranger finds value in your solution, so will others.

Conclusion: Don’t Ignore the Unknown

While it’s natural to expect friends and family to be your first customers, don’t overlook the potential in strangers. These are the people who can give you an unbiased evaluation of your market value. They can be your best advocates, and they bring in an added layer of credibility when pitching to future prospects. We owe a lot to the strangers who became our early customers; they gave us proof, validation, and most importantly, the momentum to move forward. So, don’t ignore strangers; they might just become your most trusted customers.

From Multiplicity to Singularity: Favoriot’s Pivot Towards Precision

In the dawn of our startup journey, with excitement and fervor, we ventured into creating four distinct products. Like many startups, we believed that diversification would be our best strategy. We couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The Struggles of Juggling Multiple Products

Dilution of resources was our first hurdle. When you spread yourself thin, neither product gets the undivided attention it deserves. Our team, no matter how agile and enthusiastic, was struggling to meet the demands of maintaining and enhancing four different products.

Marketing became our next mammoth challenge. Crafting a clear and compelling message for each product was no small feat. We grappled with understanding the right customer persona and, in our endeavor to cater to everyone, ended up confusing many. Potential customers were left wondering: “What does Favoriot actually specialize in?”

Pricing was another quagmire. Four products meant four pricing strategies, each with its unique challenges and competitive pressures. A lot of energy was expended in approaching different customers, managing varied social media channels, and crafting content tailored for each product. Exhaustion set in, and with it, a realization: we were on a hamster wheel, running hard but not making the desired progress.

The Turnaround: Honing our Focus

Faced with lackluster traction and an exhausted team, we reached a pivotal crossroads. The decision was between diversifying into vertical markets or zeroing in on our core technology. Our previous attempt to cover four vertical markets hadn’t worked, so we took the brave leap towards precision.

We decided to pour all our energy into the Favoriot Platform, our IoT platform. This was the game-changer. By focusing our efforts and resources into one direction, not only did we ensure that our product was of top-notch quality, but we also simplified our marketing message.

The Rise of Favoriot Platform

As we honed in on the Favoriot Platform, the market began to sit up and take notice. Customers now had clarity on what Favoriot was all about, and our expertise in the IoT space started shining through. Our efforts were no longer spread thin, and our product, being the sole focus, received the attention and refinement it deserved.

Today, as we stand recognized as a formidable enabler for IoT in Malaysia and the region, we realize the importance of focus in a startup’s journey. By channeling our efforts towards the Favoriot Platform, we not only found our niche but also set ourselves on the path to becoming market leaders.

In the world of startups, sometimes, less truly is more. And our journey from multiplicity to singularity is a testament to that.

Navigating R&D in Government Agencies: Lessons for the Startup World

Before diving into the fast-paced, adaptable world of startups, I spent a significant chunk of my career in a large government R&D agency. While it was a period of immense learning, it also came with its share of challenges and lessons that I’ve since carried into my entrepreneurial journey. Here’s a glimpse of my experience and how it shaped my current perspectives.

1. The Bureaucratic Maze of R&D

Government R&D is a different beast altogether. Every process felt akin to working in a factory, bound by red tape and stringent processes. The emphasis on documentation, while ensuring accountability, often stifled creativity. Each step, no matter how minute, required proper sign-offs, often slowing down the pace of innovation.

2. Frequent Monitoring, But Little Understanding

While progress reports and technical presentations were a regular part of the job, they often felt more like interrogation sessions than collaborative discussions. The barrage of questions, many of which indicated a lack of understanding of the core research, made it clear that there was a disconnect between the R&D team and the management.

3. Short-Term Vision in a Long-Term Domain

R&D, by its nature, is a long-term commitment. However, the management’s impatience for short-term results meant that we often pivoted from true research to more developmental, immediate tasks. This shift in focus had its own set of repercussions.

4. The Patents vs. Products Paradox

While our team managed to churn out numerous patents, they rarely saw the light of day in final products. Other groups, which were engrossed in product development for commercialization, often overlooked the innovations our team brought to the table.

5. The Siloed Approach

One of the most stifling restrictions was our inability to interact directly with customers. This created a void in understanding real-world needs and led to internal assumptions that rarely mirrored external realities. Products developed in such isolation, devoid of genuine customer feedback, often missed the mark when finally released.

6. The Costly Aftermath

When a product fails to resonate with its intended audience, changes are inevitable. But, given the rigidity of our processes, any modifications came at a high financial and temporal cost. Several products, despite the effort invested, never quite made their mark in the market.

From Past Lessons to Future Innovations

All these experiences, while challenging, became the foundation upon which I built my startup approach. I now understand the invaluable role of flexibility in R&D. Embracing concepts like the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the Lean Method has allowed me to stay agile, make quick pivots when needed, and most importantly, maintain a laser-sharp focus on the customer.

In conclusion, while my time in the government R&D agency was filled with hurdles, it also offered indispensable lessons. Today, as I navigate the startup ecosystem, those lessons act as my North Star, guiding me towards more efficient, customer-centric innovations.

My Startup Journey: Navigating the Entrepreneurial Odyssey

In the heart of every entrepreneur lies a tale worth telling. A journey marked by hope and hurdles, by breakthroughs and breakdowns. This book is the chronicle of my odyssey in the challenging world of startups—a narrative of dreams dreamed, battles fought, lessons learned, and horizons expanded.

Entrepreneurship is often portrayed in shimmering hues—a kaleidoscope of innovation, wealth, and independence. Yet, as many who’ve embarked on this journey know, it is as much about the storms as it is about the rainbows. It is about the late nights questioning every choice, the tireless revisions of a business model, the relentless pursuit of the right team, and the ceaseless hunger for that breakthrough moment.

Presented to you in a tapestry of short stories, this book pulls back the curtain on the myriad stages of building a startup, from the electrifying eureka moments of ideation, through the intricate dance of product development, to the exhilarating (and often humbling) experience of commercialization.

My aim is not just to recount, but to illuminate. For every aspiring entrepreneur, seasoned business veteran, or anyone intrigued by the thrills and spills of the startup universe, I hope this narrative provides insights, sparks curiosity, and perhaps, kindles the flame of your own entrepreneurial spirit.

Let us embark on this journey together, and dive deep into the whirlwind of entrepreneurship—a journey that’s as much about the destination as it is about the myriad experiences along the way. Welcome to my world.

Here’s the collection of the short stories – My Startup Journey

Leveraging the Strengths of Giants: A Survival Blueprint for Startups

In the world of business, there’s a saying: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” But what if the narrative changed to, “Let’s grow together?” In the vast sea of corporate giants and well-established brands, many startups often feel like small fish trying to survive against the tides. However, what if startups could ride the wave by leveraging the strengths of these larger entities?

The Case for Collaboration

For emerging startups, particularly in countries like Malaysia, collaboration with Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) could be the golden ticket. These GLCs, with their vast resources, industry experience, and established brand presence, are in a unique position to serve as pillars of support for startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Here’s how this symbiotic relationship could flourish:

1. Shared Participation in Projects and Tenders:

When bidding for projects, GLCs can include startups within their ecosystem. This not only gives the startup a foot in the door but also provides the GLC with fresh and innovative solutions that they might not have in-house.

2. Risk Sharing and Trust Building:

By taking a chance on startups with local products and solutions, GLCs are creating a sense of trust and validation. It’s a risk, yes, but one that could lead to groundbreaking innovations and local solutions that rival international competitors.

3. Building a Local Brand Powerhouse:

Once startups prove their mettle by delivering quality solutions, they earn a badge of credibility. With this credibility, they can expand their horizons, bid for larger projects, and even venture internationally.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The beauty of this alliance is that it’s not a one-way street. Startups offer agility, niche solutions, and out-of-the-box thinking that can greatly benefit GLCs. Their nimbleness allows them to pivot quickly, adapt to changing market scenarios, and deliver tailored solutions. Meanwhile, GLCs offer the startups the backing they need in terms of resources, industry insights, and most importantly, credibility.

As aptly put, startups need not fear being trampled by giants. Instead, they should aim to stand on their shoulders, gain a broader perspective, and reach for the stars.

Favoriot: A Testament to Growth and Collaboration

Take, for instance, Favoriot. With over six years in the industry, Favoriot isn’t a fledgling startup anymore. It’s a brand ready to soar. Their strengths, coupled with the kind of support GLCs can provide, can be a potent combination. By partnering with bigger entities, startups like Favoriot can further solidify their position in the market, create more job opportunities, and contribute robustly to the future of business and technology in the region.

In Conclusion

The future of startups lies in collaboration. By leveraging the strengths of larger entities, startups can scale faster, innovate better, and contribute more significantly to their ecosystems. In this journey of growth and collaboration, both startups and giants can co-create a brighter, more inclusive future for the business world.

Building My Personal Brand: The Stepping Stone to Favoriot’s Success

Every brand has a story, but my journey is slightly unconventional. My personal brand’s inception wasn’t with the intent to sell or pitch, but to share and enlighten. This chronicle started way back in 2014, long before Favoriot was even a twinkle in my eye.

Laying the Foundation: The IoT Advocate

In 2014, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a term only the tech-savvy were familiar with. Driven by a deep-seated passion for technology and its potential, I ventured into the world of social media to voice my insights. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn became my playground where I shared my musings on IoT and its implications for smart cities.

This dedication did not go unnoticed. Invitations started pouring in, asking me to lend my voice to discussions, seminars, and workshops centered around IoT and smart city solutions. I was relishing my role as an IoT thought leader.

Transitioning to Favoriot: The Underdog Story

Then came Favoriot – a startup, our brainchild. In its nascent stages, while my personal brand thrived, Favoriot was still finding its footing. However, I had an ace up my sleeve – the trust and recognition I had garnered over the years.

With each speaking engagement and social media post, I started weaving in Favoriot’s mission and vision. I introduced my audience to the solutions and innovations Favoriot was bringing to the IoT landscape.

The Ripple Effect: Personal Brand to Business Boom

The beauty of personal branding is the ripple effect it can create. The trust, recognition, and respect I had cultivated with my personal brand began reflecting onto Favoriot. Slowly but surely, as my narrative shifted, the perception of Favoriot started changing. From an underdog startup, it began its transformation into an IoT powerhouse in Malaysia.

Today, when someone in Malaysia hears “IoT”, Favoriot isn’t far behind in the conversation. That business card with “Favoriot” emblazoned on it? It’s not just a company name; it’s a testament to the symbiotic relationship between personal and business branding.

In Retrospect: Branding is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Building a brand, be it personal or business, isn’t an overnight endeavor. It’s a marathon of persistence, adaptability, and genuine passion. I look back at my journey with immense gratitude. The initial years of dedication to my personal brand laid a robust foundation for Favoriot’s success.

For every budding entrepreneur, remember: Your personal brand can be the strongest advocate for your business. Nurture it, leverage it, and watch the magic unfold.

From Research Lab Critiques to Startup Pitches: My Slide Story

Starting my own business was a dream I’d always nurtured. But never did I think that my time at a government R&D agency would play such a pivotal role in my startup journey, and all because of…presentation slides!

Slide Struggles: The R&D Chronicles

Imagine this: I’m in a room filled with experienced scientists and officials, excitedly presenting the results of weeks of research. Yet, before I could even delve into the details, I’d be halted – usually by the second slide. My superior, with a puzzled expression, would barrage me with questions. Sometimes, they’d jump the gun, inquiring about points I was just about to cover in the subsequent slides.

Now, don’t get me wrong – feedback is a gift. But the cosmetic criticisms were particularly stinging. “Why this color?”, “The graphic is too amateur!”, “Is this slide just a photo?”, or “Feels like I’m reading an essay here!” It felt like navigating a tightrope walk where balance was elusive. Too much text, and it’s an overload. Just graphics, and it’s too vague.

The Startup Slide Revolution

Fast forward to my entrepreneurial journey, and presenting became second nature. Whether I was pitching to potential investors, engaging with customers, or sharing insights at lectures, the slide deck was my trusty sidekick. And here’s the twist in the tale: the relentless feedback from my R&D days turned into the treasure trove I didn’t know I needed.

Those seemingly endless rounds of critiques transformed into lessons. The balance of graphics and text, the narrative flow, the choice of colors – everything started making sense. It was as if the past was training me for these very moments.

I’ve now come to a point where I passionately design my own slides. Why? Because they’re an extension of my thoughts, my story, my vision. And who better to tell that story than me?

Conclusion: Embracing The Journey

Today, when I look back, I smile at the irony. What once was a source of frustration has now become a skill I deeply value. The critiques, the questions, the interruptions – they were all shaping a more resilient and adept version of me.

To all budding entrepreneurs out there: Embrace every feedback, every critique. You never know where those lessons will come in handy. After all, in the words of Steve Jobs, you can only connect the dots looking backward. My slides, my story. And what a journey it’s been!