Throughout 2019, we’ve had some of the most exciting entrepreneurs share their thoughts with us on their industry, company and whatever else excites them. We’ve learnt so much and at the same time, come to realise that we’ve only just begun. From billionaires to new founders who may or may not have any money to their name, we’ve spoken to industry leaders, mavericks, upstarts and hustlers, all of which have one thing in common – they want to win.

So to cap off the end of the year, we thought we’d recap some of the most interesting and thought-provoking comments from the last 12 months.

Starting us off is Boost from Malaysia. The surprising digital wallet leader (only because players like Grab and the major financial institutions have been there longer), had a lot to share, particularly in response to our question about the fintech industry and consumer behaviour in the region as a whole.

Boost CEO, Christopher Tiffin, (3rd from the left) posing with his award at the Malaysia IDC Digital Transformation (IDC DX) Awards 2018

Comparing Malaysia to Singapore or Indonesia is similar to comparing apples and oranges. Each market has its own unique regulatory frameworks along with different dynamics such as mobile phone penetration, demographics, customer behaviour and pain points, social dynamics, economic factors, technology evolution and more.

We also spoke to CEO Wendy Chen from Omnistream, a new and exciting retail technology startup that’s focused on emerging markets in the region. She shared her thoughts on how companies tend to look at data incorrectly in the retail industry and how Omnistream is taking charge of the change.

We also focus on white space or the data you don’t have. In general, I believe companies spend too much time looking at the limited datasets they hold internally. To challenge existing processes or cost structures you have to think about the white space that is generally hidden in data you don’t have. This is why we place heavy emphasis on data about your operating environment, external trends, and other data sources that live outside your business.

Top HR startup EngageRocket shared their thoughts on attrition and retention in the region, giving us a goldmine of fascinating information. On the back of phenomenal business growth in the last 12 months, they are poised to expand their service faster than ever before. They shared something, which is applicable to companies across the world.

EngageRocket Team.jpg
The EngageRocket team (at least part of it)

People are companies’ most expensive asset. As our workforce becomes more demanding, HR needs to act before it’s too late. Waiting for the end of the year is way too late to reverse critical employee attrition.

Earlier this year, we spoke to TRIVE Managing Partner Christopher Quek. This entrepreneur and VC is deeply entrenched into the Singaporean startup ecosystem and he gave us a deep look into the heart of the industry. We asked him to follow up his statement in another interview that Singaporeans tend to follow rather than lead in the startup industry.

The challenge is that Singapore is uniquely different in terms of a business landscape than the US. With a limited market size, copying such ideas will see limitations. Singapore entrepreneurs fail to understand Singapore’s strengths and weaknesses. I find this mindset inherent due to our education system which is still limiting Singapore founders to think outside of the box and be creative.

Last, but not least, is one of the most popular interviews we’ve ever done. Konsyg CEO, William Gilchrist, who runs this global “Sales as a Service” startup, had a lot to share about what Asia, in general, gets wrong with sales.

COO Joe Flaten (L) and CEO William Gilchrist (R) from Konsyg

From lack of understanding to poor training, William did not hold back and at Tech Collective, we love that.

“Sales” is a bit of a bad word in this region and the idea of someone saying that they are a “salesman or saleswoman” comes with a bit of a negative connotation. I wouldn’t say this occurs only in Singapore but throughout Asia Pacific.

In my opinion, it is due to a lack of knowledge from leaders on the real purpose of a salesperson.

So there you have it. We’ve gone through the list and to be honest, we could have made it considerably longer but thought best to keep it concise. This has been a great year for us and we look forward to many more with all of you guys.

Happy New Year to you all.