How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My life experience has played a significant role in shaping the leader I am today. Growing up in Banting as a “small town boy” and leaving home at 18 to pursue my higher studies, I had to learn life skills quickly and adapt to new situations, environments and broaden my horizons independently.
Overcoming challenges and learning from mistakes taught me the importance of resilience, determination, and perseverance in leadership. These experiences have also given me a unique perspective and empathy for those facing similar challenges, and I strive to lead with compassion and understanding.
What traits do you look for in your talent or how do you decide who is right for a job?
When evaluating potential talent for a job, I prioritise several traits that I believe are critical for success in any role. Firstly, I look for individuals who demonstrate a positive attitude and strong work ethic. It’s important to me that employees approach their work with enthusiasm and a willingness to contribute to the team’s goals.
Secondly, I value individuals who are eager to learn and grow in their role, and beyond. A growth mindset is key to adapting to changes in the industry and continuously improving one’s skills. In my experience, the most successful employees are those who are always seeking out new challenges and opportunities to develop their abilities.
Lastly, I recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The ability to work effectively in a multigenerational work culture is crucial, and I seek out candidates who are adaptable, respectful, and collaborative with colleagues of all ages and backgrounds.
How do you think the industry you are in will evolve in the future?
As CEO of an e-commerce group of companies, I have been in this industry for the past nine years here in Malaysia and also in the Middle East. I have witnessed its fast-tracked evolution, particularly during and after the pandemic. Looking ahead, I believe that the industry will continue to evolve rapidly as consumers’ buying patterns shift towards online and digital platforms.
One of the most notable trends in recent years has been the rise of social commerce, which involves selling products directly through various social media platforms. This has opened up new opportunities for businesses from small to large enterprises to reach customers and drive sales through multiple social media channels while providing customised yet similar customer experience for their customer’s shopping.
Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence have led to the emergence of conversational commerce, which allows customers to interact with businesses through social messaging apps, chatbots, and virtual assistants.
Finally, the increasing popularity and adoption of search-based e-commerce, which allows customers to easily find products through search engines and online marketplaces will continue to drive growth in the industry.
What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?
Firstly, it’s essential to have a deep and comprehensive understanding of your industry. Even if you hire an industry expert, you must continue learning to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments.
Secondly, you must have a genuine passion for your vocation. Starting a business is like raising a baby; you must be prepared to dedicate time, effort and energy to nurturing it, even during tough times.
Thirdly, it is okay to fail and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Celebrate failures because they provide valuable learning experiences that can help you grow and improve.
And finally, always be prepared to bounce back when things go wrong. Resilience is key to overcoming challenges and setbacks.
We all know about the industrial revolution, are we in for a technological revolution ? Your thoughts.
The rise of digital platforms, automation, and artificial intelligence has disrupted traditional business models, creating both opportunities and challenges for companies across all industries. I believe that we are indeed in the midst of a technological revolution that will continue to shape the future of business and society. The pace of technological change is accelerating rapidly, and companies that fail to adapt and embrace new technologies might face the risk of falling behind their competitors.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional life?
Early in my career, I worked in a call center, which was a challenging job that required me to develop resilience and adaptability. However, it was my supervisor at Scicom Msc Bhd, Rahul Sumansalam, who truly made a difference and impacted me.
Perhaps the most important lesson Rahul taught me was about the importance of humility in leadership. He stressed that the higher you climb in the corporate world, the more humble you should be. This is not to say that life is lonely at the top, but rather that being humble is a critical component of effective leadership.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
Over the next five years, my primary goal is to establish Commerce.Asia as the market leader for all e-commerce solutions across Southeast Asia. One area that we are currently placing great emphasis on is online-to-offline solutions, which have become increasingly relevant in the post-pandemic era.
By bridging the gap between online and offline retail, we believe that we can help our customers increase revenue and sales while delivering an exceptional customer experience.
We are also exploring emerging technologies such as Web 3.0 and blockchain to enhance our offerings and stay at the forefront of the industry. Ultimately, we want to empower businesses and SMEs to accelerate their digital growth and expand their operations regionally.