Over a pint of Guiness, Aaron and I talked about the future of the communications industry, the sectors of the market that are being ignored and much much more. He has a great depth of knowledge on his industry.
What’s your story?
I previously worked for big brands such as Visa and Lenovo. While building my career with them, there was always a sense that more could be done; that there was a bigger challenge somewhere outside. Time spent in a sabbatical in 2012 added with a consistent interest in start-ups led me to joining as partner at SG Story to tackle marketing challenges for brands; and in 2014, starting a new lifestyle publication, The Active Age to cater to a demographic taking on their next challenge – aging well.
What excites you most about your industry?
Being both in communications and media and therefore able to relate to both industries, that there are many opportunities that have yet to find solutions and it excites me to be able to take on some of these challenges through both companies.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese are big believers in building for their domestic market. As such, there are many products that have been tested and proven to work there. It is highly refreshing to be able to see the impact they have and think about possibilities of bringing them outside of Japan. Tokyo’s also a great place to add on 1-2 days of holiday time to refresh the senses, to get lost and explore and be in a culture that’s overwhelmingly welcoming to visitors.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do what you love and everything else falls into the right place.
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson; he takes the spirit of doing to an extreme. Yet, reading his autobiography, you realise that there has always been a plan.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The New York Times recently ran an article about persons who worked at their craft for such long periods of time and yet considered themselves to be only amateurs. That they only started to understand themselves after 30-40 years of applying their expertise. I was refreshed about how patience and perseverance plays a part in becoming very good at something you want to do.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have considered working and being based in another city for a few years. There are gaps in my experience that I compensate by hiring team members with the right skill sets. If I could do it all again, some time spent in another country would make me a better-balanced manager and leader, possibly through more perspective, networks or cultural experiences.
How do you unwind?
Running, reading, travelling and most importantly, time spent with the wife.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Langkawi. Small island with friendly people, many beautiful areas to visit (especially a yacht trip to neighbouring islands) as well as delicious food to be had at many local seafood restaurants.
Everyone in business should read this book:
An Optimist’s Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson.
Shameless plug for your business:
SG Story is about storytelling. We start with a story and message first before working with brands and clients on the set of channels and tools to be employed. We don’t believe in being conformist and work best with clients taking on challenges such as entering new markets, launching companies as well as those willing to take a bet on trying out new ways of achieving awareness and mindshare.
The Active Age is a regional, online, information-driven, lifestyle publication for active agers. Our articles cover several pillars including health and nutrition, money and legal matters, travel as well as product and services reviews. These active agers are between 45 – 65YO and at life stages where they will encounter multiple milestones such as children’s graduation/marriage, deaths in the family, retirement etc. These are the points where active agers require unbiased, objective information. The Active Age.
How can people connect with you?
Through Linkedin at Aaron Kong.
This Interview was part of the Callum Connects column found on The Asian Entrepreneur
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com
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