Angie Lau is an accomplished journalist who is optimizing her experience with technology to truly help businesses communicate effectively and authentically.
What’s your story?
After 20+ years as a journalist, I am embracing my inner entrepreneur and giving her the driver’s seat. I left my anchor role at Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong in December 2017, to join the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Horizons Ventures in 2018. There, I learned I had a new love: how to apply business with communications, to help companies and startups that aim to change the world… change the world. And so, I started my own communications advisory firm, Narramur. The name comes from the Latin root of narrative. It is an ancient word long ago forgotten, and yet it is the foundation of everything that connects us all: sharing our stories. Our goal at Narramur is to help our CEOs and founders find the authentic voice for themselves and their business. From that foundation, everything happens.
What excites you most about your industry?
Technology is going to change communications. The first wave came when the internet flipped mainstream media monetization models on its head. The industry didn’t see it coming. With new media brands coming on-line, the pie gets sliced thinner and thinner. The next wave is coming. And so, I’m constantly thinking about how technology can be applied to make communications clearer, faster, more impactful, efficient and easier. This is why I am particularly fascinated with blockchain.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Hong Kong is the place of my birth. Asia is a land rich with history, people and culture. But I grew up far away, in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. What I knew of my culture came from my parents’ stories, Saturday language classes, and television. All that changed the moment when we landed here seven years ago. It has been enriching and an incredible adventure.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. Every new connection begets another connection. Kindred spirits, energy, ideas, generous networking; always an event, conference, dinner, coffee, cocktails, drinks on the horizon. Possibility is always around the corner. And when you want to recharge, all you have to do is head to the beach for a little meditating and you’re good to go!
One of my favorite spots is Cafe Gray, Upper House. It feels like my second office sometimes. There’s something about that view from the 49th floor, looking out onto Victoria Harbor, surrounded by skyscrapers and buildings… and the powerful energy that comes from all of it.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Before you accept a job offer, do your homework about the company the way you would if you were an investor.” If it doesn’t make sense as a business, well then… it may not be the best move for your career, even if it pays your bills. Advice I learned from Warren Buffett. (No, he didn’t tell me personally… I read it). But it stuck with me, and it continues to inform me about the work I do now. It has been advice I’ve used throughout my entire career.
Who inspires you?
My 18-month-old son. He inspires me to be courageous. He inspired me to change, and embrace the new. I wanted to remain impactful and relevant to his future … be the kind of mother who will teach and lead by example. So instead of staying in place, I go and do.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It’s the Navy Seals’ 40% rule: when you think you’re at the point of mental, emotional, physical exhaustion, you’ve only really tapped 40% of your energy reserves. That was a game changer for me. It helped me during my darkest and most difficult days after giving birth. Imagine: you’ve just gone through massive physical trauma, and then you’re trying to keep up with your infant feeding every two hours with no sleep and no rest. It felt impossible and overwhelming. Then I read about the 40% rule. It saved me. And now as I build, I apply it to everything I do now.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
How do you unwind?
I go to the beach. I sit on the sand. I meditate. To give yourself the gift of time… doing nothing can be the greatest gift of all.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
We love Luang Prabang, Laos. It is a magical place. A place that time forgot. A place where meandering is an adventure. We are returning this fall with our little boy and his grandparents. Three generations in one magical moment in our time.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Shameless plug for your business:
There’s no shame in asking for help. Find those who are in alignment with you. We are not looking for clients. We are looking for partners and collaborators so we can grow together.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.