Earl Ng is the President of the Hong Kong chapter of the Kairos Society.
What’s your story?
So I am currently the President of the Hong Kong chapter of the Kairos Society. I got involved with this amazing organisation because a friend had suggested it to me and said it would be a group I’d be interested in. Being curious I checked it out and immediately joined.
We have since grown our chapter here in Hong Kong, adding more members and continuing to engage with them.
What excites you most about your industry?
The sheer number of young and innovative people that are now taking the lead in developing some of the most impressive and game-changing technology. In almost every country, you can see young innovators coming out, questioning the old way we used to do things and proposing different and better solutions to old problems.
What’s your connection to Asia?
The Kairos Society is an international organisation with chapters in several countries. We have several chapters in Asia, in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and China.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Over the time that we’ve been involved with the startup community in Hong Kong. We have received so much great advice that it would be hard to try and select one piece of advice that we have received to have been our favorite. From advice that tells us to always keep pushing, to always making sure that we bring value for our members. The amount of great advice is endless as we interact with the Hong Kong community. We constantly engage with the community and our own community of fellows and always try to improve where we can.
Who inspires you?
Our Kairos fellows inspire me.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that innovation and pushing boundaries is only the domain of those older than us. But everyday, as I talk, text and chat with our Kairos fellows, I’m constantly inspired by what they have accomplished and what they are trying to achieve. Jan Engels (who was also featured on Asian Entrepreneur) is trying to introduce a new way of performing eye surgery. We have other fellows who are trying to introduce different, more interactive, ways for people to stay fit, some are making huge forays into robotics and others are becoming role models for other aspiring entrepreneurs. Meeting these amazing and brilliant young people is what inspires me to try and always push myself further.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve recently caught up with a few friends who are already deep into startups and it’s amazing how much progress they’ve made and how they’ve managed to grow and develop their businesses.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I don’t like to look at something as “instead of having done this, I should have done this instead,” because a lot of what I have done or have achieved is because of all the different experiences that I’ve had in the past, desired or not. It’s amazing how, even the tiniest most insignificant thing can have a grand impact on you somewhere down the road.
Rather than think of replacing what I’ve done in the past, I like thinking of what more I should have done in the past and that helps guide me in what more I should be doing now.
And for me right now, that’s becoming a bit more technical. I have dipped my toes in technical aspects like coding and system designs, but it was never really my main focus. I feel like it would be good to become more technically fluent in those aspects as it becomes more and more important to how we do business and how we are going to be making an impact.
How do you unwind?
Storytelling. I am a bit of a nerd, so I play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), which involves a group of people cooperatively weaving this fantastic tale of heroes and adventure around a table. I have always believed that storytelling is a great way to become more empathetic and to learn more about other people, the people at the table and yourself. So I find this a great escape from the pressures of the real world, but at the same time, form amazing bonds with friends.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. It’s always nice to return to the Philippines where I grew up and relax with great friends, family and food.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I recently finished reading the book “Alibaba’s World” by Porter Erisman. It was suggested by a friend and it’s a phenomenal read.
Shameless plug for your business:
The concept behind the Kairos Society is a fairly straightforward one. “What if some of the best and brightest minds of today were friends 20 years ago? What could they have achieved if they had known each other and were able to talk and interact with each other?” That is essentially the question we seek to answer.
The Kairos Society looks to find some of the best and brightest young minds, entrepreneurs, innovators, people at the forefront of what could be the next big thing and have them simply interact with each other. Organise events where they can bounce ideas off of each other and ask each other for advice or support.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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