Like David, who slays the great Goliath, Jason Song likens his design agency to the infamous legend. Representing underdog brands in an established field, his small design agency is in its 5th year and going strong.
What’s your story?
I started a little design agency called ACRE in 2011 with my partner, Zheng TY. Besides branding, the agency has grown to design experiences for interior spaces as well as product design. We turn 5 in April.
What excites you most about your industry?
It is truly a privilege to be designing solutions for some of the thought leaders of the industry and their businesses. Being based in Singapore, we’ve worked on brands around Asia and we used to cite examples from America and Europe. However, we are finding out the gap in brand excellence has shortened, in fact, Singapore’s becoming a beacon for good design and brands over the last 5 years. The growth has been incredible.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore ranks as the top country globally in terms of VC capital. The government has done a marvellous job to empower local businesses and entrepreneurs’ access to financial and infrastructure support. Content or product creation is a worthwhile investment because the banking sector cannot be solely depended on due to it’s recent volatility.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Give it a good go.
Who inspires you?
My grandfather and my dad. They had a far more difficult journey setting up their business. My grandfather during World War II (Grandfather – Echolac) and my dad (Vhive) during the economic recession of the 80s.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve read a book recently about David and Goliath and what blew my mind was that the spectators watching the contest would have all said David was the favourite the minute he takes out the sling. We often represent underdog brands and clients against an established field. I’d like to think we are carrying little slingshots.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have hired senior staff earlier and devoted more time to developing team dynamics and saying no to hectic timelines. What we do have to be is interesting.
How do you unwind?
Run, swim and Muay Thai. Basically any repetitive cardio that helps me kick the screws that go loose in my head after a long day of surmising.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Does Melbourne count as Asia? It’s where I did my undergraduate studies and I find the pace there familiar. It’s where I became a university kid again and I used to dream there. All things became possible when I was there.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell.
Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t design for the sake of designing, we answer briefs.
How can people connect with you?
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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