Addicted to new technologies. Murray has a digital business in Hong Kong he runs with his partner Fantanely.
What’s your story?
My business partner Fantanely and I run a boutique digital design studio named Digital Penguin which is based in Hong Kong. We do beautiful web graphic design and build web applications. Some examples of these could be company websites, e-commerce systems, databases or auction platforms. We’re purposefully small and agile being only a two person endeavour, which clients really appreciate as they get to communicate directly with the people doing the actual work. Fantanely is the designer and I’m the developer.
Outside of Digital Penguin, I’m a long-term practitioner of kung fu and I sing in a punk rock band called Defiant Scum.
What excites you most about your industry?
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m from Sydney but I’ve been living in Hong Kong for about a decade now. Originally, I moved here to further my martial arts training which I thought would only be for about a year, but here I am 10 years later! I’ve met some truly great people here and made a lot of friends, and I feel more at home here now than I do when I go back to visit Australia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong! I am of course biased since I live here, but the unique mix of international cultures and perspectives found within this city means there’s bound to be a market for your niche.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
From my father: “Choose your own path. Don’t follow the lemmings.”
Who inspires you?
Anyone doing something different or doing what they love. Especially someone who refuses to “sell-out” and sticks to what they believe in.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Hong Kong has the highest gini-coefficient in the developed world and the divide is growing!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Two main things.
1. I would have started my business sooner. Being your own boss is incredibly liberating.
2. I spent too long using WordPress and Drupal for building web platforms, if I could have found MODX sooner, I would have saved so much time and headaches.
How do you unwind?
I’m a craft beer enthusiast. I like beers with lots of hops!
I’m also in the middle of shooting a new music video for my band which should be released in a couple of months hopefully.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love the cities of Kyoto and Osaka for music and ramen, and the beaches of Thailand for fun in the sun.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Without a doubt I would recommend “The Valve Employee Handbook”.
It’s written by world-famous Valve Software and illustrates a very different way of managing a company. (Where did all the managers go?)
You can find it at http://www.valvesoftware.com/company/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf
Shameless plug for your business:
Have an exciting idea for an app or website? At Digital Penguin, we create innovative custom designs that will make people pause and admire. Stand out from the crowd.
How can people connect with you?
Feel free to contact us at www.digitalpenguin.hk or take a peek at my new(ish) blog at www.hkwebdeveloper.com
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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