Ryan Hildebrandt knows the difference between a good idea, and an idea worth spreading. He helps people and businesses create good content to promote.

What’s your story?
I studied as an engineer, moved to the UK, started up a TEDx event, and have now been travelling full time for the past 20 months around the world while running an online business and working on some fun side projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
I get to work with clients who are changing the world. The people around me are the best part of what I do.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve travelled extensively throughout Asia (Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam) and I am a dual New Zealand and Canadian citizen.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Any city that’s relaxing and fun is great for business. I work from a laptop, so I can work anywhere. I can’t pick just one city, so I’ll give you my top 5:

  1. Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia (for the food and fun creative vibes)
  2. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia (for the breathtaking scenery)
  3. Hanoi, Vietnam (for the entrepreneurial vibe, food, and crossing the road is much easier here than Ho Chi Minh)
  4. Seoul, South Korea (I could eat Korean food all day)
  5. Queenstown, New Zealand (because that’s where my family is from and the weekend adventure opportunities are limitless)

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There are too many great pieces of advice to count. One that comes to mind is this –

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
– Niccolò Machiavelli

I used to think of risk as one-sided, but this quote helps me be courageous and try things I wouldn’t have otherwise tried, because there’s risk in staying where I am too.

Who inspires you?
Anyone who creates things inspires me. I ran a podcast for awhile where I interviewed people who made fashion shows, films, charities, leather accessories, rap songs, you name it. Their stories helped show me what was possible for me to do.

I’m passionate about helping other people make things (either share their ideas through a book or TEDx talk, or create a product or service). That’s how the world changes. So, when people are doing it, their courage and resourcefulness gives me inspiration.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Tomatoes are from Mexico, which means Italian pasta with tomato sauce isn’t actually native to Italy!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d have started my weekly review process earlier. This is a habit I stumbled upon 8 and a half years ago, and it’s been the single most important driver in my life right now. It’s a habit that keeps my life on track, and makes sure I have a ton of fun. It’s allowed me to start up an online business, travel to 54 countries, cycle across Canada, start up a podcast, make an app and have better relationships with my family and women.

I’m 32 now, and I wish I had started this when I was 16 or so. I wrote more about this habit here: http://www.ryanhildebrandt.com/weekly-review/

How do you unwind?
I’m an introvert, so I normally unwind at home. Malbec and watching funny movies or TV are my vices. I also like to take a walk in a park and think.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Otres, Cambodia. The restaurants and bars are right on the beach, there’s plenty of pool tables to polish my game up, Otres Market is this super fun weekly concert that everyone goes to, and I have met many great friends there.
A very close second is Canggu, Bali, but it’s so relaxing and peaceful that eventually I start to get really good ideas and start working on cool new creative projects. That sort of thing is fun for me, but I’m not sure if it’s relaxing.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘A million miles in a thousand years,’ it’s a book about a writer that learns how to edit his life to make it into a movie, but along the way he learns how to live his life going forward in a way that would make a good story. His life turns from boring to exciting, purely because he learns the elements of storytelling.
I think about this concept a lot when I’m trying something that might fail, I think “hmmm, but at least I could tell a good story about it later.” After all, if you succeed at everything, that’s pretty boring.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you want to impact the world with your ideas, and want a science-based approach (I have an engineering background), let me know. I’ve helped clients speak at TEDx, craft ideas for a book, and write blog articles with real substance.

I help people tackle the first step of creating content, “what do I speak/write about?” such that you’re sure your audience will love it. Not because I’m really smart, but because I show you how to test and refine your idea with people before you get on a stage.

As a TEDx event founder, I know the difference between a pretty good idea, and an “idea worth spreading,” because I’ve seen hundreds of both of them.

How can people connect with you?
Send me an email and say hi! – [email protected]

Twitter handle?

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’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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