A tutor is one tap away. Find out how this entrepreneur is making education more accessible through technology..
What’s your story?
To be honest, my story isn’t very interesting. I was one of the many university students who just wanted some pocket money. After setting up a small-scale tuition center while I was still at university, I came to witness firsthand the inefficiencies of today’s tutoring industry. It was expensive, slow, and cluttered by businesses that focus on spoon-feeding exam material. I knew it was the right time to come up with a better model for the industry because technology has finally caught up with our needs in education. So instead of waiting for the right person to step up, I decided that I wanted to become that right person.
What excites you most about your industry?
I wouldn’t say we’re aiming to change the world, but if we were, this is where we would start: education. Our mission is to provide accessible education to all, and this means that our target users are the youth of today. To contribute to the growth and development of young people is immensely satisfying and exciting. We get to give them that extra boost needed to succeed in life. When young people do well, so does society as a whole.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Asia. There’s so much going on in Asia right now and it’s such an exciting place to be. It’s that kind of thing where it feels like that you’re in the right place, at the right time.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. What can I say, it’s my home. Personal bias aside, this city has always been the financial hub of Asia. It’s not only great for local businesses, but also businesses that are aiming to expand overseas.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Focus, or fail”. Applicable to almost anything in life – especially in the startup world. As an entrepreneur you often find yourself wearing multiple hats. Whatever task you’re on, make sure you know why you’re doing it, what you expect to get from it, and how that contributes to your long term goals. If you can’t answer those questions, then you’re very likely not focusing on the right tasks.
Who inspires you?
Elon Musk. Besides having an awesome-sounding name, he also strikes me as an incredibly humble person. He doesn’t go around telling people that he’s going to change the world, because he understands that actions speak louder than words. He’s someone who walks the walk.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Regardless of culture or language, humans on average use more positive words than negative words. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity being propagated by the media that we forget the world is still an overwhelmingly happy place.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’ve always known what I wanted to achieve with my business, but it took me a lot of trial-and-error to decide on the product we have today. Hindsight is always 20/20. At a startup where everything is about speed, of course I wish I had arrived at this final product sooner. If you really think about it though, there will always be hits and misses, and sometimes the misses are ways for you to learn to do better next time.
How do you unwind?
This is the most boring answer ever: I sleep. For me at least, there is really no better way to relax and unwind than to catch up on some nice, long, undisturbed zzz’s.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
That’s a tough one. There’s no better place for relaxation than at home. So for that, I’ll have to go with Hong Kong. Thailand is also great too, especially the lesser-known towns that provide a more authentic cultural experience instead of the usual tourist traps.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” by Peter Diamandis
It’s a great book, seriously. The book provides a comprehensive (and entertaining) overview of the technological developments in various fields. Is it perhaps a little bit too optimistic? Maybe. It’s a great, refreshing read if you are ever in need of a break from all the doom and gloom. One of the most empowering reads ever.
Shameless plug for your business:
I’ll keep this short. Snapask is cool.
Okay, maybe too short.
Snapask is the tutor in your pocket. This mobile app lets students receive instant, online, one-on-one academic support from our team of tutors. Our three guiding principles are: speed, quality, and accessibility. Have a burning question that just can’t wait? Take a photo of the question and post it on Snapask! Our tutors will invite you to an online chat session within minutes of your question being posted. Voila! Instant knowledge delivered.
How can people connect with you?
Drop me an email at [email protected]!
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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