What’s your story?
My name is Yod Chinsupakul, born and raised in Thailand. For the last 5 years, I have founded and run Wongnai.com, a leading restaurant review website based in Thailand (we are like the Yelp of Thailand). Wongnai now has over 1.6 million members and 400,000 reviews across over 100,000 restaurants in Thailand – and we are still growing!
What excites you most about your industry?
The Tech Startup community in Thailand is growing super fast. In 2010 when I founded Wongnai there was close to zero startup and zero funding. Now you will see several hundreds startups and tens of VCs flying in from Singapore, Japan and the likes. It is an exciting time to be here.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Thailand. I have always lived here except when I was getting my MBA in United States between 2008-2010. Asia is my home. My investor, Recruit Group, is also from Asia – Japan.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Bangkok is where I live and I think it is a city big enough for any business. It boasts close to 10 million people with a lot of middle class. Very vibrant and dynamic. A lot of energy. People here like to live a good life therefore they are open to new things.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
To spend more to get results faster. Don’t be afraid to double down in your investment and go even deeper in the red in order to pick up the results and grow faster. That completely changed my view on why we would need an investment.
Who inspires you?
K. Paul Srivorakul, former CEO and Co-founder of Ensogo. He is the one who gave me that advice.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Validated Learning and Innovation Accounting from The Lean Startup. I just read the book and although we are already doing most of the things according to the Lean Startup way. Some of our metrics were just “vanity metrics” rather than actionable metrics. We were creating unreal picture that we wanted to see but not the reality.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would hire an accountant faster. It would have saved us a lot of time and confusion over consolidating the receipts, tax invoices etc. Also, I would register a company in Singapore rather than Thailand (an entity in Thailand but parent company in Singapore). At the end of the day Singapore is like Delaware of South East Asia.
How do you unwind?
Talk to my team. I can discuss most things with my co-founders and together we never give up.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love Japan! I think it has great food culture and also the people are nice. The weather is also different from Thailand thus we can go ski etc. (there’s no snow in Thailand)
Everyone in business should read this book:
The latest book I read, The Lean Startup.
Shameless plug for your business:
Wongnai is the best restaurant review platform in Thailand. We are available on the web, iOS and Android. Anyway, most of the content is in Thai so it’s probably a bit hard for you to navigate 😉
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
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