Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Greetings readers. I caught up with Jonathan Bong over a meal a while back and picked his mind about some of the lessons he has learnt from his entrepreneurial journey to date. You may be asking yourself, "Why does he seem so familiar?" Not surprising really. You might remember him from one of his previous stints, from St Andrew's School or from his time with Breeze Magazine in East Malaysia. Today, he is in the construction industry, "focusing on road base for both industrial and rural roads", working on projects in three international markets.
I asked him, What advice would you give to others looking to make a name for themselves in business? Here are his five pointers:
1. Have realistic goals. "There are no guarantees in business so, unless you have really deep pockets, do not waste your time chasing lofty dreams."
2. Be pragmatic. "Practice due diligence and know your market. Be brave enough to let go of wishful thinking to do that which makes you money."
3. Find good partners. "You are not good at everything. Work with people who complement your skill sets. Also, look for investors and mentors who can coach you through."
4. Do less. "It helps to focus on one thing at a time instead of spreading yourself thinly over too many things."
5. Grow yourself. "Do not be contented and comfortable; be hungry. If you are able, work and learn about business overseas. Expose yourself abroad and then come back with different experiences."
Photo of Fatin with British High Commissioner designate, Mr David Campbell, Deputy High Commissioner Mrs Sunny Ahmed and the Brunei Chevening Alumni
Photo source: British High Commission FB Page
Shoutout to Fatin, Brunei's Chevening Scholar for 2013/14! She's now in London undertaking a Masters in Emerging Economies and International Development at King's College. I worked alongside Fatin for about two years. Literally; her desk is about two metres away from mine. Fatin is smart, witty, generous and has a tremendous volunteer spirit. [Try googling Fatin Arifin and you'll see what I mean] Check out her Twitter account to follow her journey through this chapter of her life. Fatin, if you are reading this, we are proud of you. =)
Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office together with partner organisations. The Chevening programme began in 1983 and has developed into a prestigious international scheme. To date 44 Bruneians have secured the Chevening Scholarship, many of whom have gone on to secure high level jobs in the public and private sector and are active members of the Chevening Alumni.
Find out more about Chevening Scholarships here.
Note: Applications for 2014-2015 Chevening Scholarships in Brunei are now open and will close on 15 November 2013.
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Hi folks. Registrations for the 38th Panaga Triathlon are now open. There are two options for individual events; the full tri (sprint distance - 500m pool swim, 23km cycle, 5.5km run) and speed tri (300m pool swim, 12km cycle, 3km run). There is also a teaam relay which consists of a 500m pool swim, 23km cycle and a 5.5km run.
Photographs sourced from the Entrepreneurship At Campus FB page
I was recently invited to speak at the Entrepreneurship At Campus Hari Raya Open Office. I was the last of three other speakers - Sabrina Wong of Sab Five Five, David Chen of Sunland Agri-Tech Pte Ltd and Hj Azaman, Chairman of GDG Brunei. The Entrepreneurship At Campus or E@C is a collaboration between the BEDB, the iCentre, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and their Entrepreneurship Club. According to their FB page, they exist to "nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among the students in Brunei; regardless of age and level of education attainment." They invited the four of us to share around the topic of entrepreneurship from our life experiences. Of course I agreed.
I arrived. I scanned the room for familiar faces. I caught up briefly with mates. I sat down, right at the back of the hall. As much as I like having a "Reserved for Mr Keasberry" sign flopped on a seat on the front row, I also enjoy sitting at the back. When I speak, I try my best to speak to speak to the ones least interested in being there. They are often lurking riiiight at the back. Sitting at the back gives me different perspective which is usually followed by last-minute adjustments to my message and tone.
I should also say that sitting at the back is a great way to hide nervousness from the organisers and other speakers.
My turn. I walked up to the speaker's platform, set up my digital timer and started with a disclaimer. "I am a hybrid-entrepreneur." Within 10 minutes, I had touched on snippets of my journey including how BruneiTweet started, the power of social media, lessons from my journey to date, but I probably spent an extra moment explaining what I meant by hybrid-entrepreneur. In my opinion, "true" entrepreneurs are purists, fully immersed into their business without a safety net (read: assured salary) to keep them afloat. Me? I have a nine-to-five, but I also wear other hats, including managing this website. I also spoke about the importance of having an entrepreneurial spirit which is the other side of the entrepreneurial coin.
When it came to q n' a time, there was one question which caught me off-guard. It went something like this.
Q: What do you consider as your strengths?
A: Good question. Hmm. *looks at the clock wondering why time suddenly stopped* Well, one of them is in communications. Offline and online.
I then went on for a bit about the importance of being able to communicate.
Afterwards, I hung around for a bit, got to know a few of them, took a few group-selfies, had a play with Google Glass, thanked the organisers and walked back to my car (parked precariously at a location I will not talk about). It then hit me. Q n' A remorse, specifically regarding the question about strength. Marketing folks love talking about strengths. Why? Because it is easy to mask a shallow answer with fanciful words. I did give an answer anchored to past and current experiences, but in hindsight I should have shared around one of my favorite quotes: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
Chew on that.
Shoutout the all you folks at the E@C!
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