Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid and the inventor of the world’s first instant camera and film, once said, “Don’t undertake a project unless it’s manifestly important and nearly impossible.”
My heart pounds. I smile. Excitement abounds. I am inspired. Life has a new meaning. What is the object of all this positive energy? An idea! The experience of getting a new idea is wonderful. What follows can also be fun and exciting, when you have a plan and know what it takes to carry your idea from conception to reality. Dreaming a dream is one thing, but bringing the dream to market is another dimension entirely.
I have always had a passion for instant photography. I have contacted a well-known international company and I have been given the sole distributorship of Malaysia. Their core products are analog instant film, refurbished Polaroid cameras, and its own-designed range of analog instant cameras. I find their products very potential to the Malaysian market.
Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help elevate audience and customer base in a dramatic way. Social media marketing can be a powerful tool to increase brand recognition with minimal marketing cost. My short term plan is to hit the social media hard to create awareness of this product before going full force into malls and shops. For the time being, the plan is to concentrate on Kuala Lumpur before advancing into other states of the Peninsular Malaysia. Aforementioned are some practical and realistically implementable ideas of my project.
I pride myself in my professionalism towards all my assigned tasks. I am an articulate, confident individual who relishes challenges, working under pressure and always strives to achieve the highest standard possible at any given task with unflinching pertinacity. I believe I have the true potential in becoming an entrepreneur but I have yet to be given the chance to fully discover the hidden treasure in me. I have a keen eye for details and am on the verge of organizing a virtually new project and targeting to use previously unused channels after discovering a hidden opportunity in the eyes of others. Potential is unable to be discovered by just portraying mere intentions nor even when the whole planning of scope and schedule are complete, or in short, talking the talk or planning the talk. I believe it is only discover-able when we actually walk the talk.
I am currently tied down because of the lack of fund to start putting all my thoughts and plans into action. I have been waiting for someone to be willing to give young guns like me a chance to realize my dream and to prove that age is just a number.
I have just recently completed my 2 year fellowship with Teach for Malaysia, a leadership development program that enlists high performing recent grads and professionals to be placed in the highest need schools in Malaysia to teach for 2 years. I was sent to a secondary school which is currently ranked in the bottom 50 schools from more than 2300 secondary schools in the entire nation. From 2013’s SPM results, 97% of the candidates failed at least 1 subject. In the same year, 46% of the disciplinary demerit points were for classroom truancy. Based on the PT3 results in 2014, 73% failed English, 75% failed Mathematics and 83% failed Science. 60% of the students live below the poverty line of RM1500/month. There are many reasons to why the students are not performing well in school; from ineffective delivery in the classroom, missing connection of the knowledge applicability in real life to unmotivated students when it comes to academic achievement. Most parents are also not fully involved in their child’s development in school neither is the surrounding community providing a supportive environment for the child to excel. However, in the last 2 years of spending my time with the kids, a fellow teacher and I have successfully conducted a few initiatives to increase interest in our kids to love the act of learning. We created opportunities for them to step up. We taught them ways to create and innovate a product and then tie it back to their everyday lessons of Math, science, arts and languages in order to let them have meaningful learning experiences. We introduced to them 21st century skills where for the first time ever, they get introduced to the concept of coding, programming and building with Arduinos. We managed to build 3 big projects that gives back to the community (all using Arduinos) – a transport system for the elderly, self-watering system for urban farming and an automatic whiteboard cleaner for teachers in the classroom. We trained student tutors and they have helped teach more than 200 hundred kids in the community. It has boost our kids confidence tremendously as they now see themselves as problem solvers instead of just a student. With RM50,000, my fellow teachers and I plan to build a structured after school program as an education intervention that motivates underprivileged students from high need schools back into being interested in learning. The money will be spent for us to keep a workshop complete with tools and materials for our kids to learn to design, build, create and innovate products which will in turn help them understand important concepts. This intervention will help put back relevance into learning through its project based curriculum that integrates science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Our lesson plans are all mapped back to the national syllabus to ensure that our kids can find a connection in their learning and finally see a reason to change their life’s trajectory through education.
My name is Stezon Liew, with my two partners Sue Lin Teo and Phillip Choong. We are a bunch of digital professionals, specializing in digital design, digital marketing and solutions architecture respectively. With all these expertise, we make a well rounded team. Through our experience in the digital industry and passion in fashion, we have determined a problem in the online fashion world.
Unlike many other industries where the journeys are more straightforward, the fashion industry has more complexity which contains multiple aspects of experience in terms of the online world. From discovering what’s in trend, to understanding brands and products, shopping online, comparing prices, staying connected with the fashion community, sharing an outfit-of-the-day picture to friends, to even earning some money through fashion; all these individual functions and demands are currently served by multiple platforms around the world, which is a very isolated journey for the users.
RubberNeck.me is a social shopping platform, aimed to integrate the online fashion journey, providing a seamless service and experience to not just for fashion consumers but also social users, and not just for fashion brands but also influencers.
Users with their own profiles will get to discover the latest fashion trends, shop online from different brands, socialise with friends, fashion icons and brands, then even earn shopping credits when they socialise. Imagine, the more the users socialise, the more they're rewarded, and the more they can buy!
Brands with profiles on RubberNeck.me will have the ability to reach out to their relevant target market, share their updates with them, engage users through conversation, market their products, convert users into purchasers, inspire loyalty, and even turn the users into their own personal army of ambassadors.
Realising RubberNeck.me would mean creating a current of change for the online fashion industry. Knowing this is what keeps me going.
We need two major supports to make this happen - network and monetary investment. The monetary investment will help us to focus solely on this startup dream, build a prototype, and reach out to more users and vendors.
The startup scene in Malaysia is fast expanding. Being part of this, we have gone through and understand the journey that entrepreneurs in Malaysia have to take. Beyond this opportunity for ourselves, we want to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs so that we can help and support each other from what we've learnt. This change will enable us to focus on RubberNeck.me to ensure its success so that we may guide and inspire the others who are brave enough to take this path.
When did you discover that you have an untapped potential?
I discover that I have great passion for developing mobile games ever since I started working on my first iOS gaming app for Keatooon
Why aren’t you pursuing it?
I am already pursuing it on a part time basis. I founded Keatooon an indie mobile game developer studio in December 2013. Released 2 apps for iPhone and iPad respectively “Mushroom”* and “Suntori: Escape Room”** on the App Store. Spent about RM10k buying Apple devices, iOS annual licensing fees and attending online courses to keep improving my skills. Besides, I have setup Facebook*** page as well as a website**** to increase visibility.
If you were given RM50,000, how can it help you on your journey to pursue your TRUE Potential? How will you implement your idea? What would you do with it?
What’s stopping me from reaching my TRUE potential is the fund needed to build one of the best gaming app in 2015 by August with positive revenue. The business model is to make the app free to download while earning through in-app purchase as well as iAds banners. Here is the breakdown cost (ballpark figure) for the app:
Buy art and sound assets bundle ~ RM10k to RM20k
Currently I am only using open source artwork and sound track in the app to keep the budget down.
Support backend service ~ USD310/month Maintenance ~ RM15k for a year
Make the iOS app universal and supports multiple language ~ RM 5000
Need to translate the app from English to Chinese, Japanese and Korean to target the Asian market.
Invest more in advertising to boost visibility ~ RM3,640
There’s an option to boost your post on Facebook with a fee to reach 1.2M Facebook user in seven days
The remaining ~6k will be use as maintenance fee (e.g. iOS update)
If there’s more fund…It will be use to build an Android version.
How will this change impact you as person?
To give me the confidence to unleash my hidden potential and take a leap of faith to a new and enjoyable career.
Ever since I was young, I was always doing art/craft project: papier mache, origami/kusudama, pop-up, screen-print, sewing, candle-making, you name it. The end results didn’t always turn out amazing, but I’ve always enjoyed the process. When the time came for me to choose my career path, I made the safe choice, one that was expected of me. I chose to study engineering.
The four years I spent completing my degree was also the time I spent perusing books on financial education, building businesses and (auto)biographies of successful entrepreneurs. I find it fascinating how some people are lucky to earn money doing what they truly enjoy.
Last August, I started an Instagram shop called @armcandy_store, where my inclination towards bohemian style is translated into the products I sell. To my surprise, the products received positive review and the customer base is growing.
The brand’s best-selling item is the Cochitta backpacks, handmade in Kathmandu. Through the supplier, whom I now call friend, I’ve learned interesting stories of the people there; how they have to walk for days to reach their hometown during holidays when shops in the city close, and how little they need to get by that nobody is too stressed out about money. It’s these stories that add charm to the products. In the future, I plan to have each item comes with a postcard spotting the place where it was made, signed by the people who has put his/her heart into making it, and a small booklet that tells the story of the item.
The limiting factor that hinders the brand’s growth is capital. RM50,000 will allow me to work on the brand full-time and to source items from around the world; the Mochila bags by the Wayuu tribe (South America), bags by the Hmong tribe (Vietnam) and casual clothes with motifs inspired by Orang Ulu (Sarawak). I have found suppliers for these items but large order of RM5,000 is required to generate a healthy profit.
With bigger budget, I can produce own designs of bohemian-inspired clothing which will cost approximately RM10,000. Jewellery with elements like feathers, tassels, and semi-precious stones, which have proven to be a hit with existing customer base, can be sourced in large number. Another RM3,500 will go to product photography and creating online buzz by getting local Instagram celebrities being seen with the products. With high inventory volume I can push the products into established retail platforms such as ModVier, FashionValet, and Zalora.
“So many people choose their path based on fear disguised as practicality.” – Jim Carrey.
The reason I have never pursued my creative side was because I didn’t truly believe that I am good and talented enough; I’m sure a lot of people share the same sentiment. If I win, it’ll be like a second chance to start over. I have envisioned the path to make this idea a sustainable one with the grand winning prize; and perhaps one day I can be in the position to help others pursue their dreams.