5 Life Lessons With Bob Chua
Think working in the fashion industry is all glitz and glamour? Founder and CEO of luxury fashion online marketplace, BlinQ, Bob Chua, talks us through the five key principles that have driven him to success.
As entrepreneurs, we are often labelled as being either visionary or foolish… sometimes both. Having been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life, I have realised similar traits amongst my peers: they all view the world differently. The ability to be able to see around corners, take risks, have strong self-confidence; or, the ability to sniff out opportunities that should not just be based on gut feel -- in fact, quite the contrary. My feeling is that a lot of entrepreneurs are in fact very calculative in their views, equipped with better knowledge, better risk assessment, and are able to then take the necessary move when the right time presents itself. Obviously, we are also famously stubborn and resent being told that something can’t be done.
Winston Churchill famously said: "Optimists see Opportunity in a problem, pessimists see problem in an Opportunity."
Dream Big, but Execute Small
Most entrepreneurs have a very high-level and disruptive view of things. The good entrepreneurs however have such elevation, but also the ability to hone in on granular detail; they work on micro issues, but also have the ability to execute at scale.
At BlinQ for example, we’ve set out to be Southeast Asia’s leading Luxury Marketplace platform, despite going against larger International players with deeper pockets. We had to think big, but execute to a point where we created unfair advantages. In this case, we added Augmented Reality to our platform, we focused on recruiting regional brands, and most of all, we did it all extremely quickly. Speed and the understanding of this complex market continues to be a differentiator. Whilst we respect the larger International competition, we also believe that the understanding of the regional nuances will be the make or break when entering such a complex region..we have an edge.
Don’t just play in the game, own it
With any venture I start, I start with the aim of winning. Apart from entrepreneurship, I am also a keen sailor, and remember a quote by Queen Elizabeth to John F Kennedy many years ago when the Americans won what is now known as the ‘America’s Cup’ from the British. As the Queen reluctantly presented the trophy to the Americans, her assistant asked her, "Your majesty, how about the prize for second place?" She responded, "There is no second place."
Stop to smell the roses
We all push very hard in our day-to-day grind, whatever it is. The hustle can sometimes get to us, and we all need to reflect and understand the strategies and tactics, the end game, but most importantly the purpose. The key is to sometimes stop to smell the roses, and rehash perspectives in order to re-energize and carry on to fight another day.
Timing is Everything
When I was younger, I used to surf a lot while living in Australia. The feeling of catching a wave and riding through a barrel to shore was like nothing else. The exhilaration, the excitement, and the feeling of achievement was second to none. Entrepreneurship in many ways is very similar. I used to bob along in the shark-infested ocean, studying the waves, the currents, the winds, and identifying my next set…(waves which form in sets of 5 or 6 every 5 minutes or so). Once a wave had been identified, I had to line myself up, get the right angle and speed to paddle into and catch that wave to perfection. A second too fast, and I would wipe out, and a second too late, and I would have missed it altogether. Entrepreneurship is very similar. We need to study our craft, be able to identify trends, competitors, risk, opportunity, and most importantly time our next move/s. Ideally, we bring others along for the ride. As they say: alone, we can travel fast; together, we can travel far.