Story covered by IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 28th July 2014
Tell us more about yourself - Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! I am Teoh Chon Giap. I am passionate about entrepreneurship, project management, talent development, exponential technology and youth leadership. I have been managing projects/events since early age, and am currently a full time event organizer. One of my most recognized projects that I organize annually is known as "TEDxYouth@KL". I am the curator and the Sponsorship lead of TEDxYouth@KL 2012 - 2014. This event is recognized as the largest TEDxYouth Event in South East Asia. The seats were sold out in the time frame of 2 weeks prior to the event with the support of 800 enthusiastic youth leaders. The event was featured in Malaysian Newspaper, Radio Station, Television, Magazine and Online Media. Besides, I have also project managed and run events that are up to 3,000 capacities.
Sounds interesting! What is TEDxYouth@KL all about?
TEDx basically represents the words Technology, Entertainment and Design (T.E.D). The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. At TEDx events there will be a combination of brilliant presenters from the T.E.D industry and TED Talks videos. It is planned and coordinated independently under a free license granted by TED.com.
In your experience, what are the 3 Winning Traits that Entrepreneurs should possess when they start their business?
Starting a business is easy, the challenges are how do you manage and make it scalable.
1) Be purpose driven:
Knowing why you are doing something drives you forward; it helps you to persevere through challenges. It helps you to communicate clearly with stakeholders, leaders, team mates, clients, even friends.
2) Be persistent whether it is for personal development or business growth:
Make sure you are growing with the things that you are doing. For business case, it is all about bringing profits in business. I am involved with sales. Therefore, I have to measure how many sales or profit that I am bringing into my company weekly. How many appointments you make a day, and how many sales you have closed? In this way, you are able to track your progress and learn how to grow faster.
3) Be an explorer:
Be curious. Ask questions. Imagine stuff. Talk to people. Read a lot. Keep Learning. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Marketing is King! How did you publicize your business? How did you get people to notice you and not your competitors?
Marketing is about Values. The market is very noisy, and we're not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So, we have to be really clear on what we want our potential customers to know about us.
We believe in a vision of "Ideas worth spreading"; we are providing a platform to allow people to learn, share and discuss new or interesting ideas from the T.E.D industry. For every attendee who attends our event, they are clear about that.
On a practical note, with marketing strategy we mainly leverage on Social Media Marketing and University's Campus Marketing as our main target market is youths who are currently studying in Universities/Colleges. Understand who your target audience is and find out the most effective marketing channels to reach them.
They say, Talents are what make or break the business. For yourself, how did you get your talents and what did you do to make them remain working for you?
We open for recruitment application through Facebook and also referrals from friends. We filter our applications strictly as we want to make sure our project volunteers/employees believe in the vision of TED or TEDxYouth@KL.
We believe that our project's organizing team is one of our greatest assets. The majority of our teammates are from age of 19 to 23 who are Generation Y's. We promise everyone in the team that we will grow and learn together. Everyone is given a fair chance to show their capability and leadership opportunity. We truly understand what values that the Gen Y's want, and we are able to feed them with what they need and want. That has kept them wanting to work with us.
How do you define Success?
Success is a universal desire that many of us strive to achieve in our lives. We all aim to lead successful lives be it in relationship, personal, or career. It is the reason we educate ourselves and work hard. We believe that it brings us joy and gives meaning to our lives.
Everyone has a different definition towards Success. I believe "Success is a journey and not a destination". It is not necessary that we are only successful when we achieve something. It is what we are doing daily that defines whether we are successful or not. Ask yourself this question, "Am I doing something every day that leads towards the goal that I have set?" If you are not, change it and start taking action towards your goal.
Which was the most challenging situation that you are proud of having faced and overcome, whether it is in travelling or marketing or business development?
One of my proudest challenges that I faced and overcame is the fear of rejection. I always had to approach companies for sponsorship to cover my event cost. When I was new in sales, I faced many rejections. I felt frustration, fear, and it lowered my confident thinking that I was not good enough. Then, after experiencing more failures and rejections through my life in career, I had to go through more than 10 rejections everyday through my sales role and I started to feel normal. I am pretty sure that if we can't overcome failures and rejection we won't be able to go far or be successful in life because, there are so many negative people in the world that will try to stop our dreams and ambitions.
It's always scary when you look at something from far away. I encourage you to try to walk over the obstacles and see what happened? You never learn how to swim until you are in the water. We must set a mindset to test and be ready to make mistakes, learn from your mistakes fast and then move on to improve. When you overcome the fear of rejection you can do wonders.
What is your advice to people who want to make a change in their lives?
A quote that I came across when I was 16 years old was "Master Your Mind, and Design Your Destiny". I was invited to attend a 3 hour seminar that was spoken by Adam Khoo, a motivational speaker from Singapore. That quote changed my life and I want to share it with you.
We always wonder as to how do we improve and how do we become more successful in the things we do. I think it is all about mindset, it is all about how we control what we think and how we act. If you truly want to make a change, first make sure you are able to control your emotion and think logically in every decision that you are going to make. How is your decision going to benefit the goals that you want to achieve? Then, look for someone whom you admire a lot and wish to be like that person. Ask him/her to be your mentor, learn the tips and tricks from that person and work hard with the things which you want to do. I can assure your growth will be exponential.
You mentioned that you are a tech-enthusiast. Can you further explain why do you love technology and how do you see technology helping us in the future?
The world is entering a period of accelerated technological change. Today's technology has changed all of our lives, the way we communicate, the way we learn, the way we travel and, of course, the way we run business.
Words from Ray Kurzweil
"Consider the tremendous power of the exponential growth of technologies: The computer in your cellphone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful compared to that in the past. That's a billion fold increase in price performance of computing since I was an undergraduate. Now apply the same dramatic increase to other fields that depend on information technology," says Ray Kurzweil.
"If you look at the implications of exponential growth, it creates a very different picture of the future and it's not intuitive," says Kurzweil. Problems that may seem intractable now can become eminently solvable in the near future. Not only should this inform investing and planning for the future, it should also change what you think of as possible for the humanity. Soon, things which we could barely have imagined decades before might be within reach.
To further understand what this is all about, I encourage you to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a175DEtW6M
Do you have any Role Models that inspired you to be a visionary?
Yes, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jack Ma. They are recognized as Legendary Entrepreneurs with great vision. I highly encourage you to read about them or watch their videos from YouTube..