A practice of gratitude - Thanksgiving at ConnectOne 2018

8d411-connectonecelebrates2018_020.jpg

A spin on the word thanksgiving as “thanks” and “giving” by Brisa, one of our interns led to this little reflection today. Although unintended but it was a powerful reminder that as the year closes on a high for us, that we have to be:

1) #thankful for all the joys and junks of the year

2) #giving of our time helping motivated individuals find meaningful jobs and startup founders raise human capital!

Personally, this must be a year where our small and humble beginnings have started to scale somewhat. Many have heard that it was a very rough first 2 years for us. But along came a few individuals who believed that we were motivated, able and with the right opportunity, will produce results. And we did. We are very thankful for them and for a wonderful community of talent and founders who along with them, believe in us.

“Successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity”

— Adam Grant, author of Give and Take

Last but not least, a toast to my co-founder, Fiona who supported my crazy idea back in 2013 to work with startups and continue to support more crazy ideas as we launch our new programs in 2019!

Cheers to all and wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!!

All my best,

Elena Chow, Co-Founder of ConnectOne


As part of our party activity, we asked our key partners, clients and candidates what they are most grateful for this year and three words to sum up 2018. Below are the gathered thoughts and heartfelt reflections. May they act as a reminder for us to be thankful for the little things in life as well as inspire us to live with a greater purpose in 2019!

What are you most grateful for this year?

Grateful that investors trusted me enough to invest in my startup, which allowed me to commit 200%. No looking back now! Hired a highly qualified CTO, currently building a dedicated and eage
— Lius Widjaja, Founder and CEO of Gomodo Technologies Pte Ltd
a practice of gratitude image 2.png
17b18-connectonecelebrates2018_025.jpg
a practice of gratitude image 4.png
02324-connectonecelebrates2018_079.jpg
Grateful for health of loved ones and being able to have some family time
— Min Joo Yang, UI UX Designer
New season in life, country, job , experience as well as friendships
— Jen Lin, Head of Travel Platform
Opportunities to change, to grow, to influence and to help
— Bryan Long, Co-Founder and CEO of Stacck
“For all the amazing members and partners I’ve met in the ecosystem. For those who has made an impact in my life through the positive sharing, knowledge transferred and the love and kindness”
— — Andee Chua, Head of Community of Found.
a practice of gratitude image 6.png
Awesome company & colleagues, New home, New life partner
— Sabrinna Soh, Senior Consultant of ConnectOne

Three words to sum up your 2018

Tough, Challenging, Hope
— Terence Yow, Managing Director of Enviably Me Pte Ltd
Momentum, Validation, Empowering
— Lius Widjaja, Founder and CEO of Gomodo Technologies Pte Ltd
Transparency, Integrity,
Humility
— Jae Lee, CTO of Online Travel Platform
a practice of gratitude image 7.png
a practice of gratitude image 8.png
a practice of gratitude image 9.png
68a20-connectonecelebrates2018_077.jpg
Opportunities, Growth, Possibilities
— Jael Chng, Founder of My Working Title
Eventful, Clarity, Transitional
— Mindy, Head BD of Online Marketplace
AI, Evolution,
Re-examination
— Tomithy Too, Investment Manager of ST Telemedia
Fulfilling, Empowered, Inspired
— Michelle Quek, Community Manager of Found.
416f3-connectonecelebrates2018_004.jpg
16b3a-connectonecelebrates2018_096.jpg
Hectic, Hell, (But) Happy
— Kenny Lew, Senior Consultant at ConnectOne
Affirmation, Relationships, Great food and travels
— Pamela Tan, Consultant, Talent Community Lead of ConnectOne
Happiness, Laughter, Gratitude
— Yvonne Sia, Finance & Admin Lead of ConnectOne
ConnectOne Team

ConnectOne Team

Thank you for celebrating 2018 with us!

These are the things only founders over 40 can tell you

There’s a great romance about youthful founders. Startups must be full of adolescent dropouts who’re writing code, changing the world, and worrying about zits. You can hardly blame anyone for lionizing the young; Mark Zuckerberg, the preeminent founder of our time, launched Facebook when he was only 20 years old.

But the adoration doesn’t match reality. According to the Kauffman Foundation, a think tank focused on entrepreneurship, the average age for a successful startup founder is about 40 years old.

And a recent study (PDF link) from MIT, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the U.S. Census Bureau also found that the most successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged. They discovered that startups with growth in the top 1% of their industry had founders with an average age of 45.

The study found that correlation between success and age had a simple explanation: experience matters and older people have more of it.

Why experience is golden

Anna Gong, CEO of Perx Technologies

Anna Gong, CEO of Perx Technologies

It’s a perspective that Anna Gong, in her early 40s, CEO of Perx Technologies and a veteran of working with four previous startups in Silicon Valley, agrees with. “The mature executives have experience that’s immensely valuable. Back in my Silicon Valley days, many startups hired senior executives to help young founders scale and exit profitably.”

It’s all about execution, Gong says. “The startups we built that had traction were mostly run by seasoned executives who’d left companies like Intel, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. It’s not about if you dropped out of school, it’s about the management and the leadership. Experience is immensely helpful when guiding a growth stage company.”

How founders don’t have to take big risks

“I have a risk-averse approach to entrepreneurship. I did it in my free time, which is a lot of work, but it’s something I recommend.”

— Erwan Mace, Founder and CTO of Bitsmedia

But you don’t have to be a serial entrepreneur and eat ramen from age 20 to 40 to become an experienced founder. Erwan Mace was the VP of Technologies at Vivendi Mobile Entertainment, a large multinational corporation, before he moved back to Singapore. “I didn’t want to rush into a new job,” Mace says. “So in the meantime, I started a company.”

That was the birth of Bitsmedia, a startup that built apps for mobile. But two years into running Bitsmedia Google approached Mace with a job offer.

Erwan Mace, Founder and CTO of Bitsmedia (left) and Nik Emir Din

Erwan Mace, Founder and CTO of Bitsmedia (left) and Nik Emir Din

“We were still small,” Mace recalls, “and none of our apps had really taken off. The Muslim Pro app had been launched the year before, and although it was showing some traction, it was still slow. So I joined Google, and in the evening and weekends, I continued working on Muslim Pro by myself.”

After a year at Google, Muslim Pro gained momentum, and at the age of 39 (editor’s note: close to 40!), Mace left Google to focus on Bitsmedia and Muslim Pro. “The decision was easy enough to make,” Mace says. “The revenue from Muslim Pro became equal to my salary at Google, so there was little risk. I have a risk-averse approach to entrepreneurship. I did it in my free time, which is a lot of work, but it’s something I recommend.”

But Mace was clear he didn’t start his own company just for the money. “I’m a hands-on guy,” he explained. “I had high-profile jobs, which meant less of that. I missed getting my hands dirty, creating something of my own. So no matter what, whether it was a viable business or not, I felt the need to work on my own stuff in my free time.”

188ed-capture2.png

What mindset can tell you about success

“I distinguish between people with internal and external motivation.”

— Hon Meng Moh, Co-Founder and Director of The RightU

This internal drive is something Hon Meng Moh feels is essential for older founders. At 50, Moh has been a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded iFast Corporation at 31, which listed on the SGX in 2014. At 43, 45 and 47, he co-founded three more companies and has invested in several others.

“I distinguish between people with internal and external motivation,” Moh explains. A person who’s attracted by the image of being an entrepreneur, for example, or someone who wants to make a lot of money, is externally motivated.

“When the going gets tough,” Moh says, “and the going will really get tough, these guys are going to think of easier ways to make money. As opposed to people with internal motivation — entrepreneurs who are so passionate about an idea they can’t imagine doing anything else — who tend to persevere longer.”

This inner drive fuels the decisions an older entrepreneur will make. “For someone with internal motivation, age becomes less of a thing, and I find they’re able to take quite a bit of suffering.”

Hard-won wisdom from founders over 40

So what can founders and entrepreneurs of all ages learn from founders over 40?

Don’t do it for the money.

“A lot of people think it’s easy money because you keep reading about successful apps,” Mace says. “They couldn’t be more wrong. Only people with passion, a lot of work, and also a bit of luck, might turn a startup into a successful business. In most cases, it won’t be successful. But if you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you won’t be wasting your time.”

Build your network.

“The number of contacts is more important than your idea,” Moh says. “You can access capital and people from your contacts, so your network must be wide. If you sit there thinking your idea is great but you have no network and no money, I don’t think it’s going to do well. You’ll find that ideas aren’t worth that much, it’s whether you have the network and the capital to pull it off.”

Find the fire.

“I came from China to the US and struggled through all sorts of trials and tribulations,” Gong says. “You have to stand out from the rest, but how do you stand out when you’re a minority, female, and in tech; where there aren’t that many females? My upbringing taught me grit. For me, it’s about where you come from, what struggles you’ve experienced, and what’s that fire in your belly that makes you strive for excellence?”