Singapore — Southeast Asia
What do you know to be true about business?
The common denominator of every business, no matter the industry, is people. They are at the core of success or failure, collaboration or silo’d thinking, myopia or hypermetropia.
What’s the next big opportunity in tech?
Hard to say, but two aspects excite me the most. Firstly, we’re still at the infancy of real, step-change disruption in several industries – whether it be transforming how healthcare is delivered in emerging economies or re-defining how we service loans. Secondly, there are several emerging technologies which are still in development, and it’s the convergence of these that’s most interesting to me. Tech we use today ubiquitously was a culmination of multiple elements: cloud computing, smartphone penetration and internet bandwidth to name a few. So, how will the likes of distributed ledgers, 5G and IoT come together to form step-change solutions?
What’s the most under-appreciated skill in founders?
Honest self-reflection. Knowing what you don’t know is a powerful asset, providing you with the ability to build a team around you which compliments your skillsets.
What aspects of consulting prepared you for VC?
Working and living in multiple different countries. It provided an appreciation of both the clear similarities and stark differences between the problem set and required solutions in local markets. This may be driven by cultural differences, the local modus operandi or simply even geographical (e.g. before living in Amsterdam, I was blind to the monthly subscription bicycle service market!).
What did you learn in previous roles?
Not to be afraid of asking seemingly ‘stupid’ questions – I’ve learnt to ask my fair share. By having an inquisitive and open mindset, you can learn a lot from the people around you – in often unexpected ways. I have fond memories of learning about statins while helping to fill a prescription as a retail assistant or understanding AD Security Groups while solving user issues as an IT technician. If you want to understand something, ask!
What’s something people outside of Square Peg wouldn’t know about working at Square Peg?
We have a phenomenal snack cupboard in the Sydney office; if you stop by then dig in.
What’s the essential role of a founder?
Supporting your people and driving culture. You are in the position to motivate, excite and shape those around you – and they are critical to your success (and enjoyment!) Carefully considering how you hire, retain and inspire your employees across the business is a crucial success factor and essential role.
What in your childhood made your career trajectory probable?
I’ve always been fascinated by continuously learning about any and all topics. From building computers in my teenage years to a constant stream of podcasts today, if I have an opportunity to learn then I’ll take it. Given this, a career where I can continuously learn about new problems and meet new people seemed inevitable. As an aside, if you have any good book or podcasts recommendations, let me know – you can email me ed @ spc [dot] vc!
What tech do you avoid in your personal life?
I’m quite minimalist with tech in the home; I have a record player, don’t own a TV and have almost all notifications turned off on my phone. Tech can be a distraction, so I minimise it where possible in downtime.
What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?
The Simpsons: Hit and Run - the first video game I played through end-to-end. (I have since replayed it, but it’s not quite the same.).
What advice do you live by?
The phrase “strong opinions, weakly held” resonates with me. Developing a hypothesis based on intuition is helpful – however, the real value lies in consistently challenging your opinions and being open to change them as new information emerges.
What does the future hold?
The only thing I’m certain of is uncertainty.