Welcome to Episode 118!
STIMY Episode 118 features Chen Chow Yeoh.
Speak to anyone in the Southeast Asian startup scene and they’ll likely have heard of Chen Chow and have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
He’s an OG in the space:
- Co-Founder of Fave – one of the fastest growing fintech platform in Southeast Asia
- Co-Founder of KFit.com – which revolutionised how people approached fitness in Asia Pacific
- Regional Operations Director in APAC & COO (Malaysia) for Groupon
But he never had a plan. 😅
❌ Was one of the top 8 people who scored the worst in his English exams at Cornell University;
❌ Didn’t get a promotion at Accenture (and cried about it ☹️)
❌ Landed his role at Jobstreet by chance
❌ Was rendered obsolete in Groupon when he joined – he was hired for a sales role but by the time he finished serving notice at his previous company, that role was obsolete!
🔥 At Accenture, he did eventually get that promotion. By buckling down & putting in the work.
🔥 He did odd jobs at Groupon & within 3 weeks of joining, was promoted to COO!
🔥 He worked with Joel Neoh to turn Groupon Taiwan from a $1 million loss making monster to $8k in profits in 8 months!
🔥 He has never formally applied for any jobs – people always go to him
But he is not like his charismatic, visionary counterpart.
He just does the work.
Great work, in fact.
And this, is his story.
So are you ready?
Let’s go 😎
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Who is Chen Chow Yeoh?
Chen Chow Yeoh shares how he used to catch the 5am bus to go to Singapore, and how his first time on a plane brought him to Cornell University.
- 2:04 Catching the 5am bus
- 2:56 Going to Cornell University
- 6:59 Failing to get a job promotion
Entering the Southeast Asian Startup Scene
Chen Chow says how (and why!) his leap into the startup world was entirely coincidental.
And how he’s managed to move to his different roles without ever applying for one!
- 8:13 A coincidental offer from Jobstreet
- 12:16 Joel Neoh
- 13:47 Why take the leap to Groupon
- 15:38 Never formally applied for a job!
- 17:36 From random jobs to COO?!
- 21:57 Inferiority or imposter syndrome?
- 24:54 Don’t ask for more?!
- 27:29 How to turn a $1 million loss making business into $8k profit in 8 months in Taiwan
- 35:29 Co-Founding KFit
- 39:35 Raising $1 million from friends & family?!
- 41:11 Landing Pieter Kemps from Sequoia as an investor!
- 50:47 Turning KFit into Fave
- 54:05 Laying off 50% of staff but still being good friends with them
- 59:30 How to bring 2 company cultures together during an acquisition
- 1:01:36 China
- 1:11:55 What are Chen Chow’s strongest features?
- 1:12:33 Will Chen Chow stay even though Joel has left?
- 1:14:04 A competitor Chen Chow really admires
If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:
- Lydia Fenet: Top Christie’s Ambassador who raised over $1 billion for non-profits alongside Elton John, Matt Damon, Uma Thurma etc.
- Chye Neo Chong: Former MD of IBM Malaysia
- Adrian Tan: President of Singapore’s Law Society & the King of Singapore
- John-Son Oei: Building a home in 3 days with EPIC Homes (social enterprise)
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Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:
- Chen Chow Yeoh: LinkedIn, Twitter
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