Lawrence Morgan, CEO of Nest

Lawrence Unleashes The Potential of Businesses

What’s your story?
I’ve worked everywhere but found my groove as a growth-stage business builder. Employing a variety of skills, we support other founders on their journeys as entrepreneurs. We assist in driving revenues by introducing new B2B customers, and we scale startups across Asia and Africa.

What excites you most about your industry?
Tech innovation is revolutionizing the world. No geography or industry is unaffected and the impact is already profound, even though it’s still early days. The most dramatic benefit will be in developing economies, which is Nest’s focus. Only through innovation can we overcome many of the stark global challenges we face, such as climate, energy, and resource scarcity.

What’s your connection to Asia?
When I moved to Hong Kong in the early 2000s it was like being transported into the future. Aside from the spectacular cityscape, the intangible energy and buzz make it a uniquely dynamic place to be. From Japan to Bangkok, the mix of cultures, landscapes, modernity, and tradition makes Asia such a stimulating and diverse array of experiences for a European like myself. Endless depth to explore!

Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong has a “let’s do it” attitude toward business. Pragmatic and entrepreneurial, with streamlined regulations, it’s straightforward to set up and run a business. Businesspeople in Hong Kong are ambitious, they genuinely want both sides to “win” and they invest in relationships that bring loyalty and repeat business. It is a truly globally-minded city for business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Elon Musk’s tweet about building businesses resonates: “The reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress. Don’t think people want to hear about the last two.” This reinforces the idea that being a successful entrepreneur is as much about relentless persistence as much as bold visions, even for the incredible Elon Musk.

Who inspires you?
Startup founders addressing critical problems in developing markets – it’s high impact, real-world stuff. I’m inspired and energized by their resourcefulness, drive, and constant innovation.

What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
That you can make a leather-like material from pineapple husks –

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Everyone dies, just some never truly live. If you feel the need to be in control of your own time, you’re self-motivated, and a “hustler” for resources, being an entrepreneur is an incredible journey. There is no substitute for experience – just get cracking and learn along the way. If I had my time again, I’d have left corporate life earlier to begin my journey as an entrepreneur.

How do you unwind?
Quibi is a recently launched content portal with episodes of around 7-8 minutes, ideal for short bursts. It is amazing how much plot development can occur at that time. It’s gripping!

Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok – the welcoming people, varied food, overflowing culture and character, and well-designed city center parks. The Skytrain has transformed the ability to explore its diverse areas of the city.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Shoe Dog,” by Phil Knight. The founder of Nike doesn’t glamorize his journey. He honestly conveys the frustrations, growing pains, and losses along the way. I personally learn more from biographies than (often prescriptive) “business textbooks.” Entrepreneurship is a “learn by doing” activity.

Shameless plug for your business:
With European economies going nowhere, and the US unpredictable, there has never been a better reason to look to Asia as the region in which to expand. In particular, I’m convinced Southeast Asia will soon power the world economy. Nest’s programs help early growth-stage businesses access Asia to commercialize and scale their enterprise.

How can people connect with you?
First thing in the morning to last at night – still email

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To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favorite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects’ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.

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