Shakthi DC jumped into the start-up scene by starting a social data analytics agency to help organisations, high profile individuals and brands gain competitive advantages by unlocking insights from consumer voices in social media.
What’s your story?
My story involves several annihilated devices and mini-projects that eventually turned out to be pretty functional, the operative word here being “eventually”. I’ve always been one to figure out how things work, what makes them tick, I take things apart and put them back together, find other variations or purposes – it gave me joy the act of seeking, discovering and above all understanding. Early in my career I knew I wanted to be a part of a constantly evolving and high learning environment, which is why I delved into the start-up scene, where one wears many hats and has challenges of all scales thrown at you on a daily basis. I chose this path to live up to my nature of being a philomath and I have no regrets be it as a mentor, data scientist, e-commerce specialist, go to market strategist or a glorified sales rep. I wear all these hats with pride as I am certain that every failure, or discovery leads to growth as long as I persist.
What excites you most about your industry?
It can’t be denied that we are living in a lifetime where something physically intangible has become the single most valuable resource the world has ever seen – Data is the new gold. The fact that this resource is constantly growing, evolving, being enriched as we learn, teaching us in turn and even solving problems purely from the insights gained from data. Through data I have the uncanny ability to tell the truth, the harshest of truths, to some of the most elite professionals across industries and yet they do not turn away from me – instead I feel acceptance and willingness to change; and that by far are some of the most meaningful moments I have had. Through which we have been able to pivot from failures and scale goals that seemed impossible, that trust is exhilarating.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am Malaysian, a melting pot of the varying perspectives of Asia. As a young lady I was shipped around to various boarding schools all over the region and I definitely have a deep love for all things that comprise of eclectic and eccentric Asia. Knowing that every part of Her is not so easily pieced together, Her people might be neighbours but have completely different views, customs and even the way we practice business it’s pretty much yin & yang. Understanding these intricacies has definitely been of great value, resulting in me having the ability to build bridges around the region and have some of the most awesome friends all over Asia and beyond.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For me it has to be Bangkok, anyone in the region who deals with data would absolutely love the appetite of the Thais when it comes to how much data they consume. They are a market that takes their customers very seriously but more importantly, they constantly look for ways to build communities with their fans, as such they rely heavily on research and understand the need for data to achieve their goals. A lot less of educating in this market, however when it comes down to closing deals that predominantly boils down to having strong relationships, it does help significantly if you speak Thai too but these stakeholders value long term business and if you have the right local people and persistence – definitely an amazing city to work in, where business and leisure meet so very seamlessly.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
This is not so much of a piece of advice given to me but words I live by, ‘Do not be afraid to keep pushing on ahead, even if everyone around you falls behind, slowing down to allow them to catch up isn’t doing them any favours; but pushing them to keep up lasts a lifetime for they will be forever changed too. Don’t be afraid to be hated, if your intent is greatness from others and yourself.’
Who inspires you?
I follow Dr. Gary Chapman, Gary Vaynerchuk & of course Vishen Lakhiani (who I personally think is severely underrated in Malaysia, a visionary leader with such an uplifting goal). I have known from the get go that my People are both my strengths and weaknesses and as such I knew I needed all the help I could get in terms of managing different personalities and these Leaders share techniques and advice that has helped me over the years be a better Mentor to my team.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently I learned that one of the most lucrative e-wallets in the world actually belongs to a company that sells coffee, yeap we are talking about Starbucks here.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would not so much look at changing anything specifically. I chose my path, it brings me meaning everyday, I am surrounded by people I adore Mentoring and peers that trust me. If anything, I’d tell myself we are all going to be okay, so perhaps have a little more fun for yourself.
How do you unwind?
I unwind best when I go off-grid, I love mountains, the cold, the serenity of staring out at a starry night sky, laying down in a mossy forest – I reflect and center myself in these moments. But after the self un-winding I recharge through People, each one of them appear to reflect the flip side of me and they charge me with their distractions, sharing, time and affections. They are my sanity when chaos overwhelms me.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My all-time favourite place is Japan simply awesome culture, food, landscapes and people. Every single state has its very own unique charm, but across the board it has won favourite destination from me, I always leave Japan hoping I had stayed longer, it is a country that needs to be personally experienced, no words expressed could do it justice.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani, so much of being a business owner, founder or leader is about sacrifices and we often forget to be happy, silly as it sounds we are always gunning for goals but we fail to see that we aren’t really achieving any goals if we are not happy to begin with. I was once only interested in the method, but I am slowly opening myself up to the journey.
Shameless plug for your business:
Wisesight is APAC’s elite social intelligence solutions provider, we help organisations, high profile individuals and brands gain competitive advantages by unlocking insights from consumer voices in social media. Through our data and research, our clients make better decisions, amplify their engagement, make savings on marketing & operational costs and capture new revenue streams. Over 250 brands, agencies and government bodies across the APAC region trust us to help them pivot towards being a more social consumer driven business. If you have a unique social listening objective do get in touch, more than happy to help.
How can people connect with you?
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
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 two best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.
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Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com