Wednesday Jul 18

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Speaking at UBD's E@C

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Photographs sourced from the Entrepreneurship At Campus FB page

I was recently invited to speak at the Entrepreneurship At Campus Hari Raya Open Office. I was the last of three other speakers - Sabrina Wong of Sab Five Five, David Chen of Sunland Agri-Tech Pte Ltd and Hj Azaman, Chairman of GDG Brunei. The Entrepreneurship At Campus or E@C is a collaboration between the BEDB, the iCentre, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and their Entrepreneurship Club. According to their FB page, they exist to "nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among the students in Brunei; regardless of age and level of education attainment." They invited the four of us to share around the topic of entrepreneurship from our life experiences. Of course I agreed.

I arrived. I scanned the room for familiar faces. I caught up briefly with mates. I sat down, right at the back of the hall. As much as I like having a "Reserved for Mr Keasberry" sign flopped on a seat on the front row, I also enjoy sitting at the back. When I speak, I try my best to speak to speak to the ones least interested in being there. They are often lurking riiiight at the back. Sitting at the back gives me different perspective which is usually followed by last-minute adjustments to my message and tone.

I should also say that sitting at the back is a great way to hide nervousness from the organisers and other speakers.

My turn. I walked up to the speaker's platform, set up my digital timer and started with a disclaimer. "I am a hybrid-entrepreneur." Within 10 minutes, I had touched on snippets of my journey including how BruneiTweet started, the power of social media, lessons from my journey to date, but I probably spent an extra moment explaining what I meant by hybrid-entrepreneur. In my opinion, "true" entrepreneurs are purists, fully immersed into their business without a safety net (read: assured salary) to keep them afloat. Me? I have a nine-to-five, but I also wear other hats, including managing this website. I also spoke about the importance of having an entrepreneurial spirit which is the other side of the entrepreneurial coin.

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When it came to q n' a time, there was one question which caught me off-guard. It went something like this.

Q: What do you consider as your strengths?

A: Good question. Hmm. *looks at the clock wondering why time suddenly stopped* Well, one of them is in communications. Offline and online.

I then went on for a bit about the importance of being able to communicate.

Afterwards, I hung around for a bit, got to know a few of them, took a few group-selfies, had a play with Google Glass, thanked the organisers and walked back to my car (parked precariously at a location I will not talk about). It then hit me. Q n' A remorse, specifically regarding the question about strength. Marketing folks love talking about strengths. Why? Because it is easy to mask a shallow answer with fanciful words. I did give an answer anchored to past and current experiences, but in hindsight I should have shared around one of my favorite quotes: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

Chew on that.

Shoutout the all you folks at the E@C!

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