Posts Tagged ‘Kuala Lumpur’

Yesterday, I was engaged in what I perceived to be a rather premature interview about Entrepreneurship –  in response to a comment about my ‘success’  I cited that I am far from any visible level of achievement in the big picture and ill-suited for being held as a role model, After all, unlike the myriad business blogs out there wallowing in their decadent and hedonistic lifestyles and non-stop streams of “I’m better than you” photos, I’m struggling alongside my peers in a constant battle for parity. My purpose, after all, is to depict a realistic and useful narrative for the arduous undertaking of business ownership (and in some cases the latter is synonymous with bland self-employment) – Nathaddeus Tan was the interviewer who is engaging on the mission of writing a book for success in entrepreneurship asked me a plethora of questions targeting the attitudes, motivations and inspirations of my entrepreneurial journey. I might have shocked him with some of the things I said. For instance, I’m not a ‘one hit wonder’ – this is my 5th, stumbling attempt at a business and the last one in particular had a spectacular speed bump when a vendor decided not to deliver. But one question he posed warrants a decent explanation on this blog – why did I call the blog ‘hawkerize’

A Hawker is a vendor of merchandise that can easily be transported (wikipedia) – in fact one can argue EVERY Entrepeneur is a hawker: a mobile sales engine of varying scale, but in the colloquial south-east Asian context, it is a noble profession of serving cooked food to the masses – a very common sight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to Jakarta and their sister cities. My entrepreneurial intent could be summarized in the utilitarian nature of the latter trade; its value-add its obvious: The hawker cooks food (a product universally relatable), charges a competitive price and operates on extreme efficiency. Any small business bearing ‘hawker-like’ traits benefits its host society and is consistent with my ethos that a good business model should not take more than 3 words to describe. For instance at networking parties I could sum up my flagship operation (Cheeseshaker) as “I print”. Just like “I’m a butcher” or “I’m a postman”, not “I created this app that helps to aggregate data across…” which has a far more diluted economic effect. The elegant simplicity of hawkerism is that it addresses fundamental niches in economic sphere. Speaking of which, even FOX NEWS (we’re scraping the barrel) has proclaimed patronising Hawker food as number 7 in its “10 things to do in Asia before you die“. And with a small degree of patriotism, the Hawker trade itself is an integral part of the Singaporean national identity.

So why aren’t I a hawker myself? Though my domestic food preparation skills are honed by years of lean living through surviving multiple ‘troughs of sorrow’, I don’t have the expertise to scale it up into a commercial operation. However the core principles I have outlined are paralleled in that I have:

  1. Created jobs

    Our 2013 team as of Chinese new year.

    Our 2013 team as of Chinese new year.

  2. Provide a useful and tangible product / service
Posters and stands

Posters and stands

roll-up banners

roll-up banners

Leaflets and broucheres

Leaflets and broucheres

Business cards

Business cards

  1. Do not ‘game the system’ by consuming much more than my own labour

Hence to ‘hawkerize’ is akin to evangelizing the spirit of a business embodying the positive traits of being a hawker.

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