What was your earliest ambition?
From the age of seven I wanted to be a super accomplished drummer and percussionist.
What’s been the steepest learning curve of your career so far?
It was my first few weeks of working in Asia when I realised I needed to unlearn everything I had learnt at business school very quickly. Practice was totally different to theory and the reality of operating in an Asian context was so far from what a textbook or a lecture could possibly convey.
What have been the most striking changes in China’s ventures market over the past two decades?
It’s a deeper and more mature market. Twenty years ago there were a few early masters and a handful of apprentices eager to learn. Today, there are hundreds of masters, expert entrepreneurs, sophisticated businesses, break-through business models, and an amalgam of global and local flavours, investment disciplines and governance. It’s 21st century but fit for purpose for China and while the industry borrows global best practice it is distinctly Chinese.
What technology theme inspires you today?
Ubiquitous connectivity and the information derived from high through-put communications and transactions – we click to buy, click to talk, click to message, click to invest, click to deliver, and that creates a profound pool of information and data analytics which in turn become a source of decision-making and efficient business judgements.
If you could give a piece of your advice to your 20-year old self, what would it be?
Listen and learn – life is a long journey of being a student and you should continue to seek mentors, irrespective of age. Today, I also remind myself that despite the overarching presence of instantaneous communication devices, both socially and at work, we must never lose sight of the human factor. It makes all the difference.