Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#41: Christina Teo Director of PortXL

April 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 41
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#41: Christina Teo Director of PortXL
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#41: Christina Teo Director of PortXL
Apr 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 41
Radu Palamariu
Ms. Teo has held senior roles in Acer, IBM, 3Com and CSL Hong Kong.
Show Notes Transcript

Ms. Teo has held senior roles in Acer, IBM, 3Com and CSL Hong Kong. She was Yahoo! Singapore’s first general manager in 1999 and launched the world’s first Windows-based smartphone O2 built by HTC in 2002. She has actively taken part in the global start-up scene since 2016, launching other initiatives such as Asia Corporate Women and Startup Asia Women. She is also the Director of PortXL, world's first maritime startup accelerator. As an accelerator, we are empowering startups and in the maritime space, the best chance at success for startups is to engage maritime conglomerates to proof their "product".

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host, Roy to Palomar you and it is my pleasure to have with us today, Christina too. Christina has held senior roles in Acer, IBM three calm NCSL Hong Kong and she was also Yahoo Singapore's course, the general manager in 1999 and launched the world's first windows based smartphone Oh to build by HTC in 2002 she has actively taking part in the global startup scenes since 2016 launching other initiatives such as Asia corporate women and start up Asia women organizations. And she is today here with us to share more in her capacity as the director of Fourth Excel, which is the world's first maritimes startup accelerator. They are empowering startups in the maritime space to have the best chance of success and to engage the maritime conglomerates to prove that the product is right
Speaker 2:
0:52
and after that to scale. So a Christina, thank you for your time and thank you for joining us today.
Speaker 3:
0:57
Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. Very happy to be here.
Speaker 2:
1:00
My pleasure. So I'd love to start with a little bit about yourself and specifically I love you to share with our audience. How did you, so you ended up, you were before a big chunk of your career in technology and then for the last couple of years you ended up in all sorts of startups and now kind of port related maritime startups. How did that happen? Tell us a little bit about your history.
Speaker 3:
1:23
I was in fact very well retired, happily retired, and then I decided to move from Hong Kong where I do most of my career, taking a lot of regional roles. But I was based in Hong Kong, so it was only like late 2016 I decided to return to Singapore. And when I returned, it was really with no particular purpose other than taking care of my elderly mother. And so it was not really looking for anything. And at that time I still didn't know what was a startup. And so, uh, just incidentally because of so much focus of our Singapore government on startup, and I by chance stumbled into slush, which is really the world's largest startup community. And that was when it all came together for me and I go like, wow. So this is where I could infect, still leverage all my corporate experience and kind of have a, I call it my third lease of life where I could probably actively help people.
Speaker 3:
2:26
Right. But still I was exploring and so I decided to build some startup communities and I decided to support women since there was an obvious gap in the market. But naturally a lot of the things that I do, I'll open to both men and women. Yeah. But, uh, eventually there was a very interesting Dutch community. There's called get in the ring and they introduced me to Port Xcel. Uh, initially it was really more like, can you help us to find somebody to launch our celebration program in Singapore? Because we see that you're very, very active in the startup community. So within a very short time, I've built a pretty strong traction in the startup ecosystem in Singapore. Um, but just within the same conversation, they go like, why do we need to look any further? You are the one. And that was how my journey with product all started.
Speaker 3:
3:23
I like it because it was focused on corporates. It was focused on corporate innovation. And let's be honest, in the maritime industry, you're kind of be doing like startups in a small scale. You need the backup of all these large conglomerates. You're kind of really test ideas with SME, small little freight forwarders are smaller. Those supply chain, uh, suppliers. So are you really need to work with the big guys because they are the ones who's really controlling this whole complex infrastructure. And that really intrigued me. I believe that all my years in the corporate world, the kind of strategic thinking that we have is going to bring a lot of value to this digital transformation. And so even though I didn't have an idea of what her salary is, uh, as much as I was very involved with the startup ecosystem, the role of a salary to, we're still new to me. So again, I kind of wanted to jump into this and say now instead of talking about it, instead of telling the startups, oh, you should go to an a salary later, why not be one like and really get involved and see how it works. So that's how I started my journey report excel since December, 2017. Yes.
Speaker 2:
4:42
Fascinating. And then, I mean you definitely strike me as a doer so this for sure, but uh, also what's, what's fascinating is the fact that you know, you, you have been a corporate career driven person for most of your life and then now you moved into the startups. But you know, startups in maritime or shipping or in logistics is a very different type of beast. And I like how you edit that and I might build upon that even if it wasn't necessarily my intention because it is asset heavy type of, of, um, of an industry and for a startup is not like, you know, you start another technology company like Google or Amazon in the, in your, in your backyard and then you're just scale up and then no, it's not so much, I mean, not that everybody has access to a port for example. Right. Um, so I'd love you to also go a little bit more in details and tell us a bog port excel. How is it structured as well? How do you accelerate startups who, some of the partners and the major ports behind the, you know, just so that our audience knows a little bit more about it.
Speaker 3:
5:40
So, um, naturally Singapore is in fact our third location. We, uh, we're headquartered in Rotterdam and we have another satellite in Antwerp, which is very, very active. And then we edit Singapore. And technically, although I joined in December two 17, uh, the Singapore operation and the team was really only built since August, 2018 so within a very short time, again, you know, uh, we are going to have our shakedown or demo day, April, 2019 right now. I mean, as we speak, we're in the middle of preparing for that. So all this happened quite quickly. What I really love about the formula of what XL is the focus on B two B startups, right? So we are not about a, although we're very much into logistics, but we're not about the last mile delivery, uh, and the startups that we attract and not B, two c startups. So for BTC is pretty easy, right?
Speaker 3:
6:38
If you're very good in digital marketing, if you understand consumer marketing, you could actually build something overnight. But when it says B Two B partnerships, strategic collaborations, um, pilot testing, these are all phrases that are, you know, and key points and key milestones that these startups need to go through. And what other things, why are startups give us very, very high ratings is because as a startup, when nobody knows you and you start knocking on doors and maritime companies really, they don't even, they don't even start opening your email in the first place. So when you come through the gates of Excel, at least, you know, you get the attention of these maritime companies wait away, even before you get selected. When we are doing our validation, we involve our corporate partners right from the beginning. So these startups, they, she get instant feedback from our corporate partners who are our corporate partners.
Speaker 3:
7:43
We focus on four sectors, right? So we're focused on ports for sure. Uh, we also focus on logistics, shipping companies, energy companies, chemicals, refineries. So it's a pretty broad scope of what we call Mary time and ports, right? And so, uh, every cycle of our program, we start with scouting of startups for sure. Uh, and again, the have to meet certain very stringent criteria. One of them, definitely B to B, and they really do need to have a product in place is not just an idea that you just suddenly wake up with and or something that you cook up in school. So that's not the kind of startups that we admit into our process. So scouting takes already easy three months simply because it's not that easy to find the thought of startups that meet our criteria. Um, and we even involve our copper partners and I was passes as well.
Speaker 3:
8:44
And then during the validation calls, that ticks a place say between two to four weeks, right? Our corporate partners sit in the calls with us, uh, have Skype calls because startups from all over the world can choose any of our three locations. They can choose Antwerp, they can choose what to them, they can choose Singapore. And through these validation calls, the 30 minutes each, we give them instant feedback. We even maybe already advise them, you know, potentially you could even pivots, uh, during the calls and after that, again, product sale is not the one to decide. We start up, we'll get into our program is actually all these corporate partners. So we're talking about companies like shell valpack. Yeah. In an oil and gas, uh, we're talking about large shipping companies like Merce right. Um, or put up enough I, and then we're talking about, um, energy companies we talking about even BP, uh, was also in our corporate program.
Speaker 3:
9:46
Um, we have boss galleys. Yeah. So doesn't matter which nationality, uh, which sector they all come in and they help us to qualify. We have local companies like IMC, like YC h as well. Yeah. So I think the startups find this really valuable. Then on selection days is a very, very exclusive event, right. Where we have veterans that are more than 15 years in the industry. We have an excellent track record and they come and they become our jewelry. Right. And there's a lot of kind of a speed dating sort of a methodology that we use. So all the startups that finally gets elected. Typically in Rotterdam, we do more say like 15 to 25 in Singapore we do like 10 to 15. Yeah. Nexia, of course, we'll get it bigger. Yeah. And so these final selected startups, they will fly into Singapore or if they choose what to them, they're flying to Rotterdam. And then we have in Rotterdam with easily including our mentors 150 in the jury. So every startup will get very interesting feedback from easily say 20 companies, you know, more than 60 professionals at one goal. Right. In Singapore they would get maybe 20 to 30 professionals. Real physical touch points. Yeah. And again, so a lot of startups say that this has been very, very valuable to them.
Speaker 2:
11:17
Absolutely. Because it's a very intensive, intensive bootcamp, which you could say that the date then you or you just validate, but at least you can pivot, right. In terms of your idea and you get really fast inflammation from the market and from people that know there were, you know, knowing that how things worked for a long time in the industry. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
11:36
And then of course that's not the end because eventually the whole idea is we climax with, you know, three months of salvation. So in Singapore this time we're down to like seven to eight that we gift them very focused attention. And then in Rotterdam, I think this year, in fact we have a program called scale up. So we do not just three months of salvation for startup, but even scale up. So scale up for us is companies were really generating revenue or more than $750,000. Okay. So those are scale ups. We've already actual revenue customers, you know, big projects and so forth. Uh, so I think, you know, that's been the kind of journey that we put startups through. It's a lot of uh, customize attention because we really bring them to corporates and during their corporate engagement we have a massive road shows and so forth. So that's typically a one year cycle for us.
Speaker 2:
12:35
Yes, I'd love to, I mean, and not necessarily specifying names, but maybe tell us a little bit because you've been, I think you were, I was reading on the website, you've know, in the scouting process, back to your point, it's, it's massive. I think you will, you know, we would like thousands of startups literally, that you have to go through and you've had already a lot of success story, right? You had 30, 40 that have already kind of been your alumni's and uh, you, you have 80 plus. I think that that, that are in the process. Maybe share with our audience some examples of some interesting stories that have emerged, the startups that have scaled up or you know, some of your more memorable. I mean everybody is memorable because there's a lot of investment in time and effort that you import the excel puts in it. But you know, some, some examples.
Speaker 3:
13:16
Yeah. So, uh, I was quite lucky because when I first joined in December, 2017, uh, I was able to go to Rotterdam right to, to actually attend most of the processes. Uh, that was the third cohort of Rotterdam. So I did not really have visibility of the first and second cohort, but we have heard very interesting story. So one story would be a magnetic, so they are from a previous cohort that I didn't have personal touch with, but they are great example for us because there were celebrated by product sale in Rotterdam, but they had managed to sign a contract with volt pack, right? So initially it was a pilot, but then now they're actually physically implementing in Singapore as well for Volpex. So this shows you the different stakeholders, right? That is involved in any of the startup operations. So first they have a pilot maybe in Rotterdam and eventually we now are having pilots in Singapore as well.
Speaker 3:
14:18
And if a Singapore startup wants to go to Rotterdam, we could facilitate that. But let's talk about this particular startup I've met Natty, they start at the Rotterdam, right? So true. Our corporate customer or pack and in fact they also are working with Shell as well. Right? And so initially the idea was not exactly immediately obvious to our corporate partners, but it was true. All this facilitated arrangements, uh, that product sell did that suddenly our corporate partners see, okay, this was not really one of our problem statements, but you know what, this is infecting an amazing solution that's going to help us to save a lot of money. Yeah. So what does magnetic do? I, it's a certain kind of madness that helps to reduce the density of the scaffolding and therefore the cost of erecting scaffoldings right? For Oil and gas inspection, storage tanks, the inspection.
Speaker 3:
15:18
Um, so this was not something that people would think about disrupting for innovation. All you, you probably say, what does madness got to do with innovation? Right? But in this particular case, because of this madness, they realized that this was something that they're scaffolding suppliers could actually work with. And there lies the issue with many innovation examples sometimes is not about even the carpet's not recognizing that innovation possibility is because they need to go through some other third party suppliers to implement a solution. And so this solution in fact took more than a year to commercialize because the scaffolding partners that Baalbek and shell use would not really immediately enthusiastic about the solution because lesser scaffolding means lesser revenue for those suppliers. So eventually our corporate partners have to step in and really spec it into their specs. And that's Carl. Then things took a a ramp up for our startups.
Speaker 3:
16:29
But that's a long journey, right? And that's the typical pattern for any B2B startups. It is a long selling cycle, is a long negotiation cycle, is a long development customizations that cycle. But once the deal is sealed and seen and done, once it's proven, then going to another country is going to be a lot easier. And that's what happened to my netic way. That's why I brought back and Sharla taking them to different countries. And so we're very, very happy that we were part of that equation. And that's when, you know, sometimes people overestimate what innovation means, right? If we can do the same old thing simpler, easier, um, less manpower required, uh, and we can save costs, that in itself is innovation.
Speaker 2:
17:23
No, I'll just, I'll just make a quick note because they don't know how many people know about Holbeck, but it's basically the, and I've had the pleasure to work with them in the past and I know that the CEO of Asia, that point Patrick, one word, it was now the global head of operations. So he was saying that we are one of the largest companies that nobody heard of and they're actually the largest storage or one of them. I think they're the largest storage company for oil and gas and um, um, uh, product. So it's, it's a very large company and obviously it's also, they are dealing with extremely inflammable um, uh, liquids, right. So then that, it has to be very cautious if they have to be very cautious in terms of implementing and, and it's sort of new new innovations and creative solutions, right.
Speaker 2:
18:03
Shell the same. Obviously there's been some, some major trouble in the oil and gas industry. So it's, I'm very happy that you mentioned that because that part with B two B and with getting in and a lot of the times it's, it's, it's this big players making a condition for their existing suppliers to implement innovation, right? There's not directly the startup's going to the, to the big corporates is going to the supplier to the big corporate. So there's a supplier to the supplier to the B Corp is right, but because of the big corporates are driving the whole chain, they're driving the whole process. They can impose it and conditions, uh, with people like yourself or with other people that are mitigating and coordinating those conversations to help,
Speaker 3:
18:43
um, industry move forward. This is just one example, right? Because in this case, the stakeholder was a third party contractor, but very often in the actual B, two B kind of projects, you may also get into this issue of involving a lot of stakeholders within the corporate partner company, right? So imagine how many divisions they are in Shell, right? So, so that kind of patients is also required getting buy in from one division after another and sometimes you don't even know where to start and how to continue. Right. So it is nice that some of all corporate partners have an innovation team, so they are a great influencer but not all corporate partners have the kind of innovation team. Uh, so that's another very critical point of success that we found out. And I do want to continue to speak a little bit more about Volpaia Act and then maybe also share it and like a very good example of a Singapore partner.
Speaker 3:
19:43
All right. Or a Singapore headquarter partner, IMC. Right. Who was also one of our corporate partners in Singapore. Why do I want to do that is because one thing is full pack has illustrated an amazing spirit. When I first joined products sell, in fact, they were the first one to say we're in and we're so glad that you're in Singapore. So in effect they taught me about poetics, excel, right? They explained to me that the reason why they wanted to partner with product sell, not just in Rotterdam but also in Singapore, is because when they partner with us, we, we cover a wide range of segments. We did merry time. So then we actually cut away the silo effect. Some corporate partners, they want to do their own innovation program, but then what happens is you only attract that vertical silo, right? And innovation is supposed to break boundaries, right?
Speaker 3:
20:40
So sometimes when a startup may start with a particular segment as the focus, but in fact dare technology can transcend over different segments. So if the corporate partner is visionary enough and has the right innovation champion to help them, right? The whole idea about startup is they don't know everything about the maritime industry. It's not possible that they know that. So they do need this guidance from the cupboard. So if a copper partners very open minded and has the right people behind to really want to make a difference, they can also add a lot of value to the startups. And I think that's what valpack has shown us. You know, that enthusiasts ism that spirit of wanting to find all these nuggets, there's interesting startups and help them to kind of shape their solution. Right? Obviously there's a lot of customization required, but, but that's the kind of knowledge that a startup would need from a corporate partner.
Speaker 3:
21:44
So then I come to a local example like AMC as well. I mean, you know, they may not have the kind of access to innovation that valpack has, uh, because in Europe definitely they are a little bit ahead of Asia. Yeah. But what we liked was there was a top down belief, right? So the actually brought us into meat or the regional chief team and really get them to say, hey, you need to embrace startups. So we were actually into a, we were, our startups were brought in into the regional planning, um, kickoff session this year, right. So that they could actually have breakouts and really discuss about what can we offer, what are your problems that you're solving? And kind of ticked a solution and it a bit broader. I mean this is, this is very strategic thinking and various open minded, uh, approach to innovation and disc. The kind of opportunities we really jumped in.
Speaker 2:
22:47
And if I can, if I can chip in my 2 cents on, on, on it from where I sit as a consultant to the industry in some ways from an HR as well as from a management consulting perspective, it's, it's, uh, in, in a lot of ways, you know, the maritime or the transportation industry, let's call it in general, and I don't want to overgeneralize but it's, it's been set in a, in a certain way for a long time. So changes have been harder to make, for example, if we are to take technology or other industries, which is much faster moving. And also because it's an asset heavy. Um, and the, in reality, what I have observed, and I don't think a, I mean there's been a lot of reports written on this is very difficult actually to make new or to come up with new ideas from within the system.
Speaker 2:
23:30
So actually it's very smart to invest in startups, to invest in, in companies, in people that are outside of your ecosystem. And that can look with fresh eyes, with fresh views, build upon the expertise that you've got with the mentors and the people that you can't be from the reality, right? But also you cannot innovate. It's not as easy to innovate from within. So it's much better actually to invest in those startups in it tends to work much better than to try to do the same within your ecosystem because it's, um, it's more or less, less likely. Um, and I love also maybe tell us a little bit about your mentors because I know that you have a lot of mentors in the different, um, uh, different, the three locations you have. You have a very impressive list from the, you know, from even from the government side to the port side to the corporate side to this. So how do you select them? How do you engage them?
Speaker 3:
24:18
Right. I think we have a broader, um, diversity in Rotterdam just because really there was a greater pool. They're from all sectors in Singapore. Uh, interestingly because Singapore is the Asia Pacific hub, so it's not always easy to get people to sign up for mentorship. Okay. Because the traveling most of the time. Yeah. But having said that, I think we are pretty a on it to have very, very supportive of mentors. What is the role of a mentor? Right. Um, first of all, they really helped us thoughts ups to clear the thinking because sometimes a startup may come in as a vertical segment or sometimes they could come in as a horizontal technology, right? And so we always encourage them to focus, and this is where mentors can add value to say, hey, we think that the market potential based on what you're providing could be better suited to which portion of the market.
Speaker 3:
25:26
So that's definitely a very valuable insight that they can offer to the startups. The other thing is, of course, you know, Parexel is about business opportunities, right? We're not trying to help an entrepreneur to pitch better for the sake of pitching better. We are also not overly focused on fundraising. That's not the purpose of [inaudible]. So what we want is to help the startups to get pilot projects to get real business opportunities. And that's where mentors helped to open doors. Yeah. So we cannot claim to know everybody in the ecosystem. So that's when we do call it the mentors and say, Hey, do you know somebody who may be interested in a solution like this? Or when they mentor the startup, the building a relationship with the startup. And very often of course, during the three months of our salvation, some of the startups will pivot.
Speaker 3:
26:20
They kind of have to pivot, right? Especially if they're targeting maybe this market, if they are targeting Europe, maybe the requirement is different. So again, mentors play a big role in that as well. Yeah. So you know where mentors like from, from BP for example, uh, they, they really like our startups and they were like, okay, what am I going to do with this particular startups? There's dealing with fishing boats. It's like what does the fishing boats got to do with BP? Right. So interestingly, what they found out was actually a lot of fishing boats are at risk because they're near the facility and there is no way to track these fishing boats. So if there is any kind of calamity or disaster, uh, you know, the bright lives are at risk. So then they put two and two together because they went to talk to the security team and security team say, oh my God, this is such a cost effective way, like such a low cost method for us now to be able to know what fishing boats are near our facility. So it's in fact great CSR, uh, purpose to for them to fulfill, therefore, let's put this into a pilot. So you see, when people really believe in innovation, they will find ways to get this, uh, bought in, in the company even when is not immediately obvious. And this was really the result of a mentor having, you know, because they really want to help these startups succeed. So they found ways to do it. Yeah.
Speaker 2:
28:03
And it's also the result of getting the right people connected to the right people. Right. So, I mean it's, um, yeah, it's, uh, and that's, that's the purpose of accelerators in general and it's this, it's that ecosystem creating that ecosystem where people talk and most of the good ideas come out of that kind of, um, you know, some people have it in the shower, but most people have realized talking to other people. Right. So, um, and, and I wanted to, I wanted to ask you also, I mean, you know, when you look at all these startups also share maybe, and specifically let's talk about specifically the maritime ecosystem of startups and what do you see as their main challenges? So you are helping them through the journey. You are helping them clarify, are there certain patterns, right? If somebody is listening to this and thinking, you know, I might want to start up something or as they're set and bigger, I dunno, uh, challenges or follows that they should look into, there's certain patterns that you've seen, what are some of them sharing?
Speaker 3:
28:57
I think in the maritime space is definitely not as obvious because you know, you're not dealing with daily life kind of challenges. So a lot of our founders do have maritime background by, we have a captain, you know, who is in one of our startups, 28 years experience. So he actually understands the problems. And that's another reason why our corporate partners love to work with pot excel because they know that we attract serious startups with real maritime experience. Uh, you know, and for the startups if they join an a salary is industry agnostic. They're not, do often find that their messages and their stories are lost because not many people.
Speaker 2:
29:48
But,
Speaker 3:
29:50
um, so I think, you know, we have a very special place and so we're not for the lighthearted, let's put it this way. Um, 90%, 95% of our startups are founded by people who have been in the industry. It could be logistics where you could be, have worked in a freight forwarder, uh, but you could also be, you know, really at sea that you have been living your life like for decades and see, um, so that makes it meaningful. So we're really solving real problems, problems that people have gone through and really not. Yeah, a complex of course. Uh, so I think in our case is not just anyone who has a great idea. Uh, having said that and exactly because of this, that they need our help, uh, to open those doors to big conglomerates because, um, Mary time companies tend to be pretty complex to navigate. Uh, even they themselves do not know everybody within the company. Right. So for us to find the right division and the right person to help them, that's the role we play. Um, so I would say this is an industry that has immense potential. I mean, if you even just digitalize as very small section of a process, it will go very far. So I think the reward is big, but the effort is also very big. So it's not for the lighthearted.
Speaker 2:
31:30
Mm. Hmm. Yes. I mean, for the audience, we've just witnessed a few pictures before we went live. And, uh, um, when you look at the, the, the result in the return on investment is mind boggling, right? In terms of, you know, you can save millions of dollars, millions of dollars on the first on the first test is just that to implement that test and to get the buy in from the management because there's people lives at risk is not as straightforward as I don't know, to, to do a new solution on a, on a supermarket rec. Right. I'm just giving an example of that. Supermarkets are less important, but it's not people's lives at risk. So, um, uh, it's an important distinction to make and obviously it takes a lot longer to implement these things. And um, but again, I mean as, as industry specialists ourselves and I, I've seen, I see this across the different aspects of supply chain.
Speaker 2:
32:19
So whether it is shipping or whether it's logistics or, or aviation for that method. When I say aviation is the cargo side, not necessarily the passenger side, also the passenger side, um, whether it's um, uh, transportation in general. It's, it's, it's an industry and it's a, it's a field that needs change, that digital solutions and digital transformation is coming it. Yes. It's traditionally not been exposed so much or is it still the holding back in a lot of, you know, you look at trade, you look at customs, you know, cause I mean also from a government perspective is very people based, right? If you love leading, I mean some of these things are very archaic in nature by design almost. But also therein lies the opportunity because you can make a much bigger impact in there then I dunno in um, again, I don't want to use maybe comparison, it's much more impactful. It may take longer, but it's, it's also more rewarding if you operate them
Speaker 3:
33:10
thing is happening, right? I'm the key word is transparency. Um, maybe before there was a lot of resistance, there's transparency because there was a media solution, right? But I think today you do have solutions so, so then it, you know, it gives that resistance a lot. You know, you don't have a good excuse. Now not to be transparent. Obviously in terms of business relations, there's still a lot to go, right? But I do believe that we're moving towards more transparency and this is going to be more and more, uh, empowering. It's going to be, you know, something that, no, it's not, it's not a problem of technology anymore. It's not that we don't have the technology is if companies are willing to kind of take a new look at how they can work with data, right. How they can use data to properly manage the operations and best of all to reduce costs. They all are under pressure to reduce costs. So I think it's gone are the days, the good old days of, of shipping where everybody was making a lot of money, high profit and therefore, you know, we don't need to look at all this problems, but today they need to buy a, the industry is changing. And so, um, I'm glad that we are right here, right at the right time. But oldest is actually possible.
Speaker 2:
34:32
Yeah, I would, I would say it's inevitable. Um, is, is, is basically the is happening is gonna continue to happen. It's just a matter of time. And some people with a resistant more than others and whoever with resisted eventually we'll have to give in. But uh, I'd love also to, to shift a little bit the conversation and, and, and, and talk about the human side of things in us and in a sense of also skill sets, mindsets. Um, let's take startups for example. Right? So what do you see that for a successful startup for something to succeed, do you see that the team should have a technical side, the sales side, I mean, you know, the usual concept initially they should be a sales guy. You there should be a technical guy, they should be guy or girl. I mean there should be a technical person, but do you see certain patterns? Like are there certain skills that should be present in a startup to make sure your complete rather than, you know, lost in one the
Speaker 3:
35:22
no, don't. When you are running a B, two c startup, probably marketing is one of your most important asset. But when you are doing a B, two B startup, you need strong business development expertise. And I would say across all just thoughts that we have or any, any typical B, two B startups, business development is their weakest. Yeah. What does that mean? Because when you're working with large corporates and you're trying to, uh, whether you're piloting or commercializing and large project, uh, this is the, takes a very different terminology, right? The ability to size the potential problem, the value of that problem to build a business case for the company, to be willing to work with a small company, a startup company that may not have a very strong track record because copper's tend to want to be safe, right? You know, the good old days of you, if you don't use IBM, you know, you may be a risk of being fired.
Speaker 3:
36:25
Actually similar. That mentality still remains, right? So why would I work with a startup if that may risk mean losing my job? And that's still what we face now. And then it's not just that one person who's going to make that decision. There's so many people, right? Cause you can't build a case if you don't understand the problems from each of this. So called supply chain. There's whole value chain of people that they involved. So therefore a very good business development person, and I hate to say Asia is not known for that, right? You can find maybe large, large corporate strategic selling people a lot in in the states, in Europe, in Asia, we're not known to have this kind of skill sets. Not many of us have. So how do you pitch latch projects and edgy cocreate that's the other thing, right? Not every problem is dead obvious to a corporate and not every solution is immediately obvious to them.
Speaker 3:
37:31
Also because innovation is not something that they are also trained to to think or work with at a cockpit. So we kind of imagined the role that the business development needs to take on to work with that and that tangible amount of savings need to be articulated before a corporate will say, okay, I'm going to give you a contract and it's not a onetime client track is an annual contract. Most of merry time startup contracts are not for one off. Typically you do sign at least a year if not three years. And a lot of these innovation work requires maintenance. So you do need ongoing maintenance as well. So you can imagine as much as we're saving millions of dollars on every one smaller to solution, but when we implement the project, it impacts a lot of divisions, a lot of processes. Yeah. So therefore no cop was just going to sign off, um, a onetime deal. Yeah. So I see that as in fact the biggest critical success factor. Like it's not even about funding. In fact, that's the other interesting thing about B two B startups. I think that if you are able to have the strong business development expertise, get a good project, you almost can sell fun even from your very first project. Yes. And one customer that can keep you very busy. Yes.
Speaker 2:
39:09
Excellent. Yeah. Very fascinating. Really. Thank you for that input. It's, it's it, I hadn't thought about it from the angle. Um, and if you were to look also at the, um, at the skills needed in the next five years, right. So let's, let's talk killing and startups. Um, obviously they are more entrepreneurial, more visionary, more, and I'm pretty sure that this digital skills aren't going to be more and more prevalent. But also let's take for a moment the corporate world, right? In the people that you're interacting on the corporate or tend to be the, um, uh, innovation arms and all of that. But do you see as a, do you see certain patterns like this, this big companies, they will be needing certain types of skillsets more and more to also implement or maybe change themselves as a company? Or do you see certain patterns?
Speaker 3:
39:49
I think mindset mindset is very important. Um, well maybe it's related mindset and skill sets, right? Because yeah, definitely nothing wrong with someone having worked in the same job for many, many years, which is what you will see in the maritime industry. Typically somebody who's maybe in the same department for many years. Yeah. Uh, he may have rose up the ranks, but he's doing the same kind of functional work, right? Uh, but they may not understand how to treat data. They may not know how to change the way they collect data and analyze data and use data. Therefore, it's very, very important in the whole process of digital transformation for people who have been doing a lot of what manually to equip them with a better understanding of how, uh, not just about, you know, having machinery, computers, technology to automate Dade themselves need to have a data appreciation.
Speaker 3:
41:04
If they don't know how that data would end up and become a good attitude, intelligence or machine learning platform, yeah. Then you know, they were still be working in the same way and resist any change in the process. So that's, I think the number one education that all become buried. I'm conglomerates need to focus on back to school. Actually, I, uh, allow people time off to go and understand data precision. So you don't need to know how to code, but you do need to know how the data will eventually be used. And in a whole myriad of complexity of how it all interacts with other data that maybe is not, you know, you're not the owner of the data, but you need to know how the data that you collect is going to interact with the data that's collected from another division.
Speaker 2:
42:04
Hmm.
Speaker 3:
42:05
To source. Um, I don't think a lot of people think about that. They don't think about the fact that even though you can digitalize everything, but the people are the ones who are still thinking by n the people are still the one that's required to implement all these processes.
Speaker 2:
42:25
I mean, it's interesting that you mentioned that because I'm in and you attend a lot of conferences. I go to a lot of conferences and it's the common denominator are usually is technology, right? Technology, this technology, that Ai, whatever, digital transformation, blockchain and machine learning, all these buzzwords. Automation. Right. Um, but fundamentally, and, and really back to the principle principle of it is you can have whatever technology you like, but if the change management piece, which is always related to the mindset of the people implementing those technologies is not right. And they don't understand why they're doing it all for the more, in many cases they are afraid that that technology will take that job or they will be fired or they will be automated. It's unlikely that they will make it work. Right. And they will figure out a way to sabotage the whole thing so you can have the best of systems. It was a, there was anything called that a motivated team of people with excel, we'll beat demotivated team of people with the most advanced AI to yup. It's true. And it's very little. It's, it's, it's in some ways interesting, but in other ways it has to change as very little that a boy, not enough important, not little, but not enough important as that companies put into this human element to the technology change, to the digital transformation change. And it's just interesting that you mentioned.
Speaker 3:
43:42
Yeah. And I, I probably want to add to, to this mindset thing about, you know, I have a favorite Hashtag, which is test and learn. All right? And, uh, I've been in corporate for more than two decades and you know, working for big companies like IBM digital three column, I definitely know how complicated coppers are. The metric systems, the Soltra. So, you know, when you're working for big companies like that, it is inevitable for you to feel that you are such a small cog in the wheel, right? That you, you, you, you are not going to be able to make any changes. So it is so important in every corporate culture now to have, to really empower the employees with this test and learn attitude. So in the last two years, I have learned how to, to scale, how to start something with this attitude.
Speaker 3:
44:31
When you know how to do that, a lot of things can happen, which also means you need to have the agility, right? Uh, the persistence to be able to kind of reiterate, be willing to reiterate. Uh, but you can still plan your reiteration, right? Some people think, oh my God, then I'm putting the whole company into chaos. No, Tessa and learn doesn't mean that you don't know exactly what you're doing or where you're going. Right. It just means that you are taking measured steps in knowing exactly what you're testing and what you're prepared to learn from it and what you're going to do with your learning. It doesn't stop there. And that's what I've found very, very powerful. If companies, uh, adopt this startup lean startup attitude of test and learn, that's something I, I'm hoping that these companies will also bring on board so that the people can scale up. Yes.
Speaker 2:
45:28
It's my hope as well. And it's interesting because when, as the on the handle headhunting side and on the executive search side of our business, but people typically when they come to us with the transformation project and I said, okay, we want to you to find this, the CEO or the president or whatever, they always almost always saying, okay, we want somebody that is on transformation, entrepreneurial, Duh. But then when it actually comes to the selection process, you figure out that they want and it pulls for Apple. Yeah. Then like guys, you know you talk a big game but you know you're not exactly walking the talk but it's, it's slowly changing.
Speaker 1:
46:04
Thank you for listening to a podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on [inaudible] dot com slash podcast for all the show notes, links and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our mailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a three in class from like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing it get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for all latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast and if you have any suggestions or any other idea, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all, and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we will be having a few other c level and top leaders in supply chain joining us. Stay tuned.
Speaker 4:
46:52
Okay.