Four Oh.

As I approached the big four-oh, I spent some time reflecting how to mark this milestone birthday. I decided, on a whim, to write down forty things that came to mind in a stream-of-consciousness exercise when I looked back on four decades of life. These are, in no particular order, personal truths as well as collected wisdom, cliches, quotes, and corny sayings that have helped shape the way I see the world, to date. I write them here for posterity; maybe for a time in the future to look back and see how or if things have changed for me. 

  1. Loved ones, always.
  2. Make time. Give the people who matter what’s right, not what’s left.
  3. Some stuff matters; not as many do; and what you thought did, sometimes doesn’t.
  4. Admitting fault and saying sorry is difficult, but necessary.
  5. You can’t go wrong doing the right thing. The trick is knowing what the right thing is.
  6. Do not abandon in the dark what you have learned in the light – C.S. Lewis.
  7. Failure isn’t final, but it sure stings – even if it’s only for a little while.
  8. Be grace-full – life’s hard, people are broken and, sometimes, we’re all just trying to make it through the day.
  9. “Always give yourself options.” – Mom
  10. Pursue excellence, but don’t be held captive by it. Sometimes, good enough needs to be good enough.
  11. You have limits. Pretending you don’t or ignoring them only limits you further.
  12. Get enough sleep.
  13. Live life in ways that help you sleep well.
  14. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 
  15. Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
  16. “We are all given the same amount of time to live – a lifetime.” – Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “Death, The High Cost Of Living.”
  17. Recognise “The Moment”; take hold of it! But this can only come from being fully present.
  18. Bad shit happens. Sometimes there’s no meaning and purpose… but it can be redeemed.
  19. Sometimes, it’s just plain, dumb luck. So, remember to check your privilege.
  20. “You form your habits, then your habits form you.” – Sarah
  21. “Schedule your priorities, not prioritise your schedule.” – Danny
  22. “Malaysia isn’t Bangsar.” – Dr. Vincent Lim
  23. More showing, less telling.
  24. You are not entitled to your opinion, but what you can argue for.
  25. Pursue wisdom.
  26. Wisdom worth pursuing: how to live life well, how to interact with others, and how to manage money.
  27. There’s a difference between Wisdom and knowledge.
  28. There is wisdom that can only come from experience, when you can finally say, “Ah, I get it now.”
  29. This, too, shall pass. Maybe like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
  30. Getting up after falling down is a feat unto itself.
  31. It’s okay to ask for help; it gets you there faster.
  32. Grit and determination are required.
  33. There’s a lot of good, valid, but contradictory advice.
  34. Life is often lived in the gray.
  35. Your principles are anchor points in the raging, ever-changing sea called Life.
  36. Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly something.
  37. Smile more, laugh a lot.
  38. The days are long, but the years are short.
  39. It’s not the number of years in your life, but the amount of life in your years.
  40. Never underestimate the power of carefully-worded nonsense.

My birthday wish, as I start this new season of life, is to be better: a better husband, father, son, Follower, and friend. Here’s to Four Oh, and beyond.

Rumah Netflix – Now Streaming in Jakarta

Our Netflix spokespersons together with Iko Wais. Source: IDN Times

I was really proud of the team for successfully carrying out our Rumah Netflix (or, Netflix House, in Bahasa Indonesia) in Jakarta yesterday! The experiential event was designed to build brand and product awareness among local media, policy stakeholders, telco and content partners, as well as social media influencers. It was a showcase of our product and service innovations told through the lens of our content offering in an emerging country like Indonesia.

We were also graced with the presence of Iko Wais, one of Indonesia’s top actors, who stars and stunt-coordinates our latest show, Wu Assassins.

Read more about our Rumah Netflix here.

Building Reputation: Trust Deficit in the World of Fake News

With fellow panelists and moderator. Photo credit: PRCA Malaysia

Recently, I was invited to be a panelist to discuss Building Reputation: Trust Deficit in the World of Fake News.

Here are the notes I prepared for myself (with some elaboration, specifically for this blog):

Point 1: The marketplace of reputation is built on the currency of trust.

Reputation provides the shorthand of trust – and becomes the lens by which we view the brand/company. 

However, communication doesn’t occur in a vacuum – this is where the of the media becomes vital. However, there is much to be discussed regarding the role of media as The Fourth Estate.  Which leads to:

Point 2: Fake news is possible because it is possible to distrust the media.

So, in that vacuum, bad actors fill the void with misinformation.

Media plays a key role and it’s why I have a keen interest in the survivability of the media industry. My concern is that with increasing overheads and budgetary pressures, some are veering very close to pay to play models.

Point 3: So what are we doing about this?

  1. Building & Safeguarding our reputation and building trust has become far more important amidst the noise and fake news.
  2. We are also exploring models of becoming our own media channels – owned channels (I.e. newsrooms).

More pics here.

Explaining My Communications Job To 14-Year-Olds

When I volunteered for The Human Library project at Day X 2019, I found myself explaining what I did as my job to teenagers again and again, with each batch of kids that “borrowed” me. It was particularly challenging trying to explain what I did in communications without leaning on familiar industry jargon and contextualizing things for students who have yet to experience the working world.

I eventually settled on this version, which I thought I’d record here.

Every company has a reputation, just like you. If I ask your friend to describe you, they’ll often talk about how you make them feel, rather than just describe your physical features.

For example, they will more often say, “Leigh is a kind person,” rather than “Leigh is male, over 170cm tall, and doesn’t wear glasses.”

What someone thinks of you and how you make them feel is part your reputation. You can choose either to build it, change it, or defend your it.

If you want to be known as a kind person, you need to be kind and, hopefully, you’ll also have friends who can vouch for your kindness. If someone criticises you as being unkind, you would hopefully want to correct them and have friends who will defend your reputation as a kind person.

Now, it is important that your friends or other people say good things about you and defend your reputation voluntarily, without payment or inducement. This means you have earned their trust well enough for them to endorse you.

Imagine if it was discovered that you paid your friends to say nice things about you or defend your reputation. They would be perceived as having less credibility – what they say about you may be less believable because they were paid to do so.

So, you have to be kind, and be known as a kind person to as many of the right people as possible. It may not be possible to get the whole world to think positively about you, but you certainly want the people that matter to you to care: your friends, your teachers, and potential employers. So, you focus on ensuring these people have a good perception of you.

Similarly, my job is to build and defend my company’s reputation (what people think about my company and how it makes them feel) by earning the trust of friends that matter to my company (like media journalists, government authorities, or respected experts), who will then endorse my company to as many people as possible.

Let me know what you think?

Volunteering at Day X 2019

As I write this, I just got back from a full day volunteering at Day X, as a member of The Human Library.

Organized by The Astronauts’ Collective, the Lifelong Learning Institute of Singapore, and SkillsFuture Singapore, “Day X,” or a day of exploration, is envisioned to be a fun and accessible opportunity for youths to explore the world of work. The idea of a “day” is to encourage youths (and other related stakeholders) to “take a day” off from everyday preoccupations, to explore and better understand what they may find interesting, or even meaningful, to undertake as a possible career.

As part of Day X, the Human Library session provides a cosy and unintimidating setting for participants to choose to “read” from a wide collection of more than 50 human books at any one sitting. Each human book is a volunteer professional from a particular field, whom the participants could interact with to find out more about that particular profession.

I really enjoyed speaking to the group of mostly secondary and Junior College students about my job. It was particularly interesting trying to explain my job while avoiding the usual industry jargon and contextualizing things for students who have yet to experience the working world. An excellent exercise, IMHO.

I especially appreciated the thoughtful questions about my job, although it was fascinating to see the mix of curiosity and trepidation. More than a few students felt they needed a “fixed” answer to navigate their careers. It was as if they were looking for that guaranteed path; three steps to getting the right courses, to get the right education, and end up with the right job. There were such specific questions, for example: “Which specific courses should I take to get a job like yours?” or “Should I go through Junior College or Polytechnic if I want this job?”

I also gained a newfound appreciation for teachers and lecturers; it’s quite the challenge saying the same thing over and over again, while maintaining enthusiasm and making sure you’re getting through to the students! Teens can be quite challenging to reach.

My favourite anecdote of the day came from when I shared what it meant to build and defend a company’s reputation using various communications channels, to which this one student remarked,

“So, it’s like propaganda?”

Yes, dearie – exactly like that. 

Many thanks to my friend, Grace Yeoh, for inviting me to this.