What does Ben&Jerry’s have to do with High Tech Entrepreneurship?

Just last week, I attended a talk organised by the SMU-IIE and they had Wong Toon King share about his personal journey as a high-tech entrepreneur. Back in the day, Wong TK founded SilkRoute Ventures which he even brought it up to Silicon Valley. 

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He shared enthusiastically and was a very engaging speak. I would even recommend him to speak at a TEDxSingapore event if he hasn’t.

Some key points which connect with me during his sharing;
  • Start young
  • Learning on the go
  • Friendships
  • Good to be naive
  • Technology business is very treacherous
  • Know when to exit
  • Risk set is higher but lucrative
  • Believe that you are making a change and impact to the world.

TK also shared his thoughts on being an entrepreneur.

Roll up your sleeves and get hands dirty. Keep capital requirements low. 
Have enough fuel. Handcuffs for life – condo, cars. Sacrifice the short term things. Reduction of risk appetite. Lean and little obligations. Stay slim until he business model. Validate with other visionary companies. Proof the first customers. 

He is now driven by the words of Ghandi, “Happiness is when what you think and say and do are in harmony”. And that is truly a happy thought.

Oh here is his bio…
Wong Toon King (T.K.), 44, is Chairman of the Z Group – a privately held technology, sports and lifestyle investment group. He is also the happy owner of The Happy People Co, the Singapore franchisee of Ben & Jerry’s since 2005- the world famous funky ice-cream brand from Vermont, USA. 

A serial entrepreneur, T.K. founded SilkRoute Ventures, Singapore’s first award winning internet company in 1994, which he subsequently sold in-part to Hong Kong listed telecom, media and property giant PCCW. T.K. also co-founded an online media company that was subsequently listed on NASDAQ as Asia Content Ltd. In 2001, he was awarded the nation’s highest youth award for Entrepreneurship for his pioneering efforts in the IT industry, and his contributions in sports and the community.

An avid fencer and national sportsman, T.K. represented Singapore in the 1991 and 1993 South East Asia Games, winning a Team Silver and Individual Bronze. He was also New England Intercollegiate Champion in 1989 when he represented MIT, USA. Together with a few other avid swashbucklers, he owns Singapore’s most well known fencing school — Z Fencing. (http://www.zfencing.com)

A firm believer in giving back to society, T.K. has served on the Community Chest Committee and the National Youth Council where he did his bit for the community, disadvantaged and young. He continues to support fund raising efforts in schools, charities and youth-based organizations.
Since 2001, T.K. has served on a number of private and government boards in Singapore and India which include; Singapore Sports School Ltd (Present Directorships), Raffles Holdings International (Hotels and Hospitality Management Group), Sentosa Development Corporation (Resort & Leisure Management), Sentosa Cove (Property Development), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IT Development & Policy), Singapore Sports Council, MediaCorp Pte Ltd (TV, Radio, Press and Publishing Group) and Take Solutions International (IT Solutions, listed Bombay Stock Exchange).

T.K. graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He was awarded the Best Thesis prize in Computer Science for 1989. Incidentally, he has also won himself several awards and some of these prestigious awards include; Outstanding International Operator 2007, Inaugural Outstanding International Operator, the prestigious Global Leaders for Tomorrow award by the World Economic Forum, Singapore Youth Award for Entrepreneurship, the Internet Visionary of the Year, finalist of the Entrepreneur Award, AsiaWeek Magazine’s (part of Time Warner) Top 20 individuals representing Asia’s rising entrepreneurial and managerial talents as well as a National IT Leader Award by the Singapore Computer Society for his pioneering contributions to the industry in Singapore.
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