Alternative CV

Paul Tern

Dr Paul Tern works as a doctor by day, but in his spare time he finds and interviews people who have chosen to pursue more unconventional careers, hobbies or side projects. Focusing on the Asian context where traditional professional careers still rule, he explores the stories of individuals who have bucked the trend and built an alternative CV. Join him for some far-reaching conversations as he listens to their journeys, explores varied and interesting fields, and ultimately unearths advice and wisdom that we can all learn from. Come and be inspired - new episodes every Thursday.

All Episodes

BIODorothea Koh is the founder and CEO of a healthcare technology company, Bot MD. Bot MD is a mobile-based AI chatbot that provides an interface for doctors to quickly access information related to hospital policies, formularies, check who’s on call etc. Along with her founder YC, Dorothea started Bot MD back in 2018 and joined Y Combinator’s summer 2018 batch. Prior to starting Bot MD, Dorothea rocketed up through the ranks at Medtronic and then Baxter, eventually holding the portfolios of country head for Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar. However, she chose to give that up and chose the unconventional path, resigning from her job to start Bot MD.3 THINGS I LEARNEDIt hurts to “wander around in the desert” looking for product market fit, but it’s an unavoidable part of the journey and it teaches you a lot of lessons. Trust your instincts as an entrepreneur. Keep iterating until you have something that customers snatch out of your hands, maybe even before it’s perfect.Think twice before raising funds. Dorothea thinks of it like credit card debt - you can draw down as much as you want on it, but there’s a hefty interest bill to come later. Do as much as you can to stretch your funds. If your idea isn’t working, think about shutting the firm down rather than raising more money to keep a zombie company going.It’s important for leaders to be on the ground, so that you know exactly what your customers want. Dorothea used to make her sales reps take her to the deepest parts of China with them to meet her customers. TOPICS WE COVEREDWhat life was like at Y Combinator, and how it differs from the Stanford Biodesign courseWhat it was like pitching to her seed investors - and what seed investors are looking forWhat it feels like to “wander in the desert” looking for product market fitHow you know you have product market fitHow you should think about raising funds for your startup - it’s not a free lunchWhat Dorothea learned from working for established medical technology companiesHow Dorothea went to see the users of her company’s products in far flung villages - and the lessons this taught herSkills you should focus on learning when you are working for other larger organisationsWhat’s next for Bot MD

Aug 12

42 min 53 sec

BIODorothea is the founder and CEO of a healthcare technology company, Bot MD. Bot MD is a mobile-based AI chatbot that provides an interface for doctors to quickly access information related to hospital policies, formularies, check who’s on call etc. Along with her founder YC, Dorothea started Bot MD back in 2018 and joined Y Combinator’s summer 2018 batch. Prior to starting Bot MD, Dorothea rocketed up through the ranks at Medtronic and then Baxter, eventually holding the portfolios of country head for Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar. However, she chose to give that up and chose the unconventional path, resigning from her job to start Bot MD.3 THINGS I LEARNEDChoosing a co-founder is one of the most important steps. In Dorothea’s words, it’s like being married and raising a baby together with your partner. Only you and your co-founder fully understand “how sucky it is when times are down”. It’s during these times that your co-founder might be vital in providing you with encouragement.Start by building low-code prototypes. These are prototypes that involve little to no code. The goal is to prove certain hypotheses before you get too caught up with building the prototype.A startup journey might take 10 years of your life, with lots of stress and sleepless nights. So you need to ask yourself whether your idea is worth the pain of going through that process. Do people want it enough? What is your right to win, and why should you be building it? What’s the size of the market?TOPICS WE COVEREDWhat Bot MD doesWhy Dorothea left her first job at EDBThe initial experiment Dorothea ran that made her realise that Bot MD was a good ideaWhy building a startup is a painful journey but a very instructive oneThe importance of having a co-founderWhat a cofounder relationship is likeWhat Dorothea does as CEOFactors to consider when starting a startupDorothea’s epiphany that turned the company around and helped them find product market fitBot MD’s breakthrough product in NUH

Aug 5

45 min 53 sec

Dr Daniel Ting is the Consultant, Vitreo-retinal surgeon in the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC), Head of AI and Digital Innovation in the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), and an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology with Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore. He is also the visiting Full Professor in Ophthalmology in Zhongshan Ophthalmic Eye Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, China; 2017-2018 US-ASEAN J. W. Fulbright Scholar to Johns Hopkins University, the EXCO of the American Academy Ophthalmology (AAO) AI Task Force and Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Studies (STARD-AI) Task Force. At present, he is the Associate Editor of Nature Digital Medicine, Section Editor (AI and big data) in British Journal of Ophthalmology (BJO) and the Editor of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Retina, Ophthalmology Science and Asia-pacific Journal of Ophthalmology.To date, he has published >180 peer-reviewed papers/book chapters/conference abstracts, including >40 AI and digital technology articles in JAMA, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Nature Digital Medicine, Lancet Digital Health and others. Daniel holds several patents in deep learning systems for medical imaging analysis, and is also the co-founder of an AI spin-off company, EyRIS Pte Ltd. EyRIS has commercialised the Singapore Eye Lesion Analyser and to date has partnered with >20 optometry practices.3 THINGS I LEARNEDPerseverance is a fundamental ingredient for success. Dr Ting’s initial work was rejected numerous times, but he never gave up. He kept persisting until it was finally accepted into a big journal (Journal of the American Medical Association) - which was the break he needed to launch his career.Mentors are important, both in terms of giving you advice to guide your career and opening door and providing opportunities for you to build new skills and competencies.If you want to learn new skills, you have to be ready to read a lot. Today this data is freely available on the internet. Apart from reading and listening to talks, you can also consider following the leading lights in the field on twitter for instance to get a feel for where the cutting edge developments are.

May 27

58 min 53 sec

Dr Ngiam Kee Yuan is the Group Chief Technology Officer of the National University Health System (NUHS) Singapore overseeing technology deployment in Western Healthcare Cluster of Singapore. He is concurrently the Deputy Chief Medical Informatics Officer at the National University Hospital of Singapore and has a special focus on artificial intelligence research and implementation in healthcare. He has certification training by the American Medical Informatics Association and has published in computing and medical journals on topics related to healthcare AI applications and technology.Dr Ngiam is a Consultant Thyroid and Endocrine Surgeon and Assistant Professor at the Department of Surgery, National University Hospital, Singapore specializing in thyroid oncology and minimally invasive endoscopic and robotic thyroid surgery. Dr. Ngiam also engages in research into endocrine and metabolic surgery as well as artificial intelligence applications in healthcare.He promotes interdisciplinary collaboration throughout the NUS campus, particularly between the schools of medicine, engineering, and computer science for various healthcare applications. He has been awarded the ExxonMobil-NUS Research Fellowship for Clinicians and numerous teaching awards for his work in research and education.3 THINGS I LEARNEDTake a year out if you would like to explore an area that you want to go into. But be clear about what you want to explore and achieve. Keep in close contact with your mentor to ensure that you are not forgotten or lost. Speak to your employers to ensure that the additional skills you come back with are valued by the organisation and are rewarded accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to learn how to code to get started on a project - Dr Ngiam certainly did not know how to when he started. Instead crucially he surrounded himself with experts and became good at translating clinical questions into language computer scientists could understand. He picked up computer science concepts along the way - a much more practical way of learning.Interesting spaces to look at for the future: (1) Automation of basic mundane processes in healthcare (2) Amalgamating data and giving clinicians tools to build better models and improve patient care.THINGS WE TALKED ABOUTThe origins of Dr Ngiam’s interest in AI and machine learningHow it became apparent to him that a lot of the problems that he was facing in his own research projects were replicated across the entire organisationThe size of this problem and how Dr Ngiam set out to tackle itGathering a team and building a community to tackle this problemBeing the person who translated the needs of healthcare professionals into language that computer scientists could understand and problems they could addressAcquiring skill on the job is a better way of learningGetting senior management buy in and support for the projectOther opportunities, including Medilot, that opened upThe need for clinicians to do more than just their clinical practiceStarting a new track for clinician innovatorsDr Ngiam finding ways to fund his passion - with grant funding and then a job title that gave him time to build this aspect of his careerTaking a year out to pursue other interests and not getting lost along the wayInteresting technological advances that will reshape the future of medicine

Feb 17

51 min 56 sec

Dr Deborah Wong is a mother, general practitioner, entrepreneur and fitness guru. Shortly after graduating from medical school, she took over a pilates studio (Breathe Pilates), turned it around and expanded it into a successful and highly profitable chain with 4 locations across Singapore. Breathe Pilates is unique in offering training programmes for pilates instructors in addition to standard pilates classes. Deborah maintains a professional interest in lifestyle medicine, and she has personally experimented with multiple training programmes, diets and supplements.3 THINGS I LEARNEDBefore you get into any diet, take your time to analyze exactly what you want to achieve and how the diet will help you achieve the goal. Also, for pregnant and nursing mums, they need to be extremely careful before getting into any fad diets.Working from home is never an excuse for you not to exercise. Set aside 15-30 minutes daily to take a walk, go for a jog, or some light exercises like squats. People have no idea what a walk a day can do for their health.Start with strength training. Strength training would build muscles which are more metabolically active, which means that your body will be burning more calories. It helps with cardiovascular health as well. And importantly, building muscles and being able to lift heavier weights is rewarding, encouraging you to persist with your exercise plan.TOPICS WE DISCUSSEDExercises for people who want to stay lean Deborah’s big picture approach to nutritionThoughts about fad dietsKeto diets and whether you should use themIntermittent fastingDeborah’s thoughts on supplementsExercises for people confined to their homesAdvice for young doctors starting their careersAdvice to people who are just starting their business

Dec 2020

22 min 59 sec

BIODr Deborah Wong is a mother, general practitioner, entrepreneur and fitness guru. Shortly after graduating from medical school, she took over a pilates studio (Breathe Pilates), turned it around and expanded it into a successful and highly profitable chain with 4 locations across Singapore. Breathe Pilates is unique in offering training programmes for pilates instructors in addition to standard pilates classes. Deborah maintains a professional interest in lifestyle medicine, and she has personally experimented with multiple training programmes, diets and supplements.3 THINGS I LEARNEDRaising capital: If you intend to venture into business, you need money. Many people have business ideas in their heads, and the only thing that hinders them is capital. Don’t be afraid to ask your family to chip in if they are capable of stepping in.  You don’t lose anything by trying.In entrepreneurship, you need to keep evolving and be innovative to remain in business, especially during pandemics. COVID has taught us things can change in a fortnight, and if you want your business to survive, you need to be strategic.When building your business, it is essential to ensure that you have structures and processes that don’t need you always to be there to make it successful. Build a business that can run without requiring your presence all the time.TOPICS WE COVEREDHow Deborah acquired the business and turned it aroundDeborah’s transition from doctor to entrepreneurHow Deborah learned what she needed to know about running the businessHow Deborah runs the pilates studio in terms of prioritising and making decisionsStrategies that Deborah and her partner adopted to deal with the challenges that came with Covid Why Deborah has hired a data scientistThe importance of having the right location in businessWhy Deborah decided to start training pilates instructorsGetting back into medicine after taking a break for a yearHow Deborah ended up practising medicine in ShanghaiBalancing full-time employment and running a business at the same timeThe benefits of autonomy and flexibility that being a business owner brings

Nov 2020

44 min 33 sec

In this masterclass with A/Prof Ong, we discuss the fundamentals of leadership and mentorship.BIOA/Prof Ong Biauw Chi is Senior Consultant at Singapore General Hospital Department of Anaesthesiology. She was the Head of Anaesthesiology, SGH from 2009 till 2014 and the Director of Patient Safety and Director of Clinical Governance in Singapore General Hospital for a period of 9 years. She is also appointed Chairman Medical Board, Sengkang Health.A/Prof Ong’s work has been recognised with the Public Administration Silver Medal in the National Day Awards, 2013 and the National Medical Excellence award for National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist in 2014.A/Prof Ong is also a member of the Specialist Training Committee for Anaesthesia (now Residency Advisory Committee) Ministry of Health, Singapore and chairs the Examinations committee for Anaesthesia Examinations in Singapore.3 THINGS I LEARNEDYou need to find the correct partners. In your career, you need to get the right people who will help you get better. People who will tell as it is and help you to remain focused on your goals.Planning: I learned a lot from Prof Ong’s willingness to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture of what she wanted to achieve. This was a habit built from an early age. She uses a short-term, middle-term, and long-term list. The short-term list is cleared daily. The medium-term list focuses approximately a month out whilst the long-term list is reviewed six monthly and charts her overall life direction and goals. There’s no one right way to be a mentor. Instead it’s about spending time talking to your mentee, figuring out what makes them tick and pointing them in the right direction from there.

Nov 2020

35 min 2 sec

In this episode, A/Prof Ong Biauw Chi and I discuss her on-the-ground style of leadership and the journey she took to become Chairman of the Medical Board in Sengkang Health.ABOUT A/PROF ONGA/Prof Ong Biauw Chi is Senior Consultant at Singapore General Hospital Department of Anaesthesiology. She was the Head of Anaesthesiology, SGH from 2009 till 2014 and the Director of Patient Safety and Director of Clinical Governance in Singapore General Hospital for a period of 9 years. She is also appointed Chairman Medical Board, Sengkang Health.A/Prof Ong’s work has been recognised with the Public Administration Silver Medal in the National Day Awards, 2013 and the National Medical Excellence award for National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist in 2014.Prof Ong is also a member of the Specialist Training Committee for Anaesthesia (now Residency Advisory Committee) Ministry of Health, Singapore and chairs the Examinations committee for Anaesthesia Examinations in Singapore.3 THINGS I LEARNEDLeadership is not always sitting in the boardroom and attending meetings. It involves going to the ground and seeing the truth for yourself. Sometimes it is difficult to know what’s really happening on the ground unless you are personally there. As a leader, you need to go see how things are on the ground.So, how do you know when you need to go down to the ground to check things out for yourself? That’s where experience comes in - it gives you a gut feel for when something doesn’t quite fit, or when your presence as a leader might be needed.Passion and curiosity: When you are passionate about what you do, you give it your all and become the best you can be. Curiosity goes hand in hand with passion. If you are passionate about something, you’ll always want to go the extra mile and learn more. Curiosity compliments passion.

Nov 2020

31 min 26 sec

In this episode, Dinesh gives a masterclass on raising angel investment for your startup. He also shares his perspective as an investor on how he evaluates founders and companies who have approached him for investment.BIODr. Dinesh is a practicing medical doctor and scientist. He completed medical training at the National University of Singapore, during which he received the Wong Hock Boon Society for Research Distinction award - he has since published over 30 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, JAMA Ophthalmology, and IOVS, and is an active reviewer in journals including JAMA Ophthalmology. He is best known for his work as Head (Health Informatics) 2011-2019 in the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study group, a project that spanned 10 years and used big data to address ocular tuberculosis, where Dinesh oversaw the collaboration of 25 hospitals across 10 countries.Dinesh has also co-founded Doctorbell, overseeing product strategy and medical affairs. His startup was acquired in 2018 by MaNaDr, MOH telemedicine sandbox. He currently provides independent consulting in health technology and invests in digital health start-ups such as AskDr. 3 THINGS I LEARNEDAt the seed stage, it is possible to raise money from grants and competition prizes - it’s worth checking these out. If you would like to meet angel investors, one possible way is to take your idea to hackathons or accelerator programmes. Not only do these connect you to the right people, they’re also structured in such a way as to help you think through your idea.Pick your angel investors carefully. The individual  has to regularly meet, comment, and contribute to the strategy overall running of the company. If this person doesn't have the right expertise, background, and knowledge, they could be a huge drag.When raising money: Raise more than you need, and don’t forget that you need time to raise your next funding round. But also raise at a fair valuation - you can have subsequent rounds of funding that gives up less equity when your product is more proven and has taken some risks off the table.

Nov 2020

36 min 47 sec

I talk to Dr Dinesh Gunesekaran about his experience getting involved in a research project that used big data to gain insights into tuberculosis infections of the eye. From there, Dinesh got approached at a medical conference by his cofounders who wanted to start a telemedicine company. Dinesh shares his story about building his company, Doctorbell, and eventually selling it in 2018.BIODr. Dinesh is a practicing medical doctor and scientist. He completed medical training at the National University of Singapore, during which he received the Wong Hock Boon Society for Research Distinction award - he has since published over 30 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, JAMA Ophthalmology, and IOVS, and is an active reviewer in journals including JAMA Ophthalmology. He is best known for his work as Head (Health Informatics) 2011-2019 in the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study group, a project that spanned 10 years and used big data to address ocular tuberculosis, where Dinesh oversaw the collaboration of 25 hospitals across 10 countries.Dinesh has also co-founded Doctorbell, overseeing product strategy and medical affairs. His startup was acquired in 2018 by MaNaDr, MOH telemedicine sandbox. He currently provides independent consulting in health technology and invests in digital health start-ups such as AskDr. 3 THINGS I LEARNEDExpose yourself to opportunities: Dinesh’s entrepreneurial journey only started because he sought out an opportunity to do big data research in ophthalmology. That led him to cross paths with his cofounders at a conference. But more importantly, Dinesh worked hard to execute and complete the projects he was tasked with - which was why more and more opportunities landed in his lap.It pays to be active on LinkedIn. Whilst trying to build his network in the startup / entrepreneurship space, Dinesh leveraged his LinkedIn network to share articles, communicate his interests, connect with people and listen to their ideas. It made me think about paying more attention to my own LinkedIn profile.Much of Dinesh’s knowledge about building startups was self taught - he was averaging reading a book a week as he sought to develop the knowledge needed to grow the startup. Startup founders need to be masters of many fields - but pushed by necessity, it is possible to develop expertise in all of these domains.

Oct 2020

56 min 42 sec

I speak to Buzz Palmer, Dario Heymann and Audrey Lok about how COVID-19 has reshaped the playing field for healthtech and medtech startups. We discuss interesting opportunities and ideas for founders to explore.BIOSBuzz Palmer (CEO, Medtech Actuator)Buzz Palmer is one of Australia’s leading and most visible voices in entrepreneurship and MedTech innovation. Buzz is the co-founder and CEO of the MedTech Actuator, founding partner in Dialectica Group, co-founder of HealthTech Angels. Buzz is both a serial entrepreneur and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Monash University. As a passionate technologist, Buzz enjoys mentoring startups execute on their strategy and commercialisation journey.Dario Heymann (Chief Research Officer, Galen Growth)Dario leads the building and venture analytics of HealthTech Alpha; the most compelling database and analytics platform dedicated to HealthTech ventures. He also leads research engagements and leadership alignments with clients, such as Pharmaco, insurance companies, investors and tech companies. Dario is responsible for the overall research and market intelligence of the HealthTech ecosystem in Asia and has worked in drug discovery mainly for the development of novel drugs in oncology, both in pharma and academia in Singapore, China and Germany.Audrey Lok (Director of Healthcare and Biomedical at Enterprise Singapore)Audrey looks at the development of the biomedical ecosystem and focuses on helping local startups and enterprises. Prior to this, she was the head of strategic planning at Spring Singapore and the Assistant Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.3 THINGS I LEARNEDEvery pandemic comes with a good dose of opportunities. Every startup should always be on the lookout for the opportunities that can favor them during an epidemic. For instance, COVID came with a lot of opportunities for teleconsultation. Some companies are currently thriving because of the pandemic, while others have run out of business. If you want to succeed as a startup, you have to go the extra mile. You have to stand out from the rest of the crowd and show the investors or partners why they have to fund or partner with you. We have seen people come up with solutions that are already in existence. The question you should always ask yourself is, “how does my solution stand out from the rest?”Teleconsultation is a technology rather than a business. It’s not just enough to say you’re “providing teleconsultation” - what are you pairing it with? How are you leveraging it to help clinicians or patients in an innovative way? How do you build an ecosystem around it? 

Oct 2020

59 min 2 sec

I talk to Prof Francis about why we should do research, how to build a world class body of research work and how to go to attain the highest levels and become an internationally recognised expert.Dr Francis Seow Choen graduated with his MBBS in 1981, despite listing medicine as the fourth choice for admission. He obtained his FRCS in 1987 as an orthopaedic trainee, and thereafter immediately switched to general surgery, thinking that general surgery was a wider field than bones alone.  He was one of the first two in the new Department of Colorectal Surgery, SGH when it started in 1989. He thought it easier to become someone big in a “small, new” specialty, rather than be a minion in a “huge, old” specialty.  He became head of department in 1994.  When he left for private practice in 2003, he had led the department to international recognition; with trainees from all over the world, and with a large numbers of research papers and regular international invitations to teach surgery; earning him the Excellence for Singapore Award 2000.  Throughout this time, he continued his intense interest in entomology, having to date written nine books on stick insects and describing more than 200 new species. He was also chairmen of the boards of two charities, a school for displaced students and the founding chairman of Guide Dogs of the Blind, Singapore.  He has been a member of the board of his church since the 1980’s.3 Things I LearnedBuilding a body of work: A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Take the time to start writing your research papers and be keen to keep improving.If you get to a point where you feel stuck, never shy away from consulting your mentor.You can never become an expert by just sitting down and doing nothing regardless of how educated you are. You need to go out there and exercise your knowledge. You also need to get yourself into writing research papers that will earn your name recognition out there. You need to be an authority in your field. Get published as many times as you possibly can. Also, you have to be on a mission to show yourself to the right people.Mentors play a significant role in our lives. They hold our hands and take us to incredible places that we never thought we could reach. Finding a mentor should not be a difficult task as long as you have the right attitude, a spirit of humility and a hungry spirit that is ready to learn. Most mentors are kind-hearted, and they are always open to giving people a learning opportunity. How you request for mentorship determines if you’ll get the chance.

Oct 2020

40 min 49 sec

In this podcast, I talk to Prof Francis Seow about how to approach learning when starting out in a completely new field; what it means by leading a "balanced life"; as well as how to be a useful leader.Dr Francis Seow Choen graduated with his MBBS in 1981, despite listing medicine as the fourth choice for admission. He obtained his FRCS in 1987 as an orthopaedic trainee, and thereafter immediately switched to general surgery, thinking that general surgery was a wider field than bones alone.  He was one of the first two in the new Department of Colorectal Surgery, SGH when it started in 1989. He thought it easier to become someone big in a “small, new” specialty, rather than be a minion in a “huge, old” specialty.  He became head of department in 1994.  When he left for private practice in 2003, he had led the department to international recognition; with trainees from all over the world, and with a large numbers of research papers and regular international invitations to teach surgery; earning him the Excellence for Singapore Award 2000.  Throughout this time, he continued his intense interest in entomology, having to date written nine books on stick insects and describing more than 200 new species. He was also chairmen of the boards of two charities, a school for displaced students and the founding chairman of Guide Dogs of the Blind, Singapore.  He has been a member of the board of his church since the 1980’s.3 Things I LearnedDeveloping a passion: We live in a world where we are always urged to follow our passion. Unfortunately, many people give up on their passion because they don’t get the support they need. For instance, if you are a parent and your child shows passion in a particular area, it is your duty to accord them support. On a personal level, you need to take time and cultivate on your passion. Always strive to get better.Balancing life: Balance in life means that you have the time to do what you want to do. In life, it is always good to remember that doing a lot does not necessarily mean you will achieve a lot. Always take the time to try to find your equilibrium. Make sure by the end of the day, week, month, or year you are happy and satisfied.Building a world-class department: If you want to develop a world-class department at your workplace, it is essential to make sure there is someone to lead the department, and that all the members of the department are recognized regardless of how junior. The department should not be the only person carrying the praise and shame of the team. It is also important to make sure that you go the extra mile that many people may not be willing to go. Always make sure you are steps ahead of your competition.

Oct 2020

58 min 8 sec

Mr Abel Ang is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Advanced MedTech Holdings, a US$200M global player in Urology devices and services. Previously, Abel has also served as the Senior Advisor to the CEO of Greatbatch Inc (NYSE: ITGR), as well as President, Asia/Pacific for Hill-Rom Inc. a US$3B revenue medical devices company (NYSE: HRC) where he was responsible for leading, developing and implementing the strategy to expand Hill-Rom’s presence in the Asia/Pacific markets.In addition to his role as CEO of Advanced MedTech, Abel is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Nanyang Business School in Singapore and Waseda University in Japan, where he teaches in their respective MBA programs. He also contributes a monthly newspaper column to The Straits Times, Singapore’s largest newspaper.Abel has vast experience and a wealth of knowledge in developing and commercializing medical device technologies built up over years of work in this field.3 THINGS I LEARNEDWhat’s most important for both companies and employees is to just get the job done. Think about what problems need solving and just go about solving them - no matter your title. Often the job that needs to get done centres around improving your product on offer to serve your customers better. Abel / Advanced Medtech has a very simple formula for everything it does: CEC - MIS. Everything you touch needs to be Compelling, Engaging and Convincing. And then it needs to translate into Massive Impact and Scale. First refine your product to make it compelling, engaging and convincing (CEC) and then pursue the impact and scale. Every business should follow its own path. Think carefully and clearly about your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re thinking of bringing a product to market yourself, consider if you have the capability to do so. If you’re thinking of partnering with an existing firm, think about whether you are a good cultural fit with them.

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Sep 2020

50 min 44 sec

I promised to be back on August 6 but better late than never... Alternative CV is RELAUNCHING with Season 2!New this season: In addition to the usual guests who have pursued interesting hobbies / side projects and careers, I make a special effort to focus on medical professionals who have done cool stuff alongside their medical careers, as well as more entreprenuers.Each week, my guests will teach a masterclass on a useful life skill that is not taught in school. Be prepared to learn lots about the world around you!I partner with Catalyst, a startup accelerator based in Singapore that focuses on helping clinicians get their medtech ideas off the ground. I'll be hosting and showcasing some of their events!New episodes dropping from September... stay tuned!

Aug 2020

2 min 37 sec

Alternative CV takes a break, until August 6th. Work commitments have increased with the COVID outbreak, and I have to focus on what's most important right now, which is caring for patients.Sign up to the email newsletter at http://alternativecv.fm/ to be notified when we're back with Season 2.Until then - stay safe, and be responsible with social distancing!

Apr 2020

5 min 25 sec

Alvin and I discuss how he built an online audience and transformed his blog into a business. Alvin also gives a crash course on insurance and investing, and he shares some tips about how he curates the information he takes in.Alvin Chow is the CEO of DrWealth, an online platform providing investor education and portfolio management tools. What started as Alvin’s personal blog has grown to a full suite of offerings, and thousands of followers. He teaches courses on Factor-based investing, and has authored two books - Secrets of Singapore Trading Gurus and Singapore Permanent Portfolio.3 Things I LearnedTake advice from those with a similar context - When starting his own business, Alvin consulted the heavyweight CEOs of our time like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. However, he found their advice was not as applicable to himself as a small business owner. Therefore, Alvin advises to seek out advice from people in a similar situation, or in a situation you hope to reach.  Start investing, the earlier the better - when it comes to investing, Alvin says the easiest and most effective variable to take advantage of is time. Starting early, no matter the amount, will almost always put you in a better position than starting later with more capital. Therefore, Alvin advises to start investing as early as your 20’s, when you can afford the volatility of the market.  Curate your email inbox - Alvin has the pleasure of enjoying his email inbox, because he purposely curated it with newsletters he is interested in. In a 24-hour news cycle, we now have our pick of information. Alvin suggests to curate that information into something useful and intellectually stimulating. 

Apr 2020

1 hr 2 min

On this podcast, I talk to Alvin Chow about 0ur motivation behind the financial choices we make, effective strategies to approach a brand new subject area you want to learn about, and Alvin's journey from hobby personal finance blog to full-time company.Alvin Chow is the CEO of DrWealth, an online platform providing investor education and portfolio management tools. What started as Alvin’s personal blog has grown to a full suite of offerings, and thousands of followers. He teaches courses on Factor-based investing, and has authored two books - Secrets of Singapore Trading Gurus and Singapore Permanent Portfolio.3 Things I Learned:Create structures that drive your behaviour - if you struggle to find motivation to make positive financial choices, Alvin suggests to put in safeguards to automate behaviour. So if you’re not a natural saver, set up direct transfers which force you to consistently save money. You don’t know what you don’t know - When developing new expertise, it’s very important to remain aware of your level of knowledge. If a resource is too difficult for you to grasp, it’s fine to disregard it for a later time - but you have to push through the not knowing in order to fully build a new bed of knowledge. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you have to persist.Executing ideas is driven by your priorities - Alvin’s transition from passion to mission was driven by the fact that he had chosen to prioritise Dr Wealth’s growth. He goes on to say that the ideas you end up executing align with your priorities, so to be motivated to make changes, you first need to shift your priorities. 

Mar 2020

46 min 39 sec

On this episode, I speak to Brennan Ong about his entrepreneurial journey, and how he ended up leaving the legal profession to start a law tech startup.

Mar 2020

1 hr 1 min

About a year ago, I caught up with Ali Abdaal, who is a junior doctor in the Cambridge (UK) area who makes youtube videos about tech, productivity and tips for medical students. At that point in time had 200k subscribers on his Youtube channel. Today, he has more than 550k.This episode contains some golden advice from Ali about how to get started on any project. It's especially useful for those thinking about starting creative, crowd-fronting projects (i.e. youtube channels, blogs, podcasts).

Mar 2020

29 min 43 sec

In this episode, I talk about my job as a doctor in the department of Infectious Diseases managing COVID-19 suspects and patients, and I recap the top 5 lessons that I've learnt from 6 months of interviews.Here are my top 5 lessons from Season 1:1. Just start2. Provide value3. Recognise that it's common to face times of struggle4. Be confident in your own ability to learn5. The end goal is to be better than yourself

Mar 2020

51 min 3 sec

Chef Rishi Naleendra talks about starting his own restaurant and building a team around him who shares the same culture of excellence. We chat about his creative process, as well as how one should simply enjoy any meal, be it fine dining or plain burger.Chef RIshi’s impressive culinary career includes stints as Chef de Partie at the world-renowned Tetsuya’s in Sydney, where he developed a fastidious attention to detail, and Pastry Chef at the award-winning Yellow by Brent Savage, whom Chef Rishi values as a mentor whose guidance was instrumental in helping him hone his skills. Chef Rishi’s first restaurant, Cheek by Jowl, was awarded a Michelin star in 2018. He closed it in February 2019 to make way for Cheek Bistro, which now takes up the same space and offers modern Australian fare that marries the fresh, eclectic flavours of the land Down Under with the comforting, hearty notes of bistro cooking. Parallel to the operation of Cheek Bistro, Chef Rishi has since opened a new restaurant, Cloudstreet. Founded in partnership with Gareth Burnett, this establishment showcases the innovation of his kitchen and has received numerous accolades. The menu marries disparate cultures and influences in an exuberant expression while championing ingredient-driven cuisine and seasonality.In April of this year, Chef Rishi is set to open Kotuwa, a traditional Sri Lankan restaurant in Singapore. 3 things I learned Build a team united by a shared vision - Rishi’s success with Cheek by Jowl was driven by the sheer force of his team’s vision. They were all laser focussed on getting a Michelin star, and they did not stop until it happened. It is this vision and attitude that now guides all of Rishi’s hiring choices. People concerned with politics will necessarily muddy the shared intention.  Don’t rush to reach your peak - Generally we have a good 40-50 years of our working lives. Rushing to achieve success in one’s 20’s is a surefire way to burnout. Rishi notes that many young chefs who run kitchens at 25 are not seen in their 30’s.  The key to enjoying food is to stop thinking - In the age of social media and online reviews, everyone is a foodie. Rishi urges patrons to stop assuming they know all there is to know about food, and trust the chef to put together a good dish. He also reminds us that running a restaurant is a job, and sometimes people have a bad day at work. An isolated mistake is no excuse to leave a vindictive review, or never go to a restaurant again. The key indicator of quality is what a restaurant will do after their mistake is pointed out. 

Feb 2020

40 min 44 sec

Chef Rishi Naleendra recounts his journey from part time kitchen hand, cleaning dishes to fund his university education, to becoming the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a Michelin star.Chef Rishi’s impressive culinary career includes stints as Chef de Partie at the world-renowned Tetsuya’s in Sydney, where he developed a fastidious attention to detail, and Pastry Chef at the award-winning Yellow by Brent Savage, whom Chef Rishi values as a mentor whose guidance was instrumental in helping him hone his skills. Chef Rishi’s first restaurant, Cheek by Jowl, was awarded a Michelin star in 2018. He closed it in February 2019 to make way for Cheek Bistro, which now takes up the same space and offers modern Australian fare that marries the fresh, eclectic flavours of the land Down Under with the comforting, hearty notes of bistro cooking. Parallel to the operation of Cheek Bistro, Chef Rishi has since opened a new restaurant, Cloudstreet. Founded in partnership with Gareth Burnett, this establishment showcases the innovation of his kitchen and has received numerous accolades. The menu marries disparate cultures and influences in an exuberant expression while championing ingredient-driven cuisine and seasonality.In April of this year, Chef Rishi is set to open Kotuwa, a traditional Sri Lankan restaurant in Singapore. 3 things I learned Practical experience teaches more than the classroom - Rishi worked in kitchens whilst in culinary school, and notes that getting out into the real world, holding down a job and adhering to a routine are skills that simply can’t be taught in formal education. To truly do great things, one must get out of the systems that support them, and learn to achieve things on their own. Work for skills, not for money - Rishi guides his career choices on the skills he would be developing over the money he would be earning. To get his foot into Fine Dining, Rishi’s income halved, but in return he laid the foundation which developed into the expertise he wields today.  The difference is in the details -the key difference between pub food and fine dining is the detail that goes into the food. Fine Dining practices precision to a tee. Every element of a dish must have the same dimensions (measured by a ruler!) or else it would not go out. It’s this level of detail which separates casual dining to world class chefs. 

Feb 2020

31 min 44 sec

Pastor Tan Huai Tze discusses what to expect from a theological seminary education, and the challenges he faced growing a new church from scratch from his living room.Tze is the Lead Pastor of One Covenant, a church he started in his living room (since outgrown) together with his wife, Cindy and 2 young daughters in 2016. He has a passion for preaching Christ from all parts of the Bible, and for making connections between the good news of Jesus Christ and everyday life. Tze grew up in Malaysia, and came to Singapore to study at age 15. He then went to the UK for further studies before coming back and making Singapore home.Before becoming a pastor, he worked in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and before that in IT Consulting in Accenture. A few years ago, Tze and the family spent 1.5 years in Australia, where Cindy did a medical fellowship, and Tze finished his Master of Divinity in Presbytarian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. 3 Things I Learned:There is no template for life - Tze says there is no need to mechanically plan out one’s life, or use his experience as a model for their own. It’s all about putting faith in the small things, building the right relationships, and having faith in God for things you can’t control. Theological study is not a ‘four year passion conference’ - it’s hard work, filled with assignments and exams like any other training program. But, even though it is a vigorous exercise, it should not be done without heart. Seminary study cannot be done in isolation, and sustains on an active relationship with one’s Church and Bible. Be prepared to have your heart broken - like any startup or new venture, 80-90% of new Churches fail. Pastor Tze’s Church is his whole life, so setbacks have rippling effects. But this pain ultimately makes him a better Pastor. 

Feb 2020

56 min 42 sec

Pastor Tze of One Covenant church discusses his decision to step away from a secular job and become a full time pastor.Tze is the Lead Pastor of One Covenant, a church he started in his living room (since outgrown) together with his wife, Cindy and 2 young daughters in 2016. He has a passion for preaching Christ from all parts of the Bible, and for making connections between the good news of Jesus Christ and everyday life. Tze grew up in Malaysia, and came to Singapore to study at age 15. He then went to the UK for further studies before coming back and making Singapore home.Before becoming a pastor, he worked in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and before that in IT Consulting in Accenture. A few years ago, Tze and the family spent 1.5 years in Australia, where Cindy did a medical fellowship, and Tze finished his Master of Divinity in Presbytarian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. 3 Things I Learned: Be humble in your work - starting out, Tze put himself up for any and all odd jobs that arose in the Church. Even if they were unglamorous or outside of his comfort zone, making these sacrifices was part of working in service of God.  Affinity, Ability and Opportunity - Tze’s call to the service consisted of 3 elements: an internal call from his own desire, an external call from those around him having faith in his ability, and an opportunity to join his church as a Pastor. He says all three must be present, and you cannot have one without the others.  Worldly hesitations come second to faith in one’s call  - while Tze certainly had personal and financial concerns about transitioning to a Pastor, he ultimately found that he could live on less, and failure meant failing at the feet of Jesus. It requires a paradigm shift from being a success to being faithful. 

Feb 2020

52 min 59 sec

Dr Chris Lovejoy gives a brief crash course on Machine Learning, as well as his opinion on whether AI can replace doctors. Chris Lovejoy is a Junior Doctor dedicated to changing the medical industry though tech and education. Alongside his Medical career, Chris has worked with Cera Care, a technology-enabled homecare company which uses machine learning to identify and predict health risks among the elderly population to allow early intervention. Chris runs a blog, YouTube channel and online courses on applications of Machine Learning in Medicine. He is currently taking a year out of Medical practice to complete a Masters in Data Science and Machine Learning at UCL. 3 things I learnedAI vs Machine Learning - Artificial Intelligence is a computer that can perform functions that would require human intelligence. However, its rules and operating procedure is pre-programmed. Machine Learning however, learns its own rules by being presented with a number of different inputs, which allows it to identify patterns. Technology such as AI is very good at doing a discrete task, but not much else. General professionals however, have the background expertise to identify abnormalities, and the discretion to investigate further before coming to a decision. Therefore, doctors would not be replaced by AI - instead, it would likely become a powerful tool in their arsenal. Changing your career path doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve wasted your time - Chris notes that the meta skills he developed in studying and training in medicine equipped him with skills and experiences that he believes will benefit him in the future, even if he doesn’t return to healthcare. 

Jan 2020

41 min 51 sec

Dr Chris Lovejoy talks about how he got started in the MedTech / Machine Learning space whilst balancing a career in medicine. We also touch on where professionals might fit into the Machine Learning / AI space.Chris Lovejoy is a Junior Doctor dedicated to changing the medical industry though tech and education. Alongside his Medical career, Chris has worked with Cera Care, a technology-enabled homecare company which uses machine learning to identify and predict health risks among the elderly population to allow early intervention. Chris runs a blog, YouTube channel and online courses on applications of Machine Learning in Medicine. He is currently taking a year out of Medical practice to complete a Masters in Data Science and Machine Learning at UCL. 3 Things I Learned:Love the process, not the goal - when it came to indulging his interest in tech, Chris learned to love the process of learning about machine learning, rather than a goal of attaining some level of mastery. Because at times, the task of learning isn’t always as fulfilling as we may think.Keep your side hobbies accountable - having a project to work towards helps make your side hobbies stick, and takes your learning out of the abstract. Chris would consolidate his coding by taking on projects such as designing his College’s MedSoc’s website. This gave him the motivation to keep learning and finish online courses and stay on top of his learning. There is a place for everyone in the tech space - although general professionals such as doctors and lawyers may lack the technical knowledge to build new technologies themselves, they serve a valuable purpose in that space because they have an intimate knowledge of the problems that exist in the industry, and the realms of possibility for intervention. 

Jan 2020

34 min 52 sec

Rayner Teo is an expert at technical analysis and trading. Not only is he a full-time independent trader, but he also teaches many other people to trade via his youtube videos, blog (http://tradingwithrayner.com) and podcast.In this episode, Rayner gives an introduction to trading strategies and offers a load of resources to follow up on.3 Things I Learned:Developing a trading strategy involves seeing what works, what the research says and going from there. There are no hard and fast rules to how to trade - it depends on what knowledge is out there, and how it relates to you. Learning to trade teaches you the principle of delayed gratification. Compound interest is considered the eighth wonder of the world, and learning to trade instils the habit of cutting back on instant pleasure to work towards a more comfortable life later on - a skill which can be applied to all aspects of life, and pay dividends. When starting a business, start first with providing value to your audience, and trust that the universe will balance and your compensation will work out. Too many people go into their business hoping to make six figures, and Rayner believes this priority is backwards. 

Jan 2020

39 min 25 sec

Rayner Teo left his job to strike out on his own as an independent trader. In this podcast, he talks about his journey, and along the way he debunks common myths about trading your own money full time as a source of income.Rayner Teo is the founder of TradingwithRayner.com, an independent trader, and the most-followed trader in Singapore. With a background in proprietary trading, Rayner shares his knowledge of trading through Youtube videos, podcast episodes and mentoring sessions. His Youtube channel has over 250,000 subscribers, and his blogs on trading attract 100,000 readers a month. 3 Things I Learned:Trading isn’t for everyone. Rayner says there are better ways to generate income than trading, and to reap substantial rewards, you need to first start with a decent amount of capital. So the myth that trading gets you out of the ‘rat race’ is untrue - it is a fulltime endeavour like any 9-5. Tailor your learning to your end goal - learning to trade doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Trading to generate income versus trading to grow overall wealth requires developing different trading strategies. So before you can learn to trade, you need to establish what you want to achieve by trading. Learn from others’ practice, not just theory - Rayner developed his trading strategies by a mix of seeing what worked for others, consulting resources and identifying patterns of knowledge. 

Jan 2020

35 min 57 sec

On this podcast, I continue the conversation with Alex and Daphne. We discuss a wide range of topics, from entreprenuership to common mistakes beginners make when buying ski and snowboard gear.Alex Hsu (@alexhsuu) and Daphne Goh (@daphghq) cofounded the Ride Side in 2015, a company that organises ski and snowboard trips for people living in Singapore (an odd concept, given that the temperature is on average 33 degrees Celsius all year round in Singapore). Since then, they have run trips for over 2000 happy customers to ski resorts in Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland. They have also recently opened Singapore’s first snowboard retail and fitting studio.3 things I learned We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, so never be afraid to seek help and learn from others. They’ve paved the way for you so don’t waste valuable time by starting from scratch. Validate your idea but take responses with a pinch of salt. Do not be afraid of failure. Before starting their business, Alex and Daphne asked themselves ‘what’s the worst that could happen? We fail.’ But that’s not where the options end. Failure leaves you with wisdom and you can take this with you on all the adventures that are still waiting to happen.Don’t be a perfectionist. Find your minimum viable product (MVP) and just roll with it. Even if it’s at 80% just roll with it and the last 20% that will make it perfect will come along on the way. 

Jan 2020

33 min 37 sec

On this podcast, I talk to Alex and Daphne about the leap from full time job to new startup founder, with an honest and realistic assessment of its challenges.Alex Hsu (@alexhsuu) and Daphne Goh (@daphghq) cofounded the Ride Side in 2015, a company that organises ski and snowboard trips for people living in Singapore (an odd concept, given that the temperature is on average 33 degrees Celsius all year round in Singapore). Since then, they have run trips for over 2000 happy customers to ski resorts in Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland. They have also recently opened Singapore’s first snowboard retail and fitting studio.3 things I learned1. Dig into every resource that you’ve got around you. Venturing into a start-up can be quite expensive but if you’ve got a friend who designs and creates websites and another friend who’s a social media influencer, then use them. Before you know it you’ll see the responses kicking in and your business will be taking off. 2. Money takes time. It might be two or three years before you truly start earning a salary, so the thing that will keep you going, even on the bad days, will be your passion. Create a product that benefits you before it does anyone else and it will do the work for you. 3. Running a start-up alone can be difficult, but the alternative can also have its own challenges. You not only need someone to share the same vision as you but the working style, ethics and even temperament need to balance out. Remember, synergy is key.

Dec 2019

47 min 45 sec

Loh Lik Peng has successfully built a team that is able to run 5 hotels and 27 restaurants scattered across the world. I talk to him about building a team with decentralised leadership, finding unique locations for his projects and balancing passion with practicality.Dynamic hotelier and restaurateur Loh Lik Peng (instagram: @pengloh) was born in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Law school in England, University of Sheffield and Postgraduate at London School of Economics followed by bar exams in London before returning to Singapore in 1997. Loh became a corporate litigator upon his return before leaving the profession to step into the hospitality industry. Since then, Loh has started ventures across Singapore, Shanghai and London under the umbrella of his company, ‘Unlisted Collection’. Presently, he has 27 restaurants with a combined 7 Michelin stars and 5 hotels across 6 countries.3 things I learned:Find your niche and let your passion guide you. From finding unique locations to building loyal teams, Loh is guided by a love of hotels, places and relationships over a desire to maximise profit. Decisions don’t have to make total financial sense to be the correct ones. Loh was guided by his passion in a series of projects others would find as too risky. However, it is important to strike that balance between passion projects and being able to justify your choices. Building a good team means investing in relationships. In recruiting, Loh spends time getting to know how people tick, and puts the time in to foster a ‘natural chemistry.’ It’s this approach that allows him to trust his team can manage a global network of properties.

Dec 2019

39 min 9 sec

Loh Lik Peng trained as a lawyer, but has since gone on to set up 5 hotels and 27 restaurants across the world. I talk to him about how he left law, started his first boutique hotel in an unlikely location, and built it up into a worldwide empire of hotels and restaurants.Dynamic hotelier and restaurateur Loh Lik Peng (instagram: @pengloh) was born in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Law school in England, University of Sheffield and Postgraduate at London School of Economics followed by bar exams in London before returning to Singapore in 1997. Loh became a corporate litigator upon his return before leaving the profession to step into the hospitality industry. Since then, Loh has started ventures across Singapore, Shanghai and London under the umbrella of his company, ‘Unlisted Collection’. Presently, he has 27 restaurants with a combined 7 Michelin stars and 5 hotels across 6 countries.3 things I learnedFear is a crucial element of success. Loh notes that the times he was complacent were the times he fell flat on his face. So having some level of fear is essential in keeping you at your best, by forcing you to constantly re-examine why you are doing what you’re doing. Take things one step at a time. You are never going to have every issue solved when you start a new project, and navigating the learning curve often means taking one step forward then two steps back. All you need to do is keep going, address problems as they come and not mess up too badly along the way.Make choices for you. In building his first hotel, Loh was guided by his own interests and desires for a hotel, not necessarily to be successful. It’s this thinking that helped him find a gap in the market between 5-star and budget hotels, and inspired his room design choices.

Dec 2019

34 min 19 sec

Cai Yinzhou managed to start a tour company around the idea of sustainable tourism whilst in his 20s. I talk to him about the difficulties of starting a business designed for social benefit, expanding it to amplify your voice, balancing meaning with profit and finding your “ikigai”.Cai Yinzhou is the Director of Citizen Adventures Private Limited, a company that organises tours and social initiatives in the communities of Geylang and Dakota Crescent in Singapore. Through these activities, he advocates for positive societal change, specifically targeting issues of integration and inequality in these communities. To date, more than 5000 people (including students, academics and policy makers) have come on the tours Citizen Adventures. Yinzhou is also part of backalleybarbers, a social initiative that has given more than 2,300 free haircuts to disadvantaged people. Yinzhou was awarded the Singapore Youth Award in 2017, the nation's highest youth accolade.3 things I learned:I was inspired by Yinzhou’s determination to go all in and choose to run his social enterprise full time so that he could devote sufficient energy to it. If you’d like to break down barriers and get to know someone, create a situation where casual conversation can flow naturally and without judgment.Yinzhou chose to eschew business growth to ensure that he could still serve the Geylang community. If you run a social enterprise, you will have to face these choices - and you must be clear on what your priorities are.

Dec 2019

39 min 49 sec

Cai Yinzhou has some very interesting ideas around sustainable tourism. These aren't just ideas to him - he's gone on to build a tour company around them. I talk to him about the definition of sustainable tourism and his life growing up in the colourful community of Geylang in Singapore.Cai Yinzhou is the Director of Citizen Adventures Private Limited, a company that organises tours and social initiatives in the communities of Geylang and Dakota Crescent in Singapore. Through these activities, he advocates for positive societal change, specifically targeting issues of integration and inequality in these communities. To date, more than 5000 people (including students, academics and policy makers) have come on the tours Citizen Adventures. Yinzhou is also part of backalleybarbers, a social initiative that has given more than 2,300 free haircuts to disadvantaged people. Yinzhou was awarded the Singapore Youth Award in 2017, the nation's highest youth accolade. 3 things I learned:This was a very interesting conversation about the philosophy of sustainable tourism. How do you preserve the communities and the culture of the destination rather than destroy it? How can the tourism industry be socially beneficial to that community?We can be too quick in judging people - everyone has a story, and often they may be pushed into prostitution or other shady jobs because of their circumstances.It’s easy to stay aloof and apart, but instead Yinzhou made an effort to get to know the community around him and to think deeply about the issues that plague it. We could all take a leaf from his book.

Nov 2019

49 min 20 sec

Ow Kim Kit has managed to juggle a busy law practice and simultaneously write a book about Singapore's food heritage. We discuss writing, time management, and the challenges facing multi-generational family run restaurants.Ow Kim Kit is a Singaporean lawyer and author of "Delicious Heirlooms". She has also written many legal articles and commentaries in newspapers and leading industry publications. When not eating or researching old-school restaurants, she juggles between a busy banking & finance legal practice, family and finding the elusive solution to counter middle-age weight gain.3 things I learnedGoing back to this concept of ’system’ (check out Episode 2 with Ali Abdaal, where we talk about this more) - when undertaking any large project, especially if it’s on the side, it helps to break it down into smaller chunks and targets that you can aim to hit on a weekly or monthly basis We break down the process of publishing a book from 18:55 onwards and go into the step by step process. Pitching to publishers, choosing the right one, writing, editing, launch events and publicity - we cover it all. Helpful to listen to if you have a book idea! For these restauranteurs selling Singaporean cuisine, it’s really not an easy task trying to adapt with the times (from changing consumer tastes to embracing new technology) whilst staying true to the cultural roots / cooking methods / flavours that give their restaurant its unique identity. I have newfound respect for them. And I agree, we should support these restaurants; lest they become a footnote in history. 

Nov 2019

1 hr 4 min

Dr Goh Wei Leong, founder of Healthserve, shares practical advice about starting a charity in this episode. Even if you're not intending to start a charity, these are principles that are applicable more generally to any endeavour you may undertake.Dr Goh Wei-Leong, a general practitioner, co-founded and chairs HealthServe (instagram, twitter: @HealthServeSG), an NGO that reaches out to under-served foreign workers in Singapore. HealthServe and Wei-Leong were awarded the ‘Singaporean of the Year 2017’. He has a personal mission to be a ‘Catalyst Bringing Life!’ and is passionate about social justice and connecting people to one another. He also thoroughly enjoys engaging millennials over a good cappuccino. Dr Goh cares deeply about life and keeps a regular rhythm of rest, reflection and work to constantly calibrate true north.3 things I learnedWhen staring a charity, you need a team around you. Don’t be afraid to sell your friends about your vision, and look for domain expertise amongst them and then ask for help - people with the skillsets that can help solve your problems (e.g. provide legal or financial advice) You might face rejection, but choose instead to celebrate the little successes - the people who say yes and get behind you. And even the people who say no at first - they may come on board a couple of years later Practically - funding structure for charities. You want to tap on the larger corporate CSR budgets, but at the same time it’s useful to mix that with a broad base of individual donors so that you’re not beholden to one giver. 

Nov 2019

32 min 26 sec

Dr Goh Wei Leong has started one of the most respected and effective charities in Singapore, Healthserve. In this episode, he talks about how he started Healthserve, and the lessons he has learned along the way.Dr Goh Wei-Leong, a general practitioner, co-founded and chairs HealthServe (instagram, twitter: @HealthServeSG), an NGO that reaches out to under-served foreign workers in Singapore. HealthServe and Wei-Leong were awarded the ‘Singaporean of the Year 2017’. He has a personal mission to be a ‘Catalyst Bringing Life!’ and is passionate about social justice and connecting people to one another. He also thoroughly enjoys engaging millennials over a good cappuccino. Dr Goh cares deeply about life and keeps a regular rhythm of rest, reflection and work to constantly calibrate true north.3 things I learnedDevelop a practice of reflecting and articulating your experiences. Dr Goh mentions that what consolidated the lessons that he had learned from the mission trip was articulating these thoughts to his friends. Having to put your thoughts into words forces you to process them on a deeper level. Think about overseas mission trips not as siloed events, but as part of a larger narrative about being generally attentive to the needs of people around you and growing to become a better person. Actively think about how this mission trip fits into the rest of your life, and how you would apply what you’ve learned on a day to day basis. Whenever you start something, there’s a good chance that you’ll miss what people really want/need. Instead, you need to listen to the people you are serving, and find out what their needs actually are. You might have grand plans, but mix that with the humility of engaging your users and learning from them. 

Nov 2019

53 min 48 sec

Brennan Ong trained as a lawyer in Australia, but he has since gone on to start one of the hottest legaltech startups in the world. In this episode, we explore his entrepreneurial journey, and how he ended up leaving the legal profession to start a law tech startup.Brennan is the founder and CEO of LawAdvisor. He is a qualified lawyer, developer and former PhD scholarship candidate researching the future of legal practice. Brennan was the winner of the Chief Justice’s innovation award, was a shortlisted finalist for the LexisNexis Centenary Book Awards, and through LawAdvisor, wants to use his understanding of modern day technologies and legal process to allow the profession to better meet its goal of providing access to justice.LawAdvisor is a cloud-based platform that enables legal professionals, businesses, and everyday people work together on their legal matters. Through a strong foundation to make the law more accessible, LawAdvisor designs and develops legal technology to solve legal problems and redesign the legal services experience. LawAdvisor was founded in Melbourne, Australia and has since expanded to London to continue developing its enterprise solutions as well as expand access to legal remedy.3 things I learned:Parents - encourage your children and help them believe in their own ability. It’s amazing to see how far this positive mindset can take a child. Brennan’s parents made him feel that he could do anything, and he took that attitude into all his ventures. Where others might have wavered or not dared to take the first step, Brennan decided that he could master construction law. And write research papers. And publish a textbook. And start a law tech company.‘Everything at the end of the day is learnable’. Notice how Brennan trusts himself to learn anything, given enough time. Notice also how he sees education (e.g. his law degree) as teaching him how to learn. If you believe in your ability to learn, you will be bolder in launching yourself into a new field you might know little about at first. And you’ll be eager to do so, because it represents a learning opportunity even if it doesn’t work out.Brennan’s energy was a theme throughout the conversation. He is constantly trying new things and meeting new people, and I believe that energy has helped stir up more opportunities for him.

Oct 2019

1 hr

Loh Yi Jun trained as a chemical engineer, but now draws his income from blogging about new fusion recipes he is creating, guest writing for other food blogs and running a podcast on the Malaysian food scene. We talk about the challenges and joys of being a freelance blog writer.Yi Jun (instagram: @yijunjunn; http://junandtonic.com) is a chemical engineer turned chef, food writer, and podcaster. At 23, right after graduating from Cambridge, he took a plunge and dived headfirst into the world of food—signing up for culinary school in London and Paris, working at the farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, and now running his own food blog and podcast, Breaking Bread. His Saveur-nominated blog—Jun & Tonic—explores the quirky side of Asian food and cooking. His articles on food have also featured on Food52 and Taste.Check out Yi Jun’s food blog here and his podcast here. 3 Things I LearnedSide projects may be an interesting way of developing new skills. Yi Jun got into blogging because he wanted to improve his English writing, and he got into podcasting because he thought it would improve him as a conversationalist and would force him to be responsible for keeping the conversation interesting. But he makes the process of learning these new skills fun and enjoyable for himself because he uses them for something he is passionate about - food Consistency is key for content producers. But it’s useful to examine how it affects you internally. Once you stop, you lose momentum, lose motivation and you break your streak. So keep showing up. (For podcasters like me) Yi Jun’s rule-of-thumb for guest selection: find people whom you think are interesting and whom you’d like to speak to. If you follow your area of interest closely and keep up to date with what’s new and exciting, chances are you’d have quite a good barometer for what would engage your audience as well. 

Oct 2019

51 min 38 sec

Loh Yi Jun trained as a chemical engineer, but now experiments with fusion cuisine. He runs a blog junandtonic.com and a weekly podcast, breaking bread. In this episode, I speak to him about going through culinary school and then staging in one of the world's best restaurants.Yi Jun (instagram: @yijunjunn; http://junandtonic.com) is a chemical engineer turned chef, food writer, and podcaster. At 23, right after graduating from Cambridge, he took a plunge and dived headfirst into the world of food—signing up for culinary school in London and Paris, working at the farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, and now running his own food blog and podcast, Breaking Bread. His Saveur-nominated blog—Jun & Tonic—explores the quirky side of Asian food and cooking. His articles on food have also featured on Food52 and Taste.Check out Yi Jun’s food blog here and his podcast here. 3 things I learnedIt was just so fun to learn more about the world of food and high-end restaurants. I learned about the French kitchen brigade system, the trends in cooking (molecular gastronomy and the farm-to-table movement) and what a chef’s life is like on a day-to-day basis. Working as a chef is far more difficult than I imagined. Think 14 hour days (11am-1am) all the time on your feet, half hour dinner breaks and not seeing your friends because you have to work on the weekends. There’s also a culture of starging, where you work as an intern at a renowned restaurant and get food and lodging provided but earn nothing / a minimal stipend. Yi Jun’s time at Blue Hill taught him loads, but also made him realise that he did not want to work as a chef. Yi Jun made a great point about kindness in the midst of stressful situations. Whilst tempers often flared in the high stress environment of a kitchen, the people who made the biggest impact on him were those who approached tense situations with a high degree of kindness. I’m reminded of how lots of other professions are stressful too, but it’s the people who can keep their cool and keep being kind that command the most respect.If you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better! 

Oct 2019

1 hr 1 min

Seng Henk (instagram: @goseng) has been working and performing in the UK for the last 6 years. Born in Singapore, he was a competitive gymnast for 10 years before discovering his passion for the stage through theatre clubs in school. He danced professionally in Singapore for the next couple of years with Frontier Danceland and Re: Dance Theatre, as well as with entertainment companies White Noise Creations and SAF MDC. Thereafter, to expand his skillset, he pursued a degree in Musical Theatre at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in London. Upon graduation, he joined the original West End cast of Disney’s Aladdin in the Prince Edward Theatre London, performing and understudying the role of Iago, as well as acrobatic ensemble. He has just finished the International tour of Miss Saigon over the last 2 years having performed and understudied the lead role of The Engineer as well as Club owner, and as acrobatic ensemble.3 Things I learnedThe difference between Western and Eastern teaching styles. In a nutshell (with heavy generalisations): Eastern training is harsher, a more top-down approach - this builds resilience but sometimes comes with the cost of stifling dancers’ creativity. Western training focuses more on using praise as motivation, with the opposite effect.When Seng Henk teaches, he tries to communicate to students that ‘better than yourself’ should be the goal they work towards. I like this concept of always striving to improve. The time in between shows can be aggravating and scary. But it’s not difficult to find work as a gig worker, even in Singapore. Seng Henk has interesting ideas about how corporate gigs should not be looked down upon, and they represent an opportunity to push the envelope in terms of creativity and artistry. This could lift the standard of dance in Singapore in general. Here are links to some things we talked aboutMiss Saigon (musical) - https://www.miss-saigon.com/ Check out the engineer especially Follies (National Theatre production) https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies‘I’m still here’ (song by Stephen Sondheim in the musical Follies) sung by Elaine Stritch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xz1TUgdG6A or by Tracie Bennett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TInk1BcbAMQRADA - Royal Academy of Dramatic Art https://www.rada.ac.uk/Singapore Art Elective Programmes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Elective_Programme_(Singapore) Cheng Ballet https://www.chengballet.org/If you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better! 

Oct 2019

1 hr 1 min

Seng Henk (instagram: @goseng) has been working and performing in the UK for the last 6 years. Born in Singapore, he was a competitive gymnast for 10 years before discovering his passion for the stage through theatre clubs in school. He danced professionally in Singapore for the next couple of years with Frontier Danceland and Re: Dance Theatre, as well as with entertainment companies White Noise Creations and SAF MDC. Thereafter, to expand his skillset, he pursued a degree in Musical Theatre at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in London. Upon graduation, he joined the original West End cast of Disney’s Aladdin in the Prince Edward Theatre London, performing and understudying the role of Iago, as well as acrobatic ensemble. He has just finished the International tour of Miss Saigon over the last 2 years having performed and understudied the lead role of The Engineer as well as Club owner, and as acrobatic ensemble.3 Things I learnedAs a professional dancer / artist, much of the day is self-directed and spent on self-improvement i.e. personal gym work, singing classes etc. ‘Your body is your business’; all this self-improvement work is meant to upgrade your skills and ‘develop your business’. Feeling inadequate and being self-critical is an almost unavoidable occupational hazard. As a performer, you're always looking in a mirror both literally and figuratively speaking. The feedback often seems to be personal and directed to you: ‘You didn’t sing well’; ‘You’re not dancing well’.Seng Henk’s advice? Forget quickly and learn to move on. After the audition, you can’t change what you’ve done, so there’s no point beating yourself up. Let it go and focus on the next thing. Acknowledge your flaws, acknowledge reality, and show them everything else you can do. (More on this in Part 2 of our interview) It is a privilege to be able to pursue this line of work. Seng Henk’s relative stable life circumstances gave him the platform to pursue this unconventional career without having to worry about other commitments. He also benefitted greatly from a school system that allowed him to explore this passion.  Here are some references to the things we discussed:Frontier Danceland, LEAP programme - http://www.frontierdanceland.com/archives-album-main/LEAP/Re: Dance Theatre https://www.dance-web.org/re-dance-theatre/Rambert Dance School (London) https://www.rambertschool.org.uk/London Contemporary Dance School https://www.lcds.ac.uk/‘atas’ - (Singlish) Meaning sophisticated and classy with slight hints of being snobbish Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts http://bird-college.com/he-fe/Cunningham technique https://www.mercecunningham.org/the-work/cunningham-technique/Graham technique https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_techniqueRelease technique https://www.contemporary-dance.org/release-technique.htmlAkram Kahn http://www.akramkhancompany.net/Matthew Bourne https://new-adventures.net/profile/sir-matthew-bourne-obeAladdin - Disney Musical in London’s West End https://aladdinthemusical.co.uk/Miss Saigon (musical) - https://www.

Oct 2019

55 min 23 sec

Nabil (instagram: @nabilaliffi) is the director of digital fashion in Selfridges, a chain of high end department stores in England. In his current role he leads a team of 120 people and coordinates Selfridges' brand position across a variety of media platforms. Back in 2009, Nabil received the Mendaki scholarship to study Fashion Management in London College of Fashion. Prior to graduating, he was offered a job as an Art director in Urban Outfitters, where he rose to the role of Creative Director, before being headhunted to his current position in Selfridges. In 2013, Nabil was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Youth Promise award by the government of Singapore.3 Things I learnedThere’s not much hand-holding in a creative education. It’s not wise to expect a finished product spoon-fed to you. Nabil’s perspective is interesting: the right way to think about it is that it’s the opportunity to pursue projects that develop your artistic voice, your skills and your network. Because people will help young students who are eager to learn. And you’re psychologically safe in the knowledge that even if you fail in these side-projects you’re (hopefully) still on the road to graduating with a degree.  Start with a low stakes side project, but don’t be afraid to push it as far as it takes you. Case in point: Vulture magazine that Nabil started - eventually it was his ticket to a job. More on this in the podcast. I learnt so much about how the fashion world works in this chat with Nabil. I now have a greater appreciation for how it is a lens into society. It draws a lot of inspiration from subcultures, and puts the spotlight on what is topical / what the next wave would be. This can be a significant force for good - e.g. pushing forward ideas of diversity and sustainability. Here are links to some of the things we talked about...Vulture Magazine Singapore https://vulture-magazine.com/Urban Outfitters https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/en-gb/Stephen Briars and the Conran Shop https://www.zetteler.co.uk/news/2018/10/25/the-conran-shop-stephen-briars-qaSelfridges https://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/If you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better! 

Sep 2019

49 min 35 sec

Nabil (instagram: @nabilaliffi) is the director of digital fashion in Selfridges, a chain of high end department stores in England. In his current role he leads a team of 120 people and coordinates Selfridges' brand position across a variety of media platforms. Back in 2009, Nabil received the Mendaki scholarship to study Fashion Management in London College of Fashion. Prior to graduating, he was offered a job as an Art director in Urban Outfitters, where he rose to the role of Creative Director, before being headhunted to his current position in Selfridges. In 2013, Nabil was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Youth Promise award by the government of Singapore.3 Things I learnedHow do you stand out? Instead of competing in the usual rat race, can you find something off the beaten track that you’re interested in and where your chances of doing well are improved because not that many people are in that space? Worth checking out this piece by Petter Thiel https://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-thiel-competition-is-for-losers-1410535536You’re rarely out, even if you’re down. In Nabil’s case, his A level results may have shut the door to his original plans to pursue a liberal arts degree, but it gave him the impetus to pursue something that was arguably even better. Credit to him for daring to pivot. Still, doing something non-conventional is still very scary though. You can see that it took certain life events to push Nabil to do something different. And even so, Nabil needed time to process this decision and come to terms with it. You need grit. Grit to look (and even ask) for opportunities and pursue extra-curricular activities. Grit to look for the next way to apply yourself even if life closes one door. Grit (courage) to say yes to projects that seem scary and demanding at the outset. Even when Nabil was unsure about his future, he was still seeking out opportunities in the fashion scene. Here are links to some of the things we talked about...Grit by Angela Duckworth https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grit-passion-resilience-secrets-success/dp/1785040200/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=Olivier Rousteing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_RousteingBalmain https://www.balmain.com/Raffles Institution https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raffles_InstitutionRaffles Runway https://www.instagram.com/rafflesrunway/?hl=enSingapore Fashion Week https://www.instagram.com/singaporefashionweek/?hl=enDaniel Boey https://www.danielboeycreatives.com/Tan Kheng Hua https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tan_Kheng_HuaHaute Couture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_coutureIf you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better! 

Sep 2019

43 min 27 sec

Ali is a junior doctor who graduated from Cambridge University in 2018. Alongside his day job saving lives, he has a YouTube channel with over 200,000 subscribers and runs a business that helps students get into medical school. He also writes weekly articles about productivity, education and technology.3 Things I’ve learnedIgnore the whole legal and financial side when starting a company. You don’t actually need to worry about it until you have some amount of success and people start noticing you; by which time hopefully you are making enough revenue to deal with these issues anyway. Keep things simple and focus on the product when you get started. Start with low expectations that you can meet. Instead of getting carried away with seemingly unachievable ‘goals’, double down and focus on ’system’. ’System’ is your pipeline by which you churn out your content or get work done consistently. System is what will eventually help you reach your goals How to think about time and our use of it. It is never a case of ‘I don’t have time for this’, but rather ‘I don’t have enough motivation to do this’. We need to remember that fundamentally we all have control over our time, and it’s always a choice that we make to do what we most want to be doing at that point in time. This is incredibly empowering. We just need to be honest with ourself about our choices of how we spend our time and what matters most to us. Here are links to some of the references we make during the podcast:6med https://6med.co.uk/BMAT https://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/bmat/UKCAT https://www.ucat.ac.uk/ Dumbledore quote: ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live’ Stripe https://stripe.com/Goals vs System https://jamesclear.com/goals-systemsSeth Godin’s article ‘Get to vs have to’ https://seths.blog/2008/09/get-to-vs-have/Ali’s video - Three books that changed my life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv1gOEY3cs4The 4-hour Work Week (by Tim Ferriss) https://amzn.to/2ZLCWZdShow your work (by Austin Kleon) https://amzn.to/2ZU0LODAnything you want (by Derek Sivers) https://amzn.to/2ZSufftIf you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better! 

Sep 2019

38 min 5 sec

Welcome to episode 1 of the Alternative CV podcast. In this episode, I get started on my podcast, and I talk to Ali Abdaal about the concept of getting started on things.Ali (twitter: @aliabdaal) is a junior doctor who graduated from Cambridge University in 2018. Alongside his day job saving lives, he has a YouTube channel with over 200,000 subscribers and runs a business that helps students get into medical school. He also writes weekly articles about productivity, education and technology.3 Things I’ve learnedAli’s trick to growing his YouTube channel from 0 to >250k subscribers. He started simple, but constantly strives to make his videos incrementally better each time. Why some people suffer from burnout, and how to balance this against consistency. Ali introduces this concept of ‘hustle vs chill’ - examine your overarching motives, and think about whether it is the right decision to just hustle as hard as you can. What are you sacrificing? Is it worth it? How to overcome the fear of starting something new and putting yourself out there. In a nutshell: share something educational/valuable to the world. Here are links to some of the references we make in the podcast:Casey Neistat (Youtuber) https://www.youtube.com/user/caseyneistatGary Vaynerchuk https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/How to study for exams -  evidence-based revision tips (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukLnPbIffxE&t=2sTaking notes on iPad as a medical student (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waR3xBDHMqwTaking notes on iPad for engineering students (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoXYOn8UPo8Ali’s desk setup video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rApxWtDIRAMHow I ranked 1st at Cambridge University - the essay memorisation framework (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-46Vyiwat_YConsistency is key to youtube success - Casey Neistat’s advice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lDQc1mGAvYHustle vs Chill https://aliabdaal.com/hustle-vs-chill/‘Show your work’ by Austin Kleon https://amzn.to/2J3GHUeYou can find out more about Ali here.If you have enjoyed this episode of The Alternative CV Podcast please subscribe, share this episode and leave a comment or review so that I know what you like and what I can do better on. Get in touch at hello@alternativecv.fm. Thanks so much for helping me make this show better!

Sep 2019

30 min 44 sec

In this introductory episode, I share what this podcast is about, why I am doing this and what you can expect!

Sep 2019

6 min 52 sec