by Lee Wan Yi (Singapore)
Technological entrepreneurship, what a mouthful! Truth be told, the very word ‘technological’ was a term already considered too technical for me. However, I bided into this class out of sheer desperation as I needed one more module. To my surprise, by the end of week one, this module was uncalled for and the only reason for my attendance was the fact that I gave Priscila my word. The attendance did not go to waste as the first lesson left a positive impression that convinced me to stay on. I recall uttering to Priscila, “It seems like we can really learn something useful from this class.”
Even then, I still had some reservations. The class was filled with individuals who one way or another seemed to have experience with starting up their own businesses. I felt like a greenhorn and entrepreneurship was foreign to me. Chucking the self-consciousness aside, I was then motivated to be as experienced too. I stuck it through, formed my team and later, befriended entrepreneurship.
Pop Art Inc. was founded and its journey was quite a remarkable one for me with its literal ups and downs. Our team came together by pure coincidence; we were mostly lost and did not know which groups we were assigned to. We then stuck together throughout and made sketches of our business plan. The Vietnam trip though, was a leap of faith and changed everything. Personally, I am a pessimist and a risk adverse person who rarely dares to take the plunge unless I am confident of the outcome. This is perhaps the dilemma that many entrepreneurs like me are caught in. However, Prof’s encouragement, the bursting optimism from the team and my goal to become an entrepreneur pushed me to take that very leap. I guess taking the first step for the first time is often the hardest and now that I have done it, I am definitely more confident of doing it again and again and again.
As mentioned in class, though it seemed like we did not fulfill the primary reason of going to Vietnam, I believe we obtained something more than that, something intangible, something deeper with more meaning. There, I was humbled. I always thought that I was rather street smart; however the trip showed that I was naïve instead. I thought that sourcing for a supplier was easy, but it was not especially when we are in a foreign land with language and culture as barriers. I thought that just as long as I had a brilliant plan, it would work out, but it did not as I found out a brilliant delivery is needed too. However, this trip proved to be fruitful rather than wasteful. Through the incident with our supplier, I have learnt the essence of not being beaten down by such occurrences and that I should take them in my stride and learn from it. I am proud to say I have.
Last but not least, what I love most about this class? The DYNAMICS! I am not sure how many of you will agree with me, but this is one of the least competitive classes I have had experienced in SMU. I honestly do go around boasting to others that this is a friendly class that sincerely wants to help your business and gives constructive, value-adding comments. (I am not bootlicking, but feel free to give me extra brownie points!) So yes, I truthfully thank each and every one for your awesome contribution and for making this a memorable class that I will miss.