Recently, 15 Singaporean entrepreneurs shared with us about their biggest regrets of the year. This time we got hold of 9 Malaysian entrepreneurs who openly shared about their biggest regrets of 2014 in hope that they would give us refreshed motivation to tackle on the coming year. We also have 1 special Malaysian guest who may not be an entrepreneur, but we thought we’d include her for good measure!
This article is meant to be portrayed in a positive light. We thank all these wonderful people for their honest sharing!
Derek Toh is the founder of Wobb.my, an online platform for job seekers to find the perfect work culture for them. Wobb.my launched in August 2014 and already have more than 25 big companies listed to hire employees. Wobb.my was the runner-up for Malaysian Startup Of The Year in our 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards.
“With hindsight, I would probably say I should have started Wobb.my sooner, and not be caught up with the whole corporate world when I already knew for a long time that it wasn’t for me. When you do something that’s growing quickly and you’re passionate about, every morning you wake up and you want to do something amazing that day. And I want to encourage everyone to believe in themselves and not let negative people affect them.”
Teoh Wee Kiat
Teoh Wee Kiat is one of the co-founders of myBurgerLab, one of the top burger joints in the Klang Valley. He is also the founder of UltiAsia.com (Ultimate Frisbee Asia).
“My biggest regret would be NOT setting up clear expectation needed from the management team earlier in the year in order to maintain the excellence that we want.”
Teoh Weng Foo
Teoh Weng Foo is a co-founder of planyourwedding.my, a website that offers nearlyweds opportunities to connect with the right vendors, and newlyweds to share their wedding experiences and expertise. There are over 100,000 real wedding ideas from more than 2,000 vendors on planyourwedding.my.
“It seems that the biggest regret for me is spending one two many months accumulating funding to kickstart the company. Instead of branching out to many (perhaps smaller) sources/investors, we chose to be persistent with a smaller group of potential (but bigger) investors.
This meant it took longer than anticipated in convincing them to part with large sums of capital and this in turn meant more time was exhausted when it could have been used to build Planyourwedding.my immediately. Eventually meaning that PYW could have an earlier start to reach out to nearlyweds; to help much more couples plan their dream wedding, fine tune the products and also overall user experience.”
Khailee Ng is the managing partner of 500 Startups, the world’s most active venture capital investment firm according to CB Insights; co-founder of says.com acquired by Catcha group; and Groupsmore which was acquired by Groupon.
“This year has been terrific, no regrets, truly. Except I have a home renovation project which has gone off track. I could have used the IRON FIST to micromanage that LOL.”
Chan Chui Shia
Chan Chui Shia is the owner of Barkery Oven, one of the few options in Malaysia for home-made gourmet dog treats that are wheat-free, pet-friendly, nutritious and fresh.
“Procrastination is definitely my biggest regret. I regret procrastinating on pursuing the Pet Nutrition course when I had time. Now, with the improved sales and increasingly busy baking schedule, I need to be extremely diligent to set aside a few nights a week to studying on top of the daily operational and marketing tasks for Barkery Oven. This is one of my goals for year 2015 – to be a certified pet nutritionist.”
Xu-Zonne Ho (middle of the picture) is one of the co-founders of Kasi.my, a gift-based app that allows users to send a variety of gifts to their friends for free.
Personal regret –
“Not taking sleep/rest seriously. The team work very late nights and neglect sleep quite often and as a result fall sick quite easily.. which is bad for health and unproductive as it happens too often.
Surprisingly, using a Fitbit to track sleep quality works for me. If the thing says I don’t hv enough sleep, I actually do feel tired that day :p”
Work-related regrets –
“There are a couple but I think not engaging/participating in the startup community enough would be the biggest. We have had invites to a few startup events but couldn’t go as we were a bit caught up with work. When we do actually go to some, the people we met were interesting, intelligent, and also great to collaborate with. I think as a startup, we were very caught up with working on the product and forgot to enjoy the other experiences of being a startup.”
Jack Lee Choon Keat
Jack Lee is the co-founder of Pollbook, Malaysia’s first social polling mobile application. He is also the founder of Tallypress, an online ranking magazine that publishes the results of the top 10 nominees for Malaysian topics every week.
“My biggest regret for the year 2014 is to have made mistakes in the expense of time and money during the process of starting up Pollbook, and TallyPress. As I consider myself a late comer into entrepreneurship, I wish I could be wiser and sharper to be avoiding some of these trials and errors. This regret of the year will surely serve as a reminder and motivation to myself for future years to come! At a different angle, this is at least a fruitful year for me to be able to learn and gain priceless experiences.”
Teh Yong Lin
Teh Yong Lin is one of the co-founders of SCHOLARSTories, a website that provides scholarship hacks through the sharing of experiences from successful applicants. SCHOLARSTories was voted as the Malaysian Startup Of The Year in our 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards.
“My biggest regret? It was a steep learning curve for me in 2014 although, as usual, there are ups and down in my journey, but for me it was all good. In truth, I learnt so much more from my failures and challenges than from my successful story. Perhaps, if there was one thing I wish I could improve, it would be to establish more meaningful relationship while keep holding on my existing friends. Sometimes, time just isn’t enough to do everything, but perhaps I should have tried harder.
I look forward for a more exciting 2015, let’s not let failures hold us back, but as a platform for us to leap further!”
Rickson Goh is the founder of Tourplus, a soon-to-be-released app that is a personal travel assistant to revolutionise your travel experience. The Tourplus app idea made Rickson the winner for the Creative Business Cup Malaysia 2014.
“My greatest regret is not able to tell you that there is not much things I regret to do this year. I made my move towards startup and building a dream that a lot of people dream of.”
And as promised, our 1 special guest:
Melissa Th’ng was on Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 1 and finished in the top 7, doing all Malaysians proud. She models and emcees, while also working as a radio announcer at RedFM.
“I regret not eating more food at the buffet. Haha just kidding. I regret spending time worrying about the number of followers on my social media. At the end of the day, it distracted me from the truly important things. It ate into my family time. I’m never making that mistake again.”
Editor’s Note: It seems that quite a number of entrepreneurs wished that they had ventured into the field earlier! This goes to show that if there is something that you yearn to do in life, stop dwelling about the negatives, take the leap of faith so that you don’t have to worry about the ‘what ifs’ in the future.