With the chapter of 2020 and its rollercoaster of events coming to a close, we thought that it’d be nice to have a look back at what some of Vulcan Post’s top headlines were this year.
As trends changed, so too did the focus of our content in our bid to keep you all updated with relevant and interesting stories.
We picked out 15 from our pool of top-performing articles in 2020 to give you a snapshot of the year through what our readers resonated the most with.
Disclaimer: These articles are not arranged in any particular order, and each of these articles is unsponsored.
30 Under 30 Asia is one of Forbes’ annual lists, and it highlights 300 outstanding individuals and entrepreneurs across the APAC region.
This year, 14 Malaysians mainly from the finance and venture capital sector made the list. Since it came out in April when the pandemic was at its peak and negative news was all around us, content that was as inspiring and lighthearted as this was a breath of fresh air.
As businesses began realising that sticking to the status quo was an outdated move in light of the pandemic, they were pushed to innovate and pivot.
Early on, we spotted 7 businesses who were vocal about their swift pivots—whether it was rolling out a new product, switching markets, or adding a new business strategy.
We then reached out to them to learn what their tipping points were, how they quickly went from ideation to execution, and how they were smoothing out the kinks in the pivot.
Ryan and Karine’s story reminded us that even when unfortunate events can break you down, a simple mindset change coupled with a strong support system can be all we need to begin picking ourselves back up.
They’re proof of that, as they rebuilt their lives and found a new purpose in helping other people improve their own lives too, through a fitness community.
Pay cuts, layoffs, the inability to find a job—3 of the biggest issues that hit Malaysia’s workforce this year. Inspired by Audrey Mah, Klook’s ex-Community Lead and how she created a spreadsheet for her former colleagues to get hired, Allan Phang, an ex-AirAsia employee did the same.
To him, it was a small but powerful initiative, as just one person sharing the list had the potential to impact the lives of over 170 ex-employees on the list (at the time).
Faizul Ridzuan’s decision to buy his 50+ staff AirAsia’s RM399 Unlimited Pass Cuti Cuti Malaysia was one that was made in 10 minutes. At a time when many companies were reducing their workforce, initiating pay cuts or shutting down, this was a shock.
“A company that was giving its employees an interesting and pretty awesome perk in the midst of a pandemic?”, we thought incredulously. But there was more to the story than expected when we interviewed him.
Immediately after MCO was announced, the more privileged Malaysian population quickly jumped to action to help out our less privileged counterparts. Countless campaigns were set up, be it to raise money, food, or PPE supplies.
For our part, we wanted to amplify these causes so we created this list after first verifying that each campaign was transparent in terms of its objective, how much would be raised for how many beneficiaries, who its organisers were, etc.
Mid-way through the year, our government announced the types of aid they would be extending to different communities, and this article highlighted ones that were relevant to our readers.
Many of our readers are from the startup and SME ecosystem, so we wanted to share this information for you to make quick decisions about what initiative to apply for.
Should you start a business with your spouse? It’s an age-old question that many entrepreneurs wonder, but there’s still no definitive answer. It’s personal, after all.
But in Malaysia, we’re no strangers to couple-run businesses. Some have lasted years and become popular brands, proving that it’s possible indeed to manage personal and professional affairs even when their boundaries may be blurred.
How many young millennials do you know of who would say they want to run a hawker business? Most likely none, I’d bet. Shian, however, is different. She’d always known a future of cooking was ahead of her.
Fresh out of secondary school, she worked full time on Uncle Soon Fried Rice, taking over the business from her parents. Several years later, she’s opened multiple branches of the brand in areas saturated with students, their main customers.
Same Tham knew the modelling industry needed change when 12 years later, they were still stuck with archaic and slow hiring processes. To fix this, he launched an app called Modello.
It gives brands themselves full control over the hiring process, and talents who match the job requirements will instantly be notified. The pandemic slowed down their progress a little, but at the time of this article’s writing, they’re expecting to break even very soon.
With 8 more years before it hits a century of operations, Yut Kee has a rich history and a solid fanbase behind it. Previously located at Jalan Dang Wangi, it’s now found along Jalan Kamunting.
One thing that’s remained constant is its chicken chop family recipe that’s been passed down and has fed multiple generations of Malaysian families. But when we interviewed Mervyn Lee, the current proprietor of Yut Kee and grandson of its founder, we learnt that this business may end with his retirement.
If you’re an avid café-hopper, you no doubt would’ve been to, or at least heard of, Pokok.KL. It’s an extremely Instagrammable glasshouse café that can serve up to 400 pax/weekday and 1,000 pax/weekend (before the pandemic).
Its popularity soared and actually opened up the opportunity for its founders to expand their reach in Malaysia’s F&B scene, and they ended up creating Brickhouse Group to manage their multiple brands, Pokok.KL included.
Think of egg fried rice and now his face, voice and signature orange shirt all come to mind. Uncle Roger is Nigel Ng outside of those YouTube videos, and he’s a busy Malaysian comedian in the UK.
Vulcan Post had the chance to interview him despite his schedule and we learnt that while he’s doubtful he’ll achieve such virality again soon, he’s happy with steady growth in the career he loves doing.
For a startup that had just launched in late 2019, the start of 2020 must have been terrifying. With a concept that was rather unique in Malaysia, we had several doubts about its survivability, all of which co-founder Kim could confidently counter.
As a testament to its grit, the brand has since celebrated its first-year anniversary amidst the ups and downs that brick-and-mortar and close-contact businesses had to face, an achievement that’s no small feat.
In a bid to help Malaysians with on-hand cash availability, the government had allowed employees to reduce their EPF contributions for a period of time if needed. Some of us were indecisive, unsure of what to consider before opting to maintain or reduce it.
So we reached out to some known Malaysian finance bloggers for some advice on how they were personally handling their EPF contributions. Considering how the government once again announced the same for 2021, we foresee this information being relevant for a while longer.
From what we can see, our top-performing articles this year had themes that were inspiring or had practical advice/examples for others to emulate.
While we were constantly bombarded with bad news in every way possible, it was nice to see stories that were uplifting, or informative ones that reassured us in specific decisions.
We at Vulcan Post sincerely thank our readers for sticking with us through this year, and we hope that we’ve made an impact on your everyday life. We’ll work hard to bring you even better content in 2021.
For now, take care and Happy New Year’s in advance!
- You can read more articles on Malaysian startups here.
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Featured Image Credit: COCOdry / Anja Chong / Brickhouse Group