If you follow Thailand’s startup scene, you have likely heard of Mimee. Besides running Thumbsup, a Thai tech blog, she has also been one of our guest writers at Tech in Asia. But writing is not the only thing she does. Involved in the tech industry for years, she also has her own startup, Computerlogy, which just received funding from InVent for $1.2 million.
Running a well-known blog and managing a startup well enough to get funded doesn’t sound like an easy job. Tech in Asia talked to Mimee about how she does it.
Who is Mimee?
Her full name is Oranuch Lerdsuwankij but most people know her as Mimee. That’s a nickname from her Chinese name Lin Mimee. She’s a co-founder of Thumbsup and wears another hat as marketing and business development director of Computerlogy, which develops social media management platform SocialEnable.
Mimee’s educational background is in telecom engineering and IT Management. She later turned to business development. Previously, she worked in the telco industry for more than a decade.
What exactly are her roles at Thumbsup and Computerlogy?
Mimee explained that her role in both enterprises are quite similar. She focuses on business development and searching for new business opportunities, especially with Computerlogy. The startup is expanding to regional scale, so her main task is to expand business abroad.
This well-rounded lady said she has her technology background to thank:
With certain technical background, it has been assisting me to think logically and supporting me to learn and capture new technology quicker as well.
Alright, so background and passion in technology is always a plus in starting a tech startup. But how did she get this far?
How and why did you get started in this industry? What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Mimee: Basically I have always had a keen interest in technology and always think of doing a business related to this. It is great fun to utilize business skill-sets combined with IT knowledge.
The decision making point in turning myself into an entrepreneur might have occurred when I was working in a big organization. Then I looked forward 10 years ahead and I realized I could do it. With my degree, when considering my career path, I don’t want to climb a company ladder. I wanted to challenge myself to do something more. I want to have things that are created and done by my own hands. Things that I really love and have fun with.
Prior to leaving the corporate life, at the beginning I had some concerns, but on the day of making the decision to step out for adventuring this way, I told myself to look forward only and wade into this challenging arena with confidence!
Did you face any challenges in particular?
Challenges frequently occur, but mostly from external factors – things that are uncontrollable. Fortunately, we have good working teams. Everyone is a good team player. When facing obstacles, we brainstorm. Finally, we always rectify the problems step by step and point by point.
How do you seek out relevant mentors and people for help?
Throughout corporate life, I was lucky enough to have chances to meet countless extremely smart people. They were also kind enough to share their knowledge with me since they knew I was willing to learn and always ready to adapt myself without ego.
Nowadays, these people also have their own businesses. We frequently meet, talk, and exchange experiences as well as consulting each other on specific expertises.
Does being a female give you advantage in the entrepreneur world?
Sometimes being softer and able to offer personal touching comfort can assist a lot. So far, I can see an advantage being a female particularly in cases when the working team has some conflicts among themselves. A female can mediate and know how to handle and talk to different types of people successfully.
In fact, being a female and having studied as an engineer, I bear certain characteristics and ways of thinking more or less similar to males. However, I have never met any problems or direct discriminations from male colleagues.
What are the necessary skill-sets and attitudes required to succeed in the technology and the startup industry?
First of all, you must ask yourself whether you’re ready to be an entrepreneur or not. The startup trend is booming at this moment, but don’t just think it’s elegant. Now it seems like everyone wants to jump into the startup bandwagon, because it’s more flexible than the corporate world. But at the same time, they didn’t think about the unexpected risks.
However, if you are confident and ready to be your own boss, the next requirements are:
- Think big: Always set bigger targets with challenges beyond reach. The reason is, if we fail, at least we gain the lesson from it. As long as you love what you are doing, it guarantees that you can always stand up again after stumbling. On the contrary, if you think small, your achievement will be small and it will not get you too far.
- Learn about others: Apart from product or business skills, you’re required to have a broad knowledge about humans, because the business will not be driven by you alone. It will only work as a team. You must learn how to operate in a team, differentiate good friends from bad, and select good team players.
Do you have any female role models that you look up to?
I believe there are a lot people like me who look up to Sheryl Sandberg. We have to give the credit of Facebook’s success to this lady, too.
The other person is Aung San Suu Kyi. She’s the Asian lady with extraordinary strength and patience against what happened to her country. Sometime when I face obstacles, I think of her then I realize she has more than a million times bigger issues than any of us. I totally admire her heart and her soul. She teaches me that we should not be easily discouraged.
Do you have any advice for fellow female entrepreneurs?
In fact, nowadays, several females are extremely smart. Actually we’re not inferior to males. Especially having seen the new wave of certain younger generations who are also very capable, I would like to express to them that women have our own strengths.
Even though you might be working in a corporate world, I would like you to keep the experience and start coordinating with others as much as possible. Learn from them. Volunteer to do bigger assignments. Take a chance to lead some projects in order to set yourself to leadership and dare to express yourself. When the time comes, you will be ready to be an entrepreneur. All these things that you experienced will automatically train and polish you to become stronger and stronger.
How do you strike a balance between work and personal life?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my family. Each week, we have to at least spend time together once for miscellaneous chats, catch-up, and so on. Despite the amount of work and trying to make money for family, I put the value of my family above all. At the end of the day, wealth means nothing and cannot buy real happiness at all.
Although it sounds like she has a lot on her plate right now, Mimee assures us she can manage her two hats fine. We will still see her articles on Thumbsup as per usual, just maybe not about her startup, as that would be a conflict of interest.
To get more of Mimee’s insights, follow her on Twitter @Mimee.
See more interviews in our Female Entrepreneurship series:
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)
The post Computerlogy’s Mimee: Aung San Suu Kyi and Sheryl Sandberg are my idols appeared first on Tech in Asia.