Tuesday, September 30, 2008

They Start Young These Days

A few days ago I got an e-mail from a fellow Nuffnanger

It reads:

Dear Mr Timothy,

I am aware your time is rather limited and I would understand if you could not find the time to reply.

My name is Yap Ki-yun, and I am currently a student studying in Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology, located in Technology Park Malaysia, nearby Bukit Jalil.

I just turned 18 in June, and I am now in the 3rd semester of my Foundation program.

There is a module which is Research Method for Degree Study, and there is an assignment. The assignment is that us, the students need to know which company we wish to work for once we graduate.

I realize that there is a 'Career' page in the Nuffnang website, and it was truly helpful since it was launched but I hope to clarify some of my doubts through this email.

Being a blogger myself, and also a Nuffnanger for almost a year now, I have seen Nuffnang continuously improving tremendously since I first joined in last year. It is no doubt fast growing in Asia Pacific and the proof of this is the recent opening of the Phillipines office. In a few years, I expect online advertising to be more competitive as Internet is gaining more users by the day and the number of blogs are increasing.

I am impressed by how Nuffnang has grown so rapidly, and by how the "Nuffies" have managed to do such a great job and have so much fun at the same time.

Long story short, I wish to be a part of Nuffnang after I graduate.I am planning to do Business Computing for my degree majoring in Marketing.

Needless to say it is a long way to go, but I hope to be able to contribute in the future.

May I know what positions will be available for me?

And what skills would be ideal for a student like me to develop in order to work in a company such as Nuffnang?

or courses that is suitable to attend that offers something that we can equip ourselves with.

If you have read till here, I sincerely thank you for your time and your willingness to read.


Now I can't help but say I'm pretty impressed. I mean when I was 18 I really had no clue what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I just thought then that perhaps I was going to go into finance and work in a bank, after all that's what everyone else around me seems to be doing.

But here's someone at that age I once was and has such a clear idea of what he wanted to do.

I replied his e-mail:

Hi Ki Yun,

Thank you very much for your e-mail and most importantly thank you for your vote in confidence of the growth of Nuffnang. That vote does not come unappreciated, having gone through many hurdles in the growth of Nuffnang.

Remember that in the early days of Nuffnang there were many skeptics that had doubt we would come so far... and to be honest today when I look back at how far we've come in such a short time, even I am surprised.
We do however owe it all to a lot of luck and support we've had from the right people, including people like yourself. I admire you for knowing what you want at such a young age. When I was your age (and that wasn't too long ago), I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. Now let me answer your question.

To be honest, all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds work at Nuffnang. We have sales people, ad operations, admin, blogger relations, finance, programmers, designers and more.
I myself studied economics and whatever work experience I had was in finance and now I'm in advertising, isn't that quite a leap. I guess to me it's not so much what background you've had but how willing you are to learn and how passionate you are about Nuffnang and if there is something I appreciate and can't take for granted for is that all the Nuffies are just as passionate as I am about Nuffnang and the things we do, some even more.

Nevertheless, you are indeed making a big decision right now and I think you should think of what you really want to do rather than where you want to work because you're at an age where mindsets change very quickly.

When I was 18 I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I thought that I wanted to work at an investment bank. Once I graduated however, I had this burning desire to be an entrepreneur. Perhaps by the time you graduate you might have found another true calling, and it may not be working at Nuffnang.

So Ki Yun, decide on what you really want to do and preferably try to pick up a course that would give you some kind of skill set like computer science, or accounting or something.

Today I have an economics degree out in my pocket but if you
compare me with someone with an accounting degree, there is nothing that I can do that the accounting degree holder can't.. but there sure is something that he/she will be able to do that I can't ie audit/accounting.

In the next few years when you do graduate, feel free to drop me a mail and I will be more than happy to interview you to see where you might fit in. Good luck in the next few important years of your life Ki Yun!
Do take care. PS: Would you mind if I share your nice e-mail on my blog with my readers?

-Timothy Tiah

Now I know it sounds a little bit like I was discouraging him in my reply... maybe just a little but I was just trying to be honest.

Do you guys agree or disagree with my reply?

I am however fascinated how increasingly a lot of young people at a really young age now know what they want to do with their lives.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Quick announcement: I'm going to be having my first radio interview on Monday with the new Business FM (BFM) 89.9 in Klang Valley. I'm going to be interviewed by a very nice Norina Yahya who has in the past interviewed people the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Lilian Too and some of our local Ministers.

If you're on the way to work or college around 8AM-9AM, tune in and listen to me embarrass myself ok? Haha

The movie Mamma Mia just came out this week. Hundreds of Nuffnangers were among the first to get the chance to watch the movie at a Nuffnang screening we had on Tuesday... but I had to miss it since I was in Manila for work :(

So the very next day I got back, I raced for the cinema and watched the movie! When the Nuffies talked about it that afternoon Firdauz mentioned that I probably wouldn't like the movie since it's a musical and it's true, I'm not a huge fan of musicals.
And this is what I have got to say about the movie:


It was unbelievable!!!

Throughout the whole movie I was singing and dancing in my seat... and when I wasn't doing that I was waving my hands in the air.... I'm surprised the people around me didn't get me kicked out of the cinema.
Let me just try to narrow down why I loved the movie.

1) It was so fun.. great songs.. I LOVE ABBA!

2) Unlike some other musicals I've seen in the past, this one actually had some proper conversation when it wasn't suitable to sing a song. You know I don't quite have a thing for movies where almost every single line in the movie had to be sung.3) Where in many musicals, you often get American Idol kind of singers with strong voices.. like Dreamgirls with Beyonce.... this time in Mamma Mia I felt that the singers (as much as many of them were good)... were like doing it in a very casual kind of singing.

It's like you can imagine yourself in there singing too.

You know... perhaps ABBA's songs are relatively easy to sing but the casual feel of the movie made me want to sing along.... and yes that includes Pierce Brosnan's not so perfect singing. I admit, I burst out laughing when he first started singing but I'm so glad he was in the movie.

4) MERYL STREEP IS AMAZING... that actress is just... WOW! I mean... from Devil Wears Prada to this... she can do ANY MOVIE!!!


5) AMANDA SEYFRIED IS SOOO CUTE/HOT.... well both! (I can't decide)

This movie is a must watch!!! And I REALLY MEAN IT!!!

I left the cinema with a big smile on my face and I wanna watch it again!!!!!

Call me a chick, call me a woman, call me a little fag... I DON'T CARE... I LOVE MAMMA MIAA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mamma Mia... here I go again... my my... how could I resist you!

Here's the trailer if you guys haven't watched it yet....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Day in Manila in the Life of Timothy Tiah

Okay everyone. Last night I came back too tired after my work day and I thought about blogging about how my typical work day here in Manila but then after a while I gave up because I was just wayy too tired.

So tonight, as tired as I am after a full day of meetings and presentations, I am going to blog about my days here in Manila.

I'm staying in the Mandarin Oriental here in Manila.It's a really nice hotel and more comfortable than I could ever imagine. So here's how my morning starts.

I wake up really early in the morning to the sound of my alarm clock. I turn off my alarm clock and try to steal a few minutes sleep until I realize that I'm going to be late. The funny thing about Manila is that the sun rises early, like really early... and it sets early too. By 6PM it's totally dark, like as if it's 10PM in Malaysia.

I drag myself out of bed and when I look back the bed is a mess.


I mean this is how the bed looks like before I sleep on it.

and this is how it looks like once I get my lazy self out of it in the morning.

Yeah... I know.. it looks like a warzone.... even the comforter seems to have almost fallen off the entire bed.

I sleep like a barbarian.

I quickly rush to the bathroom to wash my face to make sure I'm awake.. you know so that I'm not tempted to fall asleep in my bed again.

Then I take a hot warm shower and get dressed for work.
I pack up my stuff and then leave my room to walk down this long corridor to the elevators to head downstairs for my breakfast.

The hotel has a great breakfast every morning. It's a buffet kind of thing and they have chefs to help you fry eggs or.. you know have all sorts of things.

Plus there's my favourite and very very oily hash browns that I almost can't seem to get enough of.
I struggle so hard to eat my breakfast. I mean the food is great but it's just waaayyy too early to be up in the first place.. but oh well... when you gotta work you gotta work.

After breakfast I walk into the hotel lobby.

Then out into the porch to wait for a driver to take me to work.

Now I have had a few types of work days so far.

One type was when I spent most of my time in the meeting room of our Nuffnang Philippines office working some things out with our Pinoy Nuffies and getting updates on how the operations are going on there.

I occassionally get to peek out of that glass room at everyone else.

Then there are my other days like today where I spend almost the entire day from morning to evening meeting clients and giving presentations to them only to occasionally break for lunch at a place like Max Brenner with some of our Nuffies.

Or if I'm lucky I get to have lunch with the whole Nuffnang Philippines team including the Bosses of Outcomm Inc, Jay and Eric who are the nicest people ever.

After lunch it's normally back to the office or back to my meetings and the only next quick break I get is perhaps a quick Starbucks with some of the Nuffies in between some meetings.

My schedules for both work days I've had in Manila so far have been packed to the ultimate brim. That seems to be the case for all my work trips here... up till now I haven't actually had a chance to sight-see or even shop a little.

It's always come to Manila, then work work work until I leave.

The good thing though is that I love our Nuffnang team here too! They're a bunch of fun people and very often after a long day's work we have dinner together and if we're lucky... drinks!

Last night we went to this popular bar here in Manila called Fiamma.

I mean you'll be surprised man.. it was a Monday night and by the time it hit 11.00PM, the bar filled up with people... all on a Monday night!!!

Geraldine told me in the club
"Monday is the new Friday Tim".

Well I could use a lot more Fridays in my week.

At Fiamma we had some drinks, talked a little, joked a lot and some of us danced our stress away.

Especially Jay.. he's a great dancer.

After drinks I get sent back to the hotel and by then I'm really half dead but here's the thing I love about hotels. I open the door to my room and I come back to a fresh room, everything all made up thanks to housekeeping.
It's so nice having someone tidy up your mess sometimes hehe.

I sit on my computer for a while to clear all the hundreds of e-mails I have and then straight away go to bed.

Before I know it... it's morning again and it's another day at work.

It's tiring.. really tiring and even tomorrow morning for example I have an early start with meetings all the way from morning till dinner but I guess there are two things that keep me going: I love what I do and I love the people I work with.

Because of that... I think I'm one of the luckiest people on Earth. I hope all of you will share the same joy as me someday.

Gotta go to sleep now everyone. Long day of work tomorrow.

This is Timothy Tiah.. signing off!

PS: Suanie asked me to pimp this 88DB Ad she posted up and is in the chance of winning the grand prize. Go help her vote if you have the time. Click here

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mr. Happy Goes to Manila

Gosh I've been traveling back and forth so much lately that I'm beginning to feel the strain. I mean I was just back in KL for a few days when this morning I found myself in KLIA with my bags packed again wearing my trusty "Mr.Happy" t-shirt.

My "Mr.Happy" t-shirt seems to be my default traveling shirt. Like whenever I board a plane I'm wearing that shirt.

This morning I was at the McDs in KLIA when I walked to the cashier to place my order.
The minute the cashier saw me she said
"Mr. Happy!!!".

I smiled at her and said
"Yes... good morning.. Mr. Happy would like a Sausage McMuffin set with egg please".

Anyway after my Sunday morning breakfast I boarded the plane and a few hours later...

Helloooooooo Manila!
I'm down in Manila for much of this week to meet up with the Filipino Nuffies at our office here and get some things sorted out. Nuffnang Philippines seems to be taking off really quick. Just a few weeks after our launch and we now have close to 1,000 Nuffnangers signed up here and we're in the midst of launching our first ad campaigns.

Whew... the excitement.

I really kinda like Manila. It's just... nice and the people here are so warm.

I was walking on the street and a policeman walked past me and greeted me
"Good evening Sir".

I was a little taken aback.... I mean I've never been greeted by a policeman before merely for walking any street in any part of the world.

Ahh anyway, I gotta get ready to go to bed soon guys. Have an early start tomorrow with the Pinoy Nuffies.

Nite nite! Will blog more about my trip here in time to come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Day with our Singaporean Nuffies in KL

Some of the Nuffies from the Singapore office are down in KL these few days so we've all been having quite a lot of fun.

Our days are spent in our KL office with Bob Marley playing in the background and with occasional shouting, screaming and laughing.

And of course there is the occasional chilling session at Nuffie's corner.

We're all such typical bloggers. Everyone camwhores whether in the office, or at dinner or heck even in the lift while going down for lunch.

Then came dinner time.

Something that everyone who works at Nuffnang agrees is that everyone working here feels like family. And when families get together for a reunion (eventhough it's only half of us that manage to make it to KL), we go for a good dinner.

This time it was STEAMBOAT DINNER!!!

For these dinners, Ming specifically instructs that we "whack everything" or in other words, don't save on the food!

So we ended up ordering enough food to feed an army.
Then the time came for us to order our drinks.

I asked for a "watermelon juice" and the waitress asked
"Big or small?"

Ming shouted right away

The waitress wanted to make sure... she said
"Big is really big you know?"

Ming looked at her for a few seconds and then said

So our watermelon juice came!
This is how I think all juices should be served. Not in any lesser cup.

Over dinner we all had a good talk about everything. It first started with a lot of teasing one another and a lot of jokes but it then everyone took turns to tell us all how they felt about working for Nuffnang.

As Nicholas described it
"It doesn't feel like work".

Then Ming went on to share the future of Nuffnang with everyone.

With the US and the world economy in the worst financial crisis we've had since 1929, things aren't looking too good. For example, as of March 07, AIG was worth $179billion but as of this month September 08 it's worth only $5.7 billion.Right now in Malaysia, we've already started to see some cracks.

I read an article the other day in The Star about how a number of merchants are facing a slowdown in business even so close to Hari Raya whereas in previous years, business during Raya had always been great.

"A Storm is up ahead"... Ming said... "and we all have to make sure we're ready for it".

And he's right, as much as Nuffnang has achieved so far none of us can afford to rest for the true test of the stability of any business is its ability to survive during recessions. Nuffnang is about to be put through the test of its time. During a recession of this magnitude, I would imagine costs may go up and ad spend may go down.

After our wonderful dinner we proceeded to do a little more camwhoring starting with my very first picture with our newest Nuffie: Raine.

Then a group picture with everyone else who was able to make it that night.

To the rest of the Nuffies that didn't make it.. don't worry. We'll have a big end of the year dinner for everyone ok?

While heading back home at the end of the night, Ming said to me
"I think we have one of the best most passionate teams we can ever ask for."

I nodded my head and let out a smile.
"Yes we do.... yes we do".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The House of Commons

When I was studying in London I used to watch the House of Commons debates that they often aired on TV.
It's basically a debate between the two main political parties there, the Labour and Conservative where they would question and defend one anothers' policies.

The leader of the opposition now is this guy named David Cameron and in this debate I'm about to show you guys, he's debating with the Prime Minister of Britain at that time: Tony Blair.

Both Tony Blair and David Cameron studied at Oxford University in their younger days.

Now I have to admit something... that I love watching these debates.

It's just amazing and it's not just because they all speak really well and with facts rather than just talk but look at the way they respond to one another.

Sure they bash each other but they both respond with class. Neither one of them were defensive or emotional when they were getting bashed.

I mean heck... with most other people... I would imagine if you were bashed in a debate especially with some personal attacks, sooner or later it'll get messy with someone throwing an F word at another but this doesn't seem to happen here at all.

Watch this one and you'll see what I mean.

I am truly impressed.

And when you're done with that, check out this dubbed spoof version.

I wanna be able to debate like that some day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Unsung Successful Entrepreneurs: The Beef Noodle Lady

I like reading the stories and lives of the young successful entrepreneurs in Malaysia simply because I draw a lot of inspiration from them... to strive to maybe be as successful as some of them are some day.

But after a while if you've been actively reading things like that you begin to feel that you keep hearing the same stories over and over possibly because.. well maybe there aren't that many of those around but I started wondering why... I mean there are 25 million people in Malaysia, there can't be only like a handful of young successful entrepreneurs.

So I started paying a lot of attention to people around us and this week I'm back in Penang.

I was going for lunch today with some of our Penang Nuffies and we were going to this usual beef noodle stall we always have in Penang. To the locals here it's known as the "Bomba" beef noodle since it's right opposite a fire station.

The person behind the beef noodles is this really young and cute looking girl who looks like she's still in her twenties.
I ordered my food then waited there and started counting the number of bowls she was serving out.

Then I started to do some math to estimate and I really mean estimate how much she makes (I didn't actually ask her... it's rude to ask people how much they make.. haha)

Okay her coffee shop was full and she is the only stall there.

I think the coffee shop can sit about 30 people at one go. She has two sizes for the bowl of noodles she sells. The big one costs RM8 and the small one costs RM6.

I always go during lunch hour but I think she's open in the morning too so lets say for each meal session she has about 3 total table turnovers.

So that's 3 turnovers in the morning and 3 in the afternoon... 6 a day in total. 30 X 6 = 180 people she serves in a day.
She's open 6 days a week so that's about 1,080 people a week and 4,320 people a month. Assuming each person eats only one bowl of beef noodle she sells 4,320 bowls a month.

Now lets say we take the average price of a beef noodle to be RM7 per bowl. That's RM30,240 a month in revenue and RM362,880 a year.

Assuming that of the RM362,880 she makes a year, 60% is used to pay her rent, her ingredients costs and all other costs. She would make about RM145,152 a year or RM12,096 a month just from selling her beef noodles.

Now I don't know about everyone else but if you're making that kind of money in your twenties... you're doing pretty well.

I wonder if I might see her on a magazine cover one day.

Who knows.. perhaps by the time she's 30 she might have a chain of beef noodle restaurants called

"The Bomba Beef Noodle Shop"

And you'll be hearing their ads over the radio.

Sometimes I wonder why so many young people want to go into online businesses... heck... it's brick & mortar or food businesses like these that make the real money!

Like Ming once told me
"It may not be sexy but it makes money".