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The Movie – The Martian

Posted March 31, 2016 by in CEO Updates

Mr. Chong Chee Wah
Founder & CEO

Dear Readers,

This month, I was deeply honoured to receive the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. As I reflected on my 7 years of entrepreneurship journey, the four flavours set in – sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Imagine experiencing maximum emotions and flavours exploding all at the same time and also mental experiential learning… finally coupled with high chance of fatality….. To me, this is entrepreneurship.

In my acceptance speech, I spoke about the Movie – The Martian where Matt Damon played the role of NASA astronaut Mark Watney who got stranded on Mars.

In that movie, he said “at some point everything will go south on you. You will say – this is it. This is how I end. At this point, you can choose to accept or you can get to work. You solve one problem. Then you solve next problem. And then next. Until the day you solved enough problems, you get to go home.”

These words resonated a lot with me and my journey. Many people saw the glam of entrepreneurship. The drive. The passion. The dream. Yes, all these are present. But only one side of the coin. Many did not talk about the other side of the coin.

Few spoke about the reality. The anguish. The heartbreaks. The pain. The backstabbing. Those words in the movie depict the reality.

As entrepreneurs, nothing beats the will to survive. As entrepreneurs, our odds are stacked heavily against us, right from Day 1. No one successful entrepreneur would dare claim that from Day 1 – he or she has a significant chance of success. In fact, from the starting line, it is always about survival. We can die anytime, anywhere. Human lives are fragile. Startups too. Startups died. And worst, before dying, the company would suck the last drop of blood out from the Entrepreneurs.

That is the truth. After my acceptance speech, many approached me and thanked me for sharing the movie. They felt that too many of us have painted the success look. No one wants to address the hard work and the harsh reality. We can die anytime.

As for myself, I am indeed honoured to win the award. I do feel that there are many deserving entrepreneurs who deserve the honour too. I was at the right place, right time. Regardless, I am still very much a work in progress. Many problems to solve. In fact, endless problems would be an understatement. I just have to continue to solve problems. Hopefully, someday I will get to “go home.”

My family and friends have been my strongest supporters. They made a tremendous sacrifice to accommodate my pursuit of entrepreneurship – lack of stability and the risk of losing everything. My family sticks with me.

For all my family members, Loved Ones, Good Friends, fellow Founders, and my entire crew – Thank You Very Much. Without all of you, I would not be able to come this far. Thank you.

For all fellow entrepreneurs, we are in unchartered waters. Outsiders may not understand the pressure and pain. But to our fellowship, we know what we are in it for. Thanks to peer encouragement.

Last but not least thank you to Singapore Computer Society for endorsing me with this award. Certainly a big boost and motivation for me.

Thank you.


With best regards,
Chee Wah