While Deadpool continues to slice and dice up baddies with his Ninja-esque shenanigans at the box office, we sat down with another renegade, logistics disruptor and quite literally a Ninja master, Lai Chang Wen, CEO and founder of Ninja Van Logistics for a quick chat on his motivations, aspirations and his thoughts on Napoleon Bonaparte (just kidding Pierre!). After an impromptu screening for weapons and CGI rendered abilities, we sat down to what proved to be worth the price of admission.
Hello Chang Wen, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule. Could you share a bit more about yourself with our followers?
Thanks, it’s an honour to speak at the Home Delivery Summit Asia 2016…Where do I start? Hmm….Tech Entrepreneur Cliche #1: Banker/Consultant leaves his high-paying stable job, partners up with a highly intelligent tech geek, and together they create a piece of disruptive technology that changes people’s behaviors. If this sounds familiar, then you’re hearing from one of those cliches right now!
As a CEO, where do you draw the line between personal and work fulfillment?
For me personally, in order to feel fulfilled in any aspect of my life (including business and relationships), I always find the need to step out of my own comfort zone and avoid anything that induces monotony, That’s why I decided to get into the startup game. Over the last 3-4 years, I’ve been working on my own terms, surrounding myself with the smartest people this region has to offer while working my ass off each and everyday in order to find success.
Who is your industry hero and why?
Elon Musk. On top of being one of only two people to found three billion dollar companies, here are 3 principles that I live by inspired by Elon Musk:
Endlessly Seek Criticism
When Musk was speaking to people about the Tesla Model S, he didn’t really want to know what’s right about the car. He want to know what’s wrong about the car. When I first started Ninja Van, the constant criticism sucked! But all the criticism forced me to never be content, and eventually helped me effectively pivot the company in the right direction.
Elon Musk famously works between 80-100 hours a week while spearheading 3 multi-billion dollar companies. Although this can be quite controversial (especially amongst millenials), I do believe that the right balance of hard work, innovation and time-management can be the difference between extraordinary success and mediocrity.
Never be Satisfied
At just 32 years old, with successful business ventures like Zip2 and PayPal to bank on, Elon Musk amassed more wealth than what most of us can imagine. Rather than being satisfied with his achievements, Elon Musk moved on quickly and set up Tesla and SpaceX. Never rest on your laurels, always look upon improving yourself and new opportunities.
Singapore and Asia are on the precipice of a new age of logistics and e-commerce convergence. Which logistics challenge/opportunity is front of mind for you at Ninja Van going into 2016 and why?
We are currently living in a very exciting time for logistics and E-Commerce. As internet-penetration in the South-East Asian region rapidly, we have noticed a few things;
1) Increase in sales volumes and traffic to E-Commerce websites
2) A growing number of new E-Commerce stores sprouting up all across the region
3) Customers are demanding faster last-mile delivery options + additional flexible collection/delivery services
At Ninja Van, we have been working tirelessly to introduce innovative collection methods so as to make life much easier for E-Commerce merchants and customers. In fact, we recently launched a new collection service called Ninja Collect, where customers can collect their parcels at a convenient location (either automated parcel locker or a partner retail store) in their own time. We are also working on exciting new ways to speed up our delivery process)
What do you enjoy about your job?
The people! I’m very lucky to be surrounded by hungry, intelligent, ambitious and humble colleagues, who are all striving everyday to make this company better. It is with this team that we have built a solid technology base, built new business units and driven sales to heights I never thought possible. We are a young team, and we are always willing to learn from mistakes, always pushing boundaries and hungry to innovate.
Are there any cool projects that you’re currently working on that you could share with our readers?
We have lined up a series of really cool announcements in the next few months, so stay tuned! 😉
Chang Wen will be giving a presentation on the the very latest on ‘click and collect’ logistics at the 2016 Home Delivery Summit on 19th April at the Suntec City Convention Centre. For more information on our speakers and how you could be a part of this exclusive event, click HERE.