A year ago I took a leap of faith and decided to move to South East Asia. Not resembling the soul-searching travelogue of Eat Pray Love or your usual self-absorbed spiritual journey – but a memoir that borderlines deranged recklessness and unshrinking conviction in one crazy individual.
I came to Malaysia to help start a technology platform. This statement packed with irony is anything but dishonest. Yes, this girl from the high-reaching snowcapped mountains of Bhutan had finally decided to pack up her suitcase and her dreams of producing volumes of ethereal poetry and brave the tropics to pretend she didn’t just think you were talking about coffee when you mentioned Java.
I came to Malaysia to help start a company called ServisHero. The idea was straightforward: create a marketplace that connects everyday users with local service providers. Treading the lukewarm waters of the startup ecosystem in South East Asia was, however anything but straightforward. Lucky for me, I joined a team of mavens: a serial entrepreneur who is equal parts mental and brilliant, a tech superstar who inhales caffeine and exhales code, and a finance wiz who is packed to the brim with resourcefulness. Teamed with these hefty figures, my task of stringing words together to communicate our goals and mission was made imperceptibly straightforward – or so I thought so at the time.
For months, I have been contemplating releasing the documentation of the early chaotic days, the unique and often precipitously adrift moments of serendipity, and also the dynamic portrait of a driven and demanding team. I have long wanted this to be a personal didacticism that offers a flight of fancy into the future of any aspiring entrepreneur. The generic ‘you’ who is venturing out into the world of startups, where you will face many struggles. And perhaps also to the less generic ‘you’ who is simply a curious soul looking for some bedtime reading.
This is a first-person perspective of what its like to work in one of Asia’s fastest growing start-ups. Based on true events with varying degrees of accuracy – varying – as they may sometimes be heavily influenced by my tendency to exaggerate and embroider an adequately customary series of affairs. The opinions and conclusions drawn are entirely my own, and not shared by ServisHero or the people I work with. More often than not, I write for a non-existent audience of bibliophiles in the dramatic arts and as you can imagine, my opinions are often smothered with susceptibility and clouted with fanciful epiphanies that only seem normal in my head.
I do hope, however, to give you an inside look at the culture of ServisHero, clarify the values we uphold, and defend how we keep ourselves motivated as we tackle this colossal mission to empower local services in Asia. Although I can’t promise you that I will not veer away from this subject just often enough, offering profiles of the frequently brilliant people I’ve encountered throughout this experience, or that I won’t be spending as much time spouting involuntary nonsense and pestering you with my pervasive skepticism about the present prospects of our world.