Meet 7 Young Game Changers Who Are Shaping The Future of Hong Kong
1/7Kevin Johan Wong
Co-founder of Origami Labs. The startup’s Orii smart ring allows users to make calls and interact with a voice assistant by touching their finger to their ear
My inspiration is my dad. He’s visually impaired but used technology to overcome his disability. He worked for Microsoft and built the world’s first talking computer with Bill Gates in the early ’90s, opening the floodgates to a group of people who couldn’t use computers before. Making technology accessible for people who can’t use screens is our mission with the Orii ring; wearable tech is much more than just a fad.
All successful entrepreneurs share a fearlessness of the unknown. Most of the time, as an entrepreneur you’re a pioneer. This means a lot of very basic decisions are hard as there’s no reference point. In the face of the unknown, most people are conservative; successful entrepreneurs are defined by an innate desire to explore that dark, unknown space.
My productivity hack is to fail a lot. We’re a very iterative company—we focus on doing, failing and learning fast. It’s something we live and die by.
Actress, model and singer
One of the defining moments in my career was when I was 15. My first EP came out and it did really well, so there was pressure for me to quit school. It was difficult because my dream was always to become a singer. But I asked myself one question: am I becoming someone I admire? The answer was no. So I let that go and pursued an education at the London School of Economics.
A key trait shared by all successful people is a willingness to sacrifice. A lot of people say, “I want to be successful, I want to be rich.” But what people don’t ask is, “What am I willing to sacrifice?” There’s always an opportunity cost to success.
The next disruptor in the movie industry will be when Hollywood uses an Asian actor in a lead role and the film does well at the box office. I think it’s not too far away, simply because of the economics. The US market is declining and the international box office is becoming much more important, so it’s inevitable. A beautiful inevitability. Do I want to play that lead? Of course!
3/7Max von Poelnitz
Founder of healthy meal delivery service Nosh
A turning point in my life was when I decided to quit my corporate job. I walked to the office during a typhoon, my suit was soaking wet, and I saw everyone arriving with their umbrellas, looking unhappy. I said to myself, “This life isn’t for me.”
The worst advice I ever got was go to college. I shouldn’t have gone. For a certain type of person university is a waste of time. I think I could’ve done more with the cash as well as the time. It costs US$100,000 in America; I could’ve taken that money and built my first company faster.
Every entrepreneur needs to be armed with three skills. You need to know how to sell; I don’t care if you’re an artist, you need to know sales. Secondly, you can’t fear failure. Finally, you need strong leadership skills so other people will work as hard for you as you do.
See also: The Generation T List 2018 Is Now Live
Co-founder of Camel Assembly, a community of creative female leaders who gather to make change
I don’t have any heroes. I hear this from a lot of women—we didn’t have a lot of heroes to look up to when growing up because we were given examples of women who cared to show their bodies more than their minds. I didn’t have a hero so I had to create her in the person that I’m trying to be, to become a role model for other young women.
My favourite quote is by Archimedes: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” I love it because it’s both humbling and inspirational.
The future of feminism is women’s groups that include men. We’ve advocated for that from the beginning. As social consciousness evolves, people will realise that any gender exclusivity is contradictory.
For me, Generation T is the optimism of a generation who believe in themselves and believe in their city.
Co-founder of fashion e-commerce platform Goxip
I came up with the idea for Goxip on the toilet. I was reading a gossip magazine and I liked the clothes a celebrity was wearing but I didn’t know the brand and couldn’t find the items online. I decided then and there to build an app where you can take a picture of the item, find it on the app and buy it straight away—all within your toilet time.
I was surprised to be asked to appear on the cover of Hong Kong Tatler. I don’t think I’m very glamorous at all, despite running a fashion company.
In 10 years, my ambition is to get on the MTR and see every girl on the train browsing Goxip.
The most important decision I ever made was to go all-in on my work. The bigger my profile became, the more opportunities came in from big corporates. But I decided I want to work for myself. I want to achieve success on my own terms, build something from scratch, and share the journey with my amazing team.
See also: Behind The Scenes At The Generation T Cover Shoot
Co-founder of multidisciplinary design studio Lim + Lu
My professional ambition is to leave something behind that people can remember me by. I became a designer because designers leave behind a legacy, whether it’s a building, an object or a piece of furniture. Great furniture pieces live in other people’s lives, get passed down and become something that lives on beyond you.
My definition of success is measured by happiness. It’s enjoying what you do and doing it in an honest manner. As my grandmother says, “It’s not about how much money you make, but rather how you make it.”
The best advice I’ve ever received is don’t bite off more than you can chew. As a small studio, we grow by taking on more projects, but after a while it gets to a point where you’re spreading yourself too thin, and there are consequences to that. There’s only so much time in the day. Don’t listen to people who advise you to always say yes.
Founder of Lynk, a data-driven knowledge-sharing platform
Quality and excellence are non-negotiable for me. That’s the only way to respect the people you work with.
Launching a company on your own is about self-awareness. You need to know your own strengths and weaknesses so you can put yourself together with people who are better than you in different areas. No one is perfect, so you’ve got to complement skill sets when building a team.
I want to be remembered as someone who had a positive impact on the world. Our mission at Lynk is to democratise access to expertise and knowledge. If we can achieve that, I think it can potentially bring a lot of value to society. That’s my ultimate driving force.
My favourite quote is from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. He said, “Starting a company is like throwing yourself off the cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” It’s true and helps you understand that, yes, it’s going to be messy.
View all 50 game changers on the Generation T List 2018.
Words: Lee Williamson | Photography: Callaghan Walsh | Styling: Christie Simpson | Outfits: Theory