EP 216 – Wimintra J. Raj – Founder in Residence at NFQ Thailand – You Need to Find the Right People

by | Jul 16, 2022

The Asia Tech Podcast sat down in the studio at Seven Peaks Software with Wimintra J. Raj, the Founder in Residence at NFQ Thailand.  I have been following Wimintra’s career for years…she is not peaking, but she is surely accelerating!
 
Some of the topics Wimintra covered included:
  • Reinventing herself and accepting that one can not know everything
  • The challenges of running a software company
  • The importance of face-to-face meetings to truly connect to colleagues
  • Mentoring and being mentored
  • The difficulty of hiring great tech talent globally
  • Technology as an enabler for all companies regardless of industry
Some of the other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. I Thought I Was a Big Shot
  2. I Have to Go Somewhere Bigger Than Me
  3. It Took Me All the Way to Germany
  4. They’re Not Only Doing Their Job, They’re Teaching Me
  5. It’s Sophistication

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:27
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia tech podcast today should be an interesting one who do we have in the studio with us today we’re at seven peaks software, which is kind of neat. Thanks for coming, by the way.

Wimintra J. Raj 0:38
Thank you for having me again.

Michael Waitze 0:40
And who do we have today?

Wimintra J. Raj 0:41
Wimintra J. Raj.

Michael Waitze 0:44
So when you were saying before we started recording, it’s a it’s a name for the hospitality.

Wimintra J. Raj 0:52
I don’t know like Wimintra J. Raj sounds like a stage name, don’t you think? But it’s actually a bit. Yeah, a little bit, but it’s actually my real name. And you know, when I was in hospitality,

Michael Waitze 1:03
no one called you Gam,

Wimintra J. Raj 1:05
very few people, very few people, only people that very, very, very close to me. Other than that I insist to be called, couldn’t we? Myntra

Michael Waitze 1:15
but what do you prefer that I call you? Gam?

Wimintra J. Raj 1:18
Actually, really? I don’t know. I think like last year students last year since we last talked I kind of like reinvented myself told me so from women turn on Gam everywhere.

Michael Waitze 1:30
From women to add now your cam everywhere.

Wimintra J. Raj 1:33
Um, you know, the way I dress change, I guess really? I don’t know. Like, yeah, I was wearing sneakers more people have never worn sneakers maybe

Michael Waitze 1:42
today because your dress really nicely. That’s what I’m used

Wimintra J. Raj 1:44
to. Yeah, but actually, I still dress nice. But yeah,

Michael Waitze 1:48
I guess you couldn’t wear sneakers into hotels a lot. No, no, never. Yeah, that was not gonna work so well. No, but what is it about your name? Women, Tara? Is it a popular Thai name? Like, is it Callie? No,

Wimintra J. Raj 2:00
my. My mom came up with it because she said mix it together. And that’s me. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 2:08
And what about your last name? No. Because that’s that’s my husband. Last name. Because that’s not a Thai name. No, no. What is Raj ra J?

Wimintra J. Raj 2:15
Oh, well, his because his dad’s is 50 Indian. And so that’s where it came from. So interesting. So I have those women taraj name and every time I go to the airport, I and people have to pick me up with Desai, women Duran, they would expect someone else. They’ll be like, Oh, I thought you were Indian. Am I Sorry, just not. So

Michael Waitze 2:38
this is one of my favorite stories. When I was at Goldman Sachs. I was in Hong Kong for four or five months trying to help them fix and build a business there. And at the end of my trip, one of my friends friends, who was Hong Kong, who was living in living in Bangkok, living in Tokyo, wanted me to bring something back with them. And it turns out that that thing that they wanted me to bring back was a pink mink coat. Cute. Maybe, maybe, and all I could think of was what is this going to look like when I go through immigration? I’m not kidding. I’m like, oh god pink really like the other thing I could probably explain about a pink mink coat for a guy. First not big. Yeah, he’s just gonna look weird. Anyway, and just going like It’s for a friend I didn’t think was gonna fly anyway. My last name is wa I tease Zed II. Yeah. It’s not a normal name. It’s not abnormal. It’s weights. Right? Like, wait, so fair enough. But what I didn’t know was that in Chinese? There is a name why whi. T said II say Okay, so the guy who was bringing me this mink coat was not expecting me. This is why I’m telling you this because it’s like you at the airport. He literally had a piece of paper written down. I went downstairs to the lobby of the hotel row saying on the day before I was about to leave, and he said to me, I see a guy holding a pink mink coat. And I’m like, that’s for me. And he was like, it says here light say and you’re not Chinese.

Wimintra J. Raj 4:11
Right.

Michael Waitze 4:12
Okay, so it reminds me. Yeah. Anyway, a little bit of a diversion. So if you’ve reinvented yourself this year, see normally I would think if you reinvented yourself, you’d go from Gam, which is a nickname that you’ve used your whole life right? To we mean tra which is like your official given name. Yeah. Which is kind of a cool name anyway, like I go by Michael. Yeah. Yeah.

Wimintra J. Raj 4:38
I guess you know, it’s different, like the way we grow is different, I guess. You know, I think we talked about that before or not like because we talked a lot a lot in the past two years, but I’m like yet coming from hospitality industry, running my own business thing, thinking to myself that I was a big shot. I have always have, but but then prove myself. Actually not. So it’s kind of like, you know reborn a little.

Michael Waitze 5:11
You went more casual because you thought before I was acting like a big shot. Yeah. And I’m just gonna act like me.

Wimintra J. Raj 5:19
Like, I’m just gonna be like, you know, I know what I don’t know. And I don’t know what I don’t know. Yeah. Before it was like I know, I know. I know. Right. And because I know people people make me believe that I know. Like in hotels if you go back every interview everything every event people with the Oh coomans I know she’s law, the best law and then you go back to bed at night and you think should I don’t know. I don’t know. Actually I don’t. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s kind of my my journey. I think

Michael Waitze 5:49
one of the real marks of success is this idea of imposter syndrome. Yeah, I really do. I believe it’s real. Israel, right. Yeah, I know. It’s real for me, too. Yeah. And it’s so strange. Like, you have to get comfortable knowing that you don’t know, stuff. And it’s okay. Yeah, I mean, look, you’ve you started a new job recently. Yeah. What are you doing now?

Wimintra J. Raj 6:10
I’m just basically run a

Michael Waitze 6:13
do that. No, just basically, you’re doing what

Wimintra J. Raj 6:17
I’m doing. I’m running a, an F q teilen. Office, which is, which is the software developing all sources company,

Michael Waitze 6:25
but this is the perfect example. Have you ever run a software company?

Wimintra J. Raj 6:28
I have no idea. No idea about anything. It related.

Michael Waitze 6:34
But don’t you think that previously, building yourself from zero into this expert in the hospitality is now means you know, whether you use your full name, more casual, use your nickname, that there’s going to be a whole bunch of stuff you don’t know. And now you feel like that’s

Wimintra J. Raj 6:51
okay. Yeah, that’s fine. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Whereas before,

Michael Waitze 6:55
whereas if you started doing this before, you’d be like, Oh, my God, I can’t sleep tonight, because I have no idea. Right. Right. Yeah. Anyway, so what is enough? Q? Does it stand for something? I don’t know.

Wimintra J. Raj 7:07
You need to ask last. He has a very, yeah, interesting explanation for it. Yeah, we actually two decades old. So it’s not a new company. Oh, wow. But bank office is very new to yours. And they were looking for someone to run it. And here I am. Run a bunch of tech people. I didn’t know what dependency injection was. But now I kind of do. But it makes me Yeah, that’s it. So we are you know, we planning to grow the office to grow to talent, let’s just say to grow talent, because we really do want quality people and we want to grow potential candidates. Or, yeah, people.

Michael Waitze 7:55
How big is the company right now? Anywhere? Outside of Thailand?

Wimintra J. Raj 8:01
360. Something.

Michael Waitze 8:07
I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the microphone. Is it better? It’s much better? Doesn’t it sound better to you? You’re like, no, no, I don’t know. I can’t hear. It’s more than 300 people.

Wimintra J. Raj 8:17
Yeah. And if you include Europe, it’s actually more than that. Just in Asia is 360 something.

Michael Waitze 8:24
Do you feel like moving into something new? Like you’ve kind of been working to this your whole life? Yeah. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, yeah.

Wimintra J. Raj 8:31
But you know, like walking along. One of the reasons like okay, yesterday, there was a candidate that came in, who actually told me that he Googled me, and then he found me on the true podcast that we did together. And he was like, Oh, my God, I love that podcast. And then he said to me, you know, he blown everything himself coding and English and everything. And then And then he said, this, this is a time where I have to go somewhere that is bigger than me. Somewhere where people can teach me things somewhere where someone can tell me that I was wrong. It has exactly like resonates who how I failed two years ago. Yeah, because you

Michael Waitze 9:13
kind of reach this point where Yeah,

Wimintra J. Raj 9:15
where I’m where I’m going. What do I do now? What Yeah, exactly.

Michael Waitze 9:18
I look to Yeah, right. And it’s this weird thing, right? Like, so many people are so focused on I know everything I can do everything. I don’t need you to tell me what to do. But I think it takes somebody with real self awareness. Yeah, to say I’ve gotten to here but if I want to get way further ya know I need to be around other

Wimintra J. Raj 9:37
exactly what they’ve been you need to have someone that you know tell you that your shit sink, like exactly no serious like in hotels doesn’t like at the end of the day, we go out for dinner together. We open a bottle of champagne or three and everything is fine. Again, nobody tell you. No, nobody tells

Michael Waitze 9:54
you anything. Yeah. Do you feel like you’re still at the stage now because you did this hotel thing for us. What was the name of their company? Mount Hotel? Intel? Right? Yeah. That was the whole thing. Do you feel like you’re still the hotel woman? In some people’s minds?

Wimintra J. Raj 10:09
I still love doing that.

Michael Waitze 10:10
I know, I know. I know.

Wimintra J. Raj 10:13
People still think that like, even in my company, even at an SQ if someone wants to know something about what todo was still come to me, right? There will be like, where should I stay? Where should I eat, where to go? What to do? Right? Things like that, you know, I’m still a go to person when it comes to hotels.

Michael Waitze 10:31
I have been outside of the finance industry now for 11 years. And in my head, I still think of myself as that guy from Goldman Sachs. Yeah. But a lot of people now don’t even know I ever did that. And it took a while. Yeah. I feel like I still have the knowledge. So I can have a conversation with you about trading and about finance and about structure products and everything else. But I love the idea that people don’t know that now. Why is that? Because first of all, it’s shocking to people when I can have a conversation about trading. They’re like, how do you know that? Right? Right.

Wimintra J. Raj 11:09
So you let you like that surprise that come to people.

Michael Waitze 11:14
But I did this a few years ago, right? I had an interview with an interviewer, I had a conversation with the President of K bank. And it was at an event. This is a long time ago now maybe seven years ago, and I’ll never forget it. Really smart guy, really, really smart guy. And his team wouldn’t let me prep with him. Anyway, so he just sat down cold with me. Now I know more about banking and technology in relation to banking than he thinks I do. So I don’t want to surprise him. But I had to tell him before we such as I said to him, just before the cameras went on, because it was it was filmed. I was like, just so you know, like I worked at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs for 20 years. And I did this that the other thing and he was like, Oh, you mean this is going to be real? Oh, yes. Like this is not just going to be some fake conversation about some journalists, right? It’s a person who actually has domain not so for me, and I realized that day. Yeah, actually, that is useful. It’s super useful, if someone doesn’t know what you know, right? Anyway, so you’ll get this over time. But it took me about 10 years to get away from this idea of being the guy from Goldman Sachs. Now, I’m just the podcast guy.

Wimintra J. Raj 12:28
Here, but I guess, you know, for me, it’s kind of playing my vintage cuz I’m not your typical techy manager, or boss, I’m just different. So I guess that kind of draw into people’s attention. Like, for example, the other guy came in the other day, he read my article. And you know, I was talking about people coming from hospitality we always about people is really true. And he and I said in the article that, you know, what we offer is no different than other people with beanbags and lunch and buffet. But we also offer that human touch doesn’t mean I’ll go and hug you. But like, you can come and you don’t have to die alone in your little bedroom. And he said he liked that. And he doesn’t want to die alone anymore. No, no, exactly. And it was like, wow, people. Yes, that’s that’s what I meant.

Michael Waitze 13:19
But it’s also super cool that you can bring that now into the software industry. Yeah. Because it’s weird, because the people that you’re competing with, have been in software their whole life. Yeah. So all they know. And this is one of the reasons why I love doing what I do, too, right? Because I come at it from a different angle. Yeah. So you come at it from a different angle to Yeah. And that’s gonna help you know,

Wimintra J. Raj 13:41
I don’t know, it works for two candidates already. So I’m I was I’m hoping for more.

Michael Waitze 13:45
Yeah, but it’s more than just the candidates, right? Yeah. Because at some point, you’re going to be the face of the business. And you already are already mean, to be honest. When I saw the first post that you made, I was like, gams doing that now. Yeah. And you know that everybody’s doing that. Right. But it’s funny, because the first time you see somebody do it, you’re like, that seems a little bit strange. And then they do it again. And again, and then you know, what? Didn’t they just are that person? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So interesting. So where’s the office now? At a marine Plaza? Okay, so right off the bat? Yes. Yep.

Wimintra J. Raj 14:24
This is very nice location. Yeah. It is really, like next to the hotel. So I just go I have lunch and coffee. They’re the best of both worlds. Yes.

Michael Waitze 14:37
How big do you think this gets in Thailand?

Wimintra J. Raj 14:39
Um, I have a planned for I have a rough number of how I want to have Yeah, I have 100 100 people.

Michael Waitze 14:50
Is this talk to me about the software business a little bit, at least what you’ve learned in the past, however long you’ve been doing this? Is it bigger than people? Thank

Wimintra J. Raj 14:59
you. You know what, when I got in I, I didn’t know how big it is. It actually really big. I just got back from Germany further stressed. You go ahead. Yeah, yeah, from from the terminal. We met some of our clients and potential clients and the event was like 70,000 people 70,000 is actually bet, okay. It’s not like as crazy big as it be believed we’d have million people in hotels, but 70,000 and we met, you know, the big climbs that actually really big. We I was always because I have a friend that actually run the same business here in Thailand. Okay. Yan from Ozu. Yeah. So, you know, we’ve been friends for many, many years. And he was like, Yeah, I’m doing website for people. And I thought, okay, that doesn’t sound like

Michael Waitze 15:48
a gigantic business. But also, like, I don’t have we can argue about that. Yeah. I never know how to pronounce the name of his company. How do you spell Zoo? Oh, zoo? Yeah. Let’s just settle on that. Yeah.

Wimintra J. Raj 15:59
I think like that for the rest of the sorry. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 16:01
Sorry, on if we get it wrong.

Wimintra J. Raj 16:03
But yeah, but but that’s like, I like when when I introduce him to other people, I’ll be young does websites. But I know, but I didn’t know that. And then he was just saying, you know, my clients are this and this and that. I’m gonna be like, Okay, you just does website for this x and yc. But it’s actually way more than that huge, and make a lot of money. And now I know.

Michael Waitze 16:27
So Marc Andreessen famously said, and this is now years ago, right, that Software is eating the world. And I don’t want to be trite. But the office where we’re sitting today has 100 people. I know I’ve been here. Right? It’s 100. Yeah. And one of the interesting thing, that’s things that’s happening and I’m curious if NFU does this as well as the longer you’re just writing code for other people, the more you must have ideas that don’t get implemented, because here’s what I think, right? If you have 100 clients, they all have 100 ideas. And you’ve got to implement those ideas for them. But in the interim, while they’re building like you said, this and this and that. There’s still gaps everywhere. I wonder, and I’ll have to ask large this right as well. Do you guys also build your own stuff? No, no? Yes. Here they do. Right. I mean,

Wimintra J. Raj 17:19
actually, well, internal stuff. Yeah, we do. But not like not like seven peaks bill. Property flow. Yeah, no, right now, I feel like this could be a good idea.

Michael Waitze 17:29
I feel like it’s a not yet though, don’t you? Yes.

Wimintra J. Raj 17:33
It’d be good idea. Thank you.

Michael Waitze 17:34
But I mean, isn’t that even how move started? What was the name of that business that he built? The magazine reading business? This is usually

Wimintra J. Raj 17:43
the reader who could be.

Michael Waitze 17:45
Yeah, but this is really at the beginning of the startup ecosystem in Thailand. This guy Moo whose last name I can’t pronounce. I just don’t know what it is to be fair, but he was running a development job. And then he looked around. He was like, Wait a second. Why don’t I build this thing too, since we have all the development skills? I think that that blurring is gonna take place. Yeah, don’t you? Yeah. And eventually, what was Germany? Like?

Wimintra J. Raj 18:08
Had you been to Germany before? No, this is the it was my first time last week. 10 days ago. And how long were you there? 10 days? And where was it? How humbug. Oh, I’ve never been. I like it there. And it Berlin. And then I went to Berlin for a bit.

Michael Waitze 18:22
What was traveling like?

Wimintra J. Raj 18:25
Amazing, actually, because you don’t have to imagine them on Europe. Oh, really? Yeah, you but you have to wear you still have to wear it and like subways and taxi and on the plane, of course. But yeah.

Michael Waitze 18:39
I feel like taking my mask off on the BTS. Right, just to see if a riot starts.

Wimintra J. Raj 18:45
But you can now next next month? Mid next month? Wait. Yes. Here.

Michael Waitze 18:50
Oh, please tell me again. I’m moving closer. Yes.

Wimintra J. Raj 18:52
Yeah. So there’s just announced that they are by the like, meet of next month, they were announced that we can live like we used to any now. Yes.

Michael Waitze 19:04
Oh, my god. I can’t believe it. Yeah. Do you think so? It’s not a natural segue. But do you think it changes the way office work happens? In other words, when I went to visit you at your office, there were people there and like, almost everybody was there? Yeah. Is that a thing you care about?

Wimintra J. Raj 19:20
I do want people to come in because that’s I don’t know if I mentioned but like building company. We need a founding member. And I see these people as a founding members to come in and like really build a culture and contribute. That’s what I’m actually looking for. Like everyone that comes into my office, they’re not only doing their job, they’re actually helping me. You know, they’re bringing ideas they tried to teach me to dependency injection, things like that. And that, you know, I’m not a technical person. I cannot interview candidates and they would help me they will teach should be how to, you know, navigate my way through through these candidates and also with culture. I’ve never worked in tech, they will tell me okay, my old company does date it doesn’t work. It should be this way. Like all these kinds of things like a free education. Yeah, this this, this is why I want them to come in. And then they debate the talk and no, my my oh boy does day. I know she did that, like I, I’ve learned so much.

Michael Waitze 20:25
So we talked about this. I think before we started recording, the in the office experience is so immersive. Yeah. But if things are going to go virtual, it’s not going to work. Unless it feels like you’re with somebody. Yeah. Does that make sense? Yeah. Because you’re right. And I wrote it down. They’re not only doing their job. Yeah. Because to be fair, if they were only doing their job, then they’re not doing enough.

Wimintra J. Raj 20:51
Exactly. We need someone that can do go a little extra. Yeah, a lot extra. Because

Michael Waitze 20:56
like if all you do if you’re and I’m just going to use a baseball analogy, right, like, but if all you do is you’re the best first baseman who’s ever played? Yeah. If you’re like a bad teammate, then you’re a bad teammate. Exactly. Yeah, because your skill level can actually be a little bit lower. But I think you’re adding more value to the team. If you’re doing stuff. That’s exactly your job. Yeah,

Wimintra J. Raj 21:19
that’s what that’s what I’m looking for. And I think these candidates recently come in, they have that attitude, because they just realized that two years of sitting at home coding, this is like, there’s something about my life that I could do. I could contribute to the world. How about contribute to an F q? Thailand with me?

Michael Waitze 21:39
Yeah. But this is also super interesting, right? Because you read all these articles about people saying, I don’t want to go back to work. That’s fine for us. Yeah. I don’t want to go back to the office. Right. But I think at some point, humans want to interact with other humans. Yeah. So I think flexible work may be a thing. But again, to be fair, early on in the pandemic, I think it must have been September, October, November of 2020. I was talking to the founder of one of the biggest insurance companies in India, this guy, yeah, sheesh Daya. And he was thinking, you know, we could lower costs by closing some of our offices and just having like, 50% of the people come in. And then we could our margins are higher because we don’t have to pay for office space. But we still have the same amount of revenue. Yeah, yeah. And he was like, when we talked about implementing this, our staff went nuts. They wanted to see their staff members or staff mates. Yeah, they wanted to come to work. And I think that over time, I can say like, I like to work alone. I’d like to be by myself. Yeah, but at some point, people go a little bit nuts through? I don’t know, in a way, I think it helps you if you have an office. I heard about a couple of software development houses in Thailand that don’t have office that are completely remote. I think they’re gonna run into problems.

Wimintra J. Raj 22:56
Yeah. What do you think? I like again, like I said, I, if people don’t want to come to work, that’s fine. They’re not for us. We’re looking for more than just a quarter, we are looking for a human that can work and also can contribute. And I believe that workers, workers, Brighton workers, people that are doing all that, yes, employees want more than just get work done and, and go home and sleep. They want to feel the importance. They don’t want to have self, you know, somewhere that can help them with self esteem. At the end of the day, we are human. We are complex. So we all you know, fucking the head somewhere. But

Michael Waitze 23:37
But even when I think about my days at Goldman Sachs, right, the best part of the job, I mean, obviously, the job was fun, and we got a lot of money. But the best was like after when we went home after we finished working, it was like, What are you doing tonight? Let’s go down to the oak door and have a glass of wine. Yeah, that’s where the business really got built. Right? Because that’s where you connected with your colleagues. Yeah. I don’t think that ever goes away.

Wimintra J. Raj 24:01
No, it won’t go away. Like it’s funny. Like it took us, you know, took me to Germany have way around a world just to connect with my colleagues that I could have? Do. I’ve could have done it through my computer. But it was just us getting there, doing these things together. That we like, Ah, this is great.

Michael Waitze 24:22
But even you and I right? Yeah, I could have done this remotely. You could be sitting at your office right now. Yeah. And I could be sitting in here, having this high quality conversation. Yeah. But it’s so much better face.

Wimintra J. Raj 24:32
And I think we built that kind of relationship through two years when we did all those podcasts at the trough. But I

Michael Waitze 24:38
think that that was really important. Yeah. Right. Because sitting there in that room, even without the mics Yeah. And just chatting was like, He’s a very smart people. Yeah,

Wimintra J. Raj 24:47
the more often exactly like, oh, yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah, you should

Michael Waitze 24:52
definitely do that. Yeah. So what stage would you say that Enescu is out right now? From your perspective? What did you join today? Want to go? Oh my god. Yeah, no. Yeah, cuz even for me now I’m starting to think like, that’s what you do, if that makes sense. Yeah. Anyway, so two months ago, so what stage is it?

Wimintra J. Raj 25:09
For any of you Thailand? Yeah, um, I think we, what is it? Stay embryo? No, we’re more than that. Now.

Michael Waitze 25:15
We’re moving office already?

Wimintra J. Raj 25:18
Yeah, we have to because we already outgrown that. Office. That’s insane.

Michael Waitze 25:23
Right. So this gets back to the part of the conversation of how big is the software world?

Wimintra J. Raj 25:27
Big, huge.

Michael Waitze 25:28
And are your clients here?

Wimintra J. Raj 25:30
No. Only in Europe and the Middle East?

Michael Waitze 25:34
Wait a second.

Wimintra J. Raj 25:36
Why am I I don’t want to compete with these guys. Like, some of them are friends. So I’m like, Okay, you do whatever you do.

Michael Waitze 25:44
Yeah, we can talk about that, too. But most of your clients, most of FAQs, clients are in Europe.

Wimintra J. Raj 25:50
Yeah. Germany, to be precise.

Michael Waitze 25:53
But the biggest office rent, if you right now is in Vietnam. Yeah. 300 people you said 60. And no clients in Vietnam? No, none. No, that’s fascinating. I’m thinking,

Wimintra J. Raj 26:08
I don’t know what you’re thinking but do tell.

Michael Waitze 26:12
At some point, the ecosystem here, meaning just the corporate ecosystem, I’m not talking about startups at all. It’s just going to keep growing right? It’s still growing? Yeah. It’s way more immature than it is in Europe or in the United States. And they’re gonna need the same services that you have, right. I mean, this is the long game. No, yeah,

Wimintra J. Raj 26:35
it is. It’s yeah, somebody’s going to need a mobile app. Somebody’s going to need web developers like we have all those. Right. Somebody’s going to games and blockchain and other things that, you know, do you follow the blockchain space? No. Like, honestly, Michael, I don’t even know what the dependency injection was. The only thing that I know. I only I only know the term and I kind of like, pretend to pretend to know what it is. So that I sound like I know my things. I won’t say I’ve never done that. Are you an awesome candidate that they were like, they thought that I knew,

Michael Waitze 27:19
right? Yeah. lingo, it’s always good. It’s always good to throw it around. I think that at some point. And this is why I asked about local clients, I think at some point, right, like, the market here just going to be too big. And that the software companies that are here, because they’re expanding as well. Yeah, I mean, that’s why I’m here. Yeah. It’s just gonna get so big that it’s going to be this combination of competition and cooperation. Oh, yeah, of

Wimintra J. Raj 27:44
course, do anything. Yeah. It would be just like in hotels, and any other business, I guess, it’s gonna be like that.

Michael Waitze 27:51
Yeah. Do hotels use technology a lot? You know what I mean? Like, is there a merging of those two things that you’ve done? Should they use it more? Oh, my God,

Wimintra J. Raj 28:00
they should? So like, they’ve pretty Yeah, we talked about tech hotel tags all the time, but at the end of the day, it never it was never really complimented properly. And it’s an I guessed and is annoys a staff. And then, you know, it never actually worked. There’s, if you’re talking about big software, like booking engines, and you know, price comparison and things like that’s fine, that those, those those fine, those are fine. Fair enough.

Michael Waitze 28:33
Do you think you can take some of the skills that you took out of running your own business, but also just being involved in hospitality at scale for? I don’t know, it feels like more than a decade and bring them into the software business?

Wimintra J. Raj 28:46
I think I think I’ve already been doing that with my office. Yeah, like we I see it as my own money and my own business. So I’m really careful about what I do and what I don’t do for the business and as for like, coming from hospitality, I think the way I approach people are probably different. Okay. And also, I was just thinking, you know, I want to add value to my people. I was even thinking about doing Butler cars for them. What does that mean? Like, but of course is fun. It’s not about to shiny things and backpacking it’s about you know, having a conversation when to say yes when to say no how to say no, by saying yes, and things like that. Like I want my people to actually have you know, be able to do that. It’s sophisticated.

Michael Waitze 29:36
Do you think it gives you an edge?

Wimintra J. Raj 29:38
I think so. Like you know, when I was we picked the activities, man activities, and I was told that oh, you know, take guys they don’t care about your fancy fancy stuff. They want to go down and dirty and I and so I said okay, what about do you want to do why testing and everyone was like, yes, I’ve never done what testing? What is it like I want to go like they want to do these kinds of stuff. Yeah, we know we like people assume that tech guys will just, I don’t know, eat cookie on the street or whatever. But the actually the people do.

Michael Waitze 30:09
Yeah, like this idea that a tech guy just wants to Doritos and beer. Yeah, no, it’s not true. No, it’s not true at all. I don’t know if I should tell the story. I had a, I had a maid when I was in Tokyo. Yeah, she was awesome. And one night, I wanted her to come and babysit for my daughter. And my daughter was really young. Lydia, can you come on Thursday night? Because all Thursday I cannot do. And I was like, okay, she’s probably already babysitting somewhere else. I just asked because I was interested. Yeah. Like, what are you doing on Thursday? She said to me, I’m going to a wine tasting. Yes. See, it’s the same thing. Here.

Wimintra J. Raj 30:46
We assume we assume that they want certain thing because the way they look how they work or whatever, whatever. But

Michael Waitze 30:52
a human. Yeah, they have the same aspirations. Exactly. Just because a guy knows JavaScript, or a girl knows PHP or they’re coding and Ruby on Rails don’t doesn’t mean they don’t want foie gras.

Wimintra J. Raj 31:04
Exactly. Oh, at least try it. Yeah. Right. And yeah, hello, champagne. Exactly. So like they will like, yes, we want to do that.

Michael Waitze 31:12
Huh. This could be a big differentiator in hiring. No, no.

Wimintra J. Raj 31:16
That’s what I said. 100%. That’s why I think that’s my unique selling point.

Michael Waitze 31:22
That’s my, that’s my USP. Yep. Is it interesting for you? After running your own business? Right. And we’ve talked about this online, so we can mention it right. running your own business. Also buying a business. Yeah. And being budget constrained. To being let’s just say less budget constraint. Yep. Do you know what I mean?

Wimintra J. Raj 31:43
Yeah. You know, what, actually, what if it was my money, I would just spend. But when is other people’s money? I kind of I do I still spend my boy who’s a guru. Otherwise, I still spend, but I still think about a lot more. If it was my own money. I’ll be like, fine. expand it out. I’ll find it somewhere. I’ll find it when it times come. But now it’s like, yeah, there’s real number of real figures that I am responsible

Michael Waitze 32:13
for. Yeah. So for the first time in my life, I’ve got a business partner. Yeah. Right. And he is just so what’s the right I want to be polite about this? His perception on how to spend money, let’s just say as the opposite of money. Yeah. Right. If you look around this room, we’ve got four microphones a nice audio deck, like all this kind of great equipment. Yeah. And I would buy more. And he’s like, Let’s get another client first, before we get some more quick, right. And I was like, but if we don’t have the equipment, we can’t get the client. And if we want to sell to a client, we’ve got to look like we have enough other clients. Yeah. So there’s got to be some balance there somewhere. But it’s got to be nice. Again, getting back to this thing you said before, almost like the programmer who was like, I just want people that are gonna help me out.

Wimintra J. Raj 32:58
Yeah. It is like that. Yeah. Do you feel like it’s good for you? I think so. 100%? Like, I think I’ve learned so much. In just two months. Yeah. So much. Like, I have a mentor sesh session with my CEO, my boss every week. Do you really? Yeah. It’s just to like, you know, talk to him about the business problems that I have. And he was, okay. This is, if it was me, this is how I fix it. And I also have another mentor who’s my husband, client, the CEO at the senior aerospace. Right, the British company. So he’s, yeah, he’s, he would, you know, give me business advice and life advice like you when you get home is, you know, is your daughter and still and not work? Right? You need to be able to do that with

Michael Waitze 33:45
these mentor sessions. Lars is suggestion Are they yours?

Wimintra J. Raj 33:50
No, they do it. This is for my CEO. He’s American Vietnamese Brit. So we’ll do that every week. And I usually takes him every day about things just, you know, annoys him. But yeah, things that I don’t know.

Michael Waitze 34:05
But they must loves having somebody there that annoys them.

Wimintra J. Raj 34:08
I don’t know. You have to ask them. I’m not sure. I’m not sure. But you can ask them. No, but you know

Michael Waitze 34:13
what I mean, it all depends on what we consider to be annoying. You only say this about yourself. Like I’m doing this, and I’m annoying that by the end of the day, you’re just being you. Yeah. And I don’t feel like that part of you is going to change.

Wimintra J. Raj 34:24
I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s I think it’s a great thing, but that’s never gonna change.

Michael Waitze 34:29
No, but we we we talked about this earlier, right? I said don’t say I’m just doing this. Yeah. But I mean, part of the mentoring that I do when I talk to people like you are is don’t qualify these things. Yeah, we’ve talked about it right. Yeah. You’re doing this. Yeah. You’re not annoying. You’re just persistent. Like it’s really different. But if you change the way you think about it, you’ll change the way other people perceive you. Yeah, don’t you think? Sure. Yeah. And it’ll also help you in the hiring process. You know, I’ve seen a lot of average My husband’s is the wrong word. But a lot of I really need a UX person.

Wimintra J. Raj 35:05
Oh, yes. Yes, that one. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 35:10
Is it that hard to hire people? And is it just in tech jobs? You think? Or is it just overall?

Wimintra J. Raj 35:16
I think it’s overall. Like we have the same problem in hotels. Right? Same same problems. And now, too,

Michael Waitze 35:23
so what do we do, right? Because there’s this weird thing going on in the world, right? Where people want to work, but they want to work the way they want to work, like when I was when I graduated from college in the 1800s 1800. Yep. You know, the companies would always ask me, okay, we’ve got 25 applicants for this job, what can you do for us? And I feel like that that bid has flipped. We’re now candidates can get kind of any job they want. If they’re good. Yeah. And they want to know, from the companies, what can you do for me, like this guy you were talking about earlier? I just want people that are gonna challenge me, they’re gonna push me. Do you feel like that’s a thing?

Wimintra J. Raj 36:07
Not for everyone. I think it’s not for everyone that people that just want to get the paycheck and go home, really. And there’s people that want to do more for themselves and for other people. Okay, so I guess, like everywhere, you need to find the right people for your company.

Michael Waitze 36:24
But how do you do that in an environment it’s so hard to hire. But this

Wimintra J. Raj 36:27
is why I came out in that magazine interview and said, you don’t want I’m not offering anything different than seven peaks or Ozu all Mac or other guys, because they do have been backed. They do have table tennis, they do have lunch they have buffet free buffet tabula, they have all the fanciest fancy stuff, but I’m going to offer you this human touch. I’m going to offer you this wine tasting. I’m gonna gonna offer you something that actually these tech guys never thought of, because I come from a different place.

Michael Waitze 37:00
And that’s a big deal. I think though.

Wimintra J. Raj 37:03
I thought so like people like because the article that came out was just so I think it was just so honest, the way I like, as I would always be, and people just feel like okay, this is this this girl This woman is. Yeah, she’s honest. So just gonna give me a try.

Michael Waitze 37:19
Let’s see, this is what we this is what I meant earlier, when I said it’s never gonna change. I feel like when I talk to you this no ulterior motive. Yeah. No, but the there’s a great, there’s a great. I kind of love the Japanese word for this. You asked Steve about this when you get home. Gouda, which means behind? No, which means it’s just a possessive word who don’t know success success strategy. But in this case, it means ulterior motive. Like there is no back strategy with you, I think.

Wimintra J. Raj 37:53
Yeah. Like, yeah, is a

Michael Waitze 37:57
big front strategy. Yeah. But that’s okay, isn’t it? Because I sometimes wonder, I mean, I haven’t had a job interview in a while. But I sometimes wonder when I am talking to people, I can hear the words they’re saying. Yep. I know what each one of those individual words mean.

Wimintra J. Raj 38:14
But you don’t get it. Don’t get it. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 38:15
Are you talking about? Can you just say, and I say to people all the time. Just give me the context. Right?

Wimintra J. Raj 38:21
Maybe I because I don’t have enough vocabulary?

Michael Waitze 38:25
You did it again. Don’t do that. As a joke. But but you do this in every language that you speak. Yeah. Right. That’s just,

Wimintra J. Raj 38:32
that’s just who I am. Yeah. That’s just who I am. I do my entire interview in English interview.

Michael Waitze 38:41
It’s yeah, but I think over time, there’s a benefit to that. I think so people know where they stand with me. I’d be really curious to see over time as you grow from how many people are in our in enough queue

Wimintra J. Raj 38:53
is going to be 20 by the myth of doing Wait a second.

Michael Waitze 38:57
I was always 14. I was gonna say I was in the office. Two weeks

Wimintra J. Raj 39:01
ago. That was 12.

Michael Waitze 39:03
That’s my point.

Wimintra J. Raj 39:04
Yeah. 12. And now we have 14 And then four coming next week.

Michael Waitze 39:09
So 16 You get to 20 pretty fast. And you’ll be at a hunch soon enough.

Wimintra J. Raj 39:15
Yeah, we’re trying. We need to catch up with these guys.

Michael Waitze 39:19
These guys are 100 and something I know. I know.

Wimintra J. Raj 39:23
Yeah. Yan is like 160 or something.

Michael Waitze 39:26
He’s moved buildings as well. already. Yeah…Wasn’t he in?

Wimintra J. Raj 39:29
T One? Oh,

Michael Waitze 39:30
he’s in tier one. Yeah. But is he in tier one? Is he he’s not in the WeWork offices. He’s got his own No, he has his own flaw. Why did he move on to the Biraj tower because too small Okay, yeah. Wow, the only good thing about that not the only good thing but one of the good things about that building is it’s literally literally right on the BTS Yeah, and to be fair to you one is not bad.

Wimintra J. Raj 39:53
I don’t know I just need somewhere that is actually okay for everyone BTS and MRT.

Michael Waitze 40:00
How important is like just the food choices?

Wimintra J. Raj 40:03
So it’s the best. Yeah, you have food court, you have the high end market, you have the low end you have a street food is really important.

Michael Waitze 40:12
I’m just trying to think about where I’ve worked in the past when I had like a real job. The food was actually really important. Oh, yeah, yeah, we would complain about it. Yeah. The best place in the worst place I ever worked was you’ve been to Tokyo.

Wimintra J. Raj 40:26
No. I don’t I haven’t. I’ve been to Japan for ski but not Tokyo.

Michael Waitze 40:33
Oh my god. So you’ve been to Niseko?

Wimintra J. Raj 40:35
Yes. The Thai goes there.

Michael Waitze 40:38
The food there’s no pad.

Wimintra J. Raj 40:40
No, I love it. But I wasn’t a compliment. So basically, I just kind of

Michael Waitze 40:44
okay, so you’re off to the side a little bit. If you actually stand heat off. I have. I can hook you up. Yeah. I can hook you up my friends around that town. They do actually. It actually built it. But anyway, I worked in this building in Tokyo called Roppongi Hills. Building was beautiful. We’re on the 40th floor. But because we were on the 48th floor, Goldman actually put a Starbucks. They contracted with Starbucks and put a coffee shop on the Honor floor.

Wimintra J. Raj 41:14
With his Adi Americans need a coffee?

Michael Waitze 41:18
I mentioned with Starbucks today. No, because they didn’t want us going downstairs and wasting the time. So even though the building had amazing food choices, we didn’t go downstairs walk because going down 48 floors took it was a 30 minute trip. And that’s why they put the Starbucks on the floor. But companies think about this. Right? So the question about food was not like, it was not whimsical. Yeah. It’s a real thing. No,

Wimintra J. Raj 41:43
it is. Yeah, I even water. So we had the free water cooler outside of our office at a co working space. Yeah. But then I just you know, me, like this all luxury stuff. So I bought the crystal water docked, and put the water in so everyone can pour it on like glass. Just to be nice. This is nice. Just to like, putting away

Michael Waitze 42:07
this kind of thing doesn’t cost that much more money. No. So why not do it?

Wimintra J. Raj 42:11
Yeah, exactly. It’s good and cute. And we’d like buy all the tray and crystal and things like that.

Michael Waitze 42:17
I think it’s better than a beanbag chair. But it really is. Yeah. Yeah. In other words, no beanbag chairs. The ping pong table actually comes in kind of handy. Yeah.

Wimintra J. Raj 42:25
But board games, so you can do it together.

Michael Waitze 42:30
But I think if I when I start hiring 100 people, we’re gonna have the best possible food. Because I think it’s super important that people Yeah, right. And it’s seven peaks actually have a cake. Yeah. We’ve got a tap. You should have a tap.

Wimintra J. Raj 42:47
Yeah, I don’t know about that. But you we do have beers. Fried all the time. But I’ve

Michael Waitze 42:52
been here a lot. Yeah. And I’ve never seen anybody drinking. Except responsibly. We’ve never seen anybody drinking ever except for five o’clock after five o’clock on a Friday. Right. That’s what we do. Yeah. And that’s why it’s there. Yeah. But this is one of those things you were talking about before. It’s like, I wanted it to be a little bit classier. Yeah. And that’s what this is, I think.

Wimintra J. Raj 43:10
Yeah. Yeah. So maybe we have like a free flow champagne.

Michael Waitze 43:15
When are you going to decide where you’re going to move?

Wimintra J. Raj 43:18
Um, so pretty soon because it’s already cramped. But the leave is going to be up in November. So

Michael Waitze 43:24
November. Do you sometimes ask the people with whom you’re working? Because this is for hiring too? Right? Yeah, words if it’s not near BTS station, or if people have to pay too much money to but that’s

Wimintra J. Raj 43:37
what I said like I saw would be the the most strategic location for me for for the current people that were in the office and new people because it has bought BTS MRT and boat

Michael Waitze 43:50
and a boat. Yeah, where’s the boat?

Wimintra J. Raj 43:52
There’s too little Ahsoka long to go to Central World to bang knots. You know, whatever it is about to really Yes. So I don’t know how to explain it to be next to the eye hospital in so pet. So Mr. T. Padbury. Yeah. Yeah. So you can walk there. It’s it’s every everything is there.

Michael Waitze 44:13
Yeah. And don’t underestimate Bangkok being the Venice of the of the

Wimintra J. Raj 44:17
far a lot of people still travel by boat. So yeah, why not?

Michael Waitze 44:21
Yeah. I mean, I’ve been on that boat that goes from the Klong. Down to there’s this restaurant called the deck.

Wimintra J. Raj 44:30
I’ve heard Yeah. Yeah. By by the temple by the

Michael Waitze 44:34
palace. Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve been on I’ve been on the boat all the way there. Yeah. Yeah. People travel by boat. Yeah, exactly. A lot of people don’t know that. So when should we have you back? To learn more about an FQ

Wimintra J. Raj 44:45
well wait grows. So when we have a new office, I mean, you’re going to talk to loss so you’re going to learn more about the company through him. I guess.

Michael Waitze 44:54
We’re going to put his studio in your office.

Wimintra J. Raj 44:57
Why not? If we even move bigger office. We could we could put a studio there. Yeah, you can. But you have to interview all of my people, because every single one of them has different story and they all fun.

Michael Waitze 45:10
But that’s the whole point of having these conversations is just to learn stuff.

Wimintra J. Raj 45:14
Yeah, you will love them. They’re like, fun people. Great people.

Michael Waitze 45:18
Yeah, way to do it. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you for doing this today.

Wimintra J. Raj 45:21
No, thank you for having me again. More, more. More. We can do more. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 45:28
Bye for now.

Wimintra J. Raj 45:29
Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Follow Michael Waitze and the Asia Tech Podcast here:

Facebook – Michael Waitze

Facebook – Asia Tech Podcast

LinkedIn – Michael Waitze

Twitter – Michael Waitze

Latest Episodes:

EP 325 – Building a Marketplace and Democratizing M&A for SMEs – Marcus Yeung – Match.Asia and SEAbridge Partners

EP 325 – Building a Marketplace and Democratizing M&A for SMEs – Marcus Yeung – Match.Asia and SEAbridge Partners

So it’s actually very interesting how technology is taking a lot of the grunt work out of investment banking, which allows the real investment bankers to focus on the important stuff, which is, you know, the negotiations and the closing of the deals and more personal stuff. There is a good company in Japan, which has a good precedent called M&A Research Institute, which is a listed. And within it’s a listed company, it’s a similar business, and we’re following basically the same path as they have. And they closed 150 deals last year. And they made $60 million of revenue. And it’s a very profitable business model. – Marcus Yeung

read more
EP 324 – Creating a Canon for Progress: Empowering Global Entrepreneurs with Essential Knowledge – Tamara Winter – Commissioning Editor of Stripe Press

EP 324 – Creating a Canon for Progress: Empowering Global Entrepreneurs with Essential Knowledge – Tamara Winter – Commissioning Editor of Stripe Press

“Well, we think of this catalog as, ideally, a kind of cannon for progress, both in a very sort of explicit sense when it comes to, again, growing the GDP of the internet, making it much easier for people who have very ambitious ideas about a company they want to build to do that, and in an easier way than they might have to do if they were just trying to figure out everything themselves. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” – Tamara Winter

read more
EP 323 – Building Businesses and Breaking Barriers: A Global Entrepreneurial Odyssey – Meenah Tariq – CEO of Metric

EP 323 – Building Businesses and Breaking Barriers: A Global Entrepreneurial Odyssey – Meenah Tariq – CEO of Metric

In this episode of the Asia Tech Podcast, ⁠Meenah Tariq⁠, CEO of ⁠Metric⁠ and an experienced entrepreneur with deep roots in emerging markets, shared her journey and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Meenah discussed her early introduction to entrepreneurship in Pakistan, beginning with childhood ventures that sparked a lifelong passion for business.

read more