Stroff: Hello Dylon! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are doing?
Dylon: Hi, I am 16 this year, graduated from Montfort Secondary School and I am the organizing chairman of Global Economic and Property Investment Convention 2017. We call it GEPIC2017.
GEPIC2017 is an economic and property investment convention, which attracts over 1000 Professionals, Management, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) annually, to provide them insight by industries leaders in the fields of economic and property.
This year we are fortunate and honored to have invited:
• Mr. Song Seng Wun, a renowned economist and director at CIMB research. He also has over 33 years of practice in the field of Finance and Economy;
• Mr. Sam Baker, founder of SRX property and Streetsine Technology. He uses a system of big data analytics which helped realtors accurately price a property according to market data; and
• Mr. Charlie Ang, a prominent business futurist, he has founded over 3 different organization, which helped many businesses prepare for the influx of technology.
Stroff: Property and Investment seem like really heavy topics—what do you think is the relevance of these themes to young adults or PMETs?
Dylon: Well, we think that professionals across all industries can relate to Economic trends. There have been quite a few Black Swan events recently, ranging from President Donald Trump winning the US elections, to UK wanting to leave the European Union.
GEPIC helps our local professionals make sense of these events, so that they can infer and analyse how macro-trends relate specifically to their industries. From there, they can then innovate and do more amazing things.
Stroff: Wow, we also hear that you are only 16 years old! What makes you want to chair this event that takes such a huge commitment?
Dylon: What actually motivates me to take on such a huge commitment was when I recalled my past humanitarian mission trips in Chiang Rai Thailand.
Sometimes, there is even a lack of basic necessities, such as light and water. Yet, we still see faces and smiles that glowed so brightly even though people there lacked many resources that we tend to take for granted.
Recalling that has kept me motivated to take on this project.
Aside to that, I also wanted to learn something about entrepreneurship and investment after my “O” Levels. And that was why I met up with Dr. Patrick Liew, who gave me this project. Thus far it has been a rewarding and challenging journey, and I am grateful for my team and all the help rendered.
All in all, as human beings, we are all one big family. So why not combine charity and useful Economic insights, all for the greater good of society?
Stroff: What are some of the biggest challenges in managing such a huge event? And how do you manage, since it is your first time doing?
Dylon: The biggest challenge is simply, teamwork coordination and the freedom of planning.
What I mean is the following: There are many ways of doing things, and when we work with a team, we have to coordinate and adapt to the different ways things are being done.
You see, in school, many of the task that we undertake are usually ‘solo’ work. That is, you do things your way and bear the consequences. There is no need to change your work and efforts to complement another person’s.
As I moved up to becoming the organizing chairman for GEPIC 2017, I realized that there was much more to that then what I could undertake on my own.
Therefore I am very thankful to my capable team which has helped me throughout the entirety of the project. Without them, frankly we would not be able to achieve such success as we did today.
Stroff: What is the one key takeaway you have so far in chairing this event?
Dylon: One key takeaway, would certainly be leadership.
I came to realized that without strong capable leadership, we will not be able to get anything done.
Even with the most capable organizers, salesman or speakers, without a strong leader to manage and execute, nothing will ever happen.
Stroff: What is a good leader to you?
Dylon: A good leader to me is someone who has a vision, and executes actions in the direction of the vision. In other words, he dreams and foresees about something, and has the ability to guide his people in the direction of the vision.
Stroff: Do you think age is an issue in doing big things in Singapore?
Dylon: I believe that age could be both a blessing and a curse.
Why a blessing, you might ask?
• People whom you meet tend to be more forgiving. Even though they might say “Oh you are just 16”, which might not always sound nice, the flip-side of the coin is that they might tend to forgive the mistakes you might make.
• Business owners tend to be more willing to teach you. They are more willing to talk to you, if you are willing to listen. In general, they are more willing to help and guide you through this journey, due to age.
You will generally receive more help and guidance being young.
And why is it a curse?
• Well, some people might not take you seriously. In some cases, when people see that you are of a certain age, they might sometimes dismiss you just because you are young.
What I do then is simply to forget about my age, and step up as a leader to take charge. For example, I will tell this group of people in a logical way that this set of tasks is what has to be done.
Dylon: So what are some things a young ambitious youth like yourself should look out for? Do you have any advice for them?
• Seek guidance beyond all ambition.
• We are prompt to failure and it is okay. Let us always seek advice on how to improve. I have had my share of failures from this project and we will always learn. I know this sounds really cliché, but if you let your failures determine you, it is a dead-end. Instead, learn from your failures and try not to make the same mistake twice. Move on!
• Never stop learning; someone will definitely be better than you in a certain aspect. Learn from them.
Stroff: What are the some tips for young people to be able to get this sort of opportunities? Some young folks are ambitious like yourself, however it seems like they don't know how to do things.
• Don’t be afraid to ask.
For my case, I asked Dr. Patrick Liew quite long ago, way before the start of my “O” levels, for a job and some ways to learn business and entrepreneurship.
• Don’t be afraid to try.
To be honest, when Dr. Patrick Liew first asked me to do this project involving 1000 over people, I was really scared. Imagine this scenario: You just finished “O” Levels, used to being spoonfed and operating within your comfort zone.
And suddenly, a person you respect told you, “Okay, here is a conference you will be chairing and it will involve over 1000 people, do it well.” That will seem really daunting at the start!
However, I went home and thought through it. “Why not give it a try? What is the worst thing that could happen?”
So, don’t be afraid to try!
• Don’t be afraid to fail.
Frankly I have been through a lot of scoldings and hardships. Ha-ha!
Let me give you an example: After setting up several appointments to urge people to attend your event, you will expect a higher turnout. So when the turnout is not as high as expected, I will regard it as a failure.
However, when I told Dr. Patrick Liew about my reflections and experiences, he will suggest that I do things in alternative manners, so I learn from there. So don’t take the various outcomes personally, and find alternative ways to do things in a better manner.
Stroff: On a parting note, do you have anything else to add?
Dylon: One important takeaway for me is to never stop learning. I have learnt so much from these few months working on this GEPIC2017 project! There is something new to learn from everyone every day. There is always someone better than you at something, so seek them out and learn from them!