Life Lessons on Personal Growth— Dinner with Derek Toh, Founder, and CEO of WOBB
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their lives and career.
“The bigger the challenge is, the bigger the reward!”
Here’s the thing, startups are generally a gamble. The emerging field of entrepreneurship takes on an all-or-nothing principle. You take an idea and run with it as fast as you can to secure a spot in the industry. Startups wait for no one and the same applies to job-seeking.
Derek Toh, the founder of WOBB seeks to revolutionize the practice of work culture for Gen Y and Z through his mobile job-searching platform. With WOBB, Derek makes it his personal mission to help Gen Y and Z find jobs they love. The award-winning platform laid its roots in Kuala Lumpur, with seed money granted by Cradle Fund (a government-linked body incorporated under the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia). They aim to expand into other Asian markets in the future.
As our first featured guest in Kuala Lumpur, Derek candidly talked about transforming all kinds of opportunities into positive gains.
Who is Derek Toh?
Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB. He was previously an Associate Director and Global Top Performer at Robert Walters, a top international recruitment firm. In his early career, he was a fellow of the ACCA and an auditor with Ernst and Young in the UK.
He completed the Stanford Entrepreneurship Program in 2014, where he worked with top mentors at Stanford University and Silicon Valley in developing the foundations of WOBB. At present, he is a mentor at McKinsey and Co’s Youth Leadership Academy and has worked with some of Malaysia’s brightest young talents.
Derek regularly shares his thoughts on company culture, Gen Y and Z talent and also digital and social media. He speaks at public conferences and on the radio. Derek was also previously featured on a debate moderated by BBC World News.
His life philosophy
“Life is hard, it is supposed to be hard.”
Derek states a truth that is hard to ignore. In life, we would face many adversities and that’s just how the world works. Not only do we have to face them headlong, but Derek also reminds us to embrace challenges as they arrive in front of us. It’s a practice that paves the yellow brick road to success.
“Having the responsibility to take on challenges means that you’re in a position to deal with a big problem.”
“If I can wake up one day and be really happy when someone criticizes me, then that’s amazing.”
As humans, it’s very natural for us to feel that ‘ouch’ when we receive criticism. Derek believes that isolating your emotions is a good way to view constructive criticism in a different light. Listening to the opinions of others is an admirable quality to have at one’s disposal. Critical thinking enriches the act of discerning whether criticism should be taken into consideration or not.
On overcoming your fears
There are approximately 7.7 billion people living in this world, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that many of us are afraid of public speaking. At nineteen, Derek was in university and standing in front of an audience of forty for an academic presentation. It became an event that remains etched into his memories and continued to haunt his mind for ten years straight.
The story should continue like your average classroom experience, but midway through his presentation…there was just stark silence. Derek looked like he was frozen externally and floundering inside.
Throughout the span of a decade, Derek simply refused any public speaking engagements. It’s a far cry from his current approach to life, but one day, he decided not to internalize his fear of public speaking anymore.
“It was an out of body experience…but I put myself into an extremely challenging position and begin to overcome it.”
Special thanks to Time Auction Kuala Lumpur’s City Sponsor — Fave!