On the Way to Transform the 115-year-old Newspaper — Dinner with Malcolm Ong, Head of Product at South China Morning Post
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 life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures.
Malcolm Ong is a young successful start-up entrepreneur who since last year, has joined South China Morning Post (SCMP) as Head of Product and has been transforming this 115-year old publication into a global news media company.
Prior to SCMP, he was with Lyft, an online ride-sharing platform which operates in close to 600 cities in the United States and Canada, where he was helped launch the first progressive web app for Lyft, Amazon Fire and Windows 10, and its iconic connected dashboard light called “Amp”, and also led an array of product initiatives from Lyft.com to organic passenger and driver growth to partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations.
Before being an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at 500 Startups, Malcolm was also the co-founder of Skillshare, an online learning community for people who want to learn from educational videos in New York, and led the product team at OMGPOP, a New York-based gaming studio.
Over dinner, Malcolm shared with us about how he, as a young entrepreneur who never stops learning, succeed in leading SCMP with his expertise, innovative vision, and entrepreneurial spirit.
What is your life philosophy to live by?
Always be learning.
Dig out how you can always improve yourself and be open to new challenges and learning new things. Being a sponge in a way, my life model is to always look at different industries and products and be interested. In fact, “interesting” is one of the common values here at SCMP. Be curious to everything even if it does not fit in the mode of the current job.
That’s why I do a lot of reading — mainly non-fiction and articles that are usually about my work or some of the things that I am interested in. For myself, I like to save some of the articles for later consumption. I save them so that during my downtime, like during lunch, coffee breaks, or even before bed — I can always read. But for other people, it’s different.
Are there any books you recommend us reading to find and follow our passion?
Aside from Tribal Leadership, which is a team collaboration management book, if you are interested in startups and techs, there are a lot of books around me that show you the product development way.
It is a personal thing of what actually inspires you. I’d like to look at more ease cases or biographies, for example, a biography about Steve Jobs. Most of the time, I prefer reading much shorter articles. It is to learn from successes that people have had and written about.
Is there a habit that has significantly improved your life?
Poke your head out of the sand.
In the last five years, I have made a point to travel more and try different things. It gives you exposure to different perspectives, it shows you other ways of doing things. I have traveled a lot, especially around Asia, much more than I have ever tried before. Last year was the first time I visited China, I learnt the way they do things differently.
Sometimes, people are so focused on the day-to-day routine that they need to do on their schedule. I think it’s always good to take a breather, take a step back and see a bigger picture.
Is there any advice for the younger generation?
Things are all about innovation now and how to build for the future.
No matter what industry you are in, everyone probably agrees that innovation is a good thing. Now especially, technology has been very important for very different industries. For the start, it was always hard tech, but now a media, for example, maybe traditionally does not lever tech as much, with the same value as product development and design.
What is the one action you want everyone to take away from meeting you?
To be more action-oriented to take the next step.
A lot of folks may feel lost and stuck in an environment full of certainty. The key is to take action so that you can either get yourself out of that or to solve the problem. Sometimes they can seem daunting, but you need to take action or you will always get stuck in that mode and nothing’s gonna change. Even if the solution seems daunting or impossible, you can just take the next step!
Thank you, Malcolm, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to have dinner with us, and thanks to everyone who volunteered and took part in raising 74 volunteer hours to various charities.