Lost and Founded Series - Johnbosco Ng and Jonathan Lee
Nothing's going to stop them - that's what the dynamic co-founders of Packnada would have you know.
Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS
Simply put, Johnbosco Ng and Jonathan Lee are two of a kind. The dynamic co-founders of Packnada - a brand new service that helps frequent travelers to Singapore simplify the travel packing process - are ambitious, artistic and eager to prove the skeptics wrong. In truth, they might not be too far off from their goal, given that Packnada scored coverage in the Los Angeles Times soon after its launch. Becoming fast friends a few years ago, the duo now thrive on a ‘close, honest relationship' which could do wonders for their brand. We speak to the co-founders of PackNada and find out why they choose to live each day with no constraints and ponder about the nectar consumption habits of hummingbirds.
People say you are "Johnbosco Ng / Jonathan Lee, Co-Founder of Packnada". Who do you say you are?
Johnbosco: A glorified laundry man, haha! I always tell people I wash underpants for a living, just to check their reactions. If I wasn't running Packnada, I'd love to be a full time graphic illustration/storyboard artist. I'm a former adman and a humble student of beautiful design.
Jonathan: Hummingbirds consume twice their weight in nectar everyday. I'd say I'm the hummingbird of learning! There's just so much in the world that's fascinating. I love the feeling of discovery and enlightenment, the moment when you go "Ohhhh I see." My recent learning obsessions are painting and stock trading.
Please share with us the best moment in your startup life. It was so good you wanted to fly BusinessClass somewhere with someone, and pop open the "most expensive bottle of champagne there.
Johnbosco: It has to be the day we got our very first paying customer onboard, after many months of coaxing and encouragement. Packnada isn't exactly your usual way of packing for travelers so we had many doubters in the beginning, even before we started - having real people wanting the service enough to pay for it was really gratifying for us.
Jonathan: One of the highlights for us this year was getting featured in Los Angeles Times after our launch. I could have popped like a pinata filled with confetti at that moment. We'd been working so hard on the product, and getting that validation from one of the largest metropolitan newspapers in the U.S. was profoundly exciting and humbling.
How about the lowest moments in your startup career? Have you ever cried? "You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course)
Johnbosco: Not yet! But to be fair, I haven't exactly been in the startup scene for too long so who knows what will happen in the future? Having said that, I'm always sad and emotional when I get rejected by whoever I'm selling to - hoteliers, travelers, travel agencies, etc. This happens all the time and all I can do is to pick myself up and try again.
Jonathan: Never. And it's really thanks to the endless support I get from my loved ones around me. I am truly thankful.
In your startup career, were there any secrets that you hid from your co-founders, partner or parents?
Johnbosco: That in the early days of launch I wasn't sleeping well, had developed a chronic headache over late nights kept up with work, or thoughts on how to grow the service and meeting expectations of others. Having a startup is akin to having a baby - it's always in my thoughts and worries.
Jonathan: Oooh we've moved on to the juicy part eh! Not many skeletons hiding around, unfortunately! Johnbosco and I became fast friends when we first met and ventured into the corporate world together some years back, and we enjoy a close, honest relationship to this day. Misery is shared and mitigated, joy is celebrated with 5cm to our waistlines.
What's the most eccentric thing about you?
Johnbosco: My cofounder Jon likes to compare me to "Dug" (The talking dog from the UP movie that easily gets distracted). When I'm feeling creative, I easily get carried away gushing over things that I'm really passionate about, often several things at the same time! Thankfully for Packnada, I found the perfect pragmatic cofounder in Jon that helps ground and channel my energies towards our set goals.
Jonathan: I am hopelessly in love with technology, especially quality-of-life tools. I try to do everything digitally, from taking notes and audio recordings, to invoicing clients. Everything gets archived and stored in the cloud. If there's a way to do it digitally, I'd be onboard faster than you can ask 'Why?'. Unnecessary printing and other wastage really irks the environmentalist in me.
What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning?
Johnbosco: Talking to customers! Having the opportunity to potentially change the way travelers approach packing in the long term, seeing the happy faces of my customers, or hearing how Packnada helped make their lives easier - are some of things that keeps me up and going everyday.
Jonathan: The dynamism of the nature of work really gets me going. Every day a new challenge, and a new way to strategise and tackle it.
How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?
Johnbosco: I try to jog twice a week around my area if possible, but I'm definitely not physically fit, haha. I also play (too many) computer games to unwind and relax.
Jonathan: I think work life balance is often undervalued when it comes to staying creative and motivated. New experiences also often lead to inspiration.
Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder
1.) Don't be distracted by small, inconsequential things and always focus on delighting your users. They are the lifeblood of your venture.
2.) Ultimately when push comes to shove, nothing will move in your startup if you don't move. Don't expect anyone to help you other than yourself, so be a doer!
Jonathan: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
Movie or song that best describes you
Johnbosco: "Nothing's gonna stop us now" - Starship
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Howard Thurman
Jonathan: See ‘Life Hack'.
Who and what inspires you?
Johnbosco: Jason Fried and the other founders of 37signals. Love their unique way of thinking, unconventional wisdom about work and remote productivity (read their book Rework). I am particularly inspired by their thoughtful choice to run a "small giant" (deliberately keeping their operations small while serving millions with a awesome product).
Jonathan: Bill Gates. People know him as one of the richest men on the planet, but people should know he's one of the most philanthropic men on the planet. Till date he's donated nearly $30 billion of his wealth, doing groundbreaking work with malaria and AIDS.
Tell me about Johnbosco Ng / Jonathan Lee in 2030.
Johnboco: I really have no idea! But that's the fun part so I can live each day with no constraints.
Jonathan: I'd love to be doing some good for the world. I grew up with documentaries, and I'm a tree-hugger at heart.
Name 1-3 startup founders in Singapore you'll like to hear answer these questions.
Johnbosco: Joel Leong – Haystakt
Jonathan: Walter Oh - Boxgreen
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