Man at His Best

The Esquire Talks: Money Edition

The first rule of investment: never lose money. The second rule of investment: don't forget the first rule.

BY EDITORS | Aug 26, 2016 | Money & Career

This second instalment of The Esquire Talks—the money edition—was held at Smoke & Mirrors, a rooftop bar at The National Gallery. And as the four panellists shared their disruptive approach to the status quo, the full-capacity joint showed appreciation that there were no artful deception at play here—well, except for the lightshow at Marina Bay Sands thanks to the unobstructed view.

While enjoying a potent Auchentoshen cocktail and being surrounded by the luxury of Baume & Mercier watches, the panellists turned on an insightful session where tired investing frameworks were carefully torn apart.

Gwendolyn Regina, Loh Lik Peng, Jonathan O’Byrne and Shaun Djie all come from different industries: media, hospitality, co-working spaces and digital asset management respectively. As diverse as they were, there was a common thread running through their assertions and arguments: align your investment in the cur- rent of exponential change.

Regina isn’t one to mince her words. As she shared about what venture capitalists and angel investors look for in an entrepreneur—not just successes but also how one manages failure—she honed in on how personal investment toward a product, or the lack of, can make or break a pitch. As a Director expanding Mash- able into Asia, Regina also built tech start-up website, SGEntrepreneurs, and sold it to Tech In Asia and continues to angel invest in various portfolios.

Jonathan O’Byrne grasped Regina’s position on personal investment. The founder and CEO of co-working space, Collective Works, has met and worked with numerous entrepreneurial upstarts. But if there’s one nugget of advice we could all take away from O’Byrne, it’s: if you are unwilling to fully invest in your own idea, why should anyone else? He shared about his own experiences of how he threw himself, and the kitchen sink, into his start-up.

The mythical entrepreneurial grind is real and so are the rewards. Reference: Loh Lik Peng and Shaun Djie. We have yet to see the former speaking as fervently as he did on passion for the work. After featuring him twice in Esquire—including Man of Our Time for January this year—Lik Peng’s 30 hotels and restaurants in Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai and London requires not only financial investment but a lot of heart.

Shaun Djie agrees. The co-founder of Digix Global, a digital asset management firm that uses cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, raised USD5.5million of virtual capital within hours. The former banker and trader insight on the future of money was an engrossing listen, and so was the shared lessons from the audience through late in the evening.

Watch the full discussion below: