thanks, Josh

first post of my 2017 thank you series to my alma mater

February 25, 2017 - 3 minute read -
personal development life vase

At the start of this year I decided to start writing post to thank unconventional individuals that helped me on my way of building Vase. The first post in the series is dedicated to Josh, the founder of NEXT Academy, and of course the entire team working at NEXT, especially my mentors, You Jing, Estelle, Tom, Shin Yin, Ping & many others.

NEXT Academy Is Southeast Asia’s Best Coding School For Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Freelancers And Software Developers.

NEXT Academy’s vision is to

Impact and enable 1 million individuals to achieve greater career success.

and

Foster the growth of 100 tech companies to achieve valuations exceeding US$ 100 million.

and they are definitely aggresively working towards that reality.

Right before we started working on Vase full-time, I joined NEXT’s 2 months long full-stack web development bootcamp to learn how to build stuff. I started my journey with code since I was 11, but at that point of time I was a “black” hat, that means I know a lot more about breaking other people’s stuff than building my own. NEXT got me started with building.

Naturally, before NEXT, I tried picking up coding on my own on MOOCs, but that didn’t work out well because come on, the internet is wonderful (and full of distractions). NEXT forced me into full-time, 9-6, Monday to Friday bootcamp, in an environment where everybody is working towards the same goal. Peer pressure made it tough to fail in that situation even if you tried.

Technology is a core competency at Vase, it touches every facet of the business, from marketing to sales to operations. Without tech, it is very likely that Vase will not be where we are today. NEXT gave me the ability to build tech and create leverage across my organization.

As a young founder starting an enterprise company, there’s really not much that you can do on the sales side (esp in SEA). Knowing how to code allowed me to take a seat on building our technology, operations (automation) & the handling mass market (growth hacking) side of the business.

NEXT also gave me a safety net, much like what people expect from a degree, to get you a “job”. If all hell breaks loose, there are plenty of companies looking to hire tech talent (including Vase, please drop me an email @ z@vase.ai if you’re interested), it wouldn’t be hard to stay alive. That is a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. I don’t have the numbers, but i’m pretty sure graduates of NEXT Academy on average make more than a fresh graduate on entry to the job market. I have also seen multiple candidates applying to Vase with a degree in tech related fields & still went to NEXT after their degree to learn practical skills.

The untold thing of what may be the most valuable gift NEXT’s gave me is the alumni network. Again, as a young founder, network is something that you lack inherently. People that I have gone through the bootcamp with became friends, and it’s a diverse group of friends. From my batch specifically, there are people from corporates to startups, from industry veterans to fresh graduates. One of my batch mates even came from the same industry that Vase is in, which we held very closely and learnt from.

If you’re young, the best thing that you can do now is learn how to code, no matter which field you might one day go into. It’s incredibly valuable if you want to start your own thing, it’s also valuable if you are working for someone else. The leverage & value that you can bring to the table is on a different order of magnitude. Go learn.