Cheeky Michael

Meet Michael! πŸ™‹πŸ»

I am a serial entrepreneur and cosmopolite, incessantly looking for ways to improve life; for myself and the people around me.

I love finding my way in the world’s subway systems. πŸš‡

Michael praying or meditating

πŸ‘½ About me

  • 🀷 He/him

  • πŸ‡³πŸ‡± Dutch national

  • πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ Living in Singapore

  • πŸ‘Ά Born in 1986

  • πŸ§ͺ Myers-Briggs E/INTJ


🏫 Formative years

  • Aerospace Engineer: BSc at the Delft University of Technology πŸ‡³πŸ‡±. Philosophized on aircraft in 2050.

  • Linguist: BA at the University of Amsterdam πŸ‡³πŸ‡±. Compared how the noun plural behaves in the Scandinavian languages.

  • Sustainable Energy Engineer: MSc at the Royal Institute of Technology πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡³πŸ‡΄. Assessed the viability of a net-zero energy building in Gothenburg.

  • Process Engineer: Employed at ExxonMobil in Rotterdam πŸ‡³πŸ‡± and Fairfax, VA πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ. Did troubleshooting and wrote an operational guide on (lubricant) hydrocrackers.


🌏 Countries I have lived

Countries Michael has lived

Michael wearing corporate shirt

🧐 Areas of Interest

  • Fintech/Payments: Big believer in account-to-account transfers and a post-credit card world πŸš«πŸ’³πŸŒ Advocate for financial transparency, financial literacy, and financial hygiene.

  • Languages: Love acquiring new languages. In order of command: πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡©πŸ‡°πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡«πŸ‡·. Current target: HSK4 in Mandarin Chinese πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³. Particularly nerdy about historical linguistics.

  • Space: Will read about how to terraform Mars. Bezos vs. Musk. Recent inductee and fan of science-fiction books like Liu Cixin's Three-Body Problem.


πŸ’† Free time

✈️ Traveling

πŸ₯Ά Scandinavia

πŸ”€ Typography

✍🏽 Writing

πŸ€“ Reading

🧘 Meditation

🎨 Contemporary Art

πŸ‹οΈ CrossFit

πŸƒ Running


πŸ“š Books I have recently read

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy
The Poetics of Space
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
Bank 4.0: Banking everywhere, never at a bank
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
Lost and Founder: The Mostly Awful, Sometimes Awesome Truth about Building a Tech Startup
Impromptu: Leading in the Moment
Think And Grow Rich
The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Navigating ASEANnovation:The Reservoir Principle and Other Essays on Startups and Innovation in Southeast Asia
ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction--From Childhood Through Adulthood
Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny BeyondEarth
The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos
Michael wearing Maesh shirt

πŸš€ Startups

Over the course of 6 years, I have (co-)founded 3 startups.

The first one is Virgla, a Flipboard for fans of brands. We went through Startupbootcamp's accelerator in 2016.

In 2017, with a university friend, I worked on the second: HitchFly, a last-minute flight ticket startup for students.

Maesh β€” an online payment gateway in Singapore β€” is my latest and most successful. Starting out as a one-man show in 2019, I have been able to partly exit the business to Rapyd in 2021.

As the sole founder and CEO, I was fortunate to:

  • Raise US$75K in pre-seed funding πŸ’°

  • Lead a team of 7 Maesh potatoes πŸ₯”

  • Build the company to 63 active merchants and US$110K in GTV (Gross Transaction Volume) πŸ“ˆ

In a post-mortem article, I shared my learnings and f*ck-ups during my 2-year journey with Maesh:

I spoke about my ambitions for Maesh on the 10Fin.Tech podcast:

Michael at Antler

🦌 Antler

I'll be joining Antler's SG8 cohort starting May 24, 2021 πŸ₯³. On this page, I have tried to summarize who I am as a founder. I've also gathered my thoughts around who'd be my perfect co-founder.

πŸ™‹ Michael as Founder

🟒 Strengths

Leadership

  • Hands-off No micromanaging

  • No bullshit Transparency Clarity Fairness Honesty

  • Personally engaged in people Vested in their success Caring Interested

  • Open/vulnerable Personal life Struggles Asking for feedback

  • Strong communicator Visible Available Responsive

Organization

  • Creating structure out of nothing

  • Using thought patterns to solve problems

Execution

  • Relentless, even when I don’t feel like it Dedicated Passionate Persistent Ownership

Creativity

  • Combining the verbal with the visual

  • Attention to detail

  • Comment by a fellow entrepreneur: β€œYou are a true artist”

Product / Customer focus

  • Caring about their experience UI/UX

  • Understanding their needs/wants Product Management

  • Worked in the hospitality industry for 7 years Michelin restaurant

Troubleshooting

  • Highly analytical

  • Quickly getting to the root cause of issues

Startup Expertise

  • Understanding all the ins and outs of starting a business

  • Connected with fellow entrepreneurs SG ASEAN NL

πŸ”΄ Weaknesses

Extrovert and Introvert

  • Not somebody who wants / can be β€œon” 100% of the time

  • May be shy and/or observant under circumstances

  • I can be too serious. I can smile / relax more often

  • Good sleep is very important for my mood. Poor sleep can make me grumpy

Planning

  • Don't always plan ahead, as I like to do things on the fly

  • But I can also be too rigid to make sure I don't end up in chaos

Competitive

  • I tend to compare myself a lot with others and have that determine my success

  • I rely on praise / recognition

Areas of Responsibility Exercise

I am a true jack-of-all-trades. As a former single founder, I am familiar with all aspects of running a business. I know how to sell to customers and I have been able to setup a website, database, and cloud environment. However, out of the 3 personas Hipster, Hacker, and Hustler, I lean most towards Hipster (Product).

Michael carrying a coffee

🀝 My perfect co-founder

My perfect business partner in crime might be you! But who are you? Although I know I might be asking for the moon, it's the only way we can make this company a moonshot 🌚🌝 You can be either of these 2 types:

1. sales and marketing guru

You are very comfortable selling to people. You love setting yourself targets and overachieving them. You enjoy prospecting, building lists, and doing outreach. You might even call yourself a "hunter" 🎯

2. Strong Technical Leader

You are well-versed in development and technology. You enjoy drawing out the big-picture architecture and finding the right stack. You take pride in choosing the best tools to enforce code practice. Scalability, reliability, and maybe even security are second nature to you πŸ’»

Other Values and Traits

Company values

The following company values might resonate with you:

  • Radical Transparency

  • Open to feedback / Humility / Willingness to learn

  • Loyalty / Trust / Keeping promises (not flaky)

  • Leadership

  • Meritocracy

Personality traits

You might identify with the following personality traits:

  • Bubbly / Cheerful

  • Decisive / Driven

  • Reflective / Self-aware

  • Structured

  • More rational than emotional

Interest piqued? You think I got it all wrong? Awesome!

Let's grab a coffee! β˜•οΈ

Michael carrying a coffee