The Click To Truth

Zehan Li

“Yay! My internship is in clickTRUE!” This is the first sentence I told my teammate when I received the confirmation message from my teacher on 27th May, 2013.

On the same day during Business Leader Program session (an enrichment program in my school; a two-week internship is part of the program), Jereme, one of the guest speakers,  shared with all of us about entrepreneurship. He has strong personal charisma and great insights. During later focus group discussion, I chose to join him and hopefully to glean more invaluable thoughts from him. I found out that he is a courageous, experienced and successful entrepreneur. Through his sharing, I learned about validating ideas, but it is only superficial compared to what I have learnt through my journey in clickTRUE.

Strictly speaking, a fortnight experience in clickTRUE may not be a real internship; it is more of a learning journey for me.  After all, as a student who has almost zero technical knowledge about SEO, SEM, coding or other related skills, I cannot do much hands-on work to help the company. Despite this, Jereme still teaches me something new every day and like he always says, ‘I want you to have some takeaways’. With that, I have indeed gleaned more on practical skills and insights rather than pure technological knowledge.

Here are the invaluable tips that I have gained:

Tip #1: Soft skills > Hard skills 

One thing that Jereme has emphasised since his sharing session is the importance of soft skills. This is proven true through my experience here. To be honest, the night before I came here, there were so many question in my mind. What to wear? What to bring? How am I going to talk to my ‘colleagues’? Should I sit there quietly? Will people judge me? Gosh, I wish I had some experience before so that I wouldn’t freak out!  That was when I realized that none of the knowledge in textbooks or lectures can help. The hard skills that are taught in lessons can merely be a foundation and theoretical support, but those soft skills gained through daily experience are more important for one to survive in today’s society.  Soft skills are being used every day when we leave school and enter work life. Each company looks for a different mix of skills and experience such as social grace, positive attitude, and good communication skills, depending on its business. As such, when today’s exam system just prepares us for hard skills, we need to find an avenue for to empower ourselves with these soft skills. I personally feel that an internship is a really good option.

Tip #2: Observe and think 

I bet most of you would not mind spending half an hour queuing for tasty wanton mee or fish ball soup. But have you ever pondered why the vendors do not want to expand their businesses? Don’t they know that they have a lot of business that sometimes they need to reject customers? Of course, they do. That is what Jereme asked me when we had lunch together at Food Centre on the first day. He ordered from a very popular wanton mee stall and actually he needed to wait for more than 15 mins with a queue number.

One may simply take a look and walk away but an entrepreneur will think why this happens. Also, instead of having a queue number, maybe the vendor can get the phone numbers from customers and text them with queue numbers.  In this way, vendors are able to get customers’ information and thus keep in touch with them for more potential deals. This may sound redundant for a wanton mee stall but it is actually how marketing works. clickTRUE focuses on helping clients in Search and Conversion strategies. They get the traffic, lead them to landing page and direct qualified ones to the client. The traffic is like people who go to that food centre every day; the qualified ones are those who provide their mobile numbers to the vendor (assuming that the vendor is using queuing system via SMS). Once clients gain the information of potential consumers, they will be able to keep them in touch and prolong their business. See, business comes from triviality. What is the successful key is whether one is able to observe constantly and think critically.

Tip #3: Walk the talk

I don’t know if you always hear someone says ‘oh actually I have this idea…bla bla bla…. I think it is quite good and I should start a business.’  But, that is it. It is always easy to talk but hard to do. Jereme has started his first start-up when he was a freshman in university. Surely he didn’t have much experience and he didn’t know if his idea was feasible in the market. Yet, he decided to do it rather than let his idea hang in the air. Now look at where he is. If one wants to gain fruits along the road, one needs to start walking on the road. But one has to bear in mind that do what you love and love what you do. Only then one can enjoy and do it with the utmost effort.  Jereme is an expert in online marketing now but do you know that his major in university was Electrical Engineering? Sher Min, a cute young lady working in clickTRUE, studied accounting and finance in university but she found her interest in online marketing. After picking up some technical skills, she confirmed that this is here real interest. She thus drops accounting and works here now. I have never seen their real work but I believe the work with passion will be impressive.

Tip #4: Put yourself in other’s shoes

One of the tasks that I have done during this internship is to look at the advertising in SPH Magazines (particularly magazines related to beauty and fashion) and consider how to improve it. This is when I learned how to think and how to think better. As an outsider, there are several views that I can do this task—from publishers’ aspect, subscribers’ aspect or advertisers’ aspect.  Apparently, in order to provide insightful opinions and qualified suggestions, I need to understand my target audience. In this case, this SPH digital magazine website is designed for subscribers. As such, I need to put myself in a subscriber’s shoe to measure the effectiveness of this website. With that, I am able to perceive how to improve this website by thinking what do I expect to see here. This is actually similar to the idea of pitching. From a fresh perspective to view the whole issue, we can gain more insights. Look at this picture; is it a rabbit or a duck?

Tip #5: Work hard and play hard 

If you ask me about the culture in clickTRUE, I would say that there are a lot of characteristics in this company such as friendliness, good organzation, etc. But the predominant culture here is ‘work hard and play hard’.  When Jereme drove Yen Fei and me to the Food Centre on the first day, we thought there was no canteen around the workplace, but he said ‘as far as possible, we will encourage everyone to have lunch outside.’ Everyone goes out at about 12:30 and they enjoy their lunches outside. I am lucky to join them for a few lunches. During the lunch break, they share their interests, talk about plans after work, and even collect updated McDonald Hello Kitty Collection together.  Through reading clickTRUE’s blog, I also found out that they will go outing together such as Christmas Event, Yacht Trip. They must have a great time playing together. Yet, when it comes to work, you have no idea how serious and hardworking they can be. Marcus and Jiahe did presentations for us on clickTRUE. Though I am just a student and basically an IT idiot, they treated me like a real client, answered my questions patiently and listened to my feedback carefully. From there, I can tell how hardworking they are in their daily work.

Tip #6: Apply what you have learnt

In fact, without taking actions, all these tips are just theoretical and useless.  Do you see the pictures that I put in this blog? Do you like them? Now assume I have deleted all these pictures and what you are reading now is merely a page of dry words. You may not even read up to here.  On the first day here, I learnt how to present the content in a more attractive and impressive manner in terms of visual appeal. Here we go: one of the important factors would be pictures, which can link to emotions. Applying what you have learnt is to maximize your resources. Just like Google Analytics, I have learnt how to read data but if I fail to analyze them insightfully, those are just meaningless numbers. Maybe I will not be able to apply the limited but precious technical knowledge that I have gleaned in the near future. Yet, the crux of critical thinking and learning skills will definitely benefit me in all areas.

Time to say goodbye 

All in all, I can safely say that I have really gleaned so much in these two weeks. Experiences here in clickTRUE are priceless. Lessons that I have learned here can’t be found in any textbook. I really want to thank Jereme for his guidance, advise, insights, and more importantly, for offering me this opportunity to have my internship in clickTRUE. Thank all of my ‘colleagues’ for their support and help. I really had a wonderful time here and I will keep in touch with all of you on FaceBook. 🙂