The Next Chapter
Our team outing in 2014, Cebu.
After 3 intense and wonderful years as CEO of coins.co.th, I find it was time to say goodbye. At the end of last year, December 2016, I had finally left the company I co-founded -- Coins.co.th. I plan to take my first real time off in 3 years and then start working on something again. This journey has been very painful, but the most rewarding one.
It all started back at the end of 2013. We had a dream that we could bring digital currency to millions of people, and help accelerate financial inclusion. Four years fast forward, what seemed crazy back then is becoming reality. Coins.co.th is now one of the best-trusted names in the space in Thailand and is flourishing. I remember meeting with an ex-Paypal executive in a pancake shop in San Francisco for his advise before we started out. Looking back, we have come a long way. We have taken on a great challenge: to change the way people use and think about money. We’ve helped a lot of customers and are adding more than ever every month. Seeing the team I’ve built created something wonderful to the world and put it out there is one of my life's greatest pleasure.
Our second office in Ekkamai, the first office was a spare room in my house.
I’m so thankful to everyone in the company for all of the faith you have put in me and the experiences we’ve been through together. Thank you our supporters, customers, and investors for believing in us. To the employees at Coins.co.th: you’re the most talented, hard-working group of people I know. Everyday I am impressed by your commitment and work ethic. I was very lucky to have worked with passionate, smart, and driven individuals. I owe you guys everything! There were a couple of reasons why I thought it was the right time for my transition: 1) Coins.co.th is much stronger — we grew a lot in 2016 and 2017. We also got a new CEO who is much more capable than me to take the company to the next level and 2) The blockchain ecosystem has finally reached the stage where it can begin to accommodate powerful new ideas and businesses. These 3 years of entrepreneurial ups and downs have been the best education I could ask for. Daily bumps and bruises delivered new challenges and taught important lessons. They’ve helped prepare me, and solidify my vision for what kind of company I want to be building next.
Our team in 2015.
Here I want to share with you some of the lessons and mistakes I have learned along this journey:
A good education can help you make better decisions, but being a great CEO is something you can’t learn in school. What counts for most of it is character — your own and that of the people around you.
In the long-run, no matter how good or successful you are, your business and its future are in the hands of those you hire.
It is very important to treat people right. Integrity is everything.
Great leaders would never sacrifice the people to save the numbers. They would sacrifice the numbers to save the people.
Don’t measure the company’s success by head counts, instead measure heart counts.
Get the environment right, everyone has the capability to do remarkable things.
Leadership is a choice, not a rank. Employees do what authorities say, but only follow/respect leaders.
It is ok to take a break. in a beautiful place. alone. to figure everything out.
Sorry works when a mistake is made but not when trust is broken. So inside the company, it is ok to make mistakes but never break trust. Because once people feel that they cannot trust each other, it creates a bad system of survival.
Don’t cut corners. Do things properly.
Attracting, recruiting and developing talented people and making sure the right people are doing the right thing.
Every individual in the team should be responsible for just one thing. set the right metrics.
Start small and monopolize.
Recruiting is the most important thing and should never be outsourced.
Model the company’s core values and cultures. Be a clock builder, not a time teller.
Pure perseverance and how to deal with issues are what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones.
Very important -- You must know co-founder before the business.
Team spirit - one of those weekends where we all came to the office to fix our accounting crisis. #fuckihateaccounting
Taking a step back, it is clear that the evolution of digital currencies is proliferating. Blockchain, as an underlying technology, is very disruptive. We are on our way to digitize and create a better transaction network for the entire world whether it is for currency, asset or anything of value. And just like the internet, the impact of this transformation will be huge. While I do not know what I want to do yet in the near future, I know that I have learned a lot about myself and the people who I would like to work with. I know I will take my time to reflect where my full focus will be, and I know that whatever I commit to will be aligned with my purpose and core values. Entrepreneurship, leadership and investing are something I am passionate about. I will probably be involved in the space of growing an employee-first business or investing in new ideas. Working with people who dream big and enabling them to change the world.
Merry Christmas! Santa clause is coming to work..
I am incredibly grateful to the team for sharing this incredible journey ride with me. Thank you my cousins, for being one of my very first hires, to help me set up the company. To all our amazing employees, partners, customers, investors and everyone who has given their best to get us to where we are today - I thank you from the bottom of my heart. When I’m old and dying, I can certainly look back on this journey and say 'wow, that was an adventure. I took the risk and wasn’t afraid'. I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn’t let it. Thank you!
Our team in 2016.
I am going to end this post with a quote from Mark Twain. “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
I challenge you to find your purpose and keep the desire to dream big. I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing - I certainly will.
Topp Founder and Group CEO of Bitkub