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Crunch Spotlight: Building Better People with Nuffnang

Updated: Jan 21

by Amanda Low. |

Crunch Spotlight is a Crunch-driven initiative aiming to add value to and inspire both our community and industry leaders across the nation through interview-style articles. Join us as we discover more about the story behind different industry leaders’ lives and journeys towards where they are now, and how they have transformed into the people they are today. We hope you get inspired by these stories and realize that you are capable of achieving your goals, too.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

In the focus of the Crunch Spotlight today is none other than Nuffnang, Malaysia’s leading influencer and content marketing company. We had the pleasure of speaking with one of the older souls in the Nuffnang Malaysia office: Kausern Hieu. Officially known as the Country Manager of Nuffnang, but informally known by Nuffies as KS, ‘laoban’, or even ‘oppa’, Kausern is someone who is passionate about all things to do with digital content, technology, and working with young people.

1. Tell us more about Nuffnang and what makes it tick!

Nuffnang is a subsidiary of Netccentric, our parent company which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Nuffnang is like the flagship of the company and it is a force to be reckoned with. Nothing quite summarizes Nuffnang better than the Margaret Mead quote mentioned above. I truly believe that young people are not just ‘the next generation of leaders for tomorrow’, but rather, they are ‘the NOW generation’. With our median age of 25 to 26 years old, we are certainly made up of young people that are empowered and encouraged to make the most out of today.

2. What is your role in Nuffnang? What do you do to make this company run smoothly?

I am Nuffnang’s Country Manager, and my primary role is to ensure that we hit our revenue targets. However, I like to think of hitting these revenue targets as a mere by-product of what we do daily.

I like describing it with this analogy. Nuffnang is a car. Our destination is our vision, which is to Build Better People. Now, a car cannot run without petrol. In this case, profits and revenue are what fuels our vehicle. And this fuel is of absolute importance! We cannot travel, nor can we reach our vision without it. However, we do not work to acquire petrol. We work to ultimately get to our destination.

3. Describe how a typical day looks like for you in the office.

In an ideal world, my day would be split into three equal parts: 1) Operations, 2) Building the future today, and 3) Intentional 1-on-1 check-ins with people.

Operations essentially include my day-to-day tasks where I deal with client requests, put out any (figurative) fires in the business, and essentially ensure that the car is running smoothly!

Building the future today is something that I think is the most important part of my day. You always have to plan ahead and set things in motion for tomorrow, today.

Finally, intentional 1-on-1 check-ins with people are also essential in my day-to-day. As a leader, I want to make sure that my employees are not just performing, but also coping well with their workloads. I do my best to support them in any way I can.

Ideally, I’d spend 33% of my time on each of these things, but currently, I spend 50%, 30%, and 20% of my time on these things respectively. I’m working towards the ideal though!

4. Who has influenced you most when it comes to your/Nuffnang’s work ethic?

Before I answer this question, we first need to establish what is our workplace culture or ethic. We aim to provide and create a safe workplace environment with a strong sense of belonging. By providing a safe space, our employees will be more willing to innovate, take risks, or push the envelope. This is crucial for us to stay nimble, agile, and relevant despite the age of our company.

I also have a firm belief that it takes a whole village to raise a kid. Nuffnang is a very people-centric company and we always do what we can to foster a sense of belonging among our employees and constantly add value to both our employees and our clients.

There is a multitude of people who have inspired my beliefs and work ethic. Among them are Simon Sinek, John Maxwell, Tom Bilyeu, Dan Lok, and others. There’s also this podcast called “How I Built This” hosted by Guy Raz which talks about various founders and innovators and the story behind the movements they have created. You should check them out!

5. What is something that sets you apart from other companies in your industry?

I would say that our young people and our leadership is what sets us apart in the industry. Many people tend to dismiss the younger generation as millennials who don’t know what they’re talking about, but I say don’t judge a book by its cover. Age is not always a determinant when it comes to success. We are also blessed to have bosses and owners that always provide air cover for our employees when trying something new. We always have each other’s backs.

6. How do you usually start your day?

I wake up and get out of bed around 6:30am and I always make sure to have breakfast! I usually have a couple of hard-boiled eggs every morning (yes, every morning). While the eggs are cooking, I meditate on the Bible and journal to start my day. I find that it sets me on the right course each morning!

7. What about your night-time routine?

My night-time routine, or rather my after-work routine is essentially a self-recovery period. I fall back into trusty, feel-good activities like scrolling through social media and watching YouTube or Netflix. Since my day was filled with a lot of productive things, I allow myself a few vices to help me relax!

8. How do you stay productive when you are having a bad day?

When I’m having a bad day, it’s easy for me to get frustrated. I always try to reflect on my feelings and think, “Why am I feeling frustrated?” I come to realize that I feel frustrated because I am overly focused on the output or the outcome of a situation. Most of the time, this outcome is something I cannot control. When I catch myself doing this, I try to lead myself back to my input. I ask myself: “What can I do to change this? How can I be better?” This helps to keep me on track and stay productive.

9. Are there any key habits that you think define a successful person?

I think that every successful person is made up of 90% work ethic and 10% of luck/fate/timing. A good work ethic boils down to your daily decisions and actions that you take. If you don’t put the work in by planting and cultivating your seeds daily, you’re not going to get a harvest.

I also believe in cultivating the habit of being intentional and paying attention to your micro-actions each day. You may think, “It’s just a small decision. It couldn’t have that big of an impact in my life, can it?” Think about yourself as a rocket launcher. If you’re off or imprecise by even the tiniest fraction of a decimal point from the beginning, this could throw you off course in the long run. Always focus on your next step, your next micro action, and it will take you where you need to be.

10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice do you have for our readers?

Actions speak louder than words. In fact, actions scream. Don’t be too caught up with what you can see on the surface. What matters most is the track record. Take things slow and always pay attention to how people have acted in the past. It’ll clue you in on how they may act in the future.

11. What is the most recent thing that you have learned? Why or how is it important to you?

“We don’t see things as how they are, we see things as how we are.”

Different people see things through their own unique filters that are shaped by their knowledge, upbringing, and experiences. This can create a self-limiting mindset.

This lesson is important to me as a leader because whenever we can’t seem to have a breakthrough at work, it either means that we aren’t clear about how or what we are trying to achieve or we don’t have the courage to achieve it. I want to step in for my team and give them clarity where they don’t have it, and to encourage (en-courage, meaning to give courage) them.

12. Do you have a personal mantra/phrase that you always repeat to keep yourself motivated?

“Be clear, be simple, and be inspiring”.

With the vision of “Building Better People”, Kausern surely does his best to help see this vision come to pass daily. We hope that you’ve been encouraged and motivated by this interview! Remember, your age does not determine your success. Your tomorrow is determined by your today, so focus on your micro-actions and you’ll get to your destination eventually.

You can find out more about the author on Instagram.

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