An Interview with Sam Neo, Founder of People Mentality Inc. A passionate entrepreneur and running a successful company. He shared some valuable insight with us during the interview which helps new business owner to progress with their business as well.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m currently the Founder and Chief People officer of an HR and Branding Consultancy firm, People Mentality Inc. I have a strong belief in people and the potential that HR has to deliver value to organizations. That’s why I started the company to create a movement and showcase bit by bit what my beliefs are and using it as a platform to inspire more people in the process. Outside of work, I love sports and music. Besides relaxation, these 2 areas of activities are also my source of inspiration for my work.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
When I first started planning for this venture, I was thinking about a couple issues. “What is the best way to ensure that I can scale up without having to burden myself with unnecessary cost?” “What is the best way to gather leverage on resources yet not having to pay them on a monthly basis?” “How can I create a movement so that people in my profession will not simply just learn by exchanging articles online but could potentially work on actual projects together?” “What is the best way to rally people and make them believe that HR is beyond just transactions?”
With some spark my Marvel’s Avengers, all these considerations led me to creating what I call the “HR Avengers” which is an ecosystem of HR consultants/practitioners, HR Tech providers and trainers/facilitators where People Mentality is able to create a strong team that can provide a holistic support to organizations.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
I’m not sure if there is a best book that I’ve ever read but “Work Rules” by Laszlo Bock did influence me quite a bit. It was an eye-opener for a HR professional like myself to learn about new concepts and changing some of my limited beliefs and perspectives.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Best purchase ever was probably the tickets to Egypt back in 2012 when I graduated. It was my graduation trip with my wife who was still my girlfriend back then. We were lucky to have gone there and experienced the beauty of the country before the riot and mutiny took place right after. It was a two weeks trip that brings back great memories even till today.
Worst purchase ever would be the first wedding package that we bought at a roadshow years back. We were pretty much pressured into buying it and after that, there was non-delivery and led to many other complications that created a horrible experience for both me and my wife.
What takes up too much of your time?
Social media. This is especially so ever since I started People Mentality because platforms like LinkedIn has become an important part of what I do to communicate my beliefs and share useful insights with my followers.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
One, entrepreneurship is a mere vehicle to get you to where you want. It doesn’t mean that you have to become an entrepreneur in order to be deemed as cool. There are many ways to achieve your dreams and finding the most suitable vehicle matters. Do not be blinded by the over-glamourization of being an entrepreneur. It’s really much harder than you think.
Two, to create a sustainable business, a partnership is a very important part of it. You will not survive if you try to be selfish and keep everything to yourself. You will need to have a support network to grow and excel in the long run.
Finally, you really need to have the right purpose and intention when starting out. If it’s solely for financial reasons, you may burn out and crash really fast. That said, you should still be pragmatic and ensure a good balance between pursuing your dreams and financial sustainability. Failing which, you might be better off choosing other vehicles to chase what you believe in.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
In terms of the HR Tech space where I am rather involved in, I must say that Pulsifi, a people analytics company, has impressed me quite a bit. Under the leadership of 2 highly competent and visionary yet humble co-founders, Pete and Jay, they have developed a very solid people-centric tool which I believe is of immense value to the HR space. In addition, they have also recently raised over a million dollars through an Angel round despite being a relatively young company so kudos to them!
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
To me, I feel that the most impressive thing that I’ve achieved in a short year is probably the acknowledgment by fellow HR professionals as well as aspiring HR professionals reaching to thank me for inspiring them. It has been encouraging that my hard work has actually not only made a difference to the business but more importantly, affected people’s lives in a meaningful way.
How people should connect with you?
The best way to reach me is via LinkedIn. I’m very active there and you will learn a lot more about me and what I do through my regular activities and sharing.