A ‘scalable’ career is one where growth is not dependent on the number of hours of work put in but where our growth is “dependent on the quality of our decisions”. What’s getting monetized is your ability to recognize patterns and wield your intellect, rather than spending your time pushing through rote tasks




Some skills may be awesome but not in demand: While a sonnet might take your breath away, iambic pentameter doesn’t have a high market demand. But some skills by any industry are wanted just as sweetly–and as founders of Pandora, Quora, and White Rabbit suggest, we can start developing them today. Here’s where to start:


Pandora cofounder Tim Westergren, who pitched his idea 348 times before securing crucial funding, reports that public speaking is one of the most universally useful skills. Why? “Whether you’re pitching a group of investors, rallying your employees, selling a customer, recruiting talent, addressing consumers, or doing a press tour, the ability to deliver a great talk is absolutely invaluable,” he says. And if you’d rather eat a microphone than have to speak into one, fret not: Quietauthor Susan Cain is here to help cure your oratory woes.2) MAKE REGULAR CHECK-INS

Edmond Lau, who was an early engineer at Quora, offers advice that he received by way of a friend’s mentor:

Always re-examine and reflect on where you are in your career at least every two years. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job, the exercise forces you to check that you are actually enjoying your work and learning on the job rather than just being comfortable.

Every two years might be a little infrequent, at least if you’re as mindful as the Pope. As we’ve reported before, the more we align the progress of our daily doings with our long-term goals, the more satisfied we’ll be.


Echoing the time-protecting advice of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Fantasy Shopper founder-CEO Chris Prescott wants us to learn how to say no.

This is unintuitive, since the startup (and career) hustle trains us to say yes to every opportunity. But that changes, he notes:

Assuming all goes well, you’ll reach a tipping point where people start coming to you instead of you going to them–be that speaking events, trial services, coaching, investment, etc.

Once that threshold is reached, there isn’t the time to say yes to everything, he continues. So we need to learn to say no in order to stay focused and expand our working lives.


White Rabbit Studios founder Hassan Baig takes a line from economist-contrarian-flaneur Nassim Taleb, who says to invest time in a scalable career.

What does that look like? Baig continues:

A ‘scalable’ career is one where growth is not dependent on the number of hours of work put in. For instance, imagine you’re a tax consultant. You probably charge an hourly rate for your consultative services. This of course implies that every marginal hour of work you put in generates value at that very margin. In other words, you’re selling your time–which unfortunately you have only 24 hours of per day. Such a career would be naturally tough to scale up.

Instead, Baig says, we’d do best to develop careers where our growth is “dependent on the quality of our decisions.” In other words, what’s getting monetized is your ability to recognize patterns and wield your intellect, rather than spending your time pushing through rote tasks. How do we hone that intangible skillset? By seeking out as much as of that experience as possible. That’s how we can grow our careers.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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