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You are either a winner or a loser

Keith Tan
October 02, 2018
There is a no nice way to put it. You either lose a game or you win a game. These are the facts. You might say that perhaps you can consider a loss a “win” because you gained some worthwhile experience. I’ve even seen a most ridiculous competition poster with the title “Everyone a winner”. When did we get so soft and politically correct?

The point of any game, competition, battle, war is that you win it. Or you lose it. The joy and celebration of the win is what drives you to take part in such a competition. If not, there would be no point! To call losers a winner in effect diminishes the joy of the winner.

Now, how the loser handles the loss, is a completely separate situation. Habitual losers see a loss as a definitive statement. The processing of a loss, feeling the pain of that loss, the shame and the embarrassment of a loss is what conditions your brain to not want to lose.

What’s even more frustrating is that I am surrounded by “peers” who are overly interested in niceties and squeamish about the blood and gore that accompany the bloodsport that is entrepreneurship. Wipe away the idealistic mission statements, and the reality is that the business of business is business. That is the core DNA of a business.

We’ve been criticized for being arrogant, ruthless, evil, cold, unsentimental and many other synonyms on many an occasion. It would be a lie to say that it does not make us bristle and we have definitely taken many a moment to consider our actions. Undoubtedly, if we are ever so lucky to have a biography written about us, there is plenty of material.

Acknowledging that we are either winners or losers is being cognizant of the laws of nature - adapt or die, eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. Business is a concrete jungle and only the paranoid survive. We built our business careers from just a $72 investment in some chotchkies from Stanley Market in Hong Kong at the age of 14. We sold them for a couple of hundred bucks and rolled it over and over again. Along the way, we had some lucky breaks and some tough failures. One of those failures saw us collectively lose $30,000 in a span of one weekend. Undeniable at the time, we were a loser. But we picked ourselves up and built it back up again. Such is the name of the game. And we love it.

PS: This is an opinion piece by Keith Tan, Group CEO of Wonderlabs. Wonderlabs is the leading service provider helping companies build and manage software development teams in Indonesia and Vietnam. Across our various shared and dedicated centers, we have over 350+ active software developers. Since our founding in 2015, we have grown rapidly through innovation and our relentless mission focus - Connecting you to success and productivity. Alumni of Wonderlabs have gone on to work at some of the biggest companies in Southeast Asia.

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"I started Wonderlabs because I experienced the problems of building and managing a distributed software development team in Indonesia from 2011 to 2015. I wanted to make it seamless and frictionless for companies to build and manage teams. On the other hand, I found that there are so many amazing software engineers in Indonesia and Vietnam and wanted to connect them to employers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta" - Ivan Chang, Executive Chairman, Wonderlabs Group

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