Mr Toilet

Was in class with guest lecturer Jack Sim, and he's here to talk about Bottom of Pyramid initiatives. This fella damn cute. And brutally honest. Probably the most entertaining classes I ever had.

So here are some quotable quotes from the man himself. It was hard to capture all of them word for word but I tried my best to retain the essence of it.


"You can come clean about your crimes and all that, but you will never be honest about farting".

"How to get mentors ah...just ask lah. Ask and you shall be given. Free one".

"I am jobless, so I can say whatever I want to say. Like I can go around and talk about shit all day long and no one can fire me".

On how current models do not work:

"I can also say things like donations and all that humanitarian aid bullshit is the biggest scam in the world".

"We are the third richest country in the world in GDP per capita, and we didn't do it by donations but by creating jobs, upgrading skills, improving the economy. When you donate, you cause problems in the market because you just sent them zero price product, then how their people compete?".

"As long as you don't do what is currently being done by the UN, you will be alright lah".

On moralising issues:

"Unforeseen circumstances in BoP? Aiya all foreseen one lah you think we don't know meh. All the companies just want to earn money what. But got something better than nothing right?"

"If you want to solve a problem, don't moralise so much about it and then become confused, just go and find solution. Don't beat about the bush lah, just go into the bush".

On how to do business

"Although I'm not your mother, my aim is to act like your mother lah. First thing your mother did was to write a business plan on a spreadsheet lah, Correct anot. No right? You know why cannot anot. If your mother write business plan ah, five years got cash flow problem liao lah! You know what you are anot, you are an unsustainable business. But okay leh. No business plan, unsustainable business, but 99% of mothers okay leh".

"You know if your mother do business plan about you, by now outsource you already, adopted to some other family. I tell you, all you need is love".

When asked about business school models:

"Forget about other people lah, you read what Michael Porter then read Peter Drucker, then say what he say this but he say then therefore I say this, wahlao waste time then no originality, just do lah".

"So I tell you sometimes just go with feeling lah aiyo don't waste so much time reading about what other people say..." *Prof interrupts to talk about a book called 'Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious'* "Ok thank you, she just legitimised what I said. But I tell you lah actually, don't waste time reading that book". *Prof rolls her eyes*

"You got read the book called the alchemist anot, when you really want something the whole universe will conspire to help you get it, I don't know why but it works lah. *Looks at prof* You got another book to legitimise this anot".

Student: "I know got one book (can't remember the title but it was something about attraction), it is basically about what you are talking about". Jack Sim: *Looks at student and the female student beside him* "Ah I see. *pauses* Actually you two look like you have some attraction ongoing there".

"Our education system is to teach us fear, what do SWOT analysis what, I tell you what is SWOT analysis, strength, threat, weakness, and opportunity. If you know your strength and opportunity, why do you want to know threat and weakness. Cover kaching lah! These two are the handbrake you know anot. It's very stupid. But you know why you write this. So that in case you fail you can explain why. So weakness and threat is the pre-justification of failure. You 50% plan to fail already. Aiya don't care lah just do it lah. The important thing is that once you start ah, the problem will teach you what to do, and the problem which is called the mission, the mission will guide you to do whatever it takes to reach it. Your mind focus on it like a laser beam ah, then the wall will cut into two then you just walk through it. Like superman vs batman. I heard the movie very lousy don't watch it. I heard the next one is called superwoman vs mother in law".

"The worst thing that can happen to you is you die. Or if not next one is you bankrupt. Aiya if you bankrupt then okay what you still alive. Then if you die, then all problem solved lah! Why you bother about what that friend who drive the Mercedes think about you. Aiya I tell you ah, they only care about themselves lah. You know what is one good thing about this world? Nobody bother about you lah, so you can do whatever you want!"

Best marketer ever

"You know sometimes they got ego problem, they want to do something but when someone want to solve the same problem as them, they become their competitors. Then don't want to work together even though it would really solve the problem. So how? So what I will do is to go to her, then I will tell her 'wah eh you know ah I think you are doing a fantastic job', actually she so-so only lah but never mind she happy can already. Then you just say 'I think what you are doing has great impact, and because of that I want to help you to scale your impact to fifty times more than what you already can do!' You cannot tell her it will help her to get famous or got money ah they will say no that's not their aim. You must tell them it helps them to have impact. Ah, then she happy then she will want to hear more about how you can help her right. Then you tell her 'so you see this other person is doing this ah, actually what she is doing is not as good as you lah, but then her distribution channel quite solid, so if you work with her and use her distribution channel, your impact sure increase'. Then she will think about it. Then after this you go talk to the other person with the good distribution channel 'wah eh you know ah I think you are doing a fantastic job', and so on lah until you got all of them working together.

Student: "But just now you said we should be honest". Jack Sim: "Ok lah if you have to choose honestly and outcome...then you compromise lah hor!"

"You know right if you don't know the culture then you fail. You see for us ah, we think that everyone should have toilet, they don't have toilet it's bad. But eh hello, you must understand their culture. They don't like toilet. They just shit into the river, like can air their kaching, can chit chat with their friend, don't need to wash toilet, then the air smell nicer also. You give them toilet so smelly, need to maintain, cannot chit chat. How leh? So what you need to do is you need to use another part of their culture to fight this part. So they jealous right, they like to compare to one another see who better. So I sell the toilet to the village chief, tell him it's very good and special, make it very colourful and outstanding, then the village chief start to show off, "look at my new toilet". Then all the neighbour start to think wah he got toilet show off, I also want my own toilet. Then okay lor slowly all got toilet then you change their toilet culture".

There was this whole part where he compared loving and believing in the job that you do to a lover, and working unhappily just to get salary and be rich to a prostitute

"Correct what, you see the prostitute, every time come in see the people face also sian, lie down there, say take my body, same what you go do your job also like that".

"Don't ever graduate to become a prostitute. There are many prostitutes in the bank. The biggest number of prostitutes in the government service. Actually universities also a lot of prostitutes. How come I can say like that? Because I got no job lah".

I asked a question about dealing with unethical marketing that harms BoP by selling them things they don't need

"So it really depends on your intention lor, whether you really got the heart lor. But okay lah sometimes you work with the bureaucrat then the bureaucrat just want money right. They go there sell their toilet, then the toilet nobody use they also don't care cause they sold it. Somebody die they also don't care. So how? You need to incentivise the bureaucrat using stick and carrot. So what I do is I will make it part of their KPI. People never use? That means useless, I will freely talk to the media about how useless your project is. Ah then they all scared then they say okay okay I will go and see how".

On lack of time and resources

"If you start to think it is fun, then you got energy. In reality according to mathematical calculation I got no time lah, last time I run 16 businesses concurrently, now I do 20 plus project at the same time, but I still got time to come to teach you leh. Why? Cause love will drive you through. Cause I love Audrey Chia (my prof), and cause I love to talk lah".

"So like I assume I die on my 80th birthday at 11pm, then I set my plan based on that lor. I have a countdown timer on my phone so it tells me how many more days I have to live, then I do whatever I need to do before then. Of course if I don't die then not like I going to commit suicide or what lah".