Before It All Began
1110 days ago, June 18th 2012 – I remember it like yesterday. I was in my second year of university, summer was approaching, and I knew that I wanted to do an internship rather than spend 3 months watching reruns on TV or going on junk boat trips. I had studied economics and finance but wanted to try my hand at consulting. So I started writing cold emails to different firms across Hong Kong, hoping for an opportunity to intern at one of them. Little did I know, what was going to happen.
A few days later, I received a reply from Paul Tomes, the Founding Partner at a company called Anatta Limited. He told me that they were only looking to hire seasoned consultants, but that he and his business partner (Nick Murray) were thinking of starting a new tech venture – an exciting new start up opportunity.
We exchanged emails and a few weeks later I met Paul for coffee. Starbucks. Latte. No silly extras. I won’t forget that meeting for a while. Paul explained a little bit more about what he had in mind; we chatted for around an hour. And soon enough I was excited for the entrepreneurial opportunity ahead. Despite there being a good amount of uncertainty and ambiguity, I was willing to take the risk and try something new.
The First PassKiteer
I was at PassKit before it was cool. I was their first intern, even before PassKit officially came to be.
I remember walking into the serviced office in Central, Hong Kong on the first day. Suited up in my corporate outfit with my MacBook in tow, I was excited to see what was in store for me. And I couldn’t have been more wrong in my thinking – about the office attire that is.
Now, my internship started shortly after Apple’s WWDC in 2012, which was when Passbook made its debut. The entire concept of mobile wallet was very new (but the novelty still exists today), so my first task was to get completely familiar with Passbook and understand the implications of this for businesses.
Straight away I was building and churning out content. Blog posts, articles, opinion pieces, market comparisons, you name it. I discovered that I had a pretty quick turnaround for content creation that meant that my blog posts were almost instantly published on the web for the world to see. Which is pretty cool for an intern without any prior work experience. And that wasn’t all.
Other than creating blog posts, I was also responsible for conducting competitive analysis, user testing of the WYSIWYG Pass Designer across multiple browsers and operating systems, creating and editing videos, and putting together a guide for the non-technically minded – perfect for someone like myself. But what I found most profound was during those 3 months I didn’t feel like an intern. I was never treated like an intern. I never was an intern. And I don’t believe anyone who joined after was ever referred to or treated like one either.
I still remember being ‘suited up’ and dressed as professionally as I could for the first few weeks of my time at PassKit. But I soon realized that I didn’t need to dress for corporate, because after all, corporate was Paul and Nick. And they don’t run your average company. PassKit isn’t average. And at the end of the day, it’s not about what you wear – it’s about the output and value you deliver.
My First Year
620+ days ago, after completing my degree, I returned to PassKit and launched my career in marketing. And I was happy to be back, especially under the mentorship and guidance of Paul and Nick – who are visionary leaders without a doubt. The team had grown since I left, and it was exciting to see where PassKit – now in full swing – was headed.
My first official year here was invigorating. Given my interest in marketing, I took ownership of things such as content creation, the website, our blog, email campaigns, social media, amongst other things.
Just last year, I was proud to have worked with Duncan (who was an “intern” at the time) and the rest of the team in creating, developing, and launching Loopy Loyalty. This was a completely new product and I took on the challenge of making sure that it was something that our customers would love. I’ve learned a lot of lessons during the process of managing and marketing a product, which has further helped me with my personal and professional development.
I’ve also had the opportunity to speak at our Mobile Wallet Marketing Masterclass event (formerly known as Proximity Marketing Blueprint) in Hong Kong and London. And the feeling I came away with at the end of each event was remarkable, knowing that I’ve been able to add value to our clients. Plus, it was also my first time going to Europe, which was a fantastic experience in itself. And it didn’t stop there.
I’ve picked up so many skills along the way, such as HTML and CSS, discovered a true passion for product marketing, and have seen myself grow in such a short amount of time.
Many of my friends asked me if I want to pursue a Masters degree – and without hesitation I tell them NO, at least not right now. Someone once told me the best way to learn business is to build a business – in this case I’ve joined a startup and can see, feel, even taste the ins and outs of a business more than ever.
So what am I currently working on? Let’s just say that my goal is to make sure that our online products kick ass and add real value to businesses.
To Infinity, And Beyond
I’m now approaching my 2-year mark as a PassKiteer and I couldn’t be happier to be on board this PassKit-ship. Like Sheryl Sandberg once said, “If offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”
Taking that seat in June 2012 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My name is Wendy Chan, and this is my PassKit story.
That’s not even the half of it.
Wendy is ineffable, intelligent, and truly inspiring.
She hasn’t just stepped onto the “rocket ship”, but flown it. And I’m proud to now be voyaging with her aboard HMS PassKit. Oh, and one last thing – which she’ll hate me for highlighting – she’s been mentioned on Sassy Hong Kong’s ‘Women In Startup’ lists. Check her out.
SassyHK – Women In Startup 2015