Book-Chat with Iqbal Ameer, Co-Founder of The Livescape Group, Avid Graphic Novel Reader and Collector
Iqbal Ameer is the Group CEO of The Livescape Group, a pioneer in the new era of live entertainment. It’s one of South-East Asia’s largest and fastest growing events management and event creation company.
It all started during Iqbal’s university days in Australia, where he was inspired by how international events were organised and wanted to make a difference in the event industry back home. In 2011, when he returned to Malaysia, he started Livescape Group(formally known as Livescape Asia).
Iqbal oversees a dedicated team that successfully produces thousands-capacity events. To mention some of them: Rockaway Festival (Malaysia’s largest rock festival), Future Music Festival Asia (Southeast Asia’s award winning, largest music festival), IT’S THE SHIP (Asia’s largest music festival on a cruise ship), Armin Only Embrace, After Dark Social Club.
Since its inception, the group has spread across three countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia), and also expanded their service offering to corporate and mass participation events, TV production & support, creative design, talent booking and asset rentals.
An avid graphic novel collector and music lover, keep on reading to find out more about the books that had an impact on Iqbal and the lessons he learned from them.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
For business, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and non-business, Gun Machine by Warren Ellis.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma is a great read especially when I feel burnt out or when the business is going through hard times. This book made me realize that sometimes I need to prioritize myself before the business as my overall health will affect how I manage my team.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
There’s this book by Yuval Noah Harari called Homo Deus. A close friend of mine gave it to me as a gift and it gave me a glimpse of the future. The book made me believe that we can chart our own future and that everything around us is constantly changing and if we don’t change with it, we will fail; and this works for both business and life in general.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I wouldn’t recommend any events-related books. I believe that the most important things in life are always learnt from the streets.
I would recommend books that focus on pop culture, experiential events, or historical events that have changed people’s lives. I came across a must read book quite recently; Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert Is Shaping the New American Counterculture. This book showcases how one single event impacted and changed multiple lives and why it is important to pursue your passion and surround yourself with people that believe in similar things. Another book I would recommend is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries; it basically explains the ins and outs of starting a business and how to keep it efficient, effective, and open; definitely a great read for future business owners!
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
To be honest with you, I’m actually an avid graphic novel reader and collector!
Between work, family, and my social life, finding some time to read is actually an indulgence. I’ve recently stumbled upon the app Blinkist which summarises books for you via a subscription model, so if I come across a book that I’m interested in, I just buy it and let Blinkist do the reading for me!
How do you make time for reading?
I believe that you don’t need to make time for reading – reading will make time for you. If you stumble upon an interesting book, you will realize that your time is much better spent reading then checking your social media feeds or going to a meeting or lunch where your attendance is not necessary.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I always carry a notebook with me at all times. If I find something profound that I want to remember, I’ll always jot it down, either in my notebook or in the book itself! Page folding works too!
How do you choose what books to read next?
Most of the time, the books I read are recommended, or they stand out when I’m roaming a bookstore. I try not to be stingy when it comes to buying books, as I believe there’s always something to learn from each book. Besides, its tax deductible anyway!
Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
The funny thing is, most of my friends and colleagues aren’t big readers, but I do try to read or listen to audiobooks when I can.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
I’m currently reading Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Robert Salkowitz.
I want to learn more about how I can create a diehard fan base that loves and is passionate about our brands and will support us all the way. During our latest IT’S THE SHIP 2017 festival, we had 8 guests that got our IT’S THE SHIP tattoos on their bodies – this shows that this festival has and will continue to impact people’s lives. I want to try and implement similar things like this for all of our events.
Links where you can find out more about The Livescape Group and Iqbal Ameer:
All books mentioned by Iqbal in our interview:
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny by Robin Sharma
- Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert Is Shaping the New American Counterculture by Steven T. Jones
- Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz
- Gun Machine by Warren Ellis