Jack Wong, Co-Founder of Shoe Mo: 'Reading is just another dimension to learning'
At ShoeMo they use premium cleaning products and standardized processes to take care of your sneakers and give them a refreshed look. Their services include cleaning, repainting, restoration and customization.
Jack’s from Malaysia, an engineer by education, but currently in the business development side of things with a media company. He spent 4 years as a British Army reservist in the UK, then formed a team of 4 to drive halfway around the world, in an old jeep. Post-trip, he gained experience in sales and marketing across different industries, from recruitment to banking and media.
He met Ginny, the other co-founder of ShoeMoe (and also a sneakerhead), through a mutual friend. While they were out jogging, she asked if there were services for sneaker cleaning in their country – that’s how the business concept was born.
They did a market survey, and further validated the idea by asking for dirty shoes from their friends – this brought them valuable insights into the behaviour of potential customers. The business grew via word of mouth and they were receiving up to 6 pairs of sneakers per day consistently, which was when they decided to open a physical store.
We loved how Jack talks about reading and defines it as “another dimension to learning”. See what other nuggets of wisdom he has to share on books, in the interview below.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Business related book? Has to be Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, loved the Nike story from start to end, obviously also because it’s also footwear related. Another business related book that left its mark was “Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki” which gives a pretty interesting take on the fundamentals of customer – business relationships.
Non business related books wise, I tend to read a healthy mix of fiction and nonfiction mainly related to foreign culture/stories and history.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Yes definitely, Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment‘s approach to relationships with clients / customers / partners is definitely something practicable – on building likability and trustworthiness. I have always been a Business Development kinda guy so this was actually very helpful.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
Read as much and as wide as you can really. I think reading is just another dimension to learning apart from interacting with people, travelling, formal education etc.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I read on a weekly basis (physical books), but on my phone on a daily basis be it via audiobooks, podcasts & websites. Personally I prefer audiobooks and podcasts while commuting, podcasts specifically can cover a lot more ground as they tend to be more summarized and concise.
How do you make time for reading?
I don’t, I just listen to audiobooks and podcasts while commuting between places.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I haven’t really got a solution to this part, but currently tended to be a pencil and whatever piece of paper I can get my hands on while driving (which probably isn’t the safest thing to do).
How do you choose what books to read next?
For books, I tend to be more selective, usually picking biographies or business books related to prominent figures / brands that are relevant.
Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
Haven’t really been following any book gurus really, but from time to time I do get recommendations from my other peers in the industry.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
Robert Kuok’s Memoir – biography of a Malaysian born business magnate and investor who made his fortunes building commodity empires and international hotel brands. It’s interesting to read up on the way he approached business in this part of the world (Asia) and how they had the general economic foresight to spot opportunities (and disasters).
Links where you can follow Jack Wong or find out more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Jack in our interview:
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions by Guy Kawasaki
- Robert Kuok A Memoir by Andrew Tanzer