Yes, we have HAMBUSHED our first lady!

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The wonderful thing about Hambushing Maxis‘ Head of Marketing Services Lau SuLin is that you actually get a story worth writing about.

Always ready with an opinion, this feisty lady has been a favourite at MARKETING magazine ever since she won our PowerSuit of the Year award eons ago.

After 4 years in Digi and now 2 years at Maxis what have you got to say for yourself?
That I may just be the luckiest person in Malaysian marketing? 🙂

Oddly, the most surprising thing I discovered is how completely different the two jobs have been despite being in the same category.

Digi in 2009 was a very different kind of brand operating in a very different time for marketing than Maxis is today in 2016.

Quite honestly, the most exciting things about my job today aren’t necessarily telco-specific: it’s about helping the teams (both our own Maxis team and agency teams who work with us) to rethink how marketing could work differently to better tackle the unique challenges and opportunities that digitization and data bring.

When are you taking your ‘Stefan Sagmeister working sabbatical’ to explore the world?
Probably before I turn 40. Working for no pay for 1 year is complete and ut-ter professional freedom.

It is something I’d recommend to anyone who’s al-ways felt they are interested in more things than just one career path – no matter how satisfying – can offer.

For my next year off, I’d like to finish writing a 2nd book (probably fiction this time), learn enough code to turn into a simple self-serve brainstorming app, and intern in either a data science or marketing tech firm. And perhaps even finally complete a coursera or two. Open to ideas. If your readers have any other suggestions, feel free tweet me at @sulinlau.

Why did Maxis not join the bandwagon when brands jumped in after the ostrich crossed the road?
My mother always said ” if you have nothing new or useful to say, no need to say la.”

You used the word “bandwagon” and that’s quite telling. We too used to jump on trending topics in the past. Enough times to know Malaysian social citizens are now discerning enough to be able to tell the difference between a genuine brand post that adds value to the conversation, and those that are simply “me too” opportunism. I do salute the BFM guys though – their next day video that helps answer the question about “what happened to the Ostrich – is it safe?” was quite ingenius, and says a lot about their brand, and reinforces how they always go one step deeper into the news.

Can you update us on your hobby-turned startup
We all have a ‘life shelf’ to do list. You know, things we talk about doing for years and years, and never quite find the time to do.

Because I was never marketing or communications-trained myself, I always believed in my heart that the ability to think up marketing ideas could be learned by anyone who spent enough time gathering interesting questions, thought-starters and techniques, which I then called “Thinks”.

During my year off I worked exclusively with non-profits, social enterprises and small businesses which all needed marketing but had no budget for in house marketing teams or agency specialists.

So the 52 Thinks in Think Things are simply thought starters which help any no-budget brand think up their own ideas for marketing in a more structured way.

You shouldn’t need a big budget or a degree in marketing to take advantage of many of today’s marketing channels: social, search, service design, web, app, PR spin, etc.

It’s been hard to keep improving the tools since I’ve gone back to full-time work but so far I’ve conducted 3 pro bono workshops using these techniques, and currently sell the books on Amazon and via In terms of what’s next, I’d love to turn it into a mobile app for creative brainstorming.

Here’s a naughty one: readers keep asking why you left the MD job at Ogilvy after just a few months and joined Maxis. Was the dark side too tempting?
Haiyo, I really can’t imagine anyone’s still asking. I don’t think there are many actual readers who care. You – Ham – however keep asking, and I’m still not telling. so nyah. 🙂

TM’s new mobile network unit launching this week as ‘webe’. Is there space for another player in the mobile telco space?
Malaysia isn’t a very large country, so it all depends on whether they can carve out a unique yet-unoccupied space for themselves.

If they choose the path of most new upstarts and pick a price-led strategy, then they will be fighting in a very crowded space.

Their initial community-led brand initiatives suggest they are trying to do things differently, but as of today (June 2016) they haven’t announced any actual products.

HANDO speaker

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Speakers with digital domain expertise:

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Date: 19 July, 2015 (Tuesday)
Venue: Eastin Hotel, PJ
Time: 8.30am – 5.00pm

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