Natalie Loh is a Reactor Alumni who went through the Business Leaders Programme (BLP). This is her unorthodox journey from Raffles Junior College student to web developer in London.
Loh’s first big stint with entrepreneurship was when her team won a Hackathon. Their application, Crowd Beats, allowed users to request for specific songs to be played on the radio at restaurants, bars, and pubs.
Loh attributes the success of Crowd Beats to the skills she learnt at the BLP. “It was a large part of why we won the hackathon,” she said, “even though other teams had more polished products with better codes that were actually functioning”. She had practised writing business proposals and elevator pitching since learning them at the BLP. Having only a minute to pitch her product to the panel of judges, Loh utilised her new skills and experiences to help her team clinch first place.
The biggest takeaway from the BLP for Loh is how important technology is. After one of the BLP sessions, Loh remembers seeking advice from Reactor CEO, Rusydi. At the time, she had dreamt of being a graphic designer and had been building a portfolio to apply for art school in the States. She was also fiercely passionate about startups. Loh asked Rusydi if she should choose to 1) be a designer, 2) learn how to code, or 3) learn how to program; which the smarter choice for an entrepreneur was. Without skipping a beat, Rusydi told her to go learn how to code. Loh followed his advice and went on to complete a 12-week web development course in London. She hasn’t looked back since.
Loh thinks that students can benefit from Reactor’s course by being exposed to a more unconventional route. One of her favourite segments of the BLP was when the students got to hear a panel of entrepreneurs speak. These people came from all different kinds of startups, including PropertyGuru. “Their experience was very unorthodox in a sense that they did not have a blueprint to work with, and they all had to pave their own paths,” she said.
Armed with a trusty Kindle, Loh continues to seek inspiration beyond the course. She recently read Zero to One, a book by Peter Thiel, Paypal co-founder and early Facebook investor. Her favourite quote from the book is this: “In business, you have to think of something that doesn’t already exist.”. Loh thinks that listening to the personal experiences and thought processes of these entrepreneurs is a valuable opportunity for the students.
When asked to describe a memorable experience during the BLP, Loh cited the general feeling of being in awe. She reminisces listening to all the speakers’ stories, and “the technicalities and terminologies fading away”, and being left with only inspiration. That feeling has stayed with her till this day.
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