• Tan Elise

Why do I spend time building the community


People often ask me, "Why are you spending time building the community, bringing people together?"


To be honest, I do it because I enjoy it. And maybe it makes sense to say that I do community building as if it is my hobby. In fact, I'm almost obsessed with it.

It is a natural thing for me to bring people together. It's not because it helps me earn more income, because I don't charge for opening doors. (Although since Aug 2021, my role at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia includes building Vertex's community too)

I just know that I love being with like-minded people and it actually gives me a high I managed to help others to grow and achieve our goals together.


What I gain


In the process of bringing people together, I definitely gain in terms of deepening the relationship I have with the people I helped. It's a way of journeying together.

And as mentioned, I gain that indescribable feeling of satisfaction when two people meet and sparks fly (usually for work purpose :)). And many people I helped are grateful and they would also help me further down the road, in ways I never imagine. But I'm not looking for reciprocation, as I realise having any expectations often lead to disappointments. It's too many to keep track anyway.


Every time someone asked me that question, I often thought, isn't this what life is about? Building and nurturing relationships with each other?


These days, I try to go inwards and try to uncover the "Why", what's truly motivating me. Over time, here are my conclusions:


  • People and solving their problems fascinate me

  • I find it interesting to get to build relationships and help people to solve their problems. Perhaps it is because I'm trained as an engineer. Each time I help someone, with perhaps an introduction to a potential investor, I gain a data point. Over time, these data points help me understand which solution works better for a certain problem that the founder or entrepreneur face. All this is fascinating to me.


  • That's what I have ever done and ever known to do-

  • Back in school, I was team captain of cross country in junior college, At NUS, I was first Welfare Head and then vice-president of Chemical Engineering Students' Society. I'm always looking out for the interests of my team members and working together to achieve goals together. I know that when I help each person succeed, we succeed together as a team.

  • For much of my career, teamwork is central to the success of my work. I also started from working at an incubator (NUS Enterprise) and my colleagues and I were constantly thinking about how to support the founders and help them to succeed. It could be introducing them to potential mentor, partner, customer or investor.


  • It's in my DNA - I'm an extrovert, I draw energy from interacting with people. And growing up, my parents always tell me to help others and especially the less fortunate.


  • Maybe that's my God given calling - I become a christian last year and I'm constantly reminded to use my gifts to serve others. Within the christian family, we also see each other as brothers and sisters and would go out of our way to help each other.

Do you also enjoy building the community and/or helping others. I'm curious to hear your thoughts! Reach me at elise(at)asiastartupnetwork.com.

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