Career Forum: Don’t forget the fun factor when choosing a career, says 9GAG co-founder Ray Chan
There is the promise of something a little bit different in the talk “Make Fun Things That Matter”, which will be presented on Saturday afternoon by Ray Chan, chief executive and co-founder of 9GAG, the highly successful online community for humour.
“In the past, people thought that something that is fun to do could not also be valuable,” Chan says. “But nowadays, when you look at industries such as entertainment, you can see that it is possible to make fun and interesting things that, at the same time, matter and bring value to the user, the community, or even the world.
“When Twitter started, people said it was meaningless to tell the whole world what you have just done. But right now, I think people in mainstream media rely heavily on Twitter for communication.”
Chan cites Facebook and Instagram as other social networks whose relevance was dismissed at first. “In general, I think if people take everything too seriously, especially when they are building products for consumers, they miss out on some opportunities for creativity.”
Chan will impart some words of advice for anyone considering starting up their own idea-based business. “Our investors think ‘traction’ speaks louder than words,” he says. “You can have a perfect pitch and talk about how awesome your product is, but if you don’t have users, then that is useless. In order to have users, you need to first have a product or prototype they can use.”
He says young people considering their first steps on the career ladder should ask themselves what they are hoping for. Most people might say the perfect position would offer high pay, short working hours and lots of fun.
“But this kind of job is very rare. Usually you have to make a trade-off between things like salary, nature of the job, prospects and potential, and your co-workers. For example, if I am optimising for money and stability, maybe I should be looking for jobs in the government or some professional field – but then I can’t expect that job to be so much fun. Or you could optimise for new experiences and then have to accept lower pay.”