4 Reasons Southeast Asian Startups Attract Introverts

published 11 August 2016

In her bestselling book, “Quiet: The Hidden Power of Introverts,” Susan Cain talks about the extrovert ideal and how the world seems to be attracted to outgoing charmers with a commanding presence. Extroverts are never at a loss for words and have no difficulty walking into a room and engaging strangers in conversation.
Meanwhile, their more introverted counterparts are often told: “Get out of your shell!”, “Say something!” and “Why are you so shy?”
Shyness, however, is not the same as introversion. While there are some introverts who are shy, many simply like to deliberate over their words and actions. They are fine interacting with others, but always need to recharge—only through solitude—after a considerable time. They can do small talk if they have to, but relish long, deep, meaningful conversations. They dislike—even shun—the spotlight, preferring to be low-key and letting their work speak for them.
 Cain says that introverts have the power to make an even bigger difference in the world because of their reserved, contemplative, deliberate nature. These same traits make for good startup stories.

1. Introverts are steadfast, persevering, hardworking

Ashay Padwal, co-founder and chief technology officer of Vserv, narrates that she conducted two or three meetings each with more than 30 venture capitalists before they finally got to start their company. Vserv is a platform for mobile marketing and commerce.

2. Introverts follow their instincts

Izak Jenie, co-founder at Jatis Group of Indonesia, highlights the importance of trusting one’s instincts when choosing partners. Before entering into agreements, know if there is potential for trouble because once you get in, it is difficult to get out.

3. They listen to understand others

 Linna Kanoknitanan, chief operating officer of Builk, a construction startup, says that understanding others does not just apply to customers but to the team as well. “Understanding people around me is the key to success.”

4. They are humble

According to Firdhaus Akber of Streetdirectory—a startup engaged in online marketing and advertising—entrepreneurs need to understand that they may not be successful on the first try. “One needs to learn to pick oneself up and try again after they fail.” 
Joseph Edi Lumban Gaol, founder of M-Stars Group, a mobile content provider, narrates how he used to borrow money from family and friends when he was just starting his business. “I had to pledge my credibility to them and spend sleepless nights ensuring I did not default on those loans.”
Introverts have been enjoying a great run in Southeast Asia’s start-up world. Now we know why.