Over a decade ago, Arnold Su shifted base from Taiwan to India. He had finished military service back home and was a relative green horn, with just six months of management training and no prior work experience. But the task assigned to him was significant, as he looked to establish the Pune branch of Taiwanese tech company Asus India.
“The transition was not easy, but I was fortunate to find that Indians are very friendly and welcoming," he says. "Throughout my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to more than 200 districts, which allowed me to gain a profound understanding of the country, its diverse regions, and the unique business opportunities they offer.” Today, Su is vice-president of consumer and gaming PC at Asus India, and he’s seen the brand follow a steady growth trajectory over the years. Their consumer laptop segment is the second biggest player as of the first quarter of 2023. Going forward, Su says the company wants to make technology more accessible.
In an interview, he talks about mentorship and what marathon running has taught him about life. Edited excerpts:
I don’t have a specific mentor, but I consider all my team members as mentors. I believe that each team member knows more in their respective field, so I learn from them.
The entire India team works on “no magic, only basic” concept that focuses on fundamental tasks, following the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Action) logic, and continuously improving ourselves. This has helped us stay grounded and maintain a clear focus on essential tasks, leading to more effective and efficient outcomes.
Being a mentor means guiding and supporting colleagues to reach their full potential. When it comes to mentoring, I engage in continuous learning by reading books and magazines. I also write a case study every week, which I share with team members and discuss during our monthly meetings. It allows us to learn from each other’s ideas and experiences.
My morning schedule usually involves waking up between 7-7:30am. Thrice a week, I go for a morning jog and on the other two days, I do simple stretches and yoga. As part of my morning ritual, I always stop by to grab an iced latte on my way to the office. This routine helps me start my day with a refreshing and energised mindset.
One of the productivity principles I follow is to plan ahead. I understand that calling my team members for a sudden meeting can disrupt their work and impact productivity. To avoid this, I always plan my schedule at least three months ahead, covering around 80% of my commitments. I keep around 20% of my schedule flexible for unexpected meetings or urgent requirements, ensuring a balance between planned activities and addressing unforeseen needs. This approach has made my professional and personal life much easier, reducing last-minute disruptions and fostering a more organised and productive work environment.
I would highly recommend the book Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0: Turning Your Business Into An Enduring Great Company for insights on mentorship and growth. Our team studied this book together during our monthly meeting in 2022, and it provided valuable lessons on building a successful and sustainable business. It offers valuable guidance on mentorship, leadership and achieving long-term growth and success.
I have been consistently jogging for at least 100km each month for the past five years. In addition, I also find swimming and cycling very relaxing. Engaging in these activities allows me to clear my mind, think about unresolved questions and often leads to new and innovative business ideas. These hobbies also play a crucial role in helping me maintain a healthy work-life balance and recharge myself, ensuring that I am at my best when facing professional challenges.
My most memorable run was my first full marathon in Tokyo. It was a challenging experience since I wasn’t fully prepared, and it took me 6.20 hours to complete it. This time was significantly longer than my half-marathon, which I usually complete in 2.10 hours.
Similarly, in work and life, when we set higher targets, the challenges are not merely double, but significantly more. To overcome these challenges, I’ve learnt the importance of putting in extra effort and dedication. It has also taught me the power of consistency, which I apply in my athletic pursuits as well as career.
Shail Desai is a Mumbai-based freelance writer.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.