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    Influencer Series | 7 min read

    Vincent Tee | Senior Engineer at Workstream

    Vincent Tee is a Senior Engineer at Workstream. He is tasked with working wonders on the frontend and backend of Workstream's codebase, making sure that the product satisfy all of clients' needs. He has worked in 4 different countries, speaks 5 languages excluding C++, Java, PHP, Javascript, Ruby to name a few. 

    He loves creating and being a part of products which help eliminate pain points and put smiles on people's faces. When he is not busy doing that, you can often find him eliminating monsters in virtual worlds or working on his bicycle kicks or dunks.

    Q: What made you choose Workstream in front of other companies?

    Vincent: I joined Workstream in Q1 2018. It's been one full year! Prior to Workstream, I was already working with our CEODesmondfor 6 months on a previous software development venture. Although I have known him for over 20 years (damn, our age is showing), it was the 1st time we worked together professionally and I must say it was a very positive experience. Thus it was a natural and easy decision for me to follow him into Workstream when he decided that this was to be his new baby. 

    Q: What professional accomplishments are you most proud of since you joined Workstream?

    Vincent: A large part of my time has been devoted to engineering the scheduling module within Workstream. A lot of effort was spent from the beginning, gathering user feedback, doing research on the implementation, deciding to code it from scratch and finally releasing it to our clients. Then getting more feedback from clients (infinite loop!) and improving the module.

    It is pleasing to know that scheduling is now an integral part of many clients' workflow, enabling them to easily arrange interviews with prospective applicants. Their enthusiasm to share feedback with us means that this module will constantly be improved to better serve our clients' needs. Happy clients give me, as well as the rest of our product team, more motivation to work even harder. 

    Q: How this role is challenging you?

    Vincent: This is in fact the first time I am building a web application! Prior to Workstream, I had worked mainly on native mobile apps, PC, mobile and web games. There are new technologies which I had to pick up, which is challenging yet fun. Often times I had to spend more time doing research and learning certain concepts even from the basics, and that meant I needed to put in more time and effort to master the technology stack that we are using to build Workstream.

    However, learning is a challenge that I embrace, and to be able to do that while building an amazing software, with an equally amazing team, is something which I truly enjoy. 

    Q: Have you ever had an hourly job? If yes, please share with us your experience.

    Vincent: Yes, definitely. I've had quite a few hourly jobs before. First was when I was about 18, I worked as a packer for a convenience store on an ad-hoc basis. Usually I will start work after the shop closes, which will be like 9pm at night, and work all the way past midnight. It was tough work, but through that I earned my 1st salary and started my journey to become financially independent.

    When I was in university, I took up a part time job too at a telecommunications company, working as a Customer Service consultant. For five days a week, I answered calls in the evening, dealing with common questions, as well as (many) complains from customers. It was a really interesting experience for me as it was my 1st long term job apart from military service, working there for almost two years, and I got the chance to interact with people from all walks of life. 

    These experiences not only opened my eyes and allowed me to realize how hourly workers have to strive hard to make a living, but also allowed me to better understand how people think and work. This turns out to be a useful skill to have when building software for people!

    Q: What is the biggest challenge you have met in your career? 

    Vincent: The biggest challenge I've had was undoubtedly when I started embarking on my startup journey. When I decided to bootstrap my startup, taking no pay and working full time on my own mobile app, I took a big risk financially, and was optimistic that this is something that could work out.

    In hindsight, I was naive and underestimated how difficult it was to create a successful business. With limited experience in the startup industry, and definitely no experience heading a company, I made many mistakes along the way, and not always hiring the right people too. This made me realize how important it is to hire the right person for each role, especially for a startup or a small business. 

    Q: What is something you learned that you practice daily?

    Vincent: Time management is something which I had struggled with when I started working on my own business. Sometimes, it seems like there are just too much work to do, and I'm not sure how to manage all of them. A to do list doesn't solve the problem. Other times, there's lack of motivation or I got burnt out from overworking.

    Later on, I started reading up more about different techniques for more efficient work, and started to better compartmentalize my time. Instead of a to do list, which can become overwhelming, I started to put everything into my calendar. And I really do mean everything, even time allocated for rest, family and chores. I make it a point to also have some empty spaces in my calendar every week for me to do whatever I want. As for work, 10 minutes a day planning which tasks to fill up my work hours with helps greatly with the productivity as well.

    I guess in conclusion the thing I learnt is how to be more organized and productive, so that you have more time for everything - work and play too!

    Q: Who inspires you and why?

    Vincent: I draw inspiration from many sources! There was a time where I was pretty much hooked on motivational videos, listening to how successful and also unsuccessful people had to share about their experiences and trying to learn from them.

    If I had to pick one person, I'll say Jack Ma. His rags to riches story is now well known to most people, and it is really such an amazing fairy tale in the business world. The way he started at the very bottom, and managed to claw his way up to the top despite limited resources at hand, highlights the point that most people, if having the right motivation and desire, will have the ability to learn, and to succeed at a high level. 

    Q: I know you are one of the Play-Pal co-founders. What is one piece of advice that you will give someone which is running a start-up?

    Vincent: When I started PlayPal with my co-founders, it was really a giant leap of faith, albeit into the unknown. There was no doubt we had the passion in what we wanted to do, which was to help football lovers more easily find others to enjoy playing the game with. It had good intentions, and we were sure that it will help thousands of people out there, which it did. However, it never managed to grow to a point where we could scale it up to become a viable business.

    So the one piece of advice I will give, will be to do more research. If you are still planning to start a company, do more research on the target market, and make sure that there is a viable business model. If you are already running a startup, then make sure that you continue to do your research and to ensure that the business stays relevant in the face of competitors and also other challenges. 

    Only armed with knowledge, can the captain truly steer the ship in the right direction and towards the final destination, wherever that is - land, or even treasures! 

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    Workstream

    Workstream (www.workstream.is) is an end to end hiring software built for the hourly workforce, cutting in half the time to hire and on-board workers, via SMS / text communication, automated workflows, online document signing, and more.

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