David Yin is the CEO of Storms, a gaming startup invested in by iCandy, Singtel, AIS & SKT, with a focus on game publishing and b2b gaming opportunities.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career as an auditor at Arthur Andersen, then as an analyst in Australia’s telecommunication space, where I held various strategic and commercial roles at Vodafone, Orange, Optus and Capgemini.
I then relocated to Singapore in 2006 to join Nokia, with my last role being the Head of Ecosystem and Developer Experience (EDX) – Mobile Apps Monetisation.
With my passion for gaming, I eventually joined Google, where I was responsible for acquiring, driving and building a pipeline of Android apps and games in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Australia.
I love working with startups, and this led to me steering the Google Play Start-Up programme in SEA and ANZ, as well as working closely with high-potential startups and VCs in the region.
Fast forward, life brought me to Storms – a gaming startup invested in by iCandy Interactive, Singtel, AIS, and SK Telecom. With a vision of connecting billions through play, Storms is focusing on strategic gaming initiatives ranging from offering gaming solutions for businesses to hyper-casual/casual mobile game development and publishing.
Aside from Storms, I currently advise and mentor startups in the region through various programmes including 500 Startups, Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University, Unilever Foundry SEAA, Antler, Found 8, Landing Pad as well as Skala & Fishburners Australia!
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I started my day by going through my inbox and catching up on industry news that appeared overnight. After that, I am ready for my meetings and strategic tasks.
I prefer coming to the office, as it allows me to be more focused. As we practise the work-from-anywhere (WFA) policy here at Storms, I always try to have lunch with my team members who happen to be in the office when I am in. We usually go to the food court near our office or try out new eateries and have casual chats over lunch.
After that, I’ll be having various meetings – be they physical or virtual via conference call. I sometimes have dinner with my industry friends or partners but as a father of three, I spend most of my evenings with my family.
When the weekend comes, you’ll see me playing with my two boys more and compete on our scores in various games – including those developed by Storms!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Storms has been implementing the WFA arrangement since our early days. We believe that employees should be empowered with trust to plan their day according to their individual needs.
For WFA to succeed, Storms implements a robust performance management system. Ultimately, what really matters is that the OKRs (objectives and key results) are met and supported by an individual development plan that caters to each employee’s learning needs and passion.
As for me, as a leader, I recognise the importance of bonding with my team members. As such, I always allocate certain time slots for anyone at Storms – regardless of their seniority level – to have a private chat with me about anything under the sun: From careers-related matters to their hobbies and ideas.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think work-life integration is more relevant to today’s context. In the world we live in today, technology makes us easily accessible. So, improving your work-life is no longer all about separating your life from your work and vice versa, but it is about ensuring that they coexist in harmony.
Flexibility and discernment to determine boundaries are the keywords here. Modern businesses have to foster a conducive environment where employees are humanised and empowered to achieve their professional goals without compromising their personal ones.
I believe that leaders do play a key role in enabling employees to tend to other parts of their life, and I always remind my team members to not be afraid to take some time off if needed to care for their loved ones.
As for me, gaming has always been my passion and hobby – so when I play, I am technically working while unwinding!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
There are two habits I have really focussed on in the last 12 months. The first is to stick to the belief that I should only worry about things that I can control and not to take things too seriously especially when they are beyond my control. As for my second habit, it is to ensure that my weekends are completely spent with my family!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My favourite book of all time and one I could relate to personally is Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson.
The book has short and easy-to-read chapters – each of which is a life lesson. With such a format, the reader, depending on what they have been through in life, relates differently to each chapter. Just brilliant!
I also enjoy listening to “Game On! Asia” podcast. It is run by my ex-colleague and friend, Yuval Passov. You should listen to it if you’re interested in learning more about the region’s mobile gaming scene!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My phone! It might be a typical answer that you often hear, but the truth is my emails, game scores, and contacts are all there!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
My wife! She is truly amazing and up until today, I have no idea how she manages to juggle many things while taking care of our family.
As we are celebrating International Women’s Day this month, I wish to take this opportunity to remind everyone who is reading this to celebrate the achievements of women around you!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
We are often told that we should ‘keep things professional’ by not showing our emotions at work.
Truth is, we are all human and everyone has their bad day.
It is okay to express your thoughts in a respectful, constructive manner, as it allows your team members to move forward and find ways to collaborate in a meaningful way.
Remember the time when Howard Schultz returned to lead Starbucks after an eight-year hiatus? It truly showed why emotion – if expressed at the right time – could be powerful for growth.
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