Bobby Lin is the co-founder of Valoso, a video production company that offers pre-event marketing, video coverage, live streaming, post-production and video marketing services. Valoso helps businesses with their video marketing and overall video coverage. Since it first launched, Valoso has helped cover events across six continents and has offices in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Macedonia and the newest one in Taiwan.
He is also the co-founder of Valoso Hub, a software development company that offers innovative Web and Mobile application solutions and specializes in the latest computer languages and framework. What began as a small business with a small team has steadily grown into a thriving business over the past year. In this short time span, the company has expanded to six international locations, securing the status of the game changer in the IT community.
In the earlier stages of his career, he was a co-founder of a 3D designing and printing crowdsourcing website, an industry VFX Artist for Motion Lab in Melbourne and Account Manager for Fairfax, NZ, the largest media company in Australasia.
Could you share a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
I’m a snowboarder, and when you’re snowboarding, it’s a tradition to film yourself or your friends. That’s how I got my interest for video making. When I started studying car design, I got into 3D and started combining this with my passion for filming snowboarding. While I was working in Melbourne, I was also doing some projects with a friend of mine who was in Torino, Italy, where I studied car design. He also had an interest in videos and he was the one who actually taught me 3D. He was working on a few projects at the time, but because of his workload he couldn’t finish them on time, so he asked me to help out. That’s how we actually worked on the same project together. That’s when we realised that we can make a business out of it and got the idea of creating a remote team for video production services. At first, we were focusing purely on video editing, but then we saw that people’s requirements were far beyond video editing and we included videography and live streaming. Then we also added event marketing – it was a huge gap in the market.
We’ve expanded to different markets simply because we want to provide a personal service. Being there at important events takes it beyond than just being this remote agency. We’re thinking global, but we’re acting local. The demand is quite large, which gave us the opportunity to expand quickly. We went from Melbourne to New Zealand, which is where I am from. Then we went to Macedonia, where we put together a core team, where the technology is. After that, we opened up in San Francisco, where we put together a team that is selling face-to-face. Being in San Francisco gives us the possibility to see the innovation that lies ahead of us and feed that back to Macedonia, which gives us a great advantage and enables us to supply the best possible service for our clients.
As part of our market research, we found out that there’s a huge demand in Asia, so we decided to set up an office in Taiwan.
Can you explain your business model to us?
We provide a service whether it’s on our platform or in person. Our service is pre-event marketing, video coverage, live streaming, post-production service and video marketing. We’ve taken on board really custom projects. From developing our platform we’ve gained a lot of knowledge in software development which gives us a chance to find unique ways of utilizing video to our clients’ benefit.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
One of our most exciting projects currently is for one of Europe’s largest airlines. We’re looking at utilizing video to enhance internal communication and training and also to maintain company culture. We’re also looking at ways of utilizing AI and machine learning in our systems, and that’s something we really want to look at next year. The thing is, our clients often don’t know what kind of video they want. They probably saw something they liked last week, but they can’t find it now. So, we’re looking for a way to use machine learning to allow our clients to reference that video faster. We also want to use it to reduce the workload of video editors.
How do you make ideas happen?
Ask questions, do your research, but not too much of it. A lot of times, the things that people are worried about are the things you want to look forward to worrying about. There’s no point worrying about them at the beginning because they haven’t happened yet. Just plunge right in and have a go. If you fail, you’ll learn a lot of things on the way. It’s a huge plus that I have a very supportive team behind me and they give me really good feedback.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve read a lot of books, watched a lot of inspirational videos of people that I looked up to. I got a lot of ideas from people I’ve met, my parents, my grandfather, whose life journey has always been an inspiration to me. In terms of business, I ask questions wherever I can and I’ve read a lot of books.
What does your typical day look like?
I try to work as much as I can, I have 18 working hours a day. What makes a difference between other successful businessmen and myself is what they decide to do with their 18 hours, otherwise we all have them. I do a lot of e-mailing, I try to do sales every day, I go to meetings with my team or with business clients. In the afternoon I try to go through the initiatives I’ve started, whether it’s business development or we are planning some initiative to better our services or improve our team. In the night I speak to our Macedonian office. There are always challenges, but it’s always rewarding to overcome them, that means you’re getting better every day.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing an organisation in Australia?
It feels like a race and everyone’s in it. Everyone is somehow a startup, everyone needs something from you and you need something from them. In general, there hasn’t been anything unusual. Just the normal challenges of starting a business like finding your product market fit, how to really be lean, doing things efficiently, knowing that time is also money and knowing where to invest resources.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
If you have the money or capital, it’s best to invest in resources such as food and land, that’s something that we know is essential for our existence. It’s much riskier to invest in technology.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Giving everyone an equal opportunity. That’s also part of our business model. I work alongside my colleagues, and I call them my colleagues, even though they’re my employees. I have the same desk as everyone else and I don’t need to fly around in first class just to go for lunch, it’s just not necessary. That’s why I can feel the heart and soul of the managing directors of our offices around the world in our company.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
We do our own charity. We have a box in the office that we donate to and then give that away every four months. We also have one Friday in the month where instead of having foods and drinks in the office, we go to an orphanage and help them out with whatever is necessary.
In our Macedonian office every few months we organize a free event -The Tech.O Talks, as our way to contribute to the community. Tech.O is an event that brings together business and IT leaders, startup owners and investors to share their knowledge, ideas and develop an environment that will support the rise and employment of new and innovative technologies by encouraging a culture of increased business collaboration and investment opportunities. We also organize weekend hackathons for developers who think out of the box.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
We are always keen to meet talented individuals. If you want to run your own business and you are interested in what we do, get in touch with us. Regarding funding, we would like to meet VCs or angel investors, but funding is something that we are very careful about, to be sure if it’s the right fit for both parties. It’s not about getting money, it’s about forming a relationship that’s going to work.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, what would it be?
What was your biggest breakthrough and how did you come across it?
What’s your café?
NeNe Chicken take out