My name is Chawin Supawong, currently a COO at Living Mobile. Even though my position is not a developing-focused job, I actually majored in Mechanical Engineering at Chulalongkorn University and then changed my path to International Marketing for my Masters at Thammasat University. Mostly, I look after the people and management side of Living Mobile.
Becoming More “Data Driven”
I have never experienced an Engineering position after graduation but I have had the chance to work in Supply Chain Management. I have got to know a tool called SAP where the majority of the corporates will use to make decisions. From that point, it has always been at the top of my head that “in order to make decisions, there will have to be evidence to support.” SAP was one of the tools that have always directed me to better solutions with relevant data.
I believe that every corporate decision will need to be made with the backup of data. Try asking yourself “How much do you trust your decisions? And what made you so sure that the results will be good?” It all comes down to again, evidential data. I might not be that arrogant to always believe that my instincts will bring the best answers. I am not saying to ignore your instincts, but having some data to just boost that confidence of our decisions, will help your way of working.
What Was the Reason Why You Took Interest in People Operations Rather Than Engineering?
It was actually a result from me having more of a ‘data-driven’ mindset. The reason why we should be more data-driven is because if people debate with their insitics and their own feelings, decisions will never be made and it will lead to emotional fights.
“The art of persuasion is to fight with convincing information to prove your idea right”
I feel like conversations become more interesting and fruitful with information coming into play. It keeps you thinking. However, human and communication is more complex than that. It is not always good to have a discussion fully based on facts where everyone knows that ‘human relationship’ also occurs in a workplace. Communication is still a soft skill rather than a technical one. Even though I still believe that data is important in making decisions, this is when you have to find the good balance where you use “data to ease human complexity when debating.”
I do have an engineering background where I meet people who work with a fixed logical mindset and I do feel like it is hard to talk to them. However, when I started working, I still found it hard to talk with people who work with their feelings and instinct as well. It made me feel interested in working with people which led me to take courses on this as well.
Journey in becoming a Chief Operating Officer at Living Mobile
After understanding the beauty of science combined with the art of human communication, I decided to continue with international marketing for university to also understand the business side as well. I started to become interested in working around people.
Living Mobile has really interesting and intriguing products. When Living Mobile started with a few products, I joined them with the hearts of wanting to be in the Business Development part. It was also the point where I stepped out from supply chain management as well. At Living Mobile, I got to learn a lot from set pricing to Customer Support and People Management. I managed to be an “All-Rounder” from all the experiences here.
Meeting Living Mobile was like a ‘destiny’ for me. A company with good products, open for what I want to do at the right time.
What are the Skills Set Juniors Might Need to Know to Work in This Industry?
“It is normal to face obstacles. But actively striving and ending up finding a solution, is just like leveling up yourself a step”
Facing problems and striving for the solutions will allow you to improve so much faster than you will even realize. You will definitely be more confident in what you do and when you meet a problem because you have the knowledge of how to deal with it.
But the downside of this is that the level you can go up is never-ending. There will always be obstacles you may not have seen before. I do admit that I still pull my hair out when I face some of them despite having so many experiences in this field. Especially in management, soft skills may play a bigger part than the hard skills. But it is important to have domain knowledge in that industry as well to make the best decisions which is why people don’t move fields often but vertically since they will have to master the nature of that industry as well.
Any Final Advice you Want to Give to Your Juniors?
“Don’t be arrogant and say that you are good at everything. I bet you are not. But what you can be is to be the BEST CHOICE at the right time for the company”
It is impossible to control what the companies will be opening for us to apply for. That is what I meant; to be the best candidate choice at the right time. Be strategic in how you develop yourself; have the domain expert and develop your soft skills to adapt to the opportunity at that time.
At Living Mobile, we value people who are always keen to step up their game. As a COO, I want to always find it easy to increase the members’ salary every year because all of them are leveling up their performance to persuade the increase. Be the person that has a positive learning curve and you will eventually make a valuable contribution.