Meet Dominic Syangbo, Entrepreneur, Educationist, Musician. Founder and CEO of Bilingual Vitae.
Connecting with people across cultures and supporting language learning and teaching aspirants is his Passion. Apart from the professional space, he also embraces the Social Side. Making a difference to many lives in a billion is his Purpose, always preferring to be the Salesman first and then the Founder.
At ‘Bilingual Vitae’ he gets an opportunity to spend every moment of his life fulfilling his Passion. It’s a corridor to visit and revisit the Social Side. It reminds him and signs to the next milestone, further leading to the Purpose. And most importantly, he is thrilled to announce that he exists amongst the wonderful Team at Bilingual Vitae.
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Dominic Syangbo: The first word of the story got penned in school (somewhere around 2003, 2004). And the word was ‘Confusion’. Sometimes I grab a coffee. Sit. And re-visit to picture my past self in School. And it’s fun! Our Computer teacher used to talk about Bill Gates for at least 10 minutes in every class he used to lecture. He would ask a question, and we had to answer.
The most famous question:
- What would Bill do if there was $500 lying on the road, and he sees it?
Our Answer – Obviously, pick it up. And, the teacher said ‘NO’. He would rather not waste his time picking up the $500. And the teacher would back his ‘NO’ with lots of numbers and talks, which went beyond my head. For me, it was unacceptable. How could Bill not pick $500? It would take just a second or two. And in fact, it’s for free. I couldn’t understand. It was totally impractical.
When I got to High School I wanted to study Language, Literature, Physics, and Economics post 10th grade. But it was not possible. No stream as such with the combination. I was good in sports, state champ in tennis. Was also good in music, never had an audience in any events at school, rather on on-stage performing. But I couldn’t decide whether to be a sportsman or a musician. I was confused.
In University, during the final semester after a couple of paper presentations, I got CONFUSED. What should I do? Carry on and further towards Ph.D.? Or go out in the field and get into action? In my Professional Career, I started as a Marketing Executive, jumped to become Assistant Professor and then a School Teacher and then a Sales Officer. I was still confused.
I had become a messy book titled CONFUSION.
Business & Entrepreneurship – Along with my day job I was building my side business. Had a small firm doing small season-based projects. Sold guitars, books, coached students in music and 10th/12th exam Preparation/Foreign Language. Finally, in 2018, it was too much to handle and I left my day job to 100% dedicating myself to what I realized I loved to do – ‘Languages’.
Got good deals to push and motivate myself. And suddenly got an opportunity to work with MNCs. A pilot project + few other good deals. It was a life-changing experience for me. Challenging, but the outcome and impact were wonderful. And now I was finally ready to go big. Took the step into the startup world (2020)
And again I got CONFUSED. It was really not so easy for me to understand and accept the startup culture and the startup world. And this is where I got to realize that I was going through a transformation process, where my Mentors and Institutions supported me a lot to get through the journey from the complex mindset to simplicity.
So, actually, it’s not so bad to get CONFUSED. It has become a part of me now and I know that every confusion makes me seek further and leads further. I don’t know exactly where. But definitely straight ahead and not backward.
Professor Dr. Tej Chingtham (CEO – AIC SMUTBI Foundation) was the first person to introduce me to the real start-up world. It started during a conversation with a bureaucrat who was interested in what I was doing. He gave me a phone number and said – ‘you should meet him’. This is how we got connected. After a couple of telephonic conversations, he invited me to his office. In his office, we started with ‘let’s do it’ and the conversation ended with ‘let’s do it’. He has been supporting me and pushing me to dare more. I cannot imagine if someone else could carry the burden, pain, and responsibility as he does. He is an amazing person.
Mr. Punyabrata Sen (Mentor of Change) – We did magic together. We used to have sessions in the AIC, where strangers used to drop in from every corner of the Country, and crazy stuff used to happen. One fine morning a man dropped in from nowhere and performed like magic. The entire session was as if it was meant for me. I was in the transformation process and I was in need of someone to help and support me throughout the process. From the complex world journeying to simplicity was a challenge and I was totally blind. He helped and supported me to understand the purpose and the beauty of building an enduring company to further make a difference in many lives. He made me rediscover myself and we did some magic together. He is a ‘mentorpreneur’. An amazing person.
Naved Ahmed and Rishab Gill (Wadhwani Foundation) – Two young entrepreneurs. There is no ‘stop’ in their dictionary. They go on and on. These two were so good at what they did. They perfectly knew who they were and what they were meant for. These two guys took me through the science of Business, helping and supporting me hone my skills and sharpen the edges. Perfect young minds and good humans. Straight, bold, and beautifully crafted. Amazing individuals.
Special Shout Out To:
- AIC-SMUTBI Foundation Team – Naming Abigeal Lama, Pankaj and Susmita. Special thanks for the tremendous support.
- Wadhwani Foundation Team – For designing a wonderful program (VFT) and supporting it to the very end.
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Team – Many thanks for being a part of the cohort and backing the entire program. It means a lot to me.
- Niti Aayog and AIM – For taking the step in bringing beautiful minds together. A Heartfelt Gratitude.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Dominic Syangbo: Every entrepreneur is unique and many times the entrepreneurship way of life becomes personal for entrepreneurs and we intend to keep it close to our hearts. But at times we forget about our true selves. And this is one of the dangerous mistakes I too made in my life.
I was too drawn towards the trend and the most happening scenario celebration. I wanted to be that, and in the process, I became someone or something else and forgot my true self. All the true reasons why I made choices to Start-Up or do what I love the most became a blur and I didn’t even realize it happening. And I think that every entrepreneur at some point goes through this situation and not many can handle it.
Is there a particular podcast you listened to, or business thought leader that you find helpful while maneuvering this pandemic?
Dominic Syangbo: There is no such particular podcast I listen to; rather I get in everywhere I can and prick to find the value thoughts. But yes, I do listen to Rajan Anandan (MD – Sequoia Capital) and it has been helpful while maneuvering this pandemic.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision, or values?
Dominic Syangbo: Aaaaahhh… It’s a complicated question. Haha!
‘Purpose’ stands to be of most importance to our organization. Followed by all the other three, all of which are also important to our organization.
Delegating is part of being a great leader, but what have you found helpful to get your managers to become valiant leaders as well?
Dominic Syangbo: The 3 key elements:
What is Servant Leadership? The Rising Trend in Modern Business
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Dominic Syangbo: Yes, I would definitely say that my personal brand reflects on the company’s values.
How would you define “leadership”?
Dominic Syangbo: An act of influencing/serving people to accomplish the ‘Purpose’ of the Organization/Entity.
What Makes a Good Team Leader? A Guide to Effective Team Leadership
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Dominic Syangbo: Imagine and Re-Imagine. Discover and Re-Discover. Create and Re-Create
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Dominic Syangbo: “Speech has both an individual and a social side, and we cannot conceive of one without the other.”- Ferdinand De Saussure
It has inspired, prepared, and empowered me to embrace both my professional life and my social side.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Dominic Syangbo for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Dominic Syangbo or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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