Who Was Your Childhood Hero?

We asked entrepreneurs across the Asia-Pacific region about their idols while growing up and what they learned from them

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If ever there was a list of most-asked questions for entrepreneurs and business leaders, this query would certainly be somewhere in the top five. Why not? After all, our childhood heroes represent who we want to be in life and inadvertently shape our ambitions and approach to life. We asked entrepreneurs across the Asia-Pacific region about their childhood heroes and what they learned from them. Here’s what they had to say.

(With inputs from Pooja Singh.)

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PETER YOONG, co-founder, Pulsifi, Malaysia

Anthony Robbins. Early in my career, I was very impatient with anyone who didn’t perform: employees and even myself. I once attended Robbins’ seminar, Awaken the Giant Within. Since that day (18 years ago), I have held the belief that every person has his or her potential for greatness, not only of myself, but everyone around me.
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LIM EE LING, CEO, Smarter Me, Singapore

Li Ka-shing. Apart from his rags-to-riches story, which is inspiring, it is his thirst for knowledge — how he believes that no one is born to be dumb, that your life can be changed through constant learning. And his emphasis on the value of working hard, which can compensate for some of our weaknesses.
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AMIT RAMANI, CEO-founder, Awfis, India

Kapil Dev. His entrepreneurial spirit, passion and go-getter attitude of taking calculated risks has inspired me in many ways, and laid the foundation for me to become a first- generation entrepreneur.
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CHEETUNG LEONG,Co-founder, EngageRocket, Singapore

Leonardo da Vinci. His curiosity and achievements in diverse areas inspired my interest in many different fields of study. He tied everything to logic and empiricism, a remarkable commitment to using data that I appreciate deeply.
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GABRIELE FADDA, Co-founder, SmartBite, Kuala Lumpur

Bill Gates. I really admire him for his attitude and what he has accomplished. He has this quote which I love and have adopted as part of my work: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”