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Category Stories of Employees

Sayuti Damiyati, Business Development Manager, Silverstreet

Sayuti Damiyati, Business Development Manager at Silverstreet: From excelling in science to sales

The structured progression of a graduate is to follow the same path as what they studied in school. Due to a change in circumstances, a science graduate, Sayuti Damiyati had to take a slightly different route. He went into medical sales before going into technology sales with Silverstreet and Twizo (subsidiary under Silverstreet).

Although Sayuti did not have any background in sales, his sheer determination and patience from his researcher days seemed to have given him the right trait for the job.

Ending this beautiful week, we speak to Sayuti on his career changes and how’s it like working in Silverstreet and Twizo.

Could you share with us your background leading up to joining Silverstreet & Twizo?

I am a genetics and molecular biology graduate. A semester before graduating, I had started doing pre-research for my Master’s on the same subject. We were researching how we could improve the defence mechanism of a banana plant against a particular type of parasite using cloning technology. Honestly, the topic was less exciting compared to something like creating mutants, but it was still challenging and would contribute a lot towards the agriculture field.

Unfortunately, a few unforeseen events caused me to change direction, and I joined a medical device company as a salesperson. I would say that I learned a lot in the area of sales and marketing thanks to my boss who mentored me. Starting with no skills in marketing and sales, I managed to close many deals and build good networks in the market. Some of the great advice I received during my time that sticks out the most is the 80-20 marketing rule or also known as the Pareto principle. The medical device industry was quite interesting, but I felt that my growth was stagnating, and in my search for a new challenge, I found Silverstreet.

Why didn’t you pursue a career in research?

There were multiple factors on why I dropped my initial intention for research. The main reason being financial constraints. Our research needed funding, and there were times when the research grant got frozen. Also as a research assistant, the pay was only enough to get you through months’ end. I was planning for marriage during that period, so a career in research was not feasible.

You’ve had more than two years of experience in medical sales. What’s the difference between then and now, working at Silverstreet & Twizo?

When I first joined Silverstreet and Twizo, I was much more knowledgeable in the nitty-gritty of marketing and sales compared to when I started with my previous employer. The work processes also changed from B2C to B2B which means that I have the opportunity to explore new areas while applying the skills I acquired.

What are the challenges you face as a sales and business development manager at Silverstreet & Twizo?

The transition from doing B2C to B2B poses a few challenges by itself. First, there is the matter of trying to adapt to different processes and hurdles of the B2B cycle. I found that when it comes to securing clients, the process itself is much longer.

Another challenge that comes with B2B is each client has a different business structure and requires a customised solution. This was not the case with B2C as the product is standard for everyone.

How do you overcome them?

Through a lot of hard work. I found that the key to successfully closing deals is by continually following up. I treated the lengthy process with patience to ensure it moves in the right direction. My previous connections also helped in providing valuable information and referrals when trying to connect and understand multiple healthcare clients.

How’s it like being an employee of Silverstreet & Twizo?

In just under two months after I started with Silverstreet and Twizo, I am convinced that the company knows how to appreciate and value their employees. The open office space, agile work environment, work flexibility, multinational colleagues, fitting salary, employee well-being, engaging team building events, never-empty pantry, and most importantly, a very cool coffee machine.

All of these add up to a point where I felt as if I am working in a second home instead of being in an office. As an employee, you will put extra miles to your work and contribute more when you feel appreciated. It is a good cycle and culture where I think most companies should adopt. There is a lot of room for me to grow with them, as the company trusts and respects your capabilities in completing your tasks.

What’s the biggest draw for you to join their team?

I have always been into IT and tech since I was a kid. When I learned that work in Silverstreet revolves around tech, it captured my attention. After further discussion on how they were looking to provide their solution to the healthcare industry, we clicked. During my time with medical devices, I had similar thoughts on how the healthcare industry should progress forward with technologies. I was immediately sold when Silverstreet presented that opportunity.

Where do you see yourself in the next 3 – 5 years’ time?

We could certainly see that our world is moving towards a digital future. The healthcare industry is in any means moving closer to that future. Observing our progress now, I anticipate that Silverstreet will be an active contributor in the health industry in the upcoming years, and I would genuinely love to be a part of that success. It is when Silverstreet is not a considered foreign name in the healthcare scene, the objective will be realised. Self-wise, I would love to be a coding wizard, and keep making incredible contributions to the company.

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Zachary Ng, Software Engineer, Pulsifi

He found what makes him tick at the start-up, Pulsifi

Changing career path often happens when one is much older and had gained a lot of experience in a particular industry, but not for 24-year-old Pulsifi Software Engineer, Zachary Ng.

Zachary spent most of his working life in the accountancy field, including a short stint of four months with KPMG. He then moved on to the advertising field with M&C Saatchi for two months before settling down as a Software Engineer in Pulsifi.

It’s been more than 1.5 years since Zachary joined the Pulsifi team, the longest that he had been in a company, which means he could have found what he truly enjoys doing.

In his interview with entree.sg, Zachary shares why he moved from one industry to another, and why working as a Software Engineer at Pulsifi seemed to have grounded him.

You were with KPMG for less than five months. It’s a job that many accountancy students ever wish for. But you decided to drop it to join M&C Saatchi. Isn’t it a very different industry and a waste to give it up? Why?

I learned a great deal from my time at KPMG, the most important lesson of which was resource allocation. With a career being the largest investment of resources (my limited time on earth) I’ll ever make, I realised I had to stop misallocating it to an investment that didn’t yield my desired return of happiness. I joined M&C Saatchi in search of a more fulfilling yield.

When did you first realised that you are interested in coding? Was it during your three months with NEXT Academy?

Yup! I remember that very early on in that course, we learned about the concept of “iteration” – which is the process whereby you tell a computer:

“Hey, do this thing – and keep repeating it until I say otherwise.”

I think that was my big “AHA” moment. A tool that let’s lazy people resolve all the repetition in their life? That’s practically a superpower!

Having worked in a few industries, though short, do you think that you have found what you are meant to do?

Kind of. I think what I found is that I like to solve problems, so I’m going to keep doing that. And since every problem in the world (or at least those that can be fundamentally divisible into small repetitive tasks) can be solved by coding and computing, I think this will keep me occupied for a while.

Did your loved ones comment on your career choices or have they been very supportive?

Ultimately my parents just wanted to keep me from ending up homeless, my brothers wanted me to find success (as long as it was marginally less than theirs, apparently), and my friends just wanted to make sure I made the time for the occasional beer with them. So after demonstrating that a career in coding could (miraculously) fulfil all of the above, everyone has been very supportive.

Zachary Ng, Software Engineer, Pulsifi

Zachary Ng, Software Engineer, Pulsifi

Nothing on your CV says coding. We assume that you learned it all by yourself? What are the programming languages you know to date? What language would you be learning or consider up and coming?

I learned how to code in Ruby at Next Academy. Since then, I’ve picked up Javascript, loved it, and now use it for most of my work. With the recent trends toward Machine Learning and AI though, I think Python will be a valuable asset in the coming years.

How’s it like working in Pulsifi? What’s so different from other organisation you were with?

Joining Pulsifi in early 2017 after my time in corporate was like boarding a sampan after spending my whole life in the service of an ocean liner. It was chaotic, exhilarating, challenging and humbling all the same. Anyone could steer the ship if they knew where they were going and everyone (captains included) had to get on their knees and shed water when times were tough. Good ideas were more important than seniority and resulted always trumped bureaucracy.

The Pulsifi family of today is a lot larger than what it once was – a well-oiled machine in place of its MacGyver-ed past – but the core values, just like Pulsifi’s grand vision, are unchanged.

Pulsifi isn’t directly saving lives in the way that modern medicine does, but by engaging our collective talent hard enough in the areas of AI, predictive models, data science and organisational psychology, we just might help a whole bunch of people in the world achieve the grand potential they were destined for – helping humanity in our little way. I think that’s a meaningful challenge worth taking on.

For aspiring software engineers, what’s your advice for them?

If you haven’t started yet, do it. Free resources online will get you started. What will keep you going are mentors and problems that need solving. Find a mentor who can think a few steps ahead of what you’re currently able to – foresight is a definitive product of experience. Find problems that you care about solving – the journey will be a lot more fun if it’s taking you where you want to be. Lastly, know that it’s okay to be a geek. Somehow, we were born into a generation where being a geekiness can be sexy. Don’t waste the chance!

Also, for those thinking who are looking to learn to code, what programming language would you suggest for them to start first and why?

Know your end goal, and pick the right tool for the job. If it’s hardcore data science and machine-learning you like, try Python. Build cool websites? Javascript, HTML and CSS. Build mobile apps that’ll impress your friends? Give Apple’s Swift a go.

If you’re not sure yet, you can’t go wrong with Ruby. It looks like plain English and is super intuitive to pick up.


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