To survive in this automated, globalised economy, adaptation is important. However, to succeed in an evolving business landscape is not as simple as that. As the saying goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s business owners and executives need to take to the internet to increase the company’s presence. More so because discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Wargabiz speaks to Cyrus Cheok, Business Development Director of ETC Programming Factory and his partner, Ivan Fong, Project Director of ETC Programming Factory about programming and how it can help businesses build the future of tomorrow.
The Age of Diskette
It all started back when the humble floppy disk was described as the cutting edge of data storage. Being an IT student, diskette was a necessity and there was always an endless need for more storage. For convenience sake (and identifying an opportunity to make some extra cash), Cyrus approached wholesalers and bought the diskettes for a fraction of the price. There he started selling the goods off to his classmates and anyone who needed in it in school.
Getting a better sense of demand, he slowly transcended to selling computer hardware. Although a business is only as strong as its market, the competition affected the profit in the trading business. Taking a step back, Cyrus realised that he doesn’t need to sell a tangible item to be an entrepreneur – his programming skills can be a business as well.
In the year 2010, ETC Programming Factory was established. Cyrus as the Managing Director, with Ivan as a Project Director by his side, lead a team of programming special to create over 200 websites and mobile application every year for clients from various industries in Malaysia and abroad.
ETC: Bringing creative ideas to life
For both Cyrus and Ivan, programming is simply a language required to communicate with a machine. “Imagine, by just putting in different series of commands, the machine would understand what we want and perform accordingly. It’s actually quite simple,” Ivan says, “it’s really that simple. It’s logic!”
In the end, ETC wants people to know that nothing is impossible – through programming. “The idea you have in the back of your head can be the start of something great. But as we all know, no great idea is executed alone. You need others to help you realise your dreams. And I can tell you in most cases, programming can bring those ideas to another level,” Cyrus shares, noting that people are realising the immense impact it has on how we live our lives.
Akin to a template builder, ETC can execute a custom idea from start to finish, applying current programming skills with the client’s objective in mind. “There is no challenge too big for us to face. It promotes growth and allows us to widen our horizon. This is what ETC believes in, and this is how the team has managed to grow so rapidly. And we have a proven track record to show it,” he proudly states.
Despite the fact that programming can do so much, there are still many who just see programmers solely for developing websites and mobile applications. “Well, that is an understatement because what we do here at ETC is broader and involves many details,” Ivan says, going into further detail that the team programmes everything on a website. “We also handle the backend system. For example, sorting orders for easier processing.”
For mobile application, Cyrus narrates that ETC is currently focused on developing an interactive application. “We just finished working on a virtual showroom for a property developer. We also have projects that involve offline products such as the touch screen directory found the malls. Another exciting project was Airbnb’s ‘Smart-lock’ check-in system.”
A book without a cover
Before the string of happy clients and successful projects, ETC started its journey with a series of doubts by prospecting clients. “Once, we tendered a proposal for an MNC project. The manager was questioning our credibility – judging our age, our relatively low experience. It was tough,” Cyrus remembers the event clearly, “but we managed to prove them wrong. Not only were we the right candidate for the project, but we also did so well that the company referred us to its office abroad.”
A great win that led to many more victories for ETC later on, the duo’s proudest achievement is actually much simpler – they managed to build a community where programmers can be proud of.
“Programmers are often misunderstood. The most common stereotype would be a geek – which in most cases are perceived as ‘uncool’,” Cyrus shakes his head, pointing out that geeks can be fun and fashionable too.
“It’s not an entirely different world, you know. Somewhat like music – just because pop is more well received now, does not mean rock equals bad music… I guess what I’m trying to say is, geeks can be cool! But in their own way. With ETC, programmers can do what they do best and be celebrated for it.”
Towards the future
The year 2020 has forced almost all companies, especially SMEs, to digitalise their businesses. Ivan explains that Malaysia is slowly mimicking China’s IT trends, and this is most apparent through the booming usage on e-wallets. If his prediction is accurate, the next big fad would be social media live streaming.
“In fact, selling goods using this particular method is trending right now in Malaysia. Although awareness is still minimal, I expect it to increase in numbers for the coming months.”
Always well-equipped and up-to-date on the market’s needs, ETC has already developed a programme for businesses to manage sales from these live streams – all ready to meet the demands at its peak. “This is how we have always worked. We would always try to think ahead, foresee the challenges and be prepared for it.” Cyrus adds.
Apart from excelling in their core services, the ETC team is also picking up steam on its R&D department. “We’re working hard in developing new software that revolves around Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and so on. We cannot give a definite answer to when the software will be released into the market. Ultimately, the ‘when’ is determined by the consumer’s trend. That being said, it’s not our culture to wait for the trend to come to us as well. Overall, ETC is ready to provide when the time is right,” Cyrus ends confidently.
ETC Programming Factory
8trium, M2-10-03 & 3A Menara 2,
Jalan Cempaka SD 12/5,
Bandar Sri Damansara,
52200 Kuala Lumpur
Phone Number: +603 62620335 | +6016 996 5987