Dason: I scored 187 for my PSLE. I remember feeling bad that I was unable to make my parents proud. In secondary school, I was in the Normal Academic stream, and I realised the system at that point pumped more resources and invested more in the Express stream.
My friends and I would tell each other, “Come on, the students in the Express classes will get all the best jobs. They’ll get all the enviable professions in the future.” It’s almost as if society had reserved all the best seats for them.
Fanny: For me, I was strong in my languages but maths just wasn’t my friend. Once, I scored 1.5 out of 40 for a test, and I think my teacher gave me that score out of the kindness of her heart because I showed effort and bothered to draw a graph, even if it was wrong.
When I was doing my O-Levels, I thought of going to a polytechnic or junior college, but my teacher said, “You failed mathematics, you only can go to ITE, so you can forget about having any kind of dreams.”
Dason: I think that’s why when we hire new staff, I don’t really look at a person’s grades. I’m not really bothered by their education level. I just want to see their passion and whether they want to take up the challenge. They need to have that something in them.
Fanny: As a business owner, you want to do what’s best for the business. It’s not like you hit the jackpot just because you hired someone on the Dean’s List. We don’t agree with that. What we really want are people who can help the company win, and we win together.
Dason: We met in uni and started dating then. Subsequently we got married and started the florist business together. When we took on orders for Valentine’s Day, we saw our sales spike by 300% during that special occasion.
Fanny: Flowers were so expensive then. 99 stalks of roses were going for $200. Guys were splurging on these bouquets. When they called us asking if their orders had been delivered to their wives and girlfriends, we understood their anxiety.
Dason: When orders spiked, we had to engage freelance delivery drivers. Half of them couldn’t even answer our calls because they were busy driving. When they did answer, they didn’t know which order we were talking about or reliably tell us what time they would deliver.
Fanny: We didn’t have the info that our customers wanted at our fingertips. That experience was so horrific, I didn’t even celebrate Valentine’s Day for a few years after. During the post-mortem, Dason said there had to be some kind of technology for us to do our tracking.
Dason: We tried searching for a solution but found none. We discovered a market gap, so we went ahead to build the world’s first real-time vehicle tracking and proof-of-delivery system. And that’s how Detrack came about!
Fanny: In 2014, we started as a three-person team. We launched the product and broke even within the first year. Our first-year revenue was about USD$100,000. Today, we make an annual revenue of about SGD$2 million and operate as a 20-men team.
Dason: We serve over 700 business clients in over 50 countries. The app has been translated in many different languages and to-date, more than 64 million jobs have been completed. We deliver all sorts of things; we don’t just serve florists these days.
Fanny: Of course there were challenges along the way. The toughest thing was money. When we started Detrack, we just had our first child and were literally jobless. We had no stable sources of income.
Dason: People around us were saying, “You already have a family now. Why don’t you get a proper job? It’s time to get serious.” We respected their opinions, but people who knew us knew it was a hard hit, especially when these words came from people we loved.
Fanny: I remember being offered to teach at Republic Poly. That part-time job would have easily brought us another $3,000. I told Dason we really needed the money, but he has always been firm in his beliefs.
Dason: I told her that if we wanted this business to work, we have to give our 100%. Nothing less. If we’re distracted for even a moment, things can go very wrong. If we failed, at least we would have failed happily knowing that we had given our best. Thankfully, we didn’t.
Fanny: I think our struggles in school planted the seeds that gave birth to our characters today. This is especially true for Dason. He is the most tenacious man I’ve ever known. It stems a lot from him being told that he would grow up to be someone less than who he is.
Dason: We were not so naturally inclined in certain areas of academia, so we had to work doubly, triply hard just to get equal grounding with others. We had to develop that willpower and fighting spirit early on.
Fanny: So to all the aspiring dreamers out there, just believe in yourself. There will be external forces saying you’re no good or that you’re lousy, but if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. And if you want to achieve anything in life, you have to fight for it.
Dason: Don’t give up. Maybe the time is not right yet for people to discover you and your talents, but believe that the time will come and people will see you for the true gem you truly are. So never give up.
Interview by: Arman Shah
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Everyone has an incredible and inspiring story to share. These are such stories by the everyday people in Singapore. #everydaypeoplesg