Learning Journey: Takeaways from Circles.Life
Young, imaginative, driven – this sums up Asia’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). A fully digital telco and consumer company, the Singapore-based Circles.Life created a buzz among the crowd of some 70 young, working professionals and students who were at their industrial chic headquarters for Young NTUC’s Learning Journey. All had turned up eager to hear about the disruptor’s meteoric journey into the digital telco space.
“My company is also moving towards digitalisation,” said Ang Zheng Li, 24, a manager-in-training at a premier automotive group. “So, I wanted to find out more about their tech journey and how they progressed, and to learn from their perspective.”
Every year, Young NTUC organises several Learning Journeys to companies in cutting-edge industries. These are designed to give both its youth members and the public insights into different industries and glimpses into job possibilities in the not-too-distant future.
Takeaway 1: A Sky-is-the-Limit Work Culture
For Ken Tan, 28, attending his very first Learning Journey, the chance to hear of the ins and outs of a digital telco was too good a chance to miss.
“I have heard about Circles.Life but because they don’t have a physical presence, there was no telling what the company was really like,” he said.
To see the passion and drive of the people behind the vision was illuminating for the Singapore Management University undergraduate who hopes to, one day, join a tech company.
“The fact that they have diversified to doing other things beyond providing telecommunication services is proof that they are really a tech company,” said Tan.
Participants were told of how Circles.Life encourages its employees to think big. Called “rocketship moments”, the organisation believes in aiming not just for the next destination but further, to let the sky be the limit.
Takeaway 2: Beyond Products to an Ecosystem
That vision to be a consumer brand rather than only a telco has catapulted Circles.Life into other product areas, creating an ecosystem of services. These includes apps like Discover, for consumers to find out about and book events in Singapore; Discover Movies, for buying movie tickets; and Daily Poll, a game that allows players to submit answers to a question every day to earn Bonus Data.
“In my job, we are also trying to establish an ecosystem of products with our digital partners,” said Chia Chee Yong, 30s. “I wanted to see how their journey as a digital-only company would impact the banking industry since banks are also going digital.”
Circles.Life’s ability to stay ahead of the competition through creative products was inspirational to Chia who works in the banking industry.
“These are exciting times for banks. We used to have no competition. Now, everyone is moving into the space. There are virtual banks, fintechs, techfins. We have to be more open to innovation to be competitive,” noted Chia.
Takeaway 3: Customer Empowerment
Ang was particularly impressed by Circles.Life’s determination to give power back to their customers.
“My company also believes in a customer-first philosophy,” she shared. “It was good to hear about their pain points going digital from their customers’ perspectives. I feel there is an alignment with what my company is doing.”
Circles.Life’s customer-centricity where people get to choose how much data, how many SMSes and how much talk time they need with customer-designed contract-less plans was a gamechanger. It set the benchmark for the telco industry and now even the big players are offering no-contract plans.
“They entered the market as a telco but they are now moving into knowing customer needs and being customer-driven. That was my biggest takeaway,” added Tan.