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Old 17-03-2011, 11:15 PM
Posts: n/a

This Current Estimate Potential (CEP) system is a totally flawed concept. How can a superior estimate the potential of a subordinate whose potential is higher than his own? How can a person see a vision higher than his own? How can a toad appreciate the size of a whale?

SMU Convocation Speech by Mr Tommie Goh (Summarised)

This is the text of the SMU Convocation keynote address by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Tommie Goh, Chairman, 2G Capital Pte Ltd, delivered on Saturday, 19 August 2006, at the Suntec City Convention Centre.

I am honoured to be with you all today at your convocation. SMU is close to me. When I decided to make a contribution to a tertiary institution some years back, SMU was my choice instinctively.

I did not make it to any university so I am not qualified to lecture or to teach. What I will do is to share my thoughts and experiences as an entrepreneur for which I have better credentials.

Entrepreneurs are people who start their business rarely wondering whether they should or should not do it. They just do it. Being an entrepreneur is a compulsion. They have been wanting to do it for the longest time. Being an entrepreneur is something that is “in your blood”.


Be honest with yourself. Know your limitations. Believing in yourself doesn’t mean bluffing yourself. You must know what are your own strengths and weaknesses. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. When I finally passed my “O” levels, I knew that I was not academically-inclined. I know I am not “book-smart”. But I believe in my own abilities. I know I am “street-smart”

After 13 years in the army, I knew that with my “O” level qualifications, Grade 3, not Grade 1; I cannot be promoted beyond the rank of Major. That was my limitation in the Army. But my belief in myself told me that I could succeed further outside the Army. So I left the Army. I founded JIT Electronics in 1988 and when the company crossed the 100 million dollar revenue mark, I knew I needed to recruit professional managers who are more able than me in managing a company this size and growing rapidly. I know my limitations.


I founded JIT in 1988 and sold it to Flextronics in 2000. In 1988, I invested $100,000 in JIT and twelve years later sold it for $1.16 billion; a multiple of 11,600 times. Not bad for a 100 thousand dollar investment.


If, Tommie Goh, can be here as your guest speaker in your convocation – an ‘O’ Level graduate, of ordinary parentage and no capital advantage – just think, how much more privileged and better off each one of you here are. Treasure your studies but remember to thoroughly enjoy your time at SMU. Make it a distinctive part of your life experiences.

Make it happen!

Thank you.
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