Max Tan’s perpetual curiosity led to business growth

It’s vital to highlight early on that there is no magical formula that can turn you into a successful and wealthy entrepreneur overnight.

Being an entrepreneur begins with a sense of curiosity – about what you want to learn, discover, and love. The journey is a constant search for clarity and a wide range of viewpoints. It involves concentrating on knowing how to ask the appropriate questions rather than spouting the correct responses.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be curious like Max Tan.

Max Tan is a managing director and co-founder of DK Tankers. This company designs and produces best in class seacrafts that heavily focus on green technology, safety, aesthetics and functionality.

He mentioned that the earth is 70 percent water and a tremendous amount of travel and logistics still takes place in the maritime space. Most people get excited about land-based EVs because it’s directly visible to them, and hence they get reminded of its significance daily. 

However, he felt that the maritime industry has a vast potential for innovation and disruption because of all the new technology and research applicable in this space and their potential impact on how we live.

“I have a perpetual curiosity which is like a never-ending hunger, a need to know and to learn,” says Max.

This curiosity, according to Max, has resulted in a strong empathy for other cultures and people. He loves people, and he loves technology, so it’s a dream come true for him to start a company that leverages technology, design, and people to move humanity one step closer to a sustainable future.

He’s also a rational optimist! He believes that empowerment is the ability to take action and the responsibility for its consequences.

He considers learning how to learn to be a vital skill. It helped him in his desire to become a polymath, and it’s something he learned outside of the rigid educational system he grew up in.

He believes that everyone’s brain works distinctly and that we all need to figure out how we work and what makes us tick and then apply that knowledge to our lives, even if conventional wisdom says otherwise.

“Luck plays a very big part in everything, whether it’s financial outcomes or social, personal situations. You get good runs, and you get bad runs. A huge part of my day to day activity is positioning myself so that when the good runs come, you compound the luck exponentially, and when the bad runs come, the effects get minimalised. It also keeps your ego manageable when you realise how small you are in the overall scheme of things.”, Max explained when asked about his most significant mentality shift, belief shift, or “ah-ha” moment you’ve had in his business.

Get to know more about Max Tan by connecting with him on his LinkedIn.


Interesting nuggets during our interview:

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

A: Start with what you’re good at. It’s a bit like when you roll in BJJ. You have two guys, say they are equally matched, and you’re trying to get into an advantageous position. So any edge you have, like an elbow or knee in a slightly better angle, you work it, push it, expand it, translate it into a superior strategic position, then use structure to consolidate it. Till the other guy taps out, then repeat.

Q: Life has its ups and downs; can you tell us a compelling story?

A: When I was 10, I started a money lending scheme in school that focused on an ‘accelerated interest’ model. I made some money off it, but then the school found out, meaning my mum found out, and she gave me the worst beating of my life. Years later, I found out that banks and credit card companies were doing the same thing I did, except they were legal and accepted. I still give my mum grief about it to this day.

Q: What would you do differently if you could go back in time and do things differently, knowing what you know now?

A: Probably, I would try to convince my mum to do a money lending JV when I was 10.

Q: What are your favourite ways to unwind?

A: Run, box, read, drink, play my guitar.

Q: What have you recently discovered that has astounded you?

A: Otters sleep holding hands. How about that?

Q: This is a book that every business person should read:

A: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. It’s a rich tapestry of history, personalities and science, leading to one of the most significant discoveries of our time. Plus, I’m looking forward to affordable nuclear fusion in our time. Fingers crossed.

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