Timothy Tiah: Live the Good Life - Even While You are Hard at Work


Timothy Tiah: Live the Good Life - Even While You are Hard at Work

Digital Nomads have a new-found Colony. AWANI Review’s Ooi Zi Shan checks in at the latest co-sharing work space in Kuala Lumpur and speaks to its founder Timothy Tiah, one of two entrepreneurs behind Nuffnang.

Have you ever dreamt of working in a hotel-like office environment? How about taking a dip in the pool after a long period staring at the laptop? Or even getting a massage after that dreadful meeting with a client?

It is an attainable dream, says Timothy Tiah. The net entrepreneur behind Netccentric (the parent company of blog advertising company Nuffnang) is here to help turn those longings into a reality through his latest project, Colony.

Timothy wants Colony to offer more than the usual utilities and comfort for digital nomads of shared working spaces. Starting from the design, Timothy moved away from, what he calls,  'typical industrial looking' co-working spaces, mushrooming in capitals around the world, including Kuala Lumpur.

Drawing inspiration from luxury hotel chain The Ritz Carlton, Colony is hospitality-inspired. Big spaces with a touch of homeliness and elegance, work corners designed more like hotel than office holes. The working space offers daylight aplenty; fluorescent-lights are a no-no, says Timothy `light-heartedly’.


What Differentiates Colony From Other Co-Working Spaces?

Colony also seeks to meet the professional and leisurely needs of its tenants by providing access to a rooftop gym and a hotel-style swimming pool, among other amenities. Colony, is after all, located in Vipod Business Centre at the heart of bustling Kuala Lumpur.

It took Timothy and his team about six months to set up Colony.  As a tech entrepreneur himself, Timothy witnessed an increasing demand for virtual office spaces, driven in large part by a surging start-up community and a growing pool of entrepreneurs and independent workers.

The popularity of co-working spaces began in countries where space is limited, such as Hong Kong and Singapore. In Malaysia, there are 36 other co-working spaces that have set up shop – the majority in the Klang Valley. Competition is rife. Besides a good location and environment, a high level of hospitality, says Timothy, could make Colony the preferred choice.

“There is always a complaint. People would never be completely happy with everything," he says. "But if we don’t address complaints seriously, people will not be loyal to us anymore. We could just lose the business.”

Reason Behind the Establishment of Colony

When asked why he turned from the blog advertising business to co-working spaces, Timothy says he wanted to create something tangible that people would appreciate.

“I feel that I lost my sense of purpose there.” he says. “Nobody would ever thank you for a successful advertising campaign.”

“Sometimes I wonder what changes can I bring to society,” he adds.  

From selling ideas to selling spaces, what drove Timothy to make that risky switch?  “Just doing something that you like," says the father-of-two who is taking a 90 percent pay cut from what he used to earn at Nuffnang.

“But I am a lot happier today," says the still-young business builder, who lives by author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek's inspirational book to always; “Start With Why”.

With Colony up and running, Timothy says he is in no hurry to start Colony 2.0. He is, nonetheless, eyeing a space at SP Setia's mixed development KL Eco City.

“I would not open a second one until the first one is profitable," Timothy explains his conservative stance. "I do not want to open five co-working spaces but all of them are not making money.”

“I am not building to sell, I am building to last.”

Not The Largest, I Want to Build the Best Serviced Office