The 34-Year-Old Voiden Internet Millionaire Who Sold Everything Away, Alvin Poh

Photo by Rice Media

Alvin Poh is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Voiden, a cloud hosting company.

Vodien was founded in 2002. It was later acquired by Dreamscape in 2017, and was valued for S$ 30million. Shortly after being a millionaire at 33 years old, he sold most of his belongings (including his Lamborghini) and embraced minimalism.

Alvin holds a masters degree in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon.

He is now traveling and snowboarding around the world.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • Why Alvin sold his Lamborghini and embraced minimalism
  • The evolution of Alvin’s fitness routine
  • How does Alvin apply the 80/20 principle to business
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Click “continue reading” for the link and show notes…

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Find Your Peers

What kind of person do you want to be? Perhaps the shortest road is to hang out with these people.

If you read Fast companies and envy the Silicon Valley entrepreneur at fancy lunches, raising 25 million dollars deal and selling companies in record time. You better be there because you need those conversations.

If on the other hand, you hang out with people who are running soup kitchens. Or you hang out with people who are counselling. Or people who are getting deep into what it means to be human. Chances are, the business you build is going to be more human.

Certainly. Choose your circle and it will change what you dream about, what you notice and what you engage with.

If you hang out with people who are going really slow because they don’t want to make a mistake. Well, you’re not going to make mistakes, but you’re going to go really slow.

If on the other hand, if you hang out with people who are going really fast and have figured out that the mistakes aren’t going to kill them. The next time you see them and you haven’t made any mistakes, you are going to be embarrassed.

Who you choose is entirely up to you. There are many happy, smart and successful people. It takes work to find them, help them and support them. The kind of work that pays dividends. The kind that you’ll remember on your deathbed.

Choose your circle. Choose your outcome.


P.S. If resources are limited, you can find these people in books, articles and interviews. They can hardly replace actual interaction, but they might just be better than the jealous cousin.

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The photo is taken at the beach in Hualien, Taiwan on a road trip with new friends from the hostel.

3 Pillars for Creative Work

Any project that you are trying for the first time is creative work. Cook a meal. Put up an art show. Start a business. It’s new, it’s hard, and if you are smart, you’d look around for advice.  

There are 3 kind of advices here and they are equally important.

1) Do you have the right tactics?
Is your knife sharp? Can you write a grant application? Can you give a presentation with authority? Can you carry out the strategy?

2) Do you have the right strategy?
Do you understand the macro forces at work? The record industry was perfect until someone started sharing mp3 for free. The ice harvesting industry was very happy until the fridge came along.

3) Do you care enough to fail?
Imagine if Thomas Edison gave up on the third try, we might not have the light bulb today. Do you care enough to try, try and try again? Do you care enough to expand the emotional labour?

Too often, we conflate the 3 things. So, we talk to the artist about caring more but it’s not going to help one bit. Because she cares too much and it’s getting in the way.

Or the friend who wants to quit smoking and you start telling him what to do. He knows what to do. He just doesn’t care enough.

A lot of “advice” we get (or give) are tactics. We end up pushing more in the same direction. Perhaps, we need to ask if what we really need are tactics. You won’t be surprised very often, but when you are, bingo.


Hat tips to Seth Godin for introducing the idea.

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The photo was taken at the MRI room. It interesting to see the difference in room lighting for the patient and the staff.

The Broccoli test

Would you eat a plate broccoli instead?

No salt, no sauce, just boiled broccoli.

If one plate is not enough, have one more plate. But no cheating, just broccoli.

If what you want are burger, fries, and a bad day cure, it is perhaps easier to admit that. And use it as a compass on the journey to a healthy lifestyle.

The work might be to avoid bad days or to find delicious and healthy alternatives. But it all starts with a plate of broccoli.

Yes, I Would Show Up

That is a dangerous promise. You have put yourself together with the possibilities of failure. You are on the hook to uphold your promise.

Consider the opposite. Don’t tell anyone before you solved the problem.

You get all credit without the risk. All the upside without the downside.

Authors don’t announce their book until it’s 90% done. Apple doesn’t reveal its new products until all the patents are filed.

Create a tension within yourself that propels action.

The next time you find a problem (or a complaint), that might be your treasure map, keep that a secret and start chipping away. Once ready, delight others with your solution. Soon, you would indispensable and don’t blame me when you are invited to the next secret ‘save the world’ gathering.

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The photo was taken at the interview with the amazing Khailee Ng. We chatted about his visit to Necker island.

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