GREAT MINDS NEVER THINK ALIKE

This is a compendium of recipes for how some people work. The routines, habits, hacks, gadgets and escapes to consistently live their best life at work and at play. While high performance is the common thread, the personalities couldn’t be more diverse, and the gems we found couldn’t be more timely and inspiring.

This interview series is brought by The Great Room Singapore.

  1. What is your morning hack for a productive day?

Christopher Chan: Walking to work is something I do every day now.  Gives me a chance to get some fresh air, clear my head, and prepared for the day without crowds.

I usually listen to podcasts to help me catch up with the world. I love podcasts, and there are many that I listen to about, tech, design, economics, a culture that I love including Radio Lab, 99% invisible, China Econ Talk, and This American Life.

  1. What is the best purchase you have done recently that has upped your game at work? (App/Technology/Wellness gadget/Nutrition)

Christopher Chan: I use my Apple AirPods Pro every day, and they are great.  I love this waterproof case made by Catalyst.  It makes them always accessible with a useful carabiner to clip on things.  It’s a bit of a splurge, compared to generic ones, but the quality and protection are undeniable. It’s a must-have if you spend time around bodies of water, as I do.

Waterproof Case for AirPods Pro – Premium Edition

  1. What or where do you eat when you are alone for lunch on a workday? Is there a favourite takeaway spot?

Christopher Chan: We are always testing new products at RedMart. So I generally supplement my lunch with tasty snacks, I recently enjoyed brown sugar boba tea flavoured almonds and mala chicken skins. Both were amazing.

  1. What is the last book you read that created an impact on you and name 1–2 key takeaways?

Christopher Chan: I haven’t read a book in a long time, mainly because I don’t have the bandwidth, but I do listen to a lot of podcasts. I love “99% Invisible.” The creator, Roman Mars tells excellent stories about architecture through history.

Although I practice law, I find the lessons in design thinking help me understand root causes better and allow for better decision making.  A modern-day lawyer needs first to understand their business first, it’s not a role that can survive being wedded to contracts only, especially in e-commerce.

My practice is a fusion of business, government affairs, and the law.  It’s exciting, and I love it.

  1. Do you have a favourite superhero costume/accessory that you rely on for the most important business meetings?

Christopher Chan: Not necessarily for superhero’s but I recently purchased a wallet made out of military-grade ballistic material that’s stronger than steel yet ultra-light and thin.  It’s not fancy, but I love the simplicity and form factor.

Great Minds Never Think Alike: Christopher Chan, General Counsel & Head of Government Affairs for Lazada SG & RedMart

  1. Do you have a favourite place/country you love travelling to that rejuvenates you?

Christopher Chan: Working in a high-stress environment requires a lot of time to recover.  In SE Asia, I spend my weekends on my sailboat or rock climbing in the region.  However, as an ex-pat, there’s no place like seeing your family. I love going back to San Diego to see my parents, siblings, nephews, and nieces.  I grew up on the East Coast, but somehow my family all ended up in California.

  1. What is your morning hack for a productive day?

Christopher Chan: I walk to work every morning.  The 10 minutes gives me a chance to get some fresh air, clear my head, and prepare for the day.  I also usually listen to podcasts to help me catch up with the world. Some of my favourites include Radio Lab, 99% invisible, China Econ Talk, and This American Life.

  1. Do you have a favourite quote you live by?

Christopher Chan: Live fully and fearlessly.  Many things I’ve done in my life were to live a life less ordinary. I’m always chasing new opportunities for experiences.

“A modern-day lawyer needs to understand their business and other disciplines; one cannot survive solely with the law. Lawyers are expected to and must create multidisciplinary solutions to novel problems, especially in e-commerce.”

  1. If you’re not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?

Christopher Chan: I bought an old sailboat about two and a half years ago, and I’ve been fixing her up with my limited free time.  Her name is Aurelia, and I have a dream of sailing around the world with her. She has a water-maker, solar panels, 2,000 litres of both freshwater and diesel, fishing spears, dive gear, and lots of spare parts, perfect for long-distance cruising. I think it would be one great adventure and experience.

Continue these sentences…

  • My favourite time-waster is tinkering with my boat. I’ve spent countless hours working on the engine, wiring electronics, and fixing all sorts of things.  I didn’t grow up with boats, but it’s a new passion and amazing what you can learn on YouTube.
  • If I am having a really challenging day, I like to take long walks to reset.
  • I have an irrational love for adventure.

Catalysts at work…

  • Airpods Pro Case from Catalyst

 What is it about rock climbing that exhilarates you?

Christopher Chan: Climbing pushes both your mental and physical limits. It’s a sport which requires you to be switched on solving problems. There is a high level of technicality mixed with being outdoor unpredictability. It’s just an incredible rush when you summit something with just your body and a rope.

Tell us more about your sailboat. 

Christopher Chan: I bought an old sailboat – “Aurelia,” about two and a half years ago.  My favourite time-waster has been tinkering and fixing her up in my limited free time.  I didn’t grow up with boats, but it’s a new passion. You would be amazed by how much you can learn on YouTube and Googling

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