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[E4C49] Turning a Kidnapping Escape Story into a Mobile Safety App for Women – Chin Xin-Ci of Watch Over Me

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My very special guest for today is someone I met at Mindvalley’s Awesomeness Fest in Phuket, Thailand. This transformational event was a gathering of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the world through bold, revolutionary and innovative means.

With me today is Chin Xin-Ci who is an Internet marketer and technology entrepreneur. Her narrow escape from a kidnapping attempt prompted her find an entrepreneurial solution for women’s safety worldwide.

Her solution was to co-create a mobile application called Watch Over Me, aimed at making women more secure while they are out alone.
In this interview, Xin-Ci shares:

  • How she managed to escape a kidnapping attempt in 2012 that occurred in broad daylight, in a busy, public space.
  • Why lack of safety for women in public spaces is still such a problem in this day and age.
  • How Watch Over Me app works to improve security for women when they are going about their business alone.
  • Some of the mistakes she made in developing & launching her mobile app, and what she’d do differently.
  • What she thinks is the most effective way to change the world and how to make your life really matter.

Download the Audio Master Class

In her Master Class, which you can download for free at www.EntrepreneursForAChange.com/49, Xin-Ci teaches us how to develop disruptive mobile technology solutions to address the world’s most pressing concerns. In this Master Class, you will learn:

  • The step-by-step process of creating a mobile application that sells.
  • What user flow is and why it’s critical for the development of any mobile or web app.
  • Her company’s process for solving entrepreneurial roadblocks through A/B testing.
  • The factors to consider when submitting apps to Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
  • The secret to getting more user downloads for your mobile phone application.
  • How to raise venture capital funding for your disruptive technology company.
  • Keys to identifying your soulmate investors & getting them to invest in your business.
  • And so much more..


Mentioned in this interview

  • Ushahidi
  • Awesomeness Fest
  • Kidnapping note on Facebook

Where to Find Xin-Chi

  • Xin Chi’s Facebook
  • Follow Xin Chi on Twitter
  • Connect with Xin Chi on LinkedIn

Full Episode Transcript

Lorna Li: Today, we have a fantastic guest that I’m very excited to speak about because I met Xin Ci at Awesomeness Fest Phuket, which is the hub of really awesome people, changemakers that are doers that are getting out there and changing the world through their businesses. Xin Ci is one of them.

She is the co-founder of a personal safety app for women called Watch Over Me, which I should absolutely install in my iPhone since I am a solo female traveler and I’ve been traveling this way for almost two decades. So it’s long overdue.

But I should say that she started her career before starting this disruptive technology social enterprise. She started her career as an internet marketer at a personal growth company before branching out as a social media consultant for various brands and agencies. Now, what inspired her to start this amazing company and work with disruptive technology is a personal experience.

In 2012, she escaped a kidnapping attempt and then decided to put her experience into good use by joining forces with her co-founder James to create the Watch Over Me app. So Xin Ci, please tell us first of all who you are and what exactly does Watch Over Me do.

Chin Xin Ci: Hi. My name is Xin Ci. I am from Malaysia. I grow up in this low island north of the capital called Penang. Just a little bit about my background. I majored in Psychology but I decided to venture into internet marketing upon graduating. My first job ever was at Tower Records selling music to strangers and like nobody sells music nowadays, right? But later on, my first real job was at Mind Valley. It’s an international personal growth company that sells personal growth products online using internet marketing.

When I was there, I managed like a quarter million community of people really passionate and interested in personal growth. When I was there in Mind Valley, I started tapping to really serious powerhouse that work in media. I spent the next couple of years riding the social media wave here in Malaysia. That all kind of stopped short in 2012 when I escaped a pretty crazy kidnapping attempt. I buckled down and set on my co-founder and decide to seriously focus in changing something that I personally felt was broken in this world and that’s women’s safety.

That’s how Watch Over Me was born. Watch Over Me operates on a very simple premise that firstly assumes that women, a grown and adult women like Lorna and myself and most people listening to this don’t want to be threatened all the time.

Almost all of the existing safety apps out there in the market require phone to be turned on all the time. They’re more family tracking solutions, so if you have a kid and you want to know where your 13-year-old is going, you just insist the phone’s turned on.

But as an adult woman, Lorna, I’m sure you don’t want to be tracked all the time by your parents or your boyfriend or whoever.

Lorna: Or the NSA. We’re all very paranoid about getting tracked. There’s good reason – Big Brother. We don’t want Big Brother tracking us either.

Xin Ci: Exactly. At the same time, if something happens, you want someone to know where you were.

Lorna: Totally. I end up in random places all the time because that’s part of the adventure of being a traveler. Often, these adventures are completely spontaneous and they’re really fun. But what if something happens? Nobody knows where I am.

Xin Ci: Exactly. So we’re operating on that first premise and the second one was that a lot of the existing apps out in the market right now are panic button apps. If you’re running away from somebody, do you have time to unlock your phone, look for the app, turn on the app, and then hit a button? It’s so unlikely.

Lorna: If I’m not bludgeoning the person with my backpack with my phone in it, then I’m fleeing for my life.

Xin Ci: Exactly. It’s fight or flight not search for your app, you know. That’s what it is. So we thought we wanted to make it as automatic as possible. Watch Over Me is very simple. Let’s say, Lorna if you’re going to go for a run around Chiang Mai like a 30-minute run, you will basically turn on the app and say, “Watch over me for 30 minutes,” and just turn on your music, put the phone in your pocket and just go for your run.

At the 28th minute, it’ll say, “Hey, is everything okay?” It’ll just keep asking you repeatedly until the 30th minute. If after repeated alerts like pings, you still do not respond like, “Hey, I’m safe,” or “I need 10 more minutes,” what it’ll do, is it’ll send out an emergency alert to your emergency contact list. That could be your mom, your dog, your dad, your brother, whoever you choose. Then, they would be able to see where you are at Point A, where you are right now, and your location until your phone runs out of battery or until you actually say I’m safe. That’s one thing.

For Android phones, we’re also allowing users to be able to shake their phones to trigger an emergency alert. So for example, if you’re holding your phone and you’re walking to your car and someone grabs you, shaking your phone even though your screen is locked can help trigger an emergency alert. It automatically sends your location details and turns on your phone’s camera to record whatever is going on and sends it to your emergency contact list.

Lorna: That’s very intriguing. I can definitely see the value of being able to turn on the app when you are, let’s say, going out of your safe zones, for example. I’m kind of curious like being a spontaneous person, let’s say, I think I’m going to be out for 30 minutes and I happen to be out for 45 minutes and I’ve completely forgotten that my phone is in my backpack and stashed in my friend’s bedroom someplace while we’re all hanging out in the patio having a drink. Would that mean that for 15 minutes, my emergency contacts were getting pinged?

Xin Ci: Actually, that would mean that which is why we keep putting an alarm. Let’s say, at the 28th minute, there’s an alarm that goes up. Thirty seconds later, another alarm. It just continues ringing until you actually say, “I’m safe,” and then after 30 minutes and if it doesn’t ring anymore, it just assumes, “Something’s going on” so you turn it off. But the usual case I’ve seen so far is most women use it while they’re walking home from work. You get what I mean?

Lorna: Yes, totally.

Xin Ci: These things usually have a destination and have an end time. Women typically use it when they feel slightly insecure about their safety. Let’s say, I’m walking home from work and this alley way is pretty darn dark. The moment you turn it on, it automatically flips on your awareness switch. That’s what I feel Watch Over Me does.

Lorna: I would say that this one scenario is something that I’ve been in a lot so I could see certainly what Watch Over Me app doing, every time I arrive in a new country and I have to take a taxi to my hotel or my friend’s destination and I’m arriving at night, sometimes you have no control over when the flight’s arrive in. So if I’m coming in to Rio de Janeiro at night time and I have to go to my hostel across the city, at that point, I would most certainly turn Watch Over Me app. In a lot of place where there’s frequent taxi crime where the taxis will steal your stuff. You could be mugged by your taxi driver.

Xin Ci: It’s the same thing here.

Lorna: Great. You know what I think would be a very cool add on to, this is something that I would totally use because there’s some things that I always have on me. So if I have something like a Tile app. You know Tile, there’s GPS thing. So if I have a Tile app that sync to Watch Over Me app on my phone, so if my phone’s in my purse and it’s stashed someplace where I’m not hearing their alarm but I had my teeny tiny Tile app attached to my belt, then if it was going off, then I could imagine like I could see that it’s buzzing or being alerted or something. That could be a fix for the separation of phone and person.

Xin Ci: What’s really exciting is that wearable technology is becoming so big today. I personally think that in three to five years, everyone will be wearing either a smartwatch or glasses, something relatively intelligent outside of just their phones. What we’re doing right now is that instead of creating our own Tile-like device or whatever is that we’re looking to sync Watch Over Me with any major existing devices. For example, right now, we’re actually developing like a Watch Over Me companion app for Google Wear, the 360 watches, the LG smartwatches. So this way, if you get a ping or whatever, it appears on your phone and you can even extend the time on your watch.

Lorna: Yes, that’s perfect. I was also going to say to that if not a Tile app, then a watch. Yes, absolutely. It’s great if you have some device that’s on you that you can then reset so your friends aren’t freaking out if they’re getting emergency alerts for like 30 minutes while you’re actually having a cocktail next to a pool.

Xin Ci: Exactly. We were thinking of developing a device on our own but the reality of life is just everyone’s just going to be carrying one thing and that one thing had better be able to do everything from track your heartbeat to tracking your steps, your fitness, and why not safety as well, right? I personally feel that that’s the future of where it’s going, so we’ve decided to just integrate it with existing wearable technology.

Lorna: That’s so awesome. I’m so glad you guys are doing this. This is really much needed.

Xin Ci: Thank you.

Lorna: I’m curious about your kidnapping story. I know you’ve probably shared this story a lot. I saw your note on Facebook got 20,000 shares or likes. Do you mind sharing that story with us again?

Xin Ci: Sure. No worries. That’s what therapy is for.

Lorna: Okay. So tell me what happened that fateful day.

Xin Ci: Well, it was like a Sunday afternoon. It’s 5 PM. I was in the neighborhood mall just buying really boring stuff. I wasn’t going out there shopping. I was just there to get paper for my printer, an ink, and dinner. That’s about it.

Lorna: You weren’t even going to visit the adult sex toy shop?

Xin Ci: I was wearing the daggiest things. I was wearing this old cotton sundress I got for like $2 and my old glasses, flip flops. Nothing on me was particularly sexy, new, or explicit. I think everything on me was less than $10. So I was walking to my car and when I opened the backdoor to put my stuff in, someone slammed the door against my back and held the knife to my neck. Initially, I thought it was a really, really bad joke because you got one of those dumb friends sometimes who would do shit like that. After a while I realized that none of my friends smell this bad and point a knife on my neck.

So this guy just popped out of nowhere and then they shoved me at the back of my own car and a second guy appeared and they got onto the car and drove off with me in the car. I was like, “Shit.” Trust me, I’ve said a lot worse words than that. As we were leaving the parking lot, I was thinking to myself, “Okay, if I don’t get the hell out of here, I’m screwed,” probably literally, right? As the car is leaving the car park, I managed to unlock the car door and I attempted to jump out of the car but the guy who was in the backseat with me pulled me back in.

For the next 400 to 500 meters, half of my body was out of the car and the other half was still in the car. We were fighting because I just want to get the hell out of there and they were holding me back. So at this point, I’m not really sure what happened. I punched someone, I kicked someone, I bit someone. I don’t know, I had these bruises and all that. Eventually, I think they figured out I was just too much trouble and just let go. I managed to roll out of the car as it was leaving the mall and run back inside.

All this happened in like seven minutes. No more than 7 minutes according to the CCTV footage later. But it felt a lot longer than that.

Lorna: Wow. Do you think they were watching for you? Do you think they singled you out of they were just watching for somebody, a woman in the parking lot who looked like an easy target? Do you think they were stalking you per se?

Xin Ci: The first thing everyone wanted to find out is whether or not I was spotted from – they followed me for ages. If they followed me, then we still have had to be careful even after the whole incident. So when we reviewed all the tapes, it looked like I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These two guys were just walking pretty aimlessly and I happened to be there struggling with my bags of A4 paper, and I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Lorna: Does this happen frequently in Malaysia? I don’t really hear of this. I hear of kidnappings in other parts of the world a lot more like Mexico or Brazil, but I never really thought of Malaysia as being a kidnapping hub.

Xin Ci: The more common crime in Malaysia are snatched stuffs like these guys on scooters driving by you and snatching your bag. That’s probably the most common crime in Malaysia. But what was interesting about what happened to me was that I happened to be the first attack in a whole string of attacks in different malls in the Klang Valley. It lasted for about three months and there was maybe an attack on the girl every week at every major mall in the Klang Valley. That was really surprising. It stopped for now and what I noticed is because of the state of attacks, all the malls seem to upgrade their security and stuff like that.

That’s a good thing. But I wouldn’t consider it very common. I’ve been to that mall so many times. I’ve left there like 4 AM, gone in before it’s open. Most people find it one of the safest mall car parks in the area. That was a huge surprise not just to me but to everyone else.

Lorna: From the point where this incident happened to the point where you started your company, you co-founded your company, I imagine you probably in your research discovered a lot about violent crime against women not only in Malaysia but globally because it’s really a global pandemic I think. I’m curious to know what have you learned in this process? Why is there such a problem around violent crimes against women in this day and age especially?

Xin Ci: After I escaped my kidnapping attempt, I wrote this Facebook note that inadvertently got 50,000 over shares. Because of that, I had people, women writing to me from all over the world telling me that they’ve been through similar experiences or some of them were even worse, right? There’s this one woman from Spain who wrote me to tell me that she was attacked as she was leaving her office and bundled into the trunk of someone’s car. She was raped. She was gone for three days and she finally escaped. “Damn! What the fuck is that? And I realized how common it is.

Recently, there was this campaign called “Yes All Women” or “Each Every Woman.” Basically, the whole premise of that campaign is that every woman in the world would experience being harassed at least once in their lifetime.

Lorna: Yes. It’s so normal. It’s horrible like I have to grow up to ignore it. It almost became such a part of my reality but that’s just wrong. You have to ignore something that’s clearly a violation of your personal space.

Xin Ci: Exactly. I read this article a couple of months ago. It was written by the husband of a victim of rape. In 2012, a woman in Australia was raped and murdered as she was walking back home after work. Her husband wrote a beautiful opinion piece on one of the Australian newspapers that basically says that we live in a society that does not condemn misogyny at all. We listen to music that allows rape jokes. When someone yells at you from the street like, “Hey, pretty lady” or whatever, we’re expected to think it’s normal.

Men don’t yell other men and tell them it’s wrong to do that. We’re living in a society that does not give any negative feedback to these people. In fact, it’s not even a crime to harass someone at the street. The thing is harassment is just like on a minor scale the same spectrum of rape, if you get where I’m going with this. It exists on the same spectrum. It’s just not as serious – the severity level is not just as high. So what are we doing here? We’re allowing, we’re creating the environment to allow for more misogyny.

It’s just really frustrating. The truth is I don’t know what we can do about it other than call up our own friends who are making misogynists jokes, who make jokes about other women at a bar. That’s the only thing we can do is that we just have to call them out. No one’s calling them out.

Lorna: I have this moment where I have some kind of tech networking event that I’m sitting down at a table with some folks. This young guy slides up to us and said, “I grabbed like five butts in this bar.” I looked at him. I was like, “What the hell is wrong with you?” He looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights of a car like “Why would I even say such a thing?” But I’m like why would you even do such a thing and then brag about it to your friends? What is wrong with you? Does it really occur to the person that there’s something really wrong with that.

What I learned from the “Yes To All Women” campaign that went viral on Twitter was the fact that why is it that we teach our daughters, “Don’t go out and dressed up like that. You’re asking for trouble” when we don’t teach our sons “Don’t rape.” So we teach our girls don’t wear short skirts because you’re asking to be raped but we don’t tell our sons raping is bad and you really shouldn’t do it.

Xin Ci: Yes, exactly. I wanted to just read out of the part of the article that I personally felt resonated with me a lot. I read this twice. I admit I cried when I read it because I felt so strongly about it. He said, “Many need to break their silence on the root societal causes of men’s violence against women rather than perpetuate a monster myth that merely places blame upon evil individuals.” That’s so true because someone like a criminal or guy who rapes – it could just be the guy walking next to you on the street. He doesn’t have to be a psychopath.

“So we’ve seen male peer groups with rape jokes and disrespectful attitudes towards women go uncontested, and the monster myth creates an illusion that this is simply banter and it’s simply a joke. But no, it’s sexist horseplay.” This was written by the husband of office woman Jill Meager, who was raped and murdered on her way home in Melbourne.

Lorna: It’s so tragic. I would love to see violent crimes against women statistics falling rather than rising. You’ve shared with me a lot of the stories that came out and were shared with you about similar experiences about being kidnapped and raped and assaulted and things like that. Do you have any stories from uses of Watch Over Me app where the app really helped them.

Xin Ci: Someone left a review on our app store last year to say that, “Thank you for making this app because I was walking home one night and a guy came up to me with a knife and yelled, ‘Give me all your stuff.’ So I shook my phone.” I told you we have this feature called the Shake to Trigger an Emergency, where you can just shake your phone. So I shook my phone and it turned on the alarm. It turned on the camera with the light and I just yelled the police have your face. Everyone knows who you are and he ran away. So thank you.”

Lorna: My god, yes.

Xin Ci: That was the conclusion left on the app store. I would have missed it because usually you don’t hear the good stories. So I was really grateful. I’ve been trying to reach out for this woman but I haven’t been able to find her so if you’re listening to this, I’m really grateful I read that review.

Lorna: I would say that probably for every person that takes the extra step to make a positive review or to actually share their stories, there’s dozens more people where the app has been really helpful to them but they just haven’t taken that extra step to get on to iTunes and say something or reach out to your company. But just one person’s safety is enough, in my opinion.

Xin Ci: Exactly. For me, that made me feel really good. A couple weeks ago – I’m not sure how long ago – but we got a review from this woman who went for a run and she fell into a ditch. She couldn’t get her phone but her time went up. She was using the usual feature, the one where it counts down. Her husband came looking for her because she never made it home and he used the map to locate and got her from the ditch. That was really nice. No one attacked her but she just fell and at least that was helpful. She would have been there until someone came to look for her.

Lorna: That’s so great. That’s a great story, too. You don’t know. Anything can happen to you. I think sometimes we forget how precarious our safety might be. It just takes one incident where you realize, “Oh my God. If I don’t have the appropriate safety network in place, nobody might know what’s happening to me. There’s nobody that could help me.” So it’s really great that we have this tool on the market. I can’t wait to dive more into your master class where you’re going to go into the process of how you exactly were able to create a technology solution to a major problem.

But I do want to touch upon your entrepreneurial journey around developing a solution. What was the moment where you realized, from this experience, that you needed to go ahead and come up with a tangible solution and then if you could explain how long that process was for you as well. We’ll get into the nitty gritty details of exactly how to do it step by step in your master class but I’d love to just bridge that gap between experience and entrepreneurial inspiration.

Xin Ci: Sure. I took a sabbatical after the whole attack. I cancelled all my freelance and consulting projects and I kind of just hold up somewhere, getting to know myself again right, finding my equilibrium. A couple of months after that, I was hanging out with a friend of mine. His name is Mu Hann. I was telling Mu Hann how it’s ridiculous that we depend on our phones or technologies for so many things in our life – from fitness to remembering where our next appointment is, navigating.

In terms of safety, technology hasn’t really broken through that whole area yet. He was like, “You know, maybe you can do something about it. You should go meet that guy, James, who turned out later to be my co-founder and see what you can do about it.” James, my co-founder, he had in his spare time what was back then the bare bones technology of what Watch Over Me is today.

His story is he lost contact to his sister for about three days. Just as his parents are about to fly to Australia to go and look for her, his sister called. It turned out she was in a car accident and was unconscious. She couldn’t alert anyone. She was driven to the hospital but nobody knew who she was. Her housemates didn’t know where she was. She just couldn’t find a way to reach her family. So he built the barebones technology to what Watch Over Me is today except that he didn’t really know what to do with it.

So we set down, we got together and talked about it. I realized that I can’t code. I don’t understand code at all but what I can do is that I can do marketing. What I can do is figure out a good branding for whatever product. I was like, “Okay, let’s work together and let’s just put this out as Watch Over Me and see how it does.” We got like 150,000 users then during a year in the market. Mid way through last year, we buckled down and say, “let’s double-down”. Clearly, a lot of people want this. Clearly, it’s solving some people’s problems. So let’s figure out a way to make this even bigger and even better. Then we raised funds.

Truth is there’s no cut and dry like “Oh my god. I’m going to build this product from scratch because of this incident.” It was more, “Let’s put this out there and see how it does,” and then, “Wow. Not bad, double down.” I feel every challenge we face, every hurdle, there’s always a question whether or not we want to double down on this.

Lorna: What do you mean by double down?

Xin Ci: “This is getting hard. Let’s move forward or give up.” I think every entrepreneur faces that at every step of the way. Entrepreneurship to me is just pushing forward every time you face that difficulty whatever.

Lorna: That’s a tricky one because I’ve also found, too, it’s a very precarious and delicate balance between knowing when to persevere and knowing when to fail quickly.

Xin Ci: It’s true. It is. But I feel like if you really believe in something, and if you’ve got the expertise or experience even, if you got the team for it, then you just keep pushing forward until you find the combination that works. Sometimes, that’s just really it. For us, Watch Over Me as its card iteration has been great. Earlier this year, I was in San Francisco attending a class when I realized that women only use our app periodically. When do they use it? When they don’t feel safe as I mentioned earlier. Then it made me wonder when don’t women feel safe.

Asking around, I realized when streets are a little bit dark. I heard my friend or someone’s got mugged here. I know someone who got mugged here. I read in the paper someone got mugged here. That’s not the accurate picture to say the place is secure. This year what we’re doing with Watch Over Me is that we’re also integrating crime data into the app so that Watch Over Me can tell you whether or not the street you’re on is safe or not. The entire journey is just little changes and little improvisations on the way. This year what we’re evolving into is removing away from just being an app but being a full-pledged safety service.

Lorna: I think that’s huge especially integrating the neighborhood data because I know from being in Rio de Janeiro that there were some blocks within my neighborhood where you simply could not be out after dark. It could be 6 PM but it was dark and you really needed to not be on that two block stretch of the street in that neighborhood where just around the corner it was fine. You don’t know that if you’re a tourist. You don’t know that if you’re a visitor or not from there or just moving into town. Sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re like, “Oh I’m in this part of town and I have to walk over to get to this other part of town.”

Xin Ci: Exactly. And sometimes, it’s not even about that. Sometimes, we aren’t too aware in every city because by the time the police say that, “Hey, this place is dangerous. Maybe 20 people got mugged already.” Can you stop it at the second or third person? These things usually happen in patterns, you know. So can we figure that out before it happens before 50 people get mugged? And the police say, “Dangerous. Stay away.” For us, that’s what we’re hoping to do.

At the same time, there are so many people who don’t report muggings or molestations. Why? Because they don’t want to go through the hassle of going through police station. If you’re in Asia, nobody really trusts the police anyway. What do people do? People post them on Twitter or Facebook. They say, “I got my bag snatched today or I was robbed today on the corner of 4th and 5th Street or something like that.

So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to compile official crime data and cross reference it with social crime data to hopefully be able to paint more accurate picture of whether a street is safe or not. To put it very simply, what we want to do is to basically add a safety rating to streets and cities. That’s about it.

Lorna: I love that approach. It reminds me of a crowd sourcing platform called Ushahidi, which is used for crisis mapping. So it’s really cool. It integrates with Google Maps and it allows users to upload data using Twitter or their mobile phones around a number of different topics so it’s been used to map political violence. I think it was in Nigeria or some other African country. It’s also used for crime as well. I think it’s fantastic this idea of crowd sourcing data, but then also being able to cross reference it with official sources. I think those two features would make the information really strong.

Xin Ci: Exactly. No one has really done it really well for crime yet and certainly not in the aspect of safety. People will get this data and then sell it back to the police but what about the average user? What about the average woman on the street? I would like to know if the street I’m living on are two streets down the way I walk to work everyday. I like to know if two women got mugged on this route. I really would. Rarely does it ever feed that back to the average user. So that’s what we really want to do.

Lorna: Fantastic. It sounds revolutionary. I think it’s much needed. Hey I just want to let you know that we’re also coming close to the end of the segment before we hop into the master class where you’re going to share with us the step by step nitty gritty of what it takes to build a disruptive social app that addresses a very important human problem. But before we hop into that, I’d like to wrap up with my last favorite questions. First is, in your entrepreneurial journey in the evolution of Watch Over Me app, for example, was there anything you would do differently if you have the chance?

Xin Ci: That’s a good question. I don’t like to think about, “Oh you know, I wish I could change that” but if I could change something, I think it would be iterating really quickly. It took me six to eight months to realize that, “We need to do more than just as a safety app.” I wish I came to that realization a lot quicker and how I would come to that realization a lot quicker is basically immersing myself and a lot more learning. I sometimes take for granted how much learning I need to do as an entrepreneur because you’re tasked with basically just learning everything.

Previously, I was a specialist. I specialize in user experience, marketing, and social marketing strategy. Suddenly, I had to learn legal. I had to learn finance. I had to learn just about everything. I was getting so overwhelmed that I just said, “I’m just going to do and not bother to read up on anything, not bother learn, not bother to integrate myself to learning.” But how the whole safety reading idea came out was when I sent myself in a class in San Francisco. It was a one-day course on building a behavioral design, how you build a habit forming product.

During that class, I basically asked myself enough questions that come up with the realizations I have today and that’s how the direction of Watch Over Me has changed. If I put myself in the position and the openness to learn more, faster and a lot earlier, I think by now, we would be so much more ahead of the game. But hey, you know, hindsight’s 20/20, right?

Lorna: It is all a learning journey especially if you’re an entrepreneur. There’s certainly no end to things that you can learn. I think it’s really good that you do prioritize this because that’s the thing. The only way that we can really as entrepreneurs move our businesses forward is to be willing to learn new things and try new things. Otherwise, we would be doing the same things. If what we’re doing is not moving us forward… then we’re not changing.

Xin Ci: The thing is doing is just as important. Sometimes, you forget that you need to regroup. What the hell is going on? What should I be focusing on? I think that’s why I needed maybe four months before that, but hey.

Lorna: Hey. It’s all part of the learning process, isn’t it? So let me ask you this. What do you think is the most effective way to change the world?

Xin Ci: I think the most effective way to change the world is if we all did what we’re good at or what we love to do. It’s just as simple as that. I think too many people in the world are doing things they hate. They hate going to work. They live for the next vacation. That’s just sad because if all of us tap into what we really love to do, then I think you can change the world. Nobody wants to change the world when they’re doing something they hate. So just do something you love and everything else personally will fall into place.

Lorna: I completely agree. I love that. Thank you so much, Xin Ci. Tell us how we can best stay in touch with you.

Xin Ci: I am available on Twitter @xinch and on Facebook, but my Facebook is a mess right now so let’s just stick to Twitter.

Lorna: Okay, great. Thank you so much and where can we download the Watch Over Me app?

Xin Ci: We’re available on Google PlayStore and the Apple AppStore. So just search Watch Over Me and you’ll be able to find it.

Lorna: Fantastic. Thank you so much and you have a beautiful day.

Xin Ci: Thank you for having me.


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Lorna Li

Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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