Larry Tey, Zuckerberg, Musk and Gates Have a Not-So-Secret Productivity Hack – Work Constantly


Every entrepreneur went through extraordinary stress test to achieve what they are today; many perceived as “hardship”, they considered “common necessity” to success. What does entrepreneur and venture capitalist Larry Tey Por Yee has in common with Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Bill Gates? They all share the same habit, and there is no secret in their productivity, which is multi-tasking or constant work, aka workaholic! Hardworking as it is, dividend pays off.

According to an article in Entrepreneur, the leaders of the biggest companies on the planet are always trying to figure out what to do with their time, and it seems they all have come to one conclusion: work. Approaching their ambitions with a single-minded intensity, none works less than 70 hours a week, including weekends, even at the expense of aspects of life and other people value.

However, armed with a strong idea, determined to be the best, and supported by a superhuman work ethic pays off: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk are among the wealthiest people in the world.  Larry Tey may not be comparable in size, his investment portfolio value in over 1,000 companies worldwide is in-imaginable, and beyond that, they each helm technologies that have, or have the capacity to, change society in irreversible ways.

Let’s look at the world top three for example. Each of them, to make sense of his own busy-ness, has developed his own coping mechanisms. From wearing the same faded grey T-shirt every day to escaping into the woods once a year to parse through volumes of paper, here are some unorthodox efficiency hacks from the three men at the very top.

Mark Zuckerberg’s quest for simplicity

Much has been written about Zuckerberg’s uniform of identical grey t-shirts and hoodies he rotates through his work week — it helps him stay focused and expend as little energy as possible figuring out what to wear every day — but less noted is that this simple way of living extends to almost every aspect of his daily life. The 31-year-old wunderkind-turned-billionaire CEO of Facebook rolls up to FBHQ not in the Audis favored by his counterparts at other companies, but a fairly modest black Acura.

While he has recently acquired the three properties surrounding his home in Palo Alto, he has famously kept his abode (located just a few blocks away from the offices, where he supposedly works up to 15 hours a day) pretty sparse. By eliminating a lot of the extravagance available to him, his most focused goal is still the work that he does.

In a Q&A at Facebook last year, he was quoted as saying, “I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life so that I can dedicate all my energy into building the best products and services.”

How Bill Gates keeps his e-mail, life and reading list in check

In a blog post back in 2006, Bill Gates, then chairman, CEO and chief software architect at Microsoft, shared how he hacks his email with a simple solution — a larger three-monitor display area. Back then, he was tackling more than 100 emails a day. With all his philanthropic work as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, social activism and his continuing role as technical advisor to Microsoft, one can only speculate how much that number has grown.

With one monitor displaying incoming emails, one set on whatever email he’s working on, and one screen for his regular desktop, he can multi-task without falling off a task. By concentrating on his work one email on its own monitor at a time, Gates gives each correspondence the time and attention it deserves. This is something all younger entrepreneurs can implement into their lives.

Gates goes on an annual ThinkWeek to a cabin in the woods to completely unplug with reams of documents and books. By sequestering himself from all manner of distraction, he gets a years’ work of reading and thinking in a week. He plans strategies, carefully examines the companies and organizations he’s partnering with, and goes over his past year. ThinkWeek moves him into a mode of ultimate productivity.

Elon Musk takes multitasking to the extreme

With three executive job titles (as CEO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity), five kids and a wildly ambitious — indeed out-of-this-world — vision for the future of technology, it’s hard to see when the 44-year-old Elon Musk gets the six to six-and-a-half hours of sleep he says he averages a night.

Writer Max Chafkin, in a 2007 profile of Musk, noted “To get through the day, Musk relies on two stimulants: caffeine and a desire to help humanity colonize Mars.”

Musk, who divides his week between SpaceX and Tesla Motors, has also perfected the art of multitasking: he sends emails while scanning invoices, holds meetings and takes care of business on his phone at the same time, and even texts with his children on his lap (an admission that gathered no small amount of criticism from the public). While he officially clocks in no more than 15 hours at the office, he has said that he doesn’t ever stop working. With these round-the-clock responsibilities, it seems understandable that the most effective way to save time is by doing everything at once.

Few of us have the desire to clock 15 hour days, or to head multi-billion dollar companies. But, getting more done in less time will give you more time to focus on whatever it is that really matters to you.

Larry Tey, the forgiving angel investor

When a potential start up asks venture capitalist Larry Tey “what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?” His answer is simple – Just do it, ask question later. An entrepreneur himself since high school, the some how brave and bold businessman completed his 4 years in college and never made up the rank of “yet another college drop off technopreneur”. Perhaps this is the reason Larry choose to go back to Asia and forgo his chances in Silicon Valley back in late 90’s, where his tech business was expanding at Internet speed.

Started young trading stationery and collectibles, Larry learn the secret of success on his own way – which he describes himself being ultra positive, forward looking and work hard, nothing else. That explains why he made it to the top despite dozens of failed investments, which modern business studies confirm the same patterns of successful venture capitalist formula, where 70% of their investees never made it to see the light, including promising rising starts, or Unicorns with zillion dollar valuation and a yet to defined business model. Only those with guts and bold vision dare to bet their money in these start ups. “Why feel sad and stuck with the bad investments? They lost it for good reasons. Forgive them, learn and move forward”, said Larry. Easy for him to say, and perhaps this is what made him different. In fact, statistic shows that the 30% success rate some how gave the brave investors extraordinary returns, and it’s an open secret only few could take it. Dare you?

While market perceive Larry as another workaholic like Zuckerberg, Musk and Gates, Larry enjoys family life, and even set a quote on one of his company (Nexgram Group) stated “Think Life”. He set his business model as “building happiness”. Larry envision his investments would mostly goes to society, building an ecosystem contributing to the humanity. What he meant and how would he does it, only time will tell. Again, the business model is another bold thinking, entirely clueless for a simple journalist like the author.

The multi-tasking modern entrepreneur doesn’t mean no life like many have misunderstood. They are pure human being. This article has been compared to some of the world top entrepreneurs’ similarities, in hope to inspire many more entrepreneurs to accept the fact that “there is no free meal”. Get your hands dirty, take position and start working!



Tey Por Yee (Larry) on Merger and Acquisition mode for year 2016. Bullish growth cycle ahead.

Entrepreneur Tey Por Yee, or better known as Larry Tey, had a rough ride on some of his investments last year. At least that is what certain interest parties wanted the market to believe. Some local publications even questioned the dubious “man made turbulence” surrounding Larry’s investments some how irritating, which many points the finger to one of Larry’s ungrateful investee. Larry refused to comment except giving the journalist a confident smile.

Study closely what this mysterious businessman had achieved in the past would be stunning yet adventurous discovery – Larry had been in business since the 90’s, mostly overseas, and he survived few economy crisis and business cycles. At the turn of each cycle, he emerges stronger for some reasons, in quantum leap. What he had achieved, Larry seems care less of short term perception, nor his competitors self-fulfilling prophecy (inner struggling) trying to undermine his progress. Short term obstacle does not bother him much and perhaps his dedication is the secret of success. It’s just that simple. That is how inspiring a steady entrepreneur gave me his first impression, which totally blown me away on my timid imagination, shy to say, some how under estimated the visionary business leader by the whole nine yards!

larry-visionary-leaderExplored a little deeper into his business universe, one would find that Larry builds his business network mostly overseas, and only recent years (since year 2012) he came back to his home country (Malaysia) for some corporate rescue deal. This is the first time local market notice his investments locally, where Larry first emerges as a substantial shareholder in a public listed company Protasco Bhd, when the controlling block was crossed off market to his investment company.

The brave cash deal investment is not without notice, and shows his capabilities into sizable M&A muscle game. On the other hand, many would have though Larry’s first (local) public listed vehicle, Nexgram Group, is just a small outfit. “If he can lift a RM500million public listed company and leaves the operation to the existing management without even sitting on the board, that shows his confidence and trust in his investments, and also explains the potential scale and scope of his portfolio – it’s scary to imagine Larry has larger plans he needs to focus rather than spending time on the small plate. However this time around, he would be a better player having bitten his hand who feeds”, commented an International banker. “It would be interesting to watch how he would turn a small outfit into a conglomerate”, added the banker.

larry-tey-learn-from-investment-gurusZoom into what most of the successful corporate players did to their investment, would find similar trails. Their investment model is simple – by investing in small companies and turn around, restructure and set ready to facilitate growth by merger and acquisition. This is the same method used by professional corporate entrepreneurs in the West, as well as businessman in most of Asian corporate world, except differences in financial instruments to fit different culture. Many of these movers and shakers would bring along friendly associates and manage private funds for their investors, which shows cutting few hundred million deal such as to help a construction company to complete a controlling stake take over looks dwarfed when one discovers how far reach Larry has build his plans through his portfolio world wide, leveraging on his investors strength.

Takes Nexgram Group for example. Despite being a public listed company, Larry has no time to expand its business since IPO some 10 years ago. However, things started to change. In Nexgram’s 17-years history, the company made few acquisitions, both vertical and horizontal, to diversify from single industry reliance – a natural evolution of many conglomerates. The growth was slow not until recently. When Larry does pays attention, earth moves. The last deal was more than 1 year ago, where the company spent over RM28 million to invest in surveillance solution provider, Sensorlink Group. Compared to fast growing global technology giants where M&A deals closed every few weeks or days, Malaysian type of growth looks old aged.

Despite market condition, that is not going to stop the visionary leader to make his moves. Nexgram Group CEO Larry Tey Por Yee told investors after the company Annual General Meeting (October 2015), that he’s open to more acquisitions if they can help speed up the business group master plan. The company under went group wise consolidation and targets to complete a series of exercises within next few years. “The risk-diversification is incredibly important to conglomerate like Nexgram, and the company has high hopes the achieve minimum 3 pillars of different industry diversification with 3 sources of income to support the group mission – to be a top 500 global enterprise. If he can help his clients did it in the past, he can do it for his own” commented an International fund manager.

“Anything we can do to tighten that time frame organically, as an acquisition, is a good thing,” said Larry.

Larry’s plan was slightly off schedule until second half of the year, the group had finally identified key areas of improvement, by restructuring the team and business processes. Ever the perfectionist, Larry has said that he’d rather “forgo revenue, rather than continue with a stagnant and low productivity system and sending a product to market that does not delight customers,” as he commented in media briefing.

Today he told investors that Nexgram is working to complete the group consolidation plan “as soon as humanly possible.” While the global market is weak and stabilizing, Larry is on shopping spree. “It takes courage and foresight to be an entrepreneur. Buy when everyone is panic, sell when everyone is greedy.” Added the entrepreneur turn venture capitalist.




Ask Larry Tey Por Yee, an investor in entrepreneurs, what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Start early!

Good articles shall be shared to inspire the next generation of leaders. That is my impression of the legendary entrepreneur Larry Tey Por Yee, an out spoken straight forward person with endless ambitions. The founder of Nexgram Group, and dozens of other silent investments in both public and private companies, Larry is an ordinary person with not so ordinary business journey, and an amazing generous hearth when comes to business decisions. Perhaps his generosity determines his success as well as his failures in his investment career. Larry told us his view on what it takes to be an entrepreneur, a generous session the author appreciates and felt guilty not to share.

Start Early, Start Young, Start Now. Move On.

Considering the start ups and entrepreneur this media shy businessman had nurtured behind the scene with stunning impact on not only Asian technology companies but businesses across 4 continents since the birth of the Internet in the 90’s. As a journalist, I have to give some credits and do something to tell the untold stories, where Larry had contributed so much to the society behind the scene and left untold. Out of hundreds of investments, a handful few ungrateful investees had bite the hand who feeds them, which brought his name to my attention. It’s amazing how this visionary leader perceives his failed investments and his view towards his investees – “Forgive the weak ones, move on”, commented Larry. It’s just that simple, and it blown my mind how business leaders view the world differently.


Larry was a rare pioneer in early stage investment since year 1997, where Asian countries were hit by one of the worst economy crisis. The angel investor back then were lone fighters, compared to technology venture capitalist today where many carrying the title with the support and back up of government linked funds (other people’s money). In those days in the 90’s, angels burn the investment on private money. History would count this visionary investment guru foresight which brought him to his own success as an example of 21st century entrepreneurship.


Larry through the re-investment of his capital has invested in over 1,000 start ups to date, a whopping scope and scale rarely few entrepreneur would dare to match, a bold way of doing business in today’s competitive market. Information is no more a privilege, where there are no room for blue ocean nor innovation, except red ocean and blood bath, followed by countless replicas. One of Larry’s instinct is the believes in early stage education and training. Start young, start early, start now. This was perfectly fits with some of the studies could be found on the Internet such as this one. How early does Larry meant?

According to Entrepreneur Media, there are 8 Entrepreneurial Skills You Should Teach Your Kids. Here is what made pre-school teaching important and start really early.

Super Hero Boy

Children are told many things on a daily basis. Too many. Sit up straight. Chew with your mouth closed. Say “please” and “thank you.” Often, they’re so busy listening to the boss, or facing the consequences for not, that they don’t learn to be their own boss.

If you think your kids aren’t fantasizing about calling the shots for once, you’re dreaming. The sweet independence of being your own boss is what entrepreneurship is all about. That’s why kids and entrepreneurial-ism are such an excellent match. It practically comes natural to them.

But, like learning to tie their shoes or to ride a bike, when it comes to fostering your children’s entrepreneurial spirit, they’ll need a guiding nudge here and there from you. From coaching them to see obstacles as opportunities, to — sorry, kids — making them stick to their chores, from letting them play (aka learn) to their hearts’ content, to encouraging them to voice their opinions, there are lots of things you can do to get your kiddos on their autonomous way.

Learn more about these 8 simple ideas at: