The “nanny” behind RutoSocial, Netccentric & Bossming

posted on October 9, 2019

The cat is out of the bag, and this article was published on Marketing Interactive today.

Ever since I left Netccentric as CEO, people have been wondering what I have been up to. And what my next step would be.

The  launch of my new social media agency, RutoSocial, is one part of that next step.

The article by marketing interactive is beautifully written, kudos to Farzanah who reached out to us. It captures the essence of what we are trying to do at Ruto. Basically, “to raise the bar and quality of social media engagements by brands.”

Regrettably though, (and of no fault to any party), it does lack emphasis on one important detail;

There’s a popular saying, that “Behind every successful man, there is a successful woman.” (I’m not talking about Wendy this article, although I <3 her too, she already has her photo next to mine haha).

As much of an outward MCP, i may sometimes come across as, I have learnt this saying to be true in more ways than one, and 100 percent buy into its veracity.

At Netccentric/Nuffnang, and in my professional capacity, that woman or nanny behind my success, was Huiwen, or “nanny wen” as some of her friends called her.

Back in 2006, when Nuffnang Singapore was merely a pipedream, and I was working out of a rat infested pre war shophouse (back when I still had a jawline too) …

Wen, was there alongside me.

Netccentric grew from the couple of us to 200 people regionally. Staff came and went … but right to the end, and even after … she was always at my right hand. All 12 years. Thats a lifetime for  millenials like her!

Truth be told, like alot of these “women behind the men” stories … whilst I was dreaming up big and crazy ideas to take us forward at Netccentric … wen was the quiet one, getting the work done, and making sure something came out of those big crazy dreams.

When I broke the news to my Netccentric regional team members that I was going to be ousted from the company I had co-founded, and I worried openly about what would happen to my team … I will never forget how she cried, and asked how could I worry about them, and not for myself?

Fast forward a little bit … I took a break, a sabbatical of sorts in 2017  …

And as I was chilling and pondering the next steps, I decided I still loved social media and wanted to stay in the space.

I just did not want to approach it in the same way. That would not add any value.

As time went by, it became increasingly clear to me too, that even though more brands than ever were hopping onto the social media marketing bandwagon, and influencer marketing had gone mainstream, the quality of “noise” in the space was simply that. Noise.

I spoke to Wen about it at length.

After heading Netccentric for a period as interim CEO, she had moved on to a full serviced Social Media Agency, and had further honed her tradecraft there.

She felt strongly too about what I had said, and soon after, we roped in Wendy, to complete the trio, thus bringing RutoSocial to life.

RUTO means “root” in Japanese. At the start of it all, in 2006, back when brands were afraid of engaging bloggers, the three of us (Myself, Wen and Wendy) were together. Together, we convinced the local, then regional marketers that they had to move into the space, and if they were going to do so, they should do so meaningfully with a clear message and purpose. Somewhere along the line, we lost that authenticity … as the operation at Netccentric grew bigger, our original values were somewhat compromised …

Ruto is going back to the root of it all.

As much as it is a team effort, Ruto is Huiwen’s stepping out party. How it will be shaped, will ultimately come down to her. It will take the form she desires, and develop the way she wants it to be developed. I will be there every step of the way, as she has been every step of mine.