A conversation about smart transportation and how to make decisions under stress: an interview with founder Andy Zheng

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“I do not make rushed decisions — especially when important decisions come up. In those situations, I will create a preliminary plan before speaking with my partners and say: “Hey, this is my plan. What do you think are the pro and cons? What is your idea?” Andy Zheng, Founder of Aspiring Citizens Cleantech

Most of us are familiar with the deadening exhaustion of waiting for a taxi — especially on a rainy day. Trotting forward in the queue one slow step at a time while a taxi slides up, one by one, picks up a passenger, and drives away. Half an hour later (sometimes longer), you finally get to the front of the queue, and slump gratefully into your seat.

To Andy Zheng, this experience is not just about personal angst; it reflects broader social and economic inefficiencies. To tackle urban congestion, he is launching an on-demand taxi-sharing app which gives passengers an easy way to share a taxi and split the fare.

The burst of epiphany — that treasured “a-ha” moment — emerged during his doctorate study at the University of California (Berkeley) where he cross-pollinated concepts from one system (electrical loads) to another system (commuting).

Before jumping straight into a solution, Andy recruited a team to collect data:

On-demand taxi-sharing is still a relatively new concept, and one of the challenges to being a “first mover” is getting the ‘green light’ from the government:

Time waits for no one! Entrepreneurs need to be flexible. Noticing the delay in getting regulatory approval, Andy has set his sights on other cities that might be more ready for the taxi-sharing solution.

Entrepreneurs battle myriads of challenges, and what makes an entrepreneur distinct is their attitude toward unexpected twists and turns. Andy has a very pragmatic view of the hurdles.

The trick to navigating rocky waters is staying focused.

Staying focused requires an unwavering sense of mission and, above all, a dogged sense of responsibility.

How does Andy feel about the risk and uncertainty?

The magnitude of risk can overwhelm anyone — but not an entrepreneur. Andy only operates from a sphere of inner zen and calm.

Most importantly, no matter how busy the startup and how urgent the tasks, Andy forges the will-power and self-discipline to take care of his physical and mental fortitude.

Why tai chi?

Thanks Andy for such a beautifully honest perspective of what it feels like to be an entrepreneur and to do something so incredibly difficult, which is getting an idea off the ground into reality. (http://aspiringcitizens.com)

Andy Zheng used to have a hotdesk at NUS Enterprise@Blk71. For more information about Blk71, you can visit www.blk71.com.

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NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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