IAM1656 – Serial Entrepreneur Brings Human Connection Back to Communication

Podcast interview with Ho Yin Cheung

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: One huge part of business and life is communication. It was great to hear about Ho Yin has developed his organization to build relationships and connections and lower the barrier of entry into that space. I loved that we talked about the power of time during the episode and how we are trying to scale our time and how impactful it has been for him. This was valuable for remote working too and how to create that connection.

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Ho Yin Cheung Teaser 00:00

There's a lot of trends and I think following those big trends is really important. And, it's easy to say that because when I was young, I was like, I don't know what a trend is, like there's so many trends going on, what's the right trend to go for? And I don't think I really got it until like much later in life.

Like what is a trend worth following? And what's a trend that's not really worth following? And I think learning how to spot that I think is really important.

Intro 00:26

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:51

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes we're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship.

This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community. Us, we, our, together, and we're gonna look at entrepreneurship and industries in different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community, networking, niche communities, and how that supports being a CEO entrepreneur and business owner.

So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today, I have Ho Yin Cheung of Remo. Ho Yin, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Ho Yin Cheung 01:36

Hey, thank you. Thank you so much.

Gresham Harkless 01:38

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Ho Yin so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

And Ho Yin is a serial entrepreneur with an eight-figure Amazon business, a mobile agency, and also a 1 million annual recurring revenue B2B SaaS company. Ho Yin has seven-plus years of experience building remote teams and has worked with Fortune 100 companies like Best Buy, TJ Max, SunGard, Cardinal Health, and Kaiser Permanente.

His new venture is Remo, the next-generation video workspace for Distributed Teams. Ho Yin, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Ho Yin Cheung 02:14

Yes, I am ready.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:15

Awesome, awesome. It was all those big figures that got me thrown off a little bit. But what I wanted to do is ask you for what I call your CEO story and hear a little bit more about what got you started with your businesses.

Ho Yin Cheung 02:24

Yes. Great. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. This is fantastic. Thank you so much.

I started off, working as like a management consultant in the United States. I worked with like a lot of large fortune hundred companies. I worked for large Corps, realized how slow they were, and then eventually had enough of that and then went back to Hong Kong and then started doing a variety of different ventures.

And so I did like Amazon fba, like probably more. Eight, or nine years ago when Amazon first started and then gradually started doing other things like a mobile agency and right now I'm running like a SaaS platform to grow Instagram accounts for small-medium businesses called Riotly social and that company was fully remote.

I gradually moved towards that model and as I move towards that model, I realized that I think remote work is the future of work. And so I started to create Remo, which is like Skype on steroids. Like a visual map, like a game, but you can move into different rooms and have a video conference immediately with anybody that's sitting in that room, of like a game a little bit.

So yeah, that's kind of how I got started.

Gresham Harkless 03:31

Interesting. Yeah. And I know we talked a little bit offline about how the future of business, the future of remote teams, how everybody is able to build an established business and doesn't necessarily need to be in the same room, at least I guess physically, but you can do it virtually, I guess, with what you're building.

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So I wanted to hear, I guess, a little bit more about Remo is and everything you're doing from that standpoint.

Ho Yin Cheung 03:49

Remo was really solved trying to solve like our own itch, which was- If you're a distributed team, you can think of like yourself. You know you're sitting at home and you don't have much communication with the outside world, except for maybe an occasional spike of a Zoom call or a Skype call.

But in general, your interaction with people is very limited. And we realize that oral long periods of time, that doesn't do very well for hyper-collaborative teams. Teams that require a lot of collaboration, like product development, and product design, something that we encountered. And it makes it very difficult for teams to be productive and also to have a really good corporate culture and build camaraderie.

And that was actually one of the main reasons why we built Remo, because we needed a common space for everybody. Feel like they're together in, that's number one. And then number two is we wanted to lower the bar to entry for video conferencing.

We didn't want this calling, we didn't want any of that concept, we wanted like if I can tap you on the shoulder, which like in the real world, if you're in the office, I tap you on the shoulder and say, Hey, I got a question for you. So we've been able to translate that tap-on-the-shoulder effect online and we're really excited because it allows teams to lessen the use of chat.

And more of the use of the like-human connection, like, human-to-human interaction. And that's what I really feel passionate about is how do I bring that human connection back into communication. And zoom and Skype is great, but we want to make that human connection beyond just meetings.

Gresham Harkless 05:15

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And there is definitely an opportunity, and it sounds like you guys are fulfilling that gap where, you know, you have the virtual, the love, and the ability to be able to work from home, but at the same time, you have that community feel.

Ho Yin Cheung 05:27


Gresham Harkless 05:28

At the touch of a button that kinda sounds like.

Ho Yin Cheung 05:29

Yeah, you're right. So it's like, we wanna take advantage of the good of both worlds. That's exactly what you said. The freedom of working at home, but also the ease of socializing with the people.

Gresham Harkless 05:40

Yeah, absolutely. You have to be able to adapt to that or have platforms like the one you've created to make it a lot easier to adapt to that. So I love that you're building that, and you might have already touched on this.

What would you say is your personal or your secret sauce for your organization?

Ho Yin Cheung 05:53

So I think my secret sauce for my organization is that we leverage people in a way that allows us to scale ourselves.

I think at a startup or any organization, the resource that I tell everybody who works with me- it's not necessarily money that's like the resource that you don't have, it's actually people's time. Everybody's time. Like it's how do I scale you as an individual more?

And what we found at, one of the best ways that I found is, so I started off for like my fully remote company. I mean, I should start with this story with virtual assistance. And it sounds like it's, someone who you know, helps you out and everything. It's more than that. It's asking them to do things to help you out in order to scale you yourself in ways that you don't have to work on it.

And I don't wanna say like you're trying to be a manager or not. No, you still have to create the process. You still have to design it and do it yourself first. You can't tell a virtual assistant- create the process, like go figure it out. That may or may not work.

Well, depending on the virtual assistant you have, but you still need to do it yourself and then figure out what are the means of success and then train and teach them how to do it. But that allows you to do so many things with the virtual assistant and that has allowed me to scale my lead generation.

That's allowed me to scale my marketing and to scale the way I do my sales. I have a sales team now. They started off as a virtual assistant and then they eventually became really amazing salespeople. That's how cool it is, is that you're always surprised by how people have much more potential than you initially think.

And I think that's the most amazing thing. And also combine that with cost arbitrage. You know, getting a virtual assistant from countries where they may not be able to get jobs that easily. So most of the virtual assistants are in the Philippines and they're in the southern part of the Philippines in Davao where it's not easy to get jobs there.

And this allows them to have a global platform to work with many people around the world and you're giving jobs to other people that may not have had that opportunity. Mothers have to bring home the bacon, but they've got three kids. I work with someone who has three kids and you know, she needs to work somehow and take care of the kids. That's an amazing opportunity to allow people to do that.

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Gresham Harkless 08:22

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Ho Yin Cheung 08:31

I think. For me, my CEO hack is the ability to think in a really lean way. A lot of people talk about lean startups and all that kind of stuff. I think how can you do something leaner? I constantly ask myself and my team that, and I'm always trying to think what's the most lean way I can start a relationship with a new person.

And some people are like, oh, I'll hire that person for a month after your interview. Or after I look at the resume interview for a few hours and then, hey, you know, I got a pretty good idea and then I go hire them. For me I'm like, okay. Well, I think interviews are a pretty hard, a pretty poor predictor of performance. Resumes just mean you're good at writing resumes.

So what I've found is that we do tests. Actually having them do the job they're supposed to do and also having like a one-week or a two-week paid test. So that's like a really lean way to test someone to see if they're a really good fit or not. And it time boxes it in such a way that nobody's committed. Right, and I always say this, whether it's to a business partner, whether it's to a new vendor that I'm working with that says, Hey, we need like two months upfront, like two months contract and I would say, Hey, you know, I'm a traditional kind of guy, you know, I like to date someone first before then get married, right? Wouldn't you? You asked the same question like, wouldn't you?

I say that to every single person and nobody would say, yeah, you know what, let's get hitch, let's go to Vegas and get hitched. Nobody says that. And I'm like, you know what? I guess I'm a Jewish kind of guy and that's how I treat the business as. And that helps you say, Hey, let's just do a one-week trial.

I was talking to a vendor and I said, Hey, let's just do a two-week trial and I gave him the reason, like, that's my legitimate concern. I just don't wanna spend one month's worth of or two months worth of whatever of cost and then just have no idea what's gonna happen. You know, I just don't know how can we work it out?

A lot of vendors will come back and say, okay, you know what? Let's see what we can do. So I think that's like a great hack that allows you to minimize your risk, that's the key thing. How do you minimize your risk so that you don't make decisions or investments in areas that you know might not be good.

Gresham Harkless 10:39

Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes, you don't really know that until you're starting to do it, and then you can start to make decisions based on that. But if you start lean, it allows you to be able to make pivots or decisions based on that. So I think that's a phenomenal CEO hack.

And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Ho Yin Cheung 10:58

Okay, so here's my nugget. My nugget is like,

There's a lot of trends and I think following those big trends is really important. And, it's easy to say that because when I was young, I was like, I don't know what a trend is, like there's so many trends going on, what's the right trend to go for? And I don't think I really got it until like much later in life.

Like what is a trend worth following? And what's a trend that's not really worth following? And I think learning how to spot that I think is really important. So, for example, like there are some key large trends that are happening right now.

I mean, everybody's talking about, for example like 3D printing, machine learning or maybe crypto, blockchain, cryptocurrency or whatever. Like that's from a technology side. But you also have to look at trends from like an overall, for example, like AR and VR, like we all know everybody's gonna go onto AR and VR eventually.

Everybody thinks that we're gonna do blockchain maybe eventually. So you just gotta pick one of those trends early and be able to get into it so that when that trend like takes off, then you're at the right place. You have to have that vision of the future or solve a problem. That's a future problem, not a current problem.

You can solve a current problem. That's cool. Nothing wrong with. As a start, I solved the current problem in my first few companies, but then I realized that the real big opportunities are future problems. And yeah, that is where the risk is, frankly, because you're trying to make a bet on something that may or may not pan out.

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But if you're able to get on something early, I think that's really important. I know I'm trying to stretch out this answer a bit longer, but I'll tell you why I got to that nugget. There was an interview with Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO. And he basically said the number of people that are using the internet every year has been increasing by X percent.

So he started Amazon way, way before 2001, like before the bus, and he saw that trend. So you can see, you can look at the numbers and the trend of internet usage going crazy up, or mobile phones going crazy up. Then you know that you're gonna be part of some form of trend.

Before it was mobile. Now mobile is peaking a little bit. So he saw that and he said, people are gonna buy stuff online some way or another, and the best way to buy stuff online that you can't get anywhere else is if I had one place that could have. Not just hundreds or 200, or maybe a thousand books, but millions of books.

That was just like when he said that, I was like, wow. Like it makes total sense that he starts off with books. And so you've gotta be able to spot those trends and then just make, a committed, eight to 10 year, or five or six, whatever many years you wanna commit to into that area and just be a real legit leader, incredible authority in that market.

Gresham Harkless 13:40

And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote, CEOs on this show. So I wanted to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ho Yin Cheung 13:49

I think what it means to be a CEO for me personally is the older that I get and the more experience that I get, the more that I realize that it depends on how young, and what stage the company is at, I think.

If you're growing the company very quickly from a young, small company to before it gets really large, I think vision's really important. Like that vision to imagine what that future should look like and what this company, what your company's gonna be accomplishing. So I think vision is a literally big part of it.

And once it hits the track, like once it becomes large enough, then it becomes a bit different. Like then it's like an operational CEO, not a visionary CEO, or the visionary CEO, who continues the vision by constantly tweaking the vision and going for that next mountain and keeps on going for the next mountain, goes on the next mountain.

And there are some people that can do that. You gotta, cause you can't do everything yourself. Like I can't keep on doing the spreads myself. I gotta find work with people who do it really well and better than me. And the only way to do that is to have that vision, have that leadership. And that's when I found that's how you scale yourself, beyond yourself.

And I think I never got that before. People talk about leadership, visionary, all that kinda stuff. I was like, I don't get it. But now that I'm here at my point in my company, I realize how important it is.

Gresham Harkless 15:05

And I wanted to pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and how best they can get a hold of you.

Ho Yin Cheung 15:12

I think for sure. So we just launched Remo, so you can go to And so definitely check it out and feel free to contact me. Contact me on LinkedIn.

Gresham Harkless 15:22

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I appreciate you Ho Yin, and what we'll do is we'll have those links in the show notes as well too so that anybody can follow up with you. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Ho Yin Cheung 15:30

Thank you, man. Really appreciate it. This was an awesome podcast. Thank you so much.

Outro 15:34

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO Podcast, powered by Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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