Inspiring interview with Will Lau from Bucky Box

I probably met Will Lau at one of the many Wellington startup weekend or entrepreneurship networking events. In early 2014 I got to know Will properly when I moved into his beautiful house in Mount Victoria, Wellington. It was an incredible place with an inspiring group of entrepreneurs who worked hard but frequently ended the day with an amazing meal around a table with wine and great conversation. To me Will has always been a chilled zen master and one of the earliest stories he told me was about his '7 years in Tibet' (I think it is figurative as well as partially literal time of his life!). We have always connected through our desire to travel, to be nomadic and live different versions of different lives. I have a huge amount of respect for his passion for helping create a better world through the power of technology and entrepreneurship.

- Logan Elliott, Lifetime Creative

1) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm a geek and a digital nomad, down to my soul. I started out as a design engineer, designing medical equipment for Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, plastics, fluid mechanics, building prototypes and stuff in the workshop and getting new products out into production. I left that life after 5 years in the industry to don a backpack to travel the world, and that's where I really thrived. Coming back, all inspired and shit, I learned the ropes of business by offering website and UX design services for a new wave of mobile software startups that could see the future before anyone else could. The iPhone was still 7 years away - this was the tail end of dot com 1.0.


But I never really came back, since my clients were states-side, I just donned my backpack and continued travelling, plugging into dialup jacks where ever I could  (yes dialup days). While I was passing through Montreal to learn some French with a bad accent just before a planned French cycle tour, I started a mobile email company with an old University buddy who happened to be doing his overseas working holiday there at the time, and further along in UK I started another project which developed an app that let mobile device users customise their home screen.


Long story short, the email company made millions, the other project also did well, I took a long travelling sabbatical and came back into the startup world interested in how they could be used to solve some of the social and environmental issues in the world. That led to what I do now which is Bucky Box. We build an ordering system for local food producers. It's like a Shopify for small scale food operators. The mission is to democratise food. We are three years so far, Bucky continues to grow, needless to say it's a location independent venture.

2) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHY?
1. Emerging tech cos I'm a geek, right now that's Bitcoin.
2. Spirituality cos it's like a drug.
3. Travel and doing new things as that keeps me juiced.

 

3) WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST BARRIERS TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP?

Fear, and personal blocks on one's own abilities. We can do anything, well more than we can dream of, we just don't from artificial boundaries we put on ourselves or picked up from our peers along the way.

 

4) WHAT ARE THE MOST EXCITING THINGS ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS?

It's like fishing, you never know what you might get. That's exciting, it's the mystery. Business is a box of chocolates, to borrow from Forrest Gump.


5) WHAT DO YOU ASPIRE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?
On a rocket to colonise Mars, just kidding ;). No seriously.

 

6) PODCAST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?

Art of Charm podcast.

 

7) ONE TOOL?

I was gonna say something like Google just to be funny. But I'll recommend Altavista instead. No seriously - it's all about connections, contacts and community. That's what I learnt bootstrapping my businesses, back in the day it was things like Usenet, web forums, email lists - they gave me the contacts and invites into inner circles of the industry that really gave us the insights to starting our own startup, things nobody else could see at a glance, and the community that came out of it was pivotal our success. So today it might be forums, reddit, hacker news, twitter. If I was to pick one, it would be Google as you'll find the rest. Don't be like Bono who still hasn't found what he's looking for.

 

Will Lau
- Bucky Box: buckybox.com