The Importance of Innovation

Innovate or die. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase. It’s advice I agree wholeheartedly with. Why is it so important though?

The market now is constantly evolving. Not only do businesses need to survive and thrive with advanced technology, they need to ensure they are always ahead of the pack.

An example of a good innovator is Steve Jobs. He did not invent the computer or the mobile phone but he definitely revolutionised technology. It’s almost like being a chef. You mix and match raw ingredients and invent a brand new dish. That’s my mantra in business. I don’t think it’s necessary to create something new, but rather reinvent something that is unique and fresh.

When we founded QNET, there were similar companies around. However we took on the very powerful concept of Network Marketing and adapted it. QNET’s offering initially was just a few simple products. We increased and refined our product range every year, adding one or two products each time. Every six years, we conduct a thorough market analysis and trend forecast to ensure QNET remains ahead of the curve. Before we take one product off the market, we produce new and innovative products as new offerings. In terms of marketing, our team is proactively seeking ways to engage with our customers.

An example of that is V-Con. Would you believe that our first V-Con had only 98 participants? Compare that with V-Indonesia this year which attracted 10,000 of our distributors. Throughout the years, V-Con has gone through many changes. It has grown to become an all-encompassing entertainment extravaganza with an adjoining product exhibition area and musical performances. In 2010, we decided to leverage on social media and technology, and bring the V-Con action to all our customers who couldn’t attend. Anyone from the furthest ends of the world can keep abreast with the goings-on at V-Con as long as they have access to the Internet through the QNET blog and social media sites. I see this development as part of innovating.

No one knows what the future holds but we keep looking for things that would excite our customers. Most times, it’s based on a gut feel. There are no experts in business, in this day and age. There are products that did not do as well as expected. On the other end of the spectrum, there have also been products that I didn’t like, that ended up being really successful. Hence, I’ve learned the key is to have an open mind. It’s all about trial and error.

Isn’t that the way most things in life are?

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group

The Mark of a Leader

What makes a good leader? Are leaders born or made?

I get asked these questions often.

My reply is, “Everyone has the potential to be a leader.”

There are many opportunities to lead. It’s all about taking responsibility.

These opportunities are not only found at work, but also at home. As a spouse, we lead our significant other. As parents, we lead our children. If you’re a stay-at-home mother, your children look to you for guidance. You would also be responsible for leading your domestic helper.

The question really to ponder is, “Are you taking on the responsibility to lead?”

To be a good leader, there are two things you need to know and understand.

1.      Know your end destination

The first rule of leadership is to know where you’re heading, and ensure that is the right path. The right path would be the path of goodness, morality, kindness and compassion. A good leader would not lead people to danger.

2.     Walk the talk

Secondly, good leaders practise what they preach. For example, we would advise our children not to pick up smoking because we know it’s harmful. For them to take us seriously, we shouldn’t be smokers ourselves.

True leaders don’t contradict themselves. People choose to follow a leader if they trust and believe in that person’s mission.

A modern example of a common leader is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. He has always espoused the importance of hard work and passion in achieving success. Gates is one of the richest men in the world but has donated a significant amount of his wealth to charitable causes. Who can forget his pledge to donate all of his fortune to charity? His passion in contributing positively to the world led him to start the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world’s largest private foundation.

“If you want to become a leader that people admire and respect, you must become a person of significance. People don’t follow you because you take from them; they follow you because you give to them,” he says.

His passion in giving back to society compels people to respect his leadership.

Let’s ask ourselves if we are that kind of leader. Would we want to follow our own leadership? If the honest answer is no, let’s change that. If we do not have faith in ourselves as leaders, others would find it hard to have faith in us.

Leadership is about doing what needs to be done. Responsibility comes when you truly care about something. That sense of ownership and responsibility is the mark of a true leader.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group



“Let the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

This phrase is one that I heard often during my childhood.

Criticism is part and parcel of life. There will always be dogs barking at us but we shouldn’t let them affect us. Like the caravan, we should move on, instead of trying to stop them. Continue reading

Simplicity in Change

Things were simpler in the past. Global warming wasn’t as pressing an issue as now, the air wasn’t as polluted and life wasn’t as hectic.

It’s no doubt that creature comforts like modern technology and cars have made life more comfortable. It’s very easy now to keep in touch with loved ones, or drive anywhere you fancy.

However, to every positive, there has to be a negative. Modernisation and industrialisation has brought about adverse change to the environment. The more modern the world becomes, the more polluted it also becomes. Continue reading


It’s often said that self-esteem is the key to happiness and success. In fact, so much has been said about the importance of building self-worth. However, how does one do that?

Why do people have low self-esteem? It stems from a lack of self-awareness – not knowing who they really are. Continue reading

Journey to Happiness Starts from Understanding the Truth

This world is temporary – a place of misery.

There seems to be tragedy everywhere we look. Sometimes, it hits close to home when a loved one gets ill and eventually passes away. On a larger scale, war, pestilence, drought, famine or a disaster of some kind can also cause suffering. Sadly, tragedies come despite us not wanting them. But this is the very nature of this world.

As spirit-souls, we are perfect by nature, so it’s natural for us to seek perfection. However, the material world is full of imperfections and these imperfections are very frustrating for the perfect soul. It’s in this conflict that we remain always unhappy. Trying to find happiness in the temporary world is a futile attempt for the soul who thinks that he is the material body.

There is a greater need for us to understand our true identities as spirit soul and not the material body. This understanding will free us from the anxieties and miseries that our bodies are subjected to. Birth, disease, old age and death are all stages of suffering that the soul goes through while inside a temporary body. The body is bound to get sick and old. The mind, the subtle body of the soul, is also not free from anxieties.

Miseries can also be caused by other living entities. For example, a sting from a tiny insect such as the mosquito can cause illness. Then, like I mentioned earlier, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on our lives. We just have to look at the recent typhoon in the Philippines that has taken so many lives and destroyed homes.

Is there a way to prevent such miseries? Sadly, there isn’t. Misery is part and parcel of this material world. Living in an imperfect world, we can’t expect to have perfect lives.

There is one thing we can control though, and that is the way we deal with these miseries – by first acknowledging the reality of the situation, that you cannot change the nature of this world.

Take prison as an analogy. Prisons are depressing places, and they are that way to rehabilitate criminals. After all, you should not expect 5-star lodgings in a prison as they are meant for those who have broken the law. I’m sure no one dreams of being imprisoned but if you’ve done wrong and have been jailed, what would you rather do? Sit in your cell and complain all day, or focus your energy on getting out of there?

I don’t know about you but I would choose the latter.

It is the same in life. It’s important that we take a good look at the nature of this world; it is like a prison house, not really our home. The soul’s real home is in the spiritual world, a place where there is no birth, disease, old age and death. A perfect place that is full of bliss, knowledge and eternity. Life inside these material bodies may be full of miseries, but the understanding of the truth about our real identity is what will set us free.

If we understand that simple truth about the soul, then this is the beginning of a journey towards real happiness.

Give the Gift of Love this Christmas

Christmas, traditionally, has been a religious and cultural holiday where we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

With the modernisation of society, more of us are also beginning to recognise it as a social holiday. The many gatherings between friends and family that take place around this time of year, coupled with the festive atmosphere, make it a perfect period to appreciate your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you.

That has always been the essence of Christmas, to me. Of course, like any other person, I enjoy giving presents and partake in the revelry of the season. However, I also think it’s important that we remember the real meaning of Christmas.

When Jesus was born, he was laid in a manger and had no proper material amenities. He led a simple life, in which his main purpose was to love God.

Therefore, to truly commemorate Jesus during Christmas, our ultimate gift to someone would be the gift of love.

This tradition of gift giving harks back to, perhaps, the Victorian times, when gifts represented an expression of kindness. The Victorians put a lot of thought into their gifts and ensured that each gift carried a special meaning for its recipient.

Sad to say, as Christmas becomes more and more commercialised, this sentiment behind choosing gifts is lost. I often see people putting together a wish list of items they want. It seems that Christmas has become a time of hankering after material things.

My favourite gift, out of all that I’ve received over the years, is a simple card that my mother gave to me two years ago. In it, she wrote her heartfelt wishes. I treasure that card to this very day. Style and technology change often but simple words continue to hold meaning no matter how much time may have past.

Gifts don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. That simple card made me feel more loved than any pair of shoes or sunglasses would have.

So, this Christmas, I am refocusing myself to remember what’s truly important – expressing my love for the people special to me, God and giving back to the needy.  I hope , through this Gem, I have inspired you to do the same too.

Happy Christmas!

Changing the World

I once saw a picture of this old man who was deep in thought.

He had this story to tell…


 “When I was young, I wanted to change the world. As I got older and wiser, I realised I couldn’t do it.

So I thought, let me try changing my community. I got even older and wiser, but I couldn’t do that either.

Then, I wanted to change my family – my wife and children. I failed at that too.

Now I’m so old and with all this wisdom I’ve gained, I finally understand that the only thing I can actually change is me.

Hopefully by this change, I can influence my family members. They can, then, influence the community who can eventually change the world.”

The only real change one can make is to oneself, and that should be the real focus.

The faults we see in others are actually a reflection of the faults in ourselves.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group



The upcoming V-Malaysia 2011 event will focus on the topic of “Belief”.

The first thing I asked myself when I heard about the theme was, “What is belief? What does it mean to me?”

It is such a simple word but it carries a heavy meaning. Understanding and dissecting our belief can be the key to happiness.

Belief, itself, is intangible. It usually refers to an opinion or conviction. However, our belief does not necessarily represent the truth. We can believe in something that’s wrong.

A long time ago, people believed that the earth was flat. Their conviction in this belief was so strong that anyone who opposed this theory was immediately deemed crazy. Of course, after some time, it was discovered that the earth is actually round.

This is a perfect example of blind belief – accepting things without cementing them with facts.

We should never be afraid to challenge our beliefs. Only then, would we realise the truth.

I have come to realise that there are always two sides to a coin, and it is important to consider both.

We should not simply reject something just because we do not fully understand it. I’m sure you will agree that it is unfair to make such a judgement, when we do not fully understand why it is right or wrong in the first place.  

That is why, my friends, our beliefs are extremely important. They are the first step in establishing the truth.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group

Definitive Success

How do you define success? Is it an end result? Is it something you strive for? Or is success a moving target to which you pace yourself?

What is success?

What is required to ‘be’ a success?

When it comes to success, the first thing I tell myself is that it is relative. The benchmarks I set for myself to be successful will be different to that of my neighbour. The second thing about success that I always remember is that the journey to reach the destination of success is paramount.

It is interesting to consider that there are six types of ‘opulence’, and each can be regarded as a measurement of success: strength; fame; wealth; knowledge; beauty; renunciation. So, when people talk about success, everyone’s definition will be different. Yet, despite the difference in definition, the essence is the same.

But what determines success? I would not want to relate success to wealth or having a certain amount of money in the bank; I would sooner relate success to knowledge and renunciation. Athletes may associate success with strength, while politicians may associate it with power, and a model may regard success as a measurement of beauty.

Fame is also a form of opulence, but you can be famous but not necessarily wealthy, another form of opulence. In life, you can have one and not another… are you still a success? Are you a failure? Such a question has haunted many a man, but in truth, success is not just ‘one’ thing. In light of this realisation, it is truly beneficial to continually challenge your own perception of success, and come to terms with your own relative, definitive benchmark for success.

But not only is success relative, it is a journey. Would I turn my back on an opportunity just because it was a lot of hard work? If I never set myself goals for which I had to better myself in the process of achieving, then how could I consider myself successful? What have I really achieved if the difficulty of the process wasn’t proportionate to the success of the end achievement?

The journey is more important than reaching the destination and it is within that journey that we grow and uncover the true meaning of success. A certain path of activity will bring you to a certain type of destination. Change that activity, change that habit, and you change that destiny.

You can’t change your destiny of NOW because your past is behind you. But you can change your destiny of TOMORROW because the future looms ahead. Change the nature of your activity, then you can change the fruit that you will be enjoying or suffering. This doesn’t allow us to determine success, but it allows us to see it for what it really is… a journey that is unique and relative to each and every one of us.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group