Up Close with Marc Woo, Country Head of Google Malaysia

In 2000, Marc built the first website for the World Cyber Games tournament in Malaysia with zero knowledge of coding. He challenged himself by taking up the job and religiously studied HTML and web design. The whole journey was tough but super fulfilling, as he recalls. The experience taught him that anything can be accomplished as long as there’s hunger & discipline. Get to know Marc Woo, Managing Director of Google Malaysia as he shares his story with us.

1. How would you describe your management style?

Management needs to be adaptable and situational. When times are cloudy, be decisive and set the path. When times are good, get out of the way and allow leaders to emerge. Micromanage when someone needs it, do not otherwise. I spend a lot of time with my teams to ensure they are getting the right level of coaching and we regularly talk about career and trajectory. To strive for continuous improvements, I regularly ask for constructive feedback from my teams and business partners.

2. Who inspires you the most and why? How have you incorporated that into your daily life?

Robert Kuok – discipline & humility. Lee Kuan Yew – built something great out of nothing. Incorporation requires a tremendous amount of self-awareness. On top of regular feedback I ask for, I like to project myself in the eyes of others and aim to get better in every aspect. And I’m definitely on a mission to build something great: putting Malaysia back on the map.

3. How do you see your organization changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating/being a part of that change?

The only constant in life is change. Google is constantly living in that constant. In 2 years time, our products and services are likely to evolve. Closer to home though, Google Malaysia will be a significant net contributor to the Malaysian economy: upskilling our workforce and digitizing small businesses (our economy’s driving force). What won’t change are our values and principles.

4. Tell me about an accomplishment or a memorable incident that shaped your career.

Year 2000: I built the first website for the World Cyber Games tournament in Malaysia with no knowledge of coding. I took up the job because I needed the money, so I religiously studied HTML and web design. I remember building the first version using a notepad. It was tough but super fulfilling. The experience taught me that anything can be accomplished as long as there’s hunger & discipline.

5. What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I’m very data-driven. I love crunching and analyzing facts. But I also believe in fengshui.

6. What book are you reading or podcast you most recommend?

The last decent book I read was A Memoir by Robert Kuok.

7. What do you do for fun?

My wife and I live to eat: food hunting is our almost daily thing. I love the idea of golf. I spend half a day during weekends on the courses but am not very good at it. If I get to choose my last meal, it’ll be a 3-Michelin star omakase sushi. And, I’d want to be reincarnated as a PGA Tour professional.