The Key to Big Jobs is Engineering

By The Straits Times Posted 5yr(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes

This is what entrepreneur Terence Swee, CEO of muvee Technologies, discovers with his training as an engineer

By Narendra Aggarwal

Amateur movie buffs will love the software that home-grown company muvee Technologies produces for them to make good movies, thanks to its automatic video editing feature.

"Our software allows people to relive life's special moments captured on their video camera by creating a cool video that can be shared with family, friends and colleagues as they like. The software edits the raw footage to the beat of the music that you choose." says Mr Terence Swee, founder and chief executive officer of muvee Technologies.

"You don't need to know how to edit the movie but know how you want it to look. Our software does the job as it is a consumer product."

Founded in Singapore in 2001 by a group of researchers, the company today employs 60 people, half of whom come from 15 countries.

With offices in Singapore, San Francisco, Tokyo and Seoul, mu vee Technologies sells its software technologies mostly to the United States, Europe and Japan. It licenses out its technology, works with original equipment manufacturers like personal computer makers, and sells directly to anyone who wants the software online and can pay for it with a credit card, besides retail distribution.

Big international names like LG. HTC. Samsung and Nokia are among muvee Technologies' customers as they preload applications that it has developed on their respective mobile phone model.

The company is the result of a happy marriage between engineering and entrepreneurship. After doing his master's in engineering from the National University of Singapore in 1999, Mr Swee joined Kent Ridge Digital Labs. In a brainstorming session, his team of eightlike-minded researchers decided to incorporate muvee Technologies.

"We invented automatic video editing 10 years ago here in Singapore," says Mr Swee, 39, who was instrumental in developing the software that enables making home videos a joy.

As CEO of muvee Technologies, he now charts the strategy of the company and works on a timeframe of three months to two years, monitoring closely the technological and industry's developments.

Mr Swee says: "I look out for new trends in industry. For instance, look out for stuff like mobile PC cloud computing possibilities and how graphic processes are evolving:”

More people are now willing to pay for software that they can download, but at a lower price, he notes. Mr Swee says while his job is to process information into products that the company can do, he also needs to decide what not to do.

This is where his engineering knowledge comes into play.

"Engineering enables you to analyse each opportunity in a rational way and put numbers to it. The training as an engineer also enables me to see where technology could go," says Mr Swee.

The engineering education has also enabled him to set the direction for the company and see where the market is going, he adds.

As the CEO of muvee Technologies, Mr Swee says one of his key priorities is to attract and retain talented engineers. As engineers want to develop and produce great stuff, says Mr Swee, he wants them to do it at muvee Technologies by providing them with the right environment. At 12, he built his own remote control plane.

As his interest in gadgets grew, Mr Swee says he begun to realise that the world revolves around engineering. The field of engineering expands into all kinds of consumer products, and compressing a video on YouTube is engineering too, he adds.

For these reasons, Mr Swee studied engineering in university. "I thought that engineering is a tried and tested field and was sure I could get a decent job," he says.

"The great advantage of studying engineering is that it gives you - a very disciplined, rational and logical thought process. Now that I run a business, I find that engineering helps you cover all the ifs and buts in a very systematic way:”

But he adds that while engineering can help you to make things and find solutions to problems, how to sell is not covered by engineering.

"I am lucky that I am a musician and the right part of my brain comes into play when I have to think how to sell our products as the buying behaviour depends on emotions." says Mr Swee, who founded a music production company when he was still studying.

"With an engineering degree, you can go into almost any job as it has the most doors, which is any other academic qualification.

"Engineering trained people are always trained for the future as we have the skill set to survive."

This article was originally published on The Straits Times.

Engineering trained people are always trained for the future as we have the skill set to survive. - Terence Swee
CEO of muvee Technologies

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