[INTERVIEW]: THE TALENTED MR. SINGAPORE
For those of you who live in Singapore or spend a lot time here, this person needs no real introduction. Robbie Hoyes-Cock is without doubt one of the most networked men in town (if not the region). His F1 parties are world famous and luxury brands throughout the region consider him as an extension to their marketing teams. This fast moving, disco dancing, big loving, family man has a heart of gold and brain of a mad scientist – so I decided to sit down and see what makes him tick.
Here we go..
AD: So Robbie, thanks for sitting down with me today – let’s get started.
You are well known as being a great connector of people, with arguably one of the best Rolodex in Singapore. What advise can you give other would be networkers out there?
RHC: Try living in Singapore for 30 years and you do get a bit of a head start! That said, I think it’s important to cast your net as far and as wide as possible. Try to attend as many invitations to social functions as you can, and don’t nail yourelf into a small group that always goes to the same places. Singapore is alive and bursting with great new places (I happen to run www.GreatNewPlaces.com as well!) and keep your fingers on the pulse. Be sure to keep all the name cards that you get when meeting new people, you never know who you might need to reach out to in the future.
AD: How has social media changed the dynamic of networking and what you do?
RHC: I think social media should be re-phrased as FACEBOOK. Facebook is an extremely effectual method for maintaining an online diary of friends and followers who want to keep informed. Running guestlists through Facebook and enabling friends to share and allow viral promotion of events is the best way to keep a party limited to friends and friends of friends. Email databases were more important pre-Facebook, but now we use both to channel our news.
AD: What career would you have chosen as a secondary option? And why?
RHC: I did a law degree at University – but my internship at Clifford Chance put me off working as a lawyer for life. None of my lawyer friends to this day, have much of a life, so I don’t envy them. I also tried banking in my early 20s and spent 2 years working in the Treasury of Citibank Singapore, on their management associate training programme. Again, the early starts, long working hours in an office and the unwaivering pursuit to make money for the bank, got boring after a while.
I’d have liked to be a professional tennis player and when I was the national champion U16 in Singapore – I thought I could be well on my way. Sadly an education at Eton College beckoned and so I pursued my academic studies in lieu of tennis academy in the US.
AD: If you could have anyone in the world dead or alive to attend your next dinner party – who would it be and what would say to them?
RHC: Without any shadow of a doubt it would be Sir Stamford Raffles (or Bingley as he was known to friends). I’d love to take him on a tour of Singapore today and guage his reaction. I think it would make a good film in fact! You see, I’d start him off just outside the Singapore River – and figure he’d not be too alarmed by the familiar site of the old shop houses along Boat Quay. We’d have to end up at Skypark of Marina Bay Sands to get a panoramic view of the city that he founded! Can you imagine!?
AD: How would you categorize the nightlife scene in Singapore today?
RHC: I think it has improved leaps and bounds over the years. There’s so much more diversity now and a lot of foreign acts are coming to Singapore to perform. There’s an enormous variety of quality restaurants, bars and clubs today and there seems to be no signs of this explosion in cool new venues. Singapore is now attracting a lot of travellers to Singapore who want to experience theatre, clubs, concerts, shows and exclusive private events that are covered by the global press. It’s exciting times we live in and it’s been a load of fun, being a part of the metamorphosis in the nightlife sphere.
AD: Your F1 parties are famous globally and boast a star studded line up every year. In a crowded F1 party circuit – how important is innovation and how do you achieve this year on year?
RHC: Innovation is critical and we’re always out to outdo previous years’ parties. The Podium Lounge has grown to over 900 guests per nights aross the 3 nights of the Singapore Grand Prix in September – and we have been lucky to have such a strong partnership with the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia. If you look at the brands we have worked with over the 4 years – we have chosen to work exclusively with top tier luxury brands and those that have cool products or services to showcase to our guests. Whether it’s Vertu, Aston Martin, Samsung, BMW M, Willow & Huxley, Roger Dubuis, Globaleye, Quintessentially, Lufthansa, SingTel, Silvian Imberg, Nissan GTR, Azimuth Watch, Audi R8, Audemars Piguet, Red Bull, 6 Drunk Men, EFG Bank, Citi Ultima, CANALI, Moet Hennessy Diageo, Trisha Vu or Yafriro we’re always bringing the latest fashions, trends and ultimate luxury brands to our events for our guests to enjoy.
AD: What surprises do you have for us next year?
RHC: The Podium Lounge will be expanding to KL in March 2013 for the Malaysian Grand Prix (Venue to be announced in November) and we have been invited to host The Podium Lounge at the Yas Viceroy Hotel & Marina in November 2013. Both of these new city locations will be awesome and we’re terribly excited about rolling out our Singapore-born brand to the world!
AD: Congrats on your beautiful baby girl. How has fatherhood changed your life?
RHC: She’s absolutely gorgeous and we’re so happy to have such a beautiful little girl. Babies require an enormous amount of time, they really are a 24/7 responsibility. We’re fortunate to have a full-time maid/nanny which does help a lot – and there haven’t been any big parties at my house since she was born. But it’s a wonderful learning curve and a fantastic way to hit your 30s!
AD: Thanks for answering that Robbie – now let’s have some fun with the rapid fire questions. Keep them short and snappy – you ready?
RHC: I hope so Amanda!
Whose brain would you like to have had?
King Henry VIII
Whose brain would you like to pick?
Jacques de Molay – the last Grand Master of The Knights Templar.
Retract one lie you’ve told?
Just going out for one drink with the boys..
If you could commit one crime without being caught…?
I’ve committed several..
What can make you cry?
Emaciated animals, death and onions.
If you could invent anything?
A silent hairdryer.. for my wife.
What current musical group would you like to join?
Swedish House Mafia
What object best represents your personality?
A Rubix Cube. Colourful with endless possibilities
What’s your favourite word?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“What’s for maktoons” (derived from the malay for food ‘makan’)
“You make decisions and you live with them”
If I gave you an elephant where would you hide it?
There’s Malaysian owned land opposite the Botanical Gardens and a fabulous old but derelict colonial house in the middle of it. I’d let em chomp on some of the greenery around there and no-one would know.
Favourite Singlish word?
BMW. It’s what I take to work everyday! Stands for Bus, MRT, Walk 😉