2016 Year in Review: Myanmar Milestones and Revo Highlights

Are you wondering how the year just FLEW by again?

I know I am.

It’s kind of crazy. I’m sitting here in my office, looking at Google Calendar on my desktop, and It doesn’t feel like the end of 2015 was THAT long ago.

But here we are. Another 12 months — gone — at the blink of an eye. And I’m incredibly happy.

Why?

Because I’m thinking about Myanmar and what the changes here mean for Revo’s future.

So while the rest of the world’s fixated on doom and gloom and the latest celebrity gossip, I’m looking forward…and the future’s bright.

Let’s take a walk through the biggest events that made 2016 a year I’ll never forget.

Why 2016 Is A Historic Year for Myanmar

2016 was a big year for Myanmar in politics. We finally shifted from a military government to a non-military government when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as our new leader in April, setting the table for democratic governance.

The U.S. also lifted economic sanctions and as a business owner I’m excited about the possibilities of U.S. and Burmese companies working together, hand in hand.

The other notable news that caught my eye this year was seeing that Singapore and Myanmar citizens can now enjoy visa-free travel back and forth to each other’s countries. This means increased mobility and access to opportunities that were previously out of reach.

All three events point to a new Myanmar on the horizon as we escape from over 50 years of political and economic isolation.

Recap of Revo’s Biggest Moments in 2016

We’ve grown from a small staff of 30 employees last year to 70. Yes — we’ve more than DOUBLED in size. I think if we hire anyone else we’ll have to put their desks on the roof (kidding, kidding)! But the real reason this increase in size is significant is because it puts us in a position to be able to service bigger projects and clients and provide greater value.

We held our first ever company trip and retreat in Nwge Saung Beach and it was the perfect location for a terrific team building experience. Getting to know people outside the office is invaluable. We’ve grown closer as a result and I hope to make it an annual event.

Team enjoying 3 days team retreat in Ngwe Saung Beach.

Asking my grandmother for $4,000 in Revo’s early days to keep the company afloat is still a vivid memory in my mind. So I was incredibly pleased when Revo received funding from Anthem Asia, securing the first round of seed funding back in January. This investment will help us get better equipment, attract top talent and set the stage to go after bigger clients.

We rubbed shoulders (sort of) with some of tech’s biggest names. Back in April I flew to San Francisco for the F8 Facebook Developer conference. Besides seeing and chatting with the fantastic speakers, I was excited to meet Mark Zuckerberg in the flesh — he’s been a great influence on how I run Revo.

At F8, it’s important to be in the right place at the right time.

I also visited the home of the late Steve Jobs in Palo Alto, which was a nice opportunity to pay tribute to one of my biggest business inspirations.

Steve Jobs’ house, although the family no longer lives there.

We attended some high-visibility speaking engagements. I spoke at the 2016 Myanmar Summit, where the nation’s decision-makers, advocates, entrepreneurs and investors discussed how to build and maintain the country’s development path. I enjoyed the innovative thinking and our talks made me even more optimistic about Myanmar’s future.

We made some key acquisitions. I was excited to expand our client roster with some key accounts and large projects. We also hired a new Business Director and Account Director (formerly from WPP global agency Geometry Global) to continue our focus on hiring the best employees possible.

We also introduced our new lifestyle platform, Akhayar.com, which is ready to be the go-to online destination for Myanmar millennials who want to stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not. It fills a major need in Myanmar — content that’s created specifically for Burmese tastes.

And on a personal note, I started to get comfortable with delegation. I used to do everything myself: I’d code, design, invoice, hire and everything in between.

Over time I’ve accepted the fact that in order to grow I’d need to be OK with letting go. And we have — we’ve grown at a rapid pace. One of my goals for 2017 is to get Revo to a place where we’re able to perform with minimal involvement on my end so I can focus my time on higher-level strategic decisions.

IN CLOSING

We’ve seen a lot of positive changes this year — political, economic, cultural — you name it. I’m both grateful and excited for what the future holds. For the first time in many years, Myanmar has an opportunity to really thrive and Revo continues to grow as the leading digital creative agency in Myanmar.

In the meantime, I want to wish readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See you in 12 months.

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