Startups July 10, 2020

Ignite Podcast – Episode 11 – Sarah Huang – Burda Luxury – The Selling Starts When the Customer Says No

Episode Summary

Quote: “The selling starts when the customer says no.” 

In this episode of the Ignite Podcast, Michael Waitze is joined by Sarah Huang, the Regional Director of New Business at Burda Luxury, a publisher of luxury content. With over 300 magazines published in the region, and a team of over 10, 000 employees, Burda Luxury is dedicated to creating high-quality content for millions of readers in both Asia and Europe. They discussed Sarah’s background and how she got to where she is today, her impressive career accomplishments, and what she’s learnt from them. 

Build, Attack and Conquer

“Entrepreneurism has always been deep-rooted in my family life,” said Sarah. 

After immigrating from Indonesia, Sarah spent most of her childhood growing up in Australia. She said that life wasn’t always easy, and hinted to the financial difficulties they faced. Like many around the world, Sarah didn’t have the privilege to go to university or afford a university education, but what she did have was a fascination with technology. 

She explained that growing up, she was always around computers with her step-father and brother, whether it was taking them apart and piecing them back together or playing video games. Her interest in business came surprisingly through games like SimCity and World of Warcraft, all of which were about building, along with attacking and conquering. 

They spoke about how there is always a struggle on the path of entrepreneurship and went on to discuss the glamourization of the constant struggle, the meaning of money, and how their concept of gratitude changed throughout the years. 

Never Taking ‘No’ As An Answer

“I had a job I was eyeing, but I had absolutely failed in the interview and didn’t pass the aptitude test. I was rejected,” she said. 

Any form of rejection isn’t pleasant. Emotions like sadness, disappointment, and even anger often arise and can be intense. Sarah shared that despite the fact that she got rejected for her dream job, she still couldn’t imagine herself working anywhere else. Which was when she decided to make the courageous – if not crazy – decision to work for free

“It was probably one of the dumbest things I ever did, but it actually resulted in a lot of success,” she recounted. However, after merely three-days, she got hired full-time. Sarah detailed her uphill journey from start to finish and they discussed the importance of perseverance and determination.

The Right Answer

From digital consultancy, project management, to CEO, the list is neverending. Sarah has had a number of years of experience in a variety of industries. In this podcast, she shared the crucial lessons she’s learnt about aspects of team building, business building, inventory management, and more. 

Despite being rejected from her dream job on her first try, the tables turned and Sarah ended up being on the other end where she was tasked with hiring the perfect candidates for different roles. 

She shared the one question she will always ask candidates that gives her insight on the true character of the person, and the shocking answers she’s received in the past that either make or break the interview.

To learn more about Sarah Huang and her global journey, from rejection to success, listen to this episode of the Ignite podcast today.

This episode was expertly edited and produced by Alanis Braun. You can see her portfolio here and her LinkedIn profile here. The music called “Clear Progress” was created by Scott Holmes.


Michael has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective.

Michael I. Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.

Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth.

After more than 20 years in Tokyo, Michael moved to Southeast Asia to get more involved in the Private Equity and Venture Capital business and invest his own capital.

Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael has raised capital and advised some of the most famous startups in the region.

Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia, while building the biggest and fastest growing listener base in the region. His flagship website,, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.


Sarah Huang


Versatile Head of Product turned corporate strategy leader I'm the Regional DIrector of New Business at Burda Luxury, I have more than 15 years of experience as a Head of Product / Tech, my roots started in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) development wok, I have launched over 400 consumer and B2B projects across Australia, India and Asia. I've been featured in in Forbes 2017 List as Top Female in Tech Talent in South East Asia and won the Entrepreneur of the Year awards in e-Commerce & Retail in Thailand 2013.