Our people’s stories 30 August 2023

“Practice So Many Times That You Become Adept.” How to Be Top-Notch in ERP and Fly Solo Like “Prame”

Many may know “Prame” or “Warat Laithong” as the captain of the ERP Advisory team. Yet, few may realize that beyond his professional role, Prame is the face and brain behind the “Flown by Prame” YouTube channel, where he produces content that is both entertaining and insightful.

As you can infer from the title of his YouTube channel, Prame produces content that goes beyond the ordinary; he invites the audience to soar with him in a small aircraft. Apart from accompanying him on his flights to Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Hua Hin, Chumphon, and Buriram, we also gain insight into the life of a pilot. We learn what he must grasp, understand, and perfect to ensure seamless flights in any situation.

At first glance, serving as the captain of the ERP Advisory team and being a pilot appear as two completely distinct endeavors. Yet, according to Prame, mastering piloting parallels mastering SAP specialization. Before excelling in both areas, Prame focused on studying, sought additional knowledge beyond classrooms, and most importantly, practiced repeatedly until they became second nature.

“In order to better ourselves, we have to consistently seek knowledge. Similar to when I was learning to fly an airplane, there are numerous aspects of knowledge I had to seek out independently. Instructors typically stick to the curriculum. However, in actual airplane piloting, adaptation and discovering new techniques are essential. This also involves dealing with unforeseen situations that aren’t addressed in the lessons.

“While I was taking courses and certificates to become an SAP consultant, the teacher stuck to the curriculum as well. However, in the end, I hardly used the knowledge from those lessons. Instead, most of my learning occurred on the job. This mirrors the process of learning to fly an airplane. While I acquired the basics from the instructor, to become a skilled pilot and fly solo anywhere demands experience accumulation, independent learning, and consistent practice.”

What has been shared is just a glimpse. Today, Prame is ready to share his experiences and insights, along with breathtaking views from the airplane.

No need to delay any further—let’s jump aboard the plane with Prame right away!

What Else Do You Want to Do, But Haven’t Done Yet?

“I’ve been fascinated by airplanes since I was a young child. During that time, my options were limited, so I used to fold paper airplanes and play with them. I also requested my father to take me to the airport in my hometown, Chiang Rai, to observe the planes taking off. As I grew a little older, I started playing with remote-controlled airplanes.

“I’ve held onto my passion for airplanes, but due to life’s circumstances and the fact that we had just one major airline back then, Thai Airways, the competition to become a pilot was incredibly fierce. As a result, I didn’t pursue a pilot career. Instead, I became an engineer, which was my second passion after flying.

After working for quite some time, I found myself with more time and resources. This led me to question, “What else do you want to do, but haven not done yet?” The first answer that came to my mind was “flying an airplane,” so I promptly enrolled in a flying course.

When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?

“As I enrolled, the flight instructor was very fair-minded. He suggested I try sitting in a small airplane first before committing to the course. This is because many assume they won’t be scared due to frequent travel on commercial flights. Yet, the sensation is different in a small plane. Some frequent commercial flyers get scared when they try sitting in a small plane to the point that they can’t continue with the lessons. Thus, I got the opportunity to fly with the instructor and even pilot the small aircraft a bit, with his permission.

“I knew right away that this was my place. Have you ever had moments where you felt, “This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life”? I felt that. After we landed, I applied for the course right away. I remembered that I posted a picture of myself trying to pilot the airplane on Instagram, along with the caption, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” It felt like something I had truly been waiting for all my life.”

Anything Done With Passion Doesn’t Require Effort

“I haven’t studied anything for a long time, and I don’t love studying that much. However, when I became a flight student, what I noticed was that I didn’t procrastinate like I used to. The night before classes, I would even stay at a hotel near the training facility so that I could wake up early and start flying as soon as possible. Normally, I don’t like waking up early, but on the days of flight training, I woke up at 6 AM. Anything done with passion doesn’t require effort. It’s an indescribable feeling.

“Currently, the private pilot course is 60 hours long, but when I was studying, it was still 40 hours. In less than two months, I completed the 40-hour course and was able to fly solo.”

Practice So Many Times That You Become Adept and No Longer Struggle

“The challenge of flying an airplane lies in multitasking. During a flight, we have to control four main aspects simultaneously: 1. Altitude 2. Speed 3. Flight attitude 4. Flight direction. We also need to stay attentive to the radio communication to hear instructions from the air traffic controller, including being aware of what other aircraft are communicating about.

At first, it was a real challenge. For example, when I had to land the plane, I needed to control the aircraft to touch down on the runway at the desired spot. I could manage the direction and altitude quite well, but as I approached the ground, I realized that the plane’s speed was higher than the landing speed. This was because I couldn’t separate my focus to control both speed and altitude. On the other hand, there were times when I could control the speed, but I couldn’t land because I was too high up. This was because I couldn’t multi-task effectively.

When we’re working, if we can’t multitask, we just handle tasks one by one, which often leads to working overtime. However, in the context of flying an aircraft, genuine multitasking is essential. A significant error could be a matter of life and death. This is a challenge we need to conquer. The only way to accomplish this is to practice so many times that you become adept and no longer struggle. Eventually, with enough proficiency, we can execute tasks automatically.

At Bluebik, many colleagues wonder how I juggle SAP, meetings, and client interactions all at once. Initially, I couldn’t do it either, but with repetitive practice, it turned into a habit. Over time, I could manage it effortlessly, similar to our body’s automatic functions.”

You Win Half The Race With Good Planning

“Flying an airplane is similar to working on a project. Both require good planning. Before a flight, I need to map out the route. For instance, there are multiple routes from Bangkok to Hua Hin. I must select one. I also check for any potential obstacles on the flight day. Advance notifications are usually provided. I calculate the required fuel. Additionally, I reserve extra fuel in case unforeseen situations arise, necessitating a landing at an alternate airport.

“This is similar to how I approach any project. I need to determine the objectives of the project and then plan what actions to take in order to achieve these objectives. I must decide on the methods to use and how much budget to allocate. I need to manage the budget carefully. However, every project carries risks, so I need to have a buffer prepared in case things don’t go according to plan.”

Take On Any Situation With Situational Awareness

“There’s something that isn’t often taught in the workplace, but pilots are trained in it. It’s called “Situational Awareness,” which involves ongoing monitoring of external conditions to anticipate potential events and prepare to manage them. For instance, during a flight, if I observe smoke rising from below and drifting to the side, I must consider if there is strong wind beneath me and what I need to look out for when I land. 

“In addition, while flying, my headphones are linked to the radio communication frequencies used by Air Traffic Controllers. This enables me to listen in on conversations between fellow pilots and the controllers themselves. On occasion, I might hear other pilots requesting permission to change course due to weather conditions. This prompts me to think, “Hmm, could there be unfavorable weather around here that I’m not aware of?” Because, being in a smaller aircraft, I lack the weather radar capabilities of commercial planes.

“Situational awareness is highly applicable in my work. For example, I might start picking up on mood and tone cues from a client’s voice. If I hear unusual questions, I have to wonder, “Hey, is something happening with my project?” During client meetings, if there’s an unexpected increase in attendance, I need to question, “Why are more people here today? Is there something going on? Are they here to request new requirements or something else?” This approach helps me anticipate and respond to unexpected situations. I use this mindset daily in project management. It’s truly beneficial in many situations.”

Not Only a Pilot, But Also a Youtuber

“When I was researching flight training, I struggled to find information from fellow Thais. Most of what I encountered were school websites, essentially ads, lacking real insights. No one was sharing their genuine experiences. That’s why I felt that if I had the chance, it would be great to share this knowledge with others who are interested in flying. I also wanted to show that this hobby is real and not as inaccessible as it might seem to outsiders.

“When coming up with content, I start by asking myself what I wanted to know when researching flight training. What information or insights would I want to have? So, I create content that sheds light on the process of learning to fly—covering aspects like costs, required steps. I want to be a source of accurate information so that those interested in aviation can make well-informed decisions.

Anyone Can Be a Great Storyteller

“I create content about aviation with passion. I understand what pilots want to know and see, so I tell stories that cater to their interests. I draw inspiration from viewers’ comments to generate new content. I avoid using aviation jargon, as it could disengage those unfamiliar with it. The communication wouldn’t be effective and they wouldn’t follow me.

“I might not have been a storyteller at first, but as I work with SAP systems, there are instances when I have to gather client requirements to apply within the system. Then, I need to explain to the customers what we intend to do with their system. If I don’t convey the information effectively, lack structure, omit crucial details, or use overly technical terms, it might confuse clients and lead them to reject our solution. As a result, I’ve honed my storytelling skills to make things easily understandable through my profession.

“Telling a good story requires good preparation. In our work lives, there are few instances where we have to speak without prior preparation. We usually schedule appointments in advance. Therefore, we need to equip ourselves by understanding the subject matter we’re going to talk about. I disagree with the idea of speaking about something we don’t understand and then resorting to Googling or using ChatGPT. It would make our content seem superficial. The advice is that regardless of what we need to talk about, we should understand the subject first. Then, we can try to prepare examples or situations that can be easily compared and understood. When the time comes to tell that story, it will help the listeners comprehend easily and communicate effectively.”

Get Your Hands Dirty and Don’t Be Afraid of Challenges

“If we want to excel in our work, we must practice and specialize in our field. There’s no shortcut to this. You need to practice, learn, and then get your hands dirty. Many of you might have studied business management and project management in the classroom. Let me tell you, those are practices written in textbooks. However, real work is not like that. I like a phrase our CEO often uses to make a comparison. He says, “A soldier who studies combat manuals in the camp is different from the one who is on the front lines. Their combat skills are vastly different.” The profession of a consultant in Bluebik is the same. If we keep reading books or manuals but never actually go to the field, never interact with clients, it’s difficult to be as skilled as those who get their hands dirty and work in the real world.

“Another crucial thing I want to emphasize is not to fear challenging tasks. For myself, every time a client says, “This is a difficult task. The previous 3 or 4 vendors couldn’t do it.” I would think, “Let’s see. I’ll make it successful.” It’s important to remember that every time a difficult task comes along, it’s an opportunity for us to practice and develop ourselves. Throughout our work lives, encountering difficult tasks is normal and it’s natural to feel discouraged. However, don’t give up. Every problem has a solution if we put in enough effort. If we succeed once, the next time it will become much easier.”

And this has been the experience and lessons from Prame’s cockpit. If anyone wants to try flying in a small plane, just reach out to Prame. Our pilot is ready to take you on a once-in-a-lifetime experience!