Tag Archives: startup

Thats How I Started

I was born in late Aug. By astrology, I belong to Virgo. I have been never bothered by comments and advice on how the Virgo should behave, talk, or love. But one thing that matches well is that I am very organized. I am always plan ahead and execute accordingly. When I have big decisions to made, I always search for plenty of information and get as much advice as possible. Then I compare, or even calculate the risk I could bear and the benefit I could enjoy.

And yeah, I did try my best to prepare myself for this venture. I convinced my families, saved enough cash, invested additional money.  I found partners, wrote business plan, secured government and angle funding. I thought “Yeah, I am prepared. And I am ready to go”. Then I submitted my letter and handed over my tasks.

The next Monday, instead of suit and leather shoes, I put on my polo and sneakers. I realized my pants were a bit tight. Hmm… seems I gained a bit of fat. Instead of following the crowd into CBD, I dropped off near NUS campus and walked on a quite single lane. NUS Incubator has allocated a small room at the second floor of an unused bungalow as our office.

Before I open my Todo list for the day, I realized I needed to clean up some space for  my laptop first. As I browse through the list, I realized I needed a project management tools to coordinate the work between my partners and me. Then I realized we needed someone who can assist us in marketing, and we also need to have more developers to handle more and more plan. Then I realized …

Oh my… I can’t stop adding new items to my Todos. I was still overwhelmed by so much unprepared for running a business. We still have endless features to develop. We don’t know how to share tasks and knowledge between us effectively other than face-to-face. We don’t have any idea about accounting. We don’t have a proper Chinese name for our project yet. We don’t … My partners don’t even have an additional set of keys.

This post was planned two and half months ago as a mark of beginning for yet another off-the-track activity for me. The original idea was totally different. I imaged to write this post on that Saturday morning, next to the swimming pool I mostly visited. The result? We worked non-stop, 15~18 hours a day, 7 days a week for more than two months.

When I finally reached here, it is not about dreams and plans any more. It became the story. And this is just the START of our story.

Finally, I would say, the statement below on starting your own business is true.

However you think you had well prepared, it’s never good enough.

And I am glad that I have proved it.

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Stay Happy With What You are Doing

Some take away from yesterday’s conversation with another entrepreneur.

Your team and yourself should work happily not stressfully towards your target.
If a problem has been solved by others, there will be a way. If you worked so hard and still failed, step back and think alternative solutions. Working hard is not an excuse for miss a target.
Enjoy the process of learning and growing, always exploring a more efficient way to your result, don’t just burry yourself in the tasks.
Stay productive, more importantly be creative.

Stay absolutely confident and modest
Stand your view while listen to advice. Get rid of your eggheadedness

Find a process that can free your manpower.
At certain stage of your company, try to formalize and stabilize your method of growing. First, trial, fail, summarize what you have done, and choose an effective process.Then, familiarize the process so that your team get more things done in less time. This is when the team should explore the next stage of growth

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About My First Promotion

A lot of things to write, but dont know where to start.

First, I get promoted early this week. It is a long waiting promotion as one of my colleague phrase it. Yes, it came late about half year base on my expectation, but with a surprise. As there are quite a number of candidates on the waiting list, I can image the fight my boss had in order to help me. It comes with both his recognition and expectation. Luckily I still have some buffer time to show him my appreciation. If the promotion comes half year later, I would either let him down, or block my own plan. It would be a wrong time.

It isn’t a very proud thing as many people have made higher achievement at my age with wider exposure. It is important for me in the sense that I mastered the skills to survive (not prosperous) in corporate.  It would lend me more credibility to convenience my parents on the path I chose. They have always worried about my future, worried about how well I am going to live. (So worried that, they still from time to time deposit some money to my account, or find other excuses to give me pocket money.) With this promotion, though they still feel it would be much easier and safer to climb the corporate ladder, they are willing to let me explore. To be frank, they never reject my own decision, but I still prefer to make them feel better before I actually step out the world unknown to them as well as myself.

On the day my promotion is announced, we got one production issue. Some big guys screams and demanded explanation and fix by the day. I am not able to paste his email due to legal issues, but it was pretty rude. I chatted with his team, (I am pretty close to that team of users), “Did he eat shit last night?”, “No, this morning” replied.  😀

Well, as he screamed so loud and made everybody hear his words, we have no choice put follow all the formal admin process. Everybody is called on to fill in forms, setup environments, generate reports, chase for signoff, obtain permission to deploy, engage with vendors, arguing on when and how to deploy… Boom, the nice Fri is gone. This is the thing I hated most in corporate, when things go wrong, as minor as 1 line of code that caused some duplicate records in the reports, people focus their resource not on get the problem solved, but pointing fingers and try to scream as loud as possible in order to identify who to blame. Whenever I met or heard such stories, I strengthen my belief that in the information industry, big corporates do not represent the most effective and efficient production relationships. People need to work on their dreams not their money.

Some learning point about this issue.

  • Build good relationship with your users, most of the time they are on your side.
  • Have a clear understanding on procedures and take actions quickly.
    • Clear the admin stuff clean and fast, it will facilitate approvers get back to you.
    • Demonstrate your understanding of the whole process and the business impact will keep Governance mouth shut.
  • Plan for future action when process error is spotted
  • If the boss support you, you need to prepare all the artifact to back him/her up. Managers also need support and materials when the talk.

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