Category Archives: Reviews

Learning to Build & Learning to Sell: The 2 Concepts You Ought to Learn If You Are Running A Startup

 [This article was originally published at www.BobbyOng.com. Bobby is a UCL Economics graduate and self-taught web developer. He is a keen follower of technology and is passionate about entrepreneurship, education and the pursuit of happiness. Read more about him at bobbyong.com and follow him on Twitter @bobbyong]

I wished someone had let me read Dan Shipper’s article on Why Are You In a Rush when I was starting out on my first website as a 17-year-old high-school boy. Many young entrepreneurs, according to Dan’s observations, seem to be in a rush because they believe their idea is The Next Big Thing and become so focused on their artificially set time-constraints that they “ignore doing the one thing that will help them the most: building tangible skills”.

My friend, Alan from Startup Chile once told me the following: There are only 2 things to focus on in a startup, Building and Selling – Everything else is peripheral.

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Why Learning is So Important

I wished I had taught myself the different parts of building and selling on the Internet more aggressively earlier on. It took me several unsuccessful attempts to finally realise that themost important investment I can make is an investment on myself.

Warren Buffett did say that knowledge is like compound interest; it builds up from reading 500 pages every day. In my interpretation, knowledge learned is cumulative and will build upon what you already know. If you believe that you are in the online entrepreneurship game for the long-term, the best investment you ought to give yourself is learning how to build and learning how to sell successfully online.

Learning How to Build

The first step in launching any online project is to build the website, web app or mobile app. If you are a non-technical person, the first instinct is usually to find a technical person to partner up to build the online product.

I would strongly suggest that instead of finding a technical co-founder, you learn how to code and prototype your idea out. It will not be an instant process nor will your prototype look fabulous, but the process of learning how to code will build a very strong foundation for you in understanding how to build for the web.

You may simply discard this advice of learning how to code and just hustle your way to finding a technical guy. Unless your good friend happens to be a good coder, I would tell you that the journey of finding a technical co-founder is a long and tough road.

A lot of non-technical guys will also dream of raising millions of dollars of VC money because they read about all the awesome startups on TechCrunch raising so much money. I usually tell everyone to STOP reading TechCrunch because TechCrunch emphasises the wrong points in a startup by glorifying the act of raising millions of dollars as an end-goal. Besides, TechCrunch is focused on Silicon Valley and you are most likely not based there. Read HackerNews instead and all of Paul Graham’s essays especially this piece where he defines a startup.

Read deeper into the blogs of Silicon Valley founders and you will soon realise that without a prototype built, it is very hard to raise any funding as a first-time founder. Traction is the key to raising funding as a first-time founder and this is what you should be working on before you even consider going to VCs or angel investors for money.

Learning How to Sell

The next thing you need to learn after the ability to code, is to learn how to sell what you created. I used to naively believe that once you build something, people will flock to your product like hot cakes. Turns out that more likely than not, most people won’t care about your product. This comes to the question: is the product you build what other people want?

If you are thinking of launching a startup, it is imperative that you read The Lean Startup. Instead of writing a 30-page business plan, do it with a Business Model Canvas. Experiment with what your customers want and learn how to reach them and sell to them.

You will soon realise that selling online is pretty much a marketing funnel and there are many things that you need to do to optimise that funnel. Some startups might choose content marketing as a start to their marketing funnel. Some might then use gamification to increase engagement level. Either way, you ought to know about cohort analysis and A/B testing to see what works best in optimising your funnel.

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What Will You Learn Today?

There are tonnes of things that you need to learn if you would like to stand a chance of succeeding with your startup idea. Nobody said the journey will be an easy ride. The point is to start learning every day because your lessons will accumulate over time.

Oh, and not forgetting, if you are impatient and can’t wait to launch your startup with your friend right now, do read up about shareholder vesting. Investing in your learning is the single best thing that you can do for the long run. Start investing in your education. Good luck with your learning.

 

9 Awesome Coworking Space around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Coworking spaces are shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking spaces are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.”  Continue reading 9 Awesome Coworking Space around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Who Makes the Better Entrepreneur? A Man or A Woman?: A Study for Entrepreneurs

Who would make better entrepreneurs for our ever evolving and challenging market environment? Would Entrepreneurship be a “Man”s” career, or with the recent rise of more prominent Woman entrepreneurs change the age-old perception that only the “Boys

” can become the tycoons and market leaders of the world? Continue reading Who Makes the Better Entrepreneur? A Man or A Woman?: A Study for Entrepreneurs

Famous Films Wisdom to Inspire Successful Entrepreneurs

When we are talking about words of wisdom, motivational tips, inspiring stories to follow and examples or best practices to learn for entrepreneurs and businesses, of course, there are tonnes of books, Youtube videos and audio tapes on those topics. But, how rare can we find a compilation of Films, properly edited to convey their wisest message for Entrepreneurs to Succeed!

A friend of mine over a cup of Starbucks mocha decided to share this video with me, after a grueling 2 hours meeting. This video itself will take up 7 minutes of your time, but it is 7 minutes well spent. The Words of Wisdom as Yoda himself would have conveyed to you, if you were Luke Skywalker, instead of flying your way into the Death Star to fight Darth Vader, perhaps you wanted to set up a business to raise enough capital, connections and influences to fight the Galactic Empire would be these;

  1. Everyone has a role in life (Hence why there is a Mark Zuckerberg who just had to come up with Facebook for us, and not Sam who lives next door…)
  2. Know your destiny, focus and do extremely well in it (Which is why Batman only focused on equipping himself with the latest gadgets to fight crime, instead of questioning, why isn’t he blessed with Superman’s powers)
  3. Be ready for Uncertainties (Like Forest Gump when his dying mum told him that Life is like a Box of Chocolates…You never know what you are going to get…)

This is a great video, which may also appear to be funny to some, but truly, the messages contained are priceless. Kudos to the makers of the video and do share it among your social network contacts. You are already doing a favour for a friend out there who aspires to be an Entrepreneur by sharing this video, a very Motivating and Entertaining one too!

 

Richest People in Asia as Entrepreneurs

Asia is the melting pot for riches, with 3 of the largest populations in the world focused in Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia, it is no wonder that our own Asian tycoon with a net worth of USD$ 12.5 billion dollars hails from this region, playing his role as an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He is just a few Asian to have made it to Forbes” 100 Richest Men in the world and is certainly one of Asia”s Richest People alive.

Robert Kuok Hock Nien, a Malaysian businessman from Johor was the son of a commodities trader from China who migrated to Malaysia at the start of the 20th century. Despite coming from such a celebrated background, Kuok admitted that he was once only an Office Boy. Upon completing his studies in Raffles Institution in Singapore, he ventured into being a sugar merchant and who would have thought that a few decades later, he would be controlling the sugar industry in the world.

Since then, Kuok ventured into multiple industries in his belief that diversification was a key success factor to mitigate business risks, and also to get his hands into industries which relied on heavy consumer consumption. This is evident through his ventures in the hotel industry, to freight transportation, to media (He owns a substantial amount of shares in South China Morning Post), plantations, oil, mining, finance, import and export and even publishing.

Moreover, many may not know that he is also the sole-licensee of 10 bottling companies for Coca-Cola, where he distributes to all major countries in Asia. So everytime when you have drink with Coca-Cola, it is more likely that you will be contributing at least a few cents nbso to Robert Kuok.

A further detailed read on his entrepreneurial journeys can be found here, where the author had made a very detailed account on the years of When his company was founded and How he achieved his success in those past years.

But, by just reading up and researching a bit more about this iconic entrepreneur in Asia, it is clear, at least in my opinion that he invests in industries whom we, as human beings need to survive;

  1. Source of Energy/ Food for People (Including sugarcane plantations, sugar refineries, oil)
  2. Information (He controls the media with a strong presence in China and he owns a range of publishing companies)
  3. Communications/ Transportation (He owns freight companies that help us stay connected in this world of trading)
  4. A Roof over our Heads (He owns the luxurious Shangri-La Group and property developments, all tied towards providing us with comforts over our heads)
Perhaps, this is an important lesson for entrepreneurs, especially when everyone else in Silicon Valley are focusing on the next “Facebook” or tech Boom that is yet to come! Sure, companies like Groupon, LinkedIN, Twitter etc. may be the more recent Silicon Valley success stories, but perhaps, if one runs out of ideas to compete with Facebook or the other technology-based companies, lets get back to basics and focus on the 4 key elements which gave Robert Kuok, his billion dollar bank account.
He goes into Entrepreneurs.my”s Richest People in Asia as Entrepreneurs list. From Office Boy to a Global Icon.