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April 6, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Journal #8 : Founder Issues…again and again.

As you know, I have been having founder challenges. 2 Tech founders bailed on me on their other projects. Then I was thinking to myself “Can I run the company myself?”. Here are the answers on quora of a related question.

Summary to the question : NO FUCKIN  WAY.

Enjoy the answers.

April 1, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Questions #2 : What are your first entreprenurial challenges?.

Great Ideas +  located in Asia = Challenge # 1.

Here are some of the challenges I have now in trying to get my product up live.

  1. Technical Co Founder – There is talent here in Malaysia, but I can safely say that most do not have the time to go on idea adventures and spend 3 months creating something in which they will not see a single cent of their efforts during that time. People here are not as bold as people in America. People here are addicted to food and their monthly salary (credit to a presentation by Fred Wilson). Don’t get me wrong, my family are a product of the working system and it has given us shelter, food and education. But in terms of the boldness of an entrepreneur, Malaysia is no where near having the DNA for entrepreneurship. I am hoping to break that believe.
  2. Resources – Every month we do have this meeting called Web Camp. This is something like a tech meet up, programmers, designers, entrepreneurs (the rare ones) all come together to realize how few of us there are. Well, its a start and I am sure there will be more and more of these meet ups as the web will slowly be something everyone is a part of. As of now, the internet is my best friend, my vitamin and the relationship I am in.
  3. Mindset – It is all in the mind. Having a skill,  a talent even the money is no use without the mindset. Mindset for what?. Mindset to adaptability, mindset to open mindedness, mindset to sharing differences. Sharing your ideas is something easier said than done. Really. It came to a point where I just observe people’s reactions when I share my ideas. Its difficult to find someone who is really listening and not just hearing. This happens because their minds are close to hearing something foolish, an idea that is naive. In the other side of things, I tend to believe that everything is possible.

Do share you first entrepreneurial when you first started.

Will share my first ever start up idea with you in the next post.

March 31, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Emotions #2 & Journal #7 : You haven’t raised the money until its in the bank.

Got news from a family investor that he is pulling out from the investment due to other commitments. How am I suppose to feel?. I guess disappointment is a suitable word ; Disappointment with myself. Here is why I am ever learning on being an entrepreneur.

  1. Never be too happy about your achievements. I have to be honest, I was very pleased about initially getting the investor interested. But until the money is in your account, NEVER be too pleased about ANYTHING.
  2. Investment is all based on gut. At that very moment when I was pitching my ideas to him, I could feel that he was excited and ‘convinced’ to invest. In my opinion the ‘high’ of the idea died off and at the same time I wasn’t persistent enough in him taking actions on his words.
  3. As far as possible try NOT to get any money from family. I knew this, but I still took the chance. I thought it will be different this time, but when it comes to money, nothing is the same. This comes to the second point, why it is difficult for me to push the call to action?. Because he is family and I didn’t want to be annoying in constantly asking for the money. It is better to raise money from someone who understands the push and follow ups.

Another challenge as an entrepreneur? Definitely ‘yes’. I somewhat had this ‘no way it could be this easy’ feeling when he agreed to invest. Hence I said, I was pleased, not happy. So what now? Back to basics, back to one. Pitch, pitch and pitch.

Go for the beers after the money is in your account. Till that happens. Money raised = 0

March 31, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Journal #6 : At least I am doing something right.

Came across 2 really valuable articles about why entrepreneurs should be blogging. Tho, I haven’t had much to say, and haven’t had much advice to give out, I am now borrowing and sharing what is valuable advice to me. The first one is from Mark Suster. Personally, I really enjoy reading this post, tho its a wee bit lengthy, its worth the time and value. The second is from a blog called All Top Start Ups, something new I found. So far I find it of sufficient value. Anyway, here are both of them. Enjoy!.

Mark’s Post

All Top Start Ups.

March 30, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Journal #5 : TechStars Seattle and NY next

and so like many hundreds, we didn’t manage to get into the summer program in Boulder. Then again, we ask ourselves, did we put in the effort in making our application most appealing as possible?, are we really a team? is our idea going into the right market? did we show that we are do’ers?, did we show personality?.

There were about 600 applicants this year, and only 30 will be considered and 10 will be accepted. It’s all a numbers game really. I am sure that TechStars themselves are going through a really hard time filtering out the applications. In this post, I would like to share to those who haven’t applied for TechStars yet and this might help them see where else their application can improve on. Here it is

Enjoy and start busting your asses for Seattle and NY!.

March 21, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Journal #4 : USD 15k and Lost.

I manage to raise USD 15k from an uncle (who is an entrepreneur himself). Made his money in timbre and property. In Malaysia and Singapore, property is quite the sure ticket to multiplying your millions. So in short, yes I manage to raise the money. He hasn’t really thought about the investment terms yet, but its small change for him and he is not really worrying about it. I guess I convinced him that he is investing in me, rather than my idea.

The question now is:

  1. What should I do first?. Currently, the designs are done and the coding can begin. I have 2 co founders (who are the developers), one is in America, one in India. I guess they are not as excited as I am to see the urgency of building the site. I don’t really mind the time difference. Maybe I am not too familiar with the programming process.
  2. What is the purpose of this money? If I am able to program this myself, I wouldn’t need the money. The money is to sustain the product, for it to gain enough traction or while gaining its traction, pitch to investors, hopefully a bigger investment to further scale the product.
  3. I am in a dilemma, should I hire a team of developers? or have my co-founders build it? By hiring a team, I would have my mvp done faster, but little is left for the product to sustain. By having my co-founders build it, it might take a longer time, but the investment will probably stretch longer. Longer stretch, more testing, more feedback, more traction. I am not sure ( been saying this too many times in this blog )

Currently I am the UI designer. Again, not sure if that’s a good thing.

Please do let me know your thoughts.


March 15, 2011 / Brandon Giam

Journal #3 : TechStars Boulder Application.

Just done with my TechStars Application. I think i have done my best in the application. Here are some of the things i did:

  1. Reaching out to past TS. Who else better than to ask them. The best part thing about them is they actually reply and give feedback on your application. Thanks Brett of RentMonitor, Natty of Everlater and Megan, director of The Founders on Techstars.
  2. Spend time on your application. Again, some advice from the founders themselves. Really put in the time and the effort on what your application is really saying. What does it say about your company, your founders and yourself. Read it over and over again. How does it make you feel?.
  3. Simplicity. There will be hundreds of applications. Keep it short and memorable.
  4. Video. Lucky enough that I know video animation and editing, but if you don’t, then this will be your first test as an entrepreneur : Persuading and convincing your friends to do for free. According to Nicole Glaros, Managing Director of Techstars. Her advice is  “Show me some personality!”. Again, short and simple, straight to the point, nothing flashy. Its not too late, TS NYC is coming up in May.
  5. Pray hard every day. There are hundreds of application that David, Nicole and Brad has to read. I am sure there are some uncertainty there. So pray.

That is all i have for now. Will let you know if I get accepted or not.