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Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?

A good friend of me once told me that people who just want to be entrepreneurs rarely succeed – the journey is just far too tough and lonely for one to succeed if it is just something you want. For a person to succeed on this less beaten path, it has to be more that something you just want – you have to need it.

Reflecting and imagining.

Reflecting and imagining.

But why do I need it? Luckily over the course of the past two weeks, I applied for the Founder Institute, a start-up accelerator, and I was presented with the following essay question to answer:

“Write 2-4 paragraphs on why you want to be an entrepreneur”

After quite a fair bit of deep thought and introspection, here is my response:

Answering this question took a good deal of soul searching, but thankfully everything came together when I went to the very core of things and looked at my core values – lifelong learning, freedom and making a social impact.

Getting real about entrepreneurship now that I have graduated from university has turned out to be a trying and difficult process – but one thing that always seems to put a smile on my face is the fact that I go to bed every night having the pleasure of learning something completely new. It also amazes me how I always seem to see how the business and management literature that I’ve always enjoyed reading seems to become so much more relevant now that I’m trying to set up my own business.

Secondly, my family is extremely important to me and I want to have the freedom to be there for them when they need me – just like how my business owner dad was around for me when I was growing up. When I was growing up, I was extremely blessed to have my business owner dad always being around – he took me out for breakfast, he sent me to tuition and was always there to support me, much unlike other dads who always seemed to be too busy. I want to do the same for my children and wife in the future. That’s why despite how difficult it gets, I know that I want to start the journey right now, before it gets too late.

Finally, I have also learnt that entrepreneurs are a crucial component of creating lasting social change. Everyone wants to make an impact and my personal vision is to bring my two passions together – connecting people, as well as technology – and to fundamentally change the quality of interpersonal connection people have with one another in this fast-paced, often impersonal world.

I want to live an awesome, inspiring life, and I take a long term view at success. Ultimately, the more you stretch yourself, the more you learn, and the sooner you get where you want to go. Right now the answer seems to be entrepreneurship for me – the trials, tribulations and learning that comes along with it would definitely help me become a better student of life.

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The past month’s progress report

Seems that time just flies! Been keeping busy traveling, meeting developers and finalizing how our startup’s first mobile app will work with my partners and it seems that I totally didn’t make time to blog. Guess that now that we finally have our own beautiful little cubicle in NTU’s innovation centre, I have no excuse but to make some time on Mondays to chronicle how my startup is growing.

Oh well haven’t blogged in a month, but at least I had a great month filled with solid learning experiences! So… where do I start?

Been having tea with tons of people as well!

Been having tea with tons of people as well!

Getting the product-market fit right

Guess I’ll start with the current state of my startup. Right now, we’re still working on the concept and trying to get product-market fit right, in that we’re still meeting and talking to the primary target audience of our product (salespeople), and gathering feedback from them to refine our concept.

But real life ain’t business school where assumptions and clear logic are enough. Assumptions have to be tested against the market and my partner and I are currently trying to get our startup’s first product – a mobile assistant that aims to improve on the way salespeople interact with their clients – prototyped.

As my partner and I are not (yet) hardcore iOS developers, we’ve been spending the last week or so talking to iOS developers, working on our project briefs as well as thinking of ways to raise development capital for our little project over here. I think that out of the many meetings we went for, we did come across some gems and we really hope to have chosen a quality partner by the end of the week.

Looking for capital

Secondly, my partner and I are also looking into the many government funds for funding for our project. We strongly believe in our company vision to help transform the world into a much friendlier, kinder and considerate place with our products and have been talking to people all over on how our startup can secure some seed money.

We’ve probably got enough to start production of a prototype or two by ourselves, but some government support will really help! Do let us know if any of you readers out there have connections to managers of government funds! We would love to talk to meet them!

Growing the team

Geniuses required!

Geniuses required!

Finally, after some discussion, my partner and I have also decided to start looking for talent based in KL. We’re currently looking to fill in the following two positions:

General requirements:

- Based in the Klang Valley

- Able to speak English fluently

- Self-motivated and able to work independently

- A good team player and with a proactive attitude

- Minimum diploma and above

1. iOS Developer

- needs to be proficient in Objective-C and able to work independently

- must have a strong interest in design thinking and UI design

2. Web Developer

- must be comfortable with design back-end systems and working with databases

- Required skill(s): HTML, JavaScript, PHP, Web Design, CSS

Interested applicants please email us at quirkapp@gmail.com with your resume, expected salary and recent photograph. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Would also really appreciate it if you spread the word to friends of yours who have just graduated and want real hands on experience on how working with a startup is like!

***

Guess that pretty neatly sums up what I’ve been working on lately! Will write about some of the many things that I’ve learnt real soon!

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Blessed.

It has been a tiring but yet a fulfilling week working on my startup idea. We set out to conduct a questionnaire, went out to get it done, and ended up with much more than just mere results. The failure of our online questionnaire led us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and approach financial planners all over – be it at Newton, Raffles Place, or even over the phone. My team and I were pleasantly surprised when a great majority of the people we interviewed didn’t chase us away, but rather were pretty interested about our idea – quite a number of them even going so far as to leave their email and phone numbers with us, asking us to keep them in the loop, with regard to the project.

The questionnaires we had to process!

The questionnaires we had to process!

I think that it’s just super amazing how we actually made some pretty good friends and mentors though conducting a survey. I guess it all comes down to being humble and showing a keen interest to learn.

Looking back at the whole exercise, I guess my team and I are just really blessed to have such awesome people around us, helping us every step of the way. A big shout out goes to all of you awesome people that helped me out in any way, be it passing me a number, introducing me to some friends, or even passing our survey along. Special thanks goes out to Pamela and Melissa who actually took us out to meet insurance agents they knew, which in turn introduced us to a whole lot more awesome people!

And the great thing was that I wasn’t just meeting great insurance agents – my awesome friends and family never fail to support me, continuously introducing me to new and interesting mentors who each have powerful lessons to teach me. One of the key perks of being employed is having the opportunity to work and learn the trade from a good boss. Not having a boss, I’m just so blessed to be surrounded by mentors from different fields who readily and generously share the wealth of their experiences with me. Thank you so much.

Through all this, I have really learnt two main things

1. If you are interested in starting a business… just go start! Find some way to begin and just go do it. Start small if you have to! Persistence, focus and the alignment of your venture with your deepest values will cause magical things to happen helping you learn so much faster along the way! There is just no substitute for just starting! Saying that you need experience or capital is just making another excuse for yourself! I’ve started small, with just tons of interviews, surveys, brainstorming sessions and consultations with mentors – and I feel that I probably learnt so much more than I would if I took up a typical marketing position at a typical marketing firm.

2. And that true success in life probably isn’t just measured in dollars and cents – the number of lives whom you’ve touched are really important too! In this whole process of trying to get EasyGreet started, I’ve realized that what motivates me in business is really the people. I love interacting and connecting with people, and businesses are what drives value – and potentially human happiness if done correctly – up if done correctly. For more thoughts on happiness and about the meaning of success, do check this extremely meaningful article out.

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Guess that’s it for this week! Hope that my partners and I will have more to share in the days to come! Count your blessings when you can! (We’re sure blessed with our secret hideout as well!)

Our secret hideout!

Our secret hideout!

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Since the very last time I wrote…

Oops!

Oops!

So much has happened so fast.

 

The last time I wrote, I had still yet to complete my final year project, and my team and I were working late nights just to get it done.

The three unconformists of NBS!

The three unconformists of NBS!

We endured overnight stays, poker breaks, and just one-too-many an automobile-related beverage accident, but we managed to pull through and produce a paper that we’re all pretty proud of producing.

 

Our final report

Our final report

 

The last time I wrote, I still was vice-president of my school’s Marketing club.

The 4th committee!

MarkeTHINK's 4th Committee!

Now that I look back, I learnt so much through MarkeTHINK and my awesome friends. We went through so much – organizing events, pitching to potential clients, and even planning crazy publicity stunts! Thank you so much for being such a joy to work with all this while.

 

Since then, our dear 4th committee has stepped down and handed over the reins to a new batch a student leaders who will bring our dear club to greater heights.

 

The last time I wrote, I was still a carefree student.

Then, I only had to deal with reports, classes and exams. I didn’t have to think about earning a living as the government was funding my studies.

Now that I’ve handed it my final paper, all that has changed. No more scholarship to depend on and I’ll have to wring meaning and livelihood out of this world with my bare hands, in my own unconventional fashion.

 

The final paper...

The final paper...

A big chapter has closed, but a whole new exciting one just begins.

It’s a new start, a new beginning. As always, it’s time to make this one awesome as well. (:

,

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I want to be the very best.

Sometimes when I read stories of people who are super talented. I can’t help but feel a tingling sense of envy.

It’s something I know I shouldn’t be feeling, but it just rushes over me – if only for a brief moment. Just how can some people be musically and vocally talented, be a celebrity and still study at one of the best universities in the whole wide world?

Today, it’s these two guys, Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider. I just love their music – for such a young duo, everything they do is just so professionally done. You really need to check out their medleys if you haven’t already.

Here’s the kicker – they’re both Yale undergraduates. As one of the world’s best universities, you really got to be pretty smart to earn a place at Yale.

Really pretty damn smart.

Then common sense starts to creep in.

We’re all put in this world, with different strengths, different skills, but I still firmly believe that whatever the heart of man can have a burning determination for, he can achieve.

I may not be there yet – like all those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that Timothy blogged about, but I have a dream and a plan.

It may be a long and winding road, but I’ll claw my way up there if I have to.

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