Advent Thoughts On a Hospital Couch

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My wife has been in labor in the delivery room for the past 8 hours. We are eagerly expecting our fourth child. I can hear Typhoon Ruby's din just outside the window almost seamlessly combine with the whir of the air-conditioning unit. I write this helplessly alone on a leather couch at St. Luke's hospital, waiting for the signal to come in and hold my wife's hand as she goes through the final birth stages. But not yet. I sit here, sleep-deprived, waiting and praying. It is Advent after all, I muse. Yesterday, here in the hospital, I had a call with my business partner Paolo regarding my startup baby, STORM. As big as 2014 has been for us, the call greatly suggests that 2015 will … [Read more...]

What Is Your Fearlessness Quotient?

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At work, when we talk about hiring (which we talk about A LOT nowadays), I usually tell my co-managers that I am very interested in hiring "entrepreneurial-minded" people. Then I'd get often asked: What does that mean? That's a question I've been mulling about for ages. What exactly is it? How do you evaluate if someone has it? How do you know if someone has the potential to have it? There are so many theories on what entrepreneurship is. Here's one of mine. I think, when you distill it, when you boil entrepreneurship down to its basest levels, entrepreneurship is all about fearlessness. Entrepreneurs just conquer fear. Innovation, a word long synonymous with … [Read more...]

15 Slots Available For STORM’S Private Recruitment Cocktails Tomorrow

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STORM is scaling fast. Founded in January 2013 (a spinoff from my original HR startup, STORM Consulting), STORM is bent on transforming the way companies manage benefits. I'm fairly confident STORM has been among the fastest growing local startups across these last 2 years, revenue-wise. We've been blessed. In 2013, we proved our new business model could work - an entirely new way for companies to manage their benefits. In 2014, we started growing fast. Very fast. We've quadrupled both 2013 revenue AND 2013 manpower. We're set to AT LEAST quadruple revenue again in 2015. There are no signs of slowing down. In fact, it's looking like things will go even faster. The most … [Read more...]

Big Picture? No, Look at the BIGGER Picture

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These past few months have been crazy in STORM. We started the 2014 with about 16 employees. We're ending the year with around 50 employees and 60 more job openings. After 5-6 years hovering at around 10-15 employees, we're now scaling at an unprecedented level. It's been all sorts of crazy, but its been fun. It's a riveting challenge to see just how far we can push this. This sudden shift in scale started when we realized two years ago that, "Hey, we can be more than a niche player in the industry - we could help EVERYONE out with flexible benefits." We widened the aperture. Stepping Back for a Wider View Every once in awhile I would talk to an entrepreneur about ideas or … [Read more...]

Machine Failure!

So sorry for the lack of posts last week. I poured water over my laptop. Of course, I did something phenomenally short-sighted when I tried turning it on to see if it still worked. It did. For around 2 minutes. Until it permanently died. I tried writing on my tablet, something less comfortable than writing on a real keyboard, but still palatable. There was just something seriously demotivating typing on something which had major cracks on the screen. You see, a friend of mine accidentally dropped it a few days ago. I found it amusing that after years and years of surviving multiple crazy toddlers at home, one perfectly-angled drop would finally shatter its honorable, … [Read more...]

Release Your Inner Kraken: The Folly of Hidden Talents

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For as far as I can remember, I've always loved writing. I enjoyed paragraph writing in grade school. There was always a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I felt a paragraph was complete, when I felt every word I used was the right one. It was simultaneously art and science for me. This love for word construction continued throughout my high school and college stints. Writing assignments wouldn't feel like homework. I would volunteer for writing tasks across my different subjects, projects, and the clubs I belonged to. In my first year after graduation, I taught english for a year in my alma mater and loved every minute of it. Then I went corporate. Suddenly, my love … [Read more...]

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job Now and Work for a Startup (With Traction)

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So, you want to put up a startup. You want to take the leap. But it's sooooo hard to let go of the cushy job you've spent numerous years cultivating... You worry about the sudden disruption of that bi-monthly cashflow you're now so accustomed to and built your life around. So what now? Here's a solution - work for a startup. But don't just work for ANY startup - work for a startup with traction. What's traction? I like Naval Ravikant's (Angelist founder) efficient definition of traction: "Quantitative evidence of market demand." A startup has traction when it has increasing numbers - revenue, users, profitability, engagement, traffic, etc... These are evident signs … [Read more...]

Thursdays Unplugged Postscript (July 31 Edition)

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  See that bottle of Pepsi in the picture? I started this Thursdays Unplugged session by accidentally dropping the closed bottle, and then proceeding to absent-mindedly open it. The result was an explosion of cola and pride, mostly on my shirt (which, incredibly, looks the same in the picture). It was all uphill from there though! With the third participant calling that he couldn't make it the last minute, this became a 3-person session. Of course, I loved the result, as Jode, Gerome, and I not only got into the technicalities of the their startup ideas, but more importantly, we got to talk about their journey, and the softer parts of the startup life. The thing I love … [Read more...]

Risk Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

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The older we get, the more permanent our decisions become. In high school, the biggest decision we made was probably what school to take (a lot of people I know didn't have a choice in this matter as well), or perhaps what course to take. We could then easily shift courses. A lot of people I know even shifted schools. We also choose who to hang out with. This can change easily as well. Then one day, we graduate from college. Then we have to face the next big decision in our lives - what job to take. Not quite happy with our first job, perhaps we transfer to another firm. It isn't as easy as changing courses, but this decision is still flexible enough that for a lot of us, … [Read more...]

UPDATED: Jobs in Our Startup Community!

People! Lots of openings in our growing group! Check out this updated list for more information! Tired of the corporate life? Eager to contribute to a startup? Want to have some fun building stuff with great people? Do check us out!   … [Read more...]

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