Soft vs. Hard Entrepreneurship and What to Prioritize

HARD vs SOFT

You can divide all the elements of entrepreneurship into two distinct categories: hard and soft. Here's what the HARD column can be populated with: Valuation Product-market fit Lean Startup Methodology A-B Testing Seed, Series A, Series B, Series C.... Pivot Runway Dilution MVP Growth Hacking Strategies Here's what the SOFT column can be populated with: Passion Founder Dynamics Culture Maturity The entrepreneurial spirit Mentors Perseverance Following the heart Following the dream Motivation Taking a leap of faith Now, ask ANY successful entrepreneur what the reasons are for her success. Do you think most responses will fall within the … [Read more...]

I Forgot I Was On Vocation!

photo

The past few months have been some of the most rewarding for me as an entrepreneur. At the start of 2013, we made a crucial decision to split STORM Consulting, my startup baby, into two, distinct, laser-focused firms: STORM Rewards was going to focus on flexible benefits. I was going to lead the efforts as its CEO. STRATA was going to focus on HR competency frameworks. The big difference here was that I really wanted to source an independent management team to lead Strata - I didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day operations. In hindsight, it proved to be a very pivotal decision. (yep, focus is everything) Armed with a new business model which allowed it to offer Flexible … [Read more...]

How Failing 2,032,198 Times Helps You Succeed

worstmistake

We've heard it so many times for entrepreneurs - how you have to know how to fail in order to succeed. I wanted to dissect how exactly this is so. How exactly does failure help you succeed? My first instinct in answering this question is to look at my own entrepreneurial journey. Has failure helped me? When asked this question, my reply is almost immediate - yes, it has helped me tremendously. It's not just because of the sheer learning that happens afterwards (though this is big as well, and is the basis for the lean startup movement) The great thing that failure has given me is the stomach for it. Having failed so many times before and knowing first-hand what the … [Read more...]

My Year in the Philippines: Reflections On Starting Up and Development

Miarayon, Bukidnon, Philippines

I've been in the Philippines for almost exactly a year now. Oh, what an incredible ride it has been so far. Within the year, I've had so many different experiences from starting things up with JGL to a brief stint at co.lab to being part of the launch of Ashoka Philippines.  Life has been unpredictable. I've been exposed to so many new and different ideas. So many different people. I've gained a sense of belonging in a country that has opened my eyes to the world. The year has really been such a gift and a strong driving force of change for me. I remember the days when I only had one peso in my pocket. I remember the days when I was so desperate for blog content that I would write … [Read more...]

Avoid These 5 Absolutely Crippling Startup Choices, Part 2

dirty

(This is part 2 of 2-part series. You can read part 1 here) 3) Reluctance to Get Down and Dirty Take a gander at some of the Lean startup methodology books. There is a reason why this line of thinking has become quite severely influential for startups around the world. The principles are quite sound: information and validation over guesswork and assumption. Getting to that information? You have to talk to a lot of customers. You have to SYSTEMATICALLY do it in an unbiased manner. You have to do it over and over. You have to iterate your product over and over. This is serious, rigorous work. You want success, as with anything worthwhile, you have to pay the piper. But I think this … [Read more...]

The Compass, The Anchor, and The Propeller

comanchller

When we moved into our new office, we were in a momentary quandary about what to do with a good-sized room that was right smack in the middle of the layout. We could turn it into another meeting room - you could never have enough of those. Or perhaps a designated interview room? Incubate a startup idea (or two)? (such a temptation!) Then, it hit Pao and I at the same time - we just HAVE to turn it into a prayer room. It's obviously not the bottom line-friendly alternative, but knowing our history, it just made too much sense to put a prayer room in the middle of the office. This was our little way of honoring the God who has been so faithful to us and our journey. Prayer … [Read more...]

Avoid the Joneses, They Will Anchor You to Mediocrity

joneses

Aside from my work in STORM and Juan Great Leap, I "incubate" firms. It's really just a passion of mine to look for the right ideas, find the right people to pursue them, and then try to build something from nothing. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn't. So, if you can imagine, a big part of this hobby of mine is constant "founder-hunting." There are a great many challenges to "founder-hunting." (I've covered quite a bit of this in this blog.) Illustrated here is another fairly typical one: Peter: "So...everything sounds good! This is the % equity you'll be entitled to as Founding CEO. As for salary, obviously the startup can't afford your current salary, but we can still … [Read more...]

How you can use FEAR as a REVERSE Spider Sense

spideysense

Fear has been my constant companion all throughout my startup career. I remember feeling I might be laughed at as I was about to present my idea to potential partners or investors. I remember that crippling feeling. That extreme doubt I felt when I was about to resign from my fulltime job. I remember hearing all the "no's" in this journey, the disheartening voices and fearing they actually might be right. I remember delaying the first-ever post of Juan Great Leap (JGL) for weeks for fear other people might judge me. After developing several startups (both successes and utter failures), and the unexpected growth of the JGL audience, you'd think I finally would be free from … [Read more...]

Open Coffee Postscript

open coffee april

I had another awesome time last Saturday morning at the April Edition of Open Coffee. Here are some of my thoughts and observations on now holding four of these formatted mixers. 1)  The Sharing Continues to Amaze Me My colleague AR told me that she plans to write a thesis about how the growing Filipino entrepreneurial community is debunking the notion of Filipino crab mentality. You can see this is in action in Open Coffee. In the pitches, you will see people will share business plans, ideas, and plans to people they do not know. (and unlike in "formal" pitching venues, there is no "prize" save for the learning. What's magical is that the audience reciprocates - sharing their own insight, … [Read more...]

How to Use Consulting as a Bridge Between Corporate and Startup

stepping stone

I had a great lunch meeting today with a very talented friend who's been working in corporate for nearly two decades already. During that span, he's built impressive credentials and has worked on different projects in his chosen corporate function. "I'm at that point Peter where I'm at a crossroads in my corporate career. If I leave my company now, I can apply for department head in another firm, but then what? I'll be looking at a future of just jumping as department head from one company to the other?" (I was at that same crossroads before, so I could really relate to what he was saying.) A common friend of ours who was managing her own lucrative consulting practice was asking him if … [Read more...]

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