Risk Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

risknow

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...]

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...]

Introducing Thursdays Unplugged – And Why I’m Limiting It to 4 People

photo (2)

While I like organizing events like Startups Unplugged or Open Coffee, where I really get my kick is when I go on one-on-one coffee-talks. In the bigger events or in some of the speaking events I've done, I may be able to impart knowledge and help out, but obviously, the learning cannot be customized to the individual. Sure, after the event there can be informal networking and getting to know people, but I don't really get to KNOW people that much. This is why I like doing one-on-one coffee-talks. More than just the startup idea, I get to know the entrepreneur's story. I get to know his motivations. I get to read body language. I don't just shoot from the hip and comment on just the … [Read more...]

Stopping Reverse Momentum

homer running

Starting the middle of last year, I began running in the morning. 5K, every other day. I was pumped. Then I sort of injured my calf and I couldn't run for a while. I vowed to bounce back fast - as soon as my calf was fully healed. Then my calf healed. But for some reason, I couldn't find the energy to start again. The longer I waited, the harder it was to start. I could describe it best as reverse momentum. This is my best explanation for the writing hiatus I experienced. This is my first post in almost 2 months.  People started to ask me - are you still writing? Do you still love it? Do you still believe in it? The answer for me is a quick, resounding … [Read more...]

The Rise of the Free Agent Era and 5 Strategies to Survive It, Part 1

owner

    (This is the first of a 2-part post) When I was in college in the mid 90's, I was still hearing the phrase, "employed for life" a bit. This was when an employer could virtually guarantee an employee's financial well-being from fresh-graduate to even beyond retirement. Twenty to thirty-year careers were commonplace and a societal norm. If you managed to be employed by say, San Miguel Beer in the 80's, you were literally set. All you had to do was to work hard, and the company would take care of you - for life! When I graduated in the late 90's, I think this sort of reality was already facing upheaval and was rapidly fading. In 1998 (just as when I … [Read more...]

Embracing The Fear Monster

embrace fear

I remember asking myself a lot of questions before I was able to push "publish" and publicly launch the very first entry in Juan Great Leap. What would they say? What if they say, "Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?" What if they laugh at me?  What if they ignore me?  It took me a couple of weeks in between finishing my first post and  actually publishing it. You know how I did it? After a long day at work, the thought of publishing it crossed my mind. Before giving myself any chance to over-analyze, I forced myself to just push publish. And that was that. After that, I then started wrestling with the fear of posting it on my social media sites. ("Bahala na" works wonders, by the … [Read more...]

The Crucial Art Of Momentum Management, part deux

track fail

In the previous post, we talked about managing YOUR momentum in the startup process, about how we have to strike when the iron is hot and take advantage of our energy. But what happens now when you're now working with a team of either founders or employees? Things become a bit trickier because now the startup exists outside of you. It now exists in your co-founders/employees, as well as the product you are now presumably working on. Identifying Momentum Shifts First of all, you have to be able to learn to READ how your momentum is. Is there an impasse in activity? Is output slower? Sometimes the signs are subtler: has a co-founder's energy dwindled? How does undergoing your … [Read more...]

The Crucial Art of Momentum Management

brutus

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."  - Brutus (in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare) This is a line from my favorite Shakespeare play, where Brutus urges his comrades to seize a fleeting opportunity in an armed conflict. Ships tend to leave ports during high tide, so as to go along with the flow. Brutus is basically telling his mates to seize the day while the tide is high, because that opportunity will come and go. Of course, seizing the day is basically the mantra of any entrepreneur - I'm not here to expound on that. What I want to expand … [Read more...]

Why Uncertainty Is Your Friend

uncertainty

Do you know what you will be doing in your job in 2 week's time? In 2 month's time? I did. I knew my HR routine for the day - around 10 email requests, 2-3 interviews, 1-2 disciplinary cases to type up, perhaps one meeting with a manager who either wishes to hire or fire someone. I'd also meet with the occasional employee who wants to talk to me about resigning,  and perhaps a general meeting with other managers if it's a Monday. Then it would depend on the time of year. Mid-year and year-end, I'd also be calling managers to submit their late performance management forms. First quarter? Meetings on increases and promotions. Summers, I'd have meetings about the company outing. Rainy … [Read more...]

STEP 6: Why You Should Rethink Doing a Launch

Think VERY carefully before punching that button

(This is the 5th post in the series 6 Steps to Startup Launch. You can find the introductory post here, and the previous post here.) Ah. I remember our own "launch" back in 2006. It was a grand thing. We booked a room at Discovery Suites for half a day and we invited a number of corporate managers to a free "product launch" of our Flexible Benefit services in STORM. Since we didn't really put in a lot of cash in the venture when we started, this was a major, major expense for us. We filled the room with people carrying important-sounding business cards. And yeah, we felt like we had it made. Of course, it was a flop. Not one person in the room bought our product. If anything, we just … [Read more...]

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