Why You Should Consider Staying The Course

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The following is a guest post from Dino Alcoseba, newly-minted head honcho at the HR startup Strata.ph. I've known Dino for five years now and I've seen him develop since coming in as a fresh graduate working for STORM in 2008. Here, he shares about staying the course. I can remember the events Dino describes below (that YM Conversation!), and its a bit jarring to hear what exactly he felt.  Considering the state of young employee turnover not only in startups, but for the entire industry, I think what Dino writes here is pretty important to consider.  - Peter  5 years ago, I was stuck with a dilemma... I just finished packing 8,000 letters to employees for one of Storm’s clients. … [Read more...]

5 Things I’ve Learned from Startups Unplugged

Justice League by DC Comics

I've been trying to push myself to blog Post Startups Unplugged, and share all the instances of serendipity that truly made this miracle happen. However, I thought that it would be more effective if I were to cut to the chase about what I actually learned from it all. Here it goes! These are the 5 things that I've learned from Startups Unplugged: Ask and you shall receive. I had no shame in asking sponsors to join Startups Unplugged. This is how I usually got in contact with a sponsor: A kind individual would give me a business card of XYZ individual from XYZ organization, and I'd literally call that person on the spot, even it if was the direct line of the CEO. It might sound too crazy … [Read more...]

The Crucial Art Of Momentum Management, part deux

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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...]

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...]

A Warning to the Dreamer: The World Will Make You Reconsider

This Is How The Status Quo Looks Like

Two friends mine are taking the leap. One is a longtime banker. She is practical and very OC. She is married with one son, who is in his teens. She has been planning meticulously for a long while to take the leap and go into pre-school teaching, and ultimately, to owning a school. The past few years she's been busy finishing her MA in Education. Late last year, she was finally going to submit her resignation. Even before she got to talk to her superiors about leaving, she was suddenly offered a substantial raise and some other perks. This led her to reconsider her decision. My other friend has been in the FMCG business for a long time as well. She works as a brand manager for one … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 2 of 3

Yup, it's for dummies.

(The following post is the second of a 3 part series. You can find part one over here) 4) Business Plans Are Important What 4 years of college business teaching hammered in me was that I needed to create a business plan for my startup. I needed to put everything in writing and project my financials - on a short-term, medium term, and longterm basis. So during our first foray, we spent several days crafting an 80+ page business plan, crammed with a boatload of projections and analysis. We had a five-year sales forecast with assumptions on pricing, costs, and market. We had complete projected financial statements across those five years. It was a nice plan. It was something you could … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 1 of 3

Nope, you don't need it.

For the next three days, I'll be talking about 3 assumptions I discovered were completely wrong as I went through the startup process: 1) You need a ton of money to start Back in 2005, we were rejected by 2-3 investors before we said, "The heck with it, let's just pool our own money and start." My initial cash-out as an owner was P30,000.00. Far cry from the hundreds of thousands we thought we needed. It turns out it was enough. Nowadays, you could start firms with even less, as the cost barriers continue to fall. Last Thursday, I had a productive brainstorming session with an old friend of mine who was in the printing/publishing business. I suggested, "Why don't you try … [Read more...]

What’s The First Rule of Startups? There Are No Rules!

No Rules

Early this year at STORM, we began building a competency framework for use in the company.  This is one of the tools large firms use to align everything towards their vision. The logic was, as we got bigger, we would need these structures to guide us. Building a framework like this is massive work, and our HR guy, Dino, was assigned to work on quarterbacking the project. Around two months ago, we were laying the finishing touches on the framework. We had our core competencies (behaviors everyone in the company should follow), and were finishing with the functional (behaviors everyone in a specific function/department should follow) ones. Then, I recalled the "big" employee handbook … [Read more...]

Buhay Bootstrap (plus, free startup glossary!)

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The year is 2006. Pao and I were about 15-20 pounds lighter. Pao was still enjoying his mullet haircut, while I was still enjoying some hair.We wanted to put up a flexible benefits solutions firm, capitalizing on my own early-market experience with flexible benefits. None of us were really "entrepreneurs" when we started. I was an HR guy and Pao was a programmer. We tried pitching to investors for startup capital, but I think this failed for two reasons: a) the mammoth 100+ page business plan (AKA complete waste of time) we crafted, and b) at that time, no one understood what our idea was and could become. So we ended up bootstrapping. Funding. There are two general ways to fund a firm: … [Read more...]

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