STARTUP SALES TIP: The Product Itself Is the Best Marketing Tool

A few years ago, I would always pass by Wilson street and then take a right at Jose Abad Santos street to go home. One day, I noticed a new tea place was being constructed along J. Santos. As a huge milk tea fan, I was highly intrigued. I dropped in for a visit as soon as I saw the "OPEN" sign. I was an early adopter. It was the owner herself who was at the counter. I immediately noticed the concept was a bit different from anything being offered locally. This wasn't Struan and Tang, nor was it another Quickly wannabe (delighted it wasn't). They were using fresh tea and there was a clear system: tea bag repository (a wide variety), some sort of a "tea espresso machine", a "topping" … [Read more...]

If there is one book I’d recommend…

I've just finished re-reading Eric Ries's The Lean Startup. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this book is. Just knowing the concepts it made famous (the MVP, build-measure-learn cycle, etc....) isn't enough. You have to know how exactly the concepts work and work together.  If you are a startup founder, a would-be startup founder, or work for product development and you HAVEN'T read this yet, DROP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING and grab a copy now. For my second reading, I invested in buying the audio copy here. Absolutely worth every cent. … [Read more...]

Would you rather report to a multinational, or MAKE one?

"Always try to schedule a foreigner to do our recruitment talk. Mas may dating." I was given this instruction in my first year working in corporate. Of course, seeing how all the highest positions were occupied by foreigners - not only in our company, but in every other multinational - this was easy to accept as reality. They were always more educated, had better strategy, were more charming, smarter, had more business-savvy,  just...better. I mean, why else would they need to fly in, right? I put them on a pedestal. As a result, I was always more tongue-tied and nervous when dealing with them than my Filipino superiors. Of course, my mind told me otherwise. After all, I studied and … [Read more...]

Judo on Curveballs

Three days ago, I was feeling a wee bit nervous. I was set to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy - I needed to have my gall bladder removed. I was admitted to the hospital at around 8pm, with my pregnant wife accompanying me. My operation was set at 10am of the next day. When we got to my room, I started unpacking our stuff when Pauline excused herself to go to the comfort room. When Pauline got out, she had a smirky look on her face. "I have something to tell you," she said. "What is it?" I asked, totally not prepared for what she was about to say. "My water broke." Life just threw us a curveball. We smiled to one another, chalked it up to God's timing and sense of … [Read more...]

There’s no reason why YOU can’t build the next Twitmusic!

Great news here for our burgeoning startup community! Our country is widely regarded as a producer of some of the best professionals in the world. Certainly some of the most enterprising and innovative. Developing impactful startups should be second nature to us. Twitmusic should be the tip of the iceberg - but it's up to us. C'mon people! I'm calling YOU out. You with that brilliant idea that's been cooking for a while now. You with those marvelous execution skills which are wasted in the bowels of a 2000-man corporation. You with that passion burning that's been so afraid to get out of the comfort zone. You. STOP wasting time. Start something. (You don't know … [Read more...]

5 Secrets of SERIAL Entrepreneurship

Serial Entrepreneurship Definition: Running 2 or more startups at the same time. Some definitions involve creating startups in succession, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's limit the term to the simultaneous management of 2 or more startups.  A number of the startup founders I've been helping recently have told me that apart from the current startups they are involved in, they suddenly have an idea for another one. Then they begin telling me about the other idea. What I've consistently said was: STOP! Concentrate on your first, startup concept first - presumably your best and biggest idea. Anything else is a distraction. Of course, all this time, I've been waiting for … [Read more...]

The RESISTANCE is real, and it aims to KILL.

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: 1) A new idea dawns upon you, and you are exhilarated. You cannot stop thinking about your idea. You begin thinking of the steps you need to make to make your idea happen. You are on a high. Then sometime after, something happens. A seed of doubt plants itself in your consciousness. Suddenly you see holes in your idea which you haven't seen before, and you begin to realize how difficult it would be to fill them. You begin to realize you might not have time for all this. You begin to think of the huge scale of work you have to do to accomplish your idea. Soon, you conclude that your idea wasn't so "hot" after all, and chalk it up to "momentary … [Read more...]

PROJECT RUNWAY: Your eventual takeoff needs a carefully planned runway

The runway is a great metaphor often used by startups to describe the cash flow required to keep operations afloat. Let me elaborate: Cash is king for a startup: without it, a startup cannot exist. Burn rate is the rate we spend the money, with which we can then estimate how long we can go (the runway) until either one of three things happen: 1) lift-off (profitability), 2) crashing, or 3) refueling (raising more investment). Since startups are often fairly complex and difficult to operate, you can't just expect to have a short runway before lift-off. You have to plan for it. I've met too many startup founders who just proceed with jumping in without planning this in detail. The … [Read more...]