Are You a Victim of the Diminishing Dreams Syndrome?

When I was in high school, I dreamt of someday owning a huge firm. Then I entered college. When I was in college, only the ones with the highest grades were given the most recognition. So I figured, only they could one day "own a company." So, from thereon, I dreamt of becoming a high-ranking corporate employee - perhaps a C-whatever-O! Then I joined a corporation. I came in as an entry-level HR Officer. The more I learned about my field, the more I realized how incredibly difficult it is to overcome my chosen corporate function and make truly strategic decisions. So, from thereon, I dreamt of becoming a "Head of HR" one day. Moreover, I also saw that in corporations, … [Read more...]

REPOST STICKY: 6 Tips for Developing a Startup Without Quitting Your Day Job, Part 1

For a lot of us, taking an immediate startup leap can be a daunting task - as much as possible, we want to remain practical and mitigate risk. Before diving in, we want to ensure that the startup can sustain our family's needs. Fortunately, it IS possible to create a startup while holding on to your day job. Again, the definition of what a startup is crucial here. While I find that it is possible to START a startup on a part-time basis, I would argue that it is impossible to SIGNIFICANTLY GROW one while being attached to a day job. Take note that we are talking about startups here. It is entirely doable to pull off creating a small business like a food stand franchise or an internet … [Read more...]

How God Founded Our Startup

When a new employee starts in STORM, or any of the startups I'm associated with (we're all in one building), they are treated to something different (especially if they've previously worked in corporations before) which happens every three o'clock. We invite the newbie to our conference room, where we read the Gospel for the day, and then everyone gets her turn to say a prayer. When we celebrate a victory, we quickly remind ourselves that ultimately, it was God who enabled the victory. Yes, we have very talented and intelligent people on our team - but where do all these gifts come from anyway? We cannot and will not take full credit. On the lower-right corner of our website, you will … [Read more...]

Pick your startup idea using the 3 circles

A long time ago, I read the bestselling book by Jim Collins, a book which a lot of you are probably familiar with, Good to Great. I have forgotten everything about the book except his 3 circles framework. Jim illustrates that for good companies to become great, they have to exist in the "sweet spot" of 3 overlapping circles. While the book was really made for large corporations, and used data mainly from large corporations, I realized how applicable the "3-circle" framework is for startups. I use this framework extensively in startup product development. My simplified version of the framework looks like this: So let's say you're deliberating on what startup idea you'd like to … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 1 of 3

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...]

Get Off The Corporate Assembly Line!

Do you remember the last time you did truly great work? I bet your output was made possible because you were fired up and inspired, and you threw your entire being into the project. I bet you thought about the project during non-work hours, in fact, I bet you had trouble sleeping because your mind was so buzzed thinking about possibilities regarding your project. It was work which was consuming, inspiring, and meaningful. There was a point to it. It was work you believed in. Now, how long ago was it when you felt this way? A lot of my friends in the corporate world haven't felt this way for a long time. Oh, they might feel this way for the first few months of a new job, but when … [Read more...]

The ONE TRUE RISK I faced in taking the startup leap

One of these days, I'll post the full-blown story of what exactly happened when I took the leap and kissed my corporate career goodbye. It was truly a Faith-Leap for me. Till then, kindly make do with this super abridged version: I was a 33-year old corporate lifer with a wife and a newborn son I was supporting. It was the middle of the 2008 recession. The startup firm I was working part-time putting up was struggling mightily, partly because I wasn't giving it the time it deserved. I had two paths to take. One was to continue on my 12-year corporate career as a line HR director, continue receiving my comfortable salary, continue with the peace of mind that my family would be ok. … [Read more...]