Avoid These 5 Absolutely Crippling Startup Choices, Part 2

(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...]

Avoid the Joneses, They Will Anchor You to Mediocrity

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...]

The Absolutely Crucial Art of Defending Your Dream Time

Do you want to know what's truly important to you? There's really no need for further philosophical / existential analysis. Here's a surefire way to know. Take a look at your calendar for the past month. Take a look at the number of hours you spend on certain tasks. Where you spend your time will show you an objective view as to what you truly find important. Do you spend countless hours working overtime? How much time do you spend with your family? Do you spend a lot of time pampering yourself? Video games? TV? Your calendar says a whole lot about you.  In our community, we are encouraged to "defend our prayer time." That we should spend 15-30 minutes, at a specific … [Read more...]

5 Must-ask Questions for Your Co-Founder Interviews

If you've been reading this blog for awhile now, you already know how much emphasis I put at the process of finding the right partner. Actually, wrong partner selection is THE single reason I've failed in multiple previous  startups. Do NOT take this delicate process haphazardly. To help you with this process, I'd like to share some practical questions you can ask a potential partner during an interview. This is by no means a comprehensive list - these are just a random, practical list of questions I've found to be pretty helpful over the years. 1) What are your own dreams for this startup? You want a partner, not an employee. You want someone who will share your startup dream and … [Read more...]

How I’m Picking Up The Pieces and Re-Launching Them As Startups. Anyone interested in being founders?

Around 3 years ago, STORM was in a rut. We made a sellable product in Flexible Benefits. We were so excited that people were ACTUALLY BUYING our product that we... ...made OTHER products instead of concentrating and building on our winner. I blame my entrepreneurial craziness for this one. Wrote about this a bit for homegrown.ph - on the serial temptation.  Soon, we had more products than we had people! While each idea was an innovative one and made a BIT of money for us, what we mostly produced was a boatload of mediocrity. Instead of making one GREAT thing - we did a number of  inspired but UNDEVELOPED products. So channeling our inner Steve Jobs, we killed all our horses except … [Read more...]

On the New Storm Office, the Infamous Orange Chair, and Why You Can Do It!

STORM transferred to its newest office a few weeks ago. I love it! It's brightly lit, incredibly functional, spaceous, and comfortable to work in. There are no "manager" rooms. There are whiteboards and wallboards everywhere, and multiple spaces for different kinds of meetings. Pictures below! Looking closely, you would also see rather peculiar items in the office: Like this old restaurant-style chair... And of course, our infamous "orange chair." These "artifacts" belonged to the very first Storm office - the one-bedroom condo where I lived.  The bedroom became my house - everything else was transformed into the office. (how I wish my … [Read more...]

THINK: You Only Have 1 Peso

I started out my day with 50 pesos in my pocket. By 5pm, I had 1 peso. I had food waiting for me at home. True, I didn’t have any more expenses for the day, but I still needed to hop on the MRT to get home. Good thing, I had a stored value card to get me there. On the journey home, I was drunk with excitement. I felt liberated without the resources that would usually shield me from hardship. I was ready for any obstacle because I literally had nothing to lose. The only thing on my mind was to get home to food and shelter, and I knew I’d get there someway, somehow.  While this romanticized anecdote is a product of my own recklessness and negligence, I savor that 1 Peso … [Read more...]

For the Young Entrepreneur: Do not Fear the Lingo, Get down with it! (Even more fun with wise friends!)

(Matt Lapid will be regularly posting original articles with me here on JGL, with the perspective of being brand-new entrepreneur. Heres his second article. As usual, please tell us what you think with the content we are pumping out for you. Gracias! - Peter) “So is it a B2B or B2C…Kasi pwedeng B2C…Pwede rin B2B, but you need to define your niche market and validate…BOOTSTRAP…Looks like you have an MVP!” This is the lingo that resonates after being with JGL for one week. Initially, I felt like “huh?” all the time. “What’s a B2B? I never took calculus.” In spite of my ignorance, I understood that even if I were to attain a tiny bit of knowledge of simple business terms it would … [Read more...]

5 Things I Learned in Raising Investment Money

You guys know that I've always advocated bootstrapping. I will ALWAYS advocate bootstrapping as the way to go. But when someone asks me if she should raise money though, I never ever blurt out a "you should always bootstrap first." The real (sometimes frustrating) answer is of course, "it depends." It depends on whether your idea needs a lot of capital to begin with. It depends on the market. It depends on how defensible your position is to new entrants. It depends on your market adaptability rate. Sometimes, it also depends on where you want to take your startup. Our first bootstrapped startup, STORM, became profitable on around its 3rd year, then it just grew pretty fast … [Read more...]

No Money? No Experience? No Problem!

After she graduated with her degree in Psychology in 2010, we hired Ofelia Linchangco in STORM to do HR analysis and consulting. What was pretty evident from the get-go was that she loved design-related work. She would always volunteer to do design work for STORM's marketing materials and would tinker with the website design. While she would do good work with her HR-related responsibilities, her design work would always elicit oohs and ahs from everyone in the workplace. It was plain to see what her passion was. A year and a half later, she resigned. Planning her leap, she read a lot of books and did a ton of research. Then, using the remnants of her last pay (around P8000.00), she put up … [Read more...]