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 give me a deeper understanding of the negotiations being made around me. So I made sure that if I didn’t know a word, I’d jot it down and look it up. That simple act of discovery made all the difference.

As a result, when Peter articulates that tech enterprises can be looked at in terms of both B2B and B2C, I can at least understand that he is saying that their business relationships can be based on a Business to Business or a Business to Consumer interaction. It’s a small feat, but understanding the lingo that’s being used nurtures free-flowing discussion, in which the speaker doesn’t feel confined. In my relatively minimal exposure to entrepreneurship, I’ve observed that the free-flowing, out-of-box thinking is where the best ideas are conceived and the best work is produced. If we do not allow our minds to run free, we will not create our best work.

In addition, if we seek to work efficiently, we must equip ourselves with the right tools to do so. At times, as young and passionate people, we want to do and do out of anxiety, but if we’re doing things on our own without the proper knowledge and guidance, success will be near impossible to attain. There are so many of us who have the passion and allow it to drive us, but that passion will eventually burn out, if we run without an understanding of business.

On a brighter note, there are many seasoned entrepreneurs that would love to teach you. I’m not sure exactly why this is because entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people around, but from what I have inferred it’s a type of pay it forward approach, and perhaps even a little narcissism that goes into play.

Let me explain my hypothesis.

Seasoned entrepreneurs see themselves in us. That entrepreneurial itch that you have is the same type of itch that compels entrepreneurs to move. That passion and tenacity that you possess is the same force that drives entrepreneurs day in and day out. Seasoned entreps can spot that entrepreneurial energy and determination. They see themselves in us young folk, and want to help by sharing their knowledge and experience because it is actually gratifying for them to see us succeed, as so many others have done for them.

For us young and aspiring entrepreneurs let us not fear what we do not know. Let us not act like we have all the answers. Let us be real and learn from one another.

I leave you with this list of common terms I hear on a regular basis, which are simply defined. Taking in consideration that these are the bare bones of rich definitions, let’s spark some discussion and provide some insights! Perhaps, we could even add to the list to gain more knowledge! Anything goes, as we long as we learn together! Do hit the comments!

List of Terms Defined:

1) B2B– Business to Business

2) B2C– Business to Commercial

3) MVP– Minimal Viable Product

4) YTD– Year-to-Date

5) Bootstrap– act of starting your business with the resources you have without any outside funding at all

6) Traction– indicator that tell us if the business has generated revenue

7) Cash Cow-moneymaker but possibly stagnant

8) SRP– Suggested Retail Price

Startup Resources Galore From Steve Blank

Quick one. Just had to repost this. This is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to know about how modern entrepreneurship and startups work. Assembled by startup guru Steve Blank.

Do enjoy reading it, learning from it, and most importantly, start building something out of it!

INFOGRAPHIC: Top Online Tools for Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

These guys are a HUGE reason why putting up a startup has become cheaper and much more efficient.

I actually currently use ALL the tools from 1-10.

Wow, Google has been helping us a lot eh? So many Google tools here.

I’ll be checking out the trending tools as well – some look quite useful.

Got some online tools you’re finding awesome? Do share it below!

Delivering Happiness Delivers Big-time! (A book review)

After finishing a good book, I typically lie back, savor the moment, and say to myself, “that was a good book.” Then I try to think of ways of applying what I learned in different aspects of my life.

In the middle of finishing Tony Hsieh’s (pronounced “shay”) super cool book, Delivering Happiness, I HAD to talk about it to my team immediately. This book makes you want to jump out and change the way you do things. This is a great book.

Structurally, the book talks about 2 main things in sequence:

a) Tony Hsieh’s personal entrepreneurial journey (he started out wanting to be the King of the Worms)

b) The rise of Zappos (an amazing story)

But the neat thing is, he makes the book into something of a reference/how-to by providing quick lists and ordered suggestions.

The result is something unique: the book tells an engrossing story while providing practical tips in a very informal, accesible manner.

Culture Matters

This was the overwhelming lesson which was tatooed in my mind as I was reading. Zappos made customer service their number one, put-our-money-where-our-mouths-are priority. The Zappos brand is now synonymous with customer service – which is the main reason for their success. The internet is riddled with people telling stories on how Zappos made their day with jaw-dropping customer service. (just google)  After all, the goal of their every employee is to wow every customer and to “deliver happiness.”

The result? One billion dollar sales on just their 10th year of operations.

Every company would love to have this sort of customer service quality right? (well, maybe not)

Hsieh talks very transparently on how they achieved this: by focusing relentlessly on something a lot of firms ignore – culture.

“We may have 1200 to 1500 brand relationships and a good head start against the competition, but that can be copied. Our websites, policies – all can be copied, but not our special culture.”

Zappos’s competitive advantage is clearly their culture. Pause and consider this for just a minute, to help you realize how awesome it is.

Zappos has ten values which they passionately build their culture around:

Zappos 10 core values (p154)

  1. Deliver WOW through service
  2. Embrace and drive change
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness
  4. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
  5. Pursue growth and learning
  6. Build open and honest relationship with communication
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit
  8. Do more with less (see more in further reading)
  9. Be passionate and determined
  10. Be humble

They are extremely passionate about these 10 things, and make key decisions and structures around them.  Hsieh talks about rejecting highly talented individuals whom they knew would help the company out immediately, but rejected them because they didn’t fit the culture pillars above. That’s thinking long-term. That’s making sure the culture is protected.

Another amazing thing about recruitment? At the end of the recruitment process, once you pass everything, you’ll be offered $2000 if you decline the job. Yep, you read that right. To filter people who are only in it for the money, they offer a you $2000 to reject their offer. That’s literally putting money where your mouth is.

Throughout the book, Hsieh wows with dry wit, humility, honestly, and self-awareness.

Paradigm Shift

Part of the reason why this book resonated with me is my Human Resources background. Back in the day, I was the flag bearer for “Vision,” “Mission,” and “company values.”

Jumping into startups, I slowly felt that it mostly a crock of BS. Here’s the evidence. I felt it was how corporations “herded” their employees into docile sheep.

This book has singlehandedly shifted my paradigm, marrying my HR sensibilities with my entrepreneurial ones.

Vision and Values can be more than a plaque on the wall. Done right, it’s downright transformative.

Read this book now! (startup founders, HR people, customer service people – I can’t say enough how important this book is)

Culture. Matters.

Social Enterprise Updates, Startup Saturdays, and August 29 Keynote Clips

It’s been an awfully busy last few days for Juan Great Leap. I just want to loop you in with some important updates:

1. Cowboy Social Enterprise Planning

Last August 25, twelve Juan Great Leap readers took part in a “Cowboy” Social Enterprise Advocacy Planning held at the fourth floor of Amber Place in Pasig. The office was still being renovated, so the group went cowboy and just sat on the floor. Amazingly, almost everyone brought food to share with the group.

It was a very fruitful planning session. The group obviously shared the same passion as far as trying to make a positive difference for the country and its development. The prevalent theme was “starting small and thinking big.”

Ultimately, it was decided that an event be planned sometime November which will shed more light into social entrepreneurship and hopefully spur more people to explore founding one.

Do you want to help out? Please just email me at so I can invite you to the current online discussions being done.

2. Startup Saturdays Slots

I usually talk to 2-3 entrepreneurs / would be entrepreneurs every Saturday morning, at the Starbucks in SM Masinag in Antipolo around 10am. The next open slots are for Sept 8 (1 slot free) and Sept 22 (3 slots still free).  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to meet and share ideas with so many good people. Suffice it to say, this is free. If you want to reserve a slot, just send me an email at

3. August 29 Keynote Clips

I spent the weekend editing the footage of the August 29 event. Found below is an abridged version of the keynote address divided into 5 videos. Apologies as the audio isn’t so clear. I’ll be sharing the keynote address, but I won’t be sharing footage from the great panel discussion we had – I do want to create a clear advantage for people who go directly to the events.

Here they are: (ADDENDUM: If you’re watching ONE video, choose the third one – Peter)

Opening Prayer, Starting Out, and the Birth of Juan Great Leap

Money and Meaning Do Not Have To Be Mutually Exclusive Anymore

The Practical and Philosophical Reasons Why You HAVE To Start With A Passion

The Modified Three Circles and How We Can Easily Build Rovios

If You Aren’t a Samurai, You’re A Rice-Picker

You HAVE To Get On The Internets

Jump in!

I’ve always worked in the technology sector. My first startup was a technology startup.

Ironically though, it was only last November that I started blogging on WordPress. It was only a few months ago that I got into Twitter. It was only this year that I became pretty active in Facebook. I’m now dabbling with MailChimp, thinking about Path, and waiting for the iPhone 5 to get into Instagram and Pinterest, as my Blackberry camera just sucks.

I’ve always read at how powerful social media was. I’ve always agreed. But I never truly understood. Til now.

If you are on the fence on going all out with social media. I hope this post pushes you to one side: dive in!

The only regret I’ve had with going all out in social media is not diving sooner.

What dawned on me was how it wasn’t about the technology. It was really, always, always about connecting with people. After a few months of hammering out posts, I was amazed by some of the people whom I ended up connecting with: people all over the world, long lost friends whose work was aligned with mine, executives of big firms, startup founders of all ages and backgrounds.

Social media has democratized networking, and it is amazing!

The other great thing I found out? Despite all the Carabuenas and Sottos which occupy the headlines, the world is filled with GOOD people. People who want to help. People who go an extra mile to thank me for a post. Sincere people. Brilliant people. Some of whom I work with now on some truly exciting projects.

Best thing about it? It’s all freaking free! (well, a couple of dollars for my WordPress account)

Got a startup? Get into social media immediately and craft a strategy. This is one thing that STORM has GOT to improve on (but Stream Engine has done pretty well) Whatever the problem is: recruitment, customer service, product development, seeing how people think about an idea, marketing, sales – social media ALWAYS can be used to great effect.

Corporate lifer? Get into social media immediately. Think about it. What’s the first thing people do when they get your resume? They Google you. They look at ALL your social media accounts. If for example, you were in sales and you have a blog where you passionately talk about your craft. You also use social media in your selling. All things being equal, wouldn’t these factors give you a leg up over the competition? Your resume is found not only in Linkedin: nowadays your entire social media presence IS your resume. 

So let your voice be heard and dive in.

Besides, check this article out.

BOOK REVIEW: The $100 Startup – It’s Awesome

Can you really make a business out of your passion? 

Can you do it by spending the least amount of money?

Author Chris Guillebeau interviewed hundreds of “micropreneurs” who are making a very comfortable living pursuing their passions in order to find out the answer to these two questions.

According to his book, The $100 Startup, the answer is a resounding “YES!”

I think this is a great, great resource for people who aren’t so much interested in the “I WANT TO CREATE THE NEXT FACEBOOK!” startup, but those who simply wish to make a comfortable living by creating a business around their passions.

The book is replete with examples from entrepreneurs from all walks of life, along with their stories on how they made successful, satisfying, entrepreneurial leaps without requiring large investments or specialized expertise.

After reading very “technical” startup books like Lean Startup and the Entrepreneur’s Guide To Customer Development, this was a joy to read, with Guillebeau using mostly memorable stories to explain concepts. There were also A TON of practical tips and suggestions for the entrepreneur on how to grow her startup. What I remember in particular were his suggestions on how to effectively launch a product, comparing the process with how a big-budget movie is released. (by the time a big movie comes out – we’re always giddy with excitement)

This book is for you if: 1) you are thinking of making the leap and have a plan 2) you are thinking of making the leap and you can’t decide on a plan, 3) You are a relatively new startup owner (1-3 years) 4) you are desperately tired of the corporate rat-race.

I think this is a good “First startup book” for someone who is thinking of taking the leap.

For veteran start-up owners, you can probably skip this, although there are a number of interesting ideas you can probably incorporate.

Posting this on the same day as the last post because they are quite related.

Happy reading!

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.

Stuck in Traffic? Use the time to listen to these invaluable podcasts!

One habit I picked up in my startup life is reading business books. I started slowly, and then grew to read them voraciously.

But when I transferred houses from one which was a stone’s throw from the office to one which was an hour and a half away, my reading time got stymied.

This was how I introduced myself to the world of podcasts. I would download podcasts from the web, upload them into my mobile, and listen away: 3-4 hours a day sometimes in the traffic. Great, wonderful learning – during a time when there is minimal distraction.

Want to get started?

Let me introduce you to one of the most elaborate startup resources available online: The Stanford Entrepreneurial Lecture Series.

This is a series of podcasts from some of the most renowned startup founders in the world, talking about a variety of topics concerning entrepreneurship.

You can download the podcasts freely here. You can view the videos here, but I don’t recommend that while driving 🙂

Some of the podcasts you can start with:

A) Unlearn Your MBA

B) Honest Advice on Starting a Company

C) A Devotion to New Ideas

But believe me, almost all the entries are worth listening to.

If you do garner any concrete, meaningful insights from these sources, do share them below.

Happy learning people!

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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 pursue, and you have a few ideas you’re evaluating. This framework then becomes extremely useful. Each of the elements are crucial.

Some scenarios:

1) You have an idea you are passionate about, and can do it brilliantly, but people probably won’t pay you to do it.

Then this is simply a hobby, not a business. I could be the very best in the world in naming every G.I. Joe character who ever existed and recite their complete profiles, but the likelihood of me getting compensated for this skill might not be so hot.

Here’s the interesting thing here though: because of the internet, you can now easily find people with similar passions as you have. If you can build a related skill-set to world-class levels – the internet makes it so much easier to find a market. So say you’re the world’s best in restoring action figures, there’s a better chance of finding a market now than there was pre-internet.

2) You can pursue something you are passionate about and people will pay you to do, but you aren’t so good at it.

Then at some point your startup will fail, because consumers don’t like settling. This is still a pretty good spot to be in though, because your objective becomes clear – you have to build competence.

3) You can also choose to work on something which you are really good at, and people will pay you for it.

If you leave your corporate job and form your startup under these circumstances, then this is really jumping from the fire into the frying pan. This is really the corporate assembly line all over again. It’s actually a bit worse, because it will be harder to extricate yourself from the situation. So while this is tempting, it’s a recipe for frustration and zombification. Don’t.

One important thing to consider is that startups are typically composed of more than one founder. So it becomes more interesting (and fun) to tackle these questions.

What are we passionate about? What will people pay us to do? What are we collectively awesome at?

Time for that coffee meeting.