Machine Failure!

So sorry for the lack of posts last week. I poured water over my laptop. Of course, I did something phenomenally short-sighted when I tried turning it on to see if it still worked. It did. For around 2 minutes. Until it permanently died. I tried writing on my tablet, something less comfortable than writing on a real keyboard, but still palatable. There was just something seriously demotivating typing on something which had major cracks on the screen. You see, a friend of mine accidentally dropped it a few days ago. I found it amusing that after years and years of surviving multiple crazy toddlers at home, one perfectly-angled drop would finally shatter its honorable, … [Read more...]

Is Your Price FRAMED Right?

  Before we did a change in business model, our prices in STORM for flexible benefits looked something like this: 0-500 Employees:                   P75,000/month 500-750 Employees:               P120,000/month 750-1000 Employees:             P150,000/month Then we changed business models in 2013. We started making revenue from our vendors instead. We became an online shop for benefits. Since we did this, we reduced our reliance on the monthly retainer fee. We became a volume-driven company. More employees, more people buying benefits our store - more revenue. At a certain threshold, we could give our services for free. Our pricing then became something like this: 0-250 … [Read more...]

The Behemoths, Boutiques, and the Breakthroughs

Looking at the Philippine landscape, in a few years I think there will be two major types of firms here in the our country: The Behemoth They are already here, and they will grow even bigger. I've recently pitched to a couple of BPO firms who project to number in the 50,000's by next year. That is a mind-boggling number of people to manage. Already, I feel for the would-be HR Heads of these firms. I think this trend would just continue on the next few years. Why? Well, first of all I think the first world will continue to push even more work our way. We have seen this trend happen as more and more processes APART from voice support are gradually entrusted to BPO's here. We … [Read more...]

On Sexy Vs. Urgent, Not Playing the Field Enough, and Why You Mustn’t Roll Like Rick

We've heard it from so many pundits and experts already (including me): there is SO MUCH opportunity now, the time to do a startup is now, blah blah blah. I do agree with this, obviously. Wholeheartedly. Just compared to this same time last year, I've seen so many  entrants, foreign and local, angel and VC, wanting to splurge their investment money on new ideas. This is why I squirm around a lot. I see a lot of opportunity lost - good people pitching blah ideas. (Incredibly, I'm starting to see blah ideas get some funding, but that's another topic) I know that perhaps this is part of the learning process, but c'mon ANOTHER e-commerce site with no defensible niche? A whole startup … [Read more...]

4 Startup Questions From Ken Answered

I've been getting a quite a few emails asking startup questions. Here's one of them I was just about to answer, then my brilliant wife suggested, "Why don't you answer it through a post so more people can benefit?" I love my wife. Reader Ken asks: 1) What are the principles behind a successful start-up entrepreneur?  One can write whole books just talking about this topic. But if I were to offer a distilled, admittedly shoot-from-the-hip answers, they would be: a) Find a good great partner. Don't go for more than 3 people in your founding team. 2 is zen: maker/seller. b) Business model > product. Obviously, the product is crucial. But how will you generate a scalable … [Read more...]

70 More Tickets Added to the Fully-Booked Startups Unplugged Event on Saturday

Last night, we hit 250 people registering at the event. We've now got around 20-30 people in the waitlist as well. Considering we've got a bigger space we can work with than the last conference, some people who got tickets and reached to say they cannot make it (thank you so much!) and how it just would be a shame if we limit the number of people who can participate, we're releasing 70 more tickets for the event.  For those who already got tickets, I do implore you - since the tickets are free AND limited, you WILL be screwing over someone who might truly want to go if you reserve a ticket and flake. If you do find that you cannot make it on Saturday for some reason, do email me at … [Read more...]

How To Shut Your Way Up To Sales Success

Back around 2007, I remember being thoroughly underwhelmed by the CEO of a multinational company our startup competed with. Our companies were summoned by a client in a joint meeting to compete for a bid. I distinctly remember telling Pao: "The guy didn't say anything and just wrote down notes. He was so unimpressive." Little did I know that not saying anything and taking down notes were quite strategic in one on one sales, so much so in B2B sales. Stubborn that I was, it took me a year or two to incorporate the same strategies in my own sales meetings. Back then, whenever we did sales pitches, people would always react at how young we were - and this always felt like a hurdle in … [Read more...]

August 8 Startup Event Now 50% Booked

If you're planning to attend the August 8 Startup Event at the UP Technohub in Quezon City: Ayala Foundation Presents: Juan Great Leap - Transforming Your Idea Into Startup Success,  then you better register here now, as the 100 slots are now half-filled after we released the announcement just a couple of days ago. I'm really excited to get to meet all of you on the 8th - I'm sure we'll all learn from the panel and from each other! See you then! … [Read more...]

STARTUP SALES TIP: Generic is geriatric, make it human instead

Everyday, we experience getting bombarded with "above the line" sales pitches: from TV, print and radio. This is mass market/media advertising: a singular ad which hopes to reach millions and convince thousands to buy. Large corporations spend billions on advertising to convince a small percentage of the reached audience to make a purchase. Of course, startups typically have a limited advertising budget, so they have to be sneakier, employing "below-the-line" techniques such email, direct marketing materials, and social networks. Here, the thinking is that we can be more "targeted" with our sales correspondence, because we can go more "direct" to the consumer. You know what, from what … [Read more...]