The LEGO Theory of Job Fulfillment



Who doesn’t love Lego?

When I was a kid, Lego was my ultimate, favorite toy. After I would unbox a set, I would first try to build it as designed. But this wasn’t the fun part yet! This is sort of the boring requirement.

After some time, these new pieces would gradually fall into my BIG PAIL of Lego blocks. Playtime commenced when I would pour the pieces on the floor – one big mess.

Then, I would just…create.

Cars, knights on steeds, robots with several points of articulation, you name it, I built it. Fun!

Decades after, Lego is bigger than ever.

People buy the stuff in droves (even if it hurts the pocket) – fuelled especially by licensing everything cool. (Marvel AND DC, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc…) There are Lego amusement parks, TV shows, movies (Lego Batman movie FTW!), Lego copycats, corporate training programs (!) and typically, a whole section of your nearest toy store devoted to all things Lego.

When you think about it, the timeless appeal of Lego is easily explainable.

People want to build. 

I remember just getting LOST in building stuff. Like when I created my own Mazinger Z (complete with attachable Head-spaceship), and then letting it last a few days (savoring what I built?) before destroying everything and starting anew with another idea. It was Play-doh on steroids.

You can imagine millions of kids letting their imagination run wild in creating something that was truly theirs.

What are you passionate about?

When I get asked this question, sometimes, I get flummoxed. Am I super passionate about flexible benefits? About HR?

When I really think about it, the answer is no. I don’t think about it in all my spare time, nor do I devour books on it as pleasure reading (unlike say, some business books). I AM highly interested in it.  But I’m not prepared to say it’s a passion.

So that does that mean I’m not passionate about building my HR Benefits firm?

Of course not. That’s a passion that runs very, very deep.

Pondering on it, I then realize that what I am passionate about is building.

Building things, building the firm.

I’ve almost complete control of my blocks – who I hire, what direction I choose, what color scheme, what market, what tools, what culture.

And when I take a step back and see what I’ve helped built, it is something that gives me immense satisfaction and joy.

Isn’t this true with everything else we build?

The scripts and blogposts we write? The architecture we’ve drafted? The recipe we masterfully whipped up? The clothes we design? The app we coded? The training program we drew up?

You can almost hear the pride and joy a person has when they can point at something and say, I did that! or I contributed to that! 

That’s my Mazinger Z!

A lot of the people I know in jobs and careers where they CREATE are happy. Sure, they may find themselves in a crummy job or two once in awhile, but they love what they do and this ultimately leads to a fulfilling career.

The problem occurs happens when we choose jobs and work which REMOVE the opportunity to build something. When we’re just maintaining something. A cog in the machine.

I find that there is also a radical difference in learning when you’re building something, as opposed to merely maintaining. There is more engagement. There is more purpose.

Just ask any programmer you know: what’s more exciting – developing something new, or maintaining something that’s already running? The difference will be a chasm.

This is what worries me.

I’ve a son now in a traditional big grade school. The coursework has barely changed (since my own time there). Letter grades in 5-6 classic subject matters.

Most of our schools are still stuck in Industrial Age-type of teaching and thinking. Standardized tests. A single path to success. And, while there are notable exceptions, most of the coursework is still geared towards maintenance. Just take a look at how we NAME our courses…

Human Resources Management

Business Management

Management of Financial Institutions

Management Information Systems

Business Administration

Legal Management

Why merely manage, administer, or maintain, when you can create, improve, and build?

A New Paradigm

While this is something we have to institutionally change, especially with the Digital Age having a whole new set of rules (a heated topic for another day). Still, there are a lot of things we can do if we find ourselves in a situation where are not able to create and express.

1. Find the part of your job where you can build

What I find is that even if you’re in a blatantly “maintenance” type of job, like let’s say, accounting – there are still many ways to  try to exercise your creativity. You can for example volunteer to improve processes, or offer to do a cost-benefit analysis on an area which it has never been done. The caveat here of course is that your current work is done at a level where your boss is comfortable letting you tackle other things. If you pour your heart at this new task, though – you will probably do great work, which your boss will appreciate.

2. If there isn’t, leave

Of course, not all bosses and cultures will tolerate this. Some people will simply think you’re over-stepping boundaries. Some people will want you to really just fulfill your job description, nothing more, nothing less.

If this is the case, prepare your resume already. Don’t let your soul get slowly crushed maintaining and being a cog. I guarantee, a few years of this WILL result in you being effectively turned into a zombie afraid of change, just looking for the highest paycheck.


3. Engage your childhood hobbies

When I do recruitment, I try to see beyond the resume and the credentials in placing the person in a role. A critical question I ask is: what were your hobbies growing up?

I’d get different answers: acting, drawing, painting, singing, designing, writing, and so on.

The sad thing is, for a LOT of people – they let go of these hobbies when they “grow up” and start working.

I would normally ask them, “Hey, have you ever thought about a career in __________? (writing, design, whatever the hobby is…).

The most common answer is no, and the most common reason is a lack of practicality.

Very typically during the interview, I would normally try to convince them to try it out, and the applicant, sensing that I might not be interested in hiring her because I’m suggesting another course of action, would then underline even more how impractical that would be. Sigh.

Don’t kill the Lego Builder in you. Keep these hobbies alive. Use what God has blessed you with. I’m convinced these can offer also you clues as to what your Purpose really is.

4. Consider being an entrepreneur

Of COURSE I’m biased. This IS a startup-themed blog, after all.

For the Lego-Builder in you though, this is the ultimate choice  – to bring something out into the world with your unique DNA draped all over it. Your very own Mazinger Z.

There’s no better time in history to be an entrepreneur. Everything you need is a Google search away. Start small.

So, what are you building now? What are you up to?

If you’re not building anything, it’s never too late to start.

Been Awhile, JGL


After 8 months, I had all sorts of ideas on what my “first” post will be like.

Some long, drawn out 5-parter on what I’ve learned all this time, perhaps?

Some Michael Jordan “I’m back” one-liner?

I was even mulling just hammering out a regular post and pretend the 8-month gap never happened.

I had all sorts of ideas.

Of course it came down to me just opening good old WordPress and suddenly just typing.

And here it is.

When Peter?

I would get asked around a lot “when are you writing again?” or “when is the next open coffee?”

And I would just smile and apologize.

I did have the perfect excuse.

It has been a busy year. STORM went through a huge fundraiser. We started operations in Indonesia (which was just surreal). We are scaling fast, and facing all the problems which came with it. Moreover, I now had more children to spend time with and take care of.

I never got around to giving this as an excuse though, because it was simply not true. I actually wanted to share so much of what I was experiencing.

Truth is, I just never got around to writing. Reverse-momentum all over again. (here and here!)

So, what the heck…

So here’s a post just to break this 8-month gap. Boom. In your face reverse-momentum!

Some small consolation – I went through a TON these past months and learned SO much. At the very least, I think I’ve got a whole lot of writing just bursting out of me.

Thank you for your patience and your support – especially those who have encouraged me to continue. Those truly mean the world for us writers.



I’m back.

Advent Thoughts On a Hospital Couch

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My wife has been in labor in the delivery room for the past 8 hours. We are eagerly expecting our fourth child. I can hear Typhoon Ruby’s din just outside the window almost seamlessly combine with the whir of the air-conditioning unit.

I write this helplessly alone on a leather couch at St. Luke’s hospital, waiting for the signal to come in and hold my wife’s hand as she goes through the final birth stages.

But not yet.

I sit here, sleep-deprived, waiting and praying. It is Advent after all, I muse.

Yesterday, here in the hospital, I had a call with my business partner Paolo regarding my startup baby, STORM. As big as 2014 has been for us, the call greatly suggests that 2015 will be much bigger. Exponentially so.

As a startup founder, all my entrepreneurial dreams are starting to come into fruition. I should be giddily jumping up and down.

It’s interesting timing that this call happened in this particular context: in a hospital, with my wife in labor, seeing the victims of the typhoon on TV, during Advent season, during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

I am really happy with the call, but the context forces me to see it in what I feel is the right perspective. Because of this, I take the news almost in stride.

Because of the context, I am reminded to be humble. I am reminded not get carried away. I am reminded that Jesus was born intentionally in a manger, bereft of all human comforts.  I am reminded that I cannot let myself be too attached to these comforts – my Savior never was.

I am reminded of the priorities I had committed to.

As much passion as I have for entrepreneurship and startups, I want to be MORE passionate about God. More passionate about my role as a father and husband.

I thank God for all His blessings. I humbly pray I may use them always for His Greater Glory.

Meanwhile, I wait here in my room for my son, with the joy of the Son in my heart.

It is Advent after all.

What Is Your Fearlessness Quotient?


At work, when we talk about hiring (which we talk about A LOT nowadays), I usually tell my co-managers that I am very interested in hiring “entrepreneurial-minded” people.

Then I’d get often asked:

What does that mean?

That’s a question I’ve been mulling about for ages. What exactly is it? How do you evaluate if someone has it? How do you know if someone has the potential to have it?

There are so many theories on what entrepreneurship is.

Here’s one of mine.

I think, when you distill it, when you boil entrepreneurship down to its basest levels, entrepreneurship is all about fearlessness.

Entrepreneurs just conquer fear.

Innovation, a word long synonymous with entrepreneurship, is all about not being happy with the status quo and doing something better.

How many times have we let the status quo remain because no one had the guts to call it out? Just to even identify that you want to  merely explore changing the status quo can be scary, much more actually trying to change it. Imagine the threats and pressure Elon Musk is facing now from the gigantic industries (petroleum, automobile) Tesla is trying to disrupt. Guts.

Persistence, another word we associate with entrepreneurship, also involves fearlessness. When we fail, it takes a lot of guts to DO THE SAME THING again, knowing the results will likely end in yet another failure. Entrepreneurship involves repeated failure. Legendary Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos recently declared that his failures are worth billions already.  Ballsy.

Entrepreneurs also are known as builders. In STORM, we find this important enough to include in one of our value statements, which says that “we like to build versus maintaining.” To build something also takes guts – because you are putting something out into the world and opening yourself up to criticism.

In his recent, wondrous book which every entrepreneur needs to read, Peter Thiel says that a great entrepreneur is essentially a contrarian at heart. The entrepreneur believes and works on something the rest of the world doesn’t think is true. (For example, Larry and Sergey thought web linkages produce much better search results) It takes A LOT OF GUTS to run counter to what the rest of the world thinks.


So I’ve now included a set of questions on fearlessness which I ask would-be employees.

What’s the ballsiest thing you’ve done?

Tell me about a time when you stuck your neck out for an idea.

Tell me about a time you were criticized for something you created or suggested.

When was the last time you tried something out for the first time? 

As you read this, try to answer them. It’s a good exercise that can give us clues as to what our fearlessness quotient is.

It’s a good indicator on your readiness to make that entrepreneurial leap.

The good news?

Even if you found yourself frustratingly giving crappy answers to these questions, I think fearlessness CAN BE LEARNED.

You need to exercise your fearlessness muscles. How do you build muscle? Reps.

Start with low weights.

When your boss asks your group for questions or suggestions, be sure you do a Hermione and give an answer, even if ESPECIALLY when you think your answer feels a bit stupid.

Suggest ideas. In STORM, one of our best employees, Ethel, suggests things to me very very often (she just emailed another one as I write this). Big ideas or small ones, in her scope of work or beyond it, she would just go for it and suggest. She knows that sometimes, her idea won’t go well with me. Sometimes, it does. But she just puts it out there and learns either way. That’s awesome.

Practice makes perfect.

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15 Slots Available For STORM’S Private Recruitment Cocktails Tomorrow

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STORM is scaling fast.

Founded in January 2013 (a spinoff from my original HR startup, STORM Consulting), STORM is bent on transforming the way companies manage benefits.

I’m fairly confident STORM has been among the fastest growing local startups across these last 2 years, revenue-wise. We’ve been blessed.

In 2013, we proved our new business model could work – an entirely new way for companies to manage their benefits.

In 2014, we started growing fast. Very fast. We’ve quadrupled both 2013 revenue AND 2013 manpower. We’re set to AT LEAST quadruple revenue again in 2015.

There are no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s looking like things will go even faster.

The most crucial thing in this scaling thing?

Hiring the RIGHT people.

I’m pretty clear with who I want to work with. I’ve seen the VAST difference between an entrepreneurial employee and a regular employee.

Are you fearless? Do you like to challenge the status quo? Are you a BUILDER instead of someone who maintains? Can you sell your ideas well?

We need people like you all over our company.

(I’ve updated our Careers page HERE)

I know this is late, but STORM has organized a privately-held career event on Tuesday, 630pm at the Astoria Plaza. (yep, this post is pretty late – apologies)

I’ve 15 slots still free.

If you think you’re a match to any of the posts on our Careers page, then please send me your resume ( TO RESERVE A SLOT.

See ya!


Big Picture? No, Look at the BIGGER Picture

big pictureThese past few months have been crazy in STORM. We started the 2014 with about 16 employees. We’re ending the year with around 50 employees and 60 more job openings.

After 5-6 years hovering at around 10-15 employees, we’re now scaling at an unprecedented level.

It’s been all sorts of crazy, but its been fun. It’s a riveting challenge to see just how far we can push this.

This sudden shift in scale started when we realized two years ago that, “Hey, we can be more than a niche player in the industry – we could help EVERYONE out with flexible benefits.”

We widened the aperture.

Stepping Back for a Wider View

Every once in awhile I would talk to an entrepreneur about ideas or actual products they would share with me to get advice.

In a lot of these ideas, I could imagine a LARGER opportunity NOT being pursued.

For example, there was one app idea which targeted Churches. As it was being explained to me, I thought: hey, this might work for ANY type of community. 

I could see why he would think this way – he was an avid Church-goer who wanted to solve a specific problem.

That is awesome. Focus is good.

In doing this though, we might be missing a larger, still unserved market which would benefit from the same solution.

It is to our best interests then, to see what happens if we take a step back and try to see a larger opportunity we can capture.

This might be easier said than done. A number of us see the world with some filters which prevent us from seeing the possibilities.

Overcoming Our Narrow Filters

I realize that growing up in school and working in corporate taught me to have a very narrow paradigm.

Good grades will make great companies want you.

You have to go up the corporate ladder.

There is no shortcut. You have to pay your dues.

There is a salary scale.

Your expertise is limited to the Department you are in. (Finance guys know only Finance, HR guys know only HR, etc…)

It takes a special type of experience or exposure (an Ivy-leaguer, maybe someone who came from Apple or Google, someone extremely well-connected, etc…) to build a big firm.

I can never learn anything quickly enough to be an expert in it and compete. So might as well stick to what I’ve been exposed to.

These are all illusions.

Feel free to dream bigger. Once you get blinders like these off, you will begin to see how MUCH opportunity there is – to make a difference, to build something special, to help a larger number of people.


If there’s one person I know who exemplifies big-ger thinking, it’s Nix Nolledo.

I realize I’ve never talked about Nix in JGL (except when he was in Startups Unplugged). This is because I respected his approach to be low-key. But hey, I don’t think this is pretty low-key anymore:

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Nix invested in STORM in 2013 and has been instrumental in helping us scale and grow.

What I’ve learned from Nix is looking at not only the big picture, but seeing if there’s an even bigger one hiding behind it. After every conversation with him, I’m always inspired to widen my horizons.

Of course, it helps that he lives this out. He dreams big and just goes after it. (That Inquirer story does a good job of documenting his path)

That Xurpas IPO is a huge, ballsy move. For me, it’s not only because of all the money they raised. It’s also because now, they are expected to grow much more than what they raised. They’re taking this challenge head-on, in a very public arena.

So Don’t Sell Yourself Short

This applies to everyone in the entrepreneurial path. Widen your aperture.

Yes, you can resign from your job and build something special.

Yes, you can find GREAT people to build your startup with.

Yes, you can scale and go to other countries.

Yes, you can go after a larger market.

Yes, you can build an awesome, world-class product.

Yes, you can pursue your dream and be practical at the same time.

Yes, you can.

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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, long-standing resisitance.

I can still hear the sound it made when it hit the marble floor.

So I was left with my phone.

No way. (using it now, but no way will I use it for a longer post)

Hopefully, I’ll have access to a working, suitable machine and get to writing soon.

Have a good week people!

Release Your Inner Kraken: The Folly of Hidden Talents

kraken release

For as far as I can remember, I’ve always loved writing.

I enjoyed paragraph writing in grade school. There was always a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I felt a paragraph was complete, when I felt every word I used was the right one. It was simultaneously art and science for me.

This love for word construction continued throughout my high school and college stints. Writing assignments wouldn’t feel like homework. I would volunteer for writing tasks across my different subjects, projects, and the clubs I belonged to.

In my first year after graduation, I taught english for a year in my alma mater and loved every minute of it.

Then I went corporate. Suddenly, my love for writing had no outlet.

I would get chances to write – typically copy for recruitment materials or job descriptions or disciplinary memos. I would get to write a lot of academic reports, too. But this wasn’t really writing for me. It was…work. There was no soul nor creativity involved.

From 1998 to 2011, I buried my writing. It became a hidden talent.

In my mind, it wasn’t really a big deal. It wasn’t practical in a sense that it didn’t put food on the table.

But I would feel a thorn on my side when I met with writers. I would feel all existential when I would read something that would resonate with me.

After my great leap and the euphoria which followed when things started to fall into place, there was a strong feeling that I should give something back.

The first medium I automatically thought of was, you guessed it…writing.

And so I wrote my first Juan Great Leap post.

It has been amazing ever since. I had reconnected with my lost love.

This reacquaintance has led to such amazing things.

This blog has been such a blessing for me. It has introduced and re-introduced me to people that are now significant parts of my life. It has broadened my horizons. It has blessed me by letting me into the entrepreneurial journeys of some extraordinary people. Though I have not made a centavo off of the blog, I have been introduced to investors and business partners by the blog. And I just cannot explain the joy I feel when someone emails to say that a particular piece has helped them. I don’t think there’s any greater joy for a writer  – or any type of worker, for that matter – than when their work is appreciated.

Let me tell you about my friend Mela.

Multiple people were telling me: “Have you seen her dance? Maiiyak ka!”

I found that statement peculiar. To the point of tears? Really?

Finally, I had my chance to see her in action.  In one Living Hope concert, she did a beautiful interpretative dance. Now mind you, I have no special appreciation nor eye for dancing, but there it went.

My tears.

But I guess that’s what we feel when we observe someone tap into her God-given gifts and isn’t afraid of showing it to the world.

We feel awe. We feel alive. We feel inspired. 

My theory? We feel God.

I feel all of us are blessed this way. We each have been blessed a “super power” of sorts, which, if we aren’t afraid of using and developing, can just MOVE people. Even to tears.

Alas, society, “practicality”, and fear can prevent us from exercising it.

I remember writing about Ope.

She was a Psychology graduate looking for  “HR” work. So we hired her as an HR practitioner. Soon though, we saw that she was volunteering for all the design work that was available (and doing it for no extra pay) – brochures, websites, posters…

Quoting from my previous post:

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.

She’s now the young CEO of Rocket Concepts – a design company.

And readers – please don’t let your college course dictate what you do in life because you need to “exercise what you learned.” We selected our courses in our teens – a time when most of us were still confused as to who we are. Follow your heart. Pray and discern.

Tapping into our hidden talents always lead to great things.

Can you paint? Act? Build things with your hands? Do you speak well? Can you counsel well? Design well? Can you cook? Design cakes? Carve wood? Write plays? Play an instrument? Speak different languages well? Teach well?

More importantly, when engaged in this hidden art of yours, does the time just pass by like the wind? Do you feel an inner joy?

In each of us, God has instilled incredibly moving, tremendous, awe-inspiring gifts.

Don’t let them be hidden under the water, away from plain sight. This not only robs you of opportunities, it also robs others from being beneficiaries.

Release the Kraken.

The opportunity cost of not doing so is incalculable.



5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job Now and Work for a Startup (With Traction)


So, you want to put up a startup.

You want to take the leap.

But it’s sooooo hard to let go of the cushy job you’ve spent numerous years cultivating…

You worry about the sudden disruption of that bi-monthly cashflow you’re now so accustomed to and built your life around.

So what now?

Here’s a solution – work for a startup. But don’t just work for ANY startup – work for a startup with traction.

What’s traction? I like Naval Ravikant’s (Angelist founder) efficient definition of traction: “Quantitative evidence of market demand.”

A startup has traction when it has increasing numbers – revenue, users, profitability, engagement, traffic, etc…

These are evident signs that the startup is WORKING, that the business idea has merit and potential.

I’ve been mulling about my own leap into entrepreneurship, and I think one of aspects of my own leap that I underrate the most was my stint in Chikka back in the mid-2000’s.

I underrate it because I started forming STORM before my stint in Chikka. But I think my 5-year stint in the startup (it was 3 years old when I joined) helped solidify my readiness in taking my full leap into entrepreneurship in 2008.

Recalling my stint in Chikka, and my own experiences in running startups, here are 7 reasons why you should quit your job now and pursue a job in a startup with traction.

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1. It’s Inspiring

After 5 years in a very “corporate” environment (IT consulting), I had a very different experience on my first day, when our CEO sent me an email welcoming me to the team, and on the last line saying: “Let’s kick ass and rule the world!” I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “ass” in formal company channels.

But after that, I was sucked in. I loved the informality and culture they were trying to create. I loved that everyone was in t-shirts. (my previous firm made me wear a tie)

More than this, however, I loved experiencing the growth.

In seasoned corporations, you’d expect conservative growth figures of perhaps 12% or 15%. In startups with traction, we’ve experience numbers like 700%, or even 3000% growth. This is undeniably exciting for everyone in the firm. When a startup CEO makes announcements about growth figures – everyone feels giddy (because everyone feels he/she contributed).

I remember reading that in Amazon’s early years, they made a bell ring whenever a customer would purchase from Amazon. This made the culture electric, they created a real buzz (pun intended) in the air. (obviously they stopped this after there came a point when the bell just rang incessantly.

Traction makes things ultra-exciting for a startup.


2. You Can Get Paid (!)

Here is where the big difference I think lies. At STORM, I tell people who come in: “You probably won’t get the same salary as you would command in a multinational – but present salary isn’t why you would join a company like us.”

But you know what? We would come close.

And combined with everything else we offer (culture, learning, excitement, contribution, input, upward mobility, etc…), this makes it a sweet deal.

You get to work in a startup without sacrificing that big a monetary sacrifice.

“But I won’t get equity.”

No, probably not the big 20%-30% ownership that you would get when you join a pure from-scratch startup with no traction, but….


3. You Have A Shot at Significant Shares

Noah Kagan was one of Facebook’s first 40 employees. He was there when Facebook was still in that rented house we saw in The Social Network. He was fired in his first year (so he didn’t get his shares, because it was vested). He basically lost $100,000,000. Of course, not every startup will be Facebook, but what I want you to look at here is the shares given to Noah. No, as the 40th employee, he won’t have the same % as Zuckerberg or Sean Parker, but got a much, much larger percentage than current employees get. (and he doesn’t need to buy them at $100,000,000 if he bought the same shares now).

Let me break it gently to you: you have NO chance of gaining significant shares in a seasoned corporation, especially if its public.

On the other hand, a number of startups offer equity shares to strategic/loyal employees.  I know some young startups who give all their starting set of employees shares in the firm. In some startups, you need to prove yourself (if you do, most entrepreneurs I know would be happy to give you shares). Dino Alcoseba now owns a portion of the startup he leads, Strata.

If your goal in becoming an entrepreneur is equity (which makes a ton of sense, as this is how most billionaires acquire their wealth), then you might actually find it by working for a startup with traction.

You’re going to have to prove yourself, though. Bottom-line, you have a shot.


4. Learning From Success

You now have so many stories on entrepreneurs learning from their mistakes. We hear a lot of quotes like:

That company I started failed, but the learning I garnered from it was why I now succeed…yada, yada..

This is true, of course (in fact I write about it here).

But you know what? You can also learn from successes! Yes!

By joining a startup with traction, you can see what it takes.

You can work for a dozen failed startups, amass a TON of experience, and STILL have no clue about how a startup can succeed.

In working for a startup with traction, you can see and observe best practices. Want to be a successful startup CEO? Then learn from a successful one.

5. Upward AND Horizontal Mobility

Dino is my poster boy for upward mobility in a startup. 5 years from “Junior HR Consultant” to CEO. (We have numerous examples of less dramatic upward movements as well 🙂 I think this is a clear advantage of working for startups – you get to grow with the firm.

But horizontal mobility is extremely important as well. Increased horizontal mobility allows you to find your own traction within a firm, and contribute where you can do your BEST work (a tremendous difference)

In a large corporation, it is often very difficult to change departments. Let’s say you start a career in Sales. You go up the ranks. If, suddenly, after some discernment, you decide, “I want to transfer to supply chain,” don’t be surprised if it takes time for your request to happen, or more likely, it doesn’t happen.

With a startup with traction, you can be flexible. With traction comes growth. With growth comes the need for new positions. Hence comes the opportunity to not only contribute in different areas – and try them out!

Longtime JGL advocates would be familiar with AR, who originally worked as a recruiter in (the now defunct) Searchlight, then she was hired by STORM. She then became STORM’s HR Officer, then HR Manager, then transferred into Consulting, then became our Content Management Head, before occupying the position she holds now in STORM, which is Customer Service Head. All in 2-3 years!

For startups, traction is king. Once a startup experiences traction, the possibilities are endless.

Make your possibilities endless as well and join one.

(Part 2 coming up soon!)




Thursdays Unplugged Postscript (July 31 Edition)



See that bottle of Pepsi in the picture?

I started this Thursdays Unplugged session by accidentally dropping the closed bottle, and then proceeding to absent-mindedly open it.

The result was an explosion of cola and pride, mostly on my shirt (which, incredibly, looks the same in the picture).

It was all uphill from there though!

With the third participant calling that he couldn’t make it the last minute, this became a 3-person session. Of course, I loved the result, as Jode, Gerome, and I not only got into the technicalities of the their startup ideas, but more importantly, we got to talk about their journey, and the softer parts of the startup life.

The thing I love about these sessions is that they’re discussions. Even if Gerome and Jode had very different concepts (one design, and one more IT-logistics) and were in very different stages of the startup journey, the exchange proved to be quite open, honest, and everyone was more than helpful to one another.

Can’t wait for the 14th. Seeya Mike, JC, and Michelle!

Slots still open for the 21st (1 more slot) and the 28th (2 slots free), so if you wan’t to secure a seat, do email me.