The Unlikely Journey of Our Newly-Minted COO


We’ve all been through those moments in life when everything seems to be falling apart.

That was where Kellda was when I first met her two years ago.

You wouldn’t know it through my interview process with her. A former Unilever achiever and fastfood startup founder, she was introduced by a mutual entrepreneur friend. She was in-between jobs.

Kellda dazzled us in the recruitment process with her intelligence, strong will and demeanor. Even if she had no prior exposure to tech, she was obviously eager to learn more about our industry. I wanted to woo her into joining our company as one of our product heads.

Soon, I gave her an offer. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She had bigger brands pursuing her. Fingers crossed.

After some waiting, we arranged a meeting. I had a good feeling.

We met in our office and I started giving her the offer.

It then evolved into one of the most bizarre job offers I’ve ever been involved in.

Right there and then, she said yes to my offer…but then she started to tear up! And these weren’t exactly tears of joy. (this was VERY hard to mentally process when it started happening!)

With emotions still very fresh from her very recent personal challenges, she started to emotionally narrate the difficult things she was going through.

I then asked her if she would want to take some days off first before starting immediately as we had planned.

I think the work will do me good,” she replied

I asked if what she was experiencing right now would affect her work.

She told me that she was at “80% of her usual capacity, but that that would be enough.”

After chatting some more, she was effectively telling me that she was accepting this job because it was an immediate offer and that she badly needed the distraction.

Uhm, not really what you want to hear in a job acceptance meeting.

I was trying to be supportive, but I remember that it was at this point that I mentally stepped out of our conversation and thought this job offer might not be such a good thing. I was already thinking of ways on how to stop this train from leaving.

But then, I remember thinking to myself that all of us go through bad days. I was thinking of the very worst days I had and how I would sound like if someone talked to me at that precise point. So…

Fingers crossed.

We started to get to know Kellda in the next few weeks.

Brilliant. Very operational. Great with detail. Dots her I’s and crosses her T’s. Short temper. Explodes.

Soon, there was a nickname going around.


A month or so after she started working with us, I invited her to this retreat the community I belonged, Living Hope, was organizing for young professionals. I thought attending might be good for her. It’s good that she said yes.

Long story short, it was in this retreat that she realized that this God whom she felt so distant from, this God whose existence she started to doubt, was in fact, very real. And did, in fact, love her with such immensity.

It was from this point on that I noticed a difference.

We would talk about her legendary temper, but she now struggled with it. And month after month, I would see improvements in this area.

She had also more bounce in her step. She was just happier.

It showed in the work she was producing, too.

Our company eventually assigned her to handle E-commerce operations, where she just flat-out killed her performance metrics. She transformed her function: our customer service teams did MORE with less people, our fulfillment teams shaved weeks off of their delivery times, our merchant teams added a record number of merchants. Her people, while still being a bit afraid by her, grew to respect and love her. They began to appreciate all that she brought to the table. All this, while learning about tech and how tech platforms work.

I was so excited with her development in the company. But I was also so excited about the person she was becoming month after month.

Then, of course, one day she asks me, “Peter, can I talk to you?” (nothing good ever comes out of this question, nothing)

We met at Figaro in Taipan Place in front of our office. She had a job offer from another company which doubled her pay. (like being in so many startup moments like this before, I struggled to maintain a calm expression while the blood drew from my face)

My mind…raced.

My gut instinct was to just launch into a whole argument why that was such a bad decision and why staying would be best for her.

But I realized that this was her journey we were talking about, not STORM’s, not mine.

I told her, “Pray and discern. Seek out what God wants for you. I will be at peace and will be happy with whatever direction He says you should take.”

Well, I don’t know about happy, but I meant every other word in that statement.

A few days later, she said she was staying. (hoorah!)

(She would also just BAFFLE her headhunter by explaining that she was declining the lucrative job offer because God had told her so. Her headhunter couldn’t properly explain this to her boss, so she asked her boss to call Kellda directly)

Fast forward to the very end of 2016, where I really felt a powerful need for someone to take on the COO role in STORM. While I could do the job, I felt I could do a lot more for the firm by focusing on some of its more strategic, future direction, and let someone else operationally focused handle the day-to-day.

It was an easy decision, not only to me, but to everyone I asked in STORM.

During the second workday of 2017 (yes, first day would have been MUCH more dramatic, but I got sick and I couldn’t make it), we announced that Kellda Centeno would be promoted as the company’s new Chief Operating Officer.

You know, in that picture above when she took the stage I’m usually in…I couldn’t be prouder of someone.

I am incredibly excited. I CANNOT WAIT to see the great impact she will inevitably bring.

What’s the best thing about your job, Peter?

I would always answer that question by saying it’s the sheer learning.

I’m beginning to think something else is better.

There is just tremendous fulfillment I feel when people adopt and share my startup dream, make it their own, open up their lives, and start journeyingwith me.

Are you a manager of people? Are you putting up a startup? Are you scaling and hiring more people?

I think it’s important to remember just what a privilege it is when someone decides to work for or with you.

They are making you, your company, your idea, part of their journey.

It’s important to remember that each person is a blessing God has given us the duty to take care of and nurture — not merely as professionals, but more importantly, as people.

The sooner we realize this, the sooner we see people doing just amazing things.

Risk Now or Forever Hold Your Peace


The older we get, the more permanent our decisions become.

In high school, the biggest decision we made was probably what school to take (a lot of people I know didn’t have a choice in this matter as well), or perhaps what course to take.

We could then easily shift courses. A lot of people I know even shifted schools.

We also choose who to hang out with. This can change easily as well.

Then one day, we graduate from college.

Then we have to face the next big decision in our lives – what job to take.

Not quite happy with our first job, perhaps we transfer to another firm. It isn’t as easy as changing courses, but this decision is still flexible enough that for a lot of us, we do this several times in our first few years out in the corporate jungle.

By this time, perhaps our relationships deepen as well. Soon enough, we start getting invitations for weddings. One day, we ourselves get married. We often hear of a lot of stories of people getting “cold feet.” This is natural. This decision is permanent, so we take our time. We get anxious.

Meanwhile, our jobs take some sort of pattern. The sum total of our jobs and our experiences becomes our “career.” This is an over-arching decision that is difficult to undo. If we’ve taken on a “marketing” career, then we would think long and hard before deciding to become a programmer. The longer the career, the more difficult a potential career shift becomes. The more the investment, the more difficult it is to let go.

If at one point we realize the career path we’ve taken isn’t quite what fulfills us, this can lead to many a term-crisis.

Then we start having kids.

You’ve heard how this can change everything.

This changes everything.

Suddenly, you literally aren’t living for yourself any longer. Suddenly you’re thinking – I want to send them to good schools! But where will I get the money for tuition? I want to get them HMO coverage! What will happen if I kick the bucket? O gosh, does this mean I have to talk to that pesky life insurance guy? Where will I get the money for insurance payments? Who picks them up from school?! 

It’s a crazy, never-ending cycle of worry and planning and spending.

It’s also extremely fulfilling and a source of profound joy 🙂

At this point however, it’s extremely difficult to carry any form of risk.

Recently, I’ve been talking to a very accomplished friend of mine who’s just above 40. He’s contemplating the jump to entrepreneurship. Our lunches have gone on for about a year now.

In one of our lunches, I asked him, how much will it take to get you to make the leap? How much are your expenses?

With potential startup founders, the salary question isn’t “how much do you want?” but “what’s the least amount you can live with?”

The answer almost made me jump out of my chair.

I know he’s reading this – yeah dude, I almost fell off my chair – but my vast composure powers prevented me from flinching.

I told him, “No startup can accommodate that.” He nodded in slow approval.

In our subsequent talks, this amount became the sum we have in our minds for him to consider a jump. Financially at least, the distance he has to leap has become a Grand Canyon. Whatever startup he cooks up has to pay this amount.

We both acknowledge, however, that this isn’t even the biggest hurdle.

One lunch I was lamenting to him about this other person who was about to take the leap, but didn’t.

He told me:

“You have to give people our age some slack. We don’t think that way.”

I realized he was right. After 15-20 years of corporate, it’s just hard for people to re-imagine a career outside corporate. Even if the desire was there. 

In one of my earlier posts, I noted how a great number of the people I interviewed over the last nearly 20 years I’ve been in HR said “I want to create my own business,” when asked what their long-term plan was.

This just doesn’t happen often. The older we get, the lesser our ability to risk becomes.

Yes, some people get to invest in startups when they get older. But this isn’t a function of getting older. It’s a function of financial success and generating enough money to consider angel investing.The rule of thumb is that as an angel, you invest only 10% of your disposable income. (translation: by-the-book angel investors don’t really risk) Interestingly, a vast majority of angel investors I’ve encountered are ALSO entrepreneurs. Truthfully, I haven’t met anyone who’s a corporate lifer who’s now into angel investing. A number of older corporate folks leverage on experience and go the consulting route. But this route often lacks the ambition and scale of what a modern startup wants to do.  (translation: long corporate careers do not lead to startups)

My advice?

If you are under 35, have no kids yet, and you possess the entrepreneurial fire in the belly. Don’t wait. That fire has a shelf life.


Soft vs. Hard Entrepreneurship and What to Prioritize


You can divide all the elements of entrepreneurship into two distinct categories: hard and soft. Here’s what the HARD column can be populated with:

  • Valuation
  • Product-market fit
  • Lean Startup Methodology
  • A-B Testing
  • Seed, Series A, Series B, Series C….
  • Pivot
  • Runway
  • Dilution
  • MVP
  • Growth Hacking Strategies

Here’s what the SOFT column can be populated with:

  • Passion
  • Founder Dynamics
  • Culture
  • Maturity
  • The entrepreneurial spirit
  • Mentors
  • Perseverance
  • Following the heart
  • Following the dream
  • Motivation
  • Taking a leap of faith

Now, ask ANY successful entrepreneur what the reasons are for her success.

Do you think most responses will fall within the HARD category or the SOFT category?


It’s interesting that despite having MOST entrepreneurial educational material out there focusing on the HARD part, it’s the SOFT part which will largely determine your entrepreneurial success.

Here’s another task: ask most ANY startup/early stage investor what factors they closely consider in investing in a startup. Watch those answers fall within the SOFT category.

In fact, I’ve a strong suspicion the first factor isn’t even in my list above – integrity. 

Does that mean the HARD factors are unimportant? Of course not. (I blog about a lot of those here)

It’s the order of priority that’s crucial.

Master the SOFT column first, and then the HARD column becomes that much easier to accomplish.

Inner before outer.

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Introducing Thursdays Unplugged – And Why I’m Limiting It to 4 People

While I like organizing events like Startups Unplugged or Open Coffee, where I really get my kick is when I go on one-on-one coffee-talks.

In the bigger events or in some of the speaking events I’ve done, I may be able to impart knowledge and help out, but obviously, the learning cannot be customized to the individual. Sure, after the event there can be informal networking and getting to know people, but I don’t really get to KNOW people that much.

This is why I like doing one-on-one coffee-talks.

More than just the startup idea, I get to know the entrepreneur’s story. I get to know his motivations. I get to read body language. I don’t just shoot from the hip and comment on just the idea. I can comment and help out on the journey, which I think is far more valuable.  True enough, I’ve had a number of memorable one-on-ones with certain people.

The problem is, over the past few years, doing these random one-on-one meetings has gotten to be quite challenging, given my schedule and where I live (Antipolo).

So here’s my proposed solution.

I know 2 posts ago I set a 10-man meeting next thursday. It’s pretty evident that it won’t be as intimate as I would like it to be.

Hence, I am reducing it to 4 people (so total in the meeting of 5 including me). I’ll also endeavor to this weekly and make it part of my workweek.

photo (2)
Perfect for five!

Here are some of the rules:


1) Venue and time

The venue will always be at the STORM Offices (Ortigas Center), at 5:30 pm. I would schedule it later to accommodate those coming from work, but I do want to go home in time for dinner. It would end approximately 6:30-645. There’s ample parking beside our building.

2) Unplugged

No powerpoint decks or demos. Let’s keep it simple and just talk.

3) Send me material

Do email me the idea or the problem at least 3 days before the meeting takes place. Be as concrete and concise as possible. If you have a deck or a website, this is where you should send it.

4) Transparency and Non-disclosure

You will be sharing your idea/situation both with me and the three other people in the room. (Honestly, this should be okay with you. Stealth doesn’t work) However, this doesn’t mean you should go around spreading what the other guy just shared with you – so we will agree that whatever was mentioned in the room, stays in the room.

5) 5 and 10

We have an hour. Let’s do approximately 15 minutes per person. In the first 5 minutes, do tell us about your idea or your problem, and also your journey. Then let’s spend the next 10-15 minutes discussing.

6) Reserving a slot

Let’s do this very simply. Just email me at to reserve a slot for a specific Thursday. First-come, first served.

7) Yep, it’s free

Nope, there’s no need for any sort payment. I just really want to help out in my own way (it’s not even sure if I will be able to be relevant and helpful to you). That said, if you feel obliged to bring some snacks for a group of 5, no one’s stopping you 🙂 (coffee will be on me, though). Just tell me what you’re bringing so there won’t be any duplication.

First one is on July 24. This is already fully-booked.

Next one will be on July 31. Two slots left.

Not yet sure if I can arrange one on August 7. I’ll confirm here in the blog.

Excited for the 24th! Will tell you how it goes!




Stopping Reverse Momentum

homer running

Starting the middle of last year, I began running in the morning.

5K, every other day. I was pumped.

Then I sort of injured my calf and I couldn’t run for a while.

I vowed to bounce back fast – as soon as my calf was fully healed.

Then my calf healed.

But for some reason, I couldn’t find the energy to start again.

The longer I waited, the harder it was to start.

I could describe it best as reverse momentum.

This is my best explanation for the writing hiatus I experienced. This is my first post in almost 2 months. 

People started to ask me – are you still writing? Do you still love it? Do you still believe in it?

The answer for me is a quick, resounding “yes.”

Its just that I had allowed myself to fall into a rut. The worst thing was, because of the ever-increasing gap between posts, I pressured myself into thinking…

“I haven’t written in 2 weeks?! Egad, I HAVE to come up with something better than normal!”

and then…

“I haven’t written in 3 weeks? Egad, I have to come up with something super!”

leading to…

“A MONTH? Now I have to write something which will change the very way people look at entrepreneurship!”

A look at my drafts page would show a number of half-baked, barely-started, “epic post” ideas.

I now realize the utter futility of this approach.

A few minutes ago I just said, “WTH, lemme just write.”

And here it is. And something tells me I’ll be writing my next post without letting two months lapse.

There’s something quite entrepreneurial about this approach as well, eh?

Waiting for the absolute best time to take an absolutely grandiose leap will rarely work.

Instead, just do it.

The Rise of the Free Agent Era and 5 Strategies to Survive It, Part 1



(This is the first of a 2-part post)

When I was in college in the mid 90’s, I was still hearing the phrase, “employed for life” a bit.

This was when an employer could virtually guarantee an employee’s financial well-being from fresh-graduate to even beyond retirement.

Twenty to thirty-year careers were commonplace and a societal norm.

If you managed to be employed by say, San Miguel Beer in the 80’s, you were literally set.

All you had to do was to work hard, and the company would take care of you – for life!

When I graduated in the late 90’s, I think this sort of reality was already facing upheaval and was rapidly fading.

In 1998 (just as when I entered the job market – what great timing I had), the global financial crisis (and the first internet bubble) happened.

The desperation of firms to save costs, coupled with the latent internet technology base, resulted in the widespread adoption of outsourcing and offshoring – further pushing us into a brave, new global economy.

This new economy was (and is) marked by blazing technological advances – fueling revolutions which now occur at an alarming pace.

Bottom-line? We live in an era of unmitigated dynamism. Nothing can be forecasted with accuracy anymore.

When I graduated, companies were talking about 5-year, even 10-year plans. Nowadays, its almost folly to plan that far – because the newest revolution could just make your plan obsolete overnight (literally).

How does this sort of dynamism affect careers?

No employer wants to make a long-term commitment anymore.

“Employed for life” is extinct. (it now exists in typically very marginalized positions)

Like it or not, everyone is now a free agent.

Trust me, even if your employer says “we value and take care of you,” some global decision in Bucharest can lead to the dissolution of your department. Your company can merge with another and you can be declared redundant. Your company can decide to outsource your job to a crowdsourcing site the new marketing manager recommended to the COO.

You can work like a dog for years, do an awesome job, and STILL be out of a job.

You know I’m right about this – you probably KNOW people who have had this happen to them. (I can rattle 2 dozen names off very very easily)

So what do you do? Here are five strategies to live by.

1) Here’s what NOT to do – Float Aimlessly

lost at sea

If you ever take anything from this post, let it be this. The LAST thing you want is to just act like flotsam, riding it out where the waves take you. There is an infinitesimal chance you end up where you want to be if you don’t plan for it.

I spent the first 7-8 years of my career like flotsam.

I wanted to do marketing, but there were no marketing positions around (you know, during the 1998 global financial crisis). An HR job was presented to me. I took it and justified it in my mind while saying, “I like people, so I must like HR.”

My family got into financial trouble, forcing me to move companies and go to greener pastures. Then, to another greener pasture. Then after around 8 years, quarter life crisis rammed me at full throttle.

How can it be?! I’m not happy in HR!

This was when I started planning a startup where I could one day end up in.

DON’T wait around 8 years floating endlessly. Take your career planning seriously.

Start drafting a plan.

2) Aim for Ownership


In corporate, we aim for positions. Throw this paradigm out the door. Aim and WORK for ownership.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to own equity in a firm that’s blessed with success: your equity earns passively, appreciates in value, and is a powerful source of motivation (you work harder for something you own). You can also be very flexible with it – you can hold on to it or sell it. You can never be fired. You get board votes.

How can a free agent make a firm loyal to him in this day and age?

Well, he can own part of it.

Be a company owner and develop a startup.

Want to stick it out in corporate? Insist on shares and equity rather than cash compensation.

(Watch out for the last three tips on the next post!)

Embracing The Fear Monster

embrace fear

I remember asking myself a lot of questions before I was able to push “publish” and publicly launch the very first entry in Juan Great Leap.

What would they say?

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

It took me a couple of weeks in between finishing my first post and  actually publishing it.

You know how I did it?

After a long day at work, the thought of publishing it crossed my mind. Before giving myself any chance to over-analyze, I forced myself to just push publish. And that was that. After that, I then started wrestling with the fear of posting it on my social media sites. (“Bahala na” works wonders, by the way.)

You’d think that after over 200 posts, I’d be completely comfortable with pushing publish.

The truth is, is that it varies.

publishWhen I put up announcements, for example, there is no hesitation. Publish.

But when I share some personal things about myself, or when I want to explain something I feel truly passionate about, or when I have a very strong opinion on something – I still get those jitters. I hesitate. I begin to question myself, very frequently going through those italicized statements at the beginning of this post.

In other words, it is when I am posting something I have put my soul into that I feel fear.

I realize that this blogging experience of mine mirrors the entrepreneurial experience as well.

Startups, I find, are very personal affairs. It is someone’s original idea. Someone’s effort. Someone’s very personal work.

Then you throw them out into the world, where they are vulnerable, tender, and open to criticism.

What are some of the first things I feel when I’d launch a startup?

What would they say?

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

Conquering Vs Embracing

You know, before I always felt that the key to it all was conquering fear. It was a leap after all, and I thought that what I had to do was to eradicate the fear.  I figured, to succeed, I had to stop feeling this fear.

But this blogging experience of mine taught me something very interesting: it was when I felt fear that I knew that I was posting something worthwhile. When I don’t feel fear, then I might not be pushing the envelope as far as I could. When I don’t feel fear, then perhaps I didn’t put as much of my soul in it as I could. When I don’t feel fear, I realize I am being safe. 

Corollary: when I feel this fear – I realize I am closer to following the road I had wanted for myself. This is true when I write posts for this blog, and this is also true with the type of projects I choose to do.

For example, by early March, Matt and I will be arranging something for JGL that’s never been pulled off before. It’s a new thing, so I have no idea if it will end up being a totally awesome project or a complete bomb. Yes, this uncertainty leads to a certain fear:

What would they say? 

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

But I realize now that it is unwise to try to conquer this type of fear.

It is the same fear I felt when I professed my love to my eventual wife. The same fear I felt when I took my great startup leap. The same fear I feel when posting a truly meaningful blogpost. The same fear I feel when I share something I have poured my soul into.

If so, then I do not want it to go away. This fear will always be there whenever I do something truly worth my while. A signal of sorts, that I am onto something good.

The Crucial Art Of Momentum Management, part deux

In the previous post, we talked about managing YOUR momentum in the startup process, about how we have to strike when the iron is hot and take advantage of our energy.

But what happens now when you’re now working with a team of either founders or employees?

Things become a bit trickier because now the startup exists outside of you. It now exists in your co-founders/employees, as well as the product you are now presumably working on.

Identifying Momentum Shifts

First of all, you have to be able to learn to READ how your momentum is. Is there an impasse in activity? Is output slower?

Sometimes the signs are subtler: has a co-founder’s energy dwindled? How does undergoing your first bad break affect the team?

The more you get to know your team, the better you would be at reading the signs.

Then, as startup founder and dreamer, it is up to YOU to ensure energy is sustained, up to you to pick guys up.  I have yet to meet a startup founder who can be described as “low batt.” They can’t afford to. When momentum slows and the difficult times come, people look to the founder for motivation and energy.

Challenge: Doing It Part-Time

For practicality purposes, a lot of startups are founded by people with fulltime day-jobs working on the startup part-time, very typically with other part-time co-founders.

This is a challenge because it becomes easy for people to miss meetings, or miss updates, or miss deadlines. String together a few of these and sometimes before you know it your startup is dead – and people are just too distracted/disheartened to pick up the pieces and start anew.

Keeping momentum in this sort of situation requires one thing: that you become relentless. You have to be relentless in finding time to work on your startup. You have to be relentless in keeping your team accountable to deadlines. You have to be relentless in managing and sustaining momentum.

Creating Cadence

There has to be some structure that your team can adhere to and bank on. Introduce these and make sure the team sticks to them. It could be in the form of start-of the week Skype teleconference meetings between the founders, or Googledoc files people fill in with weekly updates, or perhaps 2x a month Saturday lunch meeting. Monitoring progress helps a lot in achieving more of it.

Just Care

In the end, perhaps the most important thing to remember here is that you just have to care enough and do something if you see slippage. Sure, it can be awkward as hell to call out a slow-performing co-founder. Yep, you don’t want to be the bad guy who called that meeting when it’s 5:30 pm on a Friday, and everyone is tired from their day jobs. Someone’s gotta do it though. And yes, that means you.

Hey, no one said it would be easy.

The Crucial Art of Momentum Management

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” 

– Brutus (in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare)

This is a line from my favorite Shakespeare play, where Brutus urges his comrades to seize a fleeting opportunity in an armed conflict.

Ships tend to leave ports during high tide, so as to go along with the flow. Brutus is basically telling his mates to seize the day while the tide is high, because that opportunity will come and go.

Of course, seizing the day is basically the mantra of any entrepreneur – I’m not here to expound on that. What I want to expand on is the notion that entrepreneurs have to seize the day when    momentum is at its highest. Because like the tide, momentum comes and goes – and like voyaging ships, its tough to leave the port when the tide is low.

Startup founders know – it’s all about managing that momentum.

When you begin, your startup is a delicate, fragile baby – perhaps existing only in your mind as a concept or an idea. It grows slowly, as you talk about your idea with other people. It grows slowly, as you begin forming your team. Within your team, it will grow as you sign papers and begin working on fleshing out your business model. Along this process, you will feel an energy – an excitement, almost palpable. With each step taken, you will feel this energy grow, and this energy allows you to hurdle the next step a bit more easily. This is startup momentum. It is very critical that you manage it well, as it could mean the life and death of your startup.

Your momentum will suffer blows: I remember being rejected by potential partners and investors or people telling me that the idea sucked. These were a bummer, but I had to keep my momentum afloat, so I didn’t let them burst my momentum.

Important realization: I never stopped. And come to think of it, this is what works for me. From idea to coffee talks to forming teams to creating the product to creating the company to running it- there were no long breaks in between, I just kept chugging along, riding my momentum till the “next step,” until either a company is founded or the idea fails.

I think this is important because once you stop and “take a break” for whatever reason, momentum stops and it’s just really so hard to get going again.

Do you feel charged up and inspired?  Take advantage of this tide and do something. Call an entrepreneurial friend up NOW and ask her if she wants to have coffee tonight or tomorrow. You will be amazed at how things can quickly go from there.

Now what happen when you’ve assembled a group of people already? How do you keep momentum?

Next post!

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Why Uncertainty Is Your Friend

Do you know what you will be doing in your job in 2 week’s time? In 2 month’s time?

I did. I knew my HR routine for the day – around 10 email requests, 2-3 interviews, 1-2 disciplinary cases to type up, perhaps one meeting with a manager who either wishes to hire or fire someone. I’d also meet with the occasional employee who wants to talk to me about resigning,  and perhaps a general meeting with other managers if it’s a Monday.

Then it would depend on the time of year. Mid-year and year-end, I’d also be calling managers to submit their late performance management forms. First quarter? Meetings on increases and promotions. Summers, I’d have meetings about the company outing. Rainy season – perhaps there’d be inquiries on re-evaluating that policy on leaves and absences due to typhoon.

So give me a random date – and I can give a reasonable forecast of what I’d be doing.

You know, I’d bet a lot of people in corporate can give a similar, reasonable forecast.

Doesn’t that, you know… suck?

Certainty is overrated. Certainty is boring.

Don’t we hate predictable movies and TV shows? Isn’t uncertainty why we watch sports? We want to be thrilled by the battle of who comes out on top. The more evenly-matched the protagonists are – the more uncertain the outcome is – the better.

Being an entrepreneur, certainty is the first thing you throw out.

I was a ten-year corporate lifer before I leapt into startup life, so yes, having so much uncertainty was certainly scary. But over time, I have found that uncertainty is liberating.

Not knowing what I’ll be doing in 2 weeks is a gift. It’s a gift because it means I have control over what I will do in 2 weeks – and I know it will depend on what I’ll be thinking at that time.

It’s a gift because it also means that what I choose to do now has an effect on what will happen in 2 weeks. If I choose to put a lot of emphasis on sales today – that might mean that in 2 weeks I will be negotiating contracts. If I emphasize hiring today, then it increasingly means that I’ll be interviewing people in 2 weeks.

It’s a gift because it means I am quite equipped to pounce on opportunities should they arise. If in two weeks, one of the people I’ve been wooing to work with me suddenly wants to have a talk on the merits of leaving the corporate life – I can make an invite for coffee that very night.

Uncertainty means you have choices. Uncertainty is a gift. Learn to embrace it, to handle it with grace.