Slideshare Find: A Startup Experience

Found this presentation. Captures the essence of starting up.

This presentation was done by John Strott, a Senior User Experience Designer focusing around improving and creating exceptional products.

His Slideshare profile adds: “John has a future friendly approach to design, implementing mobile first and responsive designs in a lean UX environment. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, CNBC, large social networks and e-commerce platforms.”

Boot strapping, are you ready?

A situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. (Source: Investopedia)

Starting a company is not easy. It takes a lot of patience. Imagine pushing yourself to wake up in the morning and accomplishing stuff that you’re not even sure will fly or not. Some say the journey is the reward. Yes, I agree. But fighting the emotions of giving up and just pushing on, is just draining sometimes.

Every entrepreneur will tell you to plan for the worst. You also need a lot of support — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You will judge yourself everyday. You will tell yourself if you’re doing a good job or not. These are stuff that are expected. No one said it would be easy.

I learned about the word boot strapping after reading books on entrepreneurship. As defined, it is using your own resources to fund your own company–no venture capital, no angel investment. How far can you go boot strapping? Not too long. Which is why many startups will soon require additional funding.

Investopedia explains further:

Compared to using venture capital, boot strapping can be beneficial as the entrepreneur is able to maintain control over all decisions. On the downside, however, this form of financing may place unnecessary financial risk on the entrepreneur. Furthermore, boot strapping may not provide enough investment for the company to become successful at a reasonable rate.

As you can tell, boot strapping may work a while until it puts a toll on your own financials. It’s a big risk to go boot strapping early on. But this move will also show your potential partners that your putting more “skin in the game.”

What about you? What are your thoughts about boot strapping for a company your building? Is it a good idea? Is it a crazy idea?

Finding your center

It’s not easy leaving a job to pursue my aspirations of entrepreneurship. Now I know what they mean by a “roller coaster ride.” It sucks sometimes.

It has been more than a month since I decided to take a plunge. So far, there are days I wished I was back in the rat race. But there are days that I won’t give up time with my family and children. They say work and life balance is an illusion. It is up to us to decide how we want to spend our time.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I made the decision to slow down. I remember a friend of mine tell me, “Spend more time with your kids while they’re young.” When they get older, they will have less time for you. We all know this, as we have once been young.

On July 15, I would have been 4 years in my job. Looking back, those years felt longer. The challenges, the struggles, the wins, the people, and the mountains I needed to conquer–those years were precious. But all these are without meaning if you cannot find your center.

Yes, in life, we can get lost. I was lost many times. Getting buried in work or the life that I chose before, I often veer away from the important things in life: family and God. The latter is still a challenge. Work is work–it gets you by. But if you lose your center, none of these things matter: fame, glory, money, power, etc.

My wife and kids are my center in this life. Making them happy gives me peace. So sometimes I push myself at work because I thought giving them what they want will make them happy.  But TIME is what they need (sounds like a song!).

They need your time, your presence, your support, your heart, and your spirit. We see many relationships fail these days, broken families, couples who spend more time hating each other. I too had my share of problems. But if you keep reminding yourself what is your center, you will see better days.

We all wish life can be simple. Truth is, we can do it. But first, find and know your center. You may fall on the wayside. But when THAT happens, you know that someone you love will help you get back. I know, I’m slowly getting back on my feet, and making strides. I won’t make a sprint because this life is a marathon. See you all in the finish line.


(UPDATED) Meet the Startups: Quick tour of #angelhackmnl

#angelhackmnlUPDATE: A group from Davao won #angelhackmnl!. Read about it on Their hack, dubbed Page Snapp, allows anyone to manage multiple Facebook pages using a mobile device. They beat 40 other teams.

I was not able to come back on Sunday to witness this due to daddy duties. But JM Tuazon of Interaksyon also got the story on AngelHack’s founder and CEO Greg Gopman’s plans to set up shop in Manila. I saw some of the people he’s looking for. One is VP for Communications. If you’re interested go drop him a message on Facebook. (By now, he’s off to Boracay!).


I dropped by AngelHack Manila #angelhackmnl today with a bit of hesitation.

I have been reading a lot of these events happening here in the Philippines, but I didn’t have an idea what was going down there. (Okay, I felt old seeing younger people hacking their way into a problem).

Having been covering the technology industry back in 1990s, witnessing groups of developers and designers hunched over their laptops was surreal. Okay, the balloons were a bit misplaced, but you get a picture of a fun place for future entrepreneurs. The Nerf guns were also present. So check on the geekiness of this event.

AngelHack is a global movement that is now coming to our shores. It happens on a weekend. Developers and designers are essentially housed in this place for more than 24 hours. Their goal: hack, win some seed funding (in this case, P2.4 million pesos), and get a chance to do this again in Silicon Valley. And if you’re THAT good, you may soon be talking to VCs.

In short, this is not exactly your typical technology event where products are shown. These guys are building one as we speak. Hackathons have been in existence since computers were invented. The word hack–which has evolved to mean something bad–is actually a badge of honor among these group of smart people. They wear it on their sleeves.


#angelhackmnl signI met AngelHack’s young founder and CEO Greg Chopman who was wearing comfortable shorts and shirt–not your idea of a CEO. I just found out that he is now looking for some guys to work for his Philippine operations. So this is good news: People with Money are getting closer with People with Ideas. (I will try to grab him for an interview tomorrow).

Tomorrow, we will know who gets the prize money and the chance to show off their hack abroad.

Thanks to Nick Bautista-Wilwayco who invited me over to my first hackathon.


StartUp: A day in a virtual office and how to get started

Coffee, a laptop, and some breakfast
Coffee, a laptop, and some breakfast

You feel like you have a thousand things to do, but don’t know where to start.

This is the general sentiment of many start-up businesses. There’s so much to do, but so little time and resources to accomplish everything.

While these companies are founded by smart people, setting up shop is different ballgame. Just think of the administrative nightmare they need to do to register their company. The paperwork is a killer. But unless they go through this, they can’t move forward.

I’ve immersed myself in the idea of starting up a company for the past months after I decided to leave a job in Yahoo! It’s scary to think about the risks. But with higher risks, the returns are bigger. You just need a big set of cajones and a lot of patience. Of course, you need a support group to keep you motivated.

How to get started?
1. Start with a business plan. This is perhaps the most difficult part. Hacking a business plan takes weeks to months. I’ve been doing mine for months now, and I bounce it off to people who have more knowledge about starting up. It’s painful, but it’s a challenge to get it right.

2. Align with people who share your passion. They’re not necessarily of the same feather, but do find people who can complement you. There’s a good reason why a diverse team will eventually produce solid ideas that can be turned into a company. Or better, get someone to mentor you through the steps in starting a business. That person can help you avoid pitfalls, and he or she should be able to give you honest feedback.

3. Do your homework. This is one of the biggest challenges. Digging up information (e.g. market size), knowing your market, identifying your revenue sources, and being able to zero in on a business model –are some stuff you need to understand. If you’re a non-techie, it would be good to join groups in social networks (head to Facebook, there are lots of them). If you have zero knowledge of starting a business, go read up or grab a friend who has been there.

4. Go ahead and network. No one has the monopoly of good ideas. Go out and meet people. Join startup weekends. Find ways to be invited in Hackathons or join one–that is if you’re ready. Networking has proven easier these days because of social networks. There are a lot of groups on Facebook that you can join. But don’t be a lurker. Join the conversation. Pose questions. Never spam or use the group to do self-promotion (some do, but do it sparsely).

5. Execute. Good ideas are that, until it becomes a reality. Most people (specifically marketers) want a tangible product that they can latch on.  This will be crucial. Your success or failure will depend on how you execute your business plan. As a friend once told me, a business plan is “just a guideline.” If you don’t haul ass, you won’t get anywhere–and meetings will be just meetings until you start moving and making progress. A checklist will be useful. Schedule your day, as if you’re already running a company. Don’t waste your time. Move, and move fast.

All of these stuff that I’ve listed down are general principles that are not new. Reality is, you’re the best judge of what you can do. You just need to believe in yourself and to be ready to go through a roller-coaster ride of starting a business. If you fail, pivot, iterate, and start all over.