Chris Leong

Disoriented views from the rosy lens of an optimistic realist.

Month: January, 2013

Entrepreneurship and Fun

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone – that is something that I always believe in. So there are times, I frowned upon programmes that encourage students to be entrepreneurs by promoting it as a cool thing to be in. While I can understand the rationale behind promoting entrepreneurship but I sometimes wish entrepreneurship was not portrayed as a cool/fun thing for someone to jump in. To me, that is not the entire picture and can be misleading.

From my time spent in the entrepreneurship scene, I had seen different types of entrepreneurs. I come to notice that there are more and more upcoming want to-be entrepreneurs that had the wrong mindset about what entrepreneurship is. I notice that a lot of these want to-be-entrepreneurs spent more time in events than spending time running the business. A true entrepreneur would rather spent each waking hour in their business rather than going to some get-together to have fun bragging about how good their idea is. And if when you are in the scene long enough, you know ideas are cheap.

Starting a company is never fun (in the conventional way). It would be fun though if you were the type of person that defines fun as spending hours everyday to train for an Iron Man competition or to climb Mt Everest. Not everyone enjoys that, so not everyone will enjoy entrepreneurship.

The life of a true entrepreneur is full of worry and sacrifice. The first thing the entrepreneur loses would most likely be the social life. Clubbing sessions, drinking session and any other non-essential activities would most likely to be the first to go. Public holidays and festivals soon won’t draw the same excitement as it used to – everyday can be a workday anyway. Delay gratification would start to become a habit, as cash flow considerations would be the priority. (Imagine saying no to the latest cool gadget you want to buy). And the list can go on and on

So is entrepreneurship fun? Yes, only to a selected few.

For an entrepreneur to thrive, there must be a deep conviction within. A conviction that regardless of the odds, they have the “special” advantage to succeed. This conviction also would allow entrepreneurs to enjoy the fun part of a start-up: The happiness of getting 1 yes after 10 rejections, the excitement of launching a product after weeks of all-nighters and the satisfaction of proving the naysayers wrong.  That’s the fun part of entrepreneurship – to assume the role of David and to try the very best to beat the hell out of a Goliath.

Entrepreneurship always reminds me of “running”. Running faster than your nearest competitor and running faster so that you are far ahead of any upcoming competitor. So entrepreneurship is all about running fast (especially for tech companies) and this quote that I read from the book “The World is Flat” sums it all up.

“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle… when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Old African Proverb

And that ends my ramblings about entrepreneurship. And if you enjoy “running” welcome to the entrepreneurship world.

Image from the Boho Garden

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2012 – A personal recap

It is the beginning of a brand new year and I’m in a particularly reflective mood. I always felt that looking inward and reflecting back is important for ones personal development. It gives me a sense of whether I really grown as a person. And of course I don’t mean physically. That, I leave it to nature 🙂

2012 – a year of tribulation

2012 to me is a year that I was tested the most – both in terms of career and personal life. It present to me many challenges, and many of them struck me emotionally. Ironically, 2012 was also a year that bears me many fruits. I managed to get a lot of things done and some of the achievements were close to my heart. Something I can be proud of.

I guess during the testing times is where the fire will burn the strongest. The process, no doubt, would be painful but it also fortifies one’s character. I’m fortunate that it made me a better person and manage to end the year on a better note.

Looking back, I’m still counting my blessings as many of the things that I’m been working on bore fruit at the most unlikely time. The most significant one would be the angel tax incentive and my MBA. It was lobbied for 2 years and through sheer grit and support from various stakeholders, the Prime Minister finally announced it in his budget speech in September 2012.

The other thing was my MBA. I finally manage to finish my MBA and surprisingly, with a distinction. That was a huge surprise for me, as I needed a really high score for my dissertation to get a distinction. And the deadline to submit was during the most challenging time of my life (managing a regional event – ABAF for Cradle and juggling life). I’m glad that everything workout fine in the end J

I draw many lessons from 2012. But I would like to share 3 personal lessons that make me a better person.

1) When it rains, it pours. So learn to dance in the rain

Shit happens and unfortunately shit attracts more shit. So either you take it as a lesson/test or you can whine about it. Learning to be thankful about what you have rather than what could have been will open up opportunities for better things to happen.

Looking at the positive side of a bad event and learning the skill (yes it can be learnt) will allow you to find joy in what you have. Trust me. Luck and fortune will find the people who is smiling rather than whining. J

2) Let go. Focus out and take a step at a time

Fantasizing too much about the problem does not help, especially with a problem that is out of your control. So focus out on achieving things and letting go the problem temporary would do wonders to the mind. And more likely or not, if one stays idle too long most probably you are sitting on a lot of things that will transform into problems in the future (unpaid bills, missed deadlines ETC).

Taking baby steps forward equates to one huge step for your mental development. That step would most probably take a lot of mental strength but would lay the foundation for one to conquer bigger problems in the future.

3) Do the right thing. You sleep better at night

I’m old school and like to stick on to traditional values. I strongly believe that when you do bad things, it would be like a boomerang. It would come back sooner or later.

My moral benchmark is simple. If the things I do, won’t let me sleep well at night then it fails my benchmark. A revengeful/evil heart is just bad investment. I’m the type of people who prefers to spend more energy looking forward rather than taking care of my back. And believe me, that is such a waste of time.

So, these are personal lessons of mine. And I do hope it benefits someone who reads it. Good-bye 2012. I’m thankful but I will always remember you as the year of fire.