Chris Leong

Disoriented views from the rosy lens of an optimistic realist.

Tag: Entrepreneur & Business

Lean Start-up

Are you an entrepreneur? Have you heard of Lean Start-up? Then you better understand more on how you can drastically improve your changes by applying the principles in the book. The principles of Lean-Startup can be applied to any business (not only tech). Rather than I explaining it in words, watch this video. It is a great way of explaining what is it all about.

Lean Start-up

You can get the book at major bookstores or you can save a tree by buying the Kindle version in Amazon. More information on the principles on its official website – http://theleanstartup.com/

Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

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What I learned from Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk

I was browsing through TED’s video and found this video of Malcolm Gladwell’s talk. Being a fan of Malcolm Gladwell writings (I have all his books), I want to see what insights he has to share.

He did not disappoint. His talk was titled “What can we learn from spaghetti sauce”. It tells a tale of how the food industry was obsessed in finding the “perfect” sauce and how a man came to change the industry’s view.

 

I find his delivery to be engaging and funny at times. but more importantly within his speech there are underlying insights that every entrepreneurs can learn from:

Making complex things simple to understand

This lesson was not in the content of his talk but on how they way he delivers the talk. He manage to explain what can be a boring academic research into something easy to understand. His usage of analogies and his story telling style of presenting kept me captivated. This skill is very important especially to entrepreneurs who wants to pitch for funding.

I’ve been into many pitching sessions where entrepreneurs either bore the judges to death or confusing the judges with too many jargons. What they should do is to relate the product offerings to something that the audiences can relate to. Telling a story the problems a consumer/user face and how your product can solve it is a better pitch.

Ask the right questions

No matter how efficient a person digs, there is no way he will find treasure if he’s digging at the wrong place. Asking the right questions is akin to providing the right solution. In the talk, the food industry was asking the wrong question all along, wasting millions of dollars in producing products that does not fulfill people’s need. Having a rebel attitude that challenges the core belief and status quo might just create the right solution to an underlying problem.

Consumers do not know what they want

Revolutionary product that creates new market do not come from market research and focus groups. Consumer just do not know what they want. Think of the IPhone. What do you think the answer would be , if a consumer was asked whether he/she would like to buy a phone that has no multi-tasking, no copy & paste for a premium price?

If people were to survey on whether I would want to buy a tablet that acts almost like the IPhone, I would say no. But now I’m happily proven wrong as I can’t keep my hands off my IPad.

Check out the video.

Evaluating your business idea

A friend of mine, Bugs Tan has a great way for inventors and entrepreneurs to evaluate good business ideas. Bugs Tan is an award winning inventor who is very passionate in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Based on his experience, he came out with a practical series of questions to help entrepreneurs and inventors to evaluate their ideas. I like these questions as it provides a very good perspective on how an entrepreneur should review the viability of their idea.

Do also check out Bugs’s blog to tap his thoughts on innovation.

Factors that attract VC to New Ventures

A friend of mine, Eliza Nordin is a VC and have recently did a great presentation on the subject “Factors that attract venture capitalist to new ventures”. Here are the slides to her presentation.

Follow her on Twitter to tap into her thoughts: elizanoordin

Overview of Teak Capital

Teak Capital is a venture capital management company based in Malaysia. Teak Capital currently manages   Teak Ventures Sdn. Bhd.’s funds and is also an appointed partner of MAVCAP under its Outsource Partners Programme (OSP) in July 2008.

What is a good business idea?

Before answering the question, What is a good business idea? Let me ask you this question, do you need a good business idea to start your business?

A long time back, my MBA professor once told me that your business idea do not need a competitive advantage to make money. The class was stunned but in many ways he’s right. There are so many businesses out there who does not have any significant competitive advantage but are making a decent profit.

Think of the chicken rice stall near your office. How do they fare compared to the best chicken rice in town? Not good enough i assume. But are they making money? You bet they are. But not as much as the extraordinary money that the best chicken rice stall is making.

people_around_good_ideas

So, do you need a good business idea to do business? No.

You only need a good business idea if you aspire to be the market leader in your industry. A business idea that allows you to earn extraordinary profit.

So what consist of a great business idea?

In my opinion, the human motivation of avoiding pain and increasing pleasure is a good measurement of an idea.

pain2

The best ideas generally have a mixture of both. Personally if given a choice, i like ideas that help customer avoid/remove pain. It is just human nature to have a bigger motivation to avoid pain rather than to seek pleasure.

The first step, for you to evaluate an idea is to identify the pain point of your customer and think of a solution to solve it. Make sure that the problem is so painful that the customer will gladly pay money to make it go away. (Those are the best ideas) In terms of pricing, you need to ensure the pain removed is bigger than the pain the customer feels when paying you.

Pleasure

What about pleasure based ideas?

Use the same methodology and identify how you are increasing the pleasure of your customer. Are you creating fun? Are you increasing sales for them? Identify them.

Careful though, if the business idea is a pleasure based idea, then you really need to identify whether your product/service is a “nice to have” (massage, spa, manicure & ETC).

If it is a “nice to have”  then you are exposed to what is called an elastic consumer goods/services. It just means that the higher you charge the lesser demand you have. Elastic goods/services are dependent on the current economy situation. People will cut back if they don’t have enough money and you also face the danger of a price war.

Here are some starting point for you to review your business idea.

Stay tune for the next post.

Is Friendster better off with MOL?

mol friendster_logo_detail

In the last post, i had talked about losing mind share in US. However, Friendster is still very strong in Asia, especially in Malaysia and Philippines. Friendster is the #11 site in Malaysia and #6 in Philippines (Facebook is the #1 in both countries). However they have been losing market share for a long time (Friendster used to be the top site in Malaysia)

So the key question now is, Is Friendster better off with MOL than on their own?

The answer is YES for me on paper. Here are some reasons:

  1. Friendster can only survive by being a niche social media player.  Friendster is strong in Asia but they are still an American company (Australian CEO). So fundamentally, their insights on being a niche Asian Social Media player is limited. Therefore MOL will be able to provide these insights (Especially with Malaysia as one of their strong market)
  2. MOL is strong in Berjaya Group (Majority owner of MOL) has many B2C businesses like U-Mobile, Hotels and its many F&B Franchise business (Kenny Rogers, Wendy’s ETC. Avenues of monetising Friendster can be easier.
  3. With MOL already strong in Micro-Transaction, they would have the experience to monetize Friendster’s users. MOL and Friendster shared the same target market.

However, MOL is facing an uphill task. They need to settle down quick. Here are some of my key worries.

  1. MOL’s strategy of using Micro Transaction, Social Games and Music make sense but execution might be difficult as MOL has no prior experience managing a Web 2.0 company. Can MOL afford to make any rookie mistakes? Can they effectively manage cross culturally?
  2. Does Berjaya have the vision to stay with Friendster for the long run? Berjaya’s track record with MITV is not exactly fantastic. Will they see enough value in Friendster to invest more money if the goings get tough?