Archive for April, 2009

Business model innovation – the more important factor?

Posted on April 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

I’m just starting out on reading blogs on entrepreneurship, technology etc etc. I keep reading on new social networking programmes, new green technologies, new interactive digital media technologies etc etc. I can’t help but wonder…why is there little talk on new business models arising? I might be ignorant, but to me, many of the hyped-up social networking site bank on advertising revenue as their business model. The furthest they have gone in being innovative is to have targeted advertisements featured to each user. However, with many of us becoming internet savvy, we all know that these adverts are simply spam, and consumers are starting to lose interests. *Disclaimer: these are not based on any statistics whatsoever, and are purely just my personal observation.

Well i guess Twitter has showed some kind of “business model innovation”. Microblogging is not a radical new form of innovation. It has been around in many other social sites, as just one of the many features in these sites (facebook for example). However, they got it right by focusing on only microblogging. Aggregation took place, and the Twitter craze is now at an insane level.

Perhaps Twitter is one of the few” social networking” sites that demonstrates business model innovation, and this might lead to higher *kaching $*. Twitter recently released its Beta version of ExecTweets – a twitter aggregation site for business leaders.

To read more  on this (written by the pro), go to business model
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Posted on April 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Can you spell…..F.R.E.E.D.O.M!

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: Personal |

I’m looking forward to the arrival of…
1600, 16 April 2009

Why?

 

It’ll mark the end of my freshman year!

 

And the start of my 4 months long HOLIDAY!

 

did you say 4 MONTHS?

 

yes. Yes. YES. YES!!

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Having the right vision from the start

Posted on April 12, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship | Tags: , |

Vinod Khosia, co founder of Sun Microsystems, talks about the….
Importance of a having a big vision: how small actions lead to fulfilling a big vision.

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Need for more robust Entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore

Posted on April 12, 2009. Filed under: Enterpreneurship | Tags: |

Found an interesting read posted by Daniel, founder of youngupstarts.com, on the lack of ecosystem supporting start-ups here at Singapore.

Having researched into the exactly same topic while I was an Intern over at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Enterprise division), I couldn’t help but threw it my two cents worth.

There is a lack of ecosystem in terms of specialised services to help jumpstart start ups. While Singapore is a small country, it seems that our small geographical area has not created much aggregation effect which Silicon Valley has enjoyed. This is perhaps due to to the dilution of many goals the government has for this tiny red dot.

Market adoption:
During my internship, I realised the importance of having anchor customers, especially for the high-tech coys. If one considers starting from the local market, there are really very few big players that can serve this role. Furthermore, it is hard to expect the government to be an anchor customer. This is because not every business has an offering that fulfills the need of our government agencies. However, it is still useful to note that most government-backed (not as customers) SMEs/post IPOs do make it big in the international scene. Some examples are 77th street, CapitalMall/land etc.

Lack of mentors:
This is perhaps due to the lack of success stories in Singapore. And when i mean success stories, i mean businesses that were truly innovative to begin with and have grown from there. Much of our successful businesses started off with our pioneers mimicking what is offered overseas, and simply bringing it into our then underdeveloped nation. Furthermore, much of our economic development was based on us riding on foreign MNCs. Hence, with little experience in truly starting up, there is few local mentors around. However, the government has started to realise this and embarked on several mentorship programmes in NUS and SMU. However, the quality of mentorship and extent of networks these programmes offer are still questionable.

Perhaps one more point to add to the lack of ecosystem that was not mentioned by Daniel:
the need for cross-interaction between different industries/sectors.
As a current student in a university that is highly skewed towards business but less on technology, it is hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop an innovative product. The lack of technology background can lead to two worries: (1) having to copy other technology in order to start a business. This is non lucrative as it is likely the new startup will not be able to sustain its unique proposition. (2) the heavy reliance on others make it hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to know how to start. To share your idea and get a tech-guy to develop it? However, this might risk him selling your idea, unless you have such strong customer network that he feels compelled to stick by you. However, it is unlikely for youngsters to have such sales power.

Perhaps a summary of what is needed is: An aggregation effect of different specialised services, having a cross-pollination of ideas between different sectors, and finally, to have real mentors to guide the new entrepreneurs.

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Introduction: Signs that shouted out to me

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Personal |

So, I have explained the past ambitions I have had since I was a kid. However, I kept the best for last. This entry will talk about how my interest in entrepreneurship all began…

Back when I was in Primary 3 (8 years old)…

Digimon cards was the biggest craze amongst Singapore children (way before Pokemon took over). I have never watched the show, nor read the book. But one thing I was sure was that my classmates were nuts over the cards! I recalled that a “mama shop” (aka small provision shop) near my house sold them via those capsule machines, and was selling them at only 20cents! I bought many many of them using my savings, and sold the “premium” cards at the price of up to $2bucks! Boy..I still recall the adrenaline rush i had from seeing all my classmates running towards me during recess, looking through my deck, and paying me coins and notes.

In Primary Six (11 years old)…

Neopets was the next biggest craze! However, while my friends were busy playing games to earn their neopoints, I was staying up late at night doing a different thing. I was obsesses over the virtual market. There was two types of market: the mainstream shops, and the “black-market” where users could sell goods at the inflated black market prices. I would check back on the mainstream shops every ten minutes, haggling with the virtual shop owner on the prices of rare items, later checking out the black market price of it,and finally putting the rare item up for sale at my shop. As you are see, these 4 steps are very much similar to the real world! Negotiating to cut down the prices, conducting market research on the competitor’s pricing, and finally advertising your stall to sell your goods. This obsession of mine carried on for one whole year, till I was finally a Neopet Millionaire! However, my account was soon hacked. (try searching for the user slp285 under Neopets if you want haha)

Let’s fast forward…to the years 2006 to 2008 (16 to 18 years old)

Junior College Year 1 & 2

I was a member and eventually the President of my Junior College’s Entrepreneurship Society. This was where I started to take entrepreneurship a little more seriously. I took part in the National University of Singapore’s Start-up@Singapore Business Proposal Competition under the youth division. We were shocked when we got through to the semi-finals as my team didn’t have a proper product! All we had was an idea to have a punchable file. Obviously, without any sound financials or prototype, we were horribly trashed in the semis.

The final Milestone: 2008 (18/19 Years old)

During the break before entering University (I am currently studying at SMU), I took on an internship at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), under the Enterprise Division. It was there that I got to understand the start-up cycle, how they got funding, different stages of businesses (seed, startup, series A, series B, SME, IPO, MNC etc). I was extremely lucky to have worked under a supervisor who was also very active in the private venture capital world! (Tan Yinglan) I guess many would recognise his name. It was this internship that made me realise entrepreneurship can be a reality, it just takes guts, an idea, and a great team to execute it.

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Introduction: Childhood dreams

Posted on April 5, 2009. Filed under: Personal |

Dreams

An accountant; an architect; a chef; a carpenter; an interior home designer; an inventor; a business owner.

All these were the ambitions I had since I was a kid. I recall myself doing stuff that were related to each of these occupations when I was a little kid.

Tracing back..

Back in kindergarten:

  • Being an accountant: “Mum, I love to count money. I think I want to be an accountant!” I still remember the scene whereby I threw all the one dollar US bill my mother had, embracing every second as the bills swept down my face to my toes. However, I was soon informed that being an accountant could mean staring at small numbers all day long for the benefit of others. This grossly turned me off.
  • Being an architect: Let’s just say I did not come from a very well-to-do family (: During my childhood days Barbie was my greatest love. I would stare at the display for hours while my mum was grocery shopping. However, the one thing I wanted very much was the Barbie Doll House. However, knowing it was beyond my family’s means, I would just admire it from the display shelves. One day, my mum bought several packets of ice-cream sticks and bottles of glue for me. She wanted me to build my own doll house from scratch! It was a week long of immense fun, builing it up layer by layer into a full-fledged doll house with a few rooms! However, after failing physics terribly in my Secondary 4 years, I decided that perhaps being an architect was not my cup of tea.
  • Being a chef!: ah~ a chef. Even up to this day, I still love cooking (Though I doubt anyone will be willing to eat what I cook). I used to watch cooking shows all the time, from Yan Can Cook  to Local chinese cooking shows. Since the age of 7 years old, I would find great pleasures in cutting ingredients, putting them into nice small bowls, showing them to the mirror (aka imaginary camera) and finally hearing the sizzle from the pan.
  • Being a carpenter: There is not much to be said for this. I just love assembling things!
  • Being an interior home designer: this will be an easy one. Being an avid fan of The Sims explains it all.
  • Being an inventor: My very first invention was creating a toy robot from my collection of pencil sharpeners and erasers. I used scotch tapes and “nails” such that the shape of my robot could change into a few different forms. My second inventions was a “tear-free & mess-free onion cutter” I think I still have my file somewhere in my drawer.
  • Being a business owner: Finally…this is one dream that I still feel very strongly about. The thought of being able to grow an idea into a business, and from there growing it into a bigger enterprise just excites me. I can imagine myself finding immense joy in having to solve different puzzles to make the big idea work. Perhaps I will trace all the signs that led to me discovering this dream of mine in the next entry.

Ending note

Before I scoot off for lessons (I am currently a freshmen at the Singapore Management University), here’s an interesting link to check out: Inc.com’s 30 American Entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

~

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    Recording the thoughts and actions of an Asian seedling, who is – SproutingOut

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