Top 4 Bullshits That Startups Tell You

Before you proceed….

Please know this. I was a blogger known for being a troll before NS unplugged me from the internet. I like to joke, I like to be sarcastic, and that’s the voice I was used to writing. I was a fan of Douglas Adam’s style too, and always tried to imitate his voice when writing compositions.

A little bit on myself now – I’m a full-time Entrepreneur running a mildly successful iOS & Android App Development House called Originally US. We believe in being honest and transparent with our clients. I was on the client side once, and I’ve had enough of bullshit from typical Software companies.

I’ve been running Originally US for 6 months now and I’m surviving – I define that being able to have enough sleep everyday and have some spare cash to eat hotdog buns on weekends.

So here I am. Straight to the point, straight from my heart (or brain). No sugar coating. Just what I honestly feel. Read this to provoke some thoughts in your mind or read this for entertainment, I don’t care. I often have strong, sarcastic opinions on the tech scene, the startup scene, and why do we even call these “scenes.”

Oh, and I don’t do grammar very well. I consider it a waste of time. I want to get the ideas out of my head as fast as possible (limited by my typing speed, which isn’t typically faster than the mating ritual of snails) – so I went cheap on grammar. Someone in white once said, cheaper, better, faster. When I write, its, faster, faster, and no grammar. I don’t care. You shouldn’t too, you Nazi.

Opinions expressed here has nothing to do with my company. Business is business. Tongue in cheeks are tongue in cheeks.

 

 Top 4 Bullshits That Startups Tell You

1. “I cannot tell you my idea. But it will be BIG.”

jamesbond

Founders who can’t tell you their idea probably placed an undue weight on their idea (which is nothing). They are likely to be so green that they don’t know or have not experienced the other more important factors behind having a successful startup – luck, people and execution.

Many investors also have alarm bells that sound when founders say they can’t share the idea – it shows that the founders are not convinced they can carry out and execute their startup better than someone else. Boo. Where’s that Fuckerberg confidence that entrepreneurs need to have?

2. “Come and be my <Insert Nice Sounding Role Here>. I’ll give you equity. I can’t pay you. But it will be the next BIG thing and we will be millionaires.”

equity

This is the cheat code for founders who are too cheap to pay for work done, even if it is the “next big thing”. Heard of “cheaper, better, faster”? Try “Free, stupid and led on”.

Most likely, any founder who doesn’t place value on your contribution enough to want to pay you in cash on top of equity, isn’t convinced enough that the idea will work and is simply just want to minimize his or her own financial risks. Humji?

3. “I’m a serial entrepreneur.”

57767451

There are many legit serial entrepreneurs around, but if you have not heard of that guy or gal having any successes before, this is probably what they were trying to say to you:

“I’ve tried many things, but didn’t have any success. So being a “serial entrepreneur” is the only worthy title you should know me by.”

Don’t get me wrong. I advocate failures. We should try, and if we fail, pick ourselves up, do a little bit of diary writing, and try again. But calling themselves a “serial entrepreneur” with no past success is too much of a bullshit.

4. “I’m the CEO and Founder and Director” (Of a 3 man company).

roles

Screen-grab from Linkedin. Enuff’ said. (FYI, the company name is the same for all 5 roles!)


10 Signs that a student startup will not work out

Students startups are all the rage now, given the easy access to government-based fundings. However, why do we not hear any meaningful success story out of that?
From my own experience and by observing other student startups… I present to you…

10 Signs that a student startup will not work out:
1) More than half of the founding members have a full time job outside, or intend to have 1 upon graduation.
2) There’s no in-house developers, and the founders are not experienced in sales or marketing (by experienced, I mean actual experience in selling or marketing products or services).
3) The office starts looking like a living room than a place where work gets done – before the startup is even market validated or invested in (grants from gov bodies not counted).
4) Assignments and GPAs are more important than launches and sales
5) The founders didn’t have any contacts or networks within the industries they are targeting.
6) Founders didn’t have any prior working experience in SMEs or other startups.
7) Founders are not keen to put their own money in something they believe so strongly in.
8) They confuse media coverage with market validation (press writing about it is nothing to cheer about, it will still fail.)
9) There’s no product road map beyond the next 3 to 6 months.
10) There are more than 3 co-founders.


8 Things To Look Out For When Engaging Vendors to Develop Your Android and iOS Mobile Apps

When I founded my first startup 3 years ago and wanted to build a mobile app, I was confused by the huge difference in price quoted by various IT Vendors.

With such a huge collection of well-designed apps in the marketplace, users are spoilt for choice. If your app quality is just a bit lower, users have no reason to keep yours on their phones.

Having quality mobile apps is important. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if a particular vendor can deliver that.

The worst thing you can do is throw them a list of features you want and ask if they can deliver. Every vendor who are desperate for sales will tell agree to your requirements and launch schedule. It is extremely hard to determine if the vendor can produce the special “x” factor that makes or breaks your app, and by extension, your startup!

You are also not helped by the fact that there are all kinds of unscrupulous vendors out there: vendors who use interns to develop your app at the expense of future upgrades and scalability, vendors whose only local headcounts consist of Sales and Project Managers and all the development work are outsourced to countries like India, among others.

Fortunately, I’m technically trained, and I know the telltale signs when vendors are trying to pull a fast one on me. I was able to engage the right vendor then, but not all startup founders are so lucky.
Thought I would like to share the 8 most important signs to look out for when engaging a vendor:

1) Always check their past portfolio. Don’t take “our portfolio is not online yet” for an excuse.

2) If the vendor is small or young, are the founding partners technical?

3) Are the development work done locally are offshored? Is there are strong technical team behind this vendor to deliver the project?

4) What are the portfolios of the Project Managers and Technical Lead behind your project?

5) Are they building native or “HTML5” mobile apps?

6) Is there a solid UX/UI Designer placed on your project?

7) Ask for contact of their past clients. Check if the vendor is habitual in missing deadlines and breaking promises.

8) Do you have to work through many layers between you and the development team? E.g. You -> Account Manager -> Project Manager -> Technical Lead -> Developers. This will impact how fast you can make changes and updates to your mobile apps.

That said, I after my previous company failed, I decided to start my own Mobile App Development House that brings our clients the best possible value.

Let’s cut out the middle man. No more Consultants, Sales and Project Managers who don’t know what they are talking about.

Imagine working with a company where their entire team, including Consultants, Project Managers and Designers, also have at least a year of programming experience.

No more fluff and bullshit from your vendor just because they want to close a sales.

This is Originally.US.

Originally US Singapore – No Bullshit Mobile App Development
http://www.originally.us


The problems of being a small, disruptive startup

People who dreams of disruptive technologies or processes and have the balls to execute them deserve to be successful right?

Na, wait long long.

Just look at Lytro. They specialize in what they call “Light Field Camera”, whatever that means. Their really cool technology allows photographers to just snap a photo first, and then choose their focus point later.

This concept in itself is huge, and this is possibly the pipe dream of photographers since the beginning of photography. They ought to be very successful and rich right now, right? Perhaps even a nobel price for revolutionizing photography?

Nope. They simply showed the world that there’s a demand or use case for a technology like this. But Lytro is a small kid, and for whatever foolish reasons they had, they decided not to license their hardware technology to anyone else.

So giants like Google and Nokia decided to achieve the same thing with software.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/13/5099000/nokia-refocus-download-for-pureview-lumia-windows-phones

https://gigaom.com/2014/04/16/googles-downloadable-android-camera-app-gets-bokeh-with-lens-blur/

With the release of the updated Android Camera app and the Nokia Refocus app, consumers can now achieve the same effect right in their mobile phones with a click on a button. No more shelling out crazy cash for a fancy camera. Not to mention, the original Lytro has really shitty image quality.

Now everyone who bought a Lytro looks really stupid. There’s also no reason for a company like Lytro to exist any more.

Disruptive startup, so what? Big players make you irrelevant as easy as killing an ant.

I’m looking at lots of Pebble advertisements on Facebook and the web, and I can’t help thinking they are trying to clear their stocks as fast as possible. The arrival of the official Android smartwatch powered by Android Wear, or the iWatch powered by iOS will render Pebble irrelevant immediately.

Pebbles are to Android smartwatches will be like what pocket calculators are to iPads. Heck, Pebble even use same cheapskate pocket calculator type LCD but brand it as “e-paper”. Please don’t confuse this with “e-ink”, the screen used by decent ebook readers.

Pebble, while a disruptive concept, is simply a set of cheap hardware in a watch form factor for USD150. One year later, they replace all the plastic parts with metal and tried to ask for USD100 more. Trust me, there’s no innovation going on in Pebble, and it shows.

By the time Android Smartwatches such as the Moto 360 or the legendary iWatch come out, Pebble would be cast out at the roadside and no one won’t pay any more attention to it then actual pebbles.

Product bashing aside, this underlines a very sad fate for startups and entrepreneurs.

You can be disruptive. You can impress everyone. But you will always be at the mercy of larger companies. And more so, if you are giving your consumers shitty value.

Yet another thing that startups should watch out for.

 


Facebook Hack is official.

Sorry to get your hopes up, but this post isn’t some breakthrough new way of hacking Facebook.

What this is about, is this:

Today we’re releasing Hack, a programming language we developed for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP. Hack reconciles the fast development cycle of PHP with the discipline provided by static typing, while adding many features commonly found in other modern programming languages.

We have deployed Hack at Facebook and it has been a great success. Over the last year, we have migrated nearly our entire PHP codebase to Hack, thanks to both organic adoption and a number of homegrown refactoring tools.

We’re also proud to release an open source version of Hack to the public at http://hacklang.org/ as part of our HHVM runtime platform, which will now support both Hack and PHP.

WOW, just wow.

Official Announcement