New age of Selfies

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There just doesn’t seem to be an end to the photo app industry.

Check out Phhhotos, its an iphone app which “breathes life into your stale selfies.”

 

You would think with scientists linking selfies to mental health conditions and narcissism, entrepreneurs would cease to build on the world of selfies.

Truth is far from that, with Phhhotos app now taking selfies is more interesting than it has ever been.

 

Instead of having a static photo, this new app allows you to take series of photos then connecting them to motion enhanced GIF.

 

The User Experience is similar to Instagram, you choose your features point at yourself then shoot.

There are FEED, HEART (LIKE), COMMENTS & sharing via FACEBOOK. Nothing complicated.

 

Only downside is that this app only has normal view and black & white filter, but surely we can expect someone to fill that gap soon.

 

 

Reference: Welcome.. The age of moving selfies (http://ofleadership.com/welcome-the-age-of-moving-selfies)

How do you know you are wired to be an entrepreneur?

As people began  associating entrepreneurs with words like; passionate, dedicated and optimistic

 

The word “Entrepreneur” has become a very fashionable vocabulary in the recent years.

The word “entrepreneur” gets thrown around as an introduction as a description and as sometimes as a status.

 

However, some of the most successful entrepreneurs explain the fuel behind their fire.

 

1. You take action

Entrepreneurial quality is more genuine when entrepreneurs are forced to invent as they go rather than spend time writing a business plan. People with problem solving ability will beat overanalyzing people.

 

2. You’re insecure

“Many entrepreneurs judged as ambitious are really insecure underneath,” Corcoran says. This fear of failing is what gets an entrepreneur hyperfocused on the tasks and becomes the fuel to win at all costs.

 

3. You’re crafty

The character MacGyver is a great description of how a successful entrepreneur operates. It’s not about having resources but becoming resourceful with what you have.

 

4. You’re obsessed with cash flow

In the early stage of most startups the name of the game is bootstrapping. During the bootstrapping stage cash flow becomes an obsession to all entrepreneurs, because the minute you run out of money to spend is the day your business goes out of business.

 

5. You get into hot water

Do you find yourself asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission? Many entrepreneurs have the tendency to react to opportunities first, before asking permission form higher-ups.

 

6. You’re fearless

Entrepreneurs are extreme optimists. Many times they take chances and operate under the belief that one day their investment will pay off

 

7. You can’t sit still

They are eager, excited and energized about business. They love to get things done.

 

8. You’re malleable

Entrepreneurs don’t believe in one answer. They consistently reinvent, tweak and evolve their business as needed.

 

9. You enjoy navel gazing

Sometimes entrepreneurs are not given the benefit of having supervisors and guidance. They need to learn and understand the need to constantly evaluate themselves so that they are able to improve.

 

10. You’re motivated by challenges

Entrepreneur looks opposition and thinks its an opportunity

 

11. You consider yourself an outsider

The feeling of not being accepted and rejected becomes the aggressive energy that drives you towards success

 

12. You recover quickly

Fail fast, but get up faster. That’s how entrepreneurs win

 

 

Reference: 12 Definite qualities of successful entrepreneurs (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235378)

Alibaba’s new venture

When face tagging blew up, it was only a matter of time before entrepreneurs evolved the concept into this..

Alibaba-social-network-Fun-01

Fun, is like Instagram but focused on tagging brands in the photo.

This mobile application is Alibaba’s latest effort to connect users with brands and vendors.

 

How this app work is simple, snap a photo tag the brand you’re in and share! Smart modern approach, since user generated information has much more strengths nowadays versus traditional advertisements.

 

For example, if you go to the Cartier’s page you’ll see page of Cariter tags, just as you would see a person’s page on Facebook.

cartier

 

This app is currently included in Tmall app, a platform which work closely with Alibaba already and the alliance seems logical.

Alibaba representative refuses to comment on the vision of Fun yet, however, we can all assume close operation with its parent company Alibaba.

 

 

Reference: No surprise here (http://ofleadership.com/no-surprise-here)

 

How these companies are winning

According to Quora, there are approximately 189 million registered companies around the world. Likely a lot more unregistered businesses as well.

To stand out in a crowd of this size, your business better have a large marketing budget or have abundance of creativity.

 

For this week’s weekly review of Asian tech companies on the rise, let me introduce few startup companies that is winning through creativity.

 

1. Skillshare (http://www.skillshare.com)

Skillshare is an online education platform founded in 2011. Their winning innovation was pivoting from $20 a la carte model to $10 all you can eat model.

Lesson: Leverage the intelligence and expertise of normals to create a massive intellectual marketplace.

 

2. Warby Parker (https://www.warbyparker.com)

Warby Parker took their ecommerce platform back offline to brick-and-mortars and cutting out the middleman. Warby Parker has presented their prescription glasses as if they were fashion items and enjoyed a great success.

Lesson: Change the way people see an industry.

 

3. Zady (http://zady.com)

Curation is nothing new when it comes to the fashion industry. What Zady did was told a story of their curation giving it life or personality.

Lesson: Storytelling — and the goods’ path to consumers — matters, and people will pay a premium for it.

 

4. Popsugar (http://www.popsugar.com)

Popsugar contents cover a wide variety of interests. What’s innovative about this company is how it pulls off the difficult task of diversifying widely then mastering.

Lesson: Content drives commerce, and people love a one-stop shop.

 

5. Birchbox (http://www.birchbox.com)

Considered the mother of all subscription services, this beauty startup was one of the earliest to build on the joys of surprise and delight and the idea of discovery eccomerce.

Lesson: A little curation goes a long way in a crowded industry.

 

Reference: How creativity manifested in crowded industries (http://ofleadership.com/how-creativity-manifested-in-crowded-industries)

Catalyst Financing Approach?

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There are many theories about our origin. Some respectfully more popular than the others.

There’s the theory that we are all originally Martians…

There’s the theory of Creationism, that people are designed and created in the image of God…

Then, there’s the theory of Darwinism which argues people evolved from an ape…

 

(***IMPORTANT***) I’m not suggesting that anyone of these theories are more credible above the other, but for the sake of rhetoric of this article, I’m going to suggest  that evolution applies to all things in the world.

 

So.. evolution applies to all things in the world.

From the origin of life to wars, entertainment to education; it is safe to assume that everything has evolved from its conception.

 

Of course, there is one exception… Venture Capitalism.

 

Dominique Belanger, a vice president at the federally-funded venture capital firm, comically explains “The venture capital model has hardly evolved since the 13th century when Marco Polo first convinced a group of wealthy Venetians to underwrite his travels to Asia in exchange for a share of the riches he might discover.”

“Today, a fund manager supports and cultivates an entrepreneur’s good idea by providing financing in exchange for a share in their business – with the hope for a return on their efforts. But after years of stalled performance, that model is due for a shakeup.”

 

This call for “shakeup” points to a catalytic partner financing approach.

What is a catalytic financing approach?

According to the article, it involves a firm taking an early-stage ideas from entrepreneurs with good track records, and then assembling a team that is “high-performing, specialized and comprehensive. We provide them with business management capacity, with financing expertise, with product development and, yes, with funding.”

 

This type of investment is the unidentified functionality between Angel investment and venture capital. Currently companies such as TandemLaunch (http://tandemlaunch.com) and Waha Group (http://waha.asia) are working to fill this gap.

 

What can be best described as hybrid between incubator and venture capital, significantly increases the likelihood of success for entrepreneurs and is the modernization of venture capital investing.

 

 

Reference: Modernization of Venture Capital (http://ofleadership.com/modernization-of-venture-capital)

 

 

Backupify CEO shares lessons learned

nce heard a powerful quote, “people who FALL in love can FALL out of love.”

Nobody “Falls” on purpose, and to “Fall” describes an accidental action.

For that reason, falling in love, should be an ongoing series of choice making… not something dictated by your momentary passion.

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Same principle applies to making career decisions.

 

According to Rob May, CEO of Backupify, “passion is fleeting, and defining your life path by what you love at this very moment likely means you will not stick with it once your passion fades.”

In the article he also states,  “Studies have shown that passion comes from mastery, not mastery from passion.”

 

We are all encouraged to not settle and chase our dreams, remember this one?

What we often neglect is that, our actions and daily living needs to be pathway towards “our dreams”.

 

At 37, here’s what Rob May would have told his 22-year-old self:

 

1. Set the ground work for future excellence.

There’s no way, you’re going to be competing in the Olympics if you are out drinking 7 days a week. Get focused and spend as much time as you can to  master your craft.

If you want to be the master, you better be able ready to make the sacrifices.

 

2. Be willing to master the tasks that some people find too boring or too difficult.

“Have you ever lived in one of those bad college apartments where you have a door that sticks? The trick to opening the door is something like to twist it half way, then lean into it with your shoulder and lift up on the handle while you twist it the rest of the way. It’s a complex motion and when you first move into that apartment it takes you 2 minutes to open the door every time. After a few weeks though, the motion has become natural and you get it on the first try.”

 

3. Don’t Watch TV.

Get out of your “hanging out mindset”, because when time passes all those shows that your friends are currently talking about; it’s trivial.

Instead, do things that will give you competitive advantage in the future.

 

4. When all fails, just do something.

Whether you are suffering from “idealism” ( holding onto unrealistic ideas) or suffering from “paralysm” (having no idea on what you want to do), just keep moving forwards. If you are unsure, then in any direction possible. As you proceed, life always seems to reveal itself. It’s all about progressive learning.

 

5. Having smaller goal is fine.

I once heard someone say that, “the richest man is a person who can afford to do everything that an average person does.” There’s definitely nothing innately wrong with this statement. Everyone is driven for different things and to each, his own. But, many times it does seem like many people do have big dreams, just are not willing to make big sacrifices.

 

You get what you put in. The grass is greener where you water.

 

Reference: Grass is greener where you water (http://ofleadership.com/grass-is-greener-where-you-water)

Serving people’s most essential desire

“Have you heard of Secret,  an app where you can freely share your darkest secrets without revealing your identity?”

Should have been their punchline..

Instead their punchline goes; “Secret, the app that lets users share notes with others without revealing their identity.”

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It’s a less controversial spin to what it could have done, either way an attention grabber.

 

I mean.. we all have secrets that we kept contained within ourselves, and thought that we would have to take it to grave. Right?

Now we can share those feelings and receive “peers” affirmation. Wow.

 

While this app, if hacked by the wrong group, can easily become the biggest extortion tool the world has seen; the company claims “Yes, it’s anonymous, we don’t even store your public name.”

This clever app is already valued over 100 million dollars and is attracting serious attention from financiers and veteran board of directors.

The company has also been making efforts to make sure that people “Say something kind.”

It will be definitely exciting to see the app move beyond the early adopters into a fruitful realm of sustainable business.

 

Reference: Tapping into people’s most essential desire (http://ofleadership.com/tapping-into-peoples-most-essential-desire)

They call it “the paradox of angel investment in Hong Kong”

It is not a surprise, Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in Asia.

Entrepreneurs from North America would see Hong Kong’s wealth and think, “we need to go raise funds from HK!”

 

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As it turns out, angel investment is at an early stage of development in this wealthy city.

Why?

In Hong Kong, there are many attractive options for investments, such as real estate and equity markets. The involvement startup ventures require, and the uncertainty of return make angel investing a much less attractive option for many of Hong Kong’s wealthy businessmen.

Brigitte Baumann, past president of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), explains the skepticism when investing in entrepreneurs they are unfamiliar with; they would rather invest in their cousins’ business.

 

Nelson, Gray, an angel investor with over 30 years of experience believes that Hong Kong’s small local market forces ventures to think globally, and he makes an analogy by comparing Scotland’s ecosystem with Hong Kong. His analogy was to pointing out the potential of HK angel investing due to its close knit business community.

 

Allen Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Business Angel Network, has also said that he’s encountering many innovative ideas generated by the youths in Hong Kong and is only a matter of time before the spirit of startups take root. “The main task is for us to build a better ecosystem.”

 

Some blame the lack of angel investment, some blame the lack of originality. Maybe  proper business accelerating groups will be the cure?

 

Only one thing is certain, for a vibrant angel investment community there needs to be a manifestation in the spirit of entrepreneurship over abundance of money.

 

Reference: Angel Investment: Accessible Resources vs Manifestation of the spirit (http://ofleadership.com/angel-investment-accessible-resources-vs-manifestation-of-the-spirit)

 

Game Changers of 2014

For this week’s look into Asia, I’ve decided to broaden the research a little bit and make it global.

 

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Every country around the globe, there are entrepreneurs betting on opportunity against their oppositions.

These are some of the startups that are catching eyes of the media in 2014.

 

1. Oscar, New York (https://www.hioscar.com)

“Hello New York, We’re Oscar, A new kind of health insurance company that is using technology to make insurance simple, intuitive, and human. In other words, the kind of healthcare we want for ourselves.”

This startup has raised $70 million in two rounds funding, and has acquired thousands of customers within the first few weeks of its launch.

 

2. Dash, New York (https://dash.by)

“Smarter. Driving. Every Day.” This app can and probably will upset some professionals in the automotive industry. Actually, I can see this app as a major threat to many businesses. This android app analyzes your vehicle then tells you if there’s something wrong with your car, how to drive more economically and sends alert to your loved ones when there’s an accident.

 

3. Humin, San Francisco (https://www.humin.com)

“Humin is a new phone app that captures all of your contacts and remembers them in the way you naturally think.” Humin remembers a contact in full context with how you’ve come to know them. It remembers where, how and when you met a person. It also integrates with all of your social network to connect you to people that are relevant. Making world a friendlier place!

 

4. Yplan, London (http://yplanapp.com)

“Yplan is for the spontaneous.” Provided by team of entertainment experts, Yplan is on a mission to make the users nights out more activity filled.

 

5. Harry’s, New York (https://www.harrys.com)

“Like most of you, we’ve long had to choose between over-priced, over-marketed razors that disrespect your intelligence, and low quality, cheap razors that disrespect your face.” This is a very interesting slogan

for what it is seeming to be a business model that’s catching on.

 

Reference: Most promising startups to watch for this year (http://ofleadership.com/most-promising-startups-to-watch-for-this-year)

 

 

This company jumped 24,000 % in valuation in couple weeks

Meet IntroBiz, website associated with CYNK Technology, the hottest social networking stock of the month with 4.29 billion in valuation.

 

Wow. Another impressive valuation of social networking platform.

Early adopters might be thinking, why have I not heard of it before? I missed out on the early adoption!

 

It’s Okay. I don’t think anyone has heard of IntroBiz until a month ago, and probably the early adoption stage hasn’t even begun.

 

introbiz

 

Introbiz claims “Thru our marketplace you may both buy and sell the ability to socially connect to individuals such as celebrities, business owners, and talented IT professionals.”

Advanced and more intrusive version of Linkedin perhaps? Good concept. $4.29 billion does seem feasible.

 

What’s truly amazing about the company is that it is now worth 24,000% more than where it began. Compared to 18,000 % of Apple since it went public in 1980, this is a mind blowing achievement.

 

An eyebrow raising factor however, is that this company’s 24,000% jump occurred in matter of couple weeks. As you could imagine, a slight problem with a company with such explosion in stock is; It’s not clear if there’s any value to it.

 

According to data on Yahoo Finance, this company has not reported any revenue for year 2011, 2012 and 2013. And total money lost in operation is at $1.5 million dollars.

In the company’s SEC financial report it describes, “a development stage company that has not commenced its planned principal operates to date. CYNK Tehcnology Corp. plans to launch

its web based social network at the end of the next quarter.”

Just when you thought this couldn’t get stranger, it does. This company has only one employee.

According to Bloomberg, Marlon Luis Sanchez owns 210 million shares of the company and is the company’s president, CEO, CFO, chief accounting officer, secretary treasurer, and director.

Roughly 100,000 shares out of 291 million outstanding shares have traded hands today. It is unclear how this ends, but it is definitely a company to watch out for.

 

 

Reference: Original A ‘Social Networking’ Stock Has Exploded 25,000% In A Few Days, And It’s Not Even Clear If The Company Exists (http://www.businessinsider.com/cynk-technology-2014-7)