MangoPlate secures an undisclosed series AㅣAsiaFounders

To be frank, when I read an article like this I can’t help but to have mixed feelings.

It is great to see Korean startups raising funds, but for another foodie app???

Let’s get more creative!!

 

For now let’s take a look at what the new app is all about.

mangoplate ss 3
Korean restaurant discovery app MangoPlate yesterday announced it secured an undisclosed series A round of funding from Softbank Ventures Korea, according to BeSUCCESS.

Available in both English and Korean, MangoPlate’s database covers 200,000 restaurants across the country, searchable with personalized restaurant recommendations based on your location and places you’ve eaten at before. Users can follow other members to see what their friends are eating.

The app’s biggest competitor isn’t another foodie startup, but actually South Korea’s biggest search engine, Naver. Naver touts a much larger database of reviews and recommendations, but their authenticity is often questionable. Posting fake reviews and paying off food bloggers is a common under-the-table practice.

To curb this practice on its own platform, MangoPlate has developed a recommendation algorithm that it says will better aggregate more reliable data from user behavior and even other social networks. It combines data between users with the same tastes to build a validated profile for tastes and preferences. Additionally, MangoPlate promises not to support sponsored reviews.

MangoPlate didn’t reveal any user numbers, but it’s the fifth-ranked food and drink app for iOS in Korea according to App Annie. That beats rival foodie apps Poing and Yibabcha, but sits behind second-place Yogiyo. MangoPlate CEO Kim Dae-Woong says a solid local market leader has not yet emerged, and he intends to fill that position.

 

Reference: MangoPlate secures an undisclosed series AㅣOfleadership (http://ofleadership.com/mangoplate-secures-an-undisclosed-series-a%E3%85%A3ofleadership)

Stay in school kidsㅣAsiaFounders

Today I came across an article on Linkedin. The title read ‘Why You Shouldn’t Drop Out To Start Up’.

Although, I didn’t drop out of school to start up, this is something I wish that I had read and believed at an earlier age.

The incredible blog post written by Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, goes like this.

We all secretly think we can be Outliers. Not the kind of Outlier where 10,000 hours is required to master a skill, but the kind where people operate at the extreme edge of possibility.

Unfortunately that perspective can lead us to make decisions based on what worked for Outliers – like dropping out of college to start a company.

After all, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard; look how he turned out. Mark Zuckerberg did too; it’s hard to argue leaving school was the wrong decision for him. Same for Michael Dell, and WhatsApp founder Jan Koum.

In fact, check out the most recent Forbes Billionare List: 63 of the 400 individuals listed dropped out of college.

That’s why, if you think you have a great startup idea, dropping out of college to pursue that idea can seem like the smart move – but it’s not. Stay in school. Finish your degree.

Why?

Time truly is on your side.

When you’re in your late teens and early twenties, two or three years can seem like a lifetime. You’re eager and impatient and simply hate the thought of waiting; you have a burning desire to get out there and start doing things now.

In the grand scheme of things those two or three years won’t matter. You have thirty or forty years ahead of you to build a company, build a career, build a life.

Your idea will, believe it or not, wait.

You don’t have to be first. Gates didn’t create the first operating system. Zuckerberg didn’t build the first social network. Dell didn’t build the first computer.

Being first is nice, but being best is what truly matters.

Success starts with an idea… but lasting success is built on execution. You can be second or third or fiftieth and still succeed.

And since no one ever builds anything worthwhile totally on his or her own…

You can build a great network.

If you plan to be an entrepreneur, staying in school is one of the best things you can do – it’s a safe, sheltered, and risk-free environment where you can meet future colleagues and co-founders.

Co-founders who met and became friends as classmates have launched some awesome startups. Though HubSpot [NYSE:HUBS] is not quite at “awesome level” yet, my co-founder and I met when we were classmates.

You can safely explore your passions.

Every successful entrepreneur has a burning desire – if not a full-on obsession – to turn an idea into a reality. They’re willing to work incredibly long hours, overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and keep pushing forward even when everyone around them says they’re crazy.

Why? They don’t just love the idea of success; they love the work.

But it’s hard to know you’ll love the work unless you actually do the work. College is a great place to explore your passions: write some code, or build a prototype, or sell a test product, or provide a freelance service… and figure out what you truly love to do.

Not only will that help you learn about business, that will also help you be able to someday build a company you love.

You will prove you can start and finish.

Failure is a fact of entrepreneurial life. Potential investors, partners, employees, etc know that. Many investors will take a chance on founders whose earlier startups have failed.

But still… finishing college proves that you can stay the course, can work through adversity, and can finish something you started.

Plus, if you drop out, you might spend the rest of your life wondering whether some people would respect you more had you finished your degree. Or you might wonder if your life would have taken a different course. Sure, if you stay it is possible you might someday regret “wasting” those one or two years… but that is much less likely.

I’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs. I’ve never heard someone say: “You know, if only I had dropped out of school, things would have been so much better.”

You might actually learn something useful.

Seriously. It has been known to happen.

I learned a bunch of things I didn’t know I didn’t know by going back to graduate school. I find that knowledge to be extremely useful as I’ve grown my company and helped others grow theirs.

So, my advice: Stay in school. Pay attention. Make some friends — there’s a decent chance some of them will be your co-founder someday.

Reference: Stay In School Kids (http://ofleadership.com/stay-in-school-kids)

Artificial Reality

magic-leap

Have you heard of Magic Leap? Probably not..

This company has somehow managed to stay under the radar while raising massive project fund led by Google.

 

It’s rare that a company can stay relatively secretive while raising a huge amount of funding, but Florida’s Magic Leap has managed that. The startup, led by CEO Rony Abovitz, announced today the close of its $542 million Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment.

 

What is Magic Leap?

 

It’s a question that the startup isn’t answering in detail just yet, though they are pulling back the curtain just a little more than they have in the past with this fresh funding.

 

“If you think about what mobile computing is right now, it’s portable, it’s great, and I call it ‘making your hand happy,’ in that you can hold it and it’s great,” Abovitz said. “Your hand is happy, but your eye is not. What I mean by your eye is not happy, if you step outside your office and look at San Francisco Bay, it’s just this visual feast, and there’s no movie theater, there’s no television display, there’s nothing that will ever match the grandeur of what our own brains can create in terms of visual experience.”

Whatever comes out of Magic Leap, it’s bound to be worth watching, given how much money and attention it has garnered from some of the smartest and most successful minds across computing, film and technology thus far.

 

Reference: Artificial Reality (http://ofleadership.com/artificial-reality)

First all wearable incubator

I’ve seen it over and over. It never fails.

When an Asian restaurant opens in an area where there isn’t many Asian cuisine option, it starts as an ‘Asian Restaurant’.

What is an Asia restaurant? It is a restaurant which sells everything from Japanese Sushi to Vietnamese rice noodle soup. It’s the one stop for all Asian cravings.

Following the almost guaranteed success of the very first Asian restaurant in the neighborhood, usually because it is the only option, many others usually start to follow.

 

Now what seems to always happen is, the newer Asian restaurants opening up rapidly become more specialized in one style of cuisine; Korean, Chinese, Japanese etc..

 

Every industry is prone to be this way, even in the most innovative and disruptive industry, tech.

 

wearables_topic

Wearable World, best known as the San Francisco-based conference and media site, is to launch what it claims is the first ever purely wearable technology accelerator and incubator programme in Europe.

The Labs will be headed up by Marcus Sandberg, a co-founder of Proleads (and a former member of the Swedish Special Forces). Sandberg will lead a team of 5 at the incubator, which launches on 22 of October during its first London-based GLAZEDcon event next week.

Redg Snodgrass, CEO and co-founder of Wearable World, said the reason for establishing the accelerator was obvious given that “over 30 per cent of the companies in our current programme are from outside the US” and the often difficult funding environment for wearables in Europe.

Wearable World Labs claims that its success rate in its U.S. operation is a “90 per cent fund rate and a 100 percent crowd funding rate” for its first cohort of startups. The 35 companies on the Labs programme have collectively raised more than $9 million in investor backing, and more than $5 million from crowdfunding.

European companies involved in the U.S. programme already include: Sensum, which has developed a technology to capture “emotional data”; CreoPop, which is working on a 3D printing pen; and MiriQ, which has created Ripple, an intelligent smartphone charger and lifestyle accessory.

 

Reference: First All Wearable Incubator (http://ofleadership.com/first-all-wearable-incubator)

For Backwards Entrepreneurs

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So the name of the game we play, we call it bootstrapping.

An alternate way around it is to get venture funding. Recently, I think it is safe to assume that many people have this backwards.

Now it seems like funding is what they are after, a shot to make it, then selling their own ideas to the millions.

 

For those new-age entrepreneurs here is an article that you may want to read.

Startup Ideas We’d Like to Fund
Paul Graham
July 2008

When we read Y Combinator applications there are always ideas we’re hoping to see. In the past we’ve never said publicly what they are. If we say we’re looking for x, we’ll get applications proposing x, certainly. But then it actually becomes harder to judge them: is this group proposing x because they were already thinking about it, or because they know that’s what we want to hear?

We don’t like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want people to work on them. So we’re trying something new: we’re going to list some of the ideas we’ve been waiting to see, but only describe them in general terms. It may be that recipes for ideas are the most useful form anyway, because imaginative people will take them in directions we didn’t anticipate.

Please don’t feel that if you want to apply to Y Combinator, you have to work on one of these types of ideas. If we’ve learned nothing else from doing YC, it’s how little we know. Many of the best startups we’ve funded, like Loopt, proposed things we’d never considered.

1. A cure for the disease of which the RIAA is a symptom. Something is broken when Sony and Universal are suing children. Actually, at least two things are broken: the software that file sharers use, and the record labels’ business model. The current situation can’t be the final answer. And what happened with music is now happening with movies. When the dust settles in 20 years, what will this world look like? What components of it could you start building now?

The answer may be far afield. The answer for the music industry, for example, is probably to give up insisting on payment for recorded music and focus on licensing and live shows. But what happens to movies? Do they morph into games?

2. Simplified browsing. There are a lot of cases where you’d trade some of the power of a web browser for greater simplicity. Grandparents and small children don’t want the full web; they want to communicate and share pictures and look things up. What viable ideas lie undiscovered in the space between a digital photo frame and a computer running Firefox? If you built one now, who else would use it besides grandparents and small children?

3. New news. As Marc Andreessen points out, newspapers are in trouble. The problem is not merely that they’ve been slow to adapt to the web. It’s more serious than that: their problems are due to deep structural flaws that are exposed now that they have competitors. When the only sources of news were the wire services and a few big papers, it was enough to keep writing stories about how the president met with someone and they each said conventional things written in advance by their staffs. Readers were never that interested, but they were willing to consider this news when there were no alternatives.

News will morph significantly in the more competitive environment of the web. So called “blogs” (because the old media call everything published online a “blog”) like PerezHilton and TechCrunch are one sign of the future. News sites like Reddit and Digg are another. But these are just the beginning.

4. Outsourced IT. In most companies the IT department is an expensive bottleneck. Getting them to make you a simple web form could take months. Enter Wufoo. Now if the marketing department wants to put a form on the web, they can do it themselves in 5 minutes. You can take practically anything users still depend on IT departments for and base a startup on it, and you will have the enormous force of their present dissatisfaction pushing you forward.

5. Enterprise software 2.0. Enterprise software companies sell bad software for huge amounts of money. They get away with it for a variety of reasons that link together to form a sort of protective wall. But the software world is changing. I suspect that if you study different parts of the enterprise software business (not just what the software does, but more importantly, how it’s sold) you’ll find parts that could be picked off by startups.

One way to start is to make things for smaller companies, because they can’t afford the overpriced stuff made for big ones. They’re also easier to sell to.

6. More variants of CRM. This is a form of enterprise software, but I’m mentioning it explicitly because it seems like this area has such potential. CRM (“Customer Relationship Management”) means all sorts of different things, but a lot of the current embodiments don’t seem much more than mailing list managers. It should be possible to make interactions with customers much higher-res.

7. Something your company needs that doesn’t exist. Many of the best startups happened when someone needed something in their work, found it didn’t exist, andquit to build it. This is vaguer than most of the other recipes here, but it may be the most valuable. You’re working on something you know customers want, because you were the customer. And if it was something you needed at work, other people will too, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.

So if you’re working for a big company and you want to strike out on your own, here’s a recipe for an idea. Start this sentence: “We’d pay a lot if someone would just build a …” Whatever you say next is probably a good product idea.

8. Dating. Current dating sites are not the last word. Better ones will appear. But anyone who wants to start a dating startup has to answer two questions: in addition to the usual question about how you’re going to approach dating differently, you have to answer the even more important question of how to overcome the huge chicken and egg problem every dating site faces. A site like Reddit is interesting when there are only 20 users. But no one wants to use a dating site with only 20 users—which of course becomes a self-perpetuating problem. So if you want to do a dating startup, don’t focus on the novel take on dating that you’re going to offer. That’s the easy half. Focus on novel ways to get around the chicken and egg problem.

9. Photo/video sharing services. A lot of the most popular sites on the web are for photo sharing. But the sites classified as social networks are also largely about photo sharing. As much as people like to share words (IM and email and blogging are “word sharing” apps), they probably like to share pictures more. It’s less work and the results are usually more interesting. I think there is huge growth still to come. There may ultimately be 30 different subtypes of image/video sharing service, half of which remain to be discovered.

10. Auctions. Online auctions have more potential than most people currently realize. Auctions seem boring now because EBay is doing a bad job, but is still powerful enough that they have a de facto monopoly. Result: stagnation. But I suspect EBay could now be attacked on its home territory, and that this territory would, in the hands of a successful invader, turn out to be more valuable than it currently appears. As with dating, however, a startup that wants to do this has to expend more effort on their strategy for cracking the monopoly than on how their auction site will work.

11. Web Office apps. We’re interested in funding anyone competing with Microsoft desktop software. Obviously this is a rich market, considering how much Microsoft makes from it. A startup that made a tenth as much would be very happy. And a startup that takes on such a project will be helped along by Microsoft itself, who between their increasingly bureaucratic culture and their desire to protect existing desktop revenues will probably do a bad job of building web-based Office variants themselves. Before you try to start a startup doing this, however, you should be prepared to explain why existing web-based Office alternatives haven’t taken the world by storm, and how you’re going to beat that.

12. Fix advertising. Advertising could be made much better if it tried to please its audience, instead of treating them like victims who deserve x amount of abuse in return for whatever free site they’re getting. It doesn’t work anyway; audiences learn to tune out boring ads, no matter how loud they shout.

What we have now is basically print and TV advertising translated to the web. The right answer will probably look very different. It might not even seem like advertising, by current standards. So the way to approach this problem is probably to start over from scratch: to think what the goal of advertising is, and ask how to do that using the new ingredients technology gives us. Probably the new answers exist already, in some early form that will only later be recognized as the replacement for traditional advertising.

Bonus points if you can invent new forms of advertising whose effects are measurable, above all in sales.

13. Online learning. US schools are often bad. A lot of parents realize it, and would be interested in ways for their kids to learn more. Till recently, schools, like newspapers, had geographical monopolies. But the web changes that. How can you teach kids now that you can reach them through the web? The possible answers are a lot more interesting than just putting books online.

One route would be to start with test prep services, for which there’s already demand, and then expand into teaching kids more than just how to score high on tests. Another would be to start with games and gradually make them more thoughtful. Another, particularly for younger kids, would be to let them learn by watching one another (anonymously) solve problems.

14. Tools for measurement. Now that so much happens on computers connected to networks, it’s possible to measure things we may not have realized we could. And there are some big problems that may be soluble if we can measure more. The most important of all is the defining flaw of large organizations: you can’t tell who the mostproductive people are. A small company is measured directly by the market. But once an organization gets big enough that people on in the interior are protected from market forces, politics starts to rule, instead of performance. An improvement of even a few percent in the ability to measure what actually happens in large organizations would have a huge impact on the world economy, and a startup that enabled it would be entitled to a cut.

15. Off the shelf security. Services like ADT charge a fortune. Now that houses and their owners are both connected to networks practically all the time, a startup could stitch together alternatives out of cheap, existing hardware and services.

16. A form of search that depends on design. Google doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. One of the biggest is that they have no sense of design. They do the next best thing, which is to keep things sparse. But if there were a kind of search that depended a lot on design, a startup might actually be able to beat Google at search. I don’t know if there is, but if you do, we’d love to hear from you.

17. New payment methods. There are almost certainly things whose growth is held back because there’s no way to charge for them. And the people who could implement solutions don’t realize how much demand there would be, precisely because this growth has been held back. So pretty much any new way of paying for things that’s easier for some class of situations will turn out to have a bigger market than its inventors expected. Look at Paypal. (Warning: Regulated industry.)

18. The WebOS. It probably won’t be a literal translation of a client OS shifted to servers. But as applications migrate to servers, it seems possible there will be something that plays a central role like an OS does. We’ve already funded several startups that could be candidates. But this is a big prize, and there will probably be multiple winners.

19. Application and/or data hosting. This is related to the preceding idea, but not identical. And again, while we’ve already funded several startups in this area, it’s probably going to be big enough that it contains several rich markets.

It may turn out that 4, 18, and 19 all have the same answer. Or rather, that there will be things that answer all three. But the way to find such a grand, overarching solution is probably not to approach it directly, but to start by solving smaller, specific problems, then gradually expand your scope. Start by writing Basic for the Altair.

20. Shopping guides. Like news, shopping used to be constrained by geography. You went to your local store and chose from what they had. Now the space of possibilities is bewilderingly large, and people need help navigating it. If you already know what you want, Bountii can find you the best price. But how do you decide what you want? Hint: One answer is related to number 3.

21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses. Intuit seems ripe for picking off. The difficulty is that they’ve got data connections with all the banks. That’s hard for a small startup to match. But if you can start in a neighboring area and gradually expand into their territory, you could displace them.

22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid. People often use Excel as a lightweight database. I suspect there’s an opportunity to create the program such users wish existed, and that there are new things you could do if it were web-based. Like make it easier to get data into it, through forms or scraping.

Don’t make it feel like a database. That frightens people. The question to ask is: how much can I let people do without defining structure? You want the database equivalent of a language that makes its easy to keep data in linked lists. (Which means you probably want to write it in one.)

23. More open alternatives to Wikipedia. Deletionists rule Wikipedia. Ironically, they’re constrained by print-era thinking. What harm does it do if an online reference has a long tail of articles that are only interesting to a few people, so long as everyone can still find whatever they’re looking for? There is room to do to Wikipedia what Wikipedia did to Britannica.

24. A buffer against bad customer service. A lot of companies (to say nothing of government agencies) have appalling customer service. “Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us.” Doesn’t it make you cringe just to read that? Sometimes the UIs presented to customers are even deliberately difficult; some airlines deliberately make it hard to buy tickets using miles, for example. Maybe if you built a more user-friendly wrapper around common bad customer service experiences, people would pay to use it. Passport expediters are an encouraging example.

25. A Craigslist competitor. Craiglist is ambivalent about being a business. This is both a strength and a weakness. If you focus on the areas where it’s a weakness, you may find there are better ways to solve some of the problems Craigslist solves.

26. Better video chat. Skype and Tokbox are just the beginning. There’s going to be a lot of evolution in this area, especially on mobile devices.

27. Hardware/software hybrids. Most hackers find hardware projects alarming. You have to deal with messy, expensive physical stuff. But Meraki shows what you can do if you’re willing to venture even a little way into hardware. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit in hardware; you can often do dramatically new things by making comparatively small tweaks to existing stuff.

Hardware is already mostly software. What I mean by a hardware/software hybrid is one in which software plays a very visible role. If you work on an idea of this type you’ll tend to have the field to yourself, because most hackers are afraid of hardware, and most hardware companies can’t write good software. (One reason your iPod isn’t made by Sony is that Sony can’t write iTunes.)

28. Fixing email overload. A lot of people, including me, feel they get too much email. A solution would find a ready market. But the best solution may not be anything as obvious as a new mail reader.

Related problem: Using your inbox as a to-do list. The solution is probably to acknowledge this rather than prevent it.

29. Easy site builders for specific markets. Weebly is a good, general-purpose site builder. But there are a lot of markets that could use more specialized tools. What’s the best way to make a web site if you’re a real estate agent, or a restaurant, or a lawyer? There still don’t seem to be canonical answers.

Obviously the way to build this is to write a flexible site builder, then write layers on top to produce different variants. Hint: The key to making a site builder for end-users is to make software that lets people with no design ability produce things that look good—or at least professional.

30. Startups for startups. The increasing number of startups is itself an opportunity for startups. We’re one; TechCrunch is another. What other new things can you do?

Consider this list to end with a giant ellipsis. It’s not even a complete list of the types of ideas we’re looking for, let alone of all types of startup ideas. So if you have a great idea that’s not on this list, don’t be deterred. Some of the best ideas are outliers everyone ignores because they seem crazy.

It was an interesting exercise to write out this list. I noticed a lot of similarities between ideas that I never realized were there. In fact, when you read the list, you get a pretty accurate composite portrait of a startup: a combination of relentless predator upon the obsolete and benevolent solver of the world’s problems. As ways of making money go, that’s pretty good. Startups are often ruthless competitors, but they’re competing in a game won by making what people want.

 

Reference: For Backwards Entrepreneurs (http://ofleadership.com/for-backwards-entrepreneurs)

Business Tips from Bob’s Burgers

Apparently, lots of leadership lessons can be taught to us by examining cartoons.

From Dragon Ball to Bob’s Burgers, and possibly even Simpsons have something to teach us about leadership.

Many of us know and love the Belcher family of Bob’s Burgers for their witty antics and goofy hijinks, but who knew they had so much to teach us about the real world? From running a family to running a business, Bob and Linda do just about all with the help of their three rascals.

From the stars of Bob’s Burgers, here a few things to help you get the hang of business.

  • 1. Know how to network.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 2. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 3. Get some good advertisers.

    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, CRAZZYCLIP
  • 4. Encourage your employees.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 5. Love the business you are in.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 6. Learn to handle your haters.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 7. Know what you are selling

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 8. Keep your priorities in line

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 9. Get to know your consumers.

    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, COCOAPUDDING JR.
  • 10. Know when to say yes…

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  • 11. …and when to say no.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 12. There’s a price for everything.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 13. Know your limitations and own it.

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Reference: Original 12 Things ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Taught Us About Business (http://mashable.com/2014/10/16/bobs-burgers-business-tips)

Leadership Lessons from Dragonball

Most babies who grew up in the 90s have encountered the awesomeness of Dragon Ball.

Dragon-Ball

What we failed to realize in our childhood is that, there are great lessons to be learnt from the characters of Dragon Ball.

For this article, we will examine Goku and Freeza for their different style of leadership qualities.

 

freeza_photo_zergkunio

One may call Freeza aka Freida, the ideal leader of an organization.

 

- Freeza is willing to recruit any outstanding characters, despite the side they are one

- Freeza provides assistance to aid his weaker employees

- Freeza provides a fully equipped facility for the health of his employees

- Freeza always respects his employees

- Freeza is in the field along with his employees

- Freeza is a forgiving boss to his employees

- Freeza remembers each and everyone of his employees

- Freeza shares his tasks with his employees, giving them a chance to shine

 

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On the contrary.. Goku

 

- Goku will destroy any outstanding individuals that are against him

- When his fellows are hurt, he will let them die and bring them back later

- Doesn’t speak to anyone in a respectful tone

- He delegates task which are much too difficult for his friends, then shows up at the end to play hero

- He claims he can do everything on his own, but ends up getting help from everyone

- He’ll start many things but all the finishing touches are given from his pals

 

 

Reference: 리더라면 프리더처럼 (http://dhaliaxjapan.blog.me/220119808178)

 

Leadership Paradoxes

Paradox according to Google, is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.

Play on words are always entertaining and clever. Let’s see what the most popular paradoxes are when it comes to leadership development in Asia.

 

Paradox #1: To achieve success, learn from failure
One of the findings hitherto mentioned was that leaders learn and grow from their failures. Failure played a great role in the growth and development of the top leaders interviewed for the study and was mentioned as something that would help in the development of future top leaders. Effective top leaders should be able to deal with failure and learn from mistakes as part of their leadership journey – reflecting on setbacks, learning lessons from negative experiences and growing stronger.

Paradox #2: To develop greatness, practise humility
Effective leaders model humility and constantly learn from others. Humility was a necessary component of intellectual curiosity and an essential component of fostering a learning culture within an organisation. The research presented several examples of genuine humility from top leaders in spite of their impressive career histories, and the importance of a humble attitude as a foundation for constant learning.

For example, a top leader from Olam, when asked about his biggest impact on his direct reports, replied that they had taught him as much as he had taught them. This was a signal to his team that one can learn from multiple sources and not just from people at the top. Such behaviour highlighted the impact that top leaders can have in modelling constant learning.

Paradox #3: To foster learning, emphasise doing
When asked what contributed to their personal leadership development, the majority of leaders mentioned adversity and crisis. A senior leader recounted a volatile labour strike that erupted while he was leading an Indonesian unit. Being a Singaporean, he was not used to strikes of this nature. Worried about the safety of his team, he suggested they all return home. His concern for the team’s safety instead led them to stay and help with negotiations, and tensions were later defused. The study had revealed that leadership development truly occurred when classroom learning was applied in the field and this example illustrated clearly that leadership development did not take place only in the classroom.

Paradox #4: To accelerate development, slow down
Rotational assignments were frequently used to provide experiences in different functions, geographies and roles, helping future leaders to develop a wider perspective and fostering effective networks. Due to the paucity of future top leaders, some firms might feel the pressure to rapidly develop leaders by “over-promoting” staff and rotating them through many assignments in a short period of time. This could lead to a lack of time for reflection and to experience the impact of their decisions.

While multiple experiences were necessary for leadership development, organisations had the tendency to rapidly move people into different positions without giving them room to breathe. The organisations interviewed saw the importance of giving their leaders time to slow down and reflect on their experiences. For example, while Olam believes in grooming their leaders through challenging assignments, they also recognise the need to build in processes to encourage reflection and learning. As part of their formal programmes, Unilever also builds in a component for deep reflection.

Paradox #5: To excel at the task, harness relationships
Relationships are important everywhere, but especially so in Asia. The best leaders are authentic in their interactions with others and not only build good relationships with people within the organisation, but are also plugged in to key networks outside the organisation. Those best able to build and harness these relationships are most likely to operate at the highest levels.

While the organisations studied noted that they could not put a precise numerical claim on the return on investment from leadership development, they all agreed that leadership development is an imperative in the ever more complex and growing Asian economic landscape. With businesses growing at a rate that far exceeds the speed of leadership development, organisations have no choice but to devise the best ways to accelerate leadership development, paradoxically or not.

 

 

Reference: “To Achieve Success Learn From Failure” (http://ofleadership.com/to-achieve-success-learn-from-failure)

Startup AdviceㅣDo Not Listen To These

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The world is full of great teachings.. seemingly.

However, most of the time you’ll realize what you learn from others are in fact an opinion.

 

When there is no available information about a topic, it is understandable that you’d be compelled to hold on to whatever you can.

However, in a world where there are excessive amount of information, it is important to vet them out so that you are not tossed back and forth by every types of teachings and intelligent words.

 

In the startup world, there are a great deal of terrible advice. Here are 4 pieces of advice, while common, can often lead you in the wrong direction.

 

1. “When it comes to the markets you target, investors need them to be very big.”

We are told that we always have to chase the billion-dollar markets. Let’s not get greedy. From an investor’s perspective, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a startup that may never need more capital than $1 to $2 million, but can still achieve a modest $30 to $50 million exit.

 

2. “When it comes to raising capital, raise as much as you can and aim for the highest valuation.”

A simple analysis of ownership, dilution and value creation supports that a startup should only raise what is necessary to get to the next meaningful business milestone.

 

3. “Patents are crucial for technology investors.”

While it is attractive to hear that you have a strong intellectual property, the truth is that filing and maintaining patents can be very expensive and may never lead to a stronger competitive position.

 

4. “If you are young and smart, there is no better time to take a shot and launch your startup.”

While many say failure itself is a learning experience, there are better strategies than that. Ideally, getting a job and gaining experience in the target industry. “Learn on someone else’s dime.”

 

Reference: Do Not Listen To These (http://ofleadership.com/do-not-listen-to-these)

 

Why start a company?

In this day and age, being an entrepreneur is truly glamorized. Stories of huge wins resonate through the different startup communities like wild fire. Successful entrepreneurs look like the Beatles when they first landed in America and, yes, it’s awesome.

Although I love the positivity in the coverage of building awesome products and services, it is highly over-exaggerated. Most parts of being an entrepreneur SUCK. In most cases, you work more hours than anyone you know, you work for free (until you make or raise money), and the ups and downs are like the world’s most intense roller coaster. The wins are few and far between, with more than 90 percent of startups failing. So, with that said, why the hell do we do it? The answer to this is very subjective. However, being an entrepreneur myself, and the founder of a community of entrepreneurs, I have noticed some similar reasons:

Passion. News flash: If you are starting your own business to make quick money, you are in the wrong place. In my opinion, you have a better shot at quick money by packing up your bags and heading to Vegas. Put fifty bucks on black for me. The most common trait in aspiring entrepreneurs is passion. If you are not making money, you need passion to get you through those sleepless nights. You have to want to solve an issue that you truly believe in. In order to turn an idea into a real business you need to have enough passion not only for yourself, but to build a legit team around it. You will most likely never succeed without a good team. If you have the right amount of passion, you can inspire others to believe in you and the mission. In the early stages, it’s more about the mission than the business.

Excitement. A common saying in the startup world is, “Yesterday was the best day of my life, and today is the worst.” However painful the ride is, and regardless of how much we do not sleep, startup life is exciting. Every entrepreneur has a hint of gamble in them. The most successful entrepreneurs, in my opinion, are the biggest gamblers. You have to be willing to sit at the most expensive blackjack table on the planet, with all your money on one hand, and say, “HIT ME.” Regardless of the outcome of the hand, you have to be willing to play again and again. This gets me super excited. If it gets your blood pumping, you may be an entrepreneur yourself!

YOLO. If you work for someone else and have a boring job, please do not continue reading this. Now that we got rid of all “those” people, we can talk sincerely. You only live once people! I, for one, want to make an impact in the world. Yes, you can do this while working with or for someone, but some of us need to have control over our own destiny. Some of us are motivated by jumping all the way off the ledge and not just shaking our foot over it. I am motivated every day by the fact that we only live once. It makes me do things and push myself far beyond conventional thought. In my experience, this is what gets things done and really moves the needle. YOLO baby!

We are NUTS. This is no secret. Most entrepreneurs are crazy. We have to be. We are doing things that, in most cases, are super unconventional. We were raised in a world where you went to school, became a lawyer, got married, and had two kids and a house with a white picket fence. We didn’t hop from meeting to meeting with Powerpoint presentations trying to raise money before we couldn’t make payroll. To the normal world, we are 100 percent nuts. Luckily, we have communities, like AlleyNYC, that help support our ecosystem of crazies. I love the saying, “In a room full of crazy people, we are sane.” Hopefully the whole world will go bananas and we can all build things together and make the world a better place. Coo-Kooooo!

Change. Most entrepreneurs see a problem and want to solve it. We walk through a business or use a service and automatically start thinking of how we can make things better. We are not backseat drivers — we actually do something if the problem we see has scale and we think we can solve it. This means we like to change things. We do not fear change. We embrace it by finding the most productive way we can partake in it. The more we can change something and make it better, the more opportunity we have. Pretty simple.

Meaningful Relationships. I always say life is a series of making meaningful relationships — the sort of relationships that propel us forward, in a positive direction. Business is a huge part of this. In my experience, those who operate to benefit only themselves live an empty life. It’s like the saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness.” I believe money made doing good business with awesome people adds to happiness in life. I look for positive people to work with, and to create as much value for my customers. This makes the business money, and keeps me fulfilled dealing with great, positive people.

My business is my life, and I love it. To me, being an entrepreneur defines who I am. I operate my business in the way I operate most things in my life. Do I have all the answers? Absolutely NOT. Will I have fun and make money trying to figure out the answers? You bet your ass! HUSTLE ON.

 

 

Reference: Why the Hell Would Anyone Want to Be an Entrepreneur? (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238249)