Wrote a Business Plan when you were 17?

I didn’t. But the high school students at Raffles Junior College (RJC) sure did. I was at the school yesterday giving a presentation on business plan writing to about 40 (?) members of their Entrepreneurship club (along with Justin who’s an alumni). This was a weekend camp for the new members who had a 2-hour crash course on business plan writing as part of their camp programme. 2 hours?!?! Man, it took 10 weeks for John Nesheim to teach that same course. Maybe a couple of days for a proper workshop for business plan competition participants. But 2 hours? I didn’t really know what I was in for when i took this project up.

“Can you talk about “Business” or “Entrepreneurship” for more than 3 minutes when you were 17?”

I am good at BS, so I sure could =D But it won’t make sense to those who really knew. I wanted to develop a presentation that excited the young audience without killing their interest by boring them with details. Thats where the E27 philosophy came in. We invoked a lot of excitement by highlighting Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Blake Ross, Mark Zuckerberg, the Youtube guys — most of which were 1-5 year timeframes away from the young audience when they started up. But inspiring them was easy, the meat of the presentation was the tricky part.

I had ONE BIG Challenge: the Curse of Knowledge.

1. I had way too much knowledge from my years of starting up and working for a startup. A fine line had to be drawn between simplicity and quality.

2. These kids had their own Curse of Knowledge too – from Google. I have to help them navigate through that surplus of information that plagues modern society today.

We realized 3 things early in developing our presentation:

1. A business plan format is really boring and tedious to 17-year-olds.

2. Everything was available on Google.

3. We are all very good “buying” consumers but we just dunno what its like on the other “selling” side.

We ditched the entire business plan format as the focus. And did away with a lot of business jargon like sustainable competitive advantage, core competency, value proposition. At its very core, entrepreneurship=business=making money. To me, entrepreneurship is making money with soul as a real human being. (You have to curb some human instincts when you work in a big corporation.) Injecting what you know about human society, their psychology and their attitudes towards buying things. All of us are humans and we are in contact with many businesses every day. And thats the angle I took.

Since everybody could google “Business plan writing” anytime, we focused on 3 key concepts that will be good filters in knowing the core of what it takes to write a good business plan. These filters were intended to be the mental “Compasses” to navigating the “GoogleLand” and overcoming the Curse of Knowledge.

1. Unfair Advantage

2. Positioning

3. Strategy

These were smart kids and I tried to make the examples and analogies as close and personal to them as possible. I asked that what shoes they wear, the food they eat, the MP3 player they like and what other company dominates their consciousness. From there, I explained why Nike, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Apple iPod conquers the business world and their minds.

Hopefully, it was all engaging. The room was bloody cold and the kids were dressed in T-shirts and shorts. I feared there would be a mass exodus midway through the lecture due to hypothermia fears. =D Thankfully, there wasn’t. Lets see if any of them find this blog post so we all get some real feedback.


Re: Singapore’s Web2.0 Readiness

This is sort of a reply to James Seng’s post. James is considered one of the Internet pioneers in Singapore, based on Wikipedia. He is also an advisor to the non-profit organization my friend Ming Yeow founded – The Digital Movement. I should start by thanking him for approving the E27 submission on Tomorrow.sg, Singapore’s top social media news outlet (which James founded). Thanks, James. =)

James had 3 points on why Singapore is not ready. I generally agree. I am nowhere near James in terms of repute nor experience and all I am doing is to offer my humble viewpoints. Almost exactly a year ago, I blogged about finding zero Web2.0 startups in Singapore, only to amend that statement when I found some and profiled them at the first E27 event. Still, we are a far cry from the Web2.0 frenzy in Silicon Valley. I know its unfair to compare, although recent media exposure on the national (rather the government’s) desire to create the next “Youtubes and Skypes” from our shores have made this a hot topic again. Below are my personal views on his various points. Continue reading

Naked! A Generation on the Web

Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.

halloweensf.jpgHave we not heard this from many of those old fogeys who dun really GET IT? Those who thinks blogs, social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Friendster are just disasters waiting to happen because they read about online paedophiles, spammers, stalkers, phishers who steal your account info, from the newspapers? How many of your friends are real camwhores?? =) FYI, i am not one but just to prove a point to you on the pic to my left: a complete stranger at SF Halloween Parade 2005.. (yea, its an old pic, check me out on facebook for newer ones) Well, its true they dun get it, they think the web is a fad and that the young today simply have no sense of decency nor understand what privacy is…

They could be dead wrong, but the young generation’s new web habits of exposing our public lives is certainly no different from the “Rock and Roll” culture that swept mainstream society decades ago. Titled “The Biggest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll”, New York Magazine has this fantastically well-written article on what we know and identify with while the rest simply are clueless…

Thanks to Lightspeed Ventures for this..

(This) Revolution will not be televised: Obama, Politics, Web and Social Media

The title of Joe Trippi’s book was one that really reaffirmed my faith in social media on the web. Joe Trippi was the campaign manager of Howard Dean, the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential nominee for 2004, who was credited to be the first presidential and perhaps first political, candidate to use the Internet to raise his profile and funds significantly, with the Web.


Now, add the the 2008 presidential race. Today, Barack Obama launches his presidential campaign. His website is immensely integrated with social media. If you don’t know who Obama is, you might easily have mistaken his website to be another new Web 2.0 startup, complete with a blog that updates his events, speeches and appearances. There is a webcast earlier today of his announcement in the home state of Illinois where he’s a senator. His website encourages visitors to


There are highly identifiable badges, buttons and links to popular social media sites such as social networking site Facebook, photo sharing site Flickr, No1 video site Youtube and he even asks pple to create their own “parties” (more for rallying supporters than drinking). Trust me, he has been doing this for quite a while. I am a “friend” of Obama based on our Facebook profile linkups. 😀

His campaign team obviously understands the power of the internet in reaching out effectively to the electorate, especially the young voters who might just be the swing voters this time as Obama inspires the politically disenfranchised and disillusioned voters who are sick of the mudslinging divisiveness of the “You’re either with us or against us” Bush era. Obama brings an invigorating and uplifting message. Even if he might not wind, his message is more important than the man himself – to let the people take back politics from the politicians. Using social media, get your friends, family involved in the process again of grassroots activism.

Its not just Barack Obama. The 2008 Democratic presidential nomination has seen Hilary Clinton announce her candidacy (click to see videos) on her website and video too in addition to network TV. Also John Edwards announced his candidacy with video, later uploaded on Youtube, amidst a backdrop of debris in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

There is no better way for the Internet to demonstrate its democratized ways than through Democratic politics. The web revolution conquers the political realm and goodbye and good night, television.

Fan Video of Singapore’s ASEAN Victory

Right, this post is for the Singaporeans only. Ding Cheng An commemorated Singapore’s victory at the recently concluded ASEAN Football Championships and made this machinima-esque video. Not sure how long he took it. But the attention to detail and sequencing was smooth if he really did it haphazardly. He even chereographed the match highligts, shots and goals to near-perfection. Its an enjoyable clip. Look at the faces of Khairul Amri, Mustafic, Shi Jiayi and Daniel Bennett and see if you recognize them.

Credit to Youth.sg for this.

MDA Jamboree – An Extreme Makeover Series-in-the-making?

Presumptious me suggested MDA was wrong even before they officially launched their new $500M fund at the IDM Jamboree. Fearful I will end up with mud on my face, I bravely went for the event but nothing I saw made me change my mind. The event is ripe for an “Extreme Makeover” series featuring event launches of govt initatives.


My friend Justin has a terrific, blow-by-blow, review of the event here.. Great for those of you who did not go. Like he said, government agencies seem to love keywords. Short of plastering Web 3.0 over the entire auditorium, they relied on new catchphrases invented by their own staff (?), such as the initiatives of “i.Rock”, “i.Jam”, FutureScape”, “Flagship2B”. I think I came away feeling more stupid after the event because I don’t understand these terms at all. That gnawing buzz in my head told me it might be due to the painful need to read the wordy, mambo-jumbo description that came with those buzzwords. Like what many people including myself think of those hip-hop wannabes in PAP, I will say the same thing to MDA — Don’t act cool. Thats poserish.

For many of the online community that wondered whether the words Web 3.0 was coined by SGEntrepreneurs, the answer came from the event MC of the panel discussion called “Interactive Markets and Trends”. He held up Seraja.com as an example of a startup with a business model that he introduces as a Web3.0 startup. Now, I heard this myself, along with almost a hundred other people in this panel discussion. Someone might have the video, if we want to do some digital forensics study of this. Continue reading

Singapore Hits #1 on Technorati yet again


Following in the illustrious footsteps of Dawn Yang & Daphne Teo, Wee Shu Min enters this exclusive Singapore club of “Technorati Chart-Toppers”.

For my uninitiated readers, Wee Shu Min is an 18-year old high school student and is also a blogger. She happens to be the daughter of a local politician and is perceived to have an elite and cloistered upbringing, Her recent blog post, that was written last week in response to a middle-class 35-year old blogger’s rants against the competitive culture of Singapore, was deemed to be overly acerbic and sparked an online, and offline, controversy over the elite-middle class divide in Singapore.

For an overview to clue yourself in on this, click here.

But I also like to recommend you to watch this machinima summary of the whole saga, friggin’ good effort

More on this brewing saga can be found on these blogs; BenDecidesToBlog, XenoBoySg, Kitana.

Some people ask why Singaporeans have such an outcry over such a trivial issue of a high school kid exercising her freedom of speech, well to that, I say that Singaporeans are not used to having freedom of expression, save for the internet and the blogosphere. There’s always a ying-yang balance in the universe, in Singapore, the counter-acting force happens to be the blogosphere since our mainstream media sector is underdeveloped (see Rank #147).

And the latest quote of the Year?

From: Singabloodypore

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