Tag Archives: e27

There will never be the perfect product

Since February, I working on a new product for e27, which I am incredibly excited about.

Putting together the product has been incredibly satisfying: I get to work with some of the most amazing partners from great great global companies, and I have full autonomy on:

  • Product Strategy
  • Partners
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Design/User Experience

It feels like all the articles I have been reading about has been for this product. There’s so much things I want to add to the product; albeit mostly minor tweaks. I want to add this feature. It would be cool to have that added security feature. I think a sharing mechanism should be in place.

And then it hit me.

There will never be a perfect product. Never.

A product is a constant process of iteration. Lean Startup methodology says that, put out a minimum viable product presentable product and optimize it through feedbacks from users.

Just as the saying goes, there will never be the perfect time to launch, and there will never be a perfect product.

So note to self: categorize the “good to haves” and the “must haves”, and prioritize the features/add-ons.

e27 Startup List

A strong community won’t appear overnight, but if you start with the right foundation, the rest will come in time. – Techcrunch

With that in mind, e27 has curated a free database of technology companies, people, investors and service providers in Asia that anyone can edit, called the StartupList. Essentially, the StartupList aims to be the startup resource hub of Asia where anyone can learn everything about matured and also uprising Asian companies. On top of that, funding activities, acquisitions, exits and hiring in the region could also be tracked from the list.

The purpose of the StartupList is simple, first of all, to provide a one stop startup database for everyone to be updated with the startup environment in Asia and not only does this provide the publicities needed for startups, aspiring entrepreneurs could also check for competitors for their startup idea. For startup founders, the worst thing that could happen when you assemble your team and commit to a perceived one million dollar idea, only to find that there are a more than one competitors in the industry (if you never do your homework properly). Secondly, StartupList also provides a platform for the startup community from Asia to build valuable connections and scale their businesses through the expansive network of companies on StartupList. Entrepreneurs and startup founders should help and support each other, and this is the very foundation of a startup community.

Of course, compiling the list is a continuous effort and requires the help and support from the community to help add, edit, and ensuring that startups deserving a mention and which has the potential to be the next big thing is on the StartupList. We know that every now and then there are startups sprouting out here and there, especially with Asia’s technology startup ecosystem exploding in recent months, our team alone is unable to keep track of all of them, so the support from the community in helping to grow the StartupList is very much needed.

So feel free to check out the StartupList and do drop us comments below on any area for improvements as well as suggestions.

Things that matter

Now that exams are over, I can now focus on things that truly matter – Lunchsparks and e27. =)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Startup Community

Recently I blogged a post on e27 and it created quite a huge hype among the startup community that reads our blog. Essential what I did was to review an app and then provided some feedbacks on how the app can be improved.

Below are some comments from the post:

I’m betting loads of money on that Found is not going to be successful.  The sooner they realize this the more money and time they’re going to save. Move on!

Alright I’m going to be blunt. To the “Founder”, my advice: STOP working on this. TODAY. End your little project now. You have been working on this app for what, 1.5-2 years? No user traction and zero revenue. And your new version is a complete rip-off of Foreca.st. Wake up and MOVE ON. You’re wasting your time dude.This is a perfect example of why the government shouldn’t interfere with the startup industry because they don’t know SHIT. Bet half a million dollars on one silly app and then what? Hope a Silicon Valley will bloom here? Beyond ridiculous.

“How was the valuation done?” wth!!! Why this and how that … wouldn’t you want to know!? Excuse Danny if he doesn’t get back to you, he’s kinda busy running a start-up! Suggest you get back to reading your textbooks,  you may find some answers there!

What shocked me was the intense argument over the whole Found saga. While the whole intention of the post is to help the startup get some feedback from the community to improve the app, they focused on what went wrong in the whole startup process, the funding, and the team. And people are scolding each other and it was divided into 2 parties, one that supported the app and one that think the startup will fail. Makes me feel like the whole startup community is not as friendly and supportive of each other as I thought. For me, I would be more than willing to give genuine feedbacks to other startups and help them grow, and thats what I do, i review apps and I review startups, because ultimately i need their genuine feedback in what I do in the near future.

And the whole startup scene feels like a game to me, a game of who creates the next big thing. Kinda felt the same like “men and their toys” with the whole ego issue. Somehow i think entrepreneurs have some ego problem. Im not sure I have the same problem, I hope not. Totally gave me a whole new way of looking at the startup community in Singapore.

Reality, is ugly.

 

“Don’t be blindly in love with your idea, be ready to adapt and change.”

Adopted from the post on e27. A very good article not just for entrepreneurs but to everyone. Read it if you haven’t done so.

Anuj Khanna Sohum, the founder of Affle is a serial entrepreneur. To date, he has started 3 companies with Affle being his latest company. Anitus Technologies, Sohum’s first company, was acquired by the publicly-listed Malaysian conglomerate MCSBand rechristened myMCSB. His second company, SecLore, which dealt with information security, was acquired by Herald Logic in 2007.

Every entrepreneur has their own story of success. While Sohum does not claim to know the key to being a successful entrepreneur, he shares his story with us hoping that his experiences would benefit aspiring or budding entrepreneurs.

e27 managed to attain insights from an interview with the man himself.

What does any aspiring or budding entrepreneur need?

  • Passion

“A true entrepreneur is very true to his idea, just intent on making the idea a reality regardless of how much they make or how much (of the company) they own.”

Sohum knew from an early time that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He always have a lot of ideas and he sees opportunities in everything. He believes that it takes a little innocence and a whole lot of passion for an entrepreneur to step up and take on the challenge of making something new and in the process, being inspired by that in eagerness to make the idea alive. As an entrepreneur, you will have to believe in the idea and be so passionate about it to just go out and do it.

  • Start young

“Start a company when you are in your university years”

Having started his first company while he was in his university years, Sohum strongly advocate that everybody should do the same too. He justifies it by saying that one has nothing to lose and in fact, much to gain from starting a company during his/her university years. He describes the perks- which includes being surrounded by passionate young people, who likewise have nothing to lose, and having a huge resource pool that includes qualified and experienced lecturers. Sohum even goes so far as to suggest that one could possibly start a “100 people company at zero cost!”.

Sohum does mention repeatedly that an early start is best. He started his first company in his second year of study at the National University of Singapore and managed to get it registered by his third year. While his friends were looking for companies to intern at as per university requirements, he managed to intern officially at his own company! If it were up to him, he would make it mandatory for students to start a company as part of the university curriculum.

Besides, Sohum also talks about how experience is important and how he has learnt a lot from the things he did wrong. If one starts young, one would be able to accumulate much more years of experience. Looks like a compelling argument for any entrepreneur to start young!

  • Balancing skills

“A successful entrepreneur is one who knows how to blend his business competence and entrepreneurnal spirit together in a balance.”

For Sohum, one matures from being a pure entrepreneur into a businessman. He believes that an entrepreneur in the purest form is like an artist who does not care about commercialism. Slowly as one matures, an entrepreneur learns to become a businessman. Sohum is quick to point out that when money becomes a priority, there might be a loss of the innovative edge and this is where the balancing skills come in handy.

However, it is not to say that an entrepreneur should not be entirely focused on developing his idea but instead, he/she should not lose sight of his/her own interests in terms of company shares and profits.

  • Objectivity

“Don’t be blindly in love with your idea, be ready to adapt and change.”

This is sound advice! Whenever anyone comes up with an idea, he/she would naturally be excited about it and probably think that it is the best idea in the world. What Sohum says is that one should be prepared to face with criticism or negative feedback. When that happens, one needs to be objective and review the feedback gathered with a critical eye. He mentions that critics are actually your best friends- they are help you to improve and develop your idea. So polish up the idea after listening to the critics and make it a gem!

  • Competency

“Win respect and trust. Not demand.”

Being a boss so young has its challenges. Sohum experienced this first hand when he was trying to employ workers for his first entrepreneurnal project. He shared that looking young and trying to employ a person who has a double degree and industry knowledge is no small feat. “Who would take you seriously?” he exclaims. While that might be an issue, he overcame his relative inexperience by making sure that he was competent in what he does know.  Winning respect and trust is not easy but at the end of the day, it is possible with hard work, knowledge and humility.

  • Management skills

“You don’t need to be the most senior or the most competent.”

Being the founder and boss of his team, Sohum believes that his core function in his company is to manage. While he may not be the most senior on his team, he does not see that as a disadvantage. His advice is for entrepreneur bosses to always remember that they are running a team. You have to acknowledge others’ expertise while keeping in mind that you are not expected to know everything. Always be sure that you know what you are supposed to know and tap on the team’s expertise when it is needed.

  • Trust

“Funding is about trust and inspiration.”

When asked about his experiences in getting funding for his projects, Sohum says without hesitation that investors typically look out for people who are committed and trustworthy. Commitment is easy to spot in an entrepreneur when there is passion in his/her pitch, the problem only arises when investors try to assess your trustworthiness. The easiest way, he reckons, is to invest your own money in your company. Nothing instills trust in investors as much as that! Investors are more likely to believe in your project if they see you backing it yourself to the extent of putting in your own money. So, be ready to tap into your own funds!

Being the director for the Mobile Marketing Association APAC region, what are some developments in the region that might be exciting for aspiring or budding entrepreneurs?

The growth and penetration of mobiles in Asia has been phenomenal. The number of mobiles has far outgrown that of the PCs and television and mobile phones are becoming cheaper and better and increasingly connected to the internet. With this trend, more people would be demanding content and services for the mobile so any development in this mobile space would be rewarding.

There is also a potential mobile market comprising of India, China and Indonesia. These three countries together make up more than 50% of the world’s mobile users. It is a ripe time for entrepreneurs to develop for this target market. Anyone who succeeds in capturing this market would have a strong foothold in the world market.

The ONE advice you have for all aspiring or budding entrepreneurs out there?

“Build a great team, don’t do it alone. Ideas are only as good as the team executing it.”

 

Post live on e27

Found is relaunching after working on their latest iteration from March 2011 (We did a sneak preview of the new Found last July). For those of you who do not know Found, Found was launched at Echelon 2010 last year as Foound (note the double ‘o’) and was actually one the of the best pitches. However, Foound did not do well especially after Forecast (which was built on Foursquare) was launched, which provided a similar kind of service.

Excerpt from my post on e27. Basically I reviewed the Found app and recommended a few ways to improve user engagement. Do read and drop a comment! =)

Talent Pool Problem

Excerpt on my post on e27:

For this Barcamp, since I was there from 10am all the way till 6pm, I had the opportunity to hear from 8 speakers. While hopping around the various rooms for the talks, the topic of Singapore’s talent pool kept surfacing and became one of the most discussed topics (in my opinion). Apparently, many agreed on the fact that there is a serious startup talent pool problem in Singapore. For those of you who may not know, in Singapore, the “good” and “quality” engineers are poached away by the finance and investment banks even before they graduate. They are often lured away by the attractive offers and hefty starting paycheck from these finance and investment banks who engages in a battle for local talent. This often leaves the startups with minimal choices to choose from in what is already lacking local talent pool, creating the difficulty in looking for quality tech cofounders. Elisha Tan of Learnemy is one such victim, where she shared in her session “Hey I founded a web startup OH SHIT I CANT CODE” that even with an interesting idea and the ability to pay (Elisha received fundingfrom the YES! Fund!), she has still not found a tech co-founder to venture with her.

Let’s forget about the paycheck for a moment – it is arguable that startups might not be attractive enough to entice Singaporeans to join them, because for one, Singaporeans are brought up to believe in the Singapore dream – you get a good education (certificate), you get your car, and you get a safe job with a good paycheck. The risks for entering startups/starting up are too high. It can also be argued that working in huge companies like Facebook and Google is also working in a startup, because one can learn more from the already proven platform and also mingle with the best in the industry, on top of enjoying the awesome facilities and their infrastructures. Personally, I’m with the “working in a startup company” camp as opposed to “Getting a safe job” camp but I think a lot of effort must be done to change the current mindset of the Singaporeans and their perceptions of working in/for startups.

Of course, Jeffrey Paine, the man behind Asia’s Founder Institute scene is trying to remedy the problem with his new initiative, Cofoundify, which is an exclusive mailing list of founders looking for cofounders. Derrick Ko also launched a new initiative called the StartupRoots that places the country’s most elite students in innovative startups in hopes of cultivating quality tech cofounders and promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Singapore, which he shared in his topic “Fixing the talent pool – the startuproots way”.

Collage apps face-off

My 3rd post on e27 is live!

Check it out here:

http://e27.sg/2011/09/09/collage-apps-face-off/

Did a comparison between 2 collage apps: Pic Collage and Shape Collage.

Because I am someone who likes to take multiple shots, I always end up with a lot of pictures in my photo album. For people like me who are constantly looking for an app to organize pictures in an easy and convenient way, Pic collage can do the trick. Developed by Cardinal Blue and marketed as “A fun and simple way to create your own photo collages”, pic collage has quite a reputation for itself and is rated one of the top 10 photography app on iTunes.

Excerpt from the post. =)

 Vs 

1st 2 posts live on e27

My first 2 posts with e27 are live!

First iOS application review: Does Due App serves its Due?

Having a lot of tasks on hand? Need a handy reminder app that makes it real easy to keep track of all your errands? Dueapp might just have the answer to your need.

- Excerpt from the post

First event coverage: Social media is no silver bullet and more at August Founders Drinks.

The last day of August marked the long waited relaunch of Founders Drinks, which saw a strong attendance of over 100 people. While some turned up for the beers, which Amazon Web Services (AWS) kindly sponsored, most came with the spirit of engaging with other founders and entrepreneurs which made the event a successful one.

- Excerpt from the post

Do check them out at e27 and feel free to critique! =)

Founder’s Drinks

Spent my day at Founder’s Drinks with e27 and it was AWESOME.

Met a lot of awesome people there and one thing in common, everyone is working on some project. The event was honored by guests like Daniel from Youngupstarts, and also the manager from Founder’s institute, amongst many many other prominent people in the startup scene in Singapore.

In the 2 hours event which was hosted at Amazon’s office, 2 startups Qlubbr and Gastro Couture shared what was their problem when integrating social media into their startup phase of the company and had the panels discussed about the role of social media nowadays, as the main topic of the night. One of my key takeaway is that to gain more traction in social media as well as gaining loyalty, you should focus more on real content instead of viral contents.

Will be writing more on this when i do the event coverage for e27, which will be published on the e27 site in a few days. =)

Really thankful for Joash who roped me into e27 and also for NUS NOC for providing me the opportunity to connect with the community here after graduating from the programme. Most of the people that I met over at the event just now are working on some projects and there are a few promising ones. There’s even a group of people who are at J2 (Junior College Level 2/Pre U) and they are working on their startup and is talking to DBS as a potential client. This is really, really amazing stuff.

Was just sharing with 2 Malaysians from KL who are working on a startup in Singapore just know about the culture here. The thing about Malaysians and Singaporean startup scene is that, the community here in Singapore is more matured in the sense that they are more willing to open up and share with others about their ideas and they welcome feedbacks, as well as criticism. The Silicon Valley culture is slowly infused into the local startup scene and i think this is really awesome. We cannot find this kinda culture in Malaysia. Malaysia is still slow in their startup scene and sometimes I wonder whether I should go to Malaysia and kick start something. But although the mind is willing, the community there doesn’t support the whole idea of startup, although places like KL and Penang is catching up. Maybe one day. =)

=)

What did I do last nite?

  1. Posted my first blog post on our project’s blog.
  2. Updated the “About our Team” page on our project’s blog.
  3. Attempted my first photoshop tutorial but failed miserably.
  4. Attempted to do my school assignment but failed miserably at extracting info from the web.
  5. Had a meeting at the NHouse at PGP with the Residents Assistants and charted out our plans for the NHouse.
To set a tradition in NHouse, we are planning to have something we call “Wicked Wednesdays” (ok the name can still change heh) where every Wednesday there will be events held at the Venture Lab. This is to set a tradition in NHouse, and let it be known to everyone that every Wednesdays as long as Nhouse is there, there will be something going on among the NOC community, so that when people graduate from Nhouse or any NOC alumni can just come back anytime they want in the future, and they can count on it that there is something going on in NHouse on Wednesdays. - Jacky
Personal note: I think I give up too easily. Not good.
Anyways just to share an event that I’ll be going with e27 this coming Wednesday:

After a 4 month hiatus, we are pleased to announce that our Founders Drinks series is back on for August and we are doing it in style. Book your dates for August 31 for the relaunch of a brand new Founders Drinks.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been trying to see how to restructure Founders Drinks in order to make it more relevant to the community. And we think we have got it. Partnering with Penn Olson and Amazon Web Services for this latest edition, this August session will focus on social media with a specific look at user acquisition via social media.

The agenda for the night, a work in progress, will look something like this:

7:00 – 7:10pm Welcome/Opening speech by e27 & Penn Olson

7:10 – 7:25pm Opening speech by Amazon Web Services

7:25 – 7:40pm Case Study 1 (Qlubbr)

7:40 – 7:55pm Case Study 2 (Gastro Couture)

7:55 – 8:15pm Panel Roundup

8:15 – 9:00pm Networking

For those who have attended our earlier Founders Drinks, you will have noticed that the structure has changed significantly. Instead of the usual startup pitches, we have decided to increase the engagement by having these startups do a five minute presentation on their product and also an issue that they are facing related to the focus of the night. The question and answer session will then engage the panel and also members of the audience to bounce ideas around. After the two case studies, the panel will then round up the evening by taking questions from the audience or sharing some key thoughts of their own.

We are working closely with Penn-Olson to put together the small panel that will provide interesting insights into the use of social media for user acquisition. One of the panelist to be confirmed isVinnie Lauria who will be visiting Singapore then for a mentorship program. All this will be held at Amazon Web Services’ office where they have graciously offered to fill our bellies and quench our thirsty throats too!

Event details:

Date: August 31, 2011 (Wednesday)

Time: 7 – 9pm

Venue: Amazon Web Services, Capital Square, 23 Church Street, #10-01, 049481 Singapore

Theme: Social media (User acquisition)

Redeeming Mac App Promo Code

For my attachment with e27 as a freelance, I am covering reviews of iOS apps by Asian companies, as such, I would have to download the app from the developers through iTunes. For apps that are paid, I was given a promo code to download it for free =) To use a promo code to download app to iTunes (and then transfer it to iPhone), its quite simple.

Mac App Store Promo Code:

App Store promo codes let you redeem a free copy of an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac app by entering a code into iTunes, the App Store app, or the Mac App Store app. They exist so developers can provide free copies of their apps to reviewers and lucky customers. Each promo code is unique and can only be used once. This is what they typically look like:RWAPJ7XLTHN7 (yes, that’s a real code and yes, it’s been used).

Redeeming Promo Code:

Redeeming iOS App Store and Mac App Store promo codes is easy. Simply click the Redeemlink that can be found on the right hand side of the iTunes Store home page in iTunes on your computer, tap the redeem button at the bottom of the featured tab, or use this direct link:iTunes Store Redeem. Please note that Mac apps need to be redeemed from the Mac App Store app itself.

Once you’re on the Redeem page, paste the promo code into the field provided and clickRedeem. You may have to enter your password. Your free app should start to download.

Adopted from bjango.

Am currently reviewing the app for dueapp. Quite an interesting app since what I always think Apple is missing is a reminder app. =) And dueapp can provide this need to those who needs a decent reminder app. However, Apple being innovative as it always have been, is rolling out its iReminder in its iOS5. Will dueapp have a plan for this? Check back again as I get an reply for the email interview from dueapp. =)

Some shots from their website:

This represents a personal opinion. If you have read this far, you should definitely follow me on Twitter.

Garag3 by e27

One of the many brilliant ideas that the NOC students brought back from their overseas exposure would be the Garag3. The Garag3 aims to provide the necessary mentorship and incubation space for the initial stage of any startups and on top of that, it holds a lot of events at the Garag3 which help brings the various startups together, promoting the concept of idea sharing.

Many successful startups are incubated at the Garag3. Personally I think the Garag3 is quite a success because of this reason. Having visited the Garag3 myself and met with the management team (e27), the facilities there that are provided (soft services such as internet, printing etc) and also the platform for you to interact with other founders and get mentorship from the e27 team are just about the best “free lunch” you can get as a startup founder.

Of course, there’s a catch. Office spaces provided by the Garag3 (for free) is on a renewal basis (3 months renewal).

Currently the Garag3 are looking for more projects by NUS students and especially those from the NOC program. If you are looking for mentorship and office space, drop me a message and I can link you up with the e27 team.

Have an idea? Not sure if it’s the idea that will make you a successful entrepreneur? Have you turned your idea into product? Need a space to spin off your company? Ready to take up the challenge? Garag3 welcomes you with open arms. Have you visited us? Mark your calendar now and make an appointment with us. We are ready to embark on the journey with you, with your idea, to turn it into a great product. Drop by Garag3 any time, to meet us or fellow entrepreneurs who have been 0n the journey. Exchange your stories and be inspired by them.

You have an idea or product but no space to do your cool stuff? We have the space. The environment we have will motivate you even more to succeed in your business. Work with fellow aspiring entrepreneurs and interact with the mentors we have in line for you. What you need to do get involved is to just sign up with Garag3 and you will have access to legal advise, free coffee and wifi along with the space. Basically, we have everything else for you to get started. We just need YOU and your TEAM.

You team, together with Garag3, will pitch for the iJam/YES grant support of $50,000 – $55,000 to pursue your idea along with mentorship and other incubation services to help you develop your idea into a business. We will be your support. We have cultivated the entrepreneurs spirit in many startups and hope that you too will be cultivated  from the moment you join us at Garag3.

Having too much on plate

Today I had a chat with my partner in crime during my stint at Shanghai last year and he shared an idea that he has in mind. I immediately asked if I can come onboard and work on the project with him. =)

Which leads me to thinking whether I have too much on my plate right now. As you all know I am kick starting my project with 2 tech co founders. I am also currently shipping some stuff back from China to sell here with my partner in crime. On top of that I just joined e27 as a freelance contributing writer, and also signed up for a business case competition which will be taking place in the next 2 weeks to know my team member better through the competition (I teamed up with 3 new people that I never met before). And next Monday, Ill be meeting a few other friends to bounce some other ideas. On top of that, I need to discipline myself to learn photoshop and web design, and also pick up on SEO.

And I still have school and assignments. And the dreaded tutorials.

Maybe I have a little too much on my plate.

Makes me wonder whether is it good to work on a few projects concurrently? Or should I just focus on one or at most 2?

Anw just to share an article here to remind me of the possible adoption of this model into one of the few ideas that I am working on. =)

Amanda Deutsch worked out at Planet Fitness in Cambridge’s Porter Square, where she pays based on her ability to stick to her exercise schedule. (Essdras M. Suarez / Globe Staff)

Every year, we resolve to hit the gym more often and get fit. And by the end of January, many of us have missed workouts or given up altogether.

According to Yifan Zhang, a 2010 graduate of Harvard College, part of the problem is that customers see gym membership fees as money spent, or “a sunk cost, especially if you pay at the beginning of the year.’’ That prompted the idea for Gym-Pact in Boston, which she created with Harvard classmate Geoff Oberhofer.

Gym-Pact offers what Zhang calls motivational fees — customers agree to pay more if they miss their scheduled workouts, literally buying into a financial penalty if they don’t stick to their fitness plans. The concept arose from Zhang’s behavioral economics class at Harvard, where professor Sendhil Mullainathan taught that people are more motivated by immediate consequences than by future possibilities.

Zhang and Oberhofer translated that principle to workout motivation. If missing a workout cost people money, they’d be more motivated to stick with it, they thought.

“If you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. If there’s a cavity, you know it needs to get filled in, but if it doesn’t hurt right now, you may not bother,’’ Mullainathan said. “In traditional gym memberships, not going is not very costly. In this one, you actually might feel the pain of not going immediately.’’

Gym-Pact launched a pilot program in October with a small group of participants, including some first-time gym members, at Bally Total Fitness in Boston. A second group of about 20 customers kicked off 2011 at Planet Fitness locations in Government Center in Boston and Porter Square in Cambridge.

Gym-Pact negotiated a group rate with Planet Fitness, then paid the membership fees for participants, who in return for a free membership agreed to work out at least four times per week. If they fail to follow the schedule in any one week, the participants pay $25. If they leave the program for any reason other than injury or illness, they will pay $75. For now the fees will be used to pay for the gym memberships and to build a financial aid fund.

“We don’t want to profit off of people’s failures,’’ said Oberhofer, adding that the company will eventually make money from referral fees and revenue-sharing affiliate programs with gyms.

Gym-Pact is somewhat experimental. Based on feedback from the two groups, Zhang and Oberhofer plan to tweak the fee structure to allow it to be customized to a customer’s goals. Future iterations may include a combination of discounted gym memberships and smaller penalties that apply daily rather than weekly.

“The lowest would be $5 or $10 for each day that you miss,’’ Zhang said. “That way, you don’t stop exercising the rest of the week.’’

Amanda Deutsch, a student at Harvard, joined Gym-Pact in January because she “thought it’d be a good way to get myself to go to the gym a bit more often.’’

So far, it has worked.

“I can’t imagine that people want to pay,’’ she said.

Real accountability was critical, but collecting attendance data from gyms proved problematic, so the partners created a text-messaging system. E-tokens are kept at the gym’s front desk, with a digital password that changes every 60 seconds. Participants text the password on their way in and out of the gym.

Bill Aulet, managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, said motivational strategies have proven effective elsewhere.

“The most amazing story of 2010, to me, was Groupon,’’ the online coupon service that offers discounts for limited periods of time, and only if enough customers sign up for the deal. “That’s a motivational technique in a different way.’’

Aulet warned that if Gym-Pact is too effective, it could stretch resources at participating gyms, a dynamic he has observed at some popular Groupon merchants.

“The interesting thing about these kinds of companies is that they could not have happened in Silicon Valley,’’ he said. “There, they think you solve problems with technology. But these companies that have innovative business models and are based off behavioral economics have proven to be extraordinarily successful.’’

Source: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/01/24/gym_pact_bases_fees_on_members_ability_to_stick_to_their_workout_schedule/

Kick Start!

Hello World!

Finally registered myself a domain name. Wanted to register http://www.jackyyap.com but it has already been taken by someone else.

What have I been up to: Singapore has been great so far after my one year stint in Shanghai on the NOC programme with NUS. Been busy meeting up with friends, talking and knowing new and awesome people, learning new stuffs and things like that. Of course, I also attended my grandma’s funeral back in Malaysia.

N – House: When I came back to NUS back to Kent Ridge Hall where I stay on campus, I was invited to stay at the new NOC block at PGP. Its called N – House (N or En for Entrepreneurs/NOC). As the name suggests, the block is for all the NOC returnees and also the iLead students. The block encourages the spirit of entrepreneurship and brings together like minded people at one place to promote idea exchanges and execution. Its modeled upon one of the residences of a prestigious university in the States (but I don remember whats the name). Met quite some outstanding individuals there and am highly motivated by them.

E27: e27.sg is a site covering web innovation in Asia, as their tagline suggests. They have successfully hosted various prestigious events in the tech arena such as the recently concluded Echelon 2011 and they are organizing a few note worthy and promising events such as the Founders Drinks series, Social Media World Forum Asia, and also a Mentorship Program with Vinnie Lauria. Personally, I have always been following e27 and has always wanted to join the team. The opportunity presented itself to me when the community manager Joash Wee asked if I am interested to come onboard and help them write some articles. Back in Shanghai, I have also been asking around for people to team up with me and start a “Techcrunch-Shanghai” with a “crunchbase” for the NOC alumni and without hesitation, I agreed to join e27. Not only does that open up a wide array of opportunities for me to meet with entrepreneurs and awesome people out there but it also allows me to make a visit to their office at the NUS Enterprise Incubator and meet the founders based there. The meetup with Joash was a good day.

What am I currently working on: Currently I am working on a project with 2 friends which I met up with during last weekend and I got them onboard with me to work on this awesome idea. Basically it is a platform for connecting people as well as encouraging networking among students. I am super excited about the project and hopefully this will work out. My founding team consists of me who is in charge of the business side of the project and my 2 other friends are in charge of the technical side of the project. Check back again for more info on the project. I am also talking to a few other people on other ideas that I have in mind. =)

Jackyyapp.com: This site will be use to pen down my thoughts and the progress of the project that I am currently working on.