Monthly Archives: December 2011

N-Chats: Metric to measure success/milestones

Met with a cofounder of a very successful company today to discuss an event that we are organizing. It was a good and refreshing meet, and had a few key takeaways:

+ Key differentiating points

Or rather, what makes you so special about the guy next to you? What is your competitive strategy? Why should anyone choose you? This applies not only to personality, job applications, but also in startups (duh) as well as events. I was also chatting with my NOC mate yesterday that a website/startup must also have a sticky feature. This sticky feature is what keeps visitors from coming back. Sticky feature compliments the main features, and also serves as the key differentiating factor. For example, Techcrunch, the main features is that it publishes the latest updates of the tech/startup community, but the sticky feature is that Michael who was the cofounder would blog about his personal thoughts and will not be moderated(used to be). This is what people want to read, and what makes people come back and stay around. So yea, in whatever that we do, must always bear in mind what is the differentiating factor and what is so special about the things that we do.

+ Metric to measure success

In whatever we do too, there must be a metric to measure our success and milestones. Specifically, how to define how successful we are? The metric could be monetary, or personal metric. It applies also to events, and startups. I remembered sharing with a junior of mine a quote from Jack Ma, that “its good to know that there is a gap that exist between you and someone else, but its scary to not be aware of the existence of any gap between you and your peers”. While this is true, how do you measure the gap? And how to you measure the difference between you and your peers from around the globe? The same applies to events and startup. How do you measure how successful your event/startup is? The number of turnups on the event itself? How many people your startup impacted? At the end of the day, its really up to each individual, but what is important is that there must be a metric to measure the success/milestone, to not only keep the progress in check, but also to check for improvements. If there are no metric/target to measure your achievements, then there is no point doing whatever you are doing. If you are running an event, you must know what do you want to gain out of it and how do you measure it. If you are running a startup, must set milestones for yourself to keep things in check.

Definitely a refreshing day.


Now royal family are venture capitalists too

In an unexpected move, a member of the Saudi royal family has invested $300 million in social networking company Twitter. This morning, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, founder and CEO of Kingdom Holding Company and one of the wealthiest people on the planet, announced the investment, which was reported first by Bloomberg.

Source: Techcrunch

Well I guess investing is for everyone. Even the royal family would also need to grow their wealth and has joined the venture capitalists in the investing game.

Importance of Social Media Acknowledged

It may not have been a national disaster, but experts say the massive online buzz generated by Thursday night’s MRT train breakdown shows the key role social media will play in such a scenario.

This underlines how important it is for government and corporate organisations to establish a presence on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, they added.

In fact, two of the pictures that have come to define the crisis – one of a smashed train door window and another of a message sent out by SMRT to its taxi drivers of an ‘income opportunity’ created by the breakdown – were sourced from Twitter.

And Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew’s first comments on the breakdown were delivered not through an official press statement, but via a Facebook posting.

Media and crisis management experts said Thursday’s episode illustrated how much faster news travels now – through the sharing and re-posting of information on the Internet – compared with five years ago.

By the time SMRT finally made an official announcement at 9.15pm, thousands of tweets and re-tweets of the incident on Twitter already made SMRT one of the top trending Singapore topics.

Source: Straits Times


Evolution of Technology – Too Many Choices, Too Much Content

The world is evolving so fast that it is getting harder and harder to keep track of all the stuffs that is going on. With the advancement of technology, more and more things are created everyday at faster speed. Startups, websites, information, new business models and every little thing else are being created and curated by entrepreneurs and founders who wants to make things simpler. Blogs are created by everyone everyday to provide fragmented informations. Websites applications are created everyday to solve  real problems or problems that are created by other web/mobile applications, and heck there’s even an app that helps you summarize contents on the web. Too many people are trying to solve too many problems out there, and this is good and bad. Good because, our lives get simpler and things are made easier, bad because, there could be too many solutions to a problem, which could be a problem as well. And then people would then try to solve the problem of too many solutions to a problem (hence you see aggregation of applications eg: deals aggregator). And then, there become too many aggregator and there are new aggregators to aggregate these aggregators.

There isn’t a shortage of developers and designers. There’s a surplus of founders.

Source: Startupboy

It’s getting really messy out there. Here’s a great article about the mess out there.

Take a day off and you’re behind. Take an hour off and you just missed 300 more blog posts.

And the fact that there are more and more Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist pumping money into the ecosystem, it doesnt solve the problem. We are moving into a startup bubble.

Maybe I should include a list of a new interesting startups on this blog.

[Startup to Watch] Referoll

Referoll is the brainchild of a NOC senior of mine, Ariff and is currently incubated in the NUS Engineering Incubator & Blk71.

Idea: Essentially, Referoll is the place to go if you are looking to earn some quick bucks or get some nice rewards by participating in surveys or group study. It is the place connecting research firms who are looking for survey participants with people who wants to earn some extra bucks. How it works? Scroll for available projects listed on the website, enroll into the projects/surveys that you are interested in, and wait for your payroll.

Revenue Model: I would imagine Referoll would be paid by the Market Research Firms who get their volunteers for their studies through Referoll.


  • Referoll is a good way for anyone who wants to earn a quick buck, and I think targeting University students is a good move by Referoll. Who wouldnt want to earn a quick buck by taking part in surveys? The incentives for the surveys on Referoll ranges from $15 to $120 to an iPad2. Neat.
  • For marketing firm, they can easily tap into the database of Referoll on top of their own database and therefore would not need to spend that extra money to acquire new participants or database.
  • However, for the marketing firms, they should be wary of the validity of the survey results. Because the database of Referoll is motivated by the incentives, is mostly students, and Referoll uses the mechanics of “referring your friends”, this may introduce some form of biasedness to the survey responses. Friends could sign up with their friends, and are all motivated to get the incentives, and this might not give a representative sample. A good marketing research firm would know this, so this wouldnt be a problem for Referoll.
  • Personally, I feel that the biggest challenge for Referoll now is to get more projects onboard for the Referoll users. Referoll is not lacking in their database as they can tap on the NUS network and with Facebook Integration, heavily incentivized projects will spread quickly. So marketing Referoll is whats challenging now as existing R&D firms and research marketing firms would have their own database, and they might ask, why would they use Referoll if they have their own marketing/recruitment/database department, as this might translate to additional cost for them to engage Referoll.
  • Referoll also took an extra step to help those that registered in their database to keep track of ‘similar’ projects so that they could be updated if there are any projects that could interest the Referoll users.
  • It is free to join Referoll and the only one who will be receiving money/incentive is the user themselves from the survey and projects they took part in.
  • Maybe what Referoll could do is to create an exclusive section for users who are actively promoting/participating in Referoll. The exclusive section would consist of higher perks and incentives for the members. Just a thought. Users like to feel special, and exclusive.

Free image of StarFree image of StarFree image of Star

Referoll was a winner at the Startup Singapore competition as well as the Lee Kuan Yew Business Case Competition, and was awarded the Spring Fund as well. The website needs some touch up in my opinion to make it look more professional. With the fund, we’ll see how far can Referoll go. =)