When I talk to my friends outside of the startup world, one of the most common questions I get from them is “how do you start?” I usually tell them, “You just start. Figure out what you want to do, find people who have complementary skills to do it with you, and learn everything you can from the internet.” Then they’ll usually follow up with “But I don’t have a lot of money or any great ideas. Isn’t it very risky?”
You don’t need a lot of money or a great idea to be an entrepreneur
Many people have the false impression that they need a lot of money and a great idea to be an entrepreneur. That’s actually not true. Sure, its risky, but if you don’t have much money, what’s there to lose? Since I was 18, I started an online retailing company selling electronic products, a company that imports components of construction machinery (didn’t take off due to partnership misalignment in values), a non-profit for professional networking services, a small business consulting company, the premiere business organization in UCLA (not really a company, so consider that taking a break), Future Delivery and the company I have right now, RewardMe.
The first step towards entrepreneurship could be small
When I first started, I obviously didn’t have any money. The whole thing came as an accident when I raffled myself two football tickets and sold them on eBay. I felt something was lightened up within me, as if I have found a calling. So then I decided to trade TI-83 Calculators, which is something everyone needs for school. I would go on eBay during hours when everyone was asleep so I can buy the calculators without anyone bidding against me, and I would sell them during times when there were a lot of bid competition. If you used eBay before, you know it’s all about how many people are bidding against each other when your listing ends. Just like that, I would buy a calculator for $40 at 2AM, and then sell it for $60 at 1PM. A pretty good margin.
However, I was not satisfied. I kept finding people on eBay selling brand new products that are a lot cheaper than retail prices, and I wanted to do that too. I thought that these people must have bought in bulk and I would never be able to compete with them. But I lightened up when I found out about Dropshipping.
Today I was invited to Google to make a speech about The FD Lifestyle: Powering up in the Game of Life. The crowd was a group of Googlers, Facebookers, Yahooers and Cisco folks who regularly gather and invite speakers.
The speech went awesome. Some people tried to destroy my arguments during the Q&A session by challenging some of the logic and scenarios I presented, but fortunately I was able to answer them all.
I actually think my Q&A session turned out to be more impressive than my actual presentation.
A lot of people came up and chatted with me afterwards, and I really look forward to hanging out with them more! These are some great people who have already been leveling up their entire lives.
The slideshow above is the powerpoint I used for my presentation. Most of it is pictures, but I will soon upload a video version of my presentation!
Now that is out of the way, I just have to prepare for the Web 2.0 Expo in SF and the Keynote Speech I have at USC next week!
Hope you all had an extraordinary weekend and that you will be successful in every activity you engage in!
OK, the second one was second place, but I’m still quite ecstatic about this surprising award. Here’s the story: (skim as you need)
How I got the Startup Presentation
So I happened to become good friends with the President of this entrepreneurship organization called CINA in the Bay Area. CINA was hosting their annual conference (The Cinacon), where a bunch of entrepreneurs set up booths and showcase their companies and pitch to VCs. I first got the newsletter from CINA regarding the event, but since I have a busy schedule and it costs money to join (yea, we’re leanest of the leanest right now), I did not respond to it. Weeks later, she called me and urged me to sign up and join. After two times of her calling just to encourage me to join, I OKed it.
During these bad economic times, a lot of people have been doing everything they can to find a job. Sometimes it takes the power of two to do so. After Michael Stearns got his MBA from Georgetown and came to California, he had been struggling to find a job for 8 months. His wife then decides to take matters into her own hands and created myhusbandneedsajob.com. Myhusbandneedsajob.com is simply a promotional site that sells one product: her husband.
Myhusbandneedsajob.com as creative buzz
Notice that when the wife decided to help her husband, she did not create a site that just talks about Mike. She purposely added herself into the picture by calling it myhusbandneedsajob.com instead of just hiremike.com or something related. The first page of it is just her holding a big sign that says “Hire My Husband”.
This is actually really smart because there are millions of people trying to find a job for themselves, and it does not stand out. However, not that many sites are created to promote someone else, especially a spouse. myhusbandneedsajob.com is a catchy idea because women will look at it and respect how she is being so supportive of her spouse, while men out there will all tell their wives about it.
In essence, myhusbandneedsajob.com perfectly fits in the 6 concepts of Made to Stick(an awesome book that’s worth a read): Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional, and Stories. As you can see, myhusbandneedsajob.com is a simple and emotional story that qualifies for a viral campaign.
Craze about the912Project.com touching the people’s heart
Today, I saw that the 912 Project by Glenn Beck was disproportionally popular on the internet. It has been getting a lot of attention on Google Trends and Twitter. I decided to investigate it a little bit and wanted to share what I found.
After some investigation, I realized the actual website the912project.com was down due to the high traffic. So many people were enthusiastic about the project, it actually crashed the Fox servers 5 times! Quite impressive. Now this is something that I really want to find out.
What is The912Project.com?
After a good amount of research (actually quite difficult), I found the best summary about the 912 Project on Mahalo:
“Project 912 is the brain child of conservative talk show host and radio personality Glenn Beck. According to the website, the origin of the title is in remembrance of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The program was revealed on becks Special You Are Not ALone on March 13, 2009. Beck encouraged viewers to send in photographs of themselves, and the site created an art piece of a man holding a flag with the script “We the People” printed on the bottom.”
The idea of theProject912.com is that since right now the world is in chaos, people need to go back to their true essence. This essence can be summed up as the 9 Principles and 12 Values. A lot of the 9 Principles and 12 Values were taken out of religious text, Founding Father writings, and some common sense.