Won first place at the TWiST – LA event and chatted with the Influential Jason Calacanis

Last week I went to Los Angeles and did a pitch at the TWiST – LA event. I won first place out of 10 Startups and got the chance to chat with Jason Calacanis, who is very influential in the startup world and blogosphere, on his live show about Viralogy. Pretty awesome.

Well, just wanted to do a quick update on my life. For more details about the actual pitch, you can check out the post on the Viralogy eCommerce Blog

Burn the Ships: Extreme Risks in Entrepreneurship

Hung out in Santa Monica (LA) with cool people

Hung out and learned a lot from Sean Percival (LALAWag), Lotay Yang (Black Card Circle), Andrew Warner (Mixergy)

Andrew Warner’s Extreme Gutsy Move for his first business

Andrew needed to sell ads on his first business, but he was too small for the advertisement agency to consider. He wrote a check that is all of his and his brother’s personal money and asked the company to do business with them. That converted into a company with over $30M in revenue.

Lessons from Chinese History

This general in China (just checked it’s Xiang Yu) burned all the boats and cooking tools to make sure that his focused army would beat the other army that were outnumbering them but didn’t have that determination. I also just realized that the same thing happened with Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez.

Outsourcing to Foreign Countries can sometimes create the Illusion of Saving Money

India Outsourcing

Outsourcing Web Development to other countries can create the Illusion of Saving Money

A lot of people talk about saving money by outsourcing to foreign countries such as India. However, my personal experience is that it actually costs way more than doing it in the US if you are a resourceful entrepreneur.

I’m sure there are some firms out there that are truly good and cheap. I also know that there are way more US development firms that overcharge, but if you can find the cost efficient in the US, the effects are much better than the good in many foreign nations.

This post is not about how the miscommunication, off hours and what not could make development more expensive. No, I’m talking about pure projected spending at the beginning. Here are my experiences:

Outsourcing to offshore teams I estimates takes 3x more hours than my in-house developer

There was one point where I seriously looked for an outsourced company as backbone developers for Viralogy. After looking around, I found a firm that seems really professional, has been around for close to a decase with dozens of engineers, and built all the websites for National Geographic in each country.

More importantly, their programmers charge $10-15/hour. Compared to a full-blown traditional development firm in the US, that’s a tiny fraction of what it would cost. It all sounded very promising (besides a tiny bit of that language barrier).

However, very safely, I asked them to do an estimate of a project that we were working on. My in-house programmer previously made an estimation, which was about 88 hours(which he didn’t exceed much afterwards). The foreign firm gave me an estimate too, and it was shockingly 350 hours.


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5 Tips for creating a successful Social Networking Site

5 Tips to making a successful Social Networking Site

1. Users must feel part of the group – start niche

2. Create small actions that easily connect to one another – avoid the “now what moment”

3. Always notify users of changes – keep things fresh

4. Have Community Managers – make it social

5. Pay attention to the details – user experience is EVERYTHING to the user

The 3 Elements of Perfect Leadership

Having started many clubs, organizations, and companies, I have my fair share of being a leader and getting leadership scars. I’ve also often been the leader while being the youngest person in the group. It wasn’t always like that. When I was a younger, I was the kid who everyone makes fun of while I worked my butt off trying to fit in my environment.

The process had to start all over again whenever I moved, as South Africa, Taiwan, Kansas, and California all had very different cultures. The turning point was when I started a chess club in high school, and during my sophomore year, I was elected President. With a new sense of responsibility, I realized that the whole organizations success rested on my shoulders.

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