5 cool things 8-12-2014 #5

Good Evening All,
Sorry I missed last week’s email (or maybe you are grateful) was absolutely exhausted after the GetFit.hk workshop and could not find the energy to spam you with boring stories and geeky stuff.

One fascinated read:
How We Discovered the Underground Chinese App Market

My favourite quote “To date, we have made $58.98 in China’s iOS store, compared to $41,780.20 in the United States.

One Podcast:
The next phase of 3D printing

Andreessen Horowitz (Multi Billion VC firm + Super Angels)’s a16z Podcast discuss where 3D printing is going, it has been all the rage for years but is it actually useful?

One Insight to Social media:
Google+ is confused and adrift at sea*

Is Google+ really that bad? This exGoogle+ UX designer seems to think so…
*Not the original title, but I prefer this one

One investment research platform:
Simply Wall Street

Hate charts and ugly financial news websites, have a look at this site, it displays information visually so that even I can understanding a thing or two

One Chrome Plugin for Xmas:
Dear Inbox, Gmail Meet Snail Mail

Make nice looking Christmas cards from Gmail, a bit like MoonPig.com but maybe better?
 

6 lessons I learnt from Google EYE, trip to Mountain view

EYE stands for Empowering Young Entrepreneurs, it’s a joint program from Google HK and Chinese University of Hong Kong to help students and young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong to innovate and thrive in the startup scene in Hong Kong.
The program started off with 900 applicants back in January and somehow I managed to get myself in a rather fortunate position to be amongst one of the 6 winning teams to go to Google HQ in Mountain View, I’m a self confessed geek and I’ve never been to the states, so needless to say, this was extremely exciting and rewarding.
Empowering-Young-Entrepreneurs-Program

1. Reading/Hearing, Understanding, Accepting, Doing and Succeeding are all very different.

It’s so much easier being an armchair wantrepreneur, someone just sits on a nice comfy armchair and read all best selling books on businesses, management and entrepreneurship but never actually get off their lazy behind to start making something.
Reading Lean Startup might mean know what MVP stands for, but it doesn’t mean you understand it. Are you flicking through the pages, or are you understanding the message and jotting notes in the margin? I can listen to someone speak Japanese, but i wouldn’t have a clue what they are say.
Even when you understand a concept, have you spent the time to think for yourself if it works for you, don’t just follow someone blindly. Then there’s the interesting part in my eyes, the Doing. Getting your
you can read all the very best of business and management books, you can even understand all the principle for an amazing MVP product. but the question is, does that until you start getting your hands dirty, would you
No one really talks about what they are planning to do, they are always I’m DOING. I gotta get my ass in gear. At very least move faster.

2. Humour is very important, specially in presentations

During our trip, we went to a number of talks and it became very clear to me, the best speakers and presenters are those that can add a touch of humour to their stories, it makes its more fun, memorable and the group is less likely to fall asleep. Although I’m not a music person, my favourite was visiting Smule and hearing from Jeff Smith on their founding story, mixing just the right balance of insight, struggle, knowledge and humour. Speaking in public has never been easy for me, this is something I really need to work on.
smule-is-global

3. Hong Kong really isn’t that far behind Silicon Valley

This is perhaps the biggest surprise to me, chatting to people in SV doesn’t feel that different to chatting to fellow entrepreneurs and startup teams in Hong Kong. We chatted about similar topics and everyone is just as open. Thinking back to 2011 on when I first joined the Startup co-working space Cocoon, I don’t think everyone were as eager to share, everyone was scared their brilliant idea would be stolen, luckily that has changed over the years as we realised if they were to develop good products and businesses, they have to chat with other people (Side note: the reason for not wanting to chat about your idea went from “they might steal it” to “it might be dumb”)
There’s no denying their ecosystem is much much more mature than what we have in Hong Kong, I’ve heard it’s easier to get funding in the states than Hong Kong, as far as I’m aware it’s easiER and not actually easy, no investor would ever throw money at you begging you to take it, you still have to work you back off for it. The energy level for startup scene is also amazingly impressive in Silicon Valley, there’s respect to those in working in startups, fighting their way to build something meaningful, something which isn’t really as obvious in Hong Kong, but from what I’ve seen so far in the Hong Kong startup scene, I trust it will change.

4. The importance of surrounding yourself with like minded people

Only entrepreneurs would truly understand how hard it is One of the biggest outcome for me in this trip is getting to know a group of amazing budding entrepreneurs. These are smart people willing to work hard toward their dreams. The support has been phenomenal, Google EYE may have started out as competition, but that was definitely no longer the case when we got to MTV. There’s an unspoken bond amongst everyone because we understand the struggle we all had to get through to have what we have now and it felt amazing, if someone overheard someone chatting about a problem that they have encountered before they would happily jump in to share their experience, suggest ideas and technical information. The group felt incredibly alive.
Needless to say your team is just as important, on the night before we had to pitch to SV investors, the entire Myflat.hk/Around team (Matt, Antony, Copland, Eric and our Mentor Alex) worked until 5am in the morning to get our slides ready, it was hard work, but having a team like that, being able to talk about every detail openly is extremely valuable.  I’m proud of being part of this team and what we have done so far, this has been an incredible journey and the nerve racking/exciting thing is, it’s only the beginning.
evernote

5. This is not a race, it is not a zero sum game

If I ask you which would you pay more money for? A jacket or antibiotics, what would you say? Well the answer should be it depends, am I cold or am I ill and in need of antibiotics?  That’s exactly how businesses should be perceived, what each startup is doing should not be used to measure the success of another. Even if we are all looking for investors, it still doesn’t mean we are competing, because an investor who is willing to put money in a Augmented Reality startup would most likely not be suitable for your Entertainment booking startup.
The likes of GoGoVan and Divide has done incredibly well but there really is no point in being jealous of them, so there really is no point in being jealous. Instead, I would advice you to think in terms of abundance, think if they can do it, I can too. There are so much resource out there, get out there and get your share.

6. There is no going back

The startup word to me is a bit like realising what chocolate chip ice-cream taste like for the very first time, once you know what wonderful it is, it’s rather difficult to forget. Too much of it can make you feel extremely ill and begging to have it kept away from you, but eventually you know you would want more.
I love building and creating things, I enjoy the creation process so much, working in a startup seems to be the ideal way for me to vent that energy. It definitely is not without pain, when the stress gets to me, when time and money becomes extremely tight I do wonder why I put myself in such a position, but at the end of the day, I know I can’t escape from this world. If I ever have to go back to the “real world” I know I will have to eventually come back.
This is where I belong and this program has shown me I am not the only one crazy enough to think so.

Why not?
Why not?

Overall, what an incredible trip, thank you everyone: Betty and [email protected] HK, Sharon, Serena and [email protected]CUHK, [email protected]Hita, Edward and [email protected], Xania and Mary @Jobdoh, [email protected], Alex and [email protected] and of course all the ever generous mentors and friends in media. Thank you for a trip to remember.

5 cool things – 24 Nov 2014 #4

One Interesting Test:
How good are you at reading body language

A fun little test on body languages, rather disappointed I only had 13/20 correct. Rather like the explanations too.

One Podcast:
This Week in Startups, “Young Guns” round table

In my personal opinion, Jason Calacanis can be a bit pushy sometimes but he is very good at getting good guests to talk about interesting things.
 

One Website:
Cognitive lode – Simple advice on product psychology 

A really nifty website with an assortment of research based tips for designing better products, presented in a fun and easy to understand manner.
 

One Article:
The End Of Apps As We Know them

A fascinating exercise in imagining how we will interact with digital devices in the not too distant future, where apps could become invisible.
 

One Strange Product:
Space Nutrient Station (Similar to Soylent)

If I am honest, eating for me is not always about the enjoyment. I’m sometimes just feeding myself to not be hungry, this could be the answer I’ve been looking for.
 
 

5 cool things #3

Five things that I found interesting

Ever week I will list just 5 things that I found interesting, it could be a website, an app, a Kickstarter campaign or new flavour of chocolate…whatever.

One book

One Must do:
How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks

How often are you using public Wi-Fi? Do you truly understand the risks? Take these simple actions to reduce your risks NOW!

One Article

One Article:
How to Debug your brain and build better habits

Stop thinking about doing something and actually go and do it. Same goes for taking risks like doing a back flip, don’t over think it and just try it.

One crowdsource project

One Kickstarter project:
FLUX All-in-One 3D Printer – Unlimited. Elegant. Simple.

When we went to Mountain View I had the pleasure of meeting one of the company’s very young Co-founder. They have a fantastic idea and product, plus full of youthful energies.

One podcast

One Movie:
Interstellar

An absolutely beautiful movie, I won’t claim to completely understand everything in the film, but I did enjoy the complexity of it demanding you to think. Highly recommened

One idea

One recommended App:
Silence (Android Only)

I’ve been using this app for months now, it allows me to program my phone to automatically switch off internet access at night or go silent when I’m in the office.

5 cool things #2

Hello,
I can’t believe it has been another week already, which is exactly the point behind these newsletters. To hold me accountable and make sure there are steady progress and to share interesting things I’ve discovered.
A few of you had expressed the previous email was too long, so i’m limiting to just talk about 5 items a week.

GetFit.hk Progress

[+] Booked a venue and date for “Crash course in Online marketing for PTs & Sport Coaches“, ended up moving the date to 30th Nov at the Moon Moo Kwan studio / dojang in TST.
pt-training-class-580
 
[+] More sports clubs are getting in touch to get listed on the site, still need to work out how did they find out about us.
[-] Only sent out 3 invites this week, and added 2 studios to my site and I don’t necessarily feel this is the way to go. Sports and Fitness definitely but not so sure about just a sports directory
[-] GetFit.hk is getting hacked up to 150 of times a day, taking out my server by forcing multiple resets. Have taken some precautions to protect the site. I guess this is the price to pay for good traffic?

Five things that I found interesting

Ever week I will list just 5 things that I found interesting, it could be a website, an app, a Kickstarter campaign or new flavour of chocolate…whatever.

One Article: Geek Mental Help Week: Ed Finkler on anxiety and attention disorders

Please read this, I have experienced bouts of depression and anxiety and I can really related to what is talked about here, specially How “the anxiety made the IBS worse, and the IBS made my anxiety worse, ad infinitum.” its not really something you can just shake of, it’s important we don’t pretend it doesn’t exist and talk about it.

One Kickstarter Project: Designers Inbetween Documentary

inbetweenA commentary about Hong Kong’s unique balance for designers, makers, entrepreneurs and adventure seekers. Also might show why I love HK so much

One Podcast: Tim Ferriss chats with Tony Robbins

Tim Ferriss interviews Tony Robbins, I promise no more Tim Ferriss for at least a few weeks, I admit I am a big fan and this was a good one, Tony Robbins is one of the best performance coach in the world. Ever heard of Cryotherapy? Neither have I, but it is fascinating.

One Book: What I wish I knew when I was 20

stanford
Tina Seelig’s “What I wish I knew when I was 20”  is still one of my favourite books, I know what the title suggest, I read it when I was 27 and it was definitely not too late. I was incredibly lucky to meet Tina in person when we were at Stanford.

One idea: 食藥 app

I’ve been down with some sort of infection recently and had a whole mountain of pills to take. Unfortunately I’m rather poor at taking my meds at the right time. it doesn’t help when there were so complicated:

  • 2 x Take every 4 hours (One only when I have stomach ache)
  • 2 x Take every 6 hours (One only when I have headaches)
  • 3 x Take every 12 hours

I tried setting an alarm but it was too much effort, naturally i went on the Android market to see if there were any good “Take your meds” app, there were some but they were pretty ugly and didn’t have the photo function I had in mind. Could be useful for elders and the sick.
Was this newsletter still too long? too boring maybe? Click here to do so privately and not bruise my ego or comment below.So, what do you think?
You are of course welcomed to unsubscribe at any time with the button below, I promise I will not be offended in any way 🙂
Thanks,
Chi

5 cool things #1

GetFit.hk Progress

  • [+] More clubs are contacting me directly to be listed on GetFit.hk which is a very nice surprise.
  • [+] Have had a number of good suggestions from clever friends on how to move forward with the site (Thank you all), just need to work out which works best for what I want to achieve.
  • [+] Slight pivot/test, currently organising an in person seminar: Online marketing training for PTs and Sport professionals, aiming to run around Mid November, but still deciding on the Venue. Need to hurry up so i could start marketing.
  • [-] Haven’t really had time to work on the site redesign or getting additional studios to sign up
  • [-] Website traffic is down, but i’m not sure if it’s because now summer is over or because of bad SEO performance due to recent Google SEO changes
  • [-] Facebook activity is back down again now I’ve ended 10 weeks of Daily Health Challenge posts. The experiment helped develop a good following, but was too much work. Might come back to it later on

Interesting articles

Currently reading (Affilate links)

Interesting products

  • Battery Box
    Credit size battery for your MacBook and phone
  • http://sendamessage.to/chi+s+friends/r
    Nifty little idea, send a message to your friends visually, click on the link below to see mine to you all.
  • Evernote stand
    It’s no secret I’m a rather big Evernote fan, I use their web and mobile app extensively for ideas and research. I rather liked their office, in fact I was more impressed with their office then Google’s.
  • Acorns
    Service that rounds up all your credit card spendings to the nearest dollar and add it to a diverse investment portfolio

Credit cards reimagined

Its fascinating to think how something as big as credit cards can be disrupted, I would have imagined Visa, Mastercard and the banks would throw money at these company to stop their innovation, I’m rather glad that hasn’t happened.

  • Both https://www.plastc.com/ and https://onlycoin.com/ are both smart credit cards that allow you to combine your various credit cards into one single e-ink device. I love the idea, just slightly concerned about how these can be hacked.
  • https://getfinal.com/ – Disposable one-time use Credit Card number for one-off purchases, never allow a security breach in one store worry you, set a upper limit and get notified

My Surprising Fear of Public Speaking

As a entrepreneur it’s inevitable for me to have to pitch my ideas to different people, whether it is to potential investors, partners, clients or just staff. I should be able to present my idea clearly.
Last Friday was the 3rd time I had to present my idea in front of a group of people and I was still far too nervous. My heart was racing, legs shaking and mind was completely blank. I was originally worried about going over 5 mins, but ended up finishing at 4:10, not because I was speaking too fast but because I actually missed out a big chunk of my presentation, … I am of course disappointed at myself, but I am also incredibly curious on why this happens. The transformation is interesting but also painful.

But I’m not normally like this

Being a reasonably confident (read, thick skinned/shameless) person, I’m actually somewhat surprised by how nervous I get, I don’t normally have any problem talking in a small group of friends, but when there are masses of strangers, its entirely a different story. I am perfectly comfortable leading fitness classes, is it the material that I’m nervous about? Maybe a lack of confidence in my project GetFit.hk?
Another strange thing I noticed was the fact that being MORE comfortable with than Q&A than the presentation it self. I would have thought the need to be able to react to whatever question would be harder and therefore I would be even less comfortable, but i guess not, at least not for me.

Some amazing advices from my friends

Please note this list on giving presentation, and does not cover advices on the business side. My own thoughts are in blue

  • Janis:  but if you can be more assertive and humorous (like when you’re socializing out there) and start with a story (of how you come across this idea from your family), it will be great  and you can do it!
  • Oliver: The best thing of entrepreneurship is that it makes you step out your comfort zone and have breakthrough!  (I guess I am stepping out of my comfort zone, so it’s only normal for me to feel so uneased)
  • Eric: I remember when I first spoke in court, I felt myself calm. Then I looked at my hands and saw them shaking (Lesson here is, the nerves could play with your mind)
  • Jennifer: Practice really does make perfect. I tend to focus on one or two people in the audience and pretend I’m just talking to them. (I like this advice, maybe it would intimate me less – Jennifer has a PhD so I would definiately listen to her)
  • JM: I always take a shot or a drink before hand (I go BRIGHT red when i drink… so this could be a bad idea for me)
  • Jeffery:took an acting workshop, it helps. (Good idea, I might do just that, to learn how to feel at less nervous in front of others) 
    And for all the people who say: “I’m never nervous”: you lie. 
    Don’t matter if you forgot a piece of your presentation, the people listening didn’t know you forgot, because they didn’t know what you were going to tell them in the first place. 
    And: “never say sorry” (Good point, I guess apart from the awkwardness in the story where I missed out a big chuck, no one would have really noticed)
  • Nathanial: Best advice iv heard is remember the audience wants to hear what you have to say (Not so sure about this one, but I would like to think it’s true)
  • Vivanne: When I have to speak in public I try to just have me key words and then kind of speak like I usually do in a conversation. Because, in my opinion, the more important part is to get the message through to the audience then to get all the info out there. But when I have pitches to make it is with an audience who don’t really get impressed with jargon or technical words, but more humanly understandable terms.(This is exactly my problem, I find I’m rather particular in how I want to tell my story, I want to use exact words because I feel they do a better job at communication, but clearly the problem is that I wasn’t able to memorise the whole thing, So I think I will have to try this approach next time)
  • Kenny: Obligatory psychology advice:
    • Body language is important, not just for your audience’s reactions but for yourself as well. Force yourself to stand firm and upright, chin up, facing the audience, and this will be a natural boost to your confidence, esp. over allowing yourself the evolutionary instinct of scrunching up after embarrassment or a mistake. Being apologetic does not help you or the audience. (Fake it til you make it, so I got to learn to walk the walk and hopefully it will help me talk the talk)
    • Check out info on the Spotlight Effect, a theory that originated from Gilovich (2000). Basically, people don’t tend to notice or remember the things you do nearly as much as you do or you think they do. (Ada Wong suggested the same to me, to evoke emotions with my talk but the only way I could work emotion into my talk is to guilt trip people, another friend of mine wasn’t too keen on this slap-in-the-face approach, I am curious if that would have work so I might try for it next time)
    • Attributions (or “self-talk”) also have major effects on your motivation and resilience. Make sure you acknowledge all the things you did well (it helps to ask friends), and avoid allowing yourself to cringe at errors – instead view them as workable objectives for each time afterwards. Try different rituals to amp yourself up or calm yourself down before each time you talk. For me personally, what’s worked is to visualize myself doing an amazing job for the first 10-20 seconds, and I can usually ride that momentum through. (Make perfect sense to me, I used to visualise great performance in sports, make sense to do the same here)
    • Finally, it certainly would help to take an acting class – after all, we’re always acting in front of people anyway. However, “acting” doesn’t mean you have to be fake. Don’t bother memorizing a script. Familiarize yourself with a simple “flow” of information/key points, and speak from your heart the rest of the way. Passion and sincerity can be much more effective at winning an audience than a flawless but robotic speech. (Like Vivanne mentioned, I should remember key points only, this way i can deliver with more passion and sincerity)
  • Tony already knew of my struggle with public speaking and suggested I look into this ted talk by Amy Cuddy  Your Body Language shapes who you are (Very similar to what Kenny mentioned above, the key take away for me is how you act/pretend can effect how you feel)

 

What I learnt

  1. I need to spend a lot more time practicing my pitch, the few hours leading up to it was not enough
  2. Don’t try to memorise word for word
  3. Don’t try to throw too much in there. I had visions of being really funny, but also make people feel guilty and wanting them to understand my concept, idea, business model and drive. I still have this problem.
  4. Taking deep breathes didn’t work for me, i later read that the trick is actually focus on the exhale, the inhale will then come in natrually instead of being forced (Little known fact, Our heartbeat actually slows down when we inhale)
  5. It helps when I see people in the audience smiling, even if there were my friends.
  6. Filming myself to walk through the step helps, but i need to do it without paper
  7. Reminder cards are ok, as long as I don’t READ
  8. CHECK slide spelling
  9. Check SPELLING on slide

Yes, This is an actual slide I used in front of audience of 150+
Yes, This is an actual slide (looking without the ‘K’) I used in front of audience of 150+

Other references

  1. http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2014/06/20/become-confident-public-speaker/
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/richard-newman/standing-out-in-business_b_5408844.html

 

Experiment in outsourcing, a Chrome Plugin for YouTube

I know I should be focusing on one project at a time, but it’s often hard to shake a good fun idea out of my head once it make it’s way between the couple of brain cells I have in my head.
I like to listen to interviews and talks from YouTube when I’m doing none writing work. But recently I got increasingly frustrated by how slow videos of talks and interviews can be, I think in part this is because I got used to listen to audiobooks and podcast at double speed on my iPod, so I began to wonder if there’s a way to do it for YouTube videos. I found you can control the video playback speed in VLC player but it was a bit inconvenient for me (even though I does use keyboard shortcuts to control playback)  so I decided to make this an experiment in outsourcing and try to find someone on oDesk to make this into a Chrome Plugin.

The process

Finding a suitable developer was surprisingly straight forward. I went to oDesk and eLance and did a quick search for “Chrome Plugin developers”. Found 7 candidates that specifically mentioned Chrome Plugin experience in their profile. Emailed 4 of them very briefly mentioning a project to control YouTube videos with a Chrome Plugin. 2 of them got back to me within the next 2 hours (Communication and response rate is very important) and since one had experience working with YouTube API, i decided to work with him as a fixed cost project with a deadline of 2 weeks.
Over the next 2 weeks, the developer sent me a number versions to test, I was pretty impressed with the quality of his work, I thought this was a rather simple plugin, so I didn’t think it would require too much attention, but of several occasions, I was asked questions to scenarios I have never heard of, after ironing them with a few more hiccups than I would like, my first experiment in outsourcing development was complete and below is what I have learnt.

Here’s what I learnt

1.  Read up on the documentation (At least a tiny bit)

Being an end user is NOT the same as being someone responsible for the product, just because you have a rough idea of what you want there are still many ways to “skin the cat” (This is a just a common saying, I am very much against animal cruelty). I think I was rather fortunate in finding a decent developer who with good ethics, if I wasn’t I’m pretty sure I could have been ripped off

2. Write a really good detailed brief

I’ve long believed a picture can speak a thousand words, so I made a number of mock ups to demonstrate what I had in mind. This saved both of us plenty of time.
PlaySpeed-screen

3. Clarify the deal

Make sure you have an agreement on the terms of the partnership from the very start. This includes what would be delivered, within how much time and what happens if something goes wrong. I was a bit silly to not state I wanted access to the source code from the beginning, so half way through the process I had to discuss with the developer if I can have the editable files. Luckily he was fine with it, but if he said no, or asked for more money to do so, it would have been incredibly frustrating.

4. Take the time to test out the end result

Seeing we have been making good progress with the plugin so far and being busy with some other work. I actually didn’t check the end result before I sign off the project and full sum was transferred over! Extremely dumb of me on my behalf.  I trust the popup from the tool bar would be styled to how I mocked up the design, disappointing AFTER I uploaded the plugin to Google, I realise that wasn’t the case. So I had to unpack the files and edit all the CSS myself and resubmit the project. Imagine if the styling wasn’t controlled by a language I am familiar with, I’m not sure what would I’ve done. I could engage with the developer again to finish the job or just stick with how it was, but it would have been so much easier if I checked before signing it off.
At the end, I’m reasonably happy with the result at the $160 USD I paid for the development. Any fault in the end product was my own, either not being thorough enough or not writing a better brief.

 The Result

Embedded View
YouTube View – not keen on the placement, but what can you do?
 
 

Buffer, please tell me I am wrong. I want to give you my money

I really like Buffer, what they do is pretty neat, it saves me from geek spamming everyone continuously on stuff which I personally find interesting. I find it so useful, I have installed the browser extension on all my computer, have the app on my phone and on my Nexus 7 tablet. The analytics they can provide is also very handy for marketers and social media specialists.
The Buffer team blog is also pretty darn awesome, I regularly read interesting post from the founders Joel and Leo as they discuss productivity, running a multimillion dollar business and experimenting in everything -I highly recommend it.
However, I haven’t gone as far as paying yet, that would be the ultimate vote of confidence as a consumer. There are some apps/SAAS I have tested are happily pulling out my wallet out for, such as Dropbox Google Drive, LastPass and Evernote. I just cannot work without them, Google Drive allows me to continue working from anywhere, Lastpass saves me from remember a million passwords while Evernote is pretty much my external brain, i have so many ideas and thoughts there. More on what I recommend regarding workflow and productivity can be found in a previous post.
The reason why I am holding back from paying Buffer $8.50 USD a month, is because I suspect posts made via buffer doesn’t appear as regularly on facebook as original facebook posts. I REALLY hope I am wrong, (Buffer, please tell me I am wrong) A good sign is that when I tried Googling about this, I couldn’t find anything, all the results are singing perfectly understandable praises on this fantastic app. So, naturally I did a few quick experiments.

Experiments

I would first try posting a post via one platform (FB directly or via buffer) see how many response I get and after a few days, I would post it again using the other platform and see how many interactions I would get in return:

Example

I posted a cool plate art article on facebook. First by using the Buffer extension, then 2 days later directly via facebook at the same time of the day, this is an example of the result I would get:

Via Buffer extension, using Post Now – 0 interactions
Via direct post 2 days later – 5 likes in 8 minutes

Result?

By no means can this be considered as proof that buffer doesn’t work. But it is a slight nudge in the wrong direction (I also have plenty of posts that had zero interactions via both platforms – goes to show how geeky or unpopular I am). I am fully aware since I am repeating myself the whichever platform I use last would have an unfair disadvantage. I’ve also been testing with very few posts and as well as only having a relatively small following on Facebook (639 friends and 29 followers). There is always a chance that facebook and/or buffer might be testing different algorithms for different users. Please also bear in my I am using Buffer as as a user and not a facebook page, this might again change how posts appears. After all, facebook does want to make money by asking you to use sponsored posts as much as possible. 
I wanted to write this post because I want to see if anyone has experienced this, I really hope I’m wrong because I do like Buffer. So please don’t forget It still works great for Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ PAGES. For one last time I wish to stress how much I hope I am wrong, I want facebook and buffer to work well together, when I am convince of that, I would happily give my money to the awesome peeps of Buffer. So, could someone please tell me I am wrong.

Back to the world of HK startups! Joining Myflat.hk

At the start of March, I finally took the plunge going back into the world of startups. I officially joined Myflat.hk as a full time UX & Product developer. Myflat.hk is local startup working on creating Hong Kong’s very own neighbourhood social network, it’s rather fascinating in what they (or we) are trying to build, essentially it’s all about connecting neighbours back together, when I was little, I knew every single one of my neighbours, my friends and I would ride our bikes and play at each other’s home until it was time for dinner, and there was a real sense of community and it felt safe. Over the years HK has changed, it has turned in to a rather cold place where we hardly even say Good morning to each other anymore. I hope this online platform I am helping to create would allow neighbours to connect and care about each other again.
I believe my fascination with startups and entrepreneur ship started during my teens, when I came across a book called “The idiot’s guide to Making Millions from the Internet” (I’m not ashamed to admit my love for  “Idiots guide” and “For Dummies” books, they make learning easy) this book not only planted the idea of making money online in my head, it also made me realise how interested I was in various aspect of a business (Minus the tax side that is). As I was growing up, I worked with my parents in a Chinese Take Away and it was a very very hard job, my Mum and Dad would regularly work 16 hour days and would only get one day off a week, I really want them to have an easier life where they didn’t have to worry about money so much. The combination of the two meant building my own business a bit of a mission for me – and is still what drives me forward to this very day.

“On-tra-pre-what”? Entrepreneurship

During my university years, I remember speaking to my friends about my goal of running my own business and I was told that would make me an entrepreneur, as much as I like the sound of this word, I struggle for the longest time to learn how to say it right, don’t even get me started on the spelling, I am incredibly grateful for autocorrect.
After graduation, i went into full time work and the idea of running my own business slowly faded to the back of my mind. Fortunately, a few years ago two things happened. The first, I started working in MixMedia –  a Hong Kong web production house. I enjoyed my time there, the people were nice and the job was fascinating but also rather challenging, it pushed me both physically and mentally in so many ways. I’ve learnt so much during my time there (Tracey and Jeremy – thank you so much), I learnt about how to communicate with clients, how much effort it is to operate a business and most surprisingly of all, I learnt a few things about myself. I learnt that I am capable of being creative and I am more resilient than I realise (I also learnt of my bad temper specially when I get little sleep).

Just another day in the MixMedia office
Just another day in the MixMedia office

The second thing that happened is a book called 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. (I later found out this book also changed the lives of many entrepreneurs and startup founders) This incredible book woke up something inside me, it made me realise I still want to be an entrepreneur, I’ve just been waiting. Exactly waiting for what I’m not too sure, maybe it was for the right idea, the right skills, the right network, to have enough money or maybe it was for the moon to aligned correctly with the sun? This book really opened my eyes and kicked all my excused out of the window, it shown me what was possible in terms of building a your own business, some of my favourite ideas are:

  • The importance of tiny experiments – trying and failing is a 100x better than to not doing anything.
  • The 80-20 rule (Also known as the Pareto principle) – working more does not necessarily mean earning more, it’s about working on the right task
  • Benefit of out sourcing and virtual assistance

This lead me to make the final decision to venture into my first startup company with another cofounded, without going into too much details it was a failure (point 1 above checked), learnt some valuable lessons but at the end I had little choice but to find myself a proper full time job. It was sad and I was angry, I felt like I had failed and I really enjoyed the HK startup scene where I made a number of good friends.
For that entire year at my “normal” job, I constantly felt the itch at the back of my mind. It was certainly good to be receiving a cheque at the end of every month, but it just didn’t feel right, I kept up with a number of side projects and experiments and kept my sight close to the HK startup scene, watching the HK startup scene gain momentum was very exciting, but I felt like I was missing out on something incredibly interesting and exciting. Finally, at the end of January that itch got the better of me and I decided to step back into the startup world, that’s when I decided to joining Matt and Antony at Myflat.hk.

Why Myflat.hk

There are a number of reason why I’ve joined Myflat.hk, the actual decision was relatively easy because I’ve actually been freelancing for them for a good while already, I have been working on the user-experience of the site and coding the HTML and CSS for their responsive site. Although I found the idea both fascinating and worthwhile from the very start the most important reason why I joined them is because I like them, I like the people I have been working with and I trust their ability to develop this project into something truly meaningful.
I think I joined at a pretty good time, our platform publicly launched in January this year and is gaining momentum, it’s pretty amazing to watch it all take place. I’ve read a few books on startups and entrepreneurship, but there’s nothing like really being inside one to see how growth takes place, how decisions are made. I also feel respected by the team by being trusted enough to have my opinion listened to. Unlike most large corporations, working in a startup also mean you get opportunities to work on so many different aspect of the business. My role ranges from writing codes, redesigning the on-boarding process to brain storming marketing campaigns, I even had a go at doing a voice-over an animations (and boy do I hate my own voice).  Plus, I can’t imagine too many teams being able to tolerant my less-than-normal behaviours, juggling in the middle of a team meeting, doing yoga all of a sudden, handstand against the front door and using the big water bottles for weight training – thanks for putting up with me guys.

On last Saturday we took part in Cocoon’s startup pitch day final, after already winning at the semi finals last month, we once again pitched our startup against 6 other businesses. I had no part in the pitch but I was surprisingly anxious, I felt like my own work is being put under the microscope. Although I personally think we did a great job, the result was not in our favour. I was slightly disappointed but quickly realise it didn’t matter, because I know not only do we have a good idea, we also have an amazing team to make it happen, a team that I am dead proud to be a part of.

What about Getfit.hk?

I’m still working on this project, but progress is frustratingly slow. I would like to be working on this a lot more, but as always, life has a habit of getting in the way of the most perfect of plans. My current dilemma is if I should spend my time building the product or should I be working on the business plan for funding?