Reply to article: Hong Kong Housing vs the World, a Startup’s Real Real Estate Cost

I wanted to share my reply to this article: Hong Kong Housing vs the World, a Startup’s Real Real Estate Cost because It really hits me. I really agree a lot with this post and wanted to share my response to this article and others from the startup community who have questioned the sense or believes it is just a rant from a dissatisfied expat.

I would like to share my humble opinion on the article as someone who came here from SF Bay Area. I must say that I agree with the author of the article.

I came here for Paul’s Startup Bootcamp and AcceleratorHK and ultimately decided to stick it here some more. I feel that HK’s startup ecosystem will rather benefit from having outside entrepreneurs come here, as Hong Kong’s mentality is still somewhat traditional. The more entrepreneurs you have, especially from different background and experience, the better the community.

I too live in a little “shack” that I call Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs (my room is even smaller than the one in the article, 6 stairs to climb and no AC…summer I’m looking forward.) I rent a room in a shared flat partly because it is what I can afford and partly because I don’t know how long I will stay here. Every time that I come home, I’m reminded how my one room in US is 3 times the size of my current place and that’s a shocker from many American entrepreneurs trying to create something here. It’s not something you can get used to overnight. The conveniences here actually become inconveniences and you start missing things such as having a car, driving and able to do grocery shopping in one go.

 The reason a lot of people choose to seek housing in Central (I don’t know any entrepreneur living in mid-levels), CWB, HK side compared to NT etc… (I live in Kowloon) is because as a non-Cantonese speaker, there are shared flats and even some landlords who will rent on short-term basis because they are used to foreigners. Startup founders do not have the means and knowledge of the future to sign a one-year contract, throw two months deposit and one month prepaid. Its absurd! NT is daunting to some of us because of two reasons. 1. Transportation time, not so much cost. Time is money. Spending 1.5 hours commuting to HK Island and back is wasted time doing something else. 2. Communication. There are likely fewer English-speaking people there, which make going to eat rather a challenge.

 I think the author is trying to shed some light for people who may want to come to Hong Kong and give a fair warning. Thank you for that.



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My Thoughts: Warren Buffett: The three things I look for in a person

Recently, thanks to my friend Winnie, I came across this article Warren Buffet: The three things i look for in a personI want to highlight a particular section that resonated well with me.

“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person,” says Buffett. “Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”

I couldn’t agree more. I once met with several owners of factories in Shenzhen and these guys are the rich and powerful. One piece of advice they all agreed on to give me, is to find people you can rely on and trust. Trust can be found and broken anywhere; whether I’m in the US or anywhere else in the world as I’ve recently encountered. My friend Rayfill once told me “at the core of everything business is one thing; TRUST.” Even for our startup Taxiwise, we aim to build one attitude: that we are trustworthy. Trustworthy to both the passengers and the taxi drivers.

Surround yourself with those you trust and know that they will be there for you when you need them. There are times when the trust between a person can be shaky but if they are truly your friends, they will try their best to repair the bond. For me, trust is easy characteristic to earn and also easy to lose and hard to gain back. I recently had a test of trust in regards to a “so-called” friend not being truthful and leaving us in the dust to for monetary gain. Some people show their true colors at one point however its good to remember not everyone is like that and there are a lot of good people out there.

Read the article if you haven’t. It’s a good read for the end of the week.


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How watching “Whose line is it anyway?” helped me become a better speaker

If you have never heard of Whose line is it anyway? then stop right here and go watch it. You wont regret it. The witty Ryan, the comical Colin, the talented Wayne, and the giggling host Drew Carey; all packed into one improv show full of laughter. I remembered staying up on school nights just to watch this hilarious shows and waking up with lack of sleep.

But besides watching this show for its silly moments, It also helped me present in public better as you can learn a lot from watching the performers act out with no script and no preparations.

How would you do the same if you were put in a situation where you had to answer, act, and think on the spot? Watching how the cast is able to quickly think change the situation to their advantage is similar to what I’ve done in the past as well. Think of how most, presentations come with a Q&A right afterwards. One needs to be ready at all points for any sort of questions; whether it is backing your claim or twisting the questions to your advantage.

I remember when once, I was questioned about revenue model or whatnot (which was explained during the presentation) but there are those in the audience who feels the need to question every aspect of your work. We did not get on the defensive but rather involved the person asking into a clever answer so that he/she would offer suggestions. I like to add a bit of humor here and there as well and thus getting inspiration from this show is welcoming. I hear they are making a summer comeback too. Heck, even before my demo day for AcceleratorHK, I watched Whose line purely to put me at ease and get rid of my nervousness.

I know many who are afraid of public speaking because it is embarrassing or having to speak in front of many is daunting. Creating humor lightens the mood and puts you, the speaker, at ease as well if successfully done. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie are my favorite to watch. They are the perfect combo to make people laugh at any moments. Catch a show if you havent especially in a moody and pouring day as today.


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