Stop dreaming: Why you cant work on a startup and have a job at the same time.

Don’t get it wrong, you can still have a full time job and pursuit a project on the side or on weekends but in the end, It’s just a side project. No matter what anyone says, for a startup to be successful, you need to work on it 100%. Once you work full time on it, then that’s when it becomes a startup.

If you haven’t read this blog by Mark Suster, then go read it now. Because if you haven’t, then your disillusioned that its some kind of grandiose passionate moment that will give you fruitful rewards at the end. Its not. Its intense, its crazy and hair bending, but above all; its exhausting. The only thing that keeps you going is passion and conviction. 

You have to work on the site, on the design, on the mobile layout, UX, flow, weekly presentation for the accelerator program, customer development (good luck if you have more then one segment), business model, learning a local language (if trying to succeed in a different country), research future funding, blogging, social media campaign, MVP, oh and networking (super important and time consuming), finding advisor and doing a weekly update, and maybe even other cofounders. And if you are in an accelerator program like ours, it’s even more intense with weekly group and team meetings, mentor meet up all while having to show progress because your runway is short. Terribly short. Its even more impossible if you have two startups like us. We cant even focus on the other. 

Now imagine, having a job, or having a girlfriend or family. One of my cofounder does, he is a super dad and we give him respect but it does take a toll. 

So focus on one thing, do it right and do things that accelerate learning. People often say “Fail Fast” so you can learn but I rather think of it this way, it’s not about failing fast but more about recovering fast. Bounce back up while knowing why you fell in the first place. So remember; Recover Fast.

Plenty of people wont recover, they will just move on with their lives but true entrepreneurs know what I mean when I say recover fast. True entrepreneurs understand that they cannot go back, they can only keep trying. To those, I say Good Luck! You’ll need it as much as everyone else trying to climb a terrifying mountain. 


Continue Reading

What I learned from being a mentor at Startup Weekend Hong Kong


Startup weekend finally ended in Hong Kong and filmSkout were the winners this time around.

It was a great turn out of about 14 teams each working diligently toward a common goal.

Being a mentor, I saw teams struggle through all sort of difficulties ranging from direction, customer validation, product, business model, presentation and pitching. The same usual issues you have when forming a startup.

Startup weekend brought people from all different background. We had filmmakers, students, recent graduates, corporate workers, serial entrepreneurs, and financial officers from all over the world. It was quite diverse and made it more enjoyable.

I wanted to thank startup weekend for letting me be a coach and helping these teams out because I too have been coached many times before (my old coach William Liang was there as a mentor too! So coaching alongside my old coach). 

I realized what the struggles of being a mentor were as often times, people will not approach you for help and thus you need to take the first step and ask how they were doing. The reasons being that a lot of them were too busy working away and didn’t want to get distracted, a good reason, but sometimes asking for advice can play a long way. My advice for coaches and startup weekend is to have coaches come in at morning time and the last few hours before presentation. I felt from having discussed it with other coaches that it’s when we make the most impact.

It’s always a challenge to mentor someone or teams because like many startups, people often “fall in love with their own monkey” (audio link to listen to) as my coach Paul Orlando repeatedly has told us not to do. The one common trait from many teams is too late or not enough customer validation is done which is why our accelerator program really stresses the importance of doing it. There were teams that did not want to do it even with our recommendation. I have said to few that we are not there to make their life harder and give them more work but to better themselves, which is the point of this weekend. It’s something startups often do many times over.

However at the end, when all the teams have gone and presented, you feel proud that the people you were able to help in some ways did their best, had fun, and learned a great deal. That being one of the points of startup weekend; we saw friendships being formed, potential startups coming forth, and teams overcoming great difficulties. I now have bigger respects for my mentors. 

I went in not sure how this would turn out, as this is my first time mentoring at Startup Weekend. I wanted to grow myself and pass on knowledge that I acquired from my hard times and make sure that others have it easier if even by a little. In a sense, I feel I did grow and it was thanks to the teams that were there to give me feedback as a coach and listen to my advice. Mentoring is a good when both the mentor and mentee grow and learn from each other. It’s definitely something I would do again and encourage others to do. 

Great job to all teams at this Startup Weekend!


Check out the pictures from the event taken by my friend, Vaughn Hew


Continue Reading

Guide for Entrepreneurs looking to move to Hong Kong

Over the last few months, I’ve found more tips that will make migrating to HK far easier and made plenty of mistakes that you guys can learn from. 

For those of you who have decided to relocate to Hong Kong for whatever reasons, there are things one should research before coming here. When we decided to come to attend Paul Orlando’s boot camp, we sought to find housing right away. We tried to estimate cost and get ourselves acquainted as fast as possible. I’ve been to Hong Kong for vacation before so I tried to rely on past experience but it is nothing like actually living here.

Housing: My advice is to look for housing when in Hong Kong. In the beginning, the thought of coming to Hong Kong without securing a place to stay was hard. We booked a room in a shared apartment only to be shocked when we arrived. Book a place from Airbnb and go look at local places on your own while studying the layout of Hong Kong. Its so convenient living here that it wouldn’t make much of a difference to live further.

Housing is the single biggest expense you will have in Hong Kong. Find the best place takes time, searching, word of mouth and exploring. It also depends on your own personal taste and willingness to commute. Commuting is the norm here and the time when people use mobile devices the most.

Banking: You can use your usual credit cards and ATM cards here in Hong Kong. I’ve found that Amex gives the best rates (1%) as oppose to my Mastercard of (3%) transaction fees. Chase allows me to withdraw from my checking account at a $5 USD fee for each transaction. Be sure to check your daily withdrawal limit from your bank as I have needed to call and extend it to pay rent etc… And before leaving home, do not forget to set a travel notification and email alert with your cards for safety reasons.

Another useful method is to simply open a bank account here in Hong Kong. Now there is a heads up about this as well. It’s fairly easy to open a bank account here even if you do not have an HK ID; simply bring your passport and a proof of HK residency such as a bill (I had the coworking space I work at bill me at my HK residence)

The only thing I found hard understood the many accounts here and like most banks in the world, there are several levels with different benefits and fees. Having your own bank account in HK is beneficial for several reasons. You can collect money and spend it, say you got into an accelerator program here that funds you a seed amount, then having an account mean you could withdraw, transfer and use it as you need to without paying extra fees.

I went ahead and opened an account with HSBC who are in the same group as Hang Seng Bank (and thus transferring money to those with either those two accounts does not cost any fee) as they seem to be among the popular banks. Now the next step is where I made my mistake. I opened an HSBC Advantage Account and if you browse their site, you will notice that you have a monthly fee of 120HKD if your account falls below 200,000 HKD. I don’t have that much. I didn’t bother to ask and decided to change to their regular account, the Smartvantage that has a fee only if your balance falls below 10,000 HKD (about 1300 USD). What I didn’t realize is that you do not have to pay the monthly fee with the Advantage account for the first year and thus could avoid that all together (don’t forget to mention this promotion). I now have to wait 3 months before I can change back to Advantage. It also has a shorter queue and slightly better currency conversion rates. Either way, its not that big of a deal as most people do banking online (and you can wire money directly at the ATM machines)

Food and Drinks: At times, it is actually cheaper to go eat out then to cook a proper meal. You have eat hot pot at MX for 56 HKD or 7.23 USD in which you would need to spent at least 150 to cook it at home. Its no wonder that many expats prefer to eat out rather then cook at home. 

Drinks however are not cheap. In fact they are about the same price if not more then Bay Area prices. One of our places to grab drinks is Club 71; a little bar hidden in the backside of Hollywood rd. Happy hour beer is about 33 bucks (4.50 USD), which is quite good. Other places like LKF are super expensive because they are popular and crowded.

The bar/night life is great in Hong Kong, probably one of the best in the world. People work so hard that in weekends, they need to unwind and thus head to the bars and clubs. Its pack, has decent amount of guy/girl ratio and if you have the money, you can have super fun. 

Cell Phones: Getting a sim card is quite easy here. Its cheaper then our US counterpart and just as fast. Battery for mobile phones seem to deplete faster here though. Like I’ve mentioned, I was about to get an ipad Internet plan for my iphone and just added 300 minutes to that. So it’s a sort of prepaid plan that allows me to have decent Internet amount and still able to talk for about 170 a month. (22 usd, the cheapest you can get in US with AT&T is about 65 USD, which leads me to think of how they are ripping people off so much and complain they have network constrains and users hogging data. It can’t be worse then super dense metropolitan Hong Kong but this is for another blog.)

Work Place: There are many coworking space springing up in Hong Kong now. We work at CoCoon over Tin Hau, but there’s also The Hive and many more now in Hong Kong. Using transportation, you can get around pretty easily.


Now, a lot of people are wondering, how is it to bootstrap in Hong Kong? Well if you are willing to sacrifice social time and fun, then its quite manageable to stay out here. There are a lot of activities to do.

Startup weekend is happening all over the world this weekend and it so happens in Hong Kong too. I have the pleasure to be a coach this time and mentor new teams that will pop up. Check the event out at:


Continue Reading