Sick

I fell sick over the long weekend. I was down with a cold. Since Friday morning, I’ve been feeling groggy and sleepy. I can’t do anything but sleep. My conscious mind seems to have been blanketed by a layer of fog and my cognitive ability was totally impaired. Like all weekends, I had hoped to catch up with work and emails but all I did was having restless sleep with weird dreams invading my subconscious.

I woke up feeling more tired and worse.

On Thursday evening, I was meeting a very good friend, Maggie, at Starbucks Raffles City where I chanced upon DK. As always, he is at his usual haunt again. It was good to catch-up with him since we’ve not met for a long while. But his 见面礼 was a cold bug!

When I was still an employee, at times, I was glad to fall sick and get a MC from the doctor. It means I can sleep in, rest and don’t have to go to work.

How life and attitude change now that I’m my own boss: I don’t want to fall sick. Falling sick means I can’t catch up with work and the progress of projects may be delayed or fall further. I’ve thousand and one things to do. My to-do lists are ever expanding. As it is, I’ve 168 items on my to-do lists spanning 6 pages of Google document.

To prevent myself from falling sick, I jog 4 km every alternate days and swim on Sundays. I also make sure that I down one glass ofvitamin Corange juice every day. The only area that I’m still working on is to get 8 hours of sleep regularly. Most of the time, I get 6 hours.

Come to think about it, in the past 11 years, I only had 3 vacations. When work become your life and you are enjoying your work, why would you want to be away from it?

I hope I’ll be well enough to work tomorrow.


Sick Muse [Official Music Video – HD] – METRIC

Exit Strategy

Many years ago, when I just started my venture, I met up with my friends, Sunny and Wally in their office. They were my seniors during my undergraduate days. We had bumped into each other by chance. At that time, they had also started their own venture, an Internet security company in the nascent days of Singapore Internet.

Their office was on the second floor of a restored building at China Town. At that time, it was hip and all the rage for Internet companies to be housed in such buildings. For me, I was trying to cut cost and instead of a garage (like many successful American dot com), I was working out of the study room of my HDB unit.

We were just shooting the breeze late one night and one of them asked me about my exit strategy. I instinctively turned my head in the direction of the exit of their office and looked in that general direction. In my mind, I was thinking, was it because their office was in an old restored building so it was also potentially a fire hazard? They wanted me to know where to escape if a fire broke out?

My friends didn’t pursue any further when I kept quiet and looked confused.

It was really many years later when I finally understood the meaning of “exit strategy” when it was asked by fellow entrepreneurs. I still get that question these days when I meet other entrepreneurs. In fact, it was just a few months back when I met an entrepreneur who had sold his venture and he asked me if I would be interested to sell mine. I was quiet.

Through the years, I’ve come to realise many fellow entrepreneurs’ exit strategy were to sell their venture. Why sell? I wondered.

In all honesty, after 11 years, I’ve never considered seriously any exit strategy. I started with no business plan and no venture capital. I didn’t seek funding when I started because I wanted to make my own decisions. I don’t want regrets in being forced to make a decision that is not my own.

Anyway, I never expect any venture capitalist (VC) to be interested in a local wedding portal. I do have ideas and plans on how I want to build SingaporeBrides.com but I just never thought that it was necessary for me to have it in a word document or printed format since I wasn’t planning to present it to any VC anyway. All the plans and ideas are stored in my head. :p

When I started, I had hoped that my venture would be something that will consume and occupy my lifetime. I had always wanted to build a venture and see it grow to a mature company and contribute in my small ways to the Singapore economy by providing employment. I always thought that all ventures were built with the intention to last beyond the entrepreneur’s life time and I thought the passage of time meant something to a brand. I still do.

Having an “exit strategy” should not be the only endgame in an entrepreneur’s venture. You can choose to build a product that you would want to work in your lifetime. Without thinking of “exit strategy”, I focus my full attention to just building a good product.

Maybe due to all the publicity showered on technopreneurs’ by the media on the successes of Apple, Facebook, Google and how the founders become billionaires, it made many entrepreneurs dream to become the next Steve Job, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

After 11 years, my passion and dream had not changed. Even though I know now what “exit strategy” means, I still did not give it much thought and will continue to build a venture that will last. I still have many ideas and plans that I want to see it realise. Now that I’ve more resources and a good team in place, it is time to start realising many ideas which I couldn’t implement when I started. I’m going to build my venture one digital bit by one digital bit. I’m not thinking small but I’m aiming for organic growth.

Just like Amy Hoy, I want to build things, help people and be happy. I want to continue to build my dream Till the World Ends.


Britney Spears – Till The World Ends

11 Years.

Time flies… 1st of April just went by and it marked the 11th year that I’ve set out my journey as an entrepreneur.  Looking back, the past 11 years really seemed to have gone by in a flash.  What was a deliberate decision to become an entrepreneur 11 years ago, ended up myself being an accidental boss.  From an initial modest one-man operation, now I have a company with a 11 staff.

After my graduation from NTU, I started working as an engineer in a factory of a MNC in 1996.  After one good year, the company was struck by the Asian Financial Crisis and like many factories, we went into cost-cutting mode.  Many friends and colleagues were let go in different phases.  Through the years after financial crisis, the company was looking for ways to cut manufacturing costs.  The end result was outsourcing most of the process of assembly of printed-circuit boards to sub-contractors (sub-con)… in another country.  Eventually, in year 2000, all the printed-circuit assembly lines were shut down and everyone were retrenched.

During the period, when we have been told that we would be retrenched, we had months of advance notice as we had to perform technology transfer to the sub-contractor.  The company encouraged us to seek new job during that period and allowed us to go for job interviews during office hours if opportunity arises.  Many of my colleagues managed to get a new job during the period, some were even recruited by the local sub-contractor.

For me, I didn’t send my resume to any job application.  I was 28 then and just gotten married.  If I had applied for a job, it was most likely a similar job, being an engineer in a factory.  At that time, I realised the cost of production in Singapore has been increasing and we weren’t able to compete with the emerging low cost manufacturing hubs in China.  Even if I had secured a job as an engineer in a factory then, I was concerned that 10 years later, when I was 38, the cycle would repeat and at that age, it would be near impossible for me to compete for a job, if possible at all.  I guess, the adage of during a crisis, is when opportunities appear holds true (危机).

With that thought, I decided to become an entrepreneur and venture forth with the idea that I had when I was preparing for my own wedding – to start a wedding portal, SingaporeBrides.com.  I started without any business plan and with no thoughts of securing any venture capital.  The idea was supposedly small enough to be done on my own.  It was planned to be a one-person company.

Looking back, I can’t help but marveled at my own youthful rashness and ignorance.  Without giving much consideration and detailed planning, armed myself with just an idea, I jumped into the dark abyss of entrepreneurship.

On my last day, 1st of April, of year 2000, SingaporeBrides.com was launched.  Even though I knew that it was April Fool’s Day, when many people would be joking and pulling pranks on each other, there I was, in all seriousness, I took my first step and become an entrepreneur.  Poetic irony, isn’t it?

Always the rebel… I hijacked the company email addresses and mass mailed everyone in the factory bidding everyone farewell and also announced my launch of SingaporeBrides.com.  I wondered how many took me seriously then since it was 1st April.

While we are celebrating our 11th year, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.  A rush of past memories just came flooding back.  So what do you do when you feel nostalgic?  Start a blog, of course!  :p

I hope to use this blog to chronicle my past, present and future.

This is my journey… 11 years… and counting…


Scissor Sisters – Fire With Fire