Month: July 2014

Ray of 9gag says “GAS” when it comes to creating a good startup

(Photograpy credit to Marcus Tan, Liana Ho, Plugin@blk71)

I was at Echelon and KopiChat at Plugin@blk71 today and it felt like déjà vu, watching Ray Chan, Cofounder of
9gag speak again on the maxims and his take on starting up.
I find it particularly
refreshing hearing from him, as he comes across as a straightforward, candid
yet smart guy. Sharing some of what I took away from his talks over these 2
days. He actually advocated GAP (Goals, Audience, Platform) and ACT (Audience, Consistency, Testing) but I’m shortening to just GAS :p
My colleagues would quote me saying “keeping
the end in mind” and “objectives” most often at work but success truly begins
with having a goal or vision at the end of the day. Like Amazon, because of
their culture and the customer oriented goals that they espouse, individual
departments could make their own decisions as long as they achieve the common
goals of the company.
For 9GAG, keeping the audience in mind is
crucial. Making the target audience happy, keeping them coming back for more is
what makes 9GAG so successful. In the same vein, whether you are a B2B or B2C
startup, you need to know who is your audience and what they want, what they
want to see etc. In one of my previous posts I mentioned about treatingconsumers (app users) as the laziest persons on earth and that resonates with the point that
Ray is trying to make. Make your product useful/helpful/entertaining for your
audience and you will score.
It’s not about style
vs substance but Steve Jobs would agree with Ray that style is as important as
substance in today’s world. And it’s also about consistency in the delivery of
style. Ray shared that he stayed up till 4am the night before, curating the style of the work his team has put up. Even with the millions he
has raised, he is still the only editor in his team. There is no substitute for
style and style draws the audience who agrees with your style and likes it.
So to sum it up, having
a Goal and knowing your Audience helps you to decide your style and style when
correctly executed, gives you the Audience you want and helps you achieve your
At Echelon, I met
Elaine Huang in person as last as well as a junior called Benjamin from the NUS
Overseas program. Given the time in between the talks or during lunch, I wish I
could meet more people in this trade as opportunities often sprouts from these
meetups. Coincidently, as my startup friend, Don Sim of Daylight Studio puts
it, he thinks that business networking is probably more important than the
talks themselves.

I couldn’t agree more
and this reminds me of Jublia, this easy to use and awesome business networking
Check it out at the upcoming Singapore Gift Show.

If you are keen to read about what Ray covers in his speech at Echelon, here you go
(Courtesy of Oliver Wee, my fabulous colleague :))


It stands for Goal, Audience and Platform
  • Goal
Not having a clear goal leads
to death by a thousand compromises.
Define the goal, different
goals would have different strategies to accomplish them.
  • Audience
It is better to make a few
people really happy than to make a lot of people semi happy
Know the taste of your
  • Platform
Media companies are ubiquitous
Be wary of ‘social media’
Know the best practice of each
Use attractive thumbnails
Eye – catching titles
More informative titles
Limitation of 140 characters


It stands for Audience, Consistency and
  • Audience
It is imperative to know what
users care about.
  • Consistency
Consistent one usage of style,
Consistent content updates.
12 daily videos
Usage of big data to understand
user needs
  • Testing
Users do not care about
technical problems.
Keep testing their users’ taste
and create better services.
· regard themselves as a
tech company in the media space.


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Pixelists – Hone your Charisma through the Charisma Myth book

This blog post is inspired by the book I am currently reading, the Charisma Myth book by Olivia Fox Cabane. Here’s some quick tips to make you a more charismatic leader, especially in the world of entrepeneurship.

Where do I start, with regards to charisma?
As the rest of my blogposts have touched upon, all these are nothing but tools for you to achieve your ends, to be a great entrepreneur. Similarly, this book advocates being yourself and keeping the end in mind:

1. Starts with your personality: “It’s important to know what feels right for you, and to choose the styles, tools, and techniques that match your signature strengths.”
Not sure if being a Pisces play a role, but my nature is less of competitive and more of nurturer and team player. The mode of charisma that allows me to be more warm, personable and less authoritative will suit me better.
2. Determine your charismatic style, align with your goals: 
ASK, what you want to achieve at the end of day. 
As I will share later, there are certain modes of charisma which will make people obey you and the others will make you more personable and therefore prompting others to warm up to you and share.

3. Depends on the situation: “What context are you stepping into? The situation sets the stage upon which your charisma will play out.”

Modes of Charisma:

Focus Charisma

“Jack Keeler, former president of IBM, was known as a very charismatic figure who embodied another key component of focus charisma: the ability to communicate respect. Remember that one of the foundations of charisma is making other people feel good about themselves. Keeler knew how to make others feel that their opinions mattered, and that they were important.”

Visionary Charisma

“One reporter described Steve Jobs as being “driven by a nearly messianic zeal.… Jobs doesn’t sell computers. He sells the promise of a better world.” Visionary charismatics often promise redemption—think Joan of Arc or Martin Luther King Jr. With visionary charisma, you’re selling people on the vision more than on yourself.”

not sure of which mode? This paragraph sums it all –

“You don’t have to force yourself into one particular style to be charismatic, and I firmly advocate not doing something that goes against your values: it would only work against you. Trying to force yourself into a charisma style that really isn’t right for you can be as unpleasant as it is counterproductive. 

For example, an introvert forcing himself to be extroverted might feel unnatural and awkward, and be perceived that way by others. Not only would he put himself through an unpleasant experience, he would also fail in his quest to appear naturally extroverted. Instead of fighting it, knowing how to work with your natural style can reap major rewards.”

Other tips

  • “Write the least important e-mails first and finish with the most important ones. By the time you’ve written four or five e-mails, your mind will be more practiced, your writing more fluid.”
  • “You may need to speak less, to speak more slowly, to know how and when to pause your sentences, or how to modulate your intonation”
  • “CEOs as well as human resource professionals will often admit that they decide whether they’ll hire a job applicant within the first few seconds of the interview. As one senior executive once told me, “The rest of the interview is just window dressing.”

Excerpts From: Cabane, Olivia Fox. “The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism.” Penguin Group, 2012-03-29 

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