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.
9gag.tv regard themselves as a
tech company in the media space.


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