Â If Singapore is not (yet ?) famous for its tech scene, it’s gradually growing as such with a cosmopolite bunch of people, events and media outlets building the beginning of a comprehensive and efficient tech/digital/social community. Check out Tech in Asia, e27 or SGEntrepreneurs on the media side, Blk71, The Hub or the Kennel for coworking spaces, and join Tech Ventures (these days), Spikes, Ideas Inc, TEDx or Creative Mornings to feel an entrepreneurial spirit bubbling here and there.
And, cherry on the cake, Singapore just had its Failcon, the first such in Asia, thanks the activism of Valley-imported doers and local energies. There’s no “next big thing” happening yet in the city-state, but in my opinion, building a community is a necessary first step, and you can feel it across all these venues and events.
Failure ? Yes you can !
As an appetizer to wake us up at Failcon, Ben Huh of Cheezburger (@benhuh) proved how with 140 000$ debt and a hardcore gamer curriculum you could, provided you try, build a company now in the Top 50 of entertainment media sites : ‘“We forget the failures when success arrives…Rovio had 52 failed games before Angry Birds.” Another early-bird lesson : don’t think too “pro”, as Internet wrought amateur content and production to something already bankable. A few brands are even surfing on this tide to get closer to their audiences, such as Virgin.
Failure + Learning = FlearningsÂ
The other talks were an opportunity to hear, share and eventually build on previous failures thanks a quite dizzying array of CTOs, investors, founders, startupers, mentors, each bringing feed for thought, if not for action. A few tips thrown away and to play with when faced with a problem :
- Try not to partner too much people
- Try not to raise as much money as I can
- Have a tech cofounder so that your ideas have a reality-check
- Look where the fault line is between cofounders, where you disagree more than what you agree on
- Have a CEO for the vision, but get his hands dirty also
- Be good at communications : not too optimistic nor enthusiast, able to balance speech regarding audience (customers, employees, bankers, investors)
- Get drunk with your cofounder if you reach a dead-end
A set of metrics for failure ?Â
As regards the metrics that can help you acknowledge your failure, check :
- Product metrics : user base, tone of feedback, evolution of traffic on your site/downloads/social media (and compare it to similar products)
- Financial metrics : how months left do you have in bank, assess what is needed or not (an iPhone5 should not be !)
- Human metrics : in all likelihood the more subtle but the more significant, if cofounders can’t stoop arguing/fighting, if you feel like not going to “work”, when you feel overwhelmed by stress
Whatever the numbers and the dashboard you may try to follow to know if you’re on the good track, starting a company remains a human activity, with a heavy dose of both chemistry (bet on a team and people, get to know them) and luck.
So for the near future, try “flearning” and do, do, do. The biggest failure, everyone agreed, is not even to start, whatever the idea, project, desire.
Thanks our SF couple Krissy and Vinnie Lauria for the neat organization, and a nice after party too 🙂
2 thoughts on “When San Francisco meets Singapore : a day at Failcon”
Thanks for the kickass write-up Martn!
Hi Vinnie !
With pleasure. I’m just back for good in SG after a month in France, we’ll meet again soon 🙂
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