Net Start-ups Revisited

Some of my comments were featured in the May 19th, 2010 copy of Digital Life, in an article by Tham Yuen-C titled “Net Start-ups Revisited”. The article is the result of the roundtable discussion a bunch of us had at SPH last week.  I had elaborated on some of the points I raised during the discussion in my previous post.  Here’s the relevant portions of the article, reproduced for posterity.  I think I look kind of dorky in the photo heh.

Edits that should have made it to Print

Although Ms. Tham Yuen-C mostly hit the right notes with her coverage of the discussion, I thought there were a few areas that needed tweaking, specifically in the ‘Then and Now” section.

It is now easier to start an Internet company as compared to during the dot.com boom, but harder to get rich from a lousy idea.  The main reason for this change: maturing of technology.

It’s a little queer to be using “maturing of technology” to explain why it’s easier to get a web start-up off the ground now than before.  The maturation of technology is relative – I could also say that technology during the dot.com boom was maturing relative to what we had in the 1980s.  I guess Ms. Tham was trying to paraphrase and consumer-ize what I actually said, i.e. “the proliferation of open standards, development frameworks and methodologies such as Agile and Ruby-on-Rails“, which would have lost 90% of the readers who aren’t familiar with such geek-speak.

I would have settled for “evolution of technology” instead.

By exploiting the free open-source programming tools available online…

The use of “exploiting” makes using such programming tools and resources sound nasty and evil.  I would have gone for “leveraging” or “utilizing”.

Many start-ups are now funded by professional angel investors to a late stage and only move on to venture capital firms when they have a product already in the market.

It should have been “later stage” and not just “late stage”.

Post-article thoughts

It’s nice to be on the papers, but I do hope we get a chance in the near future to move beyond mass market news and delve deeper into the heart of issues, and go beyond a mass-market article.  The article failed to properly address how we could improve the start-up and investment landscape, and rightfully so – there wasn’t enough time at the roundtable.  I hope this is the start of a meaningful long-term conversation with our press on what’s really happening on the ground, and how we can turn Singapore into a vibrant entrepreneur hub.

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.