Startup Roots Speaker Series #5 Recap – Bunnie

The downpour before the session may have resulted in a smaller crowd, but the 30-odd group that made it to HackerspaceSG were treated to an up-close and personal conversation with Bunnie last Thursday at Startup Roots Singapore’s 5th Speaker Series.

If you were there, you’d agree with me that misfit is probably the best adjective to describe Bunnie’s life and experiences. He was the Asian kid who grew up without ever meeting another Asian person until he went to MIT. He was the intern at Intel who got into trouble countless times for inadvertently flouting workplace restrictions (covered shoes, no sleeping at your desk). He was the starry-eyed risk taker who rejected a Qualcomm job offer to work in startups, and in the process, turned down Qualcomm options worth ~US$4m by today’s standards. He was the inquisitive hacker who opportunistically cracked the Xbox and became the granddaddy of the Xbox modding movement. He is co-founder at Chumby Industries and is responsible for products in niche consumer spaces. He also straddles both worlds of East and West, and unabashedly points out that his achievements as an entrepreneur hasn’t quite matched his hacker infamy.

Given Bunnie’s damning assessment of himself, I asked Bunnie what advice he could give to entrepreneurs out there to keep going despite repeated failures, to which he replied:

I have always worked hard to keep my personal identity separate from my work as an entrepreneur. There’s “Bunnie the hacker hardware/software geek”, and “Bunnie the co-founder of Chumby”.

I thought he should also have asked entrepreneurs to retain their humility through it all.

Misfit or not, there’s certainly no denying his good nature and down-to-earth disposition. That’s my biggest take away as I called an end to last week’s fireside chat with Bunnie.

Here’s another recap blog post by Sharon, who’s one of our fellows.

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+.