Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am a Start-Up Pirate.

This article posted by Arrington at TechCrunch, and the link to Glenn's blog maybe the best writing I've come across this year.

The timing of this article is almost perfect.

For the past week, I've been begging some very talented Waterloo undergraduate "Co-op Students" (Canadian term for interns) to join Kontagent. Our very own pirate ship. (Read the above linked article to understand the statement - but if you don't read it, here it is: Pirates = Risk Taking Entrepreneurs)

Begging. Yes. Begging.


Because these are the very best of the brightest students.

Almost in every case in this upcoming term, these students have multiple offers from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Mozilla, [insert elite brand name here].


Often paying WAY more than we could ever afford.

I personally fly+drive to Waterloo. Waterloo is 1.5 hours drive away from the closest international airport in Toronto.


Because students, Canadian students especially, and most people in general don't know what its like to be a Pirate.

That and because these students are f'ing amazingly talented -- and worth every hour that I volenteer to speak at Waterloo to hopefully (selfishly) inspire these students to do a startup, and hopefully join Kontagent one day.

But a pirate's life is a hard life. It means making sacrifices like less pay, longer hours, more stress.

But so many of us are condition in school to take the straight and narrow, easy way out -- of hard-work to guaranteed success.

But for Pirates, its about the risk -- and the love of risk. As Michael said in his article in TechCrunch -- the RISK IS THE REWARD. Its knowing that everything you do makes an immediate impact. Its the thrill of uncertainty of not knowing if you're going to crash and burn or if you'll change the world.

Everytime I go into battle for top co-op student talent at Waterloo, I sell the adventure. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose to the security blanket of working at Google.

But its worth it.

Because every student I rescue from the pits of the guaranteed "success" of working at a good big firm. I (selfishly) create an opportunity for a student to become an entrepreneur (that may one day graduate and come work for our company and not some generic super successful brand name tech company).

That and I often get some amazing talent that makes a huge difference in the company.

So there you have it. This is why I love my life. Its because I get to be a modern day pirate -- every single day.

If there was ever a formula to my "success" its this:

My Life = Pirates Life = A Hard Life = A Awesome Life = Eternal Happiness.

And this is why I think my life is awesome, and why I love every day of my life since I started being a baseball card pirate when I was 13 years old selling baseball cards to my friends in the school yard. :)


Posted via email from Albert Lai's Quick Blog

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why "Social Commerce" and "The Viral Economy" Matters

So I was asked by an analyst to put into words something that I've been espousing for sometime in presentations and panels for sometime about this topic.  So I thought I might as well throw it up here as well:

My fundamental thinking as it related to "social-commerce" and the "viral economy" as it relates to the Suppliers/Distribution in Porter Five Forces model is this:

We have moved from physical goods to digital goods, from physical delivery to digital delivery.  Whats MOST interesting about whats happening now is the disruption in discovery and distribution of information and services, esp. in online entertainment and games.  The same disruption that happened to physical entertainment to digital delivery (i.e. CDs to iTunes, DVDs to Netflix) is happening to digital distribution.  We are no longer reliant on going to a "portal" -- in essence a "trusted aggregator" of digital goods and services to find and discovery quality games and entertainment that we once did with portals like Yahoo Games, because of the proliferation of social networks and virality, people discover and adopt more and more games because of invitations and notifications from friends.   Distribution is now baked into the game mechanic, in essence, your distribution channel effectiveness and scale is correlated to how well you are able to acquire customers -- and in turn amplify their voices though systematic viral engineering to spread your services/goods across the network.  

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Quick Blog