Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Personal Business Update - Startup ambitions are on !

There are a lot of things happening this week, the market for training courses is slow, but I am still running a class starting tonight so I'm surviving. But there's good news in almost every other front.

a) Got selected to join SMU's start-up incubation program

While juggling all the balls in the air, I created a pitch to see whether my startup plan can qualify to be part of an incubator. The attraction for me was to initially was to subject myself to "Shark Tank" grilling by business veterans and then maybe explode and fail in a dramatic manner. If I succeed, then I get to teach myself how to build a proper start-up. 

Problem is that beyond ERM, most of my ideas are half-baked and experimental. So the pitch creation was designed to be candid about my business prospects and explain my weaknesses - I focused on my poor Millenial engagement numbers, difficulties of scaling, and the problems of a single-man outfit.

The panel was really nice in the end. Questions were thought-provoking but hardly comes across as brutal. One particularly fun question was "Millenials got no money, how can they pay?" which led to a fairly technical discussion on pricing strategy if I launch a different product. I was lucky I forced myself through a Digital Marketing course on Coursera.

So odds are I will be incorporating soon. But some obstacles were thrown in my way recently:

  •  The government no longer incentivise internships for fresh grads, I have to start considering mid-career folks. I was just complaining that I can't even design a career for myself, much less for another 40-something-year-old. But the incentive is such that I need to think about this seriously if I need a pair of hands to free me up to strike deals and create new products. 
b) My next pro-bono talk is likely to be Republic Polytechnic.

So my secondary school talk is next Monday and lecturer from RP has spoken to me to engage for another discussion so there is some good news on that front because I get to shape a totally different talk from the perspective of polytechnic students. Apparently, RP has quite a number of financial assistance cases, so it would be an interesting challenge to craft this speech. 

I suspect the secondary school talk may have a bigger influence on the angle than the RI talk.  Will share more once I get more data from RP.

c) Launching a crazy new tool this week to my ERM Batch 17 students

If you aren't failing enough, you are not pushing yourself hard enough

I am crazy enough to push my MVP product through to my students of this latest batch this weekend. I gave myself a crash course in developing web apps in Python Django and was able to repurpose a simple blog app (A blog is the simplest thing you can build on Django) into a crowdsourcing tool to guide qualitative stock selection. 

This solution is designed to have students do data input which is about qualitatively reviewing analyst reports and articles. It captures their willingness to include the stock in their final portfolios and even allows groups to comment and vote for their favourite stocks which I can then rank based on likeability.

It also has simple reporting features that allow me to cut and paste into a spreadsheet. 

I just pushed my code to the cloud and it looks like runs fine for now. Hope it would not crash on me on Saturday.

Anyway, I feel pretty pleased with myself because I'm not too aware of any other financial trainer that can code an launch a SaaS solution not the cloud for the benefit of their own students.

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