Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A Short Talk With a Friend Back From an Immersion Program in Silicon Valley

This evening, I talked with a friend who just came back from Silicon Valley via an immersion program called iLead. He is not an IT guy, but he becomes more like a technician and an entrepreneur after spending two weeks in Silicon Valley. He shared his stories of visiting various Start-ups in the Silicon Valley. Two of the stories captures me deeply.
One is about a website idea he has initiated with three of his peers. Their idea was highly appreciated by the NOC coordinator.Very coincidentally, they met a start-up company with a very similar idea the next day in Silicon Valley. It's called Udemy, a company that provides a platform for people to upload their ORIGINAL tutorial videos and earn money share out of the tutorials people requested to buy to view. I was very interested in the idea since I tried to make a similar business model this summer, making money share by helping other people/companies make benefits. Udemy shares 30% of the profits the video uploaders earn. Groupon shares 50%. I was thinking of employing part-time students to contact retailers to post promotion products on my website and give 80% of the share every successful deals they have make. In terms of business model, they are quite similar. In terms of products, the Original Video tutorials seems to be good. Another website I find very promising is Etsy which sells original handicrafts. These websites not only meet people's needs, but also help save industries where ORIGINALITY is essential. As I was thinking hard few days ago about what I'm really passionate to build, I feel that the value of sb/sth depends on the value they have created for other people. In that sense, Udemy is a great company, so is Etsy.Those who benefit others will get paid. Udemy has a quite good revenue and it is still extending. So do Etsy. I wish to build website that really creates value for other people and I'm sure the website will get paid.
The other story is about a question one famous venture capital head ask. He had invested Google and many great companies when they were not that strong. The venture capitalist seems to be very disdain about those students taking this immersion program. He asked a question: how many of you guys want to do business here in Silicon Valley? Only the program coordinator raised up his hand. It seems that those students from NUS are not really interested in doing business in Silicon Valley. They wish to do business in Singapore! Then what for? why you ask the venture capitalist to share his story? Maybe it's worth thinking twice.

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