My talk at the 12TH YOUTH CONGRESS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Harnessing the Power of Me
First of all, I just want to say that I am feeling so good today! Today I get to share with you my learnings as a technopreneur and I get to perform for a tango event later. I’ve been looking forward to both and I can’t contain my excitement... talk about perfect timing!
In conducting business, performing tango or expressing myself in everything I do, TIMING AND GRACE are key factors to my success.
My 10 year experience as a technopreneur has taught me this and it is what I would like to impart to you, the next generation of technopreneurs, to help you harness the power that is YOU!
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In 2002, when I was doing my Masters in IT, Nokia introduced the Symbian phones and the telcos offered MMS. I was deeply fascinated by these technologies and I was eager to build something for it. I had a strong gut feel that I have to do something and be a part of this wonderful technological revolution. I took the opportunity to present a thesis that revolves around Mobile Commerce. Unfortunately, my professor dismissed it and told me outright that it was only a project and nothing more... I was broken-hearted but it didn’t stop me from pursuing what I want to do. It was those stubborn promptings that made me quit school and follow my incessant desire to build Symbian and MMS apps.
I dropped out of my scholarship. I was jobless. I also had no starting capital to build the app I envisioned to make. But because the art of timing was on my side... success came my way.
TIMING IS GUT FEEL
The lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that timing is a connection that defies logic. Timing is more about instinct. It leans more on the emotional than the rational... yet it always has to be well-calculated.
What you need to do is to:
- Arm yourself with knowledge.
- Chase your dreams.
- Take risks.
- Work fast.
When I started my venture in 2003, I did everything from technical to business to housekeeping!
TIMING IS BEING PREPARED
Although I initially eyed Symbian and MMS as my entry to the mobile business, I didn’t dismiss the usability of SMS and the opportunity in Java app development. I had no prior knowledge about all these technologies but I was strategically fast enough to form a team that enabled me to start my mobile business.
When you enter at the right time at the right place with the right mindset, you will find the right connection that will give you the right tools and lead you to the right team.
Opportunity comes out at the most unexpected moments. When the head of opportunity reveals itself, it is crucial to know what you are offering inside and out.
Your entry to the business depends on it.
TIMING IS KNOWING WHEN TO LAUNCH
In this business, it’s when you come in that will affect your business the most.
Be too early and chances are, you will have the hard time of introducing your product or service to the mainstream crowd. Come in late and you’ll be considered a copy cat or worse, a third rate version.
Some businesses are built based on what early business entrants have introduced to the market. The feedback from users provide business insights for others to build a similar product or offer a similar service which tries to answer what the market demanded from the original product or service.
iPods are not the first digital music players.
iPhones are not the first touchscreen phones.
It also helps to have early “adaptors” and visionaries. They are the believers who will let you know, if your product is ripe for revealing. That it’s already ready to be used and enjoyed. Customer validation is tricky but it’s a must if you want to deploy your business with the least expense. You have to do it fast though as you might be too late in the game when you finally find out your right business model.
To validate your product there are many tools that you can use like online surveys and agile prototyping. You have to learn how to use them in order to save resources - time being the most priceless of them.
TIMING IS CONVICTION
Sometimes, the perfect timing is just hiding. So-called experts were referring to SMS as “yesterday’s business” taking the sweet road of IOS and Android-related apps. But I held my ground. Because I firmly believe that there will always be a need for SMS. True enough, you will see that these apps still need SMS for activation, verification and other features that are integral to the app.
When most dismissed the SMS business, I insisted to keep ours and we became one of the major mobile terminating message provider in the country working with international app developers.
As per Juniper Research:
“By 2016, A2P messaging will overtake person-to-person messaging. Revenue from A2P SMS will exceed $70 Billion by 2016.”
TIMING IS REACHING OUT
Consider Facebook and Instagram and other social media avenues as “trend indicators” for your next business launch. Trends don’t lie. It’s the pulse of the masses and the majority.
From our Shoephoric broadcasts, to Email blasts, even Instagram announcements and contests, it doesn’t hurt to sit back and see what’s going on so you can be more relevant and relatable to your target market or audience.
Our involvement in Social Media led us to offer YouSocial as part of Youphoric Labs services. From basic content to blog posts to social media updates and even brand strategies, we help brands get their target audience to check them out and engage with them regularly.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Confidence comes with timing and one thing I’ve learned is that you should make decisions based on timing and instinct- your gut feel. If it feels right, it probably is. Once you’re confident in your product or service and you know what you want, you can come up with the perfect strategy... and the timing to go with it.
Timing is a combination of being ready when the situation calls for it, you’ll never know when that will be so it pays to be well-prepared.
It is having that gift of intuition, that instinct to determine if the climate is conducive enough for your service or product.
It is having the eyes for details that your competitors hardly see. These overlooked details give you the upper hand.
It is having the ability to determine on when and where to push and promote. Knowing when and where people look and maximizing it.
Timing is everything indeed!
This part I can skip actually, but I’m not going to let this opportunity pass- I’d like to take this chance to share with you another side to my learnings, they are not found in books nor from tech schools. It’s something applicable in today’s business negotiations.
Grace is performing under pressure and dealing with the situation or task at hand. From my experience, I’ve encountered the most power tripping of businessmen and catty, competitive women with the sharpest claws to the most irrational and demanding clients.
With the daily push and pull of business situations, you are bound to have two reactions- be irate and confrontational or be powerless and intimidated... they should be conquered with grace.
I’ve learned to use grace as a weapon. To fight back with composure and calmness. Most of the time I’ve turned the most negative of situations into passageways of opportunity. You just have to take it all in stride and be the better person.
Day in and out, you should face adversity with finesse that a dancer would have in the presence of a fall. You learn to deal with it in stride and become stronger with every challenge. And when everything falls into place, you become more motivated for bigger things ahead. It’s a small world in the realm of business and at the end of the day, you want to be known as that person who carries out her business with the virtue of grace.
The concept of timing and grace has helped me immensely in becoming a better entrepreneur and as a person in general. This has helped me harness myself and my abilities in ways unimaginable. Business is like a dance performance - you have to keep preparing. The more you master your craft, the better your performance. You have to know when to come in with your best moves. You have to be sharp and precise. Once you know the technicalities, you get to inject your own style and personality for it makes your performance unique. It gives you your competitive business advantage. When you do everything gracefully, don't you think you deserve a standing ovation?
There may be advancements to this industry that we may never predict, but the concept of timing and grace will always be here to stay.