Johnathan Teh

  • What to compete on as an entrepreneur?

    I was having a little chat the other day with my younger brother who's coining on the idea of starting a business. Little into the chat, it's amazing how it quickly reminded me how we are all similar when it comes to the desire of creating and making something of value to others.

    Also funny how quickly it evolved into product building questions. And it's almost like looking at a mirror hearing him talk versus other entrepreneurs questioning me. My quick tip for him and others are often focus on what your skills can bring to the table first. As product goes, I've condense it down to three aspect to compete and work on:

    1. Interface or design (if you are a designer)
    2. Technology (if you are technical)
    3. Community (if you are business dev orient)

    Leverage that skill of yours then seek out others that can help you on the other two (one step at a time).

  • Customer Service, so difficult?

    Here's a piece of conversation i thought would be interesting to share about my experience with AVIS Budget Group on my car rental experience.

    Long story short: i was charged for an extra €332.34 for returning the car early and it took them 22days to process the refund. take a look. :)

    Hello Darko,

    Thanks for finally resolving the matter! Quickly checking why is the refunded amount €314.21 and not €332.34? May I enquire about is the missing €18.13? Or are there charges that I may not be aware of.

    As a personal feedback to the company from my experience. The whole experience with Budget is an absolute disaster right after dropping off the car:

    • I was charged extra to which Budget service person (at the counter) wasn’t able to give an answer to. They also agreed that it is unreasonable and must be a fault of the system, yet aren’t able to make any changes for the charges applied.
    • I was given a number to called which cost €0.60 per minute.
    • 5 phone calls were made for this matter with a total of ~80minutes spent on phone (also 3 emails were sent).
    • Each time letting the customer service person to guiding the processes.
    • Customer service personnels too sees and agrees to the fault (with every phone call) and provided a new ticketing number.
    • Each time not fulfilling the promised upheld by the amount of days required (except the last time).
    • The whole process now took 22 days for the refund to be finally issued (not received).

    I think it’s fair to say that Avis and Budget will be my last option for car rental service here on out. Perhaps Avis Budget Group should invest more on customer service to save on longer term relationship with its customers.

    Thank you.

    Cheers, Johnathan Teh

    My feelings is summed up in the end of the email. I do think larger companies have the responsibility in providing a good customer service experience. Yet, it's quite often that Startups are showing big co how it's done.

  • Uber's excitement is its potential

    Just want to contribute quickly on potentials as it already very well stated by Michael Wolfe, an entrepreneur and frequent technology commentator explains:

    • If you think of Uber as a town car company operating in a few cities, it is not big.
    • If you think of Uber as dominating and even growing the town car market in dozens of cities, it gets bigger. (Data point: there are now more Uber black cars in San Francisco than there were ALL black cars before Uber started).
    • If you think of Uber as absorbing the taxi markets, it gets pretty huge.
    • If you think of Uber bringing taxis to parts of the world that did not have them before because of insufficient density, it gets even larger.
    • If you think of Uber as a personal logistics service that can drive your kids to school and back, take you to work, pick up your parents at the airport, drive you to date night so you can get your drinks on, it gets very very large.
    • If you think of Uber as delivering both people as well as things (packages, dry cleaning, groceries) it gets even larger.
    • If you think of Uber as a replacement for your car, it gets even larger.
    • If you mix in a fleet of self-driving cars, orchestrated by Uber, it grows again.
    • If you think of Uber as a giant supercomputer orchestrating the delivery of millions of people and items all over the world (the Cisco of the physical world), you get what could be one of the largest companies in the world.
  • Happy new Year! Let’s go 2015!

    Busy busy Christmas and New Years Period.

    I will keep it short in this post. Hence, one sentence: Focus on the small things that matter and the big things will take care of itself. fireworks at rooftop.jpg

    2014 has been great year all in all, will continue on to build on the momentum!

    Happy New 2015 to all and I wish all the best to everyone!

  • Thoughts on problems to solve.

    Quickly sharing my notes, i know i should have been more active but i think most of us are guilty for not writing as often as we want.

    Two ways to establish startup:

    1. solving an inefficiency by making something faster, better, easier or digital (yo, taptalk, online magazines etc)
    2. solving a painful problem. (snapchat, Fedex, paper by 53, Spotify)

    Then you can word it anyway you want to be solving an societal caring problem. Most tech companies these days are more on efficiency. Efficiency is worth exploring because those little changes can often affect people’s lives.

    In fact, there are heaps of problems relating to efficiency:

    • microwave vs fire ➔ efficiency gain
    • email vs fax ➔ efficiency gain
    • SSD vs HDD ➔ efficiency gain
    • Skype vs telephone ➔ efficiency in cost and time gain
    • Google vs yellow pages ➔ efficiency gain in time and quality of results

    Pitch:

    • Investor: change the world, one product at a time (thoughts, philosophy and approach)
    • Entrepreneur: what are you working on, share learnings (making friends in the community)
    • Target Audience: what the product does (get the users to download and engage)

    Direct and bold-ness has strength in it for not appearing wavering. People will either get it and join, or don’t like it and leave. You only have to please those that like the cause or idea.

    Berlin3.jpg

    Endnote:

    Just arrived in Berlin and excited about all that's ahead here. Had a really good event with the guys from ProductHunt, keep up the good work guys - @ErikTorenberg, @andreasklinger and @rrhoover!

  • 2014, Startup and hacking forward.

    We all start with an idea. What we do with the idea is what separates us from one another. Some of us choose to act, while others let it cool off and eventually forget. Then, there are those that execute with a plan and others exercising on a string of unplanned actions.

    In my point of view of a startup; there's the product and there's the hustling (or selling if you prefer). With the new venture I am on, we're currently in product building stage.

    My approach?

    Design ➔ Test ➔ Learn ➔ Repeat if necessary before building a product.

    Go out there and gain valuable insights from your users. One thing come in mind is a statement by Paul Buchheit (invented Gmail) ‘It’s so much better to make a few people love you, than a lot of people just like you.’

    At the end of the day, a product needs to be useful and accepted by its target user. In any product-building phase, there's a really fine line between launching too late and too early. At the moment, we are still fine tuning on the product with our tester and users. The risk of launching too early could come with the potential pitfall of missing out on the details and a sign of lack of depth. On the other hand, figuring it all out and launching too late might run risk of analysis paralysis while missing out on valuable user insights. New design trend, product idea, competition are also among many other reason to be reminded that at some point, all products need to be shipped.

    With our current venture, we've relentlessly question potential users what do they think of the idea and concept. Designed it, questioned them further and repeat it over till we cover the fundamental aspect of the idea.

    I am personally thrilled with the progress we made on the idea leading to a product and what we managed to achieve in such short time. It's simply amazing again how January have just gone by. In another week, we are 2/12 complete of 2014 and it feels like it only just started. Time spent on building a product can be gone by quickly from the level of focus and concentration. I am more convinced than ever before that "time" is the most valuable resource we all have.

    Don't waste your own time or someone else. iteration.jpg