Monthly Archives: January 2013

Edelweiss Fondue House and Restaurant :: Pattaya, Thailand

With the parents in town I figured it was time to try some place new – so last night we hit www.edelweissth.com. It is located at Thap Praya Road Soi 13.

It is a converted house with outdoor and patio dining. Speciality is Swiss food, cheese Fondue and I guess what you would call meat fondue as well. We ordered 3 platters. 1 was the cheese fondue and bread. The other was sliced beef platter that you cook in a broth – the third platter was cubed meat that you cook in oil. Each platter came with soup and salad bar which was quite simple but tasty.

I had a glass of white and the parents had soda and a water. Total bill was like 1500 baht and we were absolutely stuffed. Everything was tasty – tables were small so was hard to manage all the burners and food but still was quite enjoyable. We ate on the patio with a cool breeze and great conversations.

Looks like the owner is always around and is there to make sure everyone has a good meal. I plan on going back to try something else and of course have another cheese fondue.

The 5 things…

My boss sent me this link and I rather enjoyed it.

http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/20/5-things-you-need-to-know-before-working-at-a-startup/

1. Working for a startup means having ownership over your work and doing something that you really believe in, but it also means doing whatever is needed of you.

So true. I think I interview people and they give me these feelings that they need specific marching orders or scope of work. Sure – you hire someone for a specific category or genre of work but truth be told – everyone just needs to do whatever, whenever it is needed. I think this is the fun part but if it turns you off – don’t work at a startup.

2. We all hope for a big exit a la Instagram. However, you should understand the risks and be aware of how rare startup success really is.

True again. People always expect a hit or breakout. I have worked at a few startups. 1 did really well with an acquisition and provided me a nice international career. 1 went belly up but I learned a ton about what never to do again. I always learn and grow at a startup – probably in a year I feel like I had the experiences of working 2 years or longer at a non startup. We all hope for success but it rarely happens. So be careful what you expect and be realistic about it.

3. While getting equity is a big plus and many startups have yummy snacks and fun perks, expect a lower salary and fewer benefits.

I think you will find the lean notion of startups and lean really should mean lean all around. All the bennies are cool but not really fitting with lean in my opinion. There are lots of other bennies to have that don’t always cost money – like allowing people to work from wherever, allowing people to dive into other things that are not their core gig and so on. So expect lower pay and benefits but keep in mind why this happens and what the tradeoffs are.

4. You’ll have lots of exposure to founders at a small startup, but you may get less mentoring than you need.

This is true to some extent but I think most founders are there when you need them or the folks running the company make themselves available as needed. Agreed there might not be a organized mentoring program or a set of mentoring marching orders, save this for big company procedures, but then when a person needs mentoring or help they should ask for it and the mentors should be ready to deliver.

5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, while startups are a lot of fun, the pressure can be much higher than at other types of companies.

Indeed the pressure is much higher but I think it can be managed if you take the long view. You have to remind yourself that nothing really happens permanently day to day – it is over the many days, weeks and months that the vision comes together and is executed. So day to day it might be easy to stress yourself out or feel like the pressure is to big but if you keep focused on the long term goals and are working on tangible things like revenue, user satisfaction, and product excellence it becomes easier to manage day to day ups and downs while focusing on the long term stuff that matters.

The article was simple and the points almost cliche but they are a pretty honest assessment of some of the basic startup tenants.

The Sun :: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Been a while since I have been to Siem Reap and lots has changed – the place keeps getting busier and there are more hotels, bars and restaurants than ever. However I still enjoy the place and find it to be a good value for eating. Of course now I have the little one and I am not hunting for the night life but a solid meal, a chance to chat with my family and a place that tolerates the chaos of a baby. 😉

We cruised around pub street last night and came across The Sun – not sure of their website since every google search just points to a zillion different domains of trip advisor but this is the address:

Corner Pub Street, Siem Reap 12345, Cambodia

It is not a place for “native” food but just a nicely designed place with bistro food, good service and a fun place to chill.

I thought the prices were reasonable, portions were fine and everyone enjoyed what they ordered. The pizzas were also good and everyone loved the pork chops. The salads were solid but nothing to shout about but generally that is always the case with non native salads in SEA.

The staff was also very friendly, most Cambodians are, and even assisted with working around the baby.

We might hit this place one more time to check out the breakfast menu.

Check it out!

My biggest fear is messing her up…

I read this today on Daring Fireball : http://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/01/15/swartz-curious

If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions.

This is so true. I am very thankful as a kid I was homeschooled for a while since I think that allowed me to maintain some of my curiosity. Now that I am a dad, when I look at my little girl I realize she is perfect and that the world and my stewardship could mess her up more than she would on her own. I need to maintain her curiosity and protect her from losing it.

Just look at that pic?

I have some work to do…

 

 

Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems: A Brief Revisit

I read the first post and was amazed at the data and how much I didn’t know about the global entertainment ecosystem.

Here is the update: http://www.macstories.net/news/mapping-the-entertainment-ecosystems-a-brief-revisit/

 

Tons of good info in here and just shows that when it comes to global coverage – Apple is killing it. However I wonder over time if their ecosystem or platform will win when clearly they are making their platform somewhat less appealing for independent companies in the entertainment space. One of the big issues I see is how Apple is allowed to build a rental model with iTunes and Apple TV but no one else can use the same plumbing to do a similar thing. Essentially Apple bans all rental type activity from using Apple payments. To me this just stinks and is Apple using their ecosystem to protect their own business model. I wonder if this will ever change.

 

 

 

Baan Imm Sook :: Chanthaburi, Thailand

The great part about NOT living in Bangkok for me is that within a few hours I can get to some nice places to stay. Sure people can trek down to Koh Samet or do the Hua Hin circuit on the other side but generally these are busy tourist places and I like to avoid the tourists when I can. Chanthaburi Province is not a bad escape – quite a jaunt if you live in Bangkok but not so bad if you are coming from the Pattaya area.

Some of the places I have stayed:

http://www.chivareehotelandresort.com/ :: nice boutique spot. Good huts, pool and nice bar and food. Fills up a lot with private parties, weddings and special occasions.

Another fav of mine is :: http://www.baanimmsook.com – nice bungalows with a deck, easy walk to the beach and a cool laid back escape feel. No pool or restaurant but they serve breakfast. I just love the cabins though and tend to hang on the deck when not at the beach.More info.

Smile Beach Resort is another one. Decent rooms, pool and a nice location. More info.

There are a few restaurants (nothing fancy), a coffee shop, and some mini marts in town. Nothing real upmarket but there are some bigger resorts like http://www.chaolaoresort.com but I tend to enjoy the smaller ones.

Hanging at Baan Imm Sook and will write up another post if I see some other sites worth checking out.

6 trends Startups must cope with :: SEA Style

Saw this on the RWW:

http://readwrite.com/2012/12/26/6-trends-startups-must-cope-with-in-2013-from-paul-kedrosky

The main points with my commentary:

1. Accelerators Will Slow Down

This is interesting from an SEA angle cause for the most part the accelerator phase is just getting real in SEA. I can speak for each region or country since they all have their own twist on this but in Singapore I think http://jfdi.asia and http://pollenizer.com are just getting going. I think Singapore, if it keeps to being a regional hub, will have room for a few strong accelerators who will ultimately be successful. However I do think that the idea of each country having their own might get a little over done and won’t make it. I think their will be consolidation and a regional focus.

2. The Enterprise Will Strike Back

So far in SEA you just don’t see enterprise companies that much. It is typically an American or European thing or specific to say Japan or China but this could change. However I just don’t see the culture of Asia and the young entrepreneurs going after enterprise. It could happen though and as the enterprise looks sexy again it might accelerate.

3. The Cash Gap Will Fix the Talent Gap

We shall see in SEA if this is true. My feeling is this region is just getting serious about startups and their potential which means the talent crunch might continue. In Singapore it already feels like the bar is getting too high to bring expats in or non Singaporeans to take startup gigs. Within specific countries I think smart startup folks can find the right locals to make something go and may not feel the crunch anyway. I think Singapore is a unique problem since their is not enough locals to take startup gigs so startups are forced to import which is getting more expensive and time consuming.

4. Venture Capital Will Rebound

In SEA there really isn’t any series A anyway. So I don’t see a rebound but maybe there is a chance that the region will grow their series A ecosystem and we will see more series A funding. Right now most startups look to the valley, Japan, China and India for proper series A. This is a big hole in Singapore and the regional ecosystem.

5. Startup Ecosystems Will Go Extinct

It is quite possible that the region has overdone the singularity or country specific ecosystems. I have always argued for regional focus and will be interesting to watch. I think it is early days and some countries like Indonesia are big enough to contain their own ecosystem but maybe Thailand isn’t? Not way to tell but I think Singapore is doing okay but will need to figure out how to attract talent, make startup life affordable and keep growing. Maybe SEA is the ecosystem in this regard and it will do fine. Jury is out.

6. Big Data Will Crash

Big Data hasn’t really happened in SEA – meaning startups might be practicing it but not building businesses around it. I think both businesses built around social and big data are not going to make it in SEA anyway. We shall see how this goes but the fringe businesses selling the picks and shovels to people with real businesses don’t always do well unless the pick is a must have – like AWS, Akamai, Heroku and so on.

All in all I think some of these trends will have their place in SEA and some won’t.

For a different take on all this – check out Jon Russell’s latest on TNW.