TimothyTiah.com

Futels: A Business That Makes Good Money

In the past month or so I’ve been talking to people from all walks of life.

Bankers, entrepreneurs and even property developers and they all tell me one thing:

If you want to make good money… just do a FUTEL.

For those of you who’ve never heard of the term, FUTEL is short for FU*K HOTEL or basically… a hotel just for people to go and ‘have a good time’ (ie have a shag).

Now there are many types of Hotels and not all of them are Futels.

Some hotels are meant for BUSINESS…
Some hotels are meant for FAMILY

And some hotels are meant for… well… uhmm… “FUN“…

Futels are profitable because their occupancy rate need not be under 100%. It could be 200-300% if they like because one room can be used by more than one customer each day.

In other words, rather than renting the room by the day… some of them rent their rooms by the HOUR which is more or less enough time for some… uhmm… “FUN“.
So my fellow entrepreneur wannabes… why waste time trying to come up with a new product.

Go for a tried and true business model that is sure to make money.

Here’s what you need.

1) HOTEL
First you need a hotel (Costing RM500,000-RM1,000,000).

Now don’t be an idiot and break all your balls by build a hotel like THIS.

All you need is a hotel like this (or maybe slightly bigger).
And forget about swimming pools or any other facilities.

Heck don’t even think of having a tiny fish pond in your lobby.

The only facility you should even CONSIDER is a condom vending machine like they have overseas.

2) BEDROOMS

You do not need (and your clients probably wouldn’t care about) a well furnished room like this since it’s only going to be used by each customer for only a few hours.

Build a room that is big enough to fit one or two beds since that’s where your clients are going to be for most of the 3 hours that they’re going to be there.
or if you can take it the extra mile and have NOTHING but a bed in the room.

Not even a blanket.
3) STAFF

For your kind of hotel, you DON’T need staff like that that probably cost RM2,000 each.

What the heck for.

All you need is Aunty Jenny here to help you clean up your rooms at ‘scene of the crime’ and she might even be nice and do it for only RM800 a month.
So there you have it everyone.

All you need are these 3 things and you’ll be a millionaire in no time.

Of course, the question many of you would ask me is
“If everybody already starts up FUTELS because they know for sure they make money… then how can we make money?

Well lets do a rough estimation.

According to the 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey, Malaysians have sex 83 times a year.

Given that there are 25 million Malaysians out there, that equates to a whopping 1 BILLION times that sex occurs in Malaysia every year (Assuming that each Malaysian has sex with another Malaysian).
Now if you manage to get 0.001% of them to do it in your FUTEL, that’s about 10,000 times and if you charge only RM50 per room per time (note that your rooms don’t go by per day but by the hour), that’s RM500,000 revenue.

And what is your cost?

Aunty Jenny that costs RM800 a month so that’s RM9,600 a year.
A Receptionist that costs RM1000 a month so that’s RM12,000 a year.
Electricity and other costs of lets say RM20,000 a month so that’s RM240,000 a year.

So your profit is RM260,000 and your cost of building the futels was.. what? RM500,000?

You’ll make back your investment in no time!

Of course the next question is… do people need to have sex?

Well….


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It’s Official… My Balls are Broken

I’ve been getting some e-mails from readers lately. Many which I haven’t really had the chance to respond to yet.

But one e-mail caught my attention.

It was from another Penang programmer and wanna-be entrepreneur like myself.

He was telling me of a little experience of his

“I did a couple of programming but it always failed at the marketing part. You know stock market?

Around 2 years ago, there is this craze where investors want a program that gets the latest price (real time) and then do a chart and then advice them based on the formulas (eg. MACD) and then advice them to buy or sell.

Well, I did the entire program and tried to market it. Too bad it didn’t work. Some people are willing to try but then they all went quiet.

I guess failure is something we will all have to face one day.

Perhaps the good thing is that his next success is probably on the way. His new creation (and work in progress) is a little blogger shoutbox called
Shoutout.

Check it out and tell him what you think.

On a seperate note, today I had to pay a visit to a computer shop in this little building somewhere in Penang.


Inside the building was a little door leading me to a little shop called CG Computers.


I went in carrying both my balls but came out without one.

Yes… not long ago I thought buying Windows XP was painful.

Little did I know that I was to buy more software that put even more pressure on my poor little balls.

Hello Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop!


Each copy of Dreamweaver costs something like RM1700++ and Photoshop somewhere in the region of RM2600++ each.

My balls are officially broken.

Hard Gay

Ok, I have a confession to make.

These few days I’ve been extremely piled up with work so much that I can’t seem to find the time to blog.

But in the mean time, let me introduce you to someone that has been helping me release stress each day.

His name is HARD GAY.

Check out his video.

Some think he’s hilarious.

But some people like Brenda think he’s lame..

I definitely think he’s entertaining 😛

HOOO!!!!

Reader Mail

Every now and then I get e-mails from readers. Sometimes it’s readers sharing some interesting things with me and sometimes it’s readers asking questions about what is it exactly that I do.

Just a few days ago I got an e-mail from one of my readers asking me some questions that many readers in the past have asked me. So I think the least I can do is to try my best to answer them as well as I can

(Do keep in mind thought that Boss Stewie is after all an entrepreneur that is yet to prove himself so don’t take my words as seriously as you would take Michael Dell’s words)

Here is the e-mail (I took out his real name as requested)

Dear Boss Stewie,

This is MaN|acZ. Just call me
MaN|acZ or LeeCH.

Anyway, I have some questions to ask you.

1) I'm curious like how do you get yourself paid for
your startup? (I assumed since you have no working
experience, where did you get your money?)

2) How long you expect that you'll be able to gain
back what you've invested?

3) How does a typical life of your work day like? I
actually do have plans to start up my own company. But
I just afraid that I'll run out of money before I can
make it.Please advise.


Thank you.

And my reply


Dear Maniacz,

I assume that the ‘business’ you’re planning to start is a dotcom like mine.

Let me try to answer your first question.

The only time I earned money of my own was during my past two summer holidays where I did internships at two different investment banks.

So you can imagine that the money I earned and saved was hardly enough for me to embark on this business.

Therefore, after working out the business plan and deciding on the minimum capital that we needed, we started exploring options of how to save cost or come up with the money.

For example, I met up with a representative from the Multimedia Development Corporation based at Cyberjaya to explore the facilities they provide up-and-coming internet entrepreneurs.

Upon hearing my businesss plan, the representative discussed the kind of help they could possibly provide my little dotcom.

Among the possibilities we discussed was assistance in finding graduating MMU students to work for my little dotcom and on top of that, an offer to subsidize 50% of my labour cost.

We could also use their workstations that come prepared with original licensed software web developers would need that could potentially cost you thousands and thousands of ringgit if you decide to do it on your own.

And of course on top of all this, there is the incentive we all want: a cash grant.

I recently heard of an internet company that not too far back received a RM1.6mn grant from the MSC.

Apart from exploring the possibilities of working together with the MDC, we managed to find some venture capitalists that were keen on investing in our little dotcom.

Now there are two ways of financing your business if personal finance is not enough. You could borrow money from a bank, or find venture capitalists.

The first option is less advisable for internet businesses since most internet businesses (though this depends on your business model) typically won’t generate much revenue in the first couple of years so servicing the loan interest every month will probably kill you.)

Besides, banks aren’t likely to lend money to internet businesses especially since they don’t have much collateral to offer.

The second and more feasible option for internet businesses is to find venture capitalists to take up an equity stake in your business.

Before starting this business, I had ‘accidentally’ come across a venture capitalist that was interested in negotiating a financial package.

I had also received a call from an old friend in the Middle-East some time back and he too was asking if he could take up a stake in the business.

If you work with venture capitalists, you could probably negotiate a monthly salary for yourself. I’ve seen real life examples of this happen so they’re very possible.

I believe that all these options in finding the right financial package makes the statement of No Money To Do Business just an excuse from people who like to talk about doing business but aren’t determined enough to actually walk the talk.

Billionaires like Sergey Brin, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs started with no money as well. The difference is that they were determined enough to find money to do business.

As for my partner Ming and I, we are both lucky to have some financial backing from our families (possible partly because the start-up capital for our business is relatively small).

So after exploring these options and keeping our capital to the minimum, we decided that we could at least for now say no for banks and venture capitalists.

Since the first answer has already been long enough, I will answer your second and third question as briefly as I can.

As to how long before I gain back what I’ve invested, the answer is: Probably in no less than 2 years and possibly even NEVER.

As to how the typical day for an entrepreneur is like, there isn’t really a ‘typical day’ at this stage.

Every day seems to have different challenges and every day my partner and I are given new problems to solve.

Keep in mind that many dotcoms don’t make much money at all for the first few years of operation.

So if you’re worried about running out of money half way, have a backup plan.

Keep in mind that all the 3 billionaires I mentioned earlier (Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin) have all at one point of their lives almost lost every penny to their name in order to keep their company going.

I hope I will never have to go through that… but I know I’m just being wishful.

Don’t “waste” the Malaysian

I’m down in Singapore again for business and if I have the time, to find a particular Singaporean reader of mine who conveniently decided to work for a Singaporean dotcom start-up when she could’ve been working for MY little startup
(you know who you are… and I’m coming for you… u naughty naughty girl!).

Anyway, after a long day of meetings and work that started right after I walked through Immigration,

my business partner decided to treat me to a nice dinner at Tanglin Club Singapore.

The food was okay… but all of you should know by now that I’m not the kind of blogger to write much about food so here!

Just one picture of the steak I had (which is getting quite comfortable in my belly right now).

After dinner, Ming convinced me to go meet some friends at Brewerkz in Clarke Quay.
Brewerkz is a pub in Clarke Quay that prides itself in making its own beer.


Somehow that night, my Singaporean friends decided to play a little game called
“Let’s waste the Malaysian“.

So rather than ordering a few jugs of beer like EVERYONE ELSE, they decided to order a “TOWER OF BEER“.

Of course, I initially protested

“WAIT!!! WAIT!!! There are only 5 of us, and only 3 of us are drinking!!! And I’m staying for only an HOUR!!!”

Peter (one of the guys there) said
“No larr… can wan lar.. don’t worry… a tower is not that much”.

Not believing a word he said, I asked

“How much is a tower? 1 litre?”

Peter looked at me and said sarcastically
“Yes yes… about a litre… actually something like 3 and a half litres“.

Still, I comforted myself with the thought that he was just joking.

But that little comfort didn’t last long.

The “Tower of Beer” didn’t take long to find its way on our table.

When I saw it… my balls dropped.


For the next one hour, Peter kept filling up my mug.And I kept returning the favour. So as you can imagine, the beer went down pretty quickly.
And by the end of the hour, it was finished.


Though Peter wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a drop of beer left in the tower.

So what normal people do after they finish the tower of beer is… they go home.. or they order coke or something.

But NOoooo… Peter had to order another jug of beer.

I went home shortly after they forced me to down a final mug of beer.

I would be lying if I said that the alcohol didn’t have any effect on me.

This was the last picture they took of me… while I was still sober.

The next time you have a Singaporean friend down in Malaysia… please take him out…. and get him wasted.. please.. do it for Stewie.

Don’t "waste" the Malaysian

I’m down in Singapore again for business and if I have the time, to find a particular Singaporean reader of mine who conveniently decided to work for a Singaporean dotcom start-up when she could’ve been working for MY little startup
(you know who you are… and I’m coming for you… u naughty naughty girl!).

Anyway, after a long day of meetings and work that started right after I walked through Immigration,

my business partner decided to treat me to a nice dinner at Tanglin Club Singapore.

The food was okay… but all of you should know by now that I’m not the kind of blogger to write much about food so here!

Just one picture of the steak I had (which is getting quite comfortable in my belly right now).

After dinner, Ming convinced me to go meet some friends at Brewerkz in Clarke Quay.
Brewerkz is a pub in Clarke Quay that prides itself in making its own beer.


Somehow that night, my Singaporean friends decided to play a little game called
“Let’s waste the Malaysian“.

So rather than ordering a few jugs of beer like EVERYONE ELSE, they decided to order a “TOWER OF BEER“.

Of course, I initially protested

“WAIT!!! WAIT!!! There are only 5 of us, and only 3 of us are drinking!!! And I’m staying for only an HOUR!!!”

Peter (one of the guys there) said
“No larr… can wan lar.. don’t worry… a tower is not that much”.

Not believing a word he said, I asked

“How much is a tower? 1 litre?”

Peter looked at me and said sarcastically
“Yes yes… about a litre… actually something like 3 and a half litres“.

Still, I comforted myself with the thought that he was just joking.

But that little comfort didn’t last long.

The “Tower of Beer” didn’t take long to find its way on our table.

When I saw it… my balls dropped.


For the next one hour, Peter kept filling up my mug.And I kept returning the favour. So as you can imagine, the beer went down pretty quickly.
And by the end of the hour, it was finished.


Though Peter wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a drop of beer left in the tower.

So what normal people do after they finish the tower of beer is… they go home.. or they order coke or something.

But NOoooo… Peter had to order another jug of beer.

I went home shortly after they forced me to down a final mug of beer.

I would be lying if I said that the alcohol didn’t have any effect on me.

This was the last picture they took of me… while I was still sober.

The next time you have a Singaporean friend down in Malaysia… please take him out…. and get him wasted.. please.. do it for Stewie.

Forgive Prince Harry

In Great Britain, you know you’re a “big sausage” when people call you “Sir”.

But life is such… you may be a “big sausage“, but there is always a “bigger sausage”

And you know you’re a “gigantic sausage” when people call you
His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales“.

Yep. That’s Prince Harry.

Just like his brother Prince William, Harry is a well groomed man.

From young, privileged people like himself are sent not to normal schools, but to special schools where they teach you how to be a gentleman and carry yourself well in public.

And they have been taught well.

I remember how both Prince Harry and William held back their tears so well at their mother’s funeral.

Something I probably wouldn’t be able to do if put in the same position.

I would imagine people of his class would grow up learning to play polo, travel in private jets and eat diamonds for breakfast every day.

Things that normal poor people like Stewie would never have the chance to experience.That, along with the “Prince” title that they carry makes most women love them and want to do ANYTHING with them.

Of course… love should always be two ways.

So women love Harry…

and Harry loves women too…

Really.

Yes, the media in the UK is probably taking Prince Harry apart for this one picture of him cupping a woman’s gigantic breast.

But lets put things in perspective.

When presented with a set of knockers the size of Australia, what do you do?

Do you say

or do you say

or even
So… Prince Harry… please don’t feel bad… at least we know you’re human after all.

How to live a luxurious life when you’re poor

Dotcom entrepreneurs are poor people.

Almost every cent they have has gone into the little idea they believe in and that leaves them with a very tight budget to lead the rest of their lives.

I am no different.

Yet, this month I forgot to take into account a little piece of expenditure that I should’ve thought about: My colleague’s birthday present.
It cost me over a 100 bucks, the same amount I was supposed to spend on a long overdue date with my baby.

My baby is a smart girl.

She doesn’t fancy me taking her to a pretentious high class restaurant in Penang that often has lousy (or way overpriced) food.

She enjoys expensive food, but she wants to make sure that we’re paying for the value of the food, and not for the little pretentious environment we get to sit in.

So I took her to Ingolf’s Kneipe.
A small German restaurant in Penang that serves the best mushroom soup in the world (I shit u not).

Ingolf has a very casual environment. It’s not even fully air-conditioned but people go there for only one thing: the fantastic food.
So there I was, taking my baby for a dinner that I couldn’t afford but I knew how I could find my way around to afford it.

Step 1: When you order Mushroom soup, ALWAYS ask for “Kurang Mushroom” and then insist that they charge you 40 cents less to compensate for the fewer mushrooms in your soup.

The logic for this is simple.

When you go eat wan tan mee and ask the hawker to “tambah wan tan”, they would normally charge you more. So similarly, if you ask the restaurant to “Kurang Mushroom”, they should charge you less… right?

Some restaurants also try to act smart and give you soup in a big bun that’s just too big to eat and too small to be cheap.

So when you come to instances like that, you ask to see the manager and say
“I ASKED FOR ONION SOUP… NOT BUN ONION SOUP!!! IF I WANTED AN ONION SOUP IN A BUN I WOULD’VE SAID ONION SOUP IN A BUN… NOW GIMME BACK MY 80 SEN!!!”

Step 2: When asked “What would you like to drink sir?”

Always say “TAP WATER” and insist that they NOT charge you a single cent for that (Drinking water is a HUMAN RIGHT).

Some places insist that they don’t serve tap water and instead force you to buy a bottle of mineral water from them for RM1.00.

When faced with a situation like that, stay calm… relax… and just politely say to the waiter

“MA CHOW H*I IF U DUN GIMME MY WATER RIGHT NOW I AM GOING TO HURT YOU”.

Step 3: The Steak

Normally when you order steak at a restaurant, the waiter would have to ask you
“How would you like your steak done sir? Medium, Medium-Well… Well-done?

In which you should ALWAYS ask
Which is cheaper?

Some waiters would give you a good answer and then you should know how to pick the cheaper option.

Some waiters will try to be funny with you and say

“They’re all the same Sir”.

In which you should lose all your patience and say

“THEN WHY THE HUMP DO YOU EVEN BOTHER ASKING ME?!?!”

Step 4: The best things in life are free

When you’re at the restaurant, ordering more things cost more money. But there are some things that are free no matter how much you decide to use.

For example, salt & pepper.

No matter how much you use… it’s FREE!!!

So use up as much salt & pepper as you can.

Then when your food is salty/peppery enough, make sure you ‘steal’ the salt/pepper away in a plastic bag.

Do it at every restaurant for a week and at the end of the week, go to the market to sell your plastic bags of salt/pepper.

Talk about making money out of nothing.

Step 5: The best things in life are free… really!

Don’t forget that water and use of the toilet is free too (Restaurants that charge 20 sen per entry of their toilets should be burned to the ground).

So find the sink and wash your hand as much as you can. Wash it so much that you’d never would have to wash it again for a week!

Heck, take a shower there even. You won’t even need a towel to dry yourself… just get yourself a stack of serviettes (which are ALSO free by the way)

and wipe yourself off.

Oh… and lets not forget the TOOTHPICKS.

ALWAYS ask for toothpicks.

Restaurants with some class would provide you with not just ONE toothpick… but a stack of them just like this (though you normally only need one).

Now I’m sure many of you would start thinking of TAKING ALL THE TOOTHPICKS.

WELL SHAME ON YOU FOR THINKING OF DOING SUCH A TREACHEROUS THING!

That just reflects VERY VERY BADLY ON YOU.

The right thing would be to TAKE EVERYTHING but don’t be a bastard… leave one toothpick there for the poor customer after you that would be dying to pick something off his teeth.

If you keep stealing EVERTHING, soon restaurants will never want to provide toothpicks again. Ever wonder why Malaysian public toilets don’t come with toilet paper?

Because just like people steal toothpicks.. some people gain great satisfaction from stealing toilet paper his (really REALLY not funny)…. so much that people don’t even bother furnishing their toilets with toilet paper anymore.

So at the end of the dinner.

My baby was happy.

And I was happy with my juicy juicy medium-rare steak..So there you have it.

Learn from Stewie… and you may afford to live the life that you otherwise can’t afford to live.

The “Myth” of Gaining Work Experience (Part 1)

Upon hearing that I’ve gone off to venture on something of my own, people often ask me
“Don’t you want to gain some work experience first? Now you’re still too young!

When I people ask me this, I often reply by saying
“I know… I may be making the biggest mistake of my life”.

Yet, deep inside I have an answer to that question that I don’t reveal often enough. But since all of you who are still reading my blog (which has turned from humour to boring stuff) are either my friends or my most loyal readers, let me share the answer with you.

A word of caution before we go on. My views and my philosophy of life tend to be very radical. So feel free to be critical. I love criticism, especially constructive ones because they make me think. But please don’t take it too seriously.

I am after all a naive little boy who is probably misinformed into having the following views of life and career.


Now let me start by saying that I have the bad habit of questioning everything people tell me.

So naturally, when people tell me that I should gain some work experience first before starting on a business, I asked WHY.

When you work you gain 3 main skill sets.

1) You gain experience on how to work and deal with people.

2) You gain insight of how specific industries work.

3) You learn from people above you.

Yet, I will always remember what Richard Branson (Virgin Group) often advocates: Entrepreneurs are made in their early life and not in their thirties.


I look at my life now more like a ticking clock. I start thinking that ok, now that I’ve graduated and got myself the minimum of academic papers (a degree), I have till I’m 40 (18 years from now) to make sure that I am fairly wealthy by then.

If I am not ‘fairly’ rich by the time I’m 40, it will probably be far too late for me to be very rich in my lifetime (still possible… but unlikely).

Take for example Phillip Green, the retail mogul in the UK that owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and everything else under the shopping sun in the UK.

By the time he was 40, he wasn’t a multi-billionaire like he is today. He had wealth in the hundreds of millions of pounds but it was with this that he was able to jump to being a billionaire.

But the question remains… is it wrong to spend time working to gain work experience?

In my opinion, the answer is “It depends”.

And “It depends” on one thing.

What kind of work experience?

Today, if I decided to spend 3 years working as a cashier at McDs or as a receptionist at a cyber cafe, it’s still work experience. But is it useful work experience and would whatever I learn there help me much when I start a business.

Let me give you an example.

When considering whether to take up a job at an investment bank in KL, I started thinking about where I would be 5 years later.

The conclusion I came to was that in 5 years, I would probably be earning a 5-figure salary and would probably know plenty about stocks. Since I would be in finance, I would also probably learn a bit about some of the successful companies listed on the stock exchange.

So I might learn a thing or two about a company that makes rubber gloves.

I might learn how their business works, how their products sell and how they earn money.

So is that enough for me to start a successful glove manufacturing business like Datuk Lim Wee Chai of Topglove did?

The answer is probably NOT.

Sure, I would learn the things on the surface but you don’t have to spend years working in an investment bank to learn that.

All you have to do is buy a share of the company, pick up its Annual Report and go for its AGM.

Then ask plenty of questions.

Any man on the street could gain that knowledge.

What the man on the street won’t be able to learn are the more crucial things like

What exactly goes into the rubber that makes the gloves?

or

How does the chemical composition of each glove differ from the composition of its competitors and why is it better?

or

How do they keep their quality control on each pair of glove?

The man on the street would probably tell you

“Blow it up with your nose and see how much you can do that for before it pops”

The only way to really learn things like that would be to work in the industry.

Therefore, I decided that if I was going to work in an investment bank, unless I planned to start a Merchant Bank of Penang (which is highly unlikely), everything that I learned on the job wouldn’t exactly help me too much in any business I might pursue in future.

Sure, I would be highly paid at first.. but would I be a very rich man 20 years from now?

Pic info: If I had owned a Bank of Penang… this Maybank building would be MINE!!! And you guys would open accounts with me right?

Of course, there will be the general skills that I would be able to take with me like working in a team or organising time to meet deadlines.

But who says that an entrepreneur that starts fresh won’t be able to gain these skills?

Being the one to run the show, an entrepreneur would probably be forced to learn/gain all of these skills and more.

For example, an entrepreneur would also learn how to manage his cashflow, how to take calculated risks and how to react when faced with problems.

With this mindset that was far at odds with the traditional thinking of gaining work experience, I went to talk to one of my father’s friends.

A very successful Malaysian internet entrepreneur that has made millions after millions. He started doing business early in his life too, but not before he gained a few years of work experience as an engineer.

His answer to me was simple but made perfect sense.

“Timothy. Today the world’s economy has changed. During my time, people had to work in order to see opportunities. Today, with the internet coming up and plenty of visible opportunities at bay, you don’t have to work to see the opportunity. All you have to do is turn on your computer. So if you have an idea that you believe in. Go for it.”

What he said made perfect sense to me: That the world today has changed but so many people are not adapting to it hence the old belief that it is a MUST to first gain work experience.

Decades ago you would never hear of self-made billionaires that made became billionaires by the time they reached their thirties, but today it’s becoming increasingly common starting from Michael Dell of Dell Computers

and now on to people like Sergey Brin of Google Inc.

The world has changed in almost every way. Even in financing your business.

Many years ago if you wanted to do a business, you either put in your own money or borrow money from the bank.

(The latter can be very distructive especially if you’re doing a dotcom since you’ll have to be servicing bank interest when you probably won’t be generating any revenue or making any profit for the first few years.)

What has changed today is that there are venture capitalists. People who’re willing to invest in your company for just an equity stake.

There are also government grants and government support for dotcom companies down in the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Having no money to start a business has become less of an excuse now for the complacent.

How hard is it to get venture capitalists to invest in you?

Well, a few weeks ago, my little dotcom was unsuspectingly approached by a wealthy businessman looking to obtain an equity stake upon hearing of our business idea.

If an inexperienced and naive 22 year old boy (with nothing but an idea) could do get the door open… why can’t everyone else?

Now if you managed to read this far in this blog post, the next question you should ask is

So what’s wrong with working for a few years first before I even attempt to start a business?”

That will be a question I will answer some time in the future.

PS: Of course, in life there is no one way to get to a certain place. So I’m not asking everyone to forget working and go straight into business. This is just what I’m doing… and something I may regret later in life if things don’t work out…

The "Myth" of Gaining Work Experience (Part 1)

Upon hearing that I’ve gone off to venture on something of my own, people often ask me
“Don’t you want to gain some work experience first? Now you’re still too young!

When I people ask me this, I often reply by saying
“I know… I may be making the biggest mistake of my life”.

Yet, deep inside I have an answer to that question that I don’t reveal often enough. But since all of you who are still reading my blog (which has turned from humour to boring stuff) are either my friends or my most loyal readers, let me share the answer with you.

A word of caution before we go on. My views and my philosophy of life tend to be very radical. So feel free to be critical. I love criticism, especially constructive ones because they make me think. But please don’t take it too seriously.

I am after all a naive little boy who is probably misinformed into having the following views of life and career.


Now let me start by saying that I have the bad habit of questioning everything people tell me.

So naturally, when people tell me that I should gain some work experience first before starting on a business, I asked WHY.

When you work you gain 3 main skill sets.

1) You gain experience on how to work and deal with people.

2) You gain insight of how specific industries work.

3) You learn from people above you.

Yet, I will always remember what Richard Branson (Virgin Group) often advocates: Entrepreneurs are made in their early life and not in their thirties.


I look at my life now more like a ticking clock. I start thinking that ok, now that I’ve graduated and got myself the minimum of academic papers (a degree), I have till I’m 40 (18 years from now) to make sure that I am fairly wealthy by then.

If I am not ‘fairly’ rich by the time I’m 40, it will probably be far too late for me to be very rich in my lifetime (still possible… but unlikely).

Take for example Phillip Green, the retail mogul in the UK that owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and everything else under the shopping sun in the UK.

By the time he was 40, he wasn’t a multi-billionaire like he is today. He had wealth in the hundreds of millions of pounds but it was with this that he was able to jump to being a billionaire.

But the question remains… is it wrong to spend time working to gain work experience?

In my opinion, the answer is “It depends”.

And “It depends” on one thing.

What kind of work experience?

Today, if I decided to spend 3 years working as a cashier at McDs or as a receptionist at a cyber cafe, it’s still work experience. But is it useful work experience and would whatever I learn there help me much when I start a business.

Let me give you an example.

When considering whether to take up a job at an investment bank in KL, I started thinking about where I would be 5 years later.

The conclusion I came to was that in 5 years, I would probably be earning a 5-figure salary and would probably know plenty about stocks. Since I would be in finance, I would also probably learn a bit about some of the successful companies listed on the stock exchange.

So I might learn a thing or two about a company that makes rubber gloves.

I might learn how their business works, how their products sell and how they earn money.

So is that enough for me to start a successful glove manufacturing business like Datuk Lim Wee Chai of Topglove did?

The answer is probably NOT.

Sure, I would learn the things on the surface but you don’t have to spend years working in an investment bank to learn that.

All you have to do is buy a share of the company, pick up its Annual Report and go for its AGM.

Then ask plenty of questions.

Any man on the street could gain that knowledge.

What the man on the street won’t be able to learn are the more crucial things like

What exactly goes into the rubber that makes the gloves?

or

How does the chemical composition of each glove differ from the composition of its competitors and why is it better?

or

How do they keep their quality control on each pair of glove?

The man on the street would probably tell you

“Blow it up with your nose and see how much you can do that for before it pops”

The only way to really learn things like that would be to work in the industry.

Therefore, I decided that if I was going to work in an investment bank, unless I planned to start a Merchant Bank of Penang (which is highly unlikely), everything that I learned on the job wouldn’t exactly help me too much in any business I might pursue in future.

Sure, I would be highly paid at first.. but would I be a very rich man 20 years from now?

Pic info: If I had owned a Bank of Penang… this Maybank building would be MINE!!! And you guys would open accounts with me right?

Of course, there will be the general skills that I would be able to take with me like working in a team or organising time to meet deadlines.

But who says that an entrepreneur that starts fresh won’t be able to gain these skills?

Being the one to run the show, an entrepreneur would probably be forced to learn/gain all of these skills and more.

For example, an entrepreneur would also learn how to manage his cashflow, how to take calculated risks and how to react when faced with problems.

With this mindset that was far at odds with the traditional thinking of gaining work experience, I went to talk to one of my father’s friends.

A very successful Malaysian internet entrepreneur that has made millions after millions. He started doing business early in his life too, but not before he gained a few years of work experience as an engineer.

His answer to me was simple but made perfect sense.

“Timothy. Today the world’s economy has changed. During my time, people had to work in order to see opportunities. Today, with the internet coming up and plenty of visible opportunities at bay, you don’t have to work to see the opportunity. All you have to do is turn on your computer. So if you have an idea that you believe in. Go for it.”

What he said made perfect sense to me: That the world today has changed but so many people are not adapting to it hence the old belief that it is a MUST to first gain work experience.

Decades ago you would never hear of self-made billionaires that made became billionaires by the time they reached their thirties, but today it’s becoming increasingly common starting from Michael Dell of Dell Computers

and now on to people like Sergey Brin of Google Inc.

The world has changed in almost every way. Even in financing your business.

Many years ago if you wanted to do a business, you either put in your own money or borrow money from the bank.

(The latter can be very distructive especially if you’re doing a dotcom since you’ll have to be servicing bank interest when you probably won’t be generating any revenue or making any profit for the first few years.)

What has changed today is that there are venture capitalists. People who’re willing to invest in your company for just an equity stake.

There are also government grants and government support for dotcom companies down in the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Having no money to start a business has become less of an excuse now for the complacent.

How hard is it to get venture capitalists to invest in you?

Well, a few weeks ago, my little dotcom was unsuspectingly approached by a wealthy businessman looking to obtain an equity stake upon hearing of our business idea.

If an inexperienced and naive 22 year old boy (with nothing but an idea) could do get the door open… why can’t everyone else?

Now if you managed to read this far in this blog post, the next question you should ask is

So what’s wrong with working for a few years first before I even attempt to start a business?”

That will be a question I will answer some time in the future.

PS: Of course, in life there is no one way to get to a certain place. So I’m not asking everyone to forget working and go straight into business. This is just what I’m doing… and something I may regret later in life if things don’t work out…