The Entrepreneurial Decision
Hey there! I am See Ting, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Pitchspot — your global launchpad for ideas. To start off, me as an entrepreneur? I’ve never had thought of that as a plausible career all my life! I wasn’t sure if I even had what it takes to build a startup; after all, I just graduated from National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in (Computational) Engineering Science.
I served as a Software Engineer in Data Storage Institute, and as a Nanotechnology Engineer in C3nano in my sophomore and senior years; one significant university experience was when I spearheaded organizing a University Orientation Camp — ESPEC Camp 2014 and led a Student Club whilst in NUS — NUS Engineering Science Programme (ESP) Student Club. Even so, I was barely ready to face the world. How did I end up co-founding Pitchspot? Why didn’t I take up a full-time job instead? Why did I reject seven job offers? Why was I building castles in the air, knowing full well the uncertainty that came along with building a startup?
My fellow resident assistant only had this to say when I shared with him the motivation and underlying principles of Pitchspot:
“I hope this is something worthwhile pursuing. If not, then you’re just gonna waste your time; otherwise, prove me wrong in a few years yeah?”
I would say it was partly due to my year-long experience in 2016 with NUS Overseas Colleges Programme in Silicon Valley that has changed my perspectives of innovation today. The culture in the Valley has been engraved in my heart and it was precisely that that made me decide to dedicate the next 5 years to work on something that I am truly passionate about, and change the innovation culture around the world for the better.
Perhaps, it was a calling (maybe from God?) — but hand-to-heart, it was really tough to make a decision like that. To those before me who’ve dropped out of school or quit their high-paying job to build a startup from scratch, I just can’t wrap my head around why. Crazy, ain’t it? On the other hand, I have been part of and also witnessed many talents and teams with ideas, prototypes, and products that had been fully developed — but sadly, they were all shelved.
Maybe there was no one in the team that was willing to take it up as their full-time job. Or maybe they had too many personal commitments, or to their families and loved ones? Simply put, there are always trade-offs in everything we do. We can’t maximise profit and maximise wages for employees, nor can we run a startup and commit to a full-time job. Like what I’ve always emphasised at Pitchspot Weekly’s (our weekly huddles to discuss individual OKRs and bring each other up to speed):
“The survival of a startup is highly dependent on the team’s commitment to push through his vision.”
We can’t always depend solely on just luck and a half-committed team to make things happen. When things are starting to pick up or get busy, it will be too little, too late. Speed means everything to a startup; what I’m trying to say is this: the purpose of building a startup is about picturing a better world and starting a movement, rather than just relying on a one-hit-wonder, seemingly-innovative, fad-ish product or service. It may be innovative today, but tomorrow it might well be obsolete.
To build a startup is a movement which you truly believe in, building products around it to fulfill and achieve your vision. That’s why most founders/co-founders are indispensable to the vision and the direction of the startup. There will be a lot of pivotal points along the way to achieve the vision, which may be difficult and not many entrepreneurs can see this through to fruition;; it is always difficult to gauge success in a highly uncertain environment.
“A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
— The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
Understandably, many are not willing to walk this path of uncertainty, resulting in many good ideas/products being shelved. I personally find this to be a huge problem for innovation in the world where there is too many cases of untapped potential and huge amount of innovation waste.
At Pitchspot, our mission is to get into the core of innovation waste and create the right tools such as data analytics, to allow innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists alike, to better understand and innovate for the world. We’re working on something truly exciting that is usable for all budding entrepreneurs to gauge the feasibility of your ideas. So if you have an idea or a project you’re dying (living) to work on, check Pitchspot out, and let us know any feedback you might have for us.
“Move fast. Break things. Learn from it.”