Sep 14

Start Your Company. Big Brands and Humble Beginnings

Apple_I_ComputerI recently launch a new tech startup called MashUps. It’s always been a dream of mine to create something that people can use. I look at how I am now. I like to create. For example, I’m not a big sports fan. When I say that, I’m talking about on the consumer level. I love basketball with a passion. And golf is love/hate, but I love it at times when my swing is fluid. But I stopped watching the NBA or college hoops years ago. And I never actually watched a golf on tv. Why? Because I’d rather be doing than watching. This is how I view my career. I don’t want to be on the sidelines. Or worse, I don’t want to be on the sofa with a beer in hand just watching other people play a game.

It’s safe to say that most people are consumers not creators. People like me are the outliers. We are the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels. Part of my drive is due to my extreme laziness. I don’t want to get up at 6am to go to an uninspired job. I don’t want to have small talk with people I’m not even remotely interested in. For me, that’s a horrible way to live. And I see more for myself and I’m greedy to provide more for my family. Not just money, I want freedom. Freedom to wake up at 11am. Or not wake up at all. Freedom to go to Paris on a whim with the family. Freedom to say no to projects that are boring. Life is short.

“It’s a simple investment. You only have to invest almost all of your money. On the upside, after a year you might earn 3 percent more. The downside? Any day you could lose it all, for reasons usually outside your control and that you will almost never see coming.
Would you make that investment? Of course not.
Yet millions of people do–every day they go to work for someone else.”
Excerpt from “The only way to get really really rich

Most startups face tremendous obstacles during the early stages. The founders have to be mentally strong to not give up on the business. We recently opened our Seoul office. It’s a big gamble and stress is high. That’s why I wanted to inspire myself and my team with this blog post about the humble beginnings of some of the most admirable global brands.

Apple. Photo at Top. Founded by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak in 1976. Started out making Do-it-yourself home computer kits.

amazon-1995Amazon. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994. Started out as an online book retailer.

yahoo-1994Yahoo. Founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994 as a webpage with a bunch of links.

facebook-2004Facebook. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes as Harvard University’s web yearbook.

nike-1971Nike. Founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in 1964. Made some basic tennis/running shoes.

hp-1939Hewlett-Packard. Founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in 1939. The mother of all garage startups.

Be inspired!

“Never give up, never surrender!” Galaxy Quest

Sean Lee out!

Aug 14

The future of mobile payments, Apple, Google, Amazon

iphone-fingerprintIt’s no secret that big corporations are planting the seed for the next generation of payment processing solutions. It’s a big industry to tackle. If you consider the fact that coins ruled for thousands of years. And paper currency for about a hundred years. Plastic credit cards have held firm for a few decades. The next generation will be even more secure and easy to use.

Right now there is a lot of talk about bitcoin. I personally like the concept of cryptocurrency, but the adoption rate is low and it will take a strong tech giant, or a partnership of these giant tech companies to execute the infrastructure and protocol. It’s too fragmented and only the tech savvy are playing around with this type of currency.

So, what will the future hold? Theres only really 3 players in this game. The three companies that can build and execute on the next generation mobile payments are Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Google already tried and failed with Google wallet. But Google is a trusted brand with deep multi device OS penetration. People trust Google. People already know how to use Google services. It’s just a matter of people getting onboard.

Amazon and Apple are two companies that hold the most credit card info of consumers. This gives these two companies a big head start. Both have a lot of money to execute.

If I was a betting man, I’d put all of my money on Apple. Here’s why.

1. Apple already does payment transaction on iTunes.

2. Apple is a trusted brand when it comes to security and consumer experience.

3. The integration of the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone was a big hit. It created a perception of security and it’s the best case example of user experience.

4. Recent iBeacon tech can possible payment processing and ease of use to the next level. Hardware to setup iBeacon payment stations are cheap and will be widely available in the near future.

Can you imagine visiting a coffee shop or a department store and just selecting your purchase and putting your finger on your phone to complete the transaction? How awesome is that? No need to carry a wallet. We already have our phones with us at all times. It’s secure and simple.

Note. I left out Paypal or Square out of this because in the big picture, they will merely be vendors or partners in this equation. Going into your phone and launching the Paypal app is already too much work for the future. I feel that the feature will need to happen at the root level. This gives a big advantage for Apple and Google.

Sean Lee out.