Personal, Starting up

The big BUT story

I didn’t make it to the finals of Start-up @ Singapore competition. D:

Actually, I thought I would be much sadder than I was when I read the rejection letter. After-all, $20, 000 is a lot of money so I’m surprised by my reaction. I first thought, ” well, just gonna take a detour and add a few more lines  to my come-back story”.

Come-back story. Those life stories that I find inspirational are those big BUT stories. Stories that goes along the lines of this:

When I was young, my toys get stolen by boys.
My girls get stolen by trolls.
Every time I park my car, it gets covered with poop.
When I finally got attached, I was duped.


I hustled till I get rich
and lived happily ever after….

Ok fine. That was a bad ending (why did I even have to write sounding like a boy). I’ve depleted my rhyming prowess in the first bit. Anyway, you get the drift.

So bright you have to cover your eyes right?

I’m getting a fair bit of rejections lately. Didn’t go far in any local business plan competitions, and pretty much was ignored on twitter where I ask random strangers if I can help them look for guitar instructors. (hello random strangers, I’m real. Please let me help you find guitar instructors can?) <img src=”adorable shiny big eyes staring at you with utmost adorable-ity you cannot resist>

Oh wait, they resisted that’s why I got rejected. D:

But I’m fine, I’ll just start building the first part of my awesome BUT story…MY WORLD IS FILLED WITH ETERNAL SUNSHINE.

I’m so freaking optimistic. #selfpraise


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


15 thoughts on “The big BUT story

  1. I might be interested in funding. Let me know if you wish to discuss more. But please expect hard questions as I have actually thought of something similar, if not similar quite some time ago. But I assure you I will not waste your time because I don't like wasting my own time either. :)

    If interested, contact me. You have my email which I filled in your "post a new comment" form.

    GET MORE from your LifE!

    • Hello Richard! Most people give money either because they like the entrepreneur and think that this person will make it big someday, or because the idea has market traction. My life is pretty much here on this blog, and I have no market traction. My guess is that you are more to the market traction part (because although I'm lovable (#selfpraise), we don't know each other), so let me prove something before we discuss anything ya? :D

      • Richard says:

        hmmm… I happened to swing by here and saw your reply. Frankly, I am surprised as I was actually expecting a reply by email if you were interested because I don't conduct discussions on funding in a open public forum.

        Re: Market Traction: You don't have any, I already know that. Easy to figure out by checking your webpage and reading your blog.
        Re: Lovable: You're right, we don't know each other. You may indeed be lovable, but I'm more interested in your thought process and personality fit. We may simply hate each other's guts … Who knows? That's why I request a meet-up if there is interest in moving forward. Re: Prove something … It's up to you. I am prepared to discuss even without a POC because I have a need for something similar. And if I don't find a suitable partner, I might just go ahead to build it and hire someone to run it.

        You may sometimes find it better to ask than to guess. Cheers!

  2. hey yea the cold/calling and emailing is quite hard from our shopzzi experience, have you tried looking at people who already follow instructors, gyms, classes? Yea Ideas, and execution are just one monster, the biggest is market dev, and user acquisition . How about a sneak peak at the user interface, or a cool video which encapsulates your value proposition, and then just do the community work in the different niche networks to see what their reactions are. I think it's a good test for market, and saves your investment of time and lines of code…..

  3. Peter Gan says:

    Saw your blog link on linkedin. Just wanna give you a few words of encouragement. Don't, EVER, let anyone tell you lesser. I've been rejected in business plans competition before, as well as taken on a role on the opposite side of the coin as well: The truth is: The people whom're the judges, measure your success / valuation based on what they feel is successful, most often than not, it is measured according to their own definittion of highest level of success. Perhaps I'm not very good with words but what I'm trying to say is this, ask yourself this question: Has there ever been any startup company which won in similar competition locally and made it, on the global scale?

    So far, there's only one: Tencube. But Tencube didn't focus on all these competition. They only did it in the beginning while they are still a startup and when things look gloomy in all these competition, they rather walk away and concentrate on sales and product development. And hence, that's where they're today. All these startup competition are only meant to give you an additional push in marketing and slight bit of funding. Ultimately, it's not just about the competition / funding, it has got to do with the business model, sales, product development, marketing.

    Don't pay too much thought on who win / lose in these competitions. It doesn't mean anything. There are so many instances of companies that got funding, branding and huge investment but still have to close shop.

    Go with your guts, focus on the monetization part of your business, and product development. IF you are looking to capture mindshare first, then go with it. Whatever troubles come your way, tackle it as they come. That's what an entrepreneur is made of. Entrepreneurs are survivors.

    I definitely know what I'm saying when I'm typing all these…. trust me. I've been in your situation so many times before. Now, I just smile at them when we still meet up for small talk / business discussion but I'll walk away if there's no substantial leverage for me.

  4. Peter Gan says:

    Oh, and one more thing: I checked out your website Learnemy and got a feel of what you mean. If you're really looking at social learning experience then there are some open-source php script eg: Moodle which can serve your requirement and you probably need to make a few adjustment from there only. Before that, read up on GNU licensing and what it actually means.

    Open source doesn't mean you can't close it. Neither does it mean that you have to give yours away for free nor earn money from it. Read up more and you'll understand what I mean.

    Hope you find my comments helpful.

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