Apple should be a Louis Vuitton and not Zara

Apple_gray_logo Recently, I made a bet with a good friend (who is currently a CFO of a retail giant in China) on whether Apple needs market share to be successful. Our bet set the timeline about two years from now and the thesis is that Apple does not need market share to have high profit margins against the android operating system onslaught from Google and their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and user adoption & retention. Obviously, you know which side I am from. Some analysts often drew their arguments that Apple needs market share to succeed based on the personal computers (PCs) and browser wars from 1980s to 2000s. I am going to draw on the metaphor on why the market share argument do not work in our world today and Apple should be Louis Vuitton and not Zara to be successful.
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My Advice for Finding Technology Co-Founders

iStock_000007206299XSmallIt’s a common phenomenon in startups that the hustler or what I called the business guy, typically goes out to search for the technology co-founder. In meeting entrepreneurs via my network fund, they often asked me one common question after the initial pitching of the idea, “I am looking for a technology co-founder who can get this done. Can you help me with this?” Of course, 99% of these startup co-founders whether they are rookies or MBA students have no clue to who they really want to hire. Hence, this article is addressed to people who might want my advice on seeking out technology co-founders.
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Debunking the Management Myth about In House vs Outsourced Engineering

DebtIn the past few years, most companies advocate the myth of outsourcing as a way to cut costs on engineering. One myth advocated by people in business strategy and operations to justify why it is better to outsource from an expensive place to a less expensive one is that only the specifications of the product input leading to the outcome of the product matters and not the quality of engineering. The problem with that view is that you pay peanuts to get monkeys, i.e. you pay less to run an engineering team because it affects your profits and loss (P&L) but you end up giving a lower quality software engineering product to your customers. That explains why a lot of companies, particularly in Asia cannot take innovation to the next level. With the evolution of the product manager to lower the quality risk, does that mean that there is no room for in-house engineering? Here are some thoughts on the management myth about in house and outsourced engineering. Continue reading Debunking the Management Myth about In House vs Outsourced Engineering

Building & Managing Technology Teams in Asia 3: Setup & Configuration of a Startup Team

How do we set up an engineering or technology team within a startup? What are the pieces that deemed essential or not? Upon hiring your first engineers, what are the best practices for the startup phase before you move into the intermediate setup? Continue reading Building & Managing Technology Teams in Asia 3: Setup & Configuration of a Startup Team

Building and Managing Tech Teams in Asia 2: Cultural Nuances & Scope Creep

In the second part of the series I am building up on building and managing tech teams in Asia, I want to focus on the problem of scope creep and why paying something cheap might cost you more. The other highlight of the article is to understand the various cultural nuances present in Asia when it comes to getting your Asian engineers to deliver a product without flaws. Finally, we conclude on how to reduce scope creep by focusing on the business people with a simple argument of efficient feature rather than adding too many of them that do not work. Continue reading Building and Managing Tech Teams in Asia 2: Cultural Nuances & Scope Creep