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MakerHive. “MakerHive is a coworking space for designers and makers in Hong Kong, the first makerspace on the Island side ”

contact@makerhive.com.hk 10F Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town (MTR Exit A and a short walk up Smithfield Road)

Issue 08

October/November 2015


FROM THE EDITOR There’s a Maker Movement happening across the globe and we’re seeing it gain momentum in Hong Kong. The movement, dubbed the new industrial revolution, includes crafters, mechanics, electronics tinkerers, 3D print makers – people reconnecting with the idea of do-it-yourself and working with their hands. There are six such public makerspaces in HK and more are slated to open this year. There’s a space for fashion artists, traditional hackers, crafters, designers and even children who are learning soldering, 3D printing and robot-making skills. Whether your making shirts, 3D skeletons or fancy cakes, we all innately want to create things. In this issue, we are pleased to present a cover story of Limor Fried, the founder of Adafruit.com and the leader in the open-source maker movement. Through instruction and DIY (Do-it-Yourself) kits, she’s inspiring a new generation of hackers and makers that can use the learnings to create wearable technology, IoT or simply create a quick device that alerts them if there’s a water leak in their house. Enterpreneurs are natural DIYers, often wearing many hats and doing things outside their area of expertise. On pages 14-20, you can learn about DIY photography, PR, websites and mobile apps. Finally, in honor of this issue, Jumpstart is pleased to present the DIY Week taking place November 1 - 8. Turn to page 2 for some of the cool activities happening during that week. Even if “making” is not your business, drop in for Show & Tell on November 4th to see the incredible things the community is making. Yana Robbins Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief: Yana Robbins

Website Manager: Rosalyn Smith

Jumpstart is available at over 350

Contributors: Dana Severson Jeremy Cheng Kiri Sinclair Ashley Dudarenok Paula Jakubik Erika Anabella Jay Shapiro Raymond Yip Marcos Ong Jay Shapiro Charlie Pownall

Marketing Assistant: Sandra Wu

Airport Lounges: CNAC Lounge Dynasty Lounge Royal Orchid Lounge Emirates Lounge United Lounge Plaza Premium Lounge EAST Plaza Premium Lounge WEST Morning Calm (Korean Air) SQ Lounge

Designer: Jason D’Amico General Inquiries: info@jumpstartmag.com Editorial: editors@jumpstartmag.com

locations, including:

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Copyright © 2015 Jumpstart. The contents of the magazine are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted without permission. The publisher and editors accept no responsibility in respect to any products, goods or services that may be advertised or referred to in this issue or for any errors, omissions, or mistakes in any such advertisements or references. The mention of any specific companies or products in articles or advertisements does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by this magazine or its publisher in preference to others of a similar nature which are not mentioned or advertised. Printed by Magnum Print Company Limited. 11B E-Tat Factory Building, 4 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong.


DIY Week Nov 1 - 8


Visit HK’s Makerspaces


Do It Yourself


Meet the founder of Adafruit


Made in Hong Kong


3D Printing



Cyber Security for your Startup

Working for Startups

DIY Week

November 1-8, 2015

November 1, 8, 15 (12-5pm)

Build a Mobile App in One Evening

Want to make your own 3D printer? Join MakerBay’s 3D printer building workshop to make your own Mini Kossel Delta 3D Printer. RSVP info@hkbay.com. Early bird $4,200. MakerBay, 6 Sze Shan Street, Yau Tong.

In this workshop, you’ll build an app from the ground up so you’ll get to see the entire development workflow. General Assembly, 19/F, 299 Queen’s Road Central.

Build Your Own 3D Printer SAVE THE DATE!

Jumpstart Magazine is pleased to present Do-It-Yourself Week, celebrating Hong Kong’s growing community of “Makers.” Get inspired, learn, build and visit makerspaces November 1 - 8. For more events visit: jumpstartmag.com

Make 3D Art with 3Doodler November 3, 6:30 - 8:30pm, FREE

Come and enjoy the 3Doodler Bootcamp, a glass (or two) of wine, and some creative fun to celebrate DIY Week! 3Ddoodler team will introduce participants to the world’s first 3D printing pen in this hands-on workshop, showing how this amazing tool can be used to fix, craft and create Limited to 20 people, ages 14+ only. RSVP on Eventbrite.com.

Build a Website in One Day

DIY 3D Personalized Photostand

November 4th from 4-5:30pm, FREE

November 5th, 7pm - 9pm $400 HKD

In this workshop, Shopline will show you how to make use of their easy do-it-yourself platform to build your own e-commerce website in an hour. Lecture in English. Cocoon, 3/F Citicorp Centre, 18 Whitfield Rd.

Running out of gift ideas and wanting to create a DIY product for your loved ones? Here’s a chance to create a DIY Photostand as well as experience the fascinating 3D printing technology. 3D Forge, Room 2206, CC Wu Building, 302 - 308 Hennessy Road, Wanchai.

DIY LED Light Project

November 8, 10:00am - 12:00pm Learn basic soldering skills and make your own heart or tower with blinking LED lights. $800 HKD, for ages 8+. RSVP: 2528-

November 2nd, 7-9pm, FREE

Show & Tell for Makers November 4th, 7pm - 9pm FREE

The MakerHive is inviting makers from every corner of Hong Kong for a Show & Tell to show off their wares. From Raspberry PI media kits and robotics to embroidered cushions and bedazzled clutch purses, get a sense of what the global maker phenomenon is about and where it’s heading. Open to participants and spectators. RSVP: contact@makerhive.com.hk. MakerHive, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town.

DIY Business Model Design Bootcamp

Nov 7 (10am - 6pm) and Nov 8 (9am - 1pm)

Learn lean startup principles and use the Business Model Canvas to describe, design, challenge, implement and validate your idea. This process is used by the best accelerators globally. 20% off for Jumpstart readers, coupon “Jumpstart”. Paperclip, Nam Wo Hong Building, 148 Wing Lok St, Hong Kong.

6862. Brainchild, Rm. 2312-13, Hing Wai Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road, Tin Wan, Aberdeen

There’s more online! Visit: Jumpstartmag.com

2 | Jumpstart Magazine

Jumpstart’s Directory of Entrepreneurs + YOUR PROFILE FOR FREE ON JUMPSTARTMAG.COM

Keith Rumjahn CEO of Coachbase, the #1 paid sports app that empowers sport coaches. coachbase.com

Justin Lim Founder of The Kandid, creative hub specialising in photojamming and Instagram workshops. thekandid.com

Eda Chow Partner at 3D Forge Limited, distributor and evangelist of Makerbot 3D printers. 3dforge.com.hk

Jimmy Choy CEO and Founder of Brainchild DIY Workshop, a robotics and makerspace for kids. brainchildltd.com

Brice de Matharel Co-founder of Mercurr, a B2B marketplace for international expansion. mercurr.com

Nicole Denholder Founder of Next Chapter, a funding portal and rewards-based crowdfunding website for female entrepreneurs. nextchapter.com.hk

Ignacio Martin Co-Founder of Smartcasual, a p2p Professional Networking app.smartcasual.co

Phoebe Song Founder of Spa Monkeys, a quality-control service and online marketplace for spa, beauty and wellness. spa-monkeys.com

Rob Christie CEO at CFO Counsel, providing CFO support to business owners, from idea to exit. cfocounsel.asia

Sheryl Bolden Founder of Make My Wardrobe Work, a wardrobe editing and style consultancy. makemywardrobework.com

Karbi Chan Co-founder of Archiparti, a freelancer platform for architecture and interior design. archiparti.com

Taura Edgar Founder of Digital Devotee, helping brands express themselves and get things done on the web. digitaldevotee.com

Daniel Walker CEO of Dragon Law, Legal Services Powered by Technology dragonlaw.com.hk

Kay Woo Founder of Easiway, connecting passengers and van drivers traveling between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. easi-way.com

Anna Champion Founder of Talent Lighthouse, supporting transitiond between university and working life. thetalentlighthouse.com

Jumpstart Magazine | 3


eet Limor Fried

The leader of the open source hardware movement, Ladyada (as she’s known online), is changing the face of electrical engineering and hacking. She was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Entrepreneur magazine and runs a multi-million dollar business that sells build-your-own devices with open-source licenses to encourage creativity in technology. With a hacking device that can turn off all TVs, and a cat bowl that can email you when it’s out of water, she’s changing the world and inspiring a new generation of hakers and makers.

Tell us about Adafruit Adafruit was founded in 2005 by me. I am an MIT engineer. My goal was, and still is, to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best-designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Adafruit has grown to over 50 employees in the heart of NYC with a 15,000+ sq ft. factory. We have expanded offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that I personally select, test and approve before going into the Adafruit store. In 2014, Adafruit was ranked #11 in the top 20 USA manufacturing companies and #1 in New York City by Inc. 5000 “fastest growing private companies.” Adafruit is a 100% womanowned company, and we do not have any loans or venture funding.

What’s your background? I grew up in the hacker / open source scene in Boston, messed with Linux on computers a lot, eventually went to MIT and decided that working for myself building and sharing electronics was my calling.

What’s your favorite project in Adafruit collection? It’s hard to just pick one project, but if I must, I’d have to say TV-B-Gone. This is a project that is in collaboration with Mitch Altman, who is best known for helping to create hackerspaces around the world as well as a device, the TV-B-Gone. Mitch had created an assembled a stand-alone version that was sold in a variety stores. It 4 | Jumpstart Magazine

basically turns off all TVs, cycling through the IR codes and sending the “off” signal. It’s a lot of fun and encourages some mischief, which makes it perfect for kids! Mitch and I teamed up and made an open-source version of his design. This means not only can any one make one, make it better and share the improvements, but we also sell a kit for people to solder and learn from. We’ve sold tens of thousands of these and people around the world are turning off TVs and thinking about what’s important for public spaces. Moreover, they’re also learning a little electronics along the way.

How are you able to release so many products in a short time? (180 products in 90 days, wow!) We’re on a tear at the moment as they say, that’s for sure. Focus on what’s important, say no a lot, say yes to the things that matter, build and support a great team, be excellent to each other. We have a lot of choices on what products we can make and put in the store each day, and if you only work on the best ones it’s easier to avoid distractions.

What are you working on now? We’re currently working on adafruit.io, which is our “internet of things” service for makers. Here at Adafruit, we sell all of these amazing components, but we couldn’t find a good way to interact with them over the Internet. There are certainly a lot of great services out there for datalogging, or communicating with your microcontroller over the web, but these

services are either too complicated to get started, or they aren’t particularly fun to use. So, we decided to experiment with our own system, and that is how Adafruit IO got started. The API is the core of the system, but with only an API, it’s not that fun to use. We’ve built a few basic client libraries to simplify working with the API. We also have a dashboard with a few widgets that allow easy 2-way interaction with your devices. We plan on adding many more features, such as mapping and location awareness for your devices, triggers based on custom parameters, email alerts and more. You’ll be able to have your cat’s bowl email you when it’s out of water, things like that. We’re also working on the latest episode of “Circuit Playground.” It’s our kid’s show about electronics, based on the alphabet...A for Ampere, B for Battery... we’re doing each letter!

How do you decide what to work on next? We’re inspired by a community of makers and the “Show & Tell” that we do each week where people around the world show and share their products with me. This lets the community to show me what people need and want. Often they’re working on something on weekends that will be mainstream 5 years now. These are the people that are creating the future and it’s my job to help.

Do you have people writing in requesting products? We have makers, businesses, educators, just about everyone writing in requesting products - many of the ideas we’re working on, so it’s good validation and confirmation we’re on the right track and others are ones we just would not be able to do, and that’s fine too - it helps stay focused on what we can do. We’d much rather make the best products, than a bunch of non-starters and distractions. We like to ask, what is the problem someone is trying solve.

Why manufacture in Manhattan and not in Asia like most other companies? Believe it or not, it’s better, cheaper and faster for me to sit 10 feet from the means of production (our machines) than to outsource and send out. We go for high mix, high speed, control, quality, access to talent. We’re lean, just-in-time manufacturing. I’m able to design a product, make a prototype, test it and go to manufacturing in a matter of days, not weeks or months.

What are the hottest topics in hardware/open source right now? IoT, BTLE, Wifi, cellular (Internet of Things, BlueTooth Low energy, Wi-Fi, cell/ data).

What startups do you admire? littleBits, othermill, goTenna, castVR - all led by women in tech too!

How do you stay up-to-date on startup/tech news? RSS. Most sites, at least the ones that still care about data feeds, have an RSS feed and I gobble those up. Some sites don’t which is a drag; it’s really hard to keep track of some of the sites that do not have any easy way to view them in a reader.

Should all startups consider Open Source for their businesses? Yes, they all use open source software in some way, so why wouldn’t they? They’re build on top of open source in some way, so join in and give back to create some

DIY open source hardware and software clock kit value for more people to also build upon. One of the things companies spend millions on is build communities. They’ll get marketers, agencies and run campaigns, which sometimes works. However, open source comes with communities and a lot of motivated people that maximize what you’re trying to do. It’s not for everyone, but something to consider.

Are there any non-open-source things that should become open source from a startup/new opportunity perspective? Elon Musk did something interesting recently, or at least talked about it, giving away their patents. He said that “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” Now, that’s something that makes sense to open source, getting as many out there as possible, letting everyone use them, and putting more electric cars on the road with more charging stations.

LED Strip

Is everything high-tech in your home? I would say everything is “hacked” in a beneficial way. Here’s something I did last week: My toilet and sink were leaking and it was taking a while to get them fixed. I needed to leave each day and was worried it was going to flood, so I built an internet connected water leak detector that would email me if a leak started so I could run to my apartment and turn off the water or get the building to fix it soon.

When you’re not working, what are you doing? I play Candy Crush, and I’m up to level 950 and haven’t paid for a level yet...so close to being done! I go for walks near the Hudson river to chill and get ideas. I go for bike rides and mess with my cat, Mosfet.

DIY ambient-light effects for your computer monitor or TV.

Programmable Wearable Electronic Wristband for kids

DIY IoT Printer connects wirelessly to print data from the Internet

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Invest in your team, be excellent to one another. It sounds simple, though it’s very hard to do each day in practice. But it’s worth it.

Make your own GameGRRL Jumpstart Magazine | 5


There’s a Maker Movement happening across the globe and it’s now gaining momentum in Hong Kong. The movement is traditionally associated with technology — building a robot or 3D printing, but in recent years, the definition of a maker has broadened to include arts and crafts, woodworking, and even car building. There are now 6 makerspaces in Hong Kong with another launching this year - they’re places where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. Let’s explore!

The MakerHive

A Coworking Space for Designers and Makers in Kennedy Town The MakerHive is the newest addition to the Hive family of coworking spaces. Opened in June 2015, this three-floor Kennedy Town location caters to designers, architects, creative freelancers, fashion designers, photographers and entrepreneurs. As you enter on the 10th floor, the ‘creative vibe’ is felt immediately as you’re greeted by a laser cut wood sign “The Hive Workshop” and a wallmural (see above). The space houses the MakerHive workshop equipped with a laser cutter, 3d printers and sewing machine. There’s also a spray painting room, soldering station, and a photo studio.

Visit MakerHive

10th floor, Cheung Hing Building 12P Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town


6 | Jumpstart Magazine

What do you think of the maker ecosystem in Hong Kong? Interview with Marta Bojarzyńska, Manager of The Hive

There are more and more people interested in making cool physical consumer products and Hong Kong is a perfect place for makers. It’s a diverse, international city and its proximity to China makes the manufacturing process smooth.

Who’s at MakerHive? • Manufacturer of 3D printers, printact.co • Fashion entrepreneur, sarah-lai.com • Socially conscious design, leapdesign.biz • Furniture designer, jackieluk.com • Exhibition Design, studiocassells.com • Fashion photographer, jespermcilroy.com

What’s your favorite startup at MakerHive? We have a company called Bluesmart that is working on ‘world’s first smart carry on suitcase’. It will allow their users to control the suitcase from the phone, track the location, charge your phone and more.

What are you working on next? We would like to create a network of maker and coworking spaces across Asia so that our members could work from many places around the world. Currently, we have one international location in Bangkok. We are opening in Singapore soon and are researching more cities in Asia.

Show & Tell @ MakerHive The MakerHive is inviting makers from every corner of Hong Kong for a Show & Tell. November 4, 7-9PM, FREE

Inside an ordinary industrial building overlooking the Aberdeen coastline, there’s an extraordinary world of wondrous toys, talking gorilla heads and flying witches. It’s the Brainchild Makerspace for kids founded by ex-lawyer and engineer Jimmy Choy 10 years ago. Brainchild is a DIY makerspace where kids design, build, and hack into toys and robots and explore the latest innovations in technology such as 3D printing, Arduino, littleBits, and Makey Makey. Inside the workspace, there are rows of toys and electronic gadgets of all kinds, while the main area is equipped with desks and laptops. Jimmy moves around each corner of Brainchild delighted to share bits about various projects. As I follow him around the shop, I cannot help but be amazed at what the kids are working on, and at this incredible space he created. We sat down with Jimmy to learn more about him and his space.

Tell us about your background.

I started Brainchild about 10 years ago, initially as a way to teach my son, who has ADHD. His school could not accommodate his needs and he was rapidly losing faith in his own abilities. I wanted to give him more self-confidence in the areas that he excelled in, science and computing. The workshop started to grow through word of mouth and I discovered that there were a lot of children who were interested in science and robotics. Brainchild DIY Workshop was born.

Who attends Brainchild’s workshops? We have many kinds of students. Some have a special interest in robotics and when they come here, they are able to indulge in the area of their interest and excel in it. Some have chosen Design and Technology as their elective in school or have a school project


“Slowly parents are realizing that it is important for kids to have a balanced childhood with many experiences and to have a safe place to create, make, test, experiment, and explore things” that they need to complete during the school year. These students come here for assistance with completing their project. Others come because they are gifted in science and computing. They come here to find courses in which to challenge themselves because their own school is not able to provide this challenge for them.

Tell us about the workshops.

I have an Honours degree and a chartership in engineering. I am also a solicitor admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have over 25 years teaching experience in tertiary education here in Hong Kong and Australia.


Brainchild A Makerspace for Kids in Aberdeen

We offer many different kinds of classes that range from building toys, robots, soldering electronic parts and devices to their gadgets. We also teach the kids coding, apps jamming, Arduino. The kids especially enjoy building their own robots and using computing and electronics to animate the robots that they make. They also like to make 3D parts to personalize their robot or find ways (hacks) to make their robot better. They also enjoy having competitions between robots after they have finished building them.

DIY has only become more popular in the last few years with the “Make” and “Makers” idea. Parents in HK are always searching for alternative things for their children to do so that their children are not sitting at home on the computer or on their mobile devices. There isn’t the luxury of space for kids in Hong Kong to make and build things as kids who live in other countries do. Brainchild Ltd. is filling that gap by providing the workshop space for kids in Hong Kong.

What’s next for Brainchild?

We are now the official Hong Kong chapter for littleBits! We will be holding many littleBits workshops and sessions during this year. We also plan on having some Makers What do you think of the Maker ecosystem Sundays each month where it will be a day for the family to come to our workshop and in HK, particularly for kids? make/learn something together. Each Makers Sundays will have a different project or HK parents have the tendency to be more academically inclined and to heavily schedule theme. Our first Makers Sunday will be on October 4, 2015! their children with after school tutoring sessions. But slowly parents here are realizing that it is important for kids to have a balanced childhood with many experiences and to have a safe place to create, make, test, experiment, and explore things. Kids need to go back to what kids do. They need to have the opportunity to be creative and just make things.

Visit Brainchild

Rm 2312-2314m, Hing Wai Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road, Aberdeen


Jumpstart Magazine | 7

As I enter Dim Sum Labs, I am greeted by a lively group of “hackers” of all ages and backgrounds united by a passion for tinkering with technology. They take turns showing off their projects. There’s a flying Jet Pack Bear, and a motherboard-looking device (that I make a mental note to look-up later because it’s pretty technical). The space is smallish, but neatly organized and has an inviting ambiance with LED lights running along the ceiling. I am told the group gathers to clean up the space once a week. Dim Sum Labs, which is a member of Hacker Worldwide Society, is run in a very “familystyle” manner. Hackers who work there pay a membership fee of 500 Hong Kong dollars a month to use the space, build what they want using the resources and supplies around them, and get free beers from the community fridge. The membership money is used for rent, purchasing the equipment, and holding workshops. Dim Sum Labs also has a 100 square meter rooftop area where members hang out and chat. Dim Sum Labs also opens its doors to hackers that come from out of country who only have to pay for the time they spent in the lab. So far the 5 year-old space has around 25 members but continues to expand each year.

What’s a Hackerspace? We understand “hacking” as the intellectual challenge to creatively overcome, circumvent, deconstruct or otherwise ”hack” the limitations, capabilities, purposes, forms, etc. of virtually anything.

What do you think of the maker ecosystem in HK? The HK maker ecosystem is coming of age for sure. With easy access to Shenzhen, where virtually any electronics parts can be procured, HK is definitely a good spot for local and visiting makers to try out their ideas. There are also more organizations dedicated to nurturing maker culture besides us. The recent opening of our sister organization MakerBay, for example, is another sign that the maker ecosystem is maturing. The maker ecosystem appears to be doing quite well in HK. What’s more interesting in my opinion is the introduction of the kind of Hacker-mentality that can be found in many parts of Europe (and especially Germany), where hackers and makers care not just about the technical “how” and “how not” to hack and make technology, but also about the societal “why” and “why not.”

How has Dim Sum Labs changed since it launched? The interesting thing about operating in a vibrant city like Hong Kong is that nothing ever stays the same.

What’s next for Dim Sum Labs? Some of us are looking to reach a broader audience, some are looking to open more educational opportunities, some are using it as a platform to keep making/hacking their personal projects, some are trying to automate the entity so the organisational structure can resemble a sort of fugue state. So, you can see that our goals and desires for the space can be quite nebulous, but ultimately they include a greater ability to learn, make and hack. ARTIQ is a next-generation open source control system for quantum information experiments.

Skin Mount Technology is a line of jewellery that incorporates discrete components (surfacemount or throughhole) chosen for their aesthetic form.

We started off as a bunch of engineers and technologists looking to share tools and know-how, and were later joined by artists and other creative people. These days, we are seeing many kids and young adults interested in learning 3D printing and basic electronics with us. In response to the increasing interest in learning about technology, the DSL community is introducing all sorts of workshops covering electronics, screen-printing, radio communication, software development and deployment, and many more.

Our mission is to explore various selforganisational forms in an effort to deepen our understanding of how organisations can implement environments in which creativity blooms. Hong Kong’s political and socio-economical landscape inherently leaves a gap in its society in terms of respecting and providThe challenges we face have also evolved ing creative avenues for people. Dim Sum Labs aims to address these lost segments of over the years. The existence of Dim Sum Labs owes much to the generosity of society. Also, we’re a non-profit. volunteers and benefactors who donated skills, time, equipments and money to Tell us about some projects made in Dim support the operation of DSL. We pay this Sum Labs? generosity forward by making the space accessible to anyone interested in partici- Organ without a keyboard pating in our community. Our membership - Uranium marble ring oscillator fee has remained at $500 per month for as - Various space exploration stuff long as anyone can remember, and at $150 - Hypnotising light-therapy mask

Visit Dim Sum Labs 100 Jervois Street, 14/F Sheung Wan,

dimsumlabs.com 8 | Jumpstart Magazine

for members experiencing hardship. The mounting pressure of a high rent society has certainly increased our burden compared to 3 years ago, but we are confident that benefactors will continue to see the value of DSL to promote technological innovation in Hong Kong.

Co-developed with PolyU of Hong Kong, the Curiosity is a low-cost 3D Printer for educational purposes. It upcycles eWaste such as old DVD drives and PC Power Supplies. The Curiosity costs $100 USD.



Dim Sum Labs A Non-Profit Hackerspace in Sheung Wan

Jet Pack Flying Bear


The Crafties

A Coworking Space for Creative Makers in Sheung Wan Launched right at the start of Hong Kong’s coworking boom, The Crafties is a non-traditional type of coworking space catering to creative makers. Equipped with sewing machines, art & craft supplies, and a small gallery space, their members include everyone from occasional hobbyists to professional designers. They host workshops several times a week where you can learn knitting, embroidery, crocheting, glass-etching, doll-making, DIY Ukelele, and more. You can host your own workshop and rent out the space for an event (it’s great for birthdays and babyshowers) Interview with Asa Chiu What do you think of the handmade/DIY ecosystem in Hong Kong? Handmade/craft/DIY is blooming in HK. There is at least one market every weekend somewhere in HK. This is fab. A lot of makers are craving a marketplace for them to exhibit and retail their products, which is a good thing because it reflects how many artisans are actually focusing on handicrafts as a way to make their living. The Crafties receives a lot of inquiries from artisans wanting to showcase their products, though unfortunately our space is limited. In my opinion, The Crafties is a great platform to showcase artisan’s skills and talent. The Crafties has well over 7000 craft lovers following us on Facebook. Artisans hold workshops at our space, they are reaching out to all of these craft lovers. We can help artisans to promote themselves.

How has The Crafties changed since you launched 3 years ago?

What’s the most unique/cool project that was made at The Crafties?

Initially, our focus was more on providing different workshops on our own, but over the past three years we have transformed into a platform where small business entrepreneurs reach out to fellow crafters, and vice versa -- for crafters to seek out commercial opportunities.

We collaborated with Cath Kidston for a DIY Lampshade Handmade Workshop series, which around 80 people joined.

What are some of your favorite craft businesses in Hong Kong? • Dotted Collective is one of our favorite craft small businesses in HK. • The Sewing Lounge is extremely cool.

What type of equipment is available at The Crafties? • Leather Sewing Machine • Regular Sewing Machines • Rigid Heddle Loom​ • Beading Loom • Photo Printer • Film Scanner ​ • Badge Making Machine • Die-cut machine • Light Box for Product Shot • 3D Printer (on its way!)

• Halo Workshop provides one-of-akind knitting and crochet workshops.

Visit The Crafties

Sing Kui Commercial Building, 27 Des Voeux Rd W, Hong Kong


The handmade market is also a tough one, especially for those who quit their day job and become professional crafters. In the past three years, we have witnessed both successful and unsuccessful craft business owners.

Jumpstart Magazine | 9



A Makerspace for Social & Environmental Impact in Yau Tong Makerbay is the latest addition to the makerspaces in Hong Kong. Funded on Indiegogo (crowdfunding platform) in July of 2015, they launched their 6,500 sq ft space in Yau Tong this past summer. Their space caters to “robotic companies, environmental NGOs, mechanical engineering, traditional craftspeople, and everyone in between.” Their crowdfunding campaign read “Hong Kong has dozens of co-working spaces but you cannot make much noise, create any dust or work on ‘smelly’ projects.” Interview with Cesar Hareda, founder of MakerBay What’s the most interesting thing made at MakerBay?

What are some of your favorite maker startups in Hong Kong? The Looking Glass Factory is phenomenal and lives in MakerBay. I have been impressed with Insight Robotics’ progress as well. I also think Scoutbots, which is my startup, has tremendous potential; it won last year’s StartMeUpHK Grand Award and was listed as China 10th most innovative company by Fast Company shortly after we got investment from one of the co-founders of Skype. By Spring of next year, you should see some really innovative technologies coming out of MakerBay that aim to improve society. Some of it is still very secret... so stay tuned :)

What’s next for MakerBay? MakerBay is growing fast and looking for sponsors and investors to sustain rapid growth. Hong Kong is really behind when it comes to innovation and creativity, and we believe we can contribute to that in a significant way. We invite all makers, young and old, from art, design, engineering, or science backgrounds to come invent the future at MakerBay.

Visit MakerBay

Unit C1, Yau Tong Industrial Building Block 2, 16 Sze Shan Street, Yau Tong, Kowloon makerbay.org

Our member Shawn Frayne’s team is working on amazing 3D display called L3D Cube. (lookingglassfactory.com). Their team raised 250k USD on Kickstarter this year. What do you think of the maker ecosystem in HK? It needs to be strengthened. Hong Kong is an amazing place for many reasons. It is very easy to source parts, connect to manufacturers as well as the logistics of export, financing, etc. I believe it is the best place in the world to do electronics R&D with the freedom of the West and immediate access to Shenzhen, the world capital for electronics manufacturing.

Professional Product Photography by Brent Pottinger Up to three products per hour for $1,750 HKD. capture@brentpottinger.com


Fashion Farm Foundation

A Makerspace for Fashion-designers in Lai Chi Kok Established in 2012, Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF) is a non-profit organization founded by a group of enthusiastic entrepreneurs from the fashion and cultural creative Industry in Hong Kong. Its mission is to unite local fashion designers, cultural practitioners, industry experts and retailers to foster collaboration between business, lifestyle, education and cultural sectors and promote Hong Kong’s fashion design in Hong Kong and to the world. FFF offers the first and only fashion and design focused co-working space in Hong Kong with over 10,000 sq ft of space. Equipment includes sewing machine, cutting table, photoshoot area.

Members include: • Customized shoes, onepersonalization.com • Fashion designer, mountainyam.com • Unisex fashion designer, modement.hk • Accessories company, matterreallymatters.com • Cubism-inspired accessories, methodologywears.com • Fashion Designer, kenaxleung.com • Portable battery, getyouratom.com

“There are many local start ups with ideas in Hong Kong, but the problem is how to turn these ideas into something that has commercial value.” Yale Yeung, Community Curator

Visit Fashion Farm

Unit A, 9/F, D2 Place, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok



SAVE THE WEEK 2330 January 2016 First-of-its-kind Startup Event Encompassing HealthTech, Internet of Things (IoT), Fintech, Data Analytics Under One Roof.

Startup Launchpad Oct 18-21, 2015

AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong

Global Sources is proud to introduce Hong Kong’s new, must-see event - Startup Launchpad - where startups in the Pearl River Delta region will showcase their cuttingScale your hardware startup edge electronic products and technologies. Come meet at the world’s the newest hardware startupslargest andelectronics learn from confertradeshow! ence program! launchpadhk.com Supporting organizations:

Strategic partners: Colour Version


Colour Version

Starting out as a CREATE-PRENEUR Register your Business

Find What’s Missing

You will look more professional and suppliers and disHong Kong is The best place to start is to note what’s tributors will take you more seriously. Hong Kong a concrete jungle as available (or not) in Hong Kong. If it’s has it made it very simple for entrepreneurs to well as a great city of opalready available, can you improve start up their businesses. portunities for many of us. For me, on the price, design, materials? it was an opportunity to start a small The goal is to differentiate yourSimplify Packaging business focusing on HANDMADE accesself from the crowd. Packaging. Can be eco-friendly or as sories for babies and kids. I started sewing simple as a ribbon and your tag with your nursing covers as I couldn’t find a simple Use Quality Materials logo on it. one for my firstborn daughter that had a Organic, upcycled, and natuboutiquey feel and yet without the hefty price ral is what’s trending now. Make a Website tag. And hence Eight Little Canaries was born Make it your goal to use Nowadays, just having a Facebook page to combine handmade baby accessories with a quality materials in whatever isn’t enough to make you look like a boutiquey feel at reasonable prices. That said, you do. professional artist. You can launch your with the start up on this small CRAFT business website yourself, for free (or very low of mine, I have truly enjoyed every moment Don’t Overstock cost), using tools like Wix, Wordpress, of designing and SEWING these baby items When starting a new business, Shopify and others depending on your skill as it for was my own children. And yes, it’s easy to get excited and level. it is possible to make money from your overstock. However, seasons hobbies! So here are some useful tips change, trends change, and Sell at Fairs to start making money on a craft customer’s feedback is the best There are many places where you can sell your you love, that is if you are indicator of what to stock, so don’t crafted items. Handicraft fairs is a good way to get eager to start your own overstock until you have a steady in front of your customers, and get their immediate SMALL BUSINESS. stream of orders. feedback on patterns, colors, etc.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Perfect your craft. Use scrap material or reuse what’s around the house for materials in order to reduce cost and waste.

Make the Price Worth Your Time

Not sure how to price your items? Consider the production time and cost of materials as well as any marketing costs. Slightly higher than the mass production products but well-priced enough that customers are willing to pay extra for your craftsmanship.

Use a Memorable Name

You may start out creating quilts, but with time add additional types of products, so think of a name that can accommodate your business down the line. Check to see if there are similarly confusing names already being used.


Partner with a photographer in exchange for your products or teaching their kids your craft. Bartering for goods and services is a fantastic way to get something that you need for free, and is a completely underutilized approach in the startup space.


Never underestimate whom you will meet at events and parties as that’s when you can talk a little about yourself. Be ready to show some product photos on your phone! My last piece of advice is to stay passionate and original in what you love doing. Who knows, you may even quit your day job!

Claim Your Name

Once you find that perfect name, register your domain name, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc, before someone else does. Consider getting both .com and .hk.

By Erika Anabella. A mother of two (and a rescued pug), Erika founded Eight Little Canaries in 2012 and since then has been designing baby and kids accessories in Hong Kong. facebook.com/EightLittleCanaries

Marketing & Design Consulting

We help launch and monetize your business Online Marketing Consulting ● Search Engine Optimization ● Web Design: HTML/Wordpress ● Affiliate Marketing ●

Paid Search Monetization Strategies ● Brochures, Marketing Materials ● E-Mail Marketing ● ●

9AMConsulting.com 12 | Jumpstart Magazine


Made in Hong With the growth in the Maker Movement, there’s a resurging interest and appreciation in all things handand locally-made. Here are some lovely things made in Hong Kong.

Steampunk A 1490 HKD Imelldaho.com

Bird Cage Pottery 360 HKD littleegretstudio.com

Coffee Sleeve 45HKD jorendarey.com

Ice Cream Broach 50 HKD


Druzy Quartz Dyed Pink 280 HKD thefawnfashion.com

Handmade Soap


Hong Kong Ferry Print 3,800 HKD sooqcentral.com

Bizzie Bee Craft Kits 199 HKD

Handsewn Boxing Glove Keyring 200 HKD zebraproductionz.com

Mini Masters Pendant 1,400 HKD



Self-published Kids Book 140 HKD runhongkongrun.com

Peony Blue Kids Apron 224 HKD


Communities For Craft Makers Consignment Space & Workshops Launched in 2014, The Hong Kong Handmade Community helps support Hong Kong artists and designers. They run workshops, and offer discounts on craft supplies and coworking space (with a paid membership). This October, they are launching a consignment space in association with KPC Yarn Studio in Lai Chi Kok. (hkhmc.com)

Craft-Making Space Nestled in Sheung Wan, The Crafties is a 1200 sq ft coworking and event space for creative startups. Inside, you can find sewing machines, a beading loom, a badgemaking machine, and a 3D printer is coming soon. Past workshops included candle decoration, jewellery making, rubber-stamp carving, blanket knitting, crocheting, and lantern making. (thecrafties.hk)

Jewelry Making Hub Founded in 2011, Hatton Studios offers the only jewelery-dedicated educational space and commercial launchpad, in Sheung Wan. (hattonstudios.com)

Online Marketplaces Sooq: Launched in December 2014, Sooq is an online marketplace for handmade and personalised goods by talented artisans and small businesses in Hong Kong. (sooqcentral.com) Bebello: Launching later this year, the Bebello online marketplace will feature original and unique products, and will host workshops from leading independent designers, artists, and crafters across Asia. (bebello.com.hk)

Craft Markets Hand Made Hong Kong has been organizing craft markets since 2009. (handmadehongkong.com) Saikung Markets operates an indoor market the first Sunday of every month, from September to June. (saikungmarkets.com) Hidden Truffles brings together vendors in fashion, lifestyle & home decor, kids, and other categories. The next one is Noveber 14th @ The Space. (hiddentruffles.com) Jumpstart Magazine | 13

Do It yourself



Every day, hundreds of press releases are sent to the media with the hope of stimulating free media coverage. However, most wind up being deleted for various reasons (irrelevant, uninteresting, full of errors, generic). Your odds can be greatly improved with some knowledge, planning, creativity, and a bit of luck. And yes, like most things you can learn to Do It Yourself.

Whether you are running a coworking space, a consulting firm, or a photography studio, some PR (a.k.a. free media coverage) can undoubtedly help generate buzz, attract new clients, improve your SEO and build influence. Many small businesses don’t have the budget or expertise in this area and often forego PR altogether. The good news is that with a bit of know-how, you can, in fact, do it yourself. Let’s get started with the basics: what’s your news?

The News & The Angle Be sure you have a good reason for contacting the media. For instance, a new product launch, a partnership announcement, a Kickstarter campaign, are all good reasons. Next, you need to get creative with the angle- how to position the story so that it has the highest chance to get covered. Let’s say you are a new photographer in town trying to get some media coverage. What sounds more exciting to the media and readers “Parisian Photographer arrives to Hong Kong and establishes a new studio” or “French Photographer Takes One Photo in Hong Kong Everyday and the result is Incredible.” When thinking about the angle for your press release approach it from the reader’s prospective. Here are some ideas to help you brainstorm a few possible angles: Important: Why would your readers care about this story? Impactful: How might your news impact your readers? Innovative: Is there something in your story that’s innovative or hasn’t been done before? Current: Can you relate your story back to current news, either locally or globally?

14 | Jumpstart Magazine

Trendy: Can you tie your story to a current trend? Problem Solver: Does your business solve a problem? Press Release Format There are two types of press releases: one is a collection of facts and statements that the editor pieces together, and the second is pretty much a finished article. Many publications are short-staffed, so the story-type press release may be printed as is with very few changes. Limit your press release to one page. It should be long enough to cover the six basic elements: who, what, when, where, why and how. Usually the answers to these six questions should be mentioned in order of their importance to the story. To ensure readability, your press release should usually follow the standard format: typed, double-spaced with a letterhead. On the left-hand side, put “For immediate release.” Just below, write a brief, eye-catching headline in bold type, and a dateline that leads into the first sentence of the release. Grammar & Buzzwords It goes without saying that grammar and spelling should be foolproof (though that’s often not the case in many press releases). Keep the buzzwords to a minimum and words like “cutting-edge, outstanding, leading, innovative, gorgeous, etc.” are rarely part of the reporter’s story, so cut them out and instead stick to the facts and the storyline. A Great Headline You only have one shot at the subject line, so make it good. Use action verbs, clear language, and keep it simple and short. A perfect headline is engaging and gets the reader to continue.

Give facts It’s easy to fill up a page with a creative and colorful narrative, yet numbers and facts speak lauder then adjectives. If you’re making a claim, make sure you support it with hard facts. Offer details here that strengthen your narrative, like creative ways your company developed the project or announcement at hand. Or, when applicable, comment on future implications of your announcement. Some Quotes Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to bring your details to life with a quote and give a human element to the press release. Ideally, quotes will be from key stakeholders in your company (you and your partners), or alternatively those directly impacted by your announcement. Pick 1-2 critical spokespeople and focus the quotes around their unique perspective. The chosen quote should shape your narrative and emphasize the core of the announcement. Don’t Forget the Photos The release should ideally come with a link to print-ready and web-ready photos. So now that your press release is ready, whom do you send it to? Gathering Contacts Many publications (like SCMP or China Daily) list journalists’ names and email addresses next to the published article. If they’re not shown, you can usually work out the email format by looking at advertising emails that are listed. Alternatively, some social networks like LinkedIn can be extremely useful to get through to the right reporter.

Steer clear of generic email addresses, (news@ or info@) as in many cases these are not checked regularly or at all. Make it your mission to get the name and email address of the person who will make the decision about whether to use your story or not. If in doubt, just call up and ask.

on TVB, so a few weeks after her Facebook post, she was a relationships expert in what turned out to be a very popular local TV show. As you can expect, her business boomed after this. So, just ask.

Many make the mistake of approaching a reporter right after he has written a story they wish to have been included in, assuming he is an easy target for the follow up piece. In fact, that reporter is the least likely person in the world to write such a follow-up story. Allow at least a few months in between, or if you still decided to contact him shortly after his piece has been published, make sure you have something very valuable to add.

It’s fine to offer the same story to different publications as long as you’re upfront about what you’re doing. If a journalist is interested in your story, he or she will generally get back to you within a couple of days. But in a busy newsroom, stories can get missed, so you might consider chasing up your pitch by phone.

It’s also a good idea to ask around and get introductions to journalists from people you already know. One of the most amazing cases of “asking around” was that of a friend’s friend who wanted to promote her matchmaking business through the media. She made a post on her Facebook page saying she’d appreciate an introduction to Hong Kong media for a chance to give her commentary or opinion on family life, couple psychology, and related topics. One of her Facebook friends was newly in charge of a new “blind date” TV program

Follow up

Whether you run a product-centric startup or have a great service to offer, the truth is all businesses need PR. By now you are well equipped to write and distribute your own press releases. So roll up your sleeves and get going! Remember that in addition to helping you get media exposure, PR also helps you get valuable links to your website, which are crucial for SEO.

Find PR Opportunities! Sign up with Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and Source Bottle, services set up for journalists to quickly gather feedback from the public on specific topics.sourcebottle.com and helpareporter.com

By Ashley Galina Dudarenok, the founder of Alarice International, a China marketentry consultancy, alarice.com.hk





Jumpstart Magazine | 15

Do It yourself

DIY Product Photography High quality product photos are the key to improving your customers’ shopping experience and increasing your eCommerce sales. Sure, you might not have the skills of a pro photographer or a bunch of fancy equipment, but it’s definitely possible to take amazing product photos on your own with a bit of practice and the right setup. Grab your camera and follow this ultimate 10-step guide to DIY product photography. 1. Prepare Your Products Before you start shooting, spend a bit of time getting organised. Clean, polish, iron, wash, shine and dust all your products so that they’re ready go.

The sweep needs to be larger than your product, so if you’re shooting smaller products, you’re in luck. The easiest way to set up a white backdrop is to create your own You should create a list of all the products shooting table, which will give you a lot of flexibility and control with where you set you need and the photos you need for each product, then tick them off as you go. up your DIY studio. It’s a good idea to group products of a similar size together so that you spend as little You’ll need a small square table, two scrap pieces of wood, spring clamps, and matetime adjusting your setup as possible. rial for your sweep. You can use anything white from fabric to paper – plain white 2. Put Together a Photographer’s Toolbox wrapping paper works great because of its glossy and reflective surface. Just nail the Even if you’re as prepared as you can two planks of wood the back edge of the be, things can still go wrong. Save yourtable, clamp the top of the sweep to the self from any last minute stress and put planks, and let the sweep fall down to the together a photographer’s toolbox of some handy items such as tap, fishing line, table surface. pocket scissors, glue dots, pegs, safety If you’re shooting larger products, you’re pins, non-damaging hooks, and batteries going to need a larger sweep. A clean and chargers. white sheet will work great, but the tricky part is fixing it to a vertical surface. You’ll need to improvise and drape the material over objects you have lying around the house, or stick the fabric to the wall. If you’re going to be photographing frequently, save yourself the hassle of setting up and buy a professional sweep that comes with a stand. 3. Set up a White Backdrop Shooting against a white ‘sweep’ is the secret to high quality product photos. A sweep is simply a white backdrop that seamlessly transitions from the vertical to the horizontal surface. The white will reflect light onto your product and help you avoid any colour spills. It’ll also ensure 4. Shoot Near a Window that your camera’s white balance calibration is on point. Put simply, light sources all have a different colour temperature, and digital cameras guess the true colour of an object by focusing on a white element in the frame.

16 | Jumpstart Magazine

The sun is a great light source for product photography – professional lighting will take great photos, but it’s pricey and you need to know what you’re doing. The key is to use the sun as an indirect light source, so your best option is to set up near a window. The window needs to be on the left or right of the product, as the light source should never be directly behind or in front of the camera. The optimal time of day to shoot will depend on the size and position of your window, as well as whether it’s a sunny or overcast day. Shooting at midday will give you the most consistent photos, as the intensity and colour of the sun’s light changes faster the closer you are to sunrise and sunset. You also want to avoid the afternoon’s ‘golden hour’, which will give your photos a warm tinge. As midday is generally the brightest time of day, you may find your products are looking overexposed. Don’t wait for the sun to start setting – simply diffuse the light by taping white paper over the window pane or covering it with a sheet. 5. Use a Fill Light or Reflector

When you shoot next to a window, the light source will hit your product from one side only. It’s a good idea to use a fill light or reflector to balance out the lighting and avoid any harsh shadows. A reflector is a good investment if you’re planning on shooting frequently. Alternatively, you can make your own fill light. The best way to do this is to grab a white piece of cardboard and fold it in half, so that it can stand up on its own. As with a sweep, it needs to be white to really reflect light onto your product. The shinier to surface the better – you can even cover the card with aluminium foil to really get that light bouncing back.

6. Steady your Camera Using a tripod or smartphone mount will ensure that your photos are sharp and clear, and you’ll also be able to change the positioning and angle of your product without changing the framing. Ideally you want the product to fill up the majority of the frame, with the rest taken up by the sweep. If you need to get closer, only use an optical zoom on a DSLR (rotate the lens) or move the entire camera closer to the product – never touch the digital zoom on either a phone or camera, as this will crop the photo as you take it and lower the quality of the final photo. 7. Get Familiar with your Camera Settings Regardless of whether you’re using a DSLR or a smartphone, you need to get familiar with some basic camera settings. First and foremost, you should always set your camera settings to the highest possible quality. DSLRs vary but the size settings are usually something like large (L), medium (M) and small (S), and the quality settings are usually superfine (S), fine (F), and normal (N). Always shoot with large and superfine. If you’re using a smartphone, avoid using filters and automatic framing tools. You can easily compress and crop images later, but it’s not possible to make a small and low quality image better. The added benefit of using a DSLR is that you’ve got a lot of camera settings to work with. It can be overwhelming at first but if you’ve bought yourself a great camera, you might as well make the most of it and learn to shoot manual. The three main things you should be aware of are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The perfect combination will entirely depend on your setup, but a basic understanding of what each does will help you adjust the settings more effectively. The aperture is the hole in the camera lens that determines how much light goes into the camera. Aperture is measured in f-stops, and as the f-stop number goes up, the aperture gets smaller and the image gets darker. The aperture also determines your depth of field; a smaller image will clearly capture everything in the frame whereas a larger aperture will blur the edges of the product. With product photography, the idea is to find an aperture that’s small enough to capture the entire product clearly, but large enough to give you a well-lit product. Start with f/8 and go up and down from there.

The shutter speed determines how long the shutter is open for, which is why smaller apertures work better with slow shutter speeds.

When you’re happy with your final images, save them as new files.

The ISO determines how sensitive the camera is to light. Keep the ISO low and never exceed 400, as the higher you go, the lower the quality. You’ll see that the photo starts to get grainy as you go up. Smartphone camera automatically adjust the ISO depending on the lighting conditions – if your setup isn’t sufficiently lit, the camera will automatically increase the ISO. There are plenty of smartphone apps out there that let you manually control the ISO, but this won’t do you any good if your product isn’t sufficiently lit on its own.

When it comes to product photography, the bigger the better. The perfect size for an eCommerce product image is 1600px on the longest side, which is optimal for viewing on a mobile and will allow for an effective zoom function. If you’re planning on ever printing your image, you should make the resolution 300dpi.

10. Make them BIG

8. Remove the Background

The general rule of backgrounds in product photography is that they should neither distract from or conflict with the product. White is clean, simple, free from distraction, and will give your product images a professional touch. A white background will also draw attention to your products and make them stand out amongst competitors.

What Are You Waiting For? Prepare your products, grab your camera, set up your studio, and spend a bit of time optimising your images after you shoot. Be patient and remember that practice makes perfect! By Paula Jakubik. Paula is the Community Manager at Pixc, an on-demand product image editing service. You’ll often find her in the corner of a cafe in Sydney, blogging about eCommerce and helping online store owners with their product images.

9. Apply a Template For consistent product images, you need to create a template. Using any kind of a photo editing software, create a blank file that has the dimensions you need for your final images. As a general rule, products should be centered and take up 80-90% of the canvas. To line your products up exactly, create guidelines (50% horizontally and 50% vertically) to identify the centre point of the canvas. You should then create a ‘border’ not far from the edge of the canvas. Drag your products one by one into the canvas, then resize and align them so that at least two opposite sides of the product touch two opposing guidelines. Note that you should only resize images to make them smaller – stretching them will pixelate your products and give you final images of low quality. If your product is too small for the template, you’ll need to adjust your template size.

Save Time Removing Photo Backgrounds

You can use automated background removal apps like burner. bonanza.com (free to try, $9.95 USD a month for 20 images) or use professional serices like pixc.com ($79 USD for 40 images). We tested both and Pixc.com removed 100% of the background even in hard to reach spaces.

Jumpstart Magazine | 17

Do It yourself

Choosing a DIY Website Platform By Raymond Yip, Co-founder & CEO at Shopline As more people elect entrepreneurship over traditional nineto-five, many will turn toward e-commerce where there are seemingly endless opportunities. As they begin their journey in setting up their business, they will be inundated with options - to outsource the website-building or DIY or perhaps sell through Social Media and Marketplaces (like Etsy). Most would agree that having your own website is a necessity nowadays. It shows the world you are serious about what you do (credibility), and gives you control and brand-building opportunities. Going the DIY route is your best bet for saving money, and there are dozens of platforms where you can launch quickly with no technical knowledge (including Shopline that we created). Here are some of the things to consider when evaluating a DIY Website platform.

How’s this website made? Ever come across a website and want to know how it was built? Use builtwith.com to look up the technology behind any website.

Popular DIY Website Platforms Shopline App (hk.shoplineapp.com)

Shopline enables quick and easy DIY e-commerce website creation with multi-lingual support, domestic and international domains (.hk/.tw/.com) and zero cost transaction fees. Shopline is made in Hong Kong. Made with Shopline:

Design & Templates

First impressions are most important, so you want to go with a platform that provides you with a wide selection of templates and designs to choose from. Are templates easy to set-up? Can you easily switch between templates? Find out before you commit sign up for the platform.


As you grow, you may need things like a robust order management system, bulk import/export, couponing, membership and communications tools. Find out what types of tools are available so that you can easily upgrade if needed. It’ll save you a lot of time down the road if you go with a platform that you can grow with.


At some point you may get stuck on a technical problem and FAQ’s won’t suffice. Having direct access to customer support that can answer your questions can make a huge difference. Does the platform offer this?



Wix (wix.com)

Founded in 2006, Wix’s no-coding website creation tool has surpassed 50M users this year. Features include a drag-and-drop website editor, e-commerce capability, free images and plugins like live chat and polls. The drawback is a clunky interface (a lot of clicks to get something done) and dirty URL structure. For example, if you have create an about us page, it would end up looking like “www.mycompany.com/#!about. Made with Wix:


Does your website need to be in multiple languages? Then look for platforms that can support this requirement, as well as those that come with it like payment options, logistics, and customer service, among other things.


With recent hackings, cybersecurity is something startups are paying more attention to. If you are processing credit cards, you need to consider what types of encryption services the platform comes with.

Open Source vs. Hosted

If you have the technical knack to tweak and tinker, an open source platform (like Wordpress) might be the right platform for you. Unlike hosted solutions (like Wix and Shopline), openplatforms give users access to the code so that you can customize whatever you wish. While open source platforms give extreme flexibility and control, they require a great deal of technical knowhow to put it all together to take advantage of all the features. Additionally, you will also need to buy your domain name and find a hosting provider. So if you want something that just works with a few clicks, without too much hassle, a hosted DIY solution might be your best bet. 18 | Jumpstart Magazine



Wordpress (wordpress.com)

Started in 2003, Wordpress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. With Wordpress you can launch a blog or a full-blown e-commerce website without coding skills (although it could be handy). The platform allows you to easily switch between themes while plugins extend the functionality of the theme by letting you add cool stuff like e-card, auction and other features in seconds. Made with Wordpress:



Websites and apps are a new company’s digital springboard, offering a high degree of visibility with relatively low operational overhead. Affordable DIY web development platforms like Squarespace and Wix have been around for a while, but, historically-speaking, mobile web and app development hasn’t come cheap. This can be a big roadblock for many young, bootstrapped enterprises as they attempt to swing into business. But this seems a bit backwards, especially when you look at the numbers: Wired reports that about 65 million PCs were shipped in the second quarter of this year (representing a 10% decline from the same time last year), while global smartphone shipments tallied an impressive 338 million units last quarter. Apple alone ships about 61 million iPhones each quarter. These trends make it clear that focusing on mobile app development is more important today than ever before. I’ve got some good news for all new startups, small enterprises, and even seasoned businesses that have been left out of the mobile game to this point: mobile app building has never been faster, easier, or more affordable than it is right now. A new wave of user-friendly, DIY app building tools like Google’s Android App Studio, MIT’s App Inventor, and, of course, our own AppMakr, are completely redefining what is and what isn’t within the realm of possibility for emerging businesses. Now, in less than 20 minutes, someone with zero programming experience can build a high-quality mobile app for their company or new venture.

Popular DIY Mobile App Makers Appy Pie (appypie.com)

Appy Pie is a cloud-based mobile app builder. There is no need to install or download anything; you can just drag & drop app pages to create your mobile app online. Once the App is published, you will receive an HTML5 based hybrid app that works with Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and Blackberry. Features include game builder, appointment scheduler, loyalty programs, chat room, in-app purchase, GPS, QR Code scanner and others. Free to $33 USD a month.

AppMakr (appmakr.com)

Over 2 Million apps have been made with AppMakr, a do-ityourself app creation platform that lets anyone make your own iPhone apps, Android apps and HTML5 mobile formatted websites —with no coding required. Features include photo galleries, social feeds, live chat and payment integrations. Available in 15 languages including Chinese. Packages range from free to $39 USD a month.

Como (como.com)

Over 1 Million apps have been made using Como’s do-it-yourself platform aimed at small businesses and loaded with a robust selection of loyalty-enhancing features, which make it a great app for retail shops. Features include in-app coupons, scratch cards, menu & ordering, scheduling, and loyalty cards. $57 USD a month.

That might not sound like a revolutionary statement, but if you stop and think about it, the implications are pretty profound. No matter what type of business you’re running, the ease of implementation and low cost of creating a platform on which to interact with and sell to your customers represents a substantial competitive advantage in reaching today’s mobile consumers. Whereas in the past these apps would have taken months and substantial investment to build, today’s tools aim to level the playing field for innovators across the globe. Jay Shapiro, CEO at AppMakr, Startup Advisor, TED Speaker, co-founder DoGoodAsYouGo.org, Creator of EcoRoamer (The High-Tech, Zombie-Proof Survival RV) and all-around nice guy.

Made with AppyPie for families with kids in Perth.

Made with AppMakr for a non-profit, Bit of Hope Ranch in US.

Made with Como for Wilmot Vet Clinic in Canada.

Do It yourself

Building DIY Apps

Do It yourself

Going Viral

By Kiri Sinclair, founder of Sinclair Asia, a PR Agency: sinclairasia.com

Clients often ask us to create them a campaign that ‘goes viral’. The truth is, nobody can guarantee creating content that is going to go viral but there are some factors that go into strategy development that can increase this likelihood. So what does ‘viral’ actually mean? Viral content is content that gets engagement and is shared widely on social media channels. It is content that becomes owned by the community - last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge is one of the best examples of this. The simple idea became a social phenomenon. The crux of the campaign was the nomination of two friends to get involved, so for every person engaged, you automatically gained two more, and so on. The best part was that not only did this campaign generate mass awareness for a previously little-known disease, but it also raised an incredible USD220 million for the cause. The evolution of social media as one of the primary communication channels has enabled campaigns like this to have a reach and impact that would never before have been possible. And for a startup (or charity) with limited marketing budgets, effective use of social media is a skill that is important to master. I’d like to share with you some insights on how a social media strategy has the ability to go viral.

Amazing Content is Everything

Subjects that Matter to the Audience

People will only share content if it creates a response from them. It needs to be relevant, engaging and evoke emotion – whether that be awe, sadness, amazement or laughter. Being able to draw on this emotion is critical to gaining a response - generally a share or engagement.

Charities are often the most successful at generating viral content as they have a subject that matters to the audience. Campaigns that encourage people to ‘make a pledge’ often get participation because they have a feel-good factor. When people share content on Facebook that gets a ‘like’ or interaction from their friend base, they feel a level of social recognition and a chance to connect with others - this helps to accelerate Facebook activity and campaigns.

Viral content is visually led. There is a reason you see a lot of cute animal pictures on your Facebook feed, or better yet; animals driving cars, or dressed up in baby clothes. Images and video are far more shareable and engaging than written text. Great images are a key factor to virality as people are drawn to images first and will read the text only after being drawn into the idea by the image. Video is becoming increasingly important to social media content and it is said that in 2015, more videos will be viewed on Facebook than on YouTube. Even Instagram hosts video content now. Attention spans are diminishing and the emphasis is now on creating short 6-10 second videos; this is proven through the popularity of apps such as Vine and Snapchat. Social media videos are a good medium for start-ups as nobody expects professional quality, so just get out your smartphone and get creative.

Many brands create social media campaigns to leverage current topical events and doing this is very clever but it needs to be done carefully, as you risk criticism if you choose the wrong topic and execution. An example of this done well is how Apple leveraged the ‘blue/black or gold dress’ social media phenomenon – they used this trending topic to start talking about the superiority of their new gold Iphones. As it was relevant to their brand, it brought them returns. By nature, people always like to get something for free and a campaign that has an incentive is always going to be more successful than one that doesn’t. The chance to win a holiday or a new TV will see the activity spike, and competitions like this also offer the opportunity to collect data so you can continue to reach the participants with other messages in the future. Use of Influencers The most successful social media campaigns usually involve influencers as their participation will automatically attract interest and add credibility. Using an influencer also enables you to leverage their fan base – increasing your brand’s audience reach. It is worth remembering that there is a difference between a celebrity and an influencer. For most start-ups, enlisting a celebrity would be far too expensive, but an influencer such as a food blogger or fashion writer is likely to be much more affordable and they may even have a more engaged social media following as social media is how they often earn a living. An example of use of influencer is a campaign we ran for Expedia.com.hk (relatively unknown before we started

working with them). We collaborated with a popular Hong Kong cartoonist ‘Jie Jie’ to draw a series of humorous cartoons that depicted the differences between Taiwan and Hong Kong. The cartoons were personal and relatable and funny – and because of that they engaged the target market.



Partnering with a brand is another great way to gain credibility and traction for your campaign. Choosing the right brand partner is important and the collaboration needs to be mutually beneficial for you to get them on board.

Our social media strategy was comprised of posts, illustrations and games. We also engaged traditional media and bloggers to help generate noise about the campaign from offline to online and vice versa. This simple idea effectively secured over 4.5k new Facebook fans for Expedia, +584,000 fans with +10,000 interactions, and generated over HKD1.4 million in PR coverage over just three months.

Recently we designed a campaign for the Singapore Tourism Board, partnering with food blogger KC Koo. The objective was to highlight Singapore as a rich cultural melting pot with a diverse food offering. As KC has such strong credibility as a food authority, we enlisted his help to develop an official Singapore Food Guide and with KC’s involvement, the Food Guide immediately had authenticity.

Facebook advertising is an important component of any social media campaign; it will give you the push you need to get the campaign off the ground and keep the momentum going. Facebook advertising offers you the ability to be really targeted in who you’re reaching and it’s a very cost effective form of advertising. For start-ups, I would recommend using the new ‘Facebook Go’ package where if you spend HKD 200 per day on advertising you get your own advertising specialist to help guide your campaign. They will call you once a week for four weeks to help tweak and refine your targeting so you get the opportunity to learn from their expertise. And as a bonus, at the end of the four weeks you get a free advertising voucher.

Comics by © Jie Jie

A key element of promotion for the campaign was social media. We designed a co-branded campaign with Priceline, featuring KC Koo, called “Answer & Win: Singapore Food,” which was launched on the Your Singapore-Hong Kong Facebook page. The game was mobile-friendly, shareable and encouraged conversation and engagement. The major prize winner was awarded a two-night stay in Singapore. The game had over 10,000 participations and there were 6,000 interactions with excited fans.

The Outcome The most important consideration for the virality of a campaign isn’t the outcome but the mechanism. For the ice bucket challenge, the objective wasn’t getting millions of people to dump buckets of water on their head online; the objective was raising millions of dollars and gaining awareness. Make sure you’re clear from the beginning on what your objective is and design a campaign that helps you to achieve that objective. And remember, triggering an emotional response gives you the best chance of triggering action. Make them happy, sad, elated, hopeful, humored - and you will have their attention.


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Innovating with 3D Printing Living in Hong Kong, we have become all too familiar with the fact that finance, real estate, trading, and manufacturing are the driving forces behind what has made us prosper in practically all of history. However, as most of these industries are seemingly taking a dive in the recent years, innovation is needed for us to continue to thrive and maintain our global standing as a powerhouse in Asia. To me, 3D printing is the perfect answer. This is why I joined the “third industrial revolution” to evangelize this amazing technology. So why is this technology so amazing you might ask? Well, in the past, a simple prototype would cost thousands and had to be outsourced to a prototyping company that you don’t have much control over. Just imagine if you had to do multiple iterations of prototyping; the cost doubles, triples, and so on. Now, with 3D printing available and affordable, we can do the same thing in-house for a fraction of the time and cost. What this means is that not only are traditional companies able to lower cost and adopt “multiple iterations of design” more effectively, it also means that entrepreneurs can now leverage this technology to cost-efficiently prototype their concepts or even manufacture “limited edition” items that can be directly sold without any bulk volume restrictions. This is something that was nearly impossible before. Furthermore, it allows designers and students to

touch and feel their designs or educational concepts before moving forward into the next stage of any process they are in. This makes a world of a difference, as 2D concepts may not always be the same as how the original mastermind envisioned it when it actually becomes a 3D, tangible object. Some students are also very visual and objectoriented, which makes it important to have something in hand during their learning process. Last year, a global architectural conference was held at Chinese University of Hong Kong, where 10-20 groups of elite architecture students from all over the world gathered and built complex urban compaction models to showcase to the world. In the previous years, everything was on computer screens. However, last year, 3D printers became the highlight of the event as many of their concepts were brought to life during their open house for the very first time, which induced an overwhelming amount of excitement among both the students and the global audience. Aside from education, Ford Motors, Adidas, Mitsubishi, Microsoft, and many other big names across all industries are now adopting 3D printing at a professional level, making huge strides in cost efficiency and business performance. This tells us one thing: with a creative mindset and a strong understanding of how this technology works, 3D printing can be highly impactful in ways beyond our imagination.

Meanwhile, on the entrepreneurial front, we are seeing a huge amount of activity that relates to this technology, from FAB cafés to IoT devices and motion-sensing skateboards. These companies have made the impossible possible through the creative use of 3D printing. As a result, coworking spaces and community meetups that are designed for hardware startups are popping up everywhere in Hong Kong to serve as a platform for facilitating this new movement. As an evangelist of this technology, I am constantly having discussions with many creative minds about how 3D printing impacts entrepreneurship. Our discussions range from 3D printed, customized wedding favors to 3D photo booths and even custom-designed jewelry with metal finishing. The possibilities are endless. Jeremy Cheng has 18+ years of experience in entrepreneurship, client services, IT operations, talent acquisition, and project management in both the United States and the Greater China region. He’s currently the managing director of 3D Forge Limited, an official Makerbot 3D printer reseller and 3D printing technology evangelist in Hong Kong.

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hk3dprint.com.hk: professional 3D printing services including toys, home decor, fashion accessories and more. 3dforge.com.hk: 3D Forge is a reseller and evangelist of Makerbot 3D printers in Hong Kong focused on a community-centric approach to bring 3D printing to the masses. They also do B2B and B2C 3D printing. Coworking Spaces with 3D Printers: MakerHive, MakerBay, Dim Sum Labs

Building Trust from the Get-go In a rush to get up-and-running, generating revenue and turning a profit, most start-ups focus on product and marketing. This is sensible: both are building blocks of a strong and healthy reputation. But communications is often overlooked in the mix – a mistake in an era when disappointed customers, aggrieved employees and malicious competitors can make your life a misery at the drop of a hat. Consider Uber. Despite quickly striking a chord with a great product and some smart marketing, it has suffered from very fractious run-ins with governments and the taxi industry across the world, including in Hong Kong, seen its drivers accused of assaults and rape in multiple countries, and become associated with hardline pressure tactics and the intimidation of its critics, including a threat to smear a prominent journalist. The top phrase Google Autocomplete most closely associates with Uber? Safety. Conscious that its name and image were fraying, Uber realised it had to pay more attention to its reputation and invested in its communications. It is hardly alone – Google did much the same as concerns grew about its power and an apparent disregard for its users’ privacy. Carefully managing reputation is something every company should do long before the punches start flying, especially now that it is shaped in real-time. Here are seven ways entrepreneurs and small business owners can build trust and protect their company’s most valuable asset – its reputation – from the start:


Customer experience

Your company’s reputation is defined mostly by how your customers experience and talk about you products and service. This means that every touchpoint, from your website and Facebook page to how you pick up a random phone call and speak to someone in the street, has to be meticulously prepared and managed. This is especially true online, where complaints can be made and shared instantly.


Culture & Values

In today’s commoditised and volatile business environment, a company’s purpose, values and culture can be a real differentiator, especially from a recruitment perspective. But these must not only be ‘true’ of the firm but also clearly articulated, understood and lived and breathed, with leadership setting the example. By most accounts, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is highly respected by his troops as a real innovator and sets a great example as a CEO, in contrast to the shady activities of Ashley Madison’s now-departed leader. Yet, arguably Uber paid too little attention to its values, resulting in waves of bad publicity.



Like sharks, startups must move quickly or risk death. Bureaucracy is anathema. But issues like the poor treatment of employees or the abuse of customer privacy can be particularly damaging from a reputational perspective, and require strong central control. Privacy, in particular, is fast becoming an Achilles Heel for many companies. Uber, for instance, permitted all its employees to access its ‘God View’ realtime customer tracking tool, resulting in the abuse of customers and even the tracking of visiting reporters. Worse, even recruits had access to customer data. Understanding the issues and having a system in place to ensure these are acted on early and responded to appropriately will mean less chance of negative buzz in the future.



Start-ups live or die on their ability to understand and exploit marketplace trends. This means you have to be listening constantly to what your customers, potential customers, investors and others are saying and doing – offline and online – to use for strategic decision-making, product development and to improve your customer service. Even more important, you must also act swiftly on these insights, especially when it is negative. Being seen to be listening and responding to criticism is amongst the best reputation insurance there is.



Young businesses suffer from being unknown. But just as important, they face the challenge of having to prove their case, of persuading people that they should be taken seriously. Uber has been able to build its credentials on the back of great customer experience and a customer base willing to seek new alternatives to a crumbling status quo. Most companies, however, have to constantly communicate what makes them so special in order to build confidence, credibility and resonance, something that requires commitment, discipline and real insight into what makes people tick.



Clear, regular, well-targeted communication is critical to establishing a strong reputation; equally important is that you ensure that everyone – from your employees, partners and investors to your customers and the general public – understand your strategy and are on the same page, otherwise your message will fail to cut through in any meaningful way. Saying one thing to someone and then turning your back and saying something quite different to someone else is also much more likely to be made public in today’s networked and instantaneous world.



Openness may be the zeitgeist, but it means wildly different things to different people. Much depends on the context. For instance, foreign companies in China are expected to be more open than their local counterparts. Every company has to figure out its own approach and bottom line. Social media management firm Buffer goes so far as to publish its financial and operating performance on a public dashboard as part of its ‘Default to Transparency’ value. In general, the more open and honest you are the more likely you are to gain trust, especially when things go wrong. Charlie Pownall is a communications and online reputation advisor who divides his time between Hong Kong and London. His book Managing Online Reputation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) sets out how companies can protect and defend their reputations on the internet and social media. charliepownall.com

Monitor Your Reputation Set up Google Alerts (google.com/alerts) to receive free automated messages anytime your company name (or any term) appears in the media. Jumpstart Magazine | 23

IPO Your Business to (Cybersecurity) Success Already known as a place where entrepreneurship thrives, Hong Kong is rapidly becoming Asia’s fintech startup capital. Indeed, according to fintech.hk there are 50 fintech startups covering financing, payments, operation & risk management, customer interface, data analytics, security & monetisation, investment & wealth management, and others. At the RISE Hong Kong Conference this year, over 5,000 participants from around the world attended to hear from technology leaders about the latest trends and opportunities in fintech and other areas. There is an incredible energy in the Hong Kong fintech area and surrounding startups in general. An item that should be high on the agenda for a fintech or any startup is cybersecurity, especially if sensitive customer data is stored.

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Today, there are so many corporate breaches in the headlines that hackers have morphed into the new super villains. “Revenge of the Nerds” is alive and well, and hacking is their super power. But what can you do to protect yourselves and your customers from these new super villains? Perhaps there’s a new shiny product that can solve all your security problems, providing new protection for every new attack? This will then let you get on with more important things.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to success in the territory of cybersecurity. As surprising as it may sound, these villains’ new tactics are not as new as you might think; in fact, many of the so-called new attacks could have been prevented by correctly using existing security technologies as part of an end-to-end cybersecurity plan. What is the plan? Literally, think like a hacker.



Change the way you approach protection – what would you steal?

Uncover deception – what and whom do you trust?

Start by thinking about what you need to protect, not about protecting the road to it. In other words, build protection to match your data and your processes, not just the network architecture. Learn about your business’s unique patterns of people-data interaction; what and how it needs to be protected, who needs access to it and when, and what is the expected interaction they will have with the data. Only then can you start building your data-centric security.

Your answer should be nothing and no one. Look to uncover and inspect as many compression and encryption protocols as possible, making sure that the data entering your network is what you expect it to be, and from whom you expect it to arrive. You must detect new unknown attack components across all traffic.

2 Look for the gaps – what is the easiest way to get your data? All networks are built to provide a service that is dependent on multiple systems both internally and externally. Hackers look for gaps, the path of least resistance. Why break down the front doo if you can easily get in through an open window? Your security solution must prevent as much as possible across multiple phases of the cyberattack lifecycle. 2.1 When you think about gaps, look at the borders of your systems and processes internally and externally, as gaps have more to do with interoperability and less with physical objects (Internet of Things). Work to close those gaps and think outside of the security box. Your inventory list should include computing, storage and network equipment. 2.2 The human factor: social engineering attacks are rising, with high success rates. Training and education is the key to defending on this front. Adding tools and scripts to catch users’ mistakes can help reduce the risk.

4 Look holistically, what are your blind spots? As you plan to add new products or processes, strive to reduce complexity and keep it simple: simple to manage, simple to monitor, simple to update, and simple to control. Any blind spot or unattended system can and will be used against you, especially in multi-step attacks. Keeping it simple is probably the most challenging aspect of this process. It is a daunting task. As you look under the hood of many customers’ networks, you’ll see that most have been built over long periods of time with highly heterogeneous platforms, languages, and tools. Remember that you have more than one environment to manage, as mobile devices and public/ hybrid cloud infrastructure are two of the biggest attack vectors. Your solution should detect new, unknown attacks across all traffic.

5 Keep getting better – how can you be even more secure tomorrow? New security protections can become outdated quickly, if they are not attended to and updated regularly. Threats are constantly changing, requiring continuous monitoring, tracking, and assessments in order to keep your security up to date. Timing is everything. You must be able to turn detection data into prevention very quickly. Sun Tzu and his “The Art of War” guidelines are more relevant than ever. In order to beat cybercriminals, you need to understand the battlefield, know the enemy and know yourself. Build a security ecosystem designed to fit your unique data mix and data consumption patterns, predict the enemies’ next move, counter it, and strive to be one step ahead of them. In conclusion, security breaches can very quickly turn into a nightmare for any established company or startup, and can have brutal consequences for founders and the customers whose data they rely on and should be protecting. Identify (the gaps), protect (through security) and operate your way to cybersecurity success by literally thinking like a hacker. Security is the responsibility of anyone involved within the startup and as the firm grows, it should continue to be top of mind for all involved. Marcos Ong, Country Manager, HK & Macau, Palo Alto Networks (paloaltonetworks.com) the next-generation security company leading a new era in cybersecurity by safely enabling all applications and preventing advanced threats from achieving their objectives for thousands of organisations around the world.

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Why You Might HATE Working for a Startup Between free gourmet lunches, a relaxed dress code, and the chance to become rich and famous at a very young age, startups have a certain sexiness that drives a massive amount of interest in working for one.

Working hours are a fluid concept One of the reasons that startups shower their employees with free food, beer and services is because they don’t want you to go home. Closing time really doesn’t exist. Startups need every ounce of every employee they have--which translates into very, very long days.

Startup founders have become the new age rock stars. They’ve become fashionable and idolized by the outside world. When their products become a hit, so do they. And, anyone who is fortunate enough to be along for That said, most startups are flexible in the ride on their rocket will likely end up with allowing their employees to have some a mansion on Mars. semblance of a work/life balance — at least that’s what they’ll tell you. However, rocket ships are few and far between. In fact, they’re almost an anomaly. Nobody is paid what they’re worth It’s easy for someone to get caught up in the glamorized version of startups you see portrayed in the movies or on HBO’s Silicon Valley, but the reality is that they’re not for the faint of heart. If you’re dreaming about joining a startup, here are a few things you should know first:

26 | Jumpstart Magazine

You might assume that in exchange for the ridiculous hours, you’d be paid handsomely. You might also assume that if you’re being asked to work in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country, you’d be given a livable wage. You’d be wrong.

While startup salaries aren’t necessarily peanuts, until the company is either profitable or secured later-stage funding, you can expect to be paid well below market rate. The upside: The equity, promise of a future increase, and free food. Yum.

Equity is meaningless, until it isn’t With the “upside” benefits in mind, it’s important for you to know that equity means nothing unless the company becomes something. It’s paper. And, statistically, the odds state that will be all it’s ever worth...paper. The other thing you should know is that, if the company takes off, your shares will be diluted. Essentially, this means that the pie is getting bigger but the size of your slice isn’t growing with it. The good news is that if your shares are being diluted, it likely means that the company is becoming more valuable. Also, if you do happen to land on a rocket ship, those shares, regardless of how small, will be your ticket to greener pastures.

Startups are always 6 - 12 months away from shutting down By definition, startups are high-risk, highgrowth companies. Growth supersedes profit in most cases. Most rely heavily, if not entirely, on outside capital, which means, there is something called “runway.” And, much like an actual runway, it has an end. Healthy companies– ones that have either recently raised funds or mix funding and revenue– will have 12 to 18 months of runway. Normal startups have between six and 12 months of runway. That means, there isn’t much room for error. It also means that if your employer can’t prove their worth in short order, you’ll be asked to cut your salary, or you’ll be out of work. Startups run out of money all the time.

You’ll be expected to do much more than you know how to You may apply to a startup for a specific job and that job may have specific requirements. However, once you start, that all goes out the window. You may have a specific title, but you most definitely won’t have a specific role. “All hands on deck” is the term most often used. Employees need to adapt to the environment and help where help is needed. That might mean talking to customers one day and designing a pitch deck the next, meanwhile still serving your role as CFO. As a benefit, you’ll be given a front row ticket to what it’s like being an entrepreneur.

All of your work might be thrown away There is nothing more demoralizing than seeing months, even days worth of work, thrown down the drain. Welcome to the world of startups. Things change constantly, and it’s even likely that the company you joined today does something completely different tomorrow. You need to be able to roll with it. The plus side is, you never know if you’re with the next Odeo turned Twitter or Burbn turned Instagram.

You’ll need to know how to figure things out on your own Startups don’t have a training program, or on-the-job training mentorship to guide you along. Most often, you’ll be hired and expected to hit the ground running. Most startup founders– in fact, I’ll go on a limb and say nearly 100% of startup founders– didn’t come from a management background. They’re creators, not instructors. So, they likely won’t have the skill-set to groom you as an employee, even if they want to. That said, startup founders have vision and can motivate you to no end. The really good ones can rally a team to massive success.

Every day is a new adventure

You may wake up in the morning and find out that your employer’s site has crashed, or that you’ve been featured on the Today Show. Either situation, good or bad, means that whatever you had planned to do that day has just been postponed. With that in mind, if you’re someone that finds excitement in unpredictability, you’ll find the unknown of each day to be exhilarating.

Your employer will probably fail Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to become comfortable with the greater than not chance that your employer is simply going to fail. Go under. Collapse. Go bankrupt. Depending on the report that you read, there is a 7 in 10 chance of this happening. And, unless you’re working for one of the “transparent” ones, you probably won’t have much of a warning. The good news is, if they’re hiring you, that means they have either revenue or funding, so they’ve already beat some of the odds. If what I’ve just said hasn’t scared you away, you might be ready for the world of startups. Risks aside, if you choose to work for a startup, you’ll learn more in 12 months than four years in any college classroom. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself on a rocket heading to Mars.

If you are the kind of person that likes your days planned out to a T, startups will be hard for you to stomach. Very little of what you do will be planned.

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By Dana Severson, co-founder at StartupsAnonymous.com, a community for startup enthusiasts to share stories, ask questions and offer advice free from retribution and founder of stickinabox.co, a monthly beef jerky club.

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STARTUP MAGAZINE: Jumpstart Issue 8 (Oct/Nov 2015) Hong Kong  

This issue covers the Hong Kong's Maker Movement, Inside Hong Kong's 6 Makerspaces (MakerBay, MakerHive, The Crafties, Brainchild, Fashion F...

STARTUP MAGAZINE: Jumpstart Issue 8 (Oct/Nov 2015) Hong Kong  

This issue covers the Hong Kong's Maker Movement, Inside Hong Kong's 6 Makerspaces (MakerBay, MakerHive, The Crafties, Brainchild, Fashion F...