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INTRO Pausing School and Scholarship to pursue Entrepreneurship

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Tony Tong

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Dec 9, 2018
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Hi Fastlaners,

I am Tony Tony, based in Singapore and a final year college student.

Since my conscription days 5 years ago, I've wanted to pursue entrepreneurship. However, I was met with many false starts (MLM, selling to friends, lying partners who took my money, scammy affiliate marketing websites).

I also faced many difficulties living the breathing the entrepreneurial mindset as I struggled to find the right community. Either they were over-hyped MLM acquaintances without "Commandment of Control" or tech wannabes who were more interested in building business ideas for a better resume, not for entrepreneurship. From my experience, some students I've interacted with in Singapore crave predictability, big-name companies and are quite risk-averse, not to mention will do the least to get-by so that affected my mindset as well.

As I am someone who values responsibility, I wanted to do reasonably well in school and graduate fittingly, partially from Asian society's conditioning and also partly because I believe my degree (in Business Analytics) is a valuable skill set to have when it comes to the job market.

Eventually, I got an internship at a startup who essentially ran an affiliate marketing business model bringing international speakers to Singapore, and I started learning from better mentors and friends. After working with them for 6 months, I was part of a team of 2 who sold our marketing service to other businesses, client-vendor model. We generated 100k revenue in 9 months, so I consider that my first taste of profitable success. However, I didn't get most of the cash as I was paid on a contract basis as I was the willing mentee.

I got into a school program that sends students to tech internships in San Francisco while taking classes at Stanford. During this time, I've interacted with so many more people closer to where I would like to be. I started to view programming more seriously as a genuine force for innovation and grew stronger belief that I had a generalist skill set to back up my conviction and not be always "following" someone even when at times I should be more independent.

During this time I got to read the 2 books, TML and Unscripted. The first time I read it brought so much anger and bitterness I felt amazed just written words could trigger me like that. At the same time, I have never heard and read anyone say it like MJ, and I truly could not find alternative explanations that were equally convincing to me. And I thought I questioned a lot already. But no, the book REALLY opened my eyes to the majority of the "business" activity out there (eCommerce forums, tech startups conferences/ events) and made me think hard about who is actually creating any value + who is actually monetizing the value. Disheartening to say but there are so many false positives in entrepreneurship that it clouds my own signals. Despite this, I am happy that this forum exists as a place where I can be as real as I want to be.

I could see where my past ventures have failed and why the "perfect formula" would never be out there. While painful to see the truth, it was also very liberating to know that everyone starts on that same footing and that while there was no "perfect formula", there are timeless principles that can help me avoid making game-breaking decisions, which will on the long-term push me in the right direction.

Hence when I came back ~ 5 months ago, I made the decision to pause my studies and scholarship to (for the first time) devote some serious time and energy to building web apps and validating ideas, not for school, not for society, not for anyone else but me. The hardest thing I had to do was to convince my Mom, who was generally supportive, though after telling her I've had nights having mild panic attacks on what I was going to do. I feel like I'm a crossroad with many many paths, and taking action is the most important attribute for me to hone.

While I've gotten decent feedback from friends on my first few ideas, it's not been easy doing the rest of the heavy lifting. However, the funny thing is that during school, I would get stressed and tired from schoolwork that I would not have juice left for business, and normally resorted to Dota 2 for temporary escapism. But once exams have ended, I found myself to completely lose my enjoyment of Dota 2, I would rather work on my prototype, chat online to find more beta users/ mentors/ like-minded people.

The words just keep flowing, sometimes I wonder why I am so different and driven to do entrepreneurship, it is this whisper in me that tells me I can do it...and on some days, it's the only thing I fall back on.

At least for the next 5 months, I can promise to be active in this community and post questions, updates. I am going to build 3-6 web apps in this period, rapid-MVP style on Producthunt and hope that any of them can gain traction for me to build out over the long term.

Thanks!
 

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lowtek

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Welcome Tony, thanks for sharing your story. Make sure to start an execution thread, I'd love to see how it goes. It sounds like you'll do quite well, as you've already gotten a good amount of experience on the marketing side.
 

socaldude

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Good for you Tony.

It takes a lot of courage especially since your asian to put your studies on pause to pursue something that most parents would hate.

Welcome to the forum.
 
OP
OP
Tony Tong

Tony Tong

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 9, 2018
28
46
28
26
Singapore
Welcome Tony, thanks for sharing your story. Make sure to start an execution thread, I'd love to see how it goes. It sounds like you'll do quite well, as you've already gotten a good amount of experience on the marketing side.
Thanks @lowtek, I'll take a look at how other people post about their execution threads here and model after that.
 
OP
OP
Tony Tong

Tony Tong

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 9, 2018
28
46
28
26
Singapore
Good for you Tony.

It takes a lot of courage especially since your asian to put your studies on pause to pursue something that most parents would hate.

Welcome to the forum.
Thank @socaldude, it helps that my parents used to be brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs as well, so they are not completely oblivious about career paths.

I do hope to be able to add value to the community!
 
OP
OP
Tony Tong

Tony Tong

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 9, 2018
28
46
28
26
Singapore
Hi @lowtek , may I kindly ask how does someone start an execution thread in this forum?

When I click "POST NEW TOPIC" I do not see one with the execution prefix, am I looking at the wrong thing?

Thanks!
 

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