2020 was a strange year. It was a year full of ups and downs, surprises, frustrations, self-realizations, and more.
In the startup world, everyone frequently gives this analogy of having to figure out how to make a parachute mid-air after being dropped from a flight without a parachute. That was 2020 for me and I am sure it was the same for many of you out there.
COVID-19 has forced us to adapt. It has taught us that we do not need many of the things in life that we used to think we needed under the disguise of being social animals. We do not need to go out and about every day. We do not need to splurge on fancy dinners all the time. While having face-to-face interactions would have been great, we could build caring relationships over calls even with the video off. It also taught us the feeling of having to work with someone that you’ve never met and having that “aha” moment when you can finally put a face to the voice. …
Due to the recent circumstances with COVID-19, many of us are going to have to / have had to work from home for the first time. My company, nexlabs, has also recently started doing so.
Many teams rely on physical interactions in an office environment to get work done. All of this is going to change. I hope the following tips and tricks will help ease the pain for you.
The most important part of working from home is to set up the right environment for your productivity. This does mean that you probably should not be working beside your bed; for obvious reasons. …
Disclaimer: The following thoughts are my own and they do not represent any organization or company.
2 years ago, I tried to #GoCashless in Myanmar. If you have not read my article from back then, here’s the link.
I do not think it would be surprising to you that I failed miserably back then. I encountered situations where I would often be greeted with “certain looks” whenever I tried to pay with Visa or mastercard. If that does not put you off, I am pretty sure having to pay 2% — 2.5% surcharge on every single transaction since merchants were not willing to absorb the merchant discount rate (MDR) would definitely do the magic. Merchants, I get it! You do not want to split some of your hard-earned profit to banks and often times, your profit margins were not even as high as 2.5%. Banks, I get it! You also have running cost and fees that you’d have to pay to Visa, mastercard, and others. Ultimately, the consumer, who wants to help everyone in the ecosystem to save the cost of handling cash, would have to foot the bill. If that does not put you off, how about having no cash but only cards in a dinner meeting with the in-laws for the first time? Yes, one could only blame me one for not carrying any cash. …
It’s been phenomenal living in Myanmar for the past five years. Before I left the country to further my studies in Singapore less than a decade ago, I told my family that I probably would not be coming back to Myanmar and that I would be building my future elsewhere.
Fast forward to 2017, not only I find myself back in Myanmar but also being excited to be part of Myanmar’s transformation story. Different media have dubbed the story with multiple eye-catching headlines. But one that has stuck throughout the years is the story of “Myanmar’s leapfrog.”
When we think about leapfrogging in Myanmar, we tend to only think about the communications & connectivity leapfrogging (i.e., over 60% smartphone penetration in less than five years). Over the past two years, this seems to be a recurring and the only theme when it comes to leapfrogging. The growth is explosive, surely. But what about other sectors of leapfrogging? What about leapfrogging in Myanmar’s nascent financial ecosystem? …
In the last 30 days, I started using my credit and debit cards more and more. I wanted to understand why only a few people use cards here in Myanmar. There are so many different types of cards that you can use in Myanmar: JCB, UnionPay, VISA, mastercard, MPU and more. You name it — we have it. This also reminds me of my childhood where we had GSM, CDMA, Cellular, WCDMA and other different standards, yet, nothing worked well.
Hence, I started prioritizing card payments over cash payments in my daily transactions. Here are my findings.
Let’s not be so negative and let’s be thankful that we can use cards in Myanmar. The banking sector has grown quite significantly (I didn’t say fast though). We have that to be thankful for. Just a few years back, cards were unheard of. Using a foreign card to withdraw money was impossible. Now, not only it has become possible, we even have VISA/mastercard credit cards now. …
[This is a repost from my now defunct blog]
As a first-time startup founder, it’s quite overwhelming when it comes to preparing the paperwork for your first round of funding. I wanted to share a simple kit that helped me while I was raising first and second round for my venture, nexlabs.
This is what you bring to your 30-minute coffee meetings. You should have this with you at all times. You never know when you’d be bumping into a potential investor.
Entrepreneurship has been made popular that every keyword that you drop into that Google search box, entrepreneurship comes up to be the first. When I first started, I thought that being an entrepreneur has opportunities for amazing learning experiences. That is true for most of the cases.
But there’s apparently an ugly underlying middle-layer truth — there’s bitterness behind every amazing learning experience.
Forget about being on the same wavelength.
Your friends will start to misunderstand you. Your colleagues will think that you’re being selfish. …