Product Development in Startups vs Corporations

In my previous post I had discussed about how startups start small and evolve into bigger companies and this process of growth brings many challenges with it. In this post, I want to discuss about how Product Development differs between Corporations and Startups.

We all know, how compact the organizational structure of a startup is. And this compactness has many advantages and benefits. As you can see from the picture below, Startups usually consist of couple of teams only, they are usually Dev Team (which normally includes Designers, Testers and UX Professionals), Sales & Marketing usually bundled together and Support Team. I’m not going to discuss the advantages of a small team that has full focus on a particular idea/product. Rather, I will be discussing more on the disadvantages of a big corporation trying to launch a new “startup” within itself.

Corporations can be huge. They could be divided into several Groups (eg; IT), each Group will have multiple Divisions (eg; Digital Technology) in them, and each Division will have multiple Departments (eg; Product Development) in them, and each Dept will have multiple Units (eg; Software Development) in them and some Units might have different Teams (eg; Product Based Teams) in them.


Above structure was an actual organizational structure in one of the corporations in Malaysia.
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‘Tweet to Dowload’

Twitter-Payment has a great service called “Pay with a Tweet” and “Pay with Facebook Wall Post“. If you have a freebie on your site for download, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t use this kind of service. Since it’s going to drive free traffic to your site from Twitter and Facebook.

Basically, what it does is, it will hide the download link behind their service and only allow the user to download the file after they have either tweeted or posted on their Facebook timeline. It’s has a very simple and straightforward implementation.

Below is an example of Pixellove using the service for their free icons.


Which Social Media Metrics Really Matter

Josue of has asked 55 experts the following question: “If you could measure social media success with only 3 metrics, which 3 would you choose?”

The result is a resounding consensus on the importance of Engagement, followed by Traffic and lastly Conversion. Engagement refers to the level of activity (i.e the comments, likes, retweets, shares etc.) that goes on on the social sites, websites or blogs of that particular brand, product or a campaign. Traffic is obvious, the more traffic the site receives the more awareness and revenue it’s going to generate. And lastly, for most product campaigns, it’s all about the bottom line – revenue. So obviously driving conversions will be the key, be it user registrations or sales.


You can read the individual answers from all 55 experts here. I was honored and humbled to be included in the list too, you can read my response here. Thanks to Josue for the great work!


Hiring the right people for your Startup

Note: You can jump to Personality Plus Test here if you are already familiar with the four temperaments that are discussed below.

More and more companies are using Personality Tests to get the right people for the right positions. For example, if you are Technology Startup and hiring Developers, would you rather hire someone who is very talkative, extrovert, forgetful, not detail-oriented, doesn’t like to follow rules and regulations or someone who is calm, introvert, detail-oriented, persistent, thorough etc? I think the answer is obvious. But let’s say you were hiring a Sales Manager, I think again the answer would be obvious.. you wouldn’t choose an introvert for a Sales position.

The problem is, interview setting is a professional setting, so you don’t really see the real personality or the temperament of a person at interviews. Therefore, more and more companies are now starting to give Personality Tests to the candidates prior to the interview session. Knowing which temperaments are dominant in candidate’s personality will give you a better understanding of the candidate during the interview itself.

Personality Plus

One of such personality tests is Personality Plus which was created by Florence Littauer. It’s one of the popular ones among others, probably due to its straight-forwardness and easily understood nature.

She has divided people into four groups:

  • Choleric – considered to be leader and commander types, being dominant, strong, decisive, and occasionally arrogant. They tend to be good leaders because they are driven to get things done, however they might offend some people along the way. Cholerics are also known as the “Powerful” type. 

    Some famous examples are Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Phil Donahue, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Bill O’Reilly.

  • Melancholy – described by Littauer to be the mental types, with their personality displaying a strong emphasis on thinking, evaluation, and assessment. Their typical behaviour involves thinking, assessing, making lists, evaluating the positives and negatives, and general analysis of facts. They love maps, charts and graphs. They are usually the most intelligent of the four types, however they tend to dwell on details. A Melancholy is a planner, making sure things happen, although sometimes they can paralyze themselves with over-analysis. Lists and “doing things the right way” are characteristics of this personality type. Melancholies are also known as the “Perfect” type. 

    Some famous examples are Hillary Clinton, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh and Beethoven.

  • Sanguine – is a social personality type, displaying characteristics such as a predisposition to socialize and entertain. They enjoy fun, socializing, chatting, telling stories – and are fond of promising the world, because that’s the friendly thing to do. A Sanguine gets on well with people and can get others excited about issues, but cannot always be relied upon to get things done. They love interacting with others and play the role of the entertainer or center of attention in group interactions. They have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. Sanguines are also known as the “Popular” type. 

    Some famous examples are Bill Clinton, Robin Williams, Kelly Ripa and Richard Simmons.

  • Phlegmatic – described as having a flat-type personality, being laid back and desiring a peaceful environment above all else. They are easy going, laid back, nonchalant, unexcitable and relaxed. Desiring a quiet and peaceful environment above all else. They tend not to actively upset people, but their indifference may frustrate people. They try not to make decisions, and generally go for the status quo. They are good as mediators because they don’t usually have many enemies. They also have a “dry” and quick sense of humor. Phlegmatics are also known as the “Peaceful” type. 

    Some famous examples are Calvin Coolidge, Tim Duncan, Sandy Koufax, and Keanu Reeves.

Four temperaments can further be grouped into two: Extroverts and Introverts. Sanguine & Cholerics are naturally extroverts, and Melancholy & Phlegmatics are naturally introverted people.


It’s important to note that, normally each person will have two temperaments, one dominant and another slightly less dominant. For example, your primary temperament could be Choleric, but your secondary temperament could be Melancholy.

Before you use personality tests in your hiring process. Go ahead and test your own personality with this Personality Plus Test that I have created. If you like it, please share it with others. Enjoy!

Jack Ma’s Advice to Entrepreneurs

Summary, with some paraphrasing;

  • Before 20 years old – be a good student, gain experience. This is the time to take risks, fail and learn from your experiences.
  • Before 30 years old – follow somebody, go to small company. Choose a good boss and not chase after a good company. You will learn a lot of things from good boss.
  • Between 30 – 40 years – this is the time to be an entrepreneur and be your own boss.
  • Between 40 – 50 years – do the things that you are good at, don’t try to learn new stuff at this age. Focus on things that you are good at.
  • Between 50 – 60 years – work for the  young people, rely on them, invest in them. Because young people can do better than you.
  • After 60 years old – enjoy the life, spend time with yourself and family.

Jack Ma’s regrets are – that he worked too hard and didn’t spend enough time with his family. And that if he had another chance, he wouldn’t live his life the same.

Motivation, Ability & Attitude

All things being equal, from my observation success or failure of a startup boils down to three main characteristics of its staff: Motivation, Ability & Attitude. This of course, first and foremost applies to the founder, followed by his/her team that supports him/her behind.

  1. Motivation – is the founder motivated to make his startup-idea a success? Is this his own idea that he is passionate about? Or was he put in charge of this startup by someone else (board, investors..)?

    Level of motivation that a founder has for his startup-idea plays a major role in the success of his startup.

  2. Ability – is he capable, both as a leader and a manager? Does he have the expertise in the field that his startup is operating? How is his execution skills? Is he a doer? Does he have the required experience?

    Well-roundedness is the key characteristic of able people – people who get things done. They understand and appreciate the different complexities of running a company. From product development to HR to Operations etc. And they are able to navigate through the many challenges and still get the things done.

  3. Attitude – does he have the right attitude towards the idea, the startup, the way startups normally operate in a chaotic environment, agile methodology, continuous improvement, continuous customer feedback…? Or is he a 9am – 5pm, corporate type of guy?

    Having a right attitude will produce a right behavior and vice versa. (Definition of an attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.)

    It’s hard to change attitudes, and often times it’s impossible to change settled attitudes. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to have the right person as the founder from the beginning. Same goes to the hiring of team members. Most hiring managers tend to pay more attention to CV credentials than an attitude of a person, which I think is a big mistake.

Often times, people have different combination of these three. I hope that your founder has the highest scores in all three, namely; high motivation, strong ability and the right attitude in order to achieve a fully connected cycle to run your startup smoothly.


But realistically, it’s difficult to find an individual that has a fully connected cycle. And it’s more difficult to build a team that has the full-cycle as well.



This is not some sort of management theory from MBA books. It’s just my personal observation throughout the years. Being both as an entrepreneur myself and an employee of startups and big corporation. I, now can see these three characteristics that are needed in the founder & the team to get a good idea turn into a successful startup.

What do you think?

Lean Startup: Applied Wrongly

Eric Ries who has popularized Lean Startup methodology has done an AMA on HackerNews. When he was asked “Are there examples of lean startup ideas going wrong or being misunderstood and leading startups straight to failure?

He had this to say:

“Tons! I think about this all the time, since I feel a responsibility to try and talk about lean startup in such a way that prevents misunderstanding.

I would say the three most fatal misapplications are:

  1. Up and to the right disease.
    Here you split-test everything and just do whatever moves the numbers. pretty soon you are selling porn or psychic hotlines.

  2. No vision, no problems error.
    It’s like trying to do science without a hypothesis. In lean startup we emphasize that people trying to predict the future are often wrong, so it’s best to experiment and pivot as you learn. But some people interpret this to mean that the future is unknowable, there’s no point in having any kind of vision, and you should just ship something and see what happens. the problem with this plan is you are guaranteed to succeed – at seeing what happens. after-the-fact rationalization will prevent any learning, because if you can’t fail you can’t learn. having a big expansive vision is really helpful because it provides lots of falsifiable hypotheses for testing.

  3. Minimum Viable Crapsloppy execution.
    Some people think MVP means just throw garbage at the wall and see what sticks, especially since the M makes people think lean startup is for doing something small. but the truth is if you’re doing something small, you don’t need MVP or lean startup. you only need an MVP if you’re trying something large. further, part of the MVP process is to learn what customers actually value in terms of quality, so we can build something that they perceive as excellent. shipping crap isn’t the goal, and people that go on TechCrunch with garbage and then claim “but it’s an MVP!” are doing it wrong. the hard truth is that spending more time “perfecting” a product in the absence of feedback often makes the product worse, not better.”

I can see the No3 in many startups. You can read the full AMA here.

Disruption in International Money Remittance is Imminent


As I tweeeted earlier, International Money Remitance has many pain points, main of them being the cost of sending money of course..



Below is one of the many solutions that will be coming up soon that will be built on top of free, transparent, public ledger technology called Blockchain. And money will be sent on the Blockchain platform via one of its main apps/features called Bitcoin.

Transaction fees are nearly $0 on the Blockchain, but service providers and apps might charge their own service fees. But these service fees won’t be like the ones above in my tweet for sure.


MailChimp’s Take on UX

Everyone knows how great MailChimp is at what it does. As a tech startup, they have achieved a lot and they are definitely one of the startups who are doing things the right way. So, it’s only natural that when UX team of Mailchimp releases a new eBook that everyone should read it.

It’s an easy read. It’s divided into major sections like: Collaboration, Research, Design, Development and Refinement. It’s written from their own perspective, so there are a lot insights into how MailChimp approaches things like building a functional team, creating conducive office environment, how each team do what they do etc . I’m sure everyone can find something beneficial in it. I did.


Download the eBook