From a heartfelt realisation of a freelance designer to a spider-seller turned startup founder
Throughout the year, e27 has published contents about startups and the people who are behind it –and these stories are often deeply personal.
By digging into their soul, these authors are able to remind their readers about things that mattered. More importantly, they have also encouraged them to do something about it.
Our year-in-review piece this time is an homage to ten most inspiring and curiosity-tickling features published on our platform.
1. Gig workers are often under-represented and under-recognised, and we need to change that
This piece was written by ShengJie Teh, our community contributor who is also the founder of 3Clicks, a freelance service marketplace. Teh wrote in the feature that it is frustrating how under appreciated freelancers are, and took it upon himself to create the company.
This piece helps readers to see from the standpoint of a freelancer-turned-startup-founder that seeks to solve the problems he used to encounter. Teh found out that the problem these gig workers face mainly has to do with the limited access to more opportunities, against the traditional methods of “word of mouth” and matching agencies.
Without being overly promotional on the writer’s product, the article provides readers with the outlook of freelance work and ties it with how the platform he founded could help. It is a truly refreshing read and a great reminder of how potential the gig-working market is.
2. This company is on a mission to make Myanmar more economically inclusive
In this article, we got an insider look to Myanmar, a young startup ecosystem on the rise. The company being featured is Get with its two products Get Digital Store, which helps users to become micro-entrepreneurs with its point-of-sale (POS) machine, and Get Ride, a commission-free community-based ride-hailing network launched just within this month.
The article features Nyein Chan Soe Win, who has a vision for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the backbone of his country. In this feature, Win spoke a lot about how Myanmar can rise in Southeast Asia’s startup scene, and one of the ways is by championing community and striving for inclusivity.
3. I tried out JDVirtual for grocery shopping. Fun and convenient, but is it worth the price?
Indonesian operation of Chinese e-commerce company JD launched its New Retail platform JDVirtual at Commuter Line train stations in Greater Jakarta Area, and Anisa Menur, our Senior Correspondent tried it out and wrote about it.
The service would enable Commuter Line passengers to buy grocery products, from toothpaste to soy sauce, by scanning QR codes on a type of board installed at the train stations. It was launched following the opening of its unmanned store JD.ID X at a shopping mall in North Jakarta.
In this feature, readers are taken along the journey of testing the concept of virtual store in the busy, metropolitan city of Jakarta by the writer. The writer then found out that the convenience of scanning QR code was not worth the shipping cost and waiting time for items that can be bought in the nearest convenient store directly.
4. Why “I’ll walk you out” was the most famous phrase in our early startup
The intriguing title won us over. This one was written by Sprout founder Patrick Gentry, who contributed this community article as a reminder for readers to not be a robot in a heavily-automated startup game, especially in the human relationship.
To do so, the writer highlighted the importance of building a culture that will truly distinguish a startup instead of offering perks. Gentry emphasised on the need in startup to have a direct, honest, personal [live!] communication.
So Gentry began to walk employees out at the end of the day, and everyone in Sprout followed suit. Employees would use these opportunities to get to know someone they didn’t directly work with, or deepen their friendship with someone they did.
Gentry said that this simple ritual helped his team build trust, share vision, and uncover issues in those critical early days of the company, something our reader can definitely learn from.
5. How a lazy student who caught and sold spiders transformed himself into a successful founder
The feature is not just another story of a school dropout finding startup glory. It is one of a young entrepreneur who caught an opportunity in a meticulous and appealing slide presentation he made as a student.
The story revolves around Eugene Cheng, who co-founded HighSpark, a strategic presentation consultancy and presentation training company, alongside his co-founder Kai Xin. This one is a celebration of a young, brilliant mind that will show the readers how opportunities are always around the corner if we dare enough to take the turn.
6. My startup journey: I would rather fail than regret
Kelvin Ang, founder of carreviwsncare.com or CarRC, contributed this piece and we loved it! Directly quoting Ang on this:
While my colleagues and friends were enjoying every weekend watching movies, hanging out, and getting drunk, I stayed at my house to work for my goals. There were countless times where I had grown tired and wanted to give up, but the desire to get out of becoming an employee was so strong and eventually pushed me to continue.
Ang was candid about taking a lonelier path to get to the desired lifestyle of having his own startup since 2012. He worked day job only to get home to his auto website business that’s now become CarRC, an all-car needs platform and has lived the life he’s always fought for.
7. How one woman is disrupting the entire manufacturing process in India
This is the one feature story that will grow wings on little girls’ back, or at least their parents who read the piece. Our Editor, Sainul Abudheen, interviewed Sonam Motwani, the founder of Rolling Cube, a custom manufacturing startup that would enable anyone to build customised personalised products at the ease of their desktop.
Motwani started off dreaming to become astronaut but found herself designing and building serious hardware products such as electric race cars in the college. She became passionate about hardware, and upon graduating in 2013, joined Procter & Gamble in its technology division, and later, joining a manufacturer sanitary napkins.
Seeing how manufacturing works up and close, Motwani began considering starting her own business in manufacturing industry that will address issues such as difficulty in accessing resources, lack of cost transparency, and underutilised capacity at manufacturers. Thus, Rolling Cube was born.
8. Stripe CTO David Singleton on what makes an effective developer team
One person who believes users should drive product development decisions is David Singleton, CTO at global e-payments infrastructure company Stripe. In his interview with Yon Heong Tung, our Senior Writer, Singleton said that it is important for developers to adopt and maintain a ‘user-first’ mindset.
This philosophy is enshrined in Stripe’s vision. From the very beginning, Stripe’s pitch to businesses is that it makes it easy for them to implement a payments infrastructure, by simply adding a few lines of code.
Being able to have a closer look at how one of the fastest growing fintech in the ecosystem run its company was the reason this one has to be on our top 10 list.
9. The extraordinary tale of a Filipino geek who swam against the odds in life
This one tells the story of Clark Urzo, one of the two entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia to win the Pioneer tournament — a programme launched by Daniel Gross (whose startup Cue was acquired by Apple in 2013) and funded by Marc Andreessen and Stripe to discover the “lost Einsteins” of the world.
Talking with Urzo, who is now 23-year-old, readers would not expect how dark his childhood was. Urzo was selected for creating a new programming language, which enables anyone who can code to contribute to serious physics research (for example, simulations of gravitating systems). This opens up the field to the wondrous forces of Open Source and promotes open and accountable science along the way.
10. On this online dating platform, your looks don’t matter but your money does
If there is one irresistible thing about a story, it is when it combines romance and money into one piece. This features tells us about Malaysia-based Sugarbook, a platform where the members are sugar daddies/mommies, who are financially capable to support sugar babies financially and willing to share their wide influential network of friends and experiences.
In sugar dating, people of all genders form a relationship with a mutual understanding that all relationships are negotiable and that finances play a major role. This features helps us see sugar dating as just another form of business opportunity, which calls for a solution to solve customers’ pain points.
The post We look back to the 10 most-inspiring features from the ecosystem appeared first on e27.
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