The MerlionI recently spent some time in Singapore and had a chance to talk with a number of startup founders there. The startup environment in Singapore is radically different from that in Japan or America; in both good and bad ways. The last day of my visit, I gave a presentation in which I offered three pieces of (rather presumptuous) advice for Singapore startups.

 

1) The Map is Not the Territory

Singaporean founders are incredibly well informed about the mechanics of running a startup. In fact, on average, they seem better read on the subject than most founders in Silicon Vally. However, Singaporean founders trust too much in this knowledge. There is a widespread, if unspoken, belief that if one executes the “right plan,” they will succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doing all the right things increases your chances of success, but there is no right plan. Whatever plan you have is wrong. You just don’t know exactly what parts of it are wrong yet. You’ll discover the defects soon enough, and if you are skilled, you’ll figure out how to fix them before you run out of money.
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