Thursday, February 28, 2008
Today I went to the opening of the JobsDB Career Fair at KLCC Convention Center. Pretty cool stuff. But I'll blog about it later.
Anyway so I went to the Career Fair right.. and I took some pictures and wanted to blog about it because it's the first Paperless Career Fair in Malaysia ever held. Like really pretty high-tech lar.
So I came home in the evening, uploaded all the pictures from my camera to my computer and you know what I found?
MY CAMERA WAS FULL OF CAMWHORE PICTURES AGAIN!!!
Samantha... I think we need to lay some ground rules here.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's about... our first year at Nuffnang.
In the Beginning
It's hard to imagine the life I am living now to the life that I lived one year ago. Time flies.Exactly one year ago, at this very same minute, I was tossing and turning on my bed trying to get some sleep.
Nuffnang.com was due to be launched at between 2.00AM-4.00AM on the 27th of February 2007. We had to launch at that very odd time because Ming went to some Feng Shui Master who told us that it was the best time to launch our website.
I eventually managed to get a short hour's sleep and woke up in the middle of the night hoping that the clock would show 2.00AM and we could all start getting to work in bringing the website to life. But alas, it was only 1.30AM and I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, listening to the fingers on my alarm clock tick.
In what felt like an eternity later, the clock finally hit 2.00AM.
I jumped out of bed and straight to my laptop. I saw Ming and another colleague of mine already online on MSN waiting to get to work. We opened up a chatroom and started to bring the website to life. I was nervous. I really was.
The first launch was meant to be a small Beta launch which involved just a few of my blogger friends to test the site with me.
By 4.00AM the website was online and I had made this blog entry on my blog to share with my readers about what the "leetle dotcom" I always referred to really was.
The First Baby Steps
The next day, before I knew it... a number of my friends had started joining Nuffnang to test it out. NONE of them expected to make any amount of money... they were all just being good friends of mine, supporting me in every way that they could. I still remember them today: Cely, WilliamLeong, Jasonmumbles and Rojaks to name a few.
Soon the number of sign ups we had picked up and by the end of the first day we had over 50 blogs signed up with us. This was a huge achievement for us back then.
In our business plan, we were only hoping to hit 300 blogs in a span of the first 3 months so 50 in the first day was... unbelievable. We eventually hit our target of 300 bloggers in a span of 3 weeks but not without problems.
The number of bloggers signing up with us was so immense that we kept having to upgrade from server to server and optimize our code to ensure we can cope with the load better.Nuffnang Opens Up To Malaysia
I remember the first time we publicly went to promote Nuffnang among the blogging community. Wingz, always a true friend and always will be... was nice enough to allow us a spot at the Together Gather blogger gathering that he and his group were putting together.
We set up a booth there to dispense information to our bloggers, but always staying within our bounds to respect the sanctity of a blogger gathering.A blogger gathering is for bloggers to get together and have fun. If any companies like ourselves were to participate as a sponsor or otherwise, we had better learn to behave and not try to hard sell our product way too much to the bloggers.
We had some mixed reactions from bloggers. Some welcomed the existence of Nuffnang, some were skeptical.
The Bloggers Who Believed In Us
Let's face it.
When Nuffnang first started out, we didn't have that beautiful and high-tech a website that we have now. We didn't have a stable of advertisers waiting tied around our belt and we didn't even have the big team that we have today to support the network. Nuffnang was... like it or not... Ming, me and another 2 dudes.Even under these circumstances, a good number of the top bloggers in Malaysia believed in us from the start and have stuck with us through thick and thin since then.
I can't possibly name them all but to name a few... Shaolintiger, Chanlilian, Kimberlycun, Jolene Lai, Suanie, Kyspeaks, Nicole, Xes, Jeff Ooi and last but not least Kenny Sia... all of which who had put their faith in us from the very beginning.
Thank you so very much to all of you. I hope we never ever disappointed any of you.
Finding Our First Ads
Once the first bloggers had joined us, we had pressure. Pressure to find ads to satisfy the growing community of bloggers under Nuffnang. Now Ming and I knew nobody in the advertising industry. Not soul. But we knew we had to find our way in.
We started off by reading magazines just to find the ads on them and writing them all down on a piece of paper to later compile their contact numbers and make cold calls. Cold calls are hard to make. Especially when you're from a very unknown company, worse still a dotcom.
Many skeptics told us that cold calling will get us no where and they had good reason to believe so. But Ming and I didn't have anywhere else to turn to. It's either we cold call... or we sit around hoping that advertisers might find us. We chose the former.
Out of every 10 cold calls, 9 will have us rejected for various reasons ranging from "I not free" to "We no budget" (When they really do have). Only 1 will result in a meeting, giving us a chance to pitch.
Our first clients were Exabytes and a boutique hotel in Singapore called Perak Hotel but they were a good start. In the beginning, we couldn't afford to be choosers. We took anything that came by. I remember servicing the client for one of our first ads.
The client owned a small website that sold parenting items and her budget was only to spend RM100, and on top of that we had to design her banners for her as well. We took the business anyway because there wasn't anything else for us at the time. Those were hard times.
3 months after we launched... in June... we ran a campaign for our very first BIG client: Nike. It was for their very localized "Jangan Togel" campaign and it was our first chance to prove ourselves. I was so excited by it and it meant so much to us just to have that one campaign eventhough the people who gave us that deal at the very beginning probably didn't realize it.
Subsequently, we kept working hard to build our clients and eventually closed more deals. From Nike, to Honda,to Nestle and the likes.
The Growth Stage
From the 6th month onwards, things started to grow really really fast for Nuffnang. We were securing more and more ad deals with more and more clients and our team was growing fast. We not only had hired more but also expanded from Penang to open up 2 more offices, a humble office in KL and one in Singapore.An important component of our growth is in finding the right people in our team. Believe me when I say this... the right people are very hard to find.... and when you find the right people to work with, it's like finding the love of your life.
You go to work every day very happy to be able to know that you're working with the very best, and when you know you're working with the best you know the company you're in is going somewhere.
To name a few of the Nuffnang team that had been essential to us:
Tim 2, Lee Meng, Nicholas, Firdauz, Raff, Samantha, Hui Wen, Skyler, Michelle, Su Ann and not forgetting Suet Li.Ming and I did not bring Nuffnang to where it is today. You guys did... all we did was help.
The Critics Speak
From the birth of Nuffnang to around the 9th month, Nuffnang has always had its skeptics. People, some of them bloggers who always did whatever they could to put us down for whatever motives they had. They bashed us online and offline, downplaying all the things we had done right and magnifying the things we had done wrong.
Fortunately for me, I personally never lost any sleep over whatever any of these people talked about. Most of the time in fact, I never really read any of them eventhough I knew they were there hoping to get my attention.
I ignored it all not because I felt cocky or arrogant enough to ignore them, but because I always believed that an opinion is only as good as the person that gives it. More often than not, that person is either an anonymous blogger or someone who always had ulterior motives that he did not make clear of, making him a person of no credibility.
Furthermore, I decided that if I were to read each and every one of these things that the skeptics wrote, it would leave very little time for me to do what matters... to work.
Kimberlycun once told me
"The worst thing that you can ever do to anyone who's out to smear you is ignore him like he never existed."
Honestly, I never believed it to be true at the time. But guess what.. it really turned out to be true.
Sooner or later, the critics got so worked up they started to cook up rumours. The most recent one that happened last year cracked me up the most.
I was in Singapore sitting with Ming at his home after my cruise when a journalist called Ming up to ask
"Ming... I heard that you and your partner Timothy had a big fight and are no longer in talking terms. So bad that you sent him away on a cruise".
Ming looked at me sitting on his couch, trying very very hard to hold back his laughter when he finally replied to the journalist
"Hey.. actually Tim is here with me right now and we're going through some work together. You wanna talk to him?"
When I took over the phone from Ming, the journalist sounded really really surprised to hear my voice. We cleared things up and we all had a good laugh at the end of it.
Nuffnang today is a company that is growing so fast in both the Malaysian and Singaporean markets it's very very exciting to be at the front seat. Our company has grown so much so quickly that for the first time ever, I actually see myself sitting on a different role.I used to have to handle everything on my own. The accounts, invoicing, HR, admin, marketing, hell I even used to reply the Helpdesk e-mails by myself etc. Today there are people in place doing all that and doing a better job than I could ever do myself.
I find that my role at Nuffnang has changed, not because I have become less important but because Nuffnang has grown up and Ming and I need not babysit it anymore. It can run on its own. My job is no longer to feed it every day but to keep it growing.When I look back that it has only been one year since Nuffnang has started, I can't believe it myself... it certainly felt very much longer than that. I look back and I see not only what Nuffnang has grown into... but what I have learned and what good friends I have made along the way.As such, I shall end this entry of mine with a dedication.
I dedicate this blog entry to all the people that are responsible for bringing Nuffnang to where it is today.
Thank you all for all you have done for all of us at Nuffnang.
I am forever grateful.
If I had missed your name, it doesn't mean that you're any less important... it just means I'm up too late typing this while I should be in bed sleeping by now.
Nuffnang has had one helluva First Year... I can't wait to see what the second year holds for us.
Happy Birthday Nuffnang!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
While in the office, one of my friends forwarded me a link to an item on sale on eBay.
It was for a bottle that costs RM1,000.
RM1,000 FOR A BOTTLE OF WATER!!! EVEN BRAD PITT DON'T DRINK WATER THAT COSTS THAT MUCH!
My first reaction to that was obviously
But I read on a little bit about the item.
THIS CHILD DOESN’T HAVE ACCESS TO FRESH WATER
Neither do 1 billion people in the world.
2 million die each year from drinking contaminated water.
Women & children walk for hours to collect water, weighing around 25 kilos each time.
Buy this bottle of One water within the next 2 hours and you will be contributing towards the purchase of pumps that will provide fresh water into African villages.
Hurry, you only have 2 hours to bid! MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THIS COULD BE YOUR CHILD.Please check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_9jeRTOUnM
and also spread the word
Grab as many as you can from http://search.ebay.com.my/_W0QQsassZleeseeyin
So I took 10 minutes of my day to do a little research on the One Water Foundation and in the process watched a video on The One Foundation.
I gave Ming a phone call after that and said
"Hey... I found this charity foundation selling RM1,000 for a bottle of water. You wanna buy one just for charity?"
Ming has always been up for doing some charity or community work no matter how big or small or company is. He believes that every company can contribute in their own ways.
Hence with his approval, I clicked the button which took me to the point of no return.And there you have it. For the first time in my life, I bought a bottle of water that costs RM1,000.
If you guys wanna donate (in any small amount), you can call my friend.
Her name is Mehlin and her number is 012 3312 989.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
When I look back, being a blogger myself and being a company of bloggers has really influenced the way Nuffnang is today.
Let me share my early days of blogging with you.
I started off with a blog that just wasn't meant to be read by anyone other than my friend (Boss Lepton) and I but someway somehow, it did.
As our blog got a little bit more well-known in the community, we began to interact with a number of bloggers, bloggers who welcomed us with open arms into this new community.
I met many many new friends online all through blogging, we exchanged MSN contacts, left comments on each others' blogs, it was almost as if we were hanging out with each other on a daily basis.
It was a relationship that I was very new to. It felt very weird.
I mean here will be someone that I've never met before in my entire life but I seem to know everything about just because of her blog. I know where she works, I know what she likes, what she dislikes, I even know who her friends are... and we've NEVER EVEN MET!!!
Yet every now and then it's always fun to meet the real person behind the blog. And that's when blogger gatherings always came into play.
Two bloggers in the Malaysian blogging community were always quite involved in putting together these gatherings: Jolene and Yee Hou.
The first gathering I was invited to was to the one at Burger King where for the first time ever I met bloggers whom I am now really good friends with today.
I subsequently attended a few more gatherings after that so much that I was almost addicted to these blogger gatherings at one point in time.
Now it was only at our Wizard World blogger gathering that I actually saw the real work it took to plan blogger gatherings that I always just went to enjoy.
Some of the bloggers who were there left without paying for their food (perhaps maybe because they forgot), leaving the organizers behind to pick up the bill. So there you had the organizers who worked without pay or anything just to play host and have a blogger gathering for people to get together and not only are they sometimes not given enough credit but they even have to foot the bill at the end of it.
By then, the idea that would be called Nuffnang was under works.
I went back and shared my experience with Ming and the both of us agreed on one thing, that part of Nuffnang's goal will be to organize blogger gatherings to bring bloggers together, and all this out of the company's own resources.
Hence in the past that is what we have always been doing with our most sincere hearts.
We partner with a few Nuffnang bloggers who are looking to put a gathering together and say
"Okay... Nuffnang will get the venue, handle the logistics and foot the bill. All you have to focus on is plan the program and do what you think bloggers wanna do at a gathering".
It has worked very well for us in the past.
Our Penang blogger event, planned by Cedric and Warren was a huge success and all the bloggers at the event loved it.As Nuffnang grew larger in size, it attracted a lot of investors all looking to invest fortunes into Nuffnang and valuing Nuffnang in the millions.
One thing that always stuck out to them was
"Why are you guys spending so much on these community events?
You're not making any money from it and the bloggers aren't paying you anything for it... shouldn't you be spending money on events to promote your services to potential advertisers instead since that's where the money comes from?"
I never blamed them for thinking that way since after all, hey.. that's how perhaps any other businessman will think and rightfully so, but that's only until they hear our piece as bloggers ourselves.We tell them that Nuffnang is NOT all about making money and most importantly it is about the community. Every company no matter how big or small should have CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives to give back to the community in whatever small way they can.
The community we are directly involved in is the blogger community so what's wrong with spending a percentage of our revenue on events that bring bloggers together, just for fun.
They all nod... and all eventually agree.
On the 15th of March, Nuffnang will be having the largest blogger gathering ever to hit Malaysian soil. It is also the first cross-border one where we bring Nuffnangers from Singapore over just to meet the Nuffnangers in Malaysia.
The entire event is expected to cost over RM50,000 which includes the transportation and accommodation for the 100 Nuffnangers from Singapore who will be crossing our border into Malaysia.We have never done anything this scale before but I find ourselves in a very fortunate position.
Nuffnang has grown tremendously... as our community grows, so will the size of our events.
Pink Pau is one of the main bloggers who are in charged of planning the fun and important parts of the event. Assisted by a number of people from the Nuffnang team, she will be putting together our very first Nuffnang Pajama Party in which Chipster has come in as a huge partner, followed by Panasonic and Tune Hotels as our Official Hotel.
When Pink Pau first suggested a Pajama Party, I immediately thought
But after some deliberation, both Ming and I thought it might be pretty fun and ... imagine the aftermath of such a party.
After the blogger gathering, there are going to be pictures of bloggers all over, all dressed in their PJs. Of course, if you don't want to go with the theme you don't HAVE to.. but hey it'll be fun to anyway.
What really really sold the idea to me was when I read about another Pajama Party in Singapore on Pink Pau's blog. As Chipster has done a lot to help us put this event together, we decided to get them into the game.
For most of our gatherings, we normally try to include a minimum-effort kind of thing that a blogger has to do to get in.
The reason is simple.
In the past we tried to do without it and what happened was thousands of bloggers would e-mail us wanting a ticket resulting in a long waiting list.
The worst part was, on the day itself, many of the bloggers who requested for the tickets never showed up, depriving the bloggers who genuinely wanted to go but couldn't get their hands on a ticket or two.
Of course most companies get their people to pay RM20 or RM50 per head and that was something we could do to ensure that people didn't simply take their tickets for granted.
But I never wanted Nuffnang to be all about money so we get Nuffnangers to take a picture of themselves in the PJs they'll be wearing to the event and holding a packet of Chipster.The result was unbelievable.
Check out a few of the unbelievable creative entries that some of our bloggers did.
Put such a high standard for us.
For me, this will be what I'll be wearing to the event.
A long sleeve PJ-like shirt and track pants.
Yes I sleep with track-pants on... believe it or not. Got into that habit while I was living in London where it was way too cold on your balls to sleep with shorts.
I even got myself a little bantal busuk as an accessory that I'll be bringing that night bwahahaha
I am looking forward to our Nuffnang Birthday Bash this 15th March 2008.
It will be the biggest blogger gathering ever, and it makes me proud to be one of the people behind the scenes.
See you there guys! And if you guys don't wanna go there just to see me.. you can go there to see Kenny Sia, Xiaxue, Dawn Yang... I don't know.. you tell me.. everyone who is anyone in the Malaysian-Singaporean blogosphere will be there.
If you haven't signed up for a ticket yet... do it soon ok?
Deadline is in a few days. All you have to do is take a picture of yourself and a chipster pack, post it on your blog and send the link to pajamaparty[@]nuffnang[dot]com[dot]my
Friday, February 22, 2008
He is 24 years old this year.
The first time I heard that they were getting married, I shamefully asked
But the fella quite clever.
He knew cynics like me would say that so he purposely announced he was getting married one year ago and is now only getting married.
So either... he managed to find a way to delay the growth of the fetus or... it really truly is a marriage out of love.It's embarrassing how many people (me included) are unbelievably cynical when it comes to couples marrying early.
How we just can't give them the benefit of the doubt for once and not ask
"Why getting married so early? Pregnant ah?"
But if it's any consolation... in my career right now and at my position, I feel a little more comfortable with getting married. It's just a matter of finding the right one now.
Gone are the days when I would panic when my girlfriend said
"Darling... I'm late".
Seriously it wasn't funny.
I had one girlfriend who could be late for 1 and a half months... ONE AND A HALF FRIGGIN MONTHS LATE... ANY GUY WOULD'VE BEEN PISSED SCARED BY THEN.
But now if it happens... I'm a lot less scared, as long as I know I have the right girl.
And hey, I don't see any taboo with that.
In fact if I were ever to have a shotgun wedding I would have a HUGE Grand wedding dinner with all my relatives, friends and of course friends of my proud parents.
Then I would go up and give my bridegroom speech to the hundreds of people out there just like at the National Youth Convention.Before I start saying how much I love the bride I would say
"Ladies and gentlemen.... before I go on with the programme for tonight, let me just say that the rumours ARE TRUE.
My beautiful bride tonight... is carrying my child. It wasn't intentional. She told me that she was on the pill... but she was apparently joking".
Seriously, that's the best thing to do... SQUASH all the rumours.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
That was until I did a bit more research on what the WWF’s mission is and learned that it isn’t all about saving wildlife... it’s about saving the world and all the people in it.
And when I say saving the world.. I don’t mean in the silly “Save the Cheerleader Save The World” kind of way, I mean really saving the world.
Here is an organization that works full-time in saving the world but something we all neglect… why? Because they aren’t saving the world in a sexy way… there’s not saving it from Dr. Evil who wants to blow the planet Earth up
or they’re not saving it from a bad hero called Sylar who wants to…. I don’t know… rule the world?
Then of course the common question is… “How are they saving the world? They’re just saving the animals?”
Well let me explain this.
Everything in the ecosystem plays a part in ensuring the world revolves the way it’s meant to. Take for example frogs and bats who are responsible for keeping the population of insects in check.
What happens if frogs and bats were to suddenly become extinct?
There will be a rise in pest attacks on our food crops and a spread of diseases because don’t forget, mosquitoes are responsible for spreading Malaria or Dengue and frogs eat mosquitoes.
What about wild animals?
Wild animals interact with each other and with plants in the forest in very complex ways. Without animals, the forests may die and when the forests are gone, our water supply will be affected and climate change will become worse.
Heck all of a sudden it’ll be snowing in Penang and you know how many people will die if that happens?
You know how many people go fry Kuay Teow in Penang without their shirts on each day?
Hence the WWF does the almost unimaginable job of keeping our ecosystem in balance. If they fail… we all die! But yet, they’re not given enough credit.. maybe because people (like myself not too long ago) used to misunderstand their purpose.
Their purpose isn’t just to take care of Pandas
It’s to Save The World with all of us in it!
Anyway, just recently WWF approached me and asked if I were willing to write something for them on my blog and I agreed to do it for free. That’s the very least I can do considering how little I had done for them all my life.
WWF’s current focus is on saving our Sea Turtles.
Now there are seven species of sea turtles, four of which can be found in Malaysian waters and one of which: the Leatherback turtle, is going to be locally extinct in Rantau Abang, Terengganu.Recently only a few have followed their routine of returning to nest there and WWF feels it may be because of the growing global demand in turtle meat, eggs and shells which cause them to be hunted in the wild and the use of 10-inch or larger size mesh fishing nets which these turtles often get caught in and drown.
Pollution as usual also plays a part.
Leatherbacks which feed on jellyfish very often mistake floating plastic bags for jellyfish and end up dying after eating them.
How bad is that?
Imagine going to a restaurant and eating a dish that looks like a steak, but is actually a plastic bag in disguise and you don’t even know it until it’s all in our stomach and you start feeling like you’re gonna die.
Some of these things like collection of turtle eggs without a license and trade in turtle shells and other parts are already made illegal but making the laws are one thing, enforcing it is another.
Like it or not, enforcements costs money and that’s why WWF is out looking for donors who might help their goal of enhancing enforcement of legislation. With less than 1% of the coastline of Malaysia protected as nesting homes for turtles, WWF also needs funds to advocate for the establishment of more protected areas.
How Can We Help?
Well for one we can SMS WWF *Space*
i) Don’t eat dishes or buy products made out of these endangered species like turtle eggs, tiger meat and etc etc. This is something I already don’t do and will NEVER do.
ii) Don’t litter! So the next time you go to our beautiful Penang beach.
If you wanna learn more about what the WWF does in Malaysia and donate, check out their website here.