Saturday, July 29, 2006

Putting things in place

The notion among most dotcom skeptics is that dotcom startups are poor. They think that dotcom startups have little cashflow and almost no cash and they're right!

Although my partner and I have been lucky enough to find financial backing that would cut us some slack, we always fear the day that we might run out of money. So for now, we're a very stingy dotcom. We stinge on everything we can except for one thing: People.

I've learned in the past that good people are hard to find and when you pay peanuts you get monkeys. So when we employed our first two programmers just last week, we weren't afraid to assure them that should the company do well in future, they will be handsomely rewarded.

But we do stinge on everything else.

For example, we didn't buy our computers.

We bought the parts and assembled them ourselves (though we actually did this not only for the cost-saving benefit but also because we needed to customize each PC we had since they each had different purposes which was exactly what Google did for their first computers).

Meet Mohd. Zacky.

Zacky is an outstanding computer engineering student that won scholarships after scholarships during his academic life. He is technically the 3rd of our 3 first employees but then again... I don't know if we can count him in as an employee because we don't pay him.

Zacky was an old school friend of mine that I happened to meet up with weeks ago (he also happened to be using in the past to find students without knowing that it was my little toy project).

When Zacky met up with me and heard our business idea, he desperately wanted to be a part of it in spite of me repeatedly telling him that we can't afford to pay him because a lot of our money was already going to go to the 2 programmers we just hired.

But it didn't matter to him.

Zacky told me that all he wanted was to be a part of it and learn all he could. Ming and I admired his drive, so we took him on with the promise that if we grew in future and he was still with us, we would give him a full-time job after he finished his final year at university in 2007.

I brought Zacky up because he had an essential part in assembling our computers.

Being an Economics student, I had no idea how to assemble a computer of my own but I knew I had to learn if I was going to be in the business and if I believed that this was only the first of the thousand computers I will be assembling in my lifetime.

Zacky was the teacher and I was the student.

We started with all the parts that we bought from PC Depot in Penang.

We sourced the entire island and we found that the cheapest computer parts are sold at PC Depot and the best part of it is that you don't even have to haggle.

Its fixed price is already the cheapest you will ever find.

So first came the parts of our office's very first computer.

Then came the fun of putting everything together.

And after all that was done...


If you're wondering why the monitor is white when the PC casing is black, the truth is we didn't buy the monitor. We salvaged it from some old office equipment we found in our office building.

Of course, there are some things that can't be saved on like original software ie Microsoft Windows which costed us a bomb.


Believe it or not, for now we can't even afford to have Microsoft Office installed in all our computers since that costs over RM500 each (Pirated software is OUT OF THE QUESTION for companies)!!!

Only one of our computers which we're planning to get next week will have Microsoft Office. Everyone will just have to share :P

We are so poor... we are so poor....


Anonymous said...

My response and Yothemans were the same...."O M G !!!! Zacky !?!?"

Anonymous said...

Well, to be honest, I can help you guys too in the technical side. I can do both hardware and software stuff. Been building comps for people with cheap prices which cost lower than even the market price of building PCs (Such as the current one Zacky helped you build). No worries, I'll do it voluntary. =)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you need to buy any parts, you can always let me know too. I'm studying in Cyberjaya/KL, the land of friggin cheap parts. I'll be coming back to Penang for mid-term break next week too. *nudge nudge* ^^

Boss Stewie said...

how cheap are the parts that you can get lance

say a decent processor with 1 gb ram , 80 gb hd and dvd drive and motherboard with integrated sound/graphics...

how much will it cost you in 'the land of cheap parts'?

Anonymous said...

You can use linux + open office. They're quite easy to use and it's free. For the purposes of word processing and spreadsheet, it's almost as good. There are lots of open source software out there.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, open office works with windows too.

Anonymous said...

Well, say a basic P4 2.4GHz C proccessor, 1GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, some simple Intel mobo, and yea a char-par-lang casing with a modest PSU would cost about RM1000 in an estimate figure. =)

And yes, agreeable with anonymous, open office and many open source software will save you that much cash and keep you up-to-date without that much risk. Zacky might be able to fill you in if he knows that field. ^^

*hmmm... helping boss stewie would probably destroy any remaining anonimity lance has left... risky risky...*

Anonymous said...

Don't know where to share this, but just to show some of my experiences building rigs, here's my rig which I built for myself on early Dec 2005 btw (Delete this comment if its a space consuming thing):

Proc: AMD 64 X2 3800+ (RM1350)
Mobo: Abit AN8-SLI Fatal1ty (RM790)
RAM: Kingston 1024MB/1GB X2 MB DDR400 (RM700)
Vitesta 256 X2 MB DDR500 (Free from my beloved uncle)
Graphics: Gecube ATI Radeon X800GTO 256MB 128bit DDR3 (RM790)
Sound: Creative Audigy 2 ZS (RM230)
Optical Drives: Lite-On DVD+-RW 16x12x4x (RM270)
Casing: NZXT Nemesis Elite Gaming Case (Black) (RM400)
PSU: Powerlogic 500W TruePower w Active PFC (RM180)
CPU Fan: Cooler Master Hyper 48 (RM150)
8cm Fan: NZXT Nemesis Elite 12cm Blue LED Fan X3 (Bundled free with casing)
CCFL: Cooler Master Ultra Aurora (Purple) (RM30)


Oh, I just had to eat maggi once a day for the rest of the month of December. No no, it wasn't torture. =)

Anonymous said...

If you buy from the shops at Low Yat, they don't actually charge you for installation. I wouldn't skimp on a monitor as it will kill one's eyes pretty fast.

Boss Stewie said...

lance the computer we assembled was about that price but a little more expensive (though the processor was a little more powerful as well)...

the computer u bought was a real son of a bitch... it must be worth even eating toilet paper for a month.

anonymous: thanks for the tip on open office.. will definitely check it out... i should get advice from you guys more often...

anonymous 2: hmmm i'll check out low yat to see how much cheaper... thanks for the tip..

Boss Stewie said...

and yes chun leung.. that's zacky :P

Jason Lioh said...

Step by step, you will grow.

Anonymous said...

hey stew

this blog seems to have less readers compared to lengmou huh? but its still doing well for a personal blog lah. i've been to really pathetic ones.. boring crap because no pictures..

so, it seems you're getting help here and there eh? i can make myself useful too. just wait till i can think of something genius or semi-genius and then i'll tell you. meanwhile, zzz

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim, I enjoy your personal blog just as much as lengmou. They're both different yet not so different, if that even makes sense. It's still you. I'm so sure your business venture will turn out a great success. It's so great to be able to catch up with your life on this blog.

Boss Stewie said...

hi bunny, this blog is partly meant for my old friends like you back in london. when i shut down leng mou i was thinking of quitting blogging entirely but then i know that some of my friends read leng mou just to keep up with what i've been doing with my life. so i started this blog where all of you would be able to keep in touch with me and know what's going on in my life. even better, i'll be able to blog about more personal stuff here than i would've been able to at leng mou. hope you're keeping well in london.

adrian: heh... the idea of the personal blog is to have much less readers than any other blog would have. i'm guessing only a selected few from leng mou (such as yourself) would bother coming to read my non-humour posts. so it gives me a chance to get more personal and write about more details of my life, something i haven't really been able to do in the past. nice to have you here.

jason: no lar.. this blog won't grow much... hahaha no where near jasonmumbles :P

WMD: Wife, Mother, Daughter said...

it is nice to get a glimpse on the beginning and the making of a to-be successful venture. Along the way, do share how some of the econs stuff you have learnt is helping your career.

MaN|acZ said...

Open Office is really not bad at all.
Just one thing, the Base application which is something like MS-Access,
it's NOT like MS-Aceess.

The latest Open Office is 2.0.3.
You can also export your files to PDF.
the URL link to download

You can probably save on Anti-Virus software too. Use AVG anti-virus. For more info, check out

Hope it helps you out a bit. I, myself,
also hoping to start my own company. Maybe I can learn more from you too.

Boss Stewie said...

wmd: hahaha ok.. that will come along the way :P

great.. avg it is.. thanks very much manjacz.. great help

Anonymous said...

Use Open Office la friend.

I recommend Avast! free version over AVG aswell, will keep you safer.

Other good stuff is GIMP or Paint.NET instead of photoshop.

FileZilla for FTP.

Firefox of course as browser.

Anonymous said...

Boss Stewie (On comment to Jason): Yeah, you mean you'll just be getting another daily 8 hit couter eh? Right....

Oh, and seriously. Do let me know if you need any tech help aights? =)

Anonymous said...

boss, i shy ma.. u all celebrity... hahaha.. next time la..

MaN|acZ said...

lance: how long did u take you assemble the whole set like that?

really costs a lot leh...

n what monitor are you using?

Boss Stewie said...

shaolin: i've used avast before.. don't know how effective it is but i'll try again

cely: i'm not a celebrity... how could u leave a non-celebrity at the meet alone!!

Lance de'Cypher said...

Avast with Zone Alarm makes a good combination for free software protection. =)