Interviewing Boo Jiun – Founder of Sweet Logic & HomeTuitionJob.com

HomeTuitionJob.com founder Ng Boo Jiun is sharing his experience, advices with us, the soon-to-be entrepreneurs and founders. Click here to find out!

It is great to be able to learn from an actual entrepreneur rather than just listening to lecturers, so here I managed to get the founder of Sweet Logic Sdn. Bhd., which in turn developed the biggest home tuition job index in Malaysia, HomeTuitionJob.com, to talk about some of his experience, and some advises to us as well. To date, HomeTuitionJob has set foot on 3 countries, namely Malaysia, Singapore and India.

HomeTuitionJob.com

To spice it up, I rallied some of my friends who are also interested having their own business and startups to ask him questions. We have Armesh (graphics designer), Eunice Lim (food blogger), Nicky Ng (non-IT intend to have IT startup), and Jason Price (IT entrepreneur unschooler from Arizona). I have also invited Kok Hoor Chew (CNT Solution & Jingle Shirt) later on to see if we have left anything out and provides extra commentary as well.

Click read more to check out the conversation. Be prepared, it is very long, but I hope you managed to get some gems from it!

Regarding Non-IT founder seeking for IT Partner

Nicky Ng

  • hi mr.ng, i would like to ask how should a non-tech founder start a startup and
  • how to test and ensure the quality of my tech partner

Ng Boo Jiun

  • a startup is just a hyped word for starting a business.
  • a non-tech founder should only start a start up if he/she wants to solve problems and getting paid/laid from doing so. Not because of wanting to raise millions and appear in tech press/news media.
  • a non-tech founder can start by identifying a problem to solve
  • and then hang out in tech workshops like webcamp, pythongroup, etc and join in the discussion
  • from there he/she may or may not attract the quality tech partner. Geeks are very picky peeps… they don’t simply do what you ask them to do. For example, I have talk to Anonoz few times just to get him to blog about my website. It is hard and he is playing hard to get
  • In a nutshell, with so many non-tech founders wanting to get into the startup game…it is hard to find quality CTO. The only option is that the non-tech founders….learn how to code themselves.

Anonoz Chong

  • Is it OK to hire an experienced tech friend to test an unknown techie guy? Or is there other better ways to find ou?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • sure, I used to run some tests on newbies during interview process back in IBM
  • from the trenches… as long the person has good foundation(i.e know how to build a simple website with PHP or Python) then is good enough… but this is my own perspective because technically I’m competent enough to train people.. I only train peeps if they have the strong desire to learn and improve themselves. Back to your question, since you’re not a tech founders…chances are you going to end up with a situation where the blind leading the blind.
  • the skills that I need to start my own business is all learnt from watching youtubes and reading blogs like guykawasaki and pandodaily… occassionally you have go and get your hand dirty…ie….start coding and build something… doing is always better than talking.

General

Jason Price

  • Mr. Ng, how much bureaucracy do you have to deal with in Malaysia? Do you need a business license to start a startup? Do you need to report employees to the government? Do things like regulations and taxes give startups a disadvantage compared to existing well-established businesses?
  • I am from Phoenix, Arizona, in the U.S. and there are regulations for everything; starting a business incorrectly can put an entrepreneur in jail here. Is it like this in Malaysia?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • I started very small. Got rejected by mDec RM150k grant. Applied for MSC status…no news until now. Had to boot out one investor after discovering that he has ulterior motives(he is a rich dude, but trying to find his way back into the internet game ala Tony Hsieh of Zappos way). … so dealing with bureaucracy is just a walk in the park compare to these problems. Like I said earlier… startup is just like a normal business… always use Sdn. Bhd. or Pte. Ltd. or LLC (depending on where you are).
  • depending on what type of industry you have to go in…it is best not to get into too regulated industry. I know a local startup here have to let go of their staff…after developing the software and hardware ( plugin for iPhone to swipe credit card ) … and it took forever for Bank Negara(Malaysia Reserve Bank ) and BAFIA act to pass… eventually, their money ran out.
  • you start a business because of you want to solve problems(make meaning) and make money. Starting a start up because of tax waiver is just added bonus…NOT a reason.
  • Dude, starting a business incorrectly won’t put you into jail. scamming people will.
  • actually this video already have the answers you all looking for. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4eqOsXKhZ0
  • watching this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgpuxxuS4wk got me started back last time
  • good luck peeps… oh..one more thing. you don’t really need a degree/diploma/investors/VCs to start a business and make money
  • it is about how strong your inner DESIRE…how bad you want it … for example, Anonoz rejected me couple of times… I still find my way to stick my hands into his soul and shake it a little bit. Hopefully, he will finally do a blog review about hometuitionjob.com … if not..then…

Anonoz Chong

  • Well I think by doing this I can benefit everyone

Ng Boo Jiun

  • yes…. a great entrepreneur will show their potential business partners/CTO/customers/supporters brightness of the future. If you start up does not have ‘brightness of the future’ factor…chances are you dead.. but then… most of the time… you have to fake it till you make it.

Risk

Jason Price

  • When I think of a small or new business, I think of a guy making a steep investment with huge overhead. That is my uneducated visualization. How much does it actually cost to launch a startup — am I betting my life? If it fails, how do you make it out alive and still able to try again?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • ermm… I failed about 4 times… lost some money … still alive.
  • with cheap hosting and excellent tools like Ruby on Rails, Codeigniter(PHP) and Piratebay… it won’t cost a bomb to do a start up on internet world.
  • I took me less than RM2k ( about 645.89 US Dollar ) to start up hometuitionjob.com

Geographical Advantages

Ng Boo Jiun

  • @Jason, you have 1 advantage … you’re in US.

Jason Price

  • How is that an advantage?

Armesh Singh

  • Normally you can invest your time and effort alot to learn the skills, and abit money to host a website for a year.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • US… big population, educated, credit card friendly. Speak English.
  • Malaysia/South-East Asia…. fragmented population, not so educated, credit card unfriendly, evil investors, speak multiple languages. There are a lot of barriers for start ups here.
  • peeps from this part of the world are looking at US market salivating

Intellectual Property and out-execute competitors

Armesh Singh

  • Mr Boo, lets say I have a great web buisness idea. And I make the website already and launch it. Overtimes I start getting people to use my web site and generating revenue. But I’m sure some people will try to duplicate my idea. How do I deal with this? This fear hunts me all the time and even prevents me from sharing my ideas with anybody.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • you mean how defensible your idea is ?

Armesh Singh

  • um yup….
  • like when how facebook duplicated Myspace, Friendster and killed them all

Ng Boo Jiun

  • well, you don’t … you can only execute better than your competitors… I have tons of copy cats competitors in Malaysia alone… but I still managed to beat them.

Armesh Singh

  • Aww that sucks….. even if I
  • I’m the best.. someone may be equal wif me, and get my 50% customers
  • can’t I patent my buisness idea? So anyone who duplicate it will be against the law?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • then you have to manage it better than your competitors… like if you spend 0.01 cent to acquire a customer and your competitor spend 1.00 to acquire a customer…guess who will win? go figure

Armesh Singh

  • Ok I think it’s just sumthing I must deal wif then. competition.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • patent only happen in US… not here…at least not in commonwealth countries… you can threaten to sue scrappers

Types of Startups and Plan

  • oh… by the way, dot com shipping clother, under wear should not be consider as tech startup
  • basically, my point of view is…. start up can be divided into 2 groups
  • 1) machine serves human – google.com for example
  • 2) human serves machine – groupon.com for example
  • if your startup is number 1…then at the end of the marathon… you will become happier and happier if you make it… because it is cheaper to scale
  • if your startup is in number 2…then you fucked if you are going to scale.

Armesh Singh

  • yea i get it. I’m foccusing on 1) but it requires more skill to make than 2), but 1) is cheaper.
  • 1) more skill, 2) more investment, am I right here?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • Group 1 is also known as tech-startup

Kok Hoor Chew

  • How do you decide how to grow your business, when to hire and when to add this or that features. Aren’t there a myriad combinations of possible decisions you have to make? How do you plan accordingly?

Armesh Singh

  • currently i have alot of ideas, and I try to make more ideas that favor my field of interest and skills. Not yet go into the buisness part.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • @Armesh, both need skills and investments(time and money)

Armesh Singh

  • and for now i just wanna acquire skills since I have alot of time

Ng Boo Jiun

  • @kok, you can’t plan…any startup with a solid business plan… is not going to make it.
  • don’t let those MBAs(Master Of Bad Attitudes) fool you

Armesh Singh

  • ah? Solid Plan not gonna make it? but planning is essential normally. But of course it must be with the motive to serve people not make money

Ng Boo Jiun

  • you can only look forward and move forward….oh well…. probably I read too much of those ancient Chinese warfare strategy books.

Armesh Singh

  • art of war sun tzu LOL

Ng Boo Jiun

  • a business is like a war.. you have to see your geography, troops numbers and morale. lastly everything needs the blessing from that dude above or some peeps like to say universe, god or something else.

Debunking myth of MBA

Armesh Singh

  • Why do people even do Masters in buisness?
  • whats the use of study buisness? Most of the people who make it big never studied buisness, they study and have skills on their area/field of buisness instead

Jason Price

  • easy degree?
  • like philosophy

Ng Boo Jiun

  • because of peer pressure and wanting to believe that with MBA …they can’t have better lives…sadly…we got more people with good grades but have no money no jobs no sex these days
  • instead of busines… learn how to sell.

Armesh Singh

  • So far I’ve learned financial maths in my course: Diploma in IT. it has things like break even point, marginal cost, marginal profit, maximize profit, minimize cost. Mr. Boo, do you actually use this things in your buisness to minimize cost, and max profit?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • Selling is the only skill that I know you can make money anywhere in the world.
  • I studied Ada95 on how to launch missile, programming spy drones and control railways back in Adelaide Australia… I used whatever I learnt and learn whatever I need from youtube/blogs to do my business. I go out and find people who are smarter than me to learn.
  • all business/government/organizations will need to minimize cost and maximise profits at some point. just look at Obama recent speech on spending cuts and destroying jobs.
  • I do create a Profit and Lost sheet monthly to monitor progress.

Armesh Singh

  • Just that got some people think you need MBA to do successful business. And that makes me go like all :jackiechanface:

Ng Boo Jiun

  • LOL…oh.. you are lucky that you realise now that MBA is pointless for starting a business. MBA is useful if you want to become a professional manager

Armesh Singh

  • So do Mr. Boo, do you plan to be a multimillionaire someday or sometimes soon? And do you believe that your current idea can help you archive it?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • I don’t know about becoming millionaire… but I would like hometuitionjob.com to help more people especially in developing countries to earn more money and help more people. can divert some profits from my business to donate to some charities that I like.

Intellectual Property Again

Jason Price

  • Mr. Ng, if someone gives me a good idea for a web start up that doesn’t already exist, just in passing without really an intent to use the idea themselves, and I make the idea a reality and profit from it, do I risk being sued by them as they see me become successful from their idea? Would it be advisable to keep them close and work with them from the start?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • hi jason, please call me Boo… just ‘Boo’ will do

Jason Price

  • alright Boo

Armesh Singh

  • How can they even sue you? Unless they patent the idea or copyighted it first.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • if the idea is just verbal and not in black-n-white(on paper) that you’re ok.
  • remember the twin brothers that sued Mark Zuckerberg ?
  • they actually made Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook more valuable.. if someone is suing you because they though that they gave you the idea at the first place…then they are helping your startup

Armesh Singh

  • by promoting it right?
  • i mean indirectly promoting it.

Nicky Ng

  • In malaysia, where can i find legal advise about cyber law?

Ng Boo Jiun

  • yup, just like an unknown movie suddenly become famous because the movie got banned.
  • @nicky, malaysia cyber law is s till evolving…don’t worry about it too much… but then I put all my servers outside malaysia..so in case this country got burn down.. I just hop on to the next country
  • I mean as a business owner… you have to be pro-active instead of reactive.
  • actually, the problems with most people wanting to do start up … is overcoming their fear of taking the first steps… I had that too… but it takes time and courage to overcome your years of programming in schools
  • schools programmed you to become soldiers and employees…at least this is the Prussian Education system.
  • you have to deprogram yourself first

Legal Protection

Nicky Ng

  • like for a service base type, 50% down payment and 50% after delivered the product, if they refuse to pay, do an invoice has any law power?
  • or need to have like conventional biz , have PO and DO

Ng Boo Jiun

  • invoice. yes, if you are properly registered business. you can engage lawyers to seek court injunction against the customers(if they are a registered business as well)

Skills and Legal

Armesh Singh

  • Boo, it possible to be both an expert programmer and expert web create/designer? How many years will this skills take to acquire? Because I feel if you can program you can render service. If you can make a Website, you can market to the world. And when you can do both, you can make it big.

Ng Boo Jiun

  • for online business like mine… everything upfront
  • deduct from deposit or credits
  • hey… when i started… I don’t know about this too…. I learned from Google Adwords and AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Nicky Ng

  • lawyer are way too expensive, so should avoid it
  • means usually online biz are all pay upfront
  • the risk is on them

Ng Boo Jiun

  • @armesh. depends… I learned PHP because I wanted to clone Hot-Or-Not.. I downloaded an existing script and redo everything by looking at the script on different screens.. that’s how I learn…while I’m still sitting in a desk job in IBM
  • @nicky, yup…upfront payment will mitigate all risks
  • lunch break now.
  • credit card
  • I used to carry ipad with wifi to my customers place
  • ask them to pay with credit card to my paypal
  • that’s when I was trying a short stint as tutor
  • I used to teach programming
  • next time I share with you guys on cash flow management and how to utilize your credit cards to roll cash and fund your startups

It is a bit messy but the interview is quite fun and informative actually. Thank you Boo Jiun for wiling to spend a morning with us. Next time he is going to talk about using cash flow and funding-related topics.

What do you think? Do you have any questions you would like to ask Boo? Drop the comment in the section below.

Author: Anonoz Chong

Web Developer in Kuala Lumpur. Computer Science student in MMU Cyberjaya. President of IT Society MMU Cyberjaya. Rubyist.

4 thoughts on “Interviewing Boo Jiun – Founder of Sweet Logic & HomeTuitionJob.com”

  1. You can ask about his background from him. But I am definitely a self taught guy, my family discourages that I learn all these and ask me to get a degree (DEBT AND TIME WASTED) and secure a job. But I think to lead a rather special life we need to teach ourselves what normal people dont know. This opens up a lot more opportunities and close the dumb ones (employers that ask for certz)

  2. What was Ng’s background? Not much people will have such a desire to be self-taught, even many students who pursue CS degree in the university! I’m impressed..

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