I have been wanting to talk about the bar outside my hostel for weeks now, but, heaven forbids, we were told not to post ‘unnecessary’ content on this blog.
That is until I got the chance to hear from the very boss/founder of the bar, Lab227.
It was an interesting session for the small group of us. It is not everyday that a group of young people gather in a bar to meet its boss. We were bought down to the basement where he treated us to bistro snacks and drinks that he ordered at a simple wave of his hand – CEO-style.
The founder is a former student from NCTU, having been through the same idealistic phase of the wide-eyed undergraduate dabbling in business or technology as the rest of us. But unlike most students, he never gave up. He shared to us his tenacity at making the business work: the risky venture without prior expertise at concocting at the outset because he wanted to quickly start something (- sounds familiar?); the trails and tribulations of setting up a space, such as resorting to personally tearing down the furnishings of the ground unit in effort to cut renovation costs; the sleepless nights spent in bars to learn the ropes to avoid consultant fees; the countless meetings with venture capitalists and investors to rouse interests; etc.
His stories aside, the small group of us came as eager learners of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club in NCTU, and this has been the firsts of many more interesting lessons/sessions to come, where we learn and hear about the workings behind successful businesses. Amongst us, one wanted to start the first chef-less restaurant that is manned by only automatic machines in Taiwan, the other wanted to launch his fancy gadget too ground-breaking to reveal.
It is therefore unsurprising that we sat through the session to catch whatever the founder has to say. Though I must say, don’t take his word for it. Read with a pinch of salt of what follows. In summary,(and loose translation):
- “Two roads exists for the entrepreneur. The fancy startup ideas or the traditional businesses.”
- “For traditional businesses, deconstruct the success of other competitors, copy the specialities of other established competitiors. Take note of all of them, from everywhere in the world, and then make a Frankenstein out of them.”
- “Capital should allow for many product redevelopment cycles.”
- “Some investors are not looking for money, they have dreams.”
- “if not investment capital, you can always borrow” (2 years to break out of bankruptcy).
- “Shops, such as food and drinks and FnB retail, are difficult to make money”
These are some of points that hit me as noteworthy.
It has been meaningful sharing session for me, I hope it is the same for you!