Entrepreneurship Development, Education System. Same same lar…

Ok, this is gonna be a piece that may be hurtful to some. So if you’re sensitive like some country leaders who’s ideal political practice is to remove anyone who say/write/update FB with things they don’t like, then better go back to scrolling that semi-hypnotic FB timeline for the 85th time today.

Ready? Here goes.

Being a teacher herself, I used to remember my mom commenting (could haven been gossipping/nagging also), “The failing education system today is due to the new teachers.” My mom was usually logical with her points ready for a debate. She witness first hand how these new teachers who are usually SPM school leavers who failed to get into any colleges or universities and they have no choice but to join the teachers academy (Maktab Perguruan). Now, in the days of the old (check with you parents), they will say the maktab was once filled with passionate, dedicated and smart teachers-to-be – I know, because my late mom was a great teacher who hardly ever go on a sick leave. Nowadays, well, let’s just say those who didn’t do well in school join the system. The irony is, they teach our next generation.

Interestingly, the “modern” education system is not the only system where there are cases of blind leading the blind. It’s in entrepreneurship development too.

Nope, I’m not referring to lecturers who never lived a day without their salaries, teaching business modules. Well, for now, let’s say at least they got the knowledge and methodologies lar. (Frankly, this statement itself is an entire 3 part blog post on its own that I need 23 days to write).

I’m referring to these startup hackathons, startup bootcamps, startup community, startup competitions (the repeated word is intentional) who are sometimes run, judged, coached or mentored by people who are failed-entrepreneurs-turn-employees-but-still-wanna-show-pandai (FETEBSWSP, read as fetibswasp). Nope, I’m not referring to industry leaders who had really contributed to the growth of the company, industry and community. Those are intrapreneurs, and they are legends in their own rights. Plus, hardly you see them busying themselves in domains outside their own. Respect.

So what’s a typical FETEBSWSP? They go by many definitions, but usually they have started a startup before, failed, then join an organization but still wanna play hero and think they are better than their peers at work. Talk a lot, no action. Throw a lot of terms, but work not done. You usually find FETEBSWSPs at startup/entrepreneurship events.

I’ve personally met some of these FETEBSWSPs who either have skimmed through 2 books on lean startups at Borders (fucker didn’t even pay for the books!), attended a 1/2 hours introductory workshop on BMC + Design Thinking, did growth hacking (including but not limited to steroids and viagra), found an epic co-founder (then-girlfriend-now-ex), raised Series A (from mother) or have exited a startup (sold to father).

Frankly, I don’t mind having these FETEBSWSPs around KICKSTART or any startup-theme events. But when I see them giving text-book or blog-post or FB time-line criticism/advice to young entrepreneurs who seriously have a good idea and team going, I would be speechless. No, not because I gobbled up that bloody delicious frozen cheesecakes from Purple Monkey too quickly. You’ll see me cringe when they throw terms like double-digit growth, terms sheets, MVP or landing pages around, especially when you know they haven’t seen it before in their own life.

If you’re an honest employee, please know that you are not a FETEBSWSP at all. I have tremendous respect for employees who believe in a good day’s work, positive work attitude, continuously add-value and invest in personal growth. You may or may not have dreams to start your own business one day, but for the dedication you have to your work, you have my salute. If there are FETEBSWSPs around you at work, hammering your ear drums with their epic glory stories and showing how they are smarter than the whole board of directors, just tell them to fuck off and get their backlogs cleared.

To the young startups who sometimes get discouraged by “advice” given to you by some of these FETEBSWSPs, please be strong and embrace your inner entrepreneurship spirit of WGAF, evaluate the advice constructively (sometimes got hidden gems in pile of shit), seek advice from a non-FETEBSWSP, and just build epic shit! Advice is free, execution is key.

For the FETEBSWSPs, well, catch you at the next startup event lar.

p.s. Am I being a sour puss who couldn’t get the sour grapes? Don’t know. I don’t fancy licking myself.

Glossary:

  1. Country Leaders – I live in a country which can’t use words like independence and the number 58, so go figure
  2. Maktab – Academy
  3. Perguruan – Teachering
  4. Maktab Perguruan – Teacher’s Academy
  5. Pandai – Smart
  6. BMC – Business Model Canvas, or in the immortal advice from Spenser Johnson taken wrongly, Better Move Cheese
  7. MVP – Minimum Viable Product, or to some FETEBSWSPs Most Valuable Player (often used with finger pointing at themselves)
  8. Series A – The first moment you got tons of money for your startup, or some soccer league
  9. Landing Pages – A simple usually one page site used to gather data for business idea validation purposes, or when KLIA2 is too flooded and they need to get lots of paper to soak up the water
  10. FB – seriously?
  11. WGAF – Who Gives A Fuck
  12. Lar – It’s a malaysian thing. Get over it.

maverick

Co-Founder of KICKSTART by night, Talent Development Consultant, organising workshops and conferences by day, and full-time single dad in between, Maverick is pretty much a renegade. An ex-monk who's always first to ask "why not?", Mav enjoys hacking the way things are done, and pretty much happy with the success rate of 50% (coz sometimes mom is right after all...). When it comes to business, give him a million bucks and he'll most probably get a new set of gadgets, drive home an Audi R8 and reload his Starbucks card. But give him little to nothing, and see how he starts switching on the little brain-matter between his ears. Challenge ACCEPTED!

6 comments

  1. Fantastic! Right on money

    1. Thanks! Unfortunately they are the ones with the money.

  2. Funny and on point. I actually have more experience with just FEBSWSP. They didn’t even turn into successful employee, but set themselves up as “consultant” and the worse “strategic consultant”.
    We have a big fat one managing a major “entrepreneurial hub” as they like to call it, but they can’t even make people pay them rent, and their biggest claim to success is a website that sells scarves locally.

    It is indeed rediculous the number of people ready to impart “startup” knowledge and advice when they have never done it here.

    The problem i think stems from the fact that most “startup” people are simply sticking to the community on the account of it being “cool”, not at all because they are genuinely trying to develop or help develop an actual startup. It’s all a big social enjoyment, and so i guess we’ll find the wanna-be’s talking themselves up, and everybody can feel good.

    1. Thanks for sharing Patty. Well, I like to think they come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s even funny when the big boys like Accenture are coming in to advice on it too. Money brings out the weirdest ghouls underneath the bridge, the stinkiest orges from the cave, and straightest politicians from parliament.

  3. Very soon the money is going to dry up and then the ” real VC or consultants will survive” . Singapore hub is basically a rental landlord who has done a great job to put up a place for startups …calling them selfs as VC or incubators is a stretch. There is shortage of series A or B VC’s in Asia specially in Singapore.

  4. We had far too many social-media-preneurs living for the cool factor or perhaps seeking for social media approval for their “success”.
    Social Media platforms had just made FETE—-(whatever it was called) a channel to brag, rubbish or gem. One needs to get a filter for rubbish and gems.

    Talk is cheap, execution is king indeed.

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