Our founder Ricky Soo recently raised a potential issue or problem in the startup culture in Malaysia. He was so concerned that he called for a discussion surrounding the topic.
Earlier in the month, we organized the first idea brainstorming event called Pitch ‘n’ Bounce IDEAS based on Pitch ‘n’ Win event model. Now we organized the second one focusing on only one topic – the startup culture.
The event Pitch ‘n’ Bounce IDEAS #2 – Something Wrong in Startup Culture? was held on 27th July 2014 in the new shopping mall NU Sentral. A group of us gathered at 5:30pm in a cafe for the session. We met at this time because most of us were going to Incitement event nearby at night.
The host Wadud Mughal introduced the event to the group. Then Ricky elaborated on the issue. Everyone spoke up and discussed together. All pertinent ideas and comments were recorded.
In a nutshell, it was suggested that not everyone in the country has the same access to pitching events or opportunities to present their ideas. Not everyone stays in city where startup events are held. Not everyone is fluent in English. Not everyone is comfortable of pitching and public speaking.
Yet most pitching events are held in KL and in English. Only a minority out of the whole population have access to the people and investors there. In fact, many pitching events are just like shows, where the ones most benefited are normally the organizers, the sponsors and the few entrepreneurs in the event.
As a result, a good majority of talents and ideas are being hidden in the rural areas, among people who don’t speak English well, and even people who don’t know they have ideas or talents.
Furthermore, the startup culture in Malaysia is much influenced by the West. We seem to encourage people of certain personalities – funny, playful, outgoing and extrovert to flock together. How about those more quiet and reserved majority? Are they not having ideas and talents too? Are they not able to contribute to the innovation in the society?
It is not that people should not learn how to pitch. It’s not that we should not learn to speak better English or be more outgoing. But if we keep ignoring there are such people who might be “less developed” in the eye of some of us, we might well be wasting a good portion of talents who can contribute to the country.
Thinking heads in meeting
The first job for the group was to validate there is such an issue. All event participants agreed on or acknowledged the issue. Various suggestions were made. No one concrete solution was found. But at least we are thinking. The host Wadud Mughal was chosen as the best contributor to the discussion.
After the brainstorming, the group went for dinner in a Nyonya restaurant nearby. We chatted and got to know one another on deeper level. Then most of us continued on to the event organized by Incitement.