Collaboration

Couple of weeks ago, I was reading SG Entrepreneurs when I came across an article on “4 issues with Singapore Startups“. I must say that the article really hit the nail on the head. If you are an entrepreneur or aspire to be one, this article is a good read.
Personally, I can really relate to the part about the lack of collaboration among Singapore startups. I still remember sometime mid last year, I came up with an idea to collaborate with 3 other local startups to form a consortium. All 4 companies has their own strength and weakness. I felt that it would be great if we could team up and help each other along the way. And maybe even pit ourselves against the big boys for some project. I thought it would be a perfect collaboration. But one of the company strongly oppose to the idea. Another company wasn’t ready yet, but agreed to join once they are ready. The last company was very supportive of the idea. With just 2 companies working together, we didn’t manage to reach the intended target. The collaboration soon fell apart as it didn’t meet the target that I envisioned. We could have created a bigger impact if 4 companies work hand in hand together.
Looking back, I still feel that it was a great idea. It’s a pity that we didn’t manage to form the consortium. Yes, we really lack collaboration among the startups in Singapore. And I do believe that Singapore companies (Not just startups) need to collaborate if they want to pull thru this recession. The road ahead is going to be tough. Every companies has their strength and weakness. Instead of spending time, money and effort on fixing the weakness, why not collaborate with someone who can help fill the gap? And the time, money and effort can be better spend elsewhere.
One thing I must add is that instead of collaboration, local startups like to engage in mud fights among each other. Over the past one year as an entrepreneur, I’ve seen countless startups (and companies) engaging each other in mud fights. Most of the time, they resort to unethical tactics just to win the battle. I personally encountered a few myself. Usually I’ll just sit at my chair, look at the senseless fight and laugh at them. So what if you win the battle in Singapore? It’s just 4.8 million population in Singapore. Why are all the local startups fighting for their lives over this 4.8 million population? Why aren’t Singapore companies collaborating among ourselves to fight with other countries in the global market?
My company, BLOG2u, just announced yesterday that we are collaborating with SBA Mobile Solutions. SBA Mobile is a local startup that specialized in mobile phone game development and BLOG2u will be selling ads space on their mobile phone games. This is just a small collaboration, but more stuff are on the pipeline.

7 comments

  1. Dk, I shared the same sentiments. Collaboration (especially among the startups) is by the most sensible things to overcome this crisis.
    What’s the point if you have successfully defeat your Singapore competitors?! As an entrepreneur, you should look beyond than that. If you want to win, go out of Singapore and compete what i call the “really-big boys”.
    I still remember last year, when i organized the first TAWA event. Paddy and DK are the very first people who gave me the support. I was very gladful and I really appreciate their help.
    I believe such friendship and cooperation will bring us to the next higher level.

  2. I had previously read the posting in sgentrepreneurs.com but your entry triggered a comment which I had similarly shared at sgentrepreneurs.com.
    I had thought of collaboration before but gave up in the end. It may take too much effort to smoothen everyone’s ego to work together so one may be better off just concentrating in his/her own startup.
    Just curious, is there any real life examples of startups or companies working together that succeeded? In my limited knowledge, usually one company will just buy the other company if they want to “collaborate”.
    Cobalt Paladin’s last blog post..My First Encounter With ERP As A Driver

  3. I always believe in collaboration, where new ties are forged, and all involved parties can learn from one another. Its better to have friends than foes.
    Collaboration breeds harmony, and harmony breeds prosperity 🙂
    nicole’s last blog post..CUTE la

  4. @Nicole, I believe in collaboration too but in business world, it seems to work differently. As in business, the priority is survival, revenue, marketshare and profit. All these gets in the way of collaboration. Another thing is the ego.
    I’m trying to find case studies of successful collaboration in the business world but so far, I’ve not been able to find any. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve not found it in any business literature too.
    This caused me to think, for the long history of business world, is collaboration that unattainable?
    Collaboration on a project basis, yes; collaboration as in forming a consortium, no. At least I’ve not found it. Maybe that is why in business world, it is usually buying and take over of other businesses.
    Cobalt Paladin’s last blog post..Corporate Junk #16

  5. @Cobalt Paladin: Hmm, perhaps I have not really understood how does it work differently in the business world.
    Business is a dog eat dog world? I always have that perception. I don’t know though. But I would really want to find out how to deal with businesses.
    nicole’s last blog post..The Games Xpo (TGX)

  6. Cobalt Paladin: I think there are collaboration among local companies. But not enough. Having said so, I’ve always wanted to collaborate with your company. When can we meet for coffee and discuss on how we can collaborate? 😀
    Nicole: Yes, business is a dog eat dog world. But why small dog eat small dog when several small dog can team up together and eat a big dog? 🙂

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