Experience the pulse of Asia's innovation and connect with Asia's technology industry!Love our content? We love you too!Organizing an event? Share it with Asia's tech community on e27!Change the world! Over 200 tech industry jobs in Asia and growing
News  22, Aug 2013

3 tips from 9GAG’s Ray Chan to keep calm and ship on

By

Ray Chan, co-founder of 9GAG, possibly the world’s largest user-generated funny content website, says that their team seldom listens to what others have to say.

Running a user-generated content site like 9GAG is no easy task. With more than 70 million unique visitors every month, they sure have their fair share of kitten pictures, funny memes and haters running amok. Ray Chan, co-founder of the network shared with e27 why they “barely” listen to anything people tell them to do with the company.

Making decisions

Ray started off by quoting Paul Buchheit, partner of Y Combinator: “Limited life experience plus over-generalization equals to advice.” The Hong Kong-based startup was asked to join the incubator in July 2012.

This sort of irreverence seems to lean more toward the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and less toward Sir Richard Branson (with crazy antics up his sleeves all the time). Ray said, “We barely listen to anything people told us to do with our company.”

He added,

“When you run your company, almost everyone will give you advice: your team, your investors, your friends, your users or even your mom. And you’ll hear conflicting advice from time to time.”

Read also: Jokes aside, 9GAG’s co-founder Ray Chan shares about the serious side of their latest US$2.8M round

However, the thing to do is take in all the information and make a speedy decision. Speed, he said, is one of your advantages over larger companies. Ray then explained, “It’s better to make a decision followed by mistakes and corrections than sitting there to wait for the perfect solution.”

Form the right team

If you’re hiring, it’s important that you need to understand this. Setting your goal on hitching the perfect employee is more than just a tad unattainable (unless you’re the perfect employer, of course).

Ray shared that these supposed outliers or A players aren’t everywhere. He said, “If you are not (yet) an A player, you usually don’t know many or any A players.”

So, he goes on to explain that they stick with Plan B: hire the best people they can find. He said:

“No team is the Manchester United or Miami Heat from day one. If a company sticks to the hire-only-A-players rule, it’d never hire anyone. Only when you keep moving forward, it’s more likely that you will meet players who are better than you. We were not the A team, but we are getting closer to it.”

It’s always the product

News flash: consumers like great products. Ray cited Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab, a company which has been on every tech blog for closing their Series D round with several big Asian investors. Jason said, “It’s all about the product. Always has been. Always will be. The only thing that matters is how good your product is. All the rest is noise.”

Startup life is similar to a game of Temple Run or Subway Surfers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be disrespectful to the industry but it’s so important to keep your eyes on the prize. There is an abundance of things which serve as distractions, and if you succumb to them, you get derailed from the right track.

Read also: Meet Perpetu, winner of Hong Kong Satellite

Ray shared, “Praises, doubts, hate, interviews, conferences… there are thousands things that can distract you. All of them are irrelevant. What you need to do is to make a great product, get people use it and love it, or in other words, find the product/market fit.”

The co-founder concluded with brevity, “Keep it simple. Stay focused and keep shipping.”

Ray will be speaking at Echelon Ignite this September 5 to 6. Get your tickets here!

Image Credits: mwaddups2090

Elaine Huang

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

  • Hoops Maestro

    “It’s better to make a decision followed by mistakes and corrections than sitting there to wait for the perfect solution.” —NICE :)

  • Julien Chabe

    Totally agree with him. Esp in Asia, people like to advise others. You will get hundreds of advice, just focus on the 2/3 main ones, which are usually high level and may be true, trash the other ones.

Work for a Startup

Systems Engineer
StaffOnDemand
SEO Engineer
StaffOnDemand
Marketing Executive
Rocket Internet
Finance Director
Saena Partners
Web Designer
Saena Partners