8 Best Things about Telecommuting

by Wendy Soon on March 16, 2015

Dollarphotoclub_78481523_coffeebannerTelecommuting can be a win-win situation. It stands to make both the employee AND the employer happy.


To the Employee


  1. Being able to enjoy that morning cuppa as long as I want. Who said morning cuppas are not an important consideration? It’s important to work hard, but it’s just as important, if not more important, to enjoy life as much as you can too. Being able to enjoy that morning coffee without knowing at the back of your head that you will need to rush off to work in 5 minutes, makes it all so much more relaxing. Of course, the compromise is that if you’re any less efficient, you will have to make up for it with working later that day. And it’s not just about the amount of time you get with your morning cuppa, it’s about having the freedom of what music you want (and want not) to listen to, the freedom to avoid thought-interrupting conversations, the freedom to create an environment that works best for your productivity.
  2. Being able to work in bed. Provided you are not the type to fall asleep the moment you get on the bed, regardless of what you are doing.
  3. Being able to attend the kids’ school concerts without having to take time off. All that talk about work-life balance, applies not just to working mothers, but also to fathers. Anyone with children will want to spend time with them, especially to be present at important events such as graduations and school performances. Although companies usually allow time off for such events, being able to attend such events without having to take additional time off is a great bonus, and would probably increase the number of times you can attend these events that almost always happen during regular office hours. A happier parent (and a happier child )makes a happier employee.
  4. Being able to live anywhere I want. Having the freedom to choose where I want to work, independently of where I (or my family) want(s) to live, increases the number of options I can have in terms of job opportunities. For example, I could prefer the hustle and  bustle of New York City, but have a strong degree in computer science which means I could choose to work in prominent tech companies such as Google or Facebook in the Bay Area, if they would allow me to do so, without moving out of my favorite NYC.
  5. Not having to deal with peak hour traffic. Especially in large cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Tokyo. That can be a real pain, and a great waste of time. Being able to avoid dealing with hours of traffic jam can increase an employee’s efficient use of time, which would make him happier and possibly more productive at work.


To the Employer


  1. Having the employee reachable at any time of the day. Or at least, beyond regular office hours. The employee could be working from a different time zone, or might have taken time off during the “regular working hours” for some other personal issues, so expecting them to be reachable at other times is not completely unreasonable. This, of course, is subject to mutual agreement between the employer and employee at the start of the remote employment.
  2. Not having to pay for additional office space. Having the employee not come to the office means not having to set aside space (nor other necessities such as a personal computer, a desk, utilities, etc) for the employee. These could add up to significant savings over time.
  3. Having access to a larger talent pool. Being open to hiring someone who might not be able to travel to the physical office daily, the employer has the option of hiring people across the country, or even from other countries, without having to relocate them (and their family). Similarly, a wider pool of talents will be interested in the job if they are not required to relocate against their personal preferences. This ends up being a win-win situation of having better job matches being made.


Secrets of a Successful Pitch – JD Schramm

by Wendy Soon on March 9, 2015

JDSchramm_bannerGrowing up in Kansas City, JD Schramm started his first business at 8, and had his first business card at 13. Since then, he’s honed his communication skills through entrepreneurship, and taught this to entrepreneurs at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Here are some tips he shared with the Igniters at a recent meetup regarding making a successful pitch.


Story telling


  • Why do we love stories? It gives you imagery. When someone tells you a story, you see things and feel emotional connections. It’s like going on an adventure together. We are wired to love to hear and share stories.
  • What’s the basic flow of a story? Setting, protagonist, challenge / conflict, resolution. Hitting the sense of conflict is what really draws someone into a story. Make sure you include that into every story you tell, and close it well with a resolution.


3 Key Elements of Communication Strategy (A-I-M)


  • Audience. What do I know about my audience? What can I research on my audience before I meet them? Who are they and what culture do they come from?
  • Intent. What is my intent? As a result of this conversation, I want the audience to think, do, and say what? For example, as an entrepreneur, I want the audience to invest. Or I want them to have interest, to hand me a business card and to invite me for a second meeting. I want them to refer me, to send contacts to me, or to make the direct introduction with their contacts. To get feedback.
  • Message. Decide the channel that I will use (email, phone call, video conference, in person meeting, formal at an office, informal at Starbucks…)


4 Part Formula to Effective Pitching (Adopted from “The startup Pitch” by Chris Lipp)


  • Problem. Clearly articulate the problem within the first few minutes of the conversation. Make sure they get the problem, and feel the emotional pain that comes with it.
  • Solution. It must be directly tied to the problem that I just laid out. The problem-solution relationship is key.
  • Market. Who will use your solution
  • Business Model. Make sure you have the right team with the right set of skills that can solve that problem and capture that market.


What makes a great story?


  • Parachute in, don’t preamble. Be conscious of where you want to start your story. E.g. start right in the middle of the story to capture attention, instead of starting with the boring “Hi, my name is XXXX”.
  • Choose your first words and final words very carefully. Try to tie your conclusion to where you begin – gives a great sense of cohesion.
  • Be like Goldilocks, be just right. Not too hard, not too soft. Just right. Don’t give too much details to bore the investors, but don’t give too little technical specs to make the technical people feel uneasy.
  • Practice One Person / One Thought. Share 4-7 seconds per connection. Find different people to share a thought with each time. By the time you finish, you should have connected with almost everyone, if not everyone in that room. Maintain eye contact as you share the story to maintain the connectedness.
  • Be poetic. In the story about your innovation, if you can find a short phrase, or an analogy, that is poetic, you will be very memorable with that connection.
  • Use silence. In story telling, well placed silence draws us in even more. It can cause a feeling of suspense, or generate a sense of wonder. The lack of noise attracts even more attention. Whisper.
  • Know your audience, know your intent, know your message. Different messages work with different audiences. Learn by trial and error.



Talk by JD Schramm

Example by Mark Bezos





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