Jamie Lin - Founder of Taiwan's Leading Startup Incubator

Jamie Lin is an entrepreneur turned venture investor. He’s the Founding Partner of appWorks Ventures, a Super Angel Fund located in Taipei, Taiwan with a focus on the consumer internet space. appWorks runs an innovative incubator program, inspired by Y-Combinator, that has helped more than 50 startups, including Richi, 2011 Red Herring Global Tech 100 winner, and EZTABLE, the leading online-to-offline service provider in Taiwan.

Prior to appWorks, Jamie was once an Associate at HSS Ventures and an Analyst at All Asia Partners. During his life as an entrepreneur, Jamie co-founded Social Sauce, which is behind travel social network Sosauce.com and web 3D game production house Muse Games. Prior to that, he co-founded Intumit, the leader in Chinese search engine technologies, and Hotcool.com, a build-to-order online PC retailer, among other things.

Jamie Lin received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and his B.S. in Engineering from National Taiwan University.

What are you working on right now?

I have been working on appWorks, this startup incubator that I co-founded, since the beginning of 2009.  And through appWorks, I have been working with more than 50 very exciting consumer internet and mobile internet startups.

What does your typical day look like?

I usually wake up at 5AM and immediately start reading my news and blogs — I typically read around 100 articles a day.  Then I post an article to my blog, usually inspired by stories that I read and about the things I have been thinking.  After that’s done, I take off from home and head to my gym for a 30-minute swim in the water — helps me stay in shape while I process the things I read.  Then I would usually head to appWorks office, and depending on the day, there are usually 3-6 events, meetings and coffee chats awaiting me.  Around 5pm, I start working on my emails, usually till 8-8:30PM then I call it a day and go home.  Before I go to sleep, usually around 11PM, I would read a little more.  But I generally crash before midnight.

What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I ever had was as a high school student growing up.  I would sleep through most of my classes as I was not at all interested and had the most difficult time staying awake.  I later realized that it’s not that I’m not intellectually curious; it’s my teachers failing to make it relevant to me.  So the lesson here is always think from your audience/customers’ prospective.  That is really easier said than done.

3 trends that excite you?

I think social media really has the ability to transform this world to a better place.  We’ve been brainwashed by mass media for decades and social media is giving people the ability to take back control again.  I’m also excited about the possibilities of mobile commerce.  I don’t think it means shopping on your tiny smartphone screen.  It means you can go to a store, play with the item and if you like it, you can pay for it with your phone and the store can get your shipping information from the phone too and automatically have the item be shipped to you.  Isn’t that just a wonderful experience?  The last thing I’m looking forward to is all the different new services we can have now that computers know who you are and who your friends are.  Imagine when you’re standing in front of a restaurant and wondering if you should give it a chance or not.  If the screen in front of the restaurant can tell you who among your friends recommend this place, wouldn’t that make it so much easier for you to make that decision?  And I think that’s the true power of social when it’s fully unlocked.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I hack.  I don’t just implement.  I find the most efficient and cost-effective way to try it out and then build from there.  It’s very important to get live data to verify your ideas.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Social commerce and mobile commerce.  Those are the two biggest untapped territories.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

My book, “7 Internet Startup Lessons from Mr. Jamie” is about to come out.  But just in case you don’t read Chinese, you should pick up “Founders at Work“.

What do you read every day, and why?

My favorite bloggers are Paul Graham, though he rarely writes these days, Fred Wilson, Mark Suster, Seth Godin, Steve Blank and Eric Ries.  Oh and if you read Chinese, here’s my blog: http://mrjamie.cc/

What one thing you would recommend everyone do?

Start a blog and make it your mission to write a post every day.  Trust me, 3 years from now, you will tell me that’s the best decision you’ve ever made in your life.

How can you wake up so early every day?

It’s a sleeping hack.  I realized that if you go to bed earlier, you don’t need as much sleep.  If I go to bed past midnight, I usually need to sleep till 8AM.  But if I crash by 11PM, I usually wake up at 5AM and stay energetic throughout the day.  Think about it.  You’re sleeping 2 hours less every day, which means you’ll get 8 full years of extra time to do whatever you wanna do.  How can you find a better deal than that?


Jamie Lin blogs at http://mrjamie.cc/ and tweets at @jamieclin

[highlight]This interview was brought to you by Duncan Murtagh, co-founder of Vetter, a simple system for managing a company’s ideas better.  You can follow Duncan & Vetter on Twitter.[/highlight]