Following a plan is important but you don’t want to get distracted by it. You have to be flexible so and when things hit the fan you can be present and find your way out.
Mike Juloya is a Filipino-American entrepreneur. He is best known as the Founder of Proof of Concept – Ideas Experimented, Inc., an event production business focused on creating memorable human experiences in technology and music. The company is most recognized for the production of the Proof of Concept Innovation Fair, an annual technology event that introduces the latest technology to the general public in an open venue setting.
Mike grew up in Chino Hills, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles, where he attended Ayala High School. At eighteen, his first “business venture” was selling real estate for brokers such as Century 21 King Realtors and Tarbell Realtors. In 2006, Mike started 25/35 Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provided a platform for people who want to volunteer their time in service to the homeless community. In 2009, he partnered with a few buddies from high school and formed Kabalikat Society, also known as KaSo, a cultural group that coordinated Filipino-American cultural events like the Philippine Independence Day Celebration. After years of planning events, Mike found a passion for creating new and exciting experiences for people. In 2013, he decided to start Proof of Concept – Ideas Experimented, Inc, an event production company that connects technology entrepreneurs and startups with the public. Mike thinks of each event as his “canvas” and like art each event he creates is unique and no two experiences are alike.
Where did the idea for Proof of Concept Innovation Fair come from?
Most consumer products or technology events are planned inside a convention setting that caters to industry professionals and experts, prohibiting attendance from the general public. I wanted to challenge this concept and create a different, open experience. I believe there is an exciting opportunity for developers to reach the broader public in an experiential way, rather than having a select few “insiders” experience the excitement of new innovations. Creating an event where developers and visitors engage with each other, providing visitors a memorable experience through hands-on demonstrations while simultaneously having developers receive valuable feedback and refine their concept.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I spend most of my time writing emails and making phone calls to establish and maintain connections. The most important and exciting aspect of each day involves solidifying a deal.
How do you bring ideas to life?
To look at planning and executing an idea as a journey and not as a sequence of discrete events. Bringing an idea to life isn’t easy, and if you focus too much on following a specific plan you will get side swiped sooner or later. Following a plan is important but you don’t want to get distracted by it. You have to be flexible so and when things hit the fan you can be present and find your way out.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One of the latest trends that really excites me is “augmented reality” (AR). Augmented Reality is a live, direct or indirect, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Think Google Translate. While it has been around for some time, startups like Daqri and Fantasmo Studios are creating more mainstream AR tools. These tools can really enhance the perception of reality and the possibilities in areas like art, design, medicine, and education are endless.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of the habits that I think makes me productive is my ability prioritizing my time and energy efficiently, and creating systems. By doing so, I can help developers push their products to launch by taking on the marketing and events side of their business. For example, events require permits, insurance, approvals, etc., these procedures can be time consuming for companies to do and I can take care of it for them. By systemizing these tasks, I am able to focus on marketing, acquiring sponsorships and filling exhibit spaces.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve had many terrible jobs, but I learned that any job that doesn’t utilize your unique talents and strengths is wasting your time and theirs.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I had to start again, I would be very honest with myself about the things I know and the things I don’t know. I would then find professionals to do the things that I don’t know or am not an expert in. The broader lesson being, push yourself to learn everything, but once you grow your business to a certain level, hire professionals for the jobs that others do better than you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing that comes to mind that I do over and over is solve problems; it happens all day long. Think of it like being a manager in a restaurant. Restaurant managers are often tasked with having to fill in gaps in work schedules, putting out fires, dealing with customer services issues, and managing operations in the front and back of the house. There is a lot of multi-tasking and on-the-fly solutions that need to be enacted before these fires truly become damaging for a business. I recommend that others who consider themselves entrepreneurs look at themselves in the same light – it can be gratifying to see your abilities in practical settings.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Finding the area where user experience and functionality serve one another is how I strategize. For example, the functionality behind the Proof of Concept’s Innovation Fair is to provide a venue for creators to market their product and gain user acquisition. I created a unique user experience by holding the event at the 3rd Street Promenade, a venue that generates 40,000 visitors daily. The venue allows creators to interact with their day-to-day users and demonstrate the functionality and benefits of their product.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There’s not a specific failure, but there have been moments of stagnancy that creep up on me. Usually those moments come after stages of massive productivity. I’ve learned to maintain momentum by focusing on the details—even the small ones. This keeps me physically moving and keeps my mind present and focused not on the past.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The business idea that I am willing to give away – is exactly what I am doing currently. Create a business that generates a memorable experience for the consumers.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Top of mind, the best $100 that I recently spent was on a membership to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. If you like to tinker with graphics for personal or professional reasons, this is a great investment!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
The software and web services that I currently using is as follows: Envato for marketing, Crunchbase for startup info and Google for everything else.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a spiritual enlightenment guide that is supposed to allow the reader to find their deepest selves. Really it’s about how living in the present moment can help you in all aspects of life. It’s very helpful for those who strive to practice mindfulness and meditation.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Google the teachings of “Werner Erhard,” a productivity, management, and performance innovator; Steve Jobs, considered one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, and Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism.
Proof of Concept on Twitter: @ideasexperiment
Mike Juloya on Twitter: @mjuloya
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