Smart phone reinvented for a safer home

Four types of people that makes your startup stronger: What we learned from Burnt

We have always been grateful, to the opportunity to work with such a strong and passionate team on giving our users connectivity and security.

Alfred is a diamond. It needs light to sparkle!


Chef de partie

“Since your CEO is a kick-ass engineer, do you really need a CTO?”

“Can’t your CEO lead the developers?”

Well, each startup has different DNA, and each leader has different qualities. I cannot answer this question for all,  but for Alfred, we were very sure that we need a CTO. I recall telling friends,”My CEO doubles as the CTO right now, but we need to fire him from the CTO position. His job is to outline the vision and formulate strategies. We cannot afford to have him babysit developers.”

At the last few months of our 500 Startups Program, we often heard founders say “oh, I really need to fire my self from sales/marketing/HR, and focus on <whatever the most important for the startup>”.

When we bootstrapped, the team was small, and each person had to take 10 roles. But there is always a tipping point, or a wake-up call.

Why are we doing this?

Why one more restaurant? Why one more recipe? What does that mean to diners? Why would people care about this new restaurant? Why would they eat at this restaurant? Will coming to this restaurant make any difference?

Adam Jones is not “a chef”. Our CEO is not “a developer”.

Adam Jones at the Langham is not “a place for food”. Alfred is not “an app”.

With the support and help from Helene, Adam Jones can focus on developing new menus, and changing the culinary world. Likewise, with the support and help from our CTO, our CEO can focus on strategizing, redefining accessibility, giving instant connections to our users.

The restaurant only finds its significance when Adam Jones can calm down and think. Alfred can only exert his influence when our CEO focuses on the future.


Maître D’

I fell in love with Daniel Brühl the minute he started talking. There is an online buzz about how Bradley Cooper is an ear candy when he speaks French. No, no, no, you have to hear Daniel Brühl. He is definitely ear cocaine.

He is me in the movie, the CMO.

PR, interview arrangements, decor, wine selection, reception. I wish to be as elegant as he is in the film, upgrading delicate cuisines into a pleasant experience.

He complements the chefs. He completes the tasting.

In this interview,  Daniel Brühl said “moving around the restaurant like a swan, and pretend everything is fine, being very polite and quiet, even though you may have, like, big problems inside and you have a mess in the kitchen, which of course you can never show to the people, to your guest, but sometimes there is inner conflict. You know, all goes wrong, the chef is a maniac, the dishes are not right, the food are not right, but still you go out there and say ‘Hello, is everything fine?’ So it’s extreme pressure  ”

He was talking about us, standing at the front line facing users, wasn’t he?

I aspire to be like him, satisfying all users by pairing Alfred’s cutting-edge technology with best words and images I can find.



There are always people who do not want to see you succeed. It is often said that the first lesson in your entrepreneurial journey is to understand your users, and your competitors.


Competitors are respectable. Enemies are detestable.

I am a firm believer of the Law of Attraction, and I believe in good deeds. When one commits to doing the right thing and the good thing, one becomes a magnet and attracts supporters, who help to deliver that goodness. Sure, life is not 100% perfect. Shit happens, but it doesn’t deserve our time, or effort. When we focus solely on the pursuit of our dreams, and focus on how it will benefit the world, the force of attraction will steer us away from threat and danger.


A respectable competitor knows the essence of competition is progress. A respectable competitor pushes us forward. With a respectable competitor in sight, we make breakthroughs.



It is my job to read user reviews every day. We receive about 50 reviews every day, and over 75% are 5-starred. That being said, we get about 5 or fewer 1-star review every day. Some left one star without any comment. Some said “awful” or “crap”. (It hurts, terribly!)
I got so hurt and irritated one day that I turned away from my laptop and whined, “C’mon, at least you can tell me why you don’t like Alfred. How am I gonna know how to meet your expectation?”
My CEO responded very calmly that “it is our job to serve users. It is not users’ job to tell us where went wrong. No one is obliged to tell us how to improve.”
In the film, Adam Jones made a beautiful cake for a little girl. She tasted it, closed her eyes, and told him.
“I had better.”


Humility in my mind is the most underrated entrepreneurial trait. The most profound lesson learned from my over 100 rounds of user interviews is: Everyone is a critic. As the cofounder of the service, we have no right to say “who are you to think this sucks?” or “do you think building this technology is easy?”

Customers are the reason why businesses exist.


We are grateful that we are spending the primetime of our life teaming up with the best of the best, testing our limits with respectable competitors, and bringing a stronger sense of security to our supportive users. Thank you, all of you, for fulfilling our lives.

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2015 by in From Founders and tagged , , , .


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