Scaling The Future: Allen Lau to Contribute Insights to INC

Wattpad Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau is one of the newest contributors to INC.com, a leading site for business news, ideas, and inspiration.

His Column, Scaling the Future, will examine the challenges startups face in the innovation economy. It will also outline advice for entrepreneurs rooted in real world experience. An excerpt of his first column is enjoyable below and in full here

Tips for Startup Money Management

This post is brought to you by Wattpad Co-Founder and CEO Allen Lau. 

Thanks to Hollywood, most people think of waterslides and all-you-can-eat snackbars when they picture startup life. While it's true that startups are a fun and engaging place to work, there are many examples that debunk the myth of startup extravagance.

The world's most innovative and successful companies are built on tough decisions, smart spending, and diligent commitments to financial targets, not ping-pong tables.

Why? Warren Buffett says it best: "If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need."

How Amazon and Microsoft Leveraged Resourcefulness

Experienced business leaders know the importance of having extra funds during stagnant economic conditions. Through operational efficiency, you can gain independence from funding environments that bubble and bust while you overtake competitors who spend themselves toward bankruptcy.

Microsoft's infamous shrimp and weenies memo and Amazon's "door desks" tell the same story. We're saving now so that we can make the right investments later.

Here's an example from my own life: when Wattpad's co-founder Ivan Yuen and I travel together, we share rooms at lower cost hotels with free-wifi. It's an inexpensive way for us to get more face time and save money on travel costs--a win-win.

Investing our money and time wisely is so important to us that we've defined 'Resourcefulness' as a company-wide value: You do more with less, and only spend time on things that matter -- this breeds sufficiency and invention. And if you have questions, you ask.

If you make resourcefulness an organizational focus, effective money management creates savings that can be reinvested into your company to create faster growth. Entrepreneurs should lead by example and cut costs where they can.

Read Allen Lau's Full Post on INC

Margaret Atwood and Nature Canada Host Caption Contest on Wattpad

Margaret Atwood, in partnership with Nature Canada, invites you to enter a caption contest  on Wattpad for your chance to win a signed copy of Angel Catbird Volume 2: To Castle Catula.  This all-ages follow-up to best-selling novelist Margaret Atwood's debut graphic novel follows Genetic engineer Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, as his band of half-cats seek allies in the war between cats and rats.

Angel Catbird Caption Contest Details

Captions will be accepted from Feb. 27 to Mar. 27. To participate, you must be over the age of 13 and have a Wattpad account. Every week,  a new image will be uploaded in this contest story giving entrants four chances to win throughout the month.

To enter the weekly drawing, leave your caption as a comment on the uploaded image. Add the contest story to your Wattpad library to receive updates as new images are uploaded.

Each weekly winner will receive a signed copy of the graphic novel Angel Catbird Volume 2 and be entered into a final grand prize to win an original illustration by Margaret Atwood and Johnnie Christmas, the official illustrator of the Angel Catbird series.

Full contest details are available, here

About The Angel Catbird Series

In 2015, Nature Canada and Margaret Atwood announced a three-part graphic novel series to raise awareness of the contributions birds and cats make to our daily lives.

Roaming cats present a unique risk for both pet owners and wildlife. For the the benefit of both cats and birds, Nature Canada launched this pledge campaign. It encourages pet owners to keep their cats from roaming freely outdoors, thereby reducing health risks for pets and saving more birds!

Margaret and Illustrator Johnnie Christmas provide their thoughts on the unique series in this trailer:

About Margaret Atwood and Wattpad

Margaret Atwood is Wattpad’s official fairy grandmother. In the past, she’s penned articles on why Wattpad works to advocate for teen reading and the use of new technologies.

She’s also hosted contests on Wattpad related to her release of The Heart Goes Last and her time capsule project, Future Library.

SXSW Tickets are Going Fast But You Can Still Catch Wattpad Star Sandra Grayson

Every year, thousands descend on Austin, Texas, for South by SouthWest (SXSW). It’s a festival and conference that celebrates the convergence of the tech, music, and entertainment industries.

To reach this interesting mix of creatives, the Consulate General of Canada and Deep Vellum Books are producing an offsite session with horror writer extraordinaire and Wattpad Star Sandra Grayson. Her session, When community-driven stories become bestselling books, is focused on introducing storytellers to the power of writers rooted in community engagement.

We caught up with Sandra to give you an exclusive sneakpeek into the boutique series.

When community-driven stories become bestselling books will take place on Monday Morning, March 13, 2017 at The Austin Club. You Can RSVP here.

Tell us a bit about your Wattpad experience

I joined Wattpad after I had just returned to the US. I had been living in Korea and I couldn’t seem to change my sleeping patterns. I thought I would read something to help me get to bed so I looked for a free book app on my phone. Wattpad came up and one of the first books I read was The Bad Boy Stole My Bra. I was devastated because it wasn’t finished at the time. It was my first experience reading a serialized story. I soon began binge reading all sorts of books from different genres. I became addicted!

The first story I wrote was Bones of the Demon King. The only reason I started writing was because I wanted to make a book cover. I didn’t think anyone was going to read it and Wattpad ended up putting it on a Friday the 13th reading list and then it got featured. That same year I won a Watty for my story Unhinged and the following year I did a promotional campaign for Paramount Pictures and was invited into the Stars Program. It’s incredible how things have progressed. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and grateful for all the opportunities Wattpad has given me. A few months ago, I was asked to speak at the Canadian Salon Series. I cannot tell you how excited I am to represent Wattpad and hopefully I’ll do a good job and spread the love I have for Wattpad.

Where were you when you found out that you were selected for the Wattpad Stars program? What did it feel like? Have you participated in any brand campaigns since then?

I know exactly where I was at. Is it weird that I remember? I was in my office. LOL. I always have my phone with me or within reach and I typically see my e-mail notifications right away. At first I honestly thought [Wattpad] had invited me by mistake. I was so excited and at the same time I couldn’t believe it. It was a surreal moment.

I have participated in a few brand campaigns. I wrote Phantom Lens for Paramount Pictures to help promote their film Paranormal Activity. I also wrote some bonus chapters for my story Consumed to help promote The Exorcist for Fox Television. More recently, I wrote Pure. It was a short story inspired by the film, A Cure For Wellness, for 20th Century Fox. I even got a mention in an online Variety article because of that story (I’m still amazed by that). Being able to work with these brands has been INCREDIBLE! If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be writing stories to help promote major films, I would’ve laughed at you. I’ve always been a voracious reader and if I can’t physically read, I listen to audio books. I never thought I’d be on the other end writing stories that people all over the world would be reading. I can definitely say that my writing confidence has increased and I owe that to Wattpad.

What can attendees of your session expect?

I really hope that anyone that attends my session can learn how to use Wattpad to their advantage. Yes, Wattpad is an online library…but it’s also so much more than that. I want attendees to understand the power Wattpad has behind it and how they can use that power to help gain visibility in their writing. Among other things, we’ll also go over establishing yourself as a digital writer and serializing your story effectively.

What’s your advice for new writers? What’s your advice for reaching people on Wattpad?

New writers that join this site might feel overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes to attracting an audience. My number one bit of advice is not to compare yourself to other writers. It will drive you bonkers! Never let that discouraging voice in the back of your head convince you that your writing isn’t good enough or that you’ll never have a high amount of reads. Be patient and eventually, readers will find you. Tag your stories, have an eye-catching cover, write a good synopsis, and most importantly write the story you want to read. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.

Also, remember that Wattpad is a social platform. INTERACT! Visit the forums. Read and comment. Make friends. Then, just like me, you too will become addicted to Wattpad.

This is going to sound totally weird but I enjoy writing mystery/thrillers because I love surprising my readers. My stories are generally a good mix of everything. They usually have a little bit of horror, some romance, and the mystery/thriller aspect to them. Serializing stories is the best because readers will tell you who they think the baddie is in their comments and I absolutely love it when they’re wrong!

If they’re too close to being right, I can add a red herring or two. It’s like a game between me and them. Can I outsmart them? I have learned that readers automatically peg certain types of characters as the antagonist depending on how much importance I place on them in my stories. My repeat readers even look for clues in my cast lists! Sometimes I tell myself that I want to write a romance or a fantasy (I have major outlines for both) but I always go back to writing mystery/thrillers.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just like to say thank you to Wattpad, my readers, and my writer friends. Being able to have a creative outlet that I can share with other people is something I’m really appreciative of and I cannot express to you how grateful I am to have stumbled upon Wattpad.

PS: I know it’s SXSW and Spring Break but if you live in the Austin, Texas area, do come to the Canadian Salon session at the Austin Club! It’ll be a lot of fun and I’d love to meet some fellow Wattpadders!

Important: Change your Wattpad password immediately

Today, Wattpad was notified by CloudFlare, a third-party service supplier, that a recently discovered security vulnerability may have impacted Wattpad users. The vulnerability could have been used to access your account and information. To protect your privacy, we strongly recommend that you change your Wattpad password immediately.

For information about how to change your Wattpad password, click here.

Both CloudFlare and Wattpad have taken steps to address the vulnerability, but this issue impacts many other popular websites. We suggest you change your passwords on these other sites as well.

Wattpad Launches Brand Stories in UK with Red Nose Day Campaign

Brand Stories let brands reach and engage an active community of millennials in the UK who spend over 180 million minutes a month on Wattpad

We’re thrilled to announce that we are an official digital partner of Comic Relief for Red Nose Day 2017, which raises money to help change lives here at home in the UK and across Africa. Beginning today, Comic Relief will share inspiring stories on its official Wattpad profile that demonstrate the positive impact money raised through Red Nose Day has. The brand has also commissioned Wattpad Star Leigh Ansell to write an original story, “Double Dare” about some wacky fundraising to celebrate Red Nose Day. Since Red Nose Day is all about comedy and making your laugh matter, the brand will also take over the Humor category of stories on Wattpad.

Having raised more than £1 billion to date, Comic Relief is a great partner to announce the official launch of Wattpad Brand Stories in the UK. Building on our success with partners such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, H&M, GE, and 20th Century Fox, Wattpad Brand Stories UK will continue to use entertaining content to drive brand awareness and affinity among target customers.

Pete Durant, Digital Partnerships and Social Media Lead at Comic Relief UK said, “Partnering with Wattpad is the next step in engaging with a fresh young audience. Storytelling has always played an important part to Red Nose Day and we’re glad we’re able to continue the tradition on new and exciting platforms like Wattpad.”

 “As an official digital partner of Comic Relief, we’re proud to help drive awareness of Red Nose Day and use social storytelling to help make a difference in the lives of young people” said Richard Parboo, Director of Brand Partnerships, UK, Wattpad. “People spend 15 billion minutes a month engaging with Wattpad stories. Our global reach, massive engagement, and our ability to connect brands with skilled storytellers, means brands can connect on a deeper level - and for a longer period of time - with their target audiences.”