Scaling The Future: Allen Lau Contributes 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

Clone Wars: What Facebook and Snapchat Can Teach You About Disruption

The media is obsessed with Facebook’s rollout of Snapchat-like features, and what they mean for the two companies. It’s easy to see why - competition creates drama, and drama commands attention.

Facebook Vs. Google+. Periscope Vs. Meerkat. Foursquare Vs. Gowalla. Each major advancement in technology brings a wave of disruption that can level any playing field.

Every business is a target for disruption. Right now, someone’s coding a product or service that may fundamentally change the way you do business.

In my decades of experience in the tech industry, I’ve come away with a better understanding of why businesses go after each other, and what it takes to survive as either the champion or contender.

Underdog Contenders Steal The Title With:  

Belief

In the early years of Wattpad, my co-founder Ivan Yuen and I only made enough ad revenue a month to buy a single cup of coffee. Most entrepreneurs might have cut their losses and walked away, but a deeply-rooted belief in our company vision kept us in the game.

We believed our product would revolutionize how people discover, share, and connect through stories. Meaningful companies are built upon a strong, timeless vision.

Speed

If a problem exists in the market that your product or service can solve, don’t expect it to exist forever. Competition in business is time sensitive. In almost all cases, there is an extremely small window of opportunity to win.

Google solved the problem of search and became the portal to the internet. Snapchat pioneered ephemeral visual communication, then moved quickly to capture the market. Speed is one of the best assets for a growing company. Make decisions quickly and execute with purpose.

Ambition

In 1993, I left an unexciting job at IBM to join a startup called Delrina. When I joined the company, it had just over 100 employees. Two years later, the company employed over 700 people and was acquired by Symantec.

Riding that rocket-ship was a life changing experience. There I learned to be ambitious enough to aim for global scale and fearless enough to take on the toughest competitors. If you build an amazing product for a global market, the sky's the limit. Aim high and find excitement in the prospect of building a world-class company.

Read Allen Lau's Full Post on INC