Who wants to be a millionaire?
Facebook bought Instagram for US$1 billion; Zynga bought OMGPOP for US$200 million; and a lot of now-angry investors took up Facebook shares ... and you're thinking, ‘I should build an app and also be a millionaire'". But the story runs a little different on these shores, says Elizabeth Low.
I was sitting with several friends a few days after everyone had heard the news of Facebook buying Instagram. In an article for the Los Angeles Times Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo said: "In Silicon Valley, there's still too much money chasing too few ideas. If your idea is brilliant and your timing is right, you can become a multi-millionaire overnight."
Obviously this sparked a good round of jealousy at the table with everyone bemoaning their poor average fate, while seemingly anointed techies such as Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom get to sit on a pile of money.
The fact they are barely pushing 30 is all the more thought-provoking.
For the next few days, my Facebook news feed was punctuated with the occasional jealous post, to the note of: "I need to create my own app and become the next billionaire!" (Because hey, that's just a walk in the park isn't it?)
Well, if you're in the industry, and you're just burning with entrepreneurial spirit (or more likely, a deep desire to own a Lamborghini, numerous Birkin bags and jet around the globe), here are a few ideas to think about.
You could build your own cutting-edge, mind-blowing app. It's easy, all you need is to have some background in web coding, a great idea, add a dash of slick marketing, and it's going to be a sure-fire seller. (This is going in the fiction section, obviously.) While Singapore has one of the highest numbers of high-net-worth individuals, and this could be loosely translated to mean a good number of potential investors, innovation in the tech sector has yet to take off in a big way. (Still looking out for it guys.)
Meanwhile, it looks like another sector has been hot for acquisitions with the trend on these shores seemingly leaning to the wet markets. Apparently the gaping opportunity here seems to be found in the bottom of the consumer's stomach.
Take for example the Kay Lee roast meats eatery, asking a price of SG$2 million for its recipe and SG$3.5 million for the whole business. Apparently there have been many interested buyers from Indonesia and Malaysia. (No really, and its owners also drive nice sports cars).
Or how about the Hougang 6 Miles Famous Muah Chee store owner charging SG$1 million for the recipe? One hawker stall at Kovan has already sold at SG$340,000.
So while I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for the next big thing to come from these shores, if all else fails, maybe it's time to buy a nice cool white singlet and pick up a pan.