You may wonder, “Why JomLaunch Asia?” So OK. This is the story of JomLaunch Asia.
My name is Iszuddin Ismail. For the past few years, my friends and I have organised an event we call JomLaunch. Basically it is an event that gathers programmers and developers to showcase their works.
A Humble Begining…
As cliche as it sounds, it is an event by programmers, for programmers. Our first event gathered about 70 people. But the last one we did, 2019, gathered over 600 programmers and developers.
We were out to appreciate and celebrate the great and awesome programming talents among us.
With JomLaunch (Malaysia), we opened up a period for the project submissions. And then we selected 20 projects to present on stage. One criteria we set was that the project does not have to be commercial in nature. It can be your personal smart home project. It can be a project that you launched as open source. And of course, it can also be a commercially viable project.
The reason for that is because we want to give credit to the ingenuity, creativity, architectural sophistication and the programming prowess of the project. We want to get to know the programmer behind it, and not just where it can make money or not.
And because of that, we get to see some really interesting projects. A project helped with the overcrowdedness of the waiting area in the hospitals with a better queue management system, another project was an open source neonate monitor, and another kid presented an open source game engine.
But then there are the great companies and projects that came out of JomLaunch as well, with huge business potential. Just to name a few, there is RunCloud.io, DNS Vault, and a few more.
So now we know, we can develop great products. And we need to know how to grow them. RunCloud and DNS Vault are doing really well. But just like other businesses, it was challenging.
Perhaps if there was a community of people who aspire to build software products and sell them online, that can meet, learn from each other and grow together, things would be much easier and faster.
And that is why I started JomLaunch Asia.
The Two Ways of Building a Startup
Method number 1; it is the very popular method where you build a startup, and then you go around pitching your business to venture capitals and investors for funds.
I have been in a company that received venture capital funds. I am grateful to have gone through the experience.
Funds like that opens up a lot of opportunities for your company, which you might not have otherwise. Some types of businesses and products require that kind of investment. But it comes with its own challenges. I believe it takes a special kind of person to be able to handle those type of challenges, especially mental kind of challenges.
Method number 2; you build a minimum viable product, you validate your business idea, and then you bootstrap. You bootstrap and bootstrap until your business can provide for you a comfortable living. In most cases, you will never be the next unicorn. But it can provide you with a comfortable life. In fact, you may not want to be a unicorn at all. You value your freedom and lifestyle too much.
A Soft Spot for the Little Guys
With method number 2, these are the micro SaaS builders, the indie hackers, the bootstrappers, the solo developers. These are the little guys.
I have a soft spot for the little guys.
These guys are not really drawn to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin.
But we can relate more to Jason Fried (Basecamp), Neil Patel, Tim Ferris.
I was looking for conferences or events in the region to learn more about bootstrapping and building a software company. But I didn’t find any that is specific for this group of people in the region. You find some government support and events that is more geared toward the venture-capital-backed type of startups. And you may find some events in the Europe or maybe Unite States, but none in Asia. And definitely not for the little guys.
It’s Not Because of the Gap Opportunity – I Just Want To Learn
When I think about it, when I started JomLaunch (Malaysia), apart celebrating the developers and programmers, all I wanted was to learn.
When I wanted to learn Git, I find a guy who can volunteer his time to teach, and I gather some friends to learn along. And then I wanted to learn responsive web design with Bootstrap. I did the same. I found a guy who was good at it and organised a one-day workshop. And we all learn together. And I made some really good friends along the way.
So with JomLaunch Asia… it is no different. I want to learn how to bootstrap a software company and present my product to the world, and build a merry life for myself, and for those around me.
And I know that there good knowledge among us. I know there are people doing it in Asia. We don’t have to go far.
So Let’s Do JomLaunch Asia!
So that is the story why I started JomLaunch Asia.
And to do this, I need your support. You don’t need to travel far to the United States or Europe to be in a room with similar, like-minded people. People who juggle being a parent and moonlighting at night on our own project. People who can code a software but have zero marketing budget (lol). People who are building a SaaS in the weekend.
People like you and I.
If that is you, then let’s do this.
Let’s come, meet, learn and grow together.
See you soon.