Q&A – success story of Pigeonhole Live developer

Posted on  15/10/2011  |  Media Centre

15th October 2010

Several international and motivation speakers are expected to grace the much-anticipated THiNKBIG Innovate Forum 2011. What follows is the success story of a recognised young trailblazer who started a simple yet effective business whose services have been sought across the globe.

Hew Joon Yeng, the current business developer for Pigeonhole Live, trained with the innovative Local Enterprise Achiever Development (iLEAD) programme under the National University of Singapore (NUS), during which time he interned with a local start-up working directly with the founder.

The exposure during this time provided the 24-year-old with an opportunity to network with the thought leaders of entrepreneurship from the heart of Silicon Valley and Zhong Guan Chun in Beijing.

After his return following the stint under the iLEAD programme, Yeng took study leave from NUS to further develop business ideas with Lyon Lim and eventually left the Honours programme to establish PigeonLab.

PigeonLab is a software designs company that has devised an interactive tool for both live and digital conferences called Pigeonhole Live as a means to tackle common problems that persist during question-and answer-sessions that take place at such conferences.

The software provides attendees with a platform to ask and vote for queries that are of particular interest to them. At the upcoming THiNKBIG Innovate Forum, Joon will moderate the session on social media where Pigeonhole Live technology will be put to use.

Tell us about how the idea of Pigeonhole Technology came. What inspired you?

From the conferences and seminar forums that we attended, we realised that nothing has changed from how Q&A sessions were usually carried out at these events: using microphones. We realised that the traditional hit-and-miss approach of such sessions could be more effective, if there is a way for every audience in the room to post their questions or thoughts.

Through collective editorial intelligence, the audience could vote on the questions that interest them the most and make use of the precious time during Q&A’s to address the most popular questions that actually concern the audience.

It is a simple idea, yet we don’t see any solution in the market that has solved the age-old problem. Both Lyon and I went ahead and build the prototype with the objective in mind to solve this pain, and now the product is known as Pigeonhole Live.

What was your journey into entrepreneurship like – from turning that idea into a business today?

As greenhorns in business, we made a fair bit of good decisions, as well as bad ones. We listened intently to our customers, who could be the event organisers, speakers, panel moderators, emcees or attendees.

We worked really fast in learning which features our clients loved in Pigeonhole Live and which didn’t quite cut the mark. The repeated cycle of reiterating and improving on the product has brought Pigeonhole Live a lot closer to the product/market fit and we are seeing more clients loving the use of Pigeonhole Live at their events.

How is the business progressing so far?

So far, all our clients have heard about Pigeonhole Live by word of mouth, or simply, they have seen Pigeonhole Live in action at an event and they would like to use it at their own upcoming events.

Pigeonhole Live has been used in major conferences and seminar forums held in Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, China, Japan and more. We have garnered clients from government agencies, multinational corporations, event organisers, tertiary and secondary schools, and so on.

You will be moderating the social media session at the THiNKBIG Innovate Forum in Brunei. In your opinion, how should businesses leverage on social media? Can you cite an example on your business?

The opportunity of businesses in social media lies in the network mass and connectivity. We have learnt how user-generated contents could be shared and reach individuals at the ends of the world in its most raw and truest form, in split seconds.

Depending on the nature of business and the product, one could be creative in leveraging on the ever-growing virtual real estate of social media and spearhead in forming a competitive edge over their competitors.

One example on how social media is integrated in Pigeonhole Live is where audience could choose to reveal his or her social identity while asking a question on Pigeonhole Live during the conference, via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

While Pigeonhole Live takes pride in its ease of access via a simple event pass-code, without the hassle of creating a user account, the attendee could choose to leverage on their social media profiles as an identifier on Pigeonhole Live. This example is simply the tip of the iceberg, and our team is certainly excited about the potential of social media in bringing better user experience to attendees on Pigeonhole Live at events.

What would your advice to young and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make it in the ICT industry be?

The most important lesson that I have learnt, and I am glad we made the right move, is: don’t wait around with your idea.

Get out of your room, go out and get talking with your target customers. Get your hands dirty, build it and get the prototype out to test with your target customers, as fast as you can.

It is also important to be open to constructive criticism. As entrepreneurs, we think we have an original idea. But we have to be prepared to seek validation from industry players and be flexible to tailor the product to suit the needs of the market. Also, young entrepreneurs must not be afraid to experiment.

In the US, failure is a badge of honour. So one must be prepared to learn from failures.

Please click here for the original article