The Lea(r)n journey [Pakornkrit’s reflective essay]

Lucky 5 Logo for box 406x406-01 RGB

What is the most important factor of entrepreneurship?

The question that most startups need to answer. Over the past eight months, one product and a group of five people, there are so many things happening to this Young Enterprise startup project called Lucky 5 whether joyful, excitement, sadness, disappointment, argument or confusion. In my mind, even though the term entrepreneurship is still too far for me to use for describing myself, it is undeniable for me that the crucial point I got from this project is about learning by doing. From business model, value proposition, prototyping, testing, pivoting, lean methodology or any other terminologies that emerged along the working of this project, all of these will mean nothing without a simple word called ‘doing’. This paper aims to illustrate the entrepreneurial journey of startup named Lucky 5 from my perspective. There are three lessons to be covered including just do it, value of empathy and just for fun business model.

Just do it

First of all, the first and foremost reflection from this project is the balance between planning and doing. Although there was almost eight months for this project, I have to admit that me and my group spent only 20-30 per cent on actually ‘doing’ something, the rest is just discussing and planning. On one hand, it is really important to have a proper plan before start doing something. However, it could be seen that the more and more we have spent on planning, the more difficult for us to start doing. This is partly because we are all wanted to make it so perfect and the more time spent on researches, the more idea emerged. Moreover, it is because for all of us, this is our very first experience starting a business and more importantly, with our own money. So, we all wanted to make the most out of it. Although, we have learned that the principle of lean startup is to push the business out and reiterate where possible, it is this fear of failure that holding us from start doing something.

This is difficult for all of us especially me because when I worked in advertising agency, there are so many processes before we can start doing something whether pre-testing, market research, internal and external meeting and many more. This made me feel uncomfortable at first when I heard about lean process.


The crucial point is when we have to held our first trade fair. Though we have to held a trade fair in a couple of days ahead, we still have nothing whether product, trade stand or even what we are going to do at the fair. At one point, Janja even just told us to stop discussing and just assigned each person a task to do before the fair begin.

The lesson I have learned here is sometimes, it is better to just stop assuming and trust your gut feeling. An inexperience or hesitation is just excuses to not step out of comfort zone. As a result, we began to pay more attention on action rather than planning and consequently, we got the product, try to sell it, sales increased, more and more people interested in our product and more importantly, we have tangible feedbacks to talk about, not just abstract conversation. We understanded what is good about our product or business and also what could be improved. All of these just because we just do it.

Value of empathy

Arguably, empathy is one of the most important factors every business should have. Our very first session from this course is to go to toilet with eyes blinded with the purpose to live in someone else’s shoes. Through the year, I have learned many things about business but it is empathy that caught my attention most and also the topic that I blogged about most. First is because it already go along with my mindset in advertising about insights and customers understanding. When I started working in advertising, the company I worked for have a principle called ‘Humankind’. Basically, it is almost the same as Design Thinking from IDEO, to understand people as much as we can and absorb their life into your in order to get insights and consequently create the product(communication) that customers really want or it can really solve their problem. It is the first time I heard this mindset in business world and did not quite sure how it is going to work practically. Even we have a couple of sessions where we have to get out of the room and asking people what they want, I still have no idea how this is going to help because most people are just trying to end the conversation as soon as possible. But because I really interested in this school of thought, I tried to dig deeper about it and found one particular item that really help me not only this project but also my future career. It is the book called Well-designed by Jon Kolko. This book taught me step-by-step on how important it is to understand customers and also how to convert all these understanding into something practical for the business.

When it comes to this project, the understanding about empathy helped me a lot especially when I have to write a business pitch for Bright Idea competition which we ended up in the final round just because of that pieces of writing. This mindset influenced me significantly because it helped improve my career directly and more importantly, it also helped improve working process internally. Despite the fact that me and my group have to do business together, we do not have anything in common at all. Without empathy, it would looks like a battlefield. Empathy helped me stepped back and looking at the context rather than just content. Conflict is undeniable when people working together but at least, if we tried to understand other opinions, the work can proceed further. Therefore, even in reality, it is difficult to let go of self and try to see the world from another perspective, it is important that the business which know the value of empathy both externally and internally is the one that sustainable most in long run.

Just for fun business model

When people started doing something just for fun, the power is far beyond any other motivation such as money or reputation. A couple of days ago, I have been to the talk of a man who quit his job as a senior copywriter and decide to travel around the world offering to use his creative skill in return of accommodation and food. He started his talk with a simple question

‘Do you have a gut to quit your job,

leave everything behind and do something just for fun?’

Although it sounds inspiring and persuasive, the fact that we have to sacrifice something reliable such as house or salary with something just for fun is still questionable. In our business, at first, we did not think of anything about making profit or any big plan at all. We just wanted to produce something just for fun and something we all want to keep. However, when the project keep going on and on, there was real money involved, some emotional arguments and also a good mark we needed to get, the project gradually became more serious and the fun part just disappeared. It was just when we finished the project that I looked back to the starting point and found this crucial point. On one hand, it is good especially for startup to take things seriously. In contrast, when things getting too serious, it comes with pressure and consequently, counter productivity of team.

Doing things just for fun could potentially be one of the best starting points of any startup because it allows team to go beyond conventional barriers of a business such as market research, proper business plan or even wearing a suit in a pitch. More importantly, it will pushes business to go as far as they can without realising about making profit or when to break even point. Therefore, though among many school of thoughts or business models of running a proper business, it is hardly to deny that doing things just for fun could leads to crucial value not only for business but also in the perception of customers as well.


In conclusion, though there are many things happen along the learning journey of Lucky 5 throughout the year, three most important factors for me is the balance between planning and doing, the way to put empathy at the core of business and lastly, start and sustain business only just for fun. These three topics had influenced me most not only in terms of entrepreneurial mindset but also life in general. Despite the fact that I do not have any plan to open my own business at the moment, everything I have learned from this course gave me confidence to startup my own business whenever I want. Therefore, even this project was just a very small scale of startup compared to the real world, it is interesting and surprising at the same time that I have learned so many things which I never thought of before when started this project.



Kelley, T. and Kelley, D. (2015) Creative confidence. London: William Collins.

Kolko, J. (2014) Well-designed : How to use empathy to create products people love. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

Leo Burnett (2011) Leo Burnett – HumanKind. Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2016)

Osterwalder, A., Clark, T. and Pigneur, Y. (2010) Business model generation : A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Ries, E. (2011) The Lean Startup. London: Portfolio Penguin

Van Der Heijden, M. (2016) The Backpacker Intern: No Guts, No Story [Talk to D&AD Festival 2016]. 21 April.

Van Der Heijiden, M. (2013) The Backpacker Intern. Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2016)



The thin line between dream & reality

What lies between dream and reality?


The question I tried to answer the whole process of this project.

Sometimes, somethings look really good in our imagination but when it comes to reality, it’s completely another story.

In reality, there’re so many things I didn’t expected.

Through the whole year, there’re so many things happenning from this project that didn’t what I expected.

Some because of my lack of experience.

Some because of sudden change in situation.

Some still remain a mystery.

When I worked in agency, if I want something, I just order it and there will be someone trying everything to make it happen somehow.

Here, I’ve to figure it out everything from ideation to production.

Even though we’ve a team, but it’s still tough because nobody had done anything like this before.

When looking back to what we’ve done, surely there’re a lot of thing to change if I can turn back time. However, it makes me thinking about one thing.

Is it normal for startup to be in this situation?

To think and try to make it happen and ended up with something tangible even it’s not the same as in imagination.

What if I spend more time planning more carefully, would it be better?

Or the more time spent on planning, the more difficult to actually start working on real thing because there’re so many things to concern.

Or maybe, it’s just my fixed-mindset that everything need to be perfectly like in the planning stage. In advertising, there’s no improvise. If the script said this, the director needs to follow it even it’s not the best thing at that moment or some better option emerged. That’s because we’ve spent a lot of time on planning and we’ve committed to it so much until we didn’t want to change anything about it. That’s the nature of human being.

At the beginning of this project, I’ve to say that I didn’t agreed much with the ‘lean’ process because in my mind, it feel like half-baked business and it contradicted with my experience in advertising which everything need to be polished before start doing something.

Now, though, It still feels like half-baked, I started to realise that it doesn’t matter how good that plan are if it’s just a plan.

It’s action that’s count.

It’s the action that holds the thin between dream & reality.

I will … what I want

You are the first (and the best) customer.

Through the year, I’ve learned many things about design thinking, put yourself in someone’s shoe, empathy or customer-centric business. On one side, it’s good to understand what customer really want and then, create something they would actually buy and use. However, when thinking about all great things in our history, there’re just small number of cases that customer or user has been considered as it should be.

When Tim Berners-Lee invented World Wide Web, he didn’t think about changing human’s communication network or even benefit someone’s life. All he wanted at the time was just create a system to make use of information just for himself.

Innocent drink with its founders had been widely known that the starting point of their successful business was just to create something fun and cool (for themselves).

When Cadbury and its famously gorilla drummer advert decided to ‘market research’ what people will think about this concept, most people said that it’s gonna failed and nobody’s gonna interested in this thing. Fortunately, the agency didn’t care about that research and decided to do it anyway.

When J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, she has been turned down many times from publishers with the reason that it has no ‘commercial value’.

When Paul McCartney wrote Hey Jude, all he wants was just to cheer up John’s son.

and the list goes on and on…

All of these cases had nothing in common except the fact that they are intrinsically motivated by the value of themselves and the value within the work, not the value given by ‘outsiders’.

They’re all put themselves at the heart of the work.

They’re all looking at their work in a very personal way.

They’re all pursuing what they really believe.

They’re all becoming oneness with their work.

Surely, understanding what people want is better than don’t care anything about them at all. Though, it is still hardly to deny that sometimes, just follow your gut feeling is worth enough.

As someone smarter than me said that ‘Doing what you really feel about and other will feel it as well’

It all starts with Reward

Yesterday, when I tried to find some interesting thing to watch on TV, there was a film called Hot Fuzz which I’ve watched it like 4 or 5 times already. Somehow, I still ended up spent almost 2 hours watching and really enjoy it. Though, it was one of my favourite film, it didn’t give me anything ‘new’ because I almost remembered every scene of it.

Suddenly, it reminds me of several years ago when I attended workshop with one great creative director of ad agency. In that day, there was one question from someone in the room asking creative director that

What would you do if you have to work with completely bad product?

(Which in this case, it’s so bad until you can’t think of anything good at all)

The question itself is not that interesting because it’s normal to get answer like try harder or find insight but the answer he gave that day was far beyond that and it makes me rebembered it until today. His answer was simply

At least, I will do anything to reward audience instead.

In that case, it means that you have to ignore all the brief or KPI and just do anything that make people happy.

How on earth can agency possibly get away with this kind of solution? I wondered.

It was quite shocking for me at that moment and took me a while to understand what lies behind that answer. Typically, the process of advertising is to do what ever to put brand in people’s mind, whether those people agreed or not. So, it makes most adverts so annoyed (but somehow, we ended up remembered all of its dialogues). Interestingly, there’re another type of advertising, a type of advert that people defined it as enjoyed to watch even there’s nothing to do with its brand at all. These adverts, I assumed that it might came from the same school of thought with that creative director, just do whatever to reward people.

But what if this school of thought was right?

What would happen if we start doing something by just aiming to reward people?

Forget everythings about brief, ROI or product USP

and just find a way to make people feel good.

Who knows, maybe it might works better than those old-fashioned one.

Like someone said in old proverb


How great parents taught me about idea


Idea is like your kid.

You need to defend to death to keep it alive.

One of the lesson I’ve learnt several years ago from advertising workshop. The guy who taught me was executive creative director of big name agency. So, it is hardly not to believe him. Since then, I treated idea like it was my kid, proudly speaking to other, protecting when someone bully and sometimes, kicking other kids away to let mine shine.

Even it’s kind of funny or over-exaggerate but I found that this analogy holds some truely insights of creative process.

Unlike people in other industries such as engireer or doctor, creative people don’t have any clear principle to tell that this is right or wrong. It’s the self-learning skill, like being a parent. Even though I don’t have a kid myself but just looking how other parents treat their kids tell a lot about how being a parent shared many common with creative process.

Here’re some of my observation.

  • Idea came from 2 different things combining together.
  • Idea shared some part of owner.
  • No 2 ideas are the same.
  • Idea needs nurturing and feeding.
  • Idea can grow and has its own life one day
  • Idea can makes us proud.
  • Sometimes, embarassed as well.

and many more, but one thing for sure is

  • Idea always the best in owner’s view.

We can see many example where parents being blinded by their kids, some even blurry the line between right and wrong.

Idea has no exception. It’s very easy to spoil the idea too much without realising the truth of it.

Only great parents know proper way of how to take care of their kids.

They will give freedom but yet, still in control.

They’re willing to see their kids without bias.

They can understand how to nurture their kids.

Also not too much to spoil them.

They will give reward when their kids done good thing.

And will not hesitate to punish when they’re wrong.


But what about idea?

Do these things also apply to the idea?

Maybe I’ll have to wait until that day to know it.


Anything that passed through you and didn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Not my words actually. Just read it from somewhere.

Normally I’m not quite fancy this kind of phases because it’s kind of cliche phase that everyone will just noding their head but didn’t really meant anything in reality. Except this one.

The startup project just finished and I kind of have a time to review everything over and over again. Obviously, it started with frustration about many things. However, when I left my thinking flow, I’ve found some feeling I didn’t had for a while, an enlighten moment!.

It’s kind of strange but what I’ve found is your bad experience really taught you more than you think.

The worst, the better.

No! I’m not a pessimistic nor optimistic person and this is not my sarcastic expression.

If you still don’t believe me, let me tell you a story.


Once upon a time, there was a passionate young man. He just graduated from university and still looking for a job. Not an ordinary job but a job that he could actually make a different to the society and the world. He spent almost a year looking for ‘a place’ for him. Eventually, somehow, he got a job as a junior creative in one of the biggest advertising agency in the country. Everything seem like a dream comes true. If only it wasn’t as good as he thought, not even close, to be precise. Ironically, it wasn’t the job that’s bad but it’s the process to create good job that’s bad. Even worst, nobody’s seem to notice it at all.

Is it because of the reputation of company?

or Is it only just him that gone mad because of workaholic?

At that time, he didn’t really know or trying to know what happen or how to solve it. ‘Ignorance is a bliss’ He thought. Until one day, the day he decided to take the leap (or just tried to run away from this condition). He moved to the other side of spectrum; a small company. Hoping that it might just because of hierarchical process that caused the root of his frustration. Sadly, It ended up the same as before or maybe even worst.

Though, it wasn’t good experience at all at that time, he gradually realised the big impact of it when the time goes by.

Since then, he tried to look at it in a more logical way.

He found that it’s the real purpose of having experience.

Not just number of years or places but to know what’s good? and what’s not?

He can fully say that it was one of the best experiences he ever had.


More importantly, it gave him confidence to ask question.

Asking why? and also How to make it better?

Not every questions found its answer.

At least, it taught him that if only we found a way to flip the coin, even the worst pain can become an incredibly gain.

Expensive you are not expensive me

We’re all living in a different world.

This might sound a little bit strange because we’re all still living in the same world physically. However, the only thing that makes our world different from other’s people world is a simple word called ‘Judgement’.

Long or Short

Fat or Slim

Rich or Poor

Beautiful or Ugly

Smart or Stupid

and million word of judgement we used to break our world into tiny pieces.

The question is how can you be so sure that everyone will use the same judgement as you?

Is having 1 million pound mean rich?

Is 90 kg. mean fat?

Is having a degree mean smart?

I’m sure not everyone agreed.

We only judged it based on our related experience.

There was a time when I studied in elementary school, at that time, I was playing some kind of games with my friend, his games actually. I can’t remember what we’re playing and what happen but the only thing I remembered was I accidently broke that games. For me at that time, it was just a cheap games that I can buy it anytime. So, I told him that I’m sorry and I’ll buy a new one for him. The reaction I got was completely another story. He started crying no matter I tried to apologise and promise that I will buy him a new one. I just realised after that that he spent many months saving money to buy that games. For him, it meant more than just a games, it was part of his life whereas for me, it was just another games.

You can buy a new games but not with the same feeling.

Same as startup a business. When you start using judgement instead of understanding, you started building another world. The more judgement, the more different of these 2 world.

There was a joke I heared when I started working in the agency. It happen in a pitch of an agency with a big client. As usual, when the creative team finished present their idea, the client will give comments and it will be something like

‘I don’t like this’

‘This is too small for me’

‘That was not what I imagined’

The creative team listen carefully and politely say that

‘I’m afraid that it wasn’t you that this campaign is going to communicate with’.


FYI: That agency didn’t won the pitch.

One word wonder

Startup makes me think like a client.

When I started working in agency, my first job is to write a script a 30 seconds advert for a mobile operater company. At that time, I spent many days writing it based on ‘brief’ that client (and AE) think it’s important for them. Because there’re many important ‘features’ they want to say, I spent hours craft my copy to keep the flow smooth, read, rewrite it again and again until I think it’s smooth enough. Ironically, when I’ve to present it to my boss, after I started read it for 2 sentences, he suddenly stopped me and ask me one question.

What’s the concept?

Just this simple question makes all the work I spent the whole week writing and crafting gone into the bin suddently. As a copywriter, the only thing I know at that time is how to make the text more ‘readable’. I just assumed that if I craft my copy, write it in a more interesting way, people are going to read it. Without realising the big picture about concept or in a plain sentence.

What’s it all about?

As a startup, it’s even harder because everyhings are new, new brand, new product or even new ‘market’. There’re weird research from Microsoft said that nowadays, people can focus on something for only 8 seconds. I don’t know it’s true or not but it’s still interesting because we’re living in the world where every things seem very interesting. Even watching a cat video on Youtube can consume your time easily (I recommend cat with cucumber).

Andy Warhol once said that ‘In the future, everybody will be world famous in 15 minutes’. The only thing he missed is it’s not just ‘everybody’ but ‘everything’.

So, what can we do with that so limited time?

In advertising world, there’re a fancy term we used when teaching younger people who wanted to work in the industry.

We called it single-minded.

The meaning is simple, let the mind focus on one thing at a time. Although in the ‘real world’, client will think that everythings about their business are interesting (from their logo to their barcode), it’s pointless to spend money selling every single features. It’s true that in reality, we can’t say much about this, if the client want it, you have to do it or you have to defend it to death to keep it the way you want.

I just realised it when I’ve to work in this startup project. When you created something by yourself, everything seem interesting and there’re so many things to say. Forgot all arguements we’ve with the client to just keeping the key message in one thing (and for some reason, at this stage, AE will just suddently jump to the client side).

This sounds like a technical term but in fact, it’s in the nature of our human. We’re better at ‘focusing’ on only one thing at the time.

See these pictures as example.


Obvious isn’t it?

If not, think of someone you know very well for example. When describing that person, most people will just describe it as ‘He’s a nice person’ or ‘She’s a funny person’. Nobody’s going to describe someone as ‘He’s 34% nice, 26% funny 10% bossy and a little bit weird’. Although as human, we’ve many characteristics and it keeps changing all the time. It’s kind of automatic system of our brain to summarise every million things we perseived each day and sum it up into a short single word (or at least single message). And this makes it more memorable.

Doraemon is friendship.

Apple is innovative.

The Lord of the Ring is journey.

KFC is fried-chicken.

Heinz is tomato ketchup.


This might similar and could be completely different in each person. It’s depend on experience people had with particular things. At this stage, it might not that easy to just get rid of useless things and focus only on one important thing. For me, at least, it keeps remind me of one thing.

Don’t act like a client.

Makes believe

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Christmas just passed and everybody seem happy about it including me. Last week, when I walked around on the street, there’re one scene that catched my eyes. Two lovely kids talking to a man who dressed like Santa Claus, just like another ordinary scene that you should see when it comes to Christmas period. The interesting thing is when I looked closely in the eyes of those kids, they aren’t any room for them to think that it’s just another man who pretend to be like Santa Claus. Santa Claus is not real and it’s just a fake story for kids to behave properly.

Is it?

Deeply inside every kids’ mind, I believed that they truly knew that even their father dressed like Santa, he’s not ‘real’ Santa. The interesting is, like those kids I saw, they choose to believe it. This comes to the issue of truth and logic. Ironically that not just those kids, but we’re all unconciously lived in the world of ‘logic’ rather than ‘truth’. Good logic doesn’t have to be true (like father christmas) as long as it makes us believe in something. Something that fulfill partly of our imagination, hope, dream even brought back our good old days. Then, what’s Santa all about start-up or the world of business? Just looked at that ordinary scene reminds me of one simple question.

Can a business makes people believe in something?

Surely, Santa Clause somehow could be seen as a brand as well but what about a real business that created for purely commercial purpose. To gain market share and make profit. Is that possible for adults to believe in these kind of things. Can a business make us feel like those kids with Santa Claus? Guess you might know my answer already.


Can a running shoe makes people believe in the power inside themself?


Nike proved that they can do it with just a simple  yet compelling tagline ‘Just do it’. It almost 28 years now that this slogan has been used. Adweek wrote about the greatness of this tagline when it celebrate 25th birthday in 2013. Since then, it is just this simple line that motivated people to believe in thenself and makes thing happen. What Nike had done is not just created another advertising to sell shoes but they make believe beyond sport. And surely that this believe works and makes Nike become one of the most famous brand in the world.


Can a sunglasses make people believe that nothing worth hiding?



Never hide, another great tag line from Ray Ban. It sound a bit weird when thinking about what can a sunglasses do to make people using (and buy) more sunglasses. Just makes people feel confident to go outside. But what Ray Ban done was more than that. They used sunglassed as a symbol of society, like the classic Aviator model, symbol to make people proud in what they were. To makes people believe in what they are and confident with it.


Can a retailer makes people believe in the value of giving?


This is probably the clearest example of what a brand can makes people believe in something. Everybody knew that Christmas is for sharing and giving present to each other. But what John Lewis done was beyond that typical giving and reveiving situaltion. Giving something to someone that never feel Christmas before and with addding the element of surprise into it, magic happen.

These are just some examples of a business that goes beyond typical business mindset. They’re all start doing something not from How can we sell something and make more profit? But How can we make people believe in something (and eventually buy our product)? It is true that everything takes time especially building trust in brand. But if a brand or a startup can start their business with some kind of believe, it suddenly turn the whole business from just a product or service into something people can believe in.

Like all those kids with Santa Claus.

Design or not design

Everything in this world has been designed (intentionally or not).

One of the first thing I heard in this course. At first, I’m not totally believe about it and it’s even strange when the word ‘design’ being used in business term, it makes me curious that is it just another fancy term to make business world more complicated for normal people. If everything in this world has been designed, what about the thing that’s not made by human?

Is the earth has been designed to have distance from the sun that makes our wolrd not too cold or hot for people, plants or animals to live in?

Is the atmosphere has been designed to keep the oxygen so living organisms can be alive?

Is the spinning of our earth has been design to have perfectly balance between day and night so people don’t have to work (or sleep) too much?


Is the term ‘design’ should be only the thing that human created?

And more importantly,

Can we really use ‘design’ in everything?


I took these 2 pictures in different time and reason. The first picture is just a scene from my ordinary life. Sitting in the second floor of the bus but then I found 1 house that differnt from others. The house itself was not the point but it was the car entrance of that house that makes me interested. Normally, every house that built on a unusualy surface should build a ramp for car to get in and out easier. But then, they still need to build a staircase for people to get in as well. So, most house exept the one I saw always have entrance for car and staircase for people seperately. From the perspective of ‘designer’, it might just start from a simple question like this

If the car just use only space in the edge, why waste space in the middle?


What if we put the car entrance and staircase together?

Both questions are just hypothesis or ‘leap of faith’ and for some people, it might not even worth thinking about.

This leads to the second picture I took in the bathroom of university. Personally, because I’m a copywritter, my eyes are very sensitive to words ,especially the strange one.

What did you see first when looking at this sign?

Keep washrooms clean and dry.


For foot washing please.


Can we call both case a pieces of design?

If yes, what differentiate great design from … err not so good one?

Is it because of high level education degree?

Is it because of it is a work from great designer?

To me, great design is just something that really solve problem especailly the problem that’s too small for normal to notice. More importantly, it has to makes something in life easier. The car entrance combine with staircase solve problem of waste space which makes their life somehow easier. For the bathroom signage, it might be the case that people read the whole text and understand the purpose of this signage but is it makes people’s life easier?

It reminds me of the the question in the beginning of the blog about the wonderful of our world. If the world has been designed (by someone) to make all of us safely living here, it might be one of the best example of ‘design that solves problem’ I could ever imagine.