Why Neko Atsume Could be the Best Game Ever

In case you haven’t noticed, the mobile app craze Neko Atsume has been spreading like wildfire in many English-speaking countries since it’s been translated from Japanese to English. Now even YOU can own a whole yard of cats that come by your house just to play with your stuff and leave you fish.

The gameplay is essentially very simple. In fact, a bit too simple. You start off with like a backyard where you can put cat food and other cat toys. Some stray cats with apparently nowhere else to go will wander into your backyard and free-load off your food and toys.

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My cat food brings all the cats into the yard.

And since you were being so nice, they would leave behind some fish for you. These fish can then be used to buy tons of in-game toys. On rare occasions, these cats can even drop GOLD FISHES that can be used to do cooler things like expanding your yard, changing its look, or purchasing cool-er looking toys.

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Kinda weird for them to be giving YOU fish. Shouldn’t it be the other way?

These toys can then be used to attract more cats, which gives you MORE FISH. Pretty simple to understand no?

All in all, this game got a lot of people hooked! It already hitting the top 37 in overall app charts for iTunes and top 10 for the  Android game charts (EXCEEDING CANDY CRUSH. LET THAT SINK IN).

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THEY EVEN HAVE MERCHANDISE! HOW SICK IS THAT?

So what made this game the phenomenon that it is today? Here are some good traits of this game that even game developers should take note:

1. Minimal loading times

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THEY USE PUNS AS WELL. I’m sold.

One thing that really struck me was the very short loading time of this game. Loading times could take a maximum of 5 seconds. This really helped if you needed something to play quick, like if you’re pooping (let’s be honest, we play games when we poop) or if you’re taking a short break from studying. More often than not, most games are not played because they take a few years to load (I’m exaggerating).

2. CUTE CATS

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SILLY CAT. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO PUT IT OVER YOU AND BECOME SUPERMAN.

Aren’t they adorable!? Most people play Neko Atsume simply because of how cute the cats are. Watching how they interact with the toys is just therapeutic. They do stuff like rolling the ball around, laying down in the box, or even getting trapped in the vase.

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It was around now when Kyle realised he made a huge mistake.

Of course, using cute animals like cats definitely increased the popularity of the game. Cute characters have always been used and amounting to huge successes. Don’t believe me? Look at Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, and Cut the Rope.

3. Short commitment time spans

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The game needed very little commitment to play. In theory, you only needed to log on to refill their food bowls. These short commitment time spans really remove the fear of committing to a game where once you start a session, you know you’ll lose 30 minutes.

4. Clean and simple

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This is a game where you can find a cat that reflects yourself.

The interface is clean and very simple. No overload of gimmicks, hard sales that ask you to buy stuff, etc. This clean interface really adds on to the therapeutic effect and makes you always want to log back on.

5. Tapping on the niche population

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Eventually, as a cat lover, you’ll know who your real friends are – This definitely does not include Tubbs who ate all your food.

Perhaps an interesting approach of Neko Atsume was to target a niche population instead of the general population. You would imagine that this would reduce the number of downloads, but if this niche audience enjoyed the game, word-of-mouth marketing would spread exponentially, which is the case of this game. Targeting a niche audience is definitely not a common industry practice, but Neko Atsume pulled it off awesomely.

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So what makes you play Neko Atsume? Leave a reply in the comments section below!

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What MLMs really are.

Today we’ll be looking at what is probably one of the most controversial start-up ‘concepts’ to date: Multi-Level Marketing, or ‘MLM’ for short.

You’ve probably read a lot of hate articles on how MLMs are unethical, ‘cheating’ people of their money. However, I feel that these articles cast a light so negative, even pre-developed photographs look optimistic.

Just to make things clear: I’m not trying to sell anything here. I simply wish look objectively at this ‘unethical Trojan horse’.

Here we go.

What are MLMs?

MLMs are the 21st Century version of Pyramid Schemes. A ‘Pyramid Scheme’ (don’t confuse this with MLMs, the two are totally different) is a business model that starts with one guy at the top. He ‘recruits’ people below him. These people have to in turn pay him a commission. These people then ‘recruit’ others below them and a chain is formed. Eventually, a pyramid is formed, as shown here:

This creates the mental picture everyone is familiar with: a pyramid is basically a money-making scheme for those at the top to earn at the expense of those at the bottom.

However, here are two things to note:
1. Pyramid Schemes are now BANNED in most parts of the world, including Singapore.

2. Pyramid Schemes explain only about 50% of how an MLM operates.

The big difference between MLMs and Pyramid Schemes is that MLMs have products attached to them. In other words, MLMs are in the business of selling something, be it health products, etc.

So, with products attached to them, MLMs become legal.

“So what do you think about MLMs?”

To some people, MLMs already leave a bad taste in your mouth when you talk about them. They feel like con jobs; like a way to manipulate friendships. So let’s dissect them one by one.

Can MLMs make you money?
Short answer, yes.

MLMs come bearing the promise of financial freedom, of not needing to work a full-time job anymore. Half of this is true. MLMs are a way to generate passive income, but this comes from recruiting people. You ‘retire’ when people at the bottom recruit more people, and you get your cut. So, yes, you do earn money.

There’s a reason why this article fell under ‘Entrepreneurship’. They actually provide an avenue for you to earn  money passively and without slogging your days out.

This brings me to the next question..

Is it ethical, or socially acceptable?

Here’s where I talk about my opinion. (Yes I know, objectively takes a break here)

MLMs have become twisted recently, most possibly by the avaricious nature of humans.

MLMs have reverted to being Pyramid Schemes, where nothing else matters other than recruiting people and asking people to recruit for you.

This is no different from asking someone to pay for your retirement. Whether that is socially acceptable or not, I leave it to you.

So you’re against MLMs?

No. Absolutely not. I think MLMs are a fantastic innovation. But this is what they should be:

MLMS are should be like a friend asking you to try his favourite chicken rice. You may or may not like it. It doesn’t matter. If you like it, you’ll end up eating it with him from now on. If you don’t like it, you don’t follow him to lunch from now on, but you can still remain friends.

MLMs should focus on the products, not the recruitment. MLMs should tell you that this product they’re selling (Product A) is awesome. You buy it, you try it, and maybe you decide it’s awesome too.

You then either

  1. Buy more from your friend who introduced you to the product, or
  2. Enter into a venture with him.

If you buy more from him, he earns a cut. But you don’t mind, you love the product anyway. If the product isn’t something you like, it doesn’t matter. You both move on, and remain friends.

In some cases, you think this product would be a huge hit in the market. You say, ‘I’m willing to sell this to my friends as well!’ You pay money to buy an inventory of Product A to sell to your friends, because you think your friends would love Product A too. This is how you ‘join a friend in his venture’, not so much of ‘him recruiting you’.

The Pyramid Scheme is still there, yes, but there’s no ‘forceful selling’. You don’t force a friend into joining your business. You simply ask if a friend if they would like to buy Product A, just as you would ask them if they would want to eat chicken rice with you.

This is how a MLM should be! Not the unethical selling that’s done by focusing on recruiting friends via forceful sales pitches in the office.

Imagine the possibilities…

…when MLMs don’t focus on recruitment. They would be forced to come up with innovative product ideas with a low barrier to entry when it comes to franchising that idea. MLMs could become an innovation-generating industry where people keep thinking of ideas to improve society so that people would willingly join the venture, instead of the need to force people to join you so that you can earn your ‘retirement fund’. All they need to do is to make sure their products are good and beneficial to society.

Should you join a CCA when studying in University?

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So some people have been asking me,

“Is it important to join a CCA in university?”

CCAs (Co-curriculum Activities), at least in my school, are not mandatory. This is certainly a refreshing change for some people who attended schools that made CCA compulsory. There is now so much more time to pursue your hobbies and things that interest you.

However, herd mentality kicks in. When you see your friends spending their hours on a CCA and also being popular for that, you start wondering if it is important to be active in school apart from studies.

Therefore the abovementioned question.

These are some reasons why you should actually join a CCA while in University, based on my own experiences.

  1. Friends

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The first obvious reason to join a CCA is that you’ll make friends. When you join a CCA that isn’t mandatory, you’ll easily find friends with similar interests as you. If you join the soccer club, you’ll find friends who like soccer. If you join a club where people learn how to invest, and you’ll definitely find not only friends with the same interests but also mentors who will teach you as well. Compared to a classroom where people mostly fight for grades, a CCA is a relaxing place where you can find like-minded friends to do projects and undertake games and activities together. It’s a respite in school itself.

  1. Skills and Experience

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Moreover, participating in a CCA and some other related school activities like fund-raising, events, etc, can equip you with the practical skills and experiences that no class can teach you. In class, you learn theory. While that is useful, you will still learn the most when placed in the deep-end of the pool and are asked to swim. You can learn the specific skillsets, such as learning how to play pool in a Pool club, and also the soft skills such as interpersonal relationships (like making friends) and teamwork. In short, participating in a CCA teaches you many real-life skills that can’t be learnt in class. It provides you with an avenue to make mistakes and learn from them.

  1. Employers

Business group meeting portrait - Five business people working together. A diverse work group.

Increasing, employers are not only looking out for GPA/CAP anymore. They now look at what you do in school, and whether you have pursued any leadership positions. I once asked an ex-HSBC Manager, and she says that, “Nowadays, people are getting so smart. It is common to have 90% of our applicants having a full score in their GPA/CAP. You need another differentiating factor. That’s why we look at CCAs.”

CCAs allow employers to differentiate students more easily. It shows that apart from studying, you’re a three-dimensional person who is fun, interactive, and can work in teams. You have the capacity to perform well when it matters and also to pursue other activities that makes you a fun and engaging person to hire. Imagine reading though 100+ resumes and they all say the same thing: Same grades, same school, same interests, etc. A CCA can actually get an employer to think, “Interesting, I’d probably want to know more about this person.”

  1. Leadership

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Having leadership positions are also a huge plus as people can have an idea of what type of leadership positions you go for, and how open you are when it comes to leading people. Leadership opportunities come frequently, especially in schools where most events are student-led. This extends all the way to Community Service Projects. There is no excuse of not having an opportunity to lead!

Building on from the previous point, leadership experience helps your employers to know what kind of leader you are, or if you can even lead. This certainly sets you apart from someone who is applying for a Management position.

Building on from the previous previous point, you can definitely learn a lot along the way when you’re placed in the hot-seat of decision making. You need to think fast, act fast, and work with people fast. This is certainly something different from many other projects in school.

  1. Acing the interview

I’ve heard from my own seniors how they spent more time during an interview talking about what they did in their CCA instead of what they studied.

An interview is a story-telling session. Everybody says that they’re committed and hardworking. Rather, it is much more entertaining and credible if you had a story to back it up. A CCA gives you an opportunity to create these stories (realistically, of course!), allowing you to impress your interviewers.

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In case you haven’t noticed, this is also a recruitment attempt on behalf of SMU Broadcast and Entertainment. If you’re interested to find out more, do visit our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/smube?fref=ts

Interested in joining our family? Visit:

http://www.smube.com/recruitment-portal/

8 things You Probably Miss From the Old Gunbound

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Similar to Maplestory, a game that dominated most of our time when we should be studying was Gunbound.

Similar to Worms, it was a 2D shooting game where players moved about in tanks and blew everybody off the map. Ah.. the joys of childhood.

Here are some memories from Gunbound that you probably experienced before.

From my previous post, listening to the BGM while reading seems to up the nostalgia factor a bit. So here you go:

(I still listen to it haha)

  1. Your levels of estimation suddenly went through the roof

Let’s face it. Gunbound was mostly about estimating, trial and error, and then correcting from there. From playing, our experience then added up and we were able to make better shots the more games we played.

In a certain way, you can say this is the best philosophy you can apply in life. You can make mistakes. But learn from them, and aim to shoot better the next time.

  1. Boomer shot bonus

For some odd reason, among all the rewards for shots, the ‘Boomer shot bonus’ was the more satisfying one of them all. Boomer shot is achieved when your shot goes back and forth. This can be done when the wind is strong and you aim at an opposite direction via a high angle. Alternatively, a mobile that can easily perform those shots (as always, based on the player) is the Boomer (hence the name of the shot). The Boomer’s shot is heavily affected by the wind, but it strikes really hard.

  1. Random for DRAGON

For me, I random when I wanted to play the legendary DRAGON. The Dragon mobile is something that can’t be picked before the game starts, but has to be gained when you pick a random option.

  1. SUDDEN DEATH

Nothing made you crap your pants more than Sudden Death. It was the childhood moment of having your balls drop and things to get serious.

  1. The superrrr cute mobiles

The mobiles were really cute, with the huge-anime-eyes and movements. Although each of them probably had strengths and weaknesses, you probably didn’t care about that and chose the cute ones.

  1. The Hardcores

Some people don’t just play Gunbound for the lulz. They were the people who you feared to play with. Some people played with protractors and rulers just so they can get the most accurate shot.

  1. Being dazzled by The Glamourous outfits

The outfits really mattered back in Gunbound. They separated the players with class and the ones that didn’t.

  1. Dealing with the one who never presses “Ready”

Finally, the one that really ticked people off is the same person who probably forgets to press Ready in DotA or LoL. There will always be ‘RDY UP RDY UP’ before the start of each game as that person will just be too busy admiring outfits or alt-tabbed.

4 of My favourite Dinosaur Games

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Jurassic World is in theatres and is rocking box offices worldwide. It even beat the record known as ‘The Avengers’. If you’re like me and think you’re a hardcore fan after you watched that show (we’re not btw), you should know that now is the right time to jump onto the hype trains and experience some good old Dinosaur games!

It has been more than ten years since the start of the Jurassic park series, and with that comes plenty of games that have already cashed in on the franchise. As such, here are my top picks for the best Dinosaur-related games that I’ve played.

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Ok I admit: I’m actually too young to have played any of the early Jurassic Park games. The good ones were during 1993-2001. Some were on the NES while others were on PCs. The one I managed to get my hands on was Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. This game allowed you to build your very own Jurassic PARK (kinda funny how its the name of the franchise but you never really got around to building a park) and attract visitors. You basically managed a park and deal with situations like dinosaur breakouts, etc. This game also came out during the tycoon era: Rollar Coaster Tycoon, Prison Tycoon, Sim City, etc to name a few. So building a park made of dinosaurs definitely was a breathe of fresh life for the genre at that time.

Turok

My first Turok game was actually on the Gameboy. I was actually pretty impressed with the senseless violence back then. Fast forward to 2008, where Turok for PC and Playstation came out. There was effectively no storyline, but the flexible gameplay mechanics and well-designed levels make Turok a good game to just let loose and kill things, especially when you’re stressed out and just wanna kill stuff.

Warcraft 3: Jurassic Park

This was the best survival map. Ever.This is a Warcraft 3 custom map, where you have to purchase a Warcraft 3 cd to play it. Basically, you’re stranded on an island for a few minutes (depending on your desired difficulty) and you need to survive until a helicopter comes to pick you up. During that time, you need to establish a base camp, build defences against dinosaurs and basically not die. As time progresses, the dinosaurs get stronger and you need to work with the players around you to help defend each other. It’s also interesting to note that some players would rather be alone as wipes occur often and this allows you to run to other bases. All in all, this was another 2000s game, especially when you’re taking a break from too much Warcraft 3 melee and DotA.

Monster Hunter Series

Monster Hunter was THE thing back in the army days. We could each bring a Playstation Portable (PSP) into camp and there was no limit of people psychically around you that you could party with.

Monster Hunter had dinosaurs in general, especially the big ones where it took forever for us to kill. Other than that, Monster Hunter was one of the best coop games I have ever played. The concept was the same as Guild Wars: Quest alone or quest with a team, of which you need to gather the team yourself. For a game when mobile app gaming still wasn’t THE thing, it was one of the best coop games out there back then.

Also, do sit tight as it is confirmed that some new dino games will be releasing soon based on the concept of 2015 Jurassic world movie. Even Jurassic world 2015 has already on Google play. This game has amazing features that any game lover will love to check out.

5 Ways of Earning Money You Probably Don’t Know About

Feeling the strain of juggling finances? You’re not the only one feeling that. Money has become such a complicated topic as the money you earn is almost never able to cover your expenses.

Is there any way to ease that financial burden?

Today, we will share some effective and easy ways to earn money without quitting school or your job. Important characteristics include flexibility (to accommodate to your schedules) and a high reward to effort ratio.

We also won’t be mentioning the common ways to earn money outside of your job, such as giving tuition. We have researched and delved into new ways to earn money, especially since Social Media is getting more prominent. These methods do not require you to be any sort of celebrity (like owning a high profile blog) or any form of investment. Just open your mind and who knows? Maybe you’ll even have fun doing it.

Help someone out at Fiverr

Everybody has a talent. Be it video editing, graphic design, website design, etc. Instead of wasting it, you should share your talent with the world!

There are plenty of websites that request for different forms of talent simply because nobody is perfect enough to do everything. A popular website is Fiverr (https://www.fiverr.com/) where you can help someone out by doing anything like designing a T shirt or recording a voice-over all for a minimum sum of $5.

By doing so, you can help others, get paid AND even get to do something that you like doing.

Writing at Hubpages

The cool thing about blogging is that once you manage to get a high traffic to your blog, you can get paid just for writing. You’ll most likely end up as a celebrity as well! But the effort required just to start and market your blog can certainly be daunting.

At Hubpages (http://hubpages.com/), you can start writing articles right off the bat. There’s a community at Hubpages that loves reading interesting topics and are even friendly enough to comment and give tips.

Once your posts reach a certain threshold of followers and reads, you can submit a form to Google Adsense and they can put ads on your posts for you to earn money. Most people at Hubpages admit to writing for the money, so there’s no stigma attached. As long as you write relevant and engaging content for the readers, people are all generally supportive of what you write. 

Find a Part Time Job at Stroff.com

Earn some money via a part time jobs Singapore opportunity

Stroff.com (http://www.stroff.com/) is a portal that has a whole list of part time jobs in Singapore for you to choose from. They have many part time jobs for students, graduates and also for working adults. Working part time, even during the weekends is a great way to get some additional income, especially if your weekends are mostly spent wasted on the sofa or in bed.

More importantly, it helps with time management and as it helps you shake off the habits of procrastination. It also helps gives you the precious work experiences you may need for your resume.

Freelance at Elance.com

Elance (http://www.elance.com) allows you to find freelance work of all types. People there need others to do things like editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs.

There is a huge variety of jobs that do technical, data entry, accounting, design, etc. You can sign up for an account and showcase and market your skills. You can also trawl through the job database and submit a bid for the job. Sometimes, people may even contact you directly. This is certainly a flexible way of earning money: You don’t even need to be working from 9 to 5.

Nothing

Last, but certainly not the least. You can do nothing.

“Nothing you say?!” Yes.

‘Nothing’ certainly beats bombing all your money on drinks or on clubbing. In other words, save the money you have. There is no point earning so much money but end up spending all of it on more expensive toys. People these days focus so much on earning money that they forget the importance of saving for a future.

Take your money and invest it. If you don’t know how to invest, invest in courses that teach you how to. Paying for some retail therapy or some partying fun is good once in a while, but never make it into a habits.

3 things My Internship Taught Me that No School Ever Did

It’s coming to the end of May, and most of us university/polytechnic students are probably already bogged down by the harsh but necessary reality that is called an ‘Internship’.

By now, you’re probably already bruised (hopefully only psychologically) and beaten. Waking up at 7am is the norm instead of the perfect timing of 12pm you enjoyed last summer. You ask yourself, “Why was I so excited to finish finals and get to this point?’

An internship is an essential part of learning and growing before you go out into the working world. School is NOT a good place to learn how to survive in the real world. If you want to do well in life, apply for an internship in singapore.

Today, I’ll be writing about my experience during my singapore internship with Sqkii (www.sqkii.com), a 2-year old startup which I chanced upon at one of the Technology Exhibitions (or Innovation Fairs) organized by my school.

Ultimately, I hope this will serve as a good pick-me-up to refuel your motivations, and hopefully remind you that this internship is probably even more important than the last finals you sat for.

  1. Think school is tough? School isn’t anything when compared to working.

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You probably already knew that. School may have been tough for most of us, but the truth is that the environment where you study is much more cushioned as compared to your working environment. Chances are, you’ll face a huge learning curve and may not be able to get everything right at first. Furthermore, nobody has the right answer and you have to play along with that.

For me, I was tasked to get people to sign up as a partner with our mobile app. My team went to many different shopping malls and met with all sorts of different people. We were often rejected. Thankfully, nobody scolded or yelled at us. At the end of the day, we always came together to consolidate and share our experiences . Ultimately, we managed to secure over 40 partners. The learning process was meaningful, and we learnt so much more than we did from school.

  1. Pitching

In the working world, every conversation is an opportunity to pitch. To pitch is to sell something, including yourself, and yet sound like you’re not selling anything. When someone asks what you are doing, this is the best chance to talk about your startup, or your blog, or anything that otherwise requires you to pay money to advertise. You need to perfectly balance your listener’s attention, and to make it personal enough that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to sell them something.

We were trained rigorously in pitching. And I mean rigorously.  One of the co-founders, Kenny, spared no expense in ensuring that at the end of the day, we were pitching at his standards. The reason was simple: When you pitch, you become the embodiment of the company. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or an admin clerk. All you need is one wrong step, and people will start having a negative impression. For example, even if a renowned company were to mistreat their female employees, these employees could then spread the word, and that company would be done for.

  1. How to expand your network

In life, contacts are the most important when it comes to moving forward in your career. A simple contact can help you secure a job, or help you find a close collaborator who can earn you your first million dollars. Unfortunately, these contacts don’t come immediately.

‘Networking’ is simply just making friends with strangers. Chances are, you don’t start off as a natural. You fumble, make yourself look awkward, and you get rejected when your potential friend befriends the charismatic guy from across the room. Networking is just like that.

What did we do? Practice, practice, and practice. We were pushed to attend many networking sessions. We weren’t given any goals, except to have fun. Of course, I started off awkward. But as I went to more and more of these sessions, I realized it was pretty thrilling to get the name card of someone big, or to meet someone who shares the same mindset as you. Ultimately, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.

I decided to keep the list short so as to leave some space to answer some FAQs.

  1. Should I go for an internship or go for school/hall events during summer?

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I went for this internship when I was in year 1, which was when most people usually go for school/hall events. I would say that you learn different skills from each, so there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice. Choose internships for resume-boosting, and school/hall events to make more friends. Stick to one though; you wouldn’t want to appear stretched and uncommitted.

  1. Why a startup instead of a large corporation?

I chose a startup after consulting some of my friends. They explained that startups offer an independent working style that most companies can’t offer. While I can’t comment on large corporations, I will say that a startup will offer you an opportunity to make important decisions, make mistakes, and learn from them. One of the advantage that interning in a startup generally offers is allowing you to have more opportunities to interact with the co-founder. If you’re lucky enough, they can provide you with a lot of guidance. Even if they aren’t that helpful, you can still learn a lot just by observing them. To put it simply, startups do not have the budget to pay you to do grunt work. You are hired to value-add, and that is what they will make you do.

  1. Where is a good place to find my internships?

Stroff.com is a good place to start your search, where you can find plenty of internship singapore opportunities. Nevertheless, it’s always good to go out and network and find out how you can value-add to someone’s company. I personally found my first internship by networking with the co-founders of Sqkii, Kenny and Marcus, during an exhibition in SMU.