By: Tonya O'Dell

Have you heard about the tech start-up scene in Korea?  Southeast Asia in general has seen tremendous growth in this sector.  At the top of that list with both growth and production is the beautiful country Singapore, which many professionals already know is not only a legitimately desirable and stable marketplace, but for American investors the Singapore market is an ideal international location of operations for a variety of logistical reasons.  By the numbers, over the last 7 years, the number of start-up companies in Singapore alone has grown by 60%, mainly due to the rise in venture capital investing and funding matching this same time period. In 2011, the startup sector raised approximately $35 million, and more recently, as of October 2014 that figure has risen to $2.1 billion.

Singapore has celebrated solid growth economic and boasts of an internationally known and prosperous quality of life partially to the credit of the national ‘meritocracy’, which is a system where one’s (business or individual) is based on ability. In a collaborative alliance with A.C.E. (the Action Community for Entrepreneurs), and the C.B.A.  (Clearbridge Accelerator) ROC hopes to exchange respective strengths in technology development and cross market development.

Collaboration has been a buzz word lately, as far as phraseology goes, but this is not a new way to work. More smart heads are better than one, and when you add innovation with investment funds as we have seen in the last decade, there are no limits to the potential success, reach and international influence. 

Here in the US we are, by now, all accustomed to hearing about new start-ups and those boot-strap genius collaborations that are taking on and directly challenging the traditional corporate sector.  What may have begun from a need to funds (fuel) and investors after our economic engine stalled and banks were not lending to small businesses has now grown into the most sought after and desirable business structure not just for the end customer or client but from a purely socio-economic perspective. The type of passion and perseverance needed to take a start-up from an idea to the market is a process, one that is made a bit easier with the support of entities such as ROC, who provides a net of support and aligns opportunities for Entrepreneurs that they would otherwise not have access to, be it workspace (collaborative or meeting space), the last technology products, and special events, such as the upcoming Korean Tech Startup Days hosted at two ROC locations. These events are open to investors and those with an interest in the Southeast Asia market, who claims to be in a direct, albeit friendly, popularity contest with Silicon Beach.

The two (2) Korean Tech Startup Demo Days will be held in February targeting the alliance of an international “entrepreneurial nation where innovation and enterprise can be translated into wealth creation and where diversity of ideas thrive”. 

Real Office Centers Santa Monica will be hosting the first event on February 3rd from 6pm-9pm, and the second event (or another opportunity if you cannot attend the first) will be held at ROC in Newport Beach on February 4th from 6pm-9pm. If you would like to attend this Private event or would like more information about becoming involved in the Southeast Asia Startup movement register for either event via the Eventbrite links or contact either ROC location directly. 

 Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain), the Singapore River, the Supreme Court and Parliment of Singapore are visible.

    By: Tonya O'Dell

2015 is upon us and most people are still going strong with their resolutions, but perhaps you intended on launching that start-up or starting your own business this year and are thinking just where do I start?

Come join ROC Santa Monica’s Office Hours Program-Every Third Thursday from 2:00pm-5:00pm

January 15th-You cannot afford to miss this free event and opportunity to get face-to-face feedback from an elite Panel of professionals, but also the chance to receive a Private consultation at this event! This month’s meeting will take place on the 2nd floor Board Room and will host panelists from Sheppard Mullin, Silicon Valley Bank, Tech Empower, CTO Forum, High Pressure Zone and TempCFO. 

The rise of the ‘Start-up’ has superseded all economic and governmental expectations in the last 5-10 years-which wasn’t difficult to predict, it’s the direct result of supply and demand, in jobs, products, and fostering talent in America. A successful start-up is the new gold standard of excellence.  Our largest and most iconic companies of the last decade began as bare-bones start-ups with no more than raw talent, ingenuity and the passion with which to kindle a business from.  Apple, Google, Uber, Beats, even the all American Levi Strauss started out small, as a start-up. 

It can be overwhelming, even dizzying to keep your eyes on the big picture and where you wish to go, while time traveling and shape sifting back into the every-day nitty gritty of getting things done, so without fainting from vertigo focus on one thing at a time. Knowing how to properly start your start-up is the first step on the road to black Inc. (i.e. corporate profits). 


It starts with a plan, a business plan of course, but right away establish who is doing what, handling the administrative and financial decisions are the two of the most important designations to make after deciding to actually ‘start-up’ your business. The costs involved with starting up a business vary dramatically, but it’s good to have general guidelines to reference, as these may include line items you simply had not thought of before. Entrepreneur has a great generalized calculator to get you started for financial projections, which are essential components of your Business Plan.  The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) also has a comprehensive website with multiple guides to answer many typical questions about the structuring of your new business or start-up.

Office Space

While this may seem at first like an extravagant luxury that will you grow into, you need it now, it is a necessity like a name (who to write the check out to). Having a professional image, a well-equipped, reliable, or ideally impressive location and work place (even just) to hold meetings will make or break a deal.  I likely don’t have to tell you, but image is everything, especially in your initial establishment stages. If you wish to be taken professionally and seriously, you must project both traits yourself to customers, investors and potential partners. Trust and confidence in your product and long term potential will not be built meeting in coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. 


If you are not comfortable or familiar with applications in the Cloud, with file sharing and remotely hosted apps, or on the fly essential communication tools (such as Skype and Google Hangouts) and with the key social media platforms-you will need to invest some time into learning and becoming comfortable with a few of these. You might as well also become accustomed to change, as that is the only guarantee with the evolution of our technology today. It may seem overwhelming initially, but “relevant focus” is key. You don’t have to be an expert in all or even one application. Just learn about the technology that will be of most benefit to you and your business, once you are comfortable with that you can begin exploring other options and or learning more advance features. 

Other important issues that will need to be established at the outset include an unforgettable and money making name, a bank account under that name, a web-site and business cards (or some solid form of legitimate identity representation), work on the finalization of your product, seek investors or mentors, get a business license and of course, let the IRS know what you’re doing. 

Image By U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Office for Emergency Management. War Production Board. (01/1942 - 11/03/1945).


We’re quickly approaching the holiday season, and as you try to juggle parties, shopping, hosting, planning, traveling, family AND work, there’s a good chance you will lose focus at the office.

Here are 10 ways to stay focused and maintain high productivity during the chaotic holiday season:

  1. Take a few days off. If you have a few vacation days available, take the time to do a little shopping or enjoy a day with your loved ones. This will give you a chance to refresh and recharge during the busy holiday season.
  2. Clear your mind. Get your tasks and projects, both personal and professional, onto paper and out of your head. Once you see all your commitments and want-to-do’s, decide which to drop and which could wait until the new year.
  3. Avoid multitasking. Try to avoid working on personal and work-related tasks at the same time. Shopping online while listening in on a conference call could be disastrous.
  4. Start working on year-end projects and personal tasks early. The holidays don’t creep up on us! Start your holiday shopping earlier than you have in the past, and get a head start on any upcoming projects at work. This way, when you’re busy with office parties and planning family gatherings later this month, you’ll have fewer to-do items on your plate.
  5. Don’t take your work home. We all have family obligations during the holiday season. When at the office try to set clear and reasonable goals for what you want to accomplish and commit to a hard stop time. Use your motivation for getting out the door on time as a way to fight off those tempting distractions.
  6. Watch out for distractions. While at the office, don’t try to cram in shopping at lunch or buy gifts online. At work, focus on work. You can take on the holiday chores during your personal time. It will also free you up from trying to do too many things at once.
  7. Take care of yourself physically. Exercise more, not less, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Sleep more, not less, just thirty minutes more a night can make a big difference. And watch what you eat and drink - the increase in sugary foods and alcoholic beverages will impact you the next day at work, both mentally and physically!
  8. Don’t over-commit. With all the office parties, client events, and secret Santa exchanges it can be tough to stay focused on work. Be sure to prioritize and balance your holiday activities with your work obligations. Don’t feel like you have to go to every department lunch gathering or office party you get invited to. Keeping focused and maintaining a good work-life balance sometimes means saying no.
  9. Remind yourself to stay focused at work. The trick is to forget about “seasons” and focus on “today.” Is today a holiday? If not, behave as you would in September. Follow that procedure every day you work. On actual holidays or vacation days, forget about work and have fun. It’s that simple.
  10. Remember what the holidays are all about. Keep in mind the holiday season is for celebration. This should be a joyful time of the year. A chaotic holiday season is a choice, not a given.
    By: Tonya O'Dell


By now we have all heard about or seen the footage of yesterday's successful attempt at landing on a comet, but there are some important lessons we can all learn from this feat of accomplishment, scientist or not.


    By: Tonya O'Dell

 If there’s one valuable thing we can all agree on having learned from  our formal education it is-“working smarter, not harder” is both useful and employable advice in the ‘real world’. That is not to say that hard work doesn’t pay off, it usually does, but often falls short in satisfying long-term fulfillment. Being smarter seems to be in the limelight lately, albeit deservedly so. Nerds are trending and TED is everyone’s friend.  The United States of America is the most innovative country on the globe, some exceptionally genius individuals are wholly responsible for this esteemed designation.  As a result the faces of our new American hero’s include a wide range of ages and education levels including; Zuckerberg, Page, Gates, Tesla, Musk, Tyson, Greene, Sheldon Cooper (the last one was added just to see if you read them all).  Armed with formal degrees and dropouts these inspiring innovators have strong opinions about the role and rewards of education and a traditional university tract into a career. Despite these differences of opinion on the usefulness or utility of a degree, both sides passionately agree changes are overdue in response to and adapting to our changing workforce and emerging generational needs.