281: Quantifying China’s Appeal to the Next Generation of Talent with Andrea Myles, the #ChinaGeek (Asia Matters)

Podcast highlights:

  • 06:35 According to data from the Modern Language Association (MLA) in the United States, since 2016 the number of students at US universities studying Chinese in any form has gone down. How can we explain this given the relevance of China at the moment? — In Australia the pattern is similar. Historical legacy is part of the reason, there is a shortage of qualified Mandarin teachers. This helps explain the lag in students studying Mandarin. So there are systemic factors at play too and not just purely political ones.
  • 25:48 Tell us a bit about your day job focusing on millennials in China. What’s that about? — CEO and co-found of the China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP). We try to bridge the gap between Chinese and Australian innovators by running an incubator of sorts which puts 50 Chinese and 50 Australians into a 100 day learning program. We challenge them to build the next Uber, or the next Didi. We’ve had 300 people come through the program so far. It’s really cool to see how diversity powers new insights. Each cohort is completely different; but you see commonalities in they all have a curious mindset and a desire to engage digitally.
  • 40:00 In China right now how are young people approaching entrepreneurialism? — It’s important to remember there is not simply one type of Chinese millennial, and things differ a lot depending on geography, class, and even gender. Overall there is a shift where people no longer see government jobs as the ticket. There is still a long way to go before things really change, but you see signs it’s beginning.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Andrea Myles, the #ChinaGeek, also co-founder and CEO of the China Australia Millennial Project to Asia Matters with host Graham Brown.
  • 01:00 How did you earn the moniker #ChinaGeek? — It’s completely self-titled. The story starts in 2002 in New South Wales, Australia. Had never been overseas, so went off to China and backpacked across the country for three months…Beijing to Kashgar. Before this had very little China exposure; didn’t speak Mandarin at all. This ended up being the trip of a lifetime considering that since then have gotten two Master’s Degrees in Mandarin studies.
  • 06:35 According to data from the Modern Language Association (MLA) in the United States, since 2016 the number of students at US universities studying Chinese in any form has gone down. How can we explain this given the relevance of China at the moment? — In Australia the pattern is similar. Historical legacy is part of the reason, there is a shortage of qualified Mandarin teachers. This helps explain the lag in students studying Mandarin. So there are systemic factors at play too and not just purely political ones.
  • 09:50 Are universities prepared today to nurture the talent of students who are China-curious? — Universities are academic institutions and they often miss the practical element of studying a language. Take textbooks as an example, these tend to be extremely boring and fail to truly show what it’s like to use Chinese in China. What’s needed is to find ways to blend the experiences of Chinese international students with language learners on campus so everyone can benefit from the exposure this generates.
  • 15:15 What’s it like talking to people in Australia about your experiences in China? — Mostly people’s reaction when you try to explain modern China and what’s going on is they say they didn’t realize it was like that. China is endlessly fascinating. Consider there are 415 million millennials in China, if they were a nation unto themselves, they would be the world’s third largest and they would be the most digitally engaged. In the next ten years the impact of this will be felt in the West.
  • 22:30 Is there an appetite in China for non-native Chinese key opinion leaders (KOLs)? — There is. It’s certainly seen as something different versus being a Chinese born and bread KOL. By the time students in primary school today enter their prime influencing years in say 10 to 20 years time, we will see hundreds of Chinese-speaking foreigners working as KOLs. Right now the number is only a handful.
  • 25:48 Tell us a bit about your day job focusing on millennials in China. What’s that about? — CEO and co-found of the China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP). We try to bridge the gap between Chinese and Australian innovators by running an incubator of sorts which puts 50 Chinese and 50 Australians into a 100 day learning program. We challenge them to build the next Uber, or the next Didi. We’ve had 300 people come through the program so far. It’s really cool to see how diversity powers new insights. Each cohort is completely different; but you see commonalities in they all have a curious mindset and a desire to engage digitally.
  • 32:40 When you put these kids together, what things do they tend to take away from each other? — The Australians tend to have difficulty identifying what leadership looks like when Australians and Chinese equally comprise the team. Also in Australia, we tend to mistake confidence for competence. The future of Chinese innovation is cross-border; but it’s still clear it takes work to convince entrepreneurs in the West the opportunities in China are real and achievable.
  • 40:00 In China right now how are young people approaching entrepreneurialism? — It’s important to remember there is not simply one type of Chinese millennial, and things differ a lot depending on geography, class, and even gender. Overall there is a shift where people no longer see government jobs as the ticket. There is still a long way to go before things really change, but you see signs it’s beginning.
  • 44:40 Why does it seem there are so many more female entrepreneurs in China than anywhere else in the world? — It could be there are just more women in professions in China. When doing events in China, at least 40% of people in attendance will be women. This really contrasts to what you see in Western countries. This doesn’t mean there aren’t significant barriers faced by women in China and any woman who is successful there deserves all the praise in the world.

269: Pieter Franken – Safecast, Shinsei Bank, MIT & Monex Group

Podcast highlights:

  • 02:10 You came to Japan to work for Panasonic Corp in 1989. What was Japan like back then? — This was just after the real estate bubble started to burst. Prior to that Japan always felt like an endless party. In 1989 the hangover was starting. It was a special time. You find Japanese companies all have their own stories. They are not all the same.
  • 28:00 You were actually involved in the aftermath of what was the largest corporate failure in Japanese history. Tell us a little bit about that. — You’re talking about The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, which went bankrupt in 1998. I joined the bank that emerged from this in 2000, Shinsei Bank. My interests were in rebuilding the bank from a technical / operational standpoint. At that time, Japanese banking technology in services was lagging. We really started to innovate to make Shinsei Bank a leader in banking tech.
  • 43:23 When you look at FinTech innovation in Japan today, there seems to be a lot going on. How has this happened? Who is driving it? — First, it’s important to consider that FinTech is a very broad term, which at it’s core means bringing into the world of finance new digital technologies, new companies, and new innovative concepts. In Japan now there is a realization the central places for finance in Asia are in Singapore and Hong Kong, they are not in Tokyo. There’s a growing realization banks need to innovate more.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Pieter Franklin to Asia Tech Podcast Stories.
  • 02:10 You came to Japan to work for Panasonic Corp in 1989. What was Japan like back then? — This was just after the real estate bubble started to burst. Prior to that Japan always felt like an endless party. In 1989 the hangover was starting. It was a special time. You find Japanese companies all have their own stories. They are not all the same.
  • 06:43 How did it feel being a Westerner there at that time? — It was an eye-opening experience to see how things could be done differently. Companies could be organized in different ways. At that time, Japan was the cutting edge place for IT in the world.
  • 09:50 Let’s talk about Safecast. You helped found Safecast quite soon after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan in 2011. Tell us about that. — You can look back at photos of that time and the work we did at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It was from that experience we saw the need for more transparency in these types of events. We found, for example, the measurements of dispersed radiation issued by authorities were deceptive at best. Our idea was to give people the ability to measure radiation on their own.
  • 18:18 When you look back, that earthquake was the [4th most powerful ever recorded – ed.]. Was there really anything that could have been done to prepare for it? — This is the fundamental question. My own view is that the consequences from a disaster like this are very very large, but the odds the disaster will happen are very very small. Those odds are not zero, however. The question for us is whether we should do something if the consequences when something goes wrong are very very big? What one observes is people are not good at understanding the dangers when the consequences could be this severe.
  • 22:50 Another area where this thinking seems relevant is in certain tech fields, like AI for example. When you look at these projects, do you worry about the implications of things going wrong? — Of course. We should worry about what might happen when things go wrong. So Facebook, electric cars, reusable rockets, these things have clear potential benefits; but we have seen how the same technology can be used as a weapon. That’s the dilemma of progress.
  • 28:00 You were actually involved in the aftermath of what was the largest corporate failure in Japanese history. Tell us a little bit about that. — You’re talking about The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, which went bankrupt in 1998. I joined the bank that emerged from this in 2000, Shinsei Bank. My interests were in rebuilding the bank from a technical / operational standpoint. At that time, Japanese banking technology in services was lagging. We really started to innovate to make Shinsei Bank a leader in banking tech.
  • 35:05 You talked about things you helped innovate, like 24-hour ATMs. To us here in 2018, these do not seem very significant; but back then they had a real impact. — Right. In Japan, ATMs were only open when the bank was open. Imagine if this were the case today. There were certain challenges to innovating in the banking sphere. For example, when the bank closes, you have to take all the cash and put it in the vault. When you open the bank, you have to take the money out of the vault. So we really had to bring a process engineering mindset to these design challenges.
  • 43:23 When you look at FinTech innovation in Japan today, there seems to be a lot going on. How has this happened? Who is driving it? — First, it’s important to consider that FinTech is a very broad term, which at it’s core means bringing into the world of finance new digital technologies, new companies, and new innovative concepts. In Japan now there is a realization the central places for finance in Asia are in Singapore and Hong Kong, they are not in Tokyo. There’s a growing realization banks need to innovate more.
  • 49:00 What is the regulatory environment like in Japan? — The government in Japan made the wise decision to put everyone with something to say about what happens in the financial world into one place. They call it the Financial Services Agency and this has helped bring clarity to the market. It has also allowed the government to be more nimble in regulation, especially as new technologies come online.
  • 52:45 Do you ever think about what drives you? — You have to think about this. For me it’s building things and the passion that comes from building new things. You have to find ways to build where you can take risks while not fundamentally endangering the company or markets if something goes wrong. This is the challenge.

260: Michael Bloomberg On-board for the Asian Century? (Asia Matters)

Podcast highlights:

  • 02:42 Michael Bloomberg’s vision for an Asian Davos
  • 19:56 Asia Tech Podcast gets a new studio in Singapore
  • 31:05 Podcasting and the future of branding
  • 55:15 Asia Tech Podcast’s new internship opportunity

Podcast notes:

  • Note: This podcast contains explicit language
  • 00:05 ATP650 – Asia Matters with Graham Brown
  • 02:42 Michael R. Bloomberg, American businessman and philanthropist, wants to create a rival to the Davos-based World Economic Forum that will focus on Asia and the Asian Century. The inaugural session will take place this November, 2018 in Beijing. — This is certainly a way to acknowledge China’s lead in the global ecosystem.
  • 07:50 Data from the #AsiaMatters Report published this year bolsters the case for Bloomberg’s vision. Key takeaways include Asia is a US$27 trillion economy. This is 50% bigger than either the US or the EU. By 2030, the Asian middle classes are expected to grow to 3.2 billion people — an enormous market potential!
  • 12:09 The Asia Matters Report talks about four steps that will bring about the Asian Century. 1) The demographic advantage that allowed for low-cost manufacturing production. 2) Capital reinvestment that helped build the Asian middle class and a skills, talent, wealth, and innovation boom, which is now allowing for 3) an increasing innovation advantage (AI, autonomous vehicles, etc). Asia is taking the lead in innovation. Finally, 4) Asia will eventually become the global hegemon and the “default option” for business.
  • 17:12 The Asia Matters Institute was created as a forum to help foster these connection. The goal was helping experts outside Asia find their counterparts in the region, and also to help people in Asia better find and communicate. If you are a speacalist with something to offer, get in touch!
  • 19:56 Exciting news from Singapore as Asia Tech Podcast opens its own studio! Special thanks to the team at Platform E for making this possible!
  • 22:18 Platform E is a co-working space, incubator, accelerator, and community. Shout-out to Rina Neoh and Abdul Malik! They get things done!
  • 26:06 Thunder and lightening shenanigans!
  • 26:25 On networking. There are two types of people: energy-takers and net energy-givers. Find the energy-givers and work with them!
  • 31:05 Why podcasting is the future of personal branding. Conferences and traditional networking events almost never give you information beyond what’s available on someone’s website. Nothing “wow’s” us at those things. Podcasting, on the other hand, brings out the human element. That’s what people want!
  • 38:08 Revealing your vulnerability and humanizing yourself to others is one of the most effective ways to get ahead. Show that you have the confidence to take the arrows of criticism. Blaze the trail! Give people the Oprah moment! People want to know about you!
  • 43:10 The vision for Asia Tech Podcast is to create the platform for those human conversations…to give that voice to the Asian tech ecosystem. The new studio will really help to make live radio shows…to make real conversations!
  • 52:28 For all the talk about the digital world being the future, you can’t fake a real, human conversation. This is what makes podcasts. And this is what will make the Asian Century. There are countless stories waiting to be told! That’s what we’re going to do here on Asia Tech Podcast.
  • 55:15 If this sounds like your passion, apply to be our intern. Come be a part of the Asian Century!

255: Trends in Social Media, Facebook Advertising and Influence (Digital Lives Asia)

Podcast highlights:

  • 06:40 With all the recent focus on the “delete facebook” movement, what’s actually happening to Facebook data? Facebook users are up but teenagers are down
  • 35:00 What are the changes in the advertising landscape doing to shape traditional marketing demographics? We talk about Red Bull and why traditional social media demographics
  • 53:20 What can we learn about 18 year olds and their motivations on Facebook? We discuss social listening and how brands are missing a trick learning what their audience really care about

Podcast notes:

  • 00:00 Welcome to Digital Lives Asia #4 with Graham Brown and Simon Kemp. In this episode, Simon drops his latest data on global social media growth trends
  • 06:40 With all the recent focus on the “delete facebook” movement, what’s actually happening to Facebook data? Facebook users are up but teenagers are down
  • 17:20 What’s happening with Facebook advertising? Fan pages may be struggling to get attention but businesses have few alternatives to reach their consumers
  • 27:50 Who’s actually clicking these ads on Facebook? Some insight into Facebook ad campaigns and click behavior of Indonesians
  • 35:00 What are the changes in the advertising landscape doing to shape traditional marketing demographics? We talk about Red Bull and why traditional social media demographics
  • 47:40 Advertising is no longer a moniker of trust, so how do brands build trust? We discuss why giving away content and creating value is key to building trust and winning attention
  • 53:20 What can we learn about 18 year olds and their motivations on Facebook? We discuss social listening and how brands are missing a trick learning what their audience really care about
  • 56:00 We discuss differences in empathy with Uber and Grab in Southeast Asia

249: Kineret Karin, Growing a Social Impact Accelerator

Podcast highlights:

  • 22:55 Kineret Karin’s thoughts on the growth of accelerator companies and the startup accelerator model in Singapore
  • 28:25 The challenge of identifying the right startups and Kineret’s strategy to overcome this
  • 34:12 The double bottom line – measuring the economics of na ImpacTech startup involves measuring the social impact created and the associated financial model associated

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Kineret Karin to Asia Tech Podcast Stories, hosted by Graham Brown
  • 01:11 Kineret talks about ImpacTech, a Singapore based accelerator focused on startups that create a positive impact on the environment and the society
  • 02:02 How ImpacTech has grown and evolved since Kineret’s last appearance on the show in August last year
  • 06:03 Are corporate accelerators the future? ImpacTech’s collaborations with large coorporations like Shell and Singtel
  • 08:23 Kineret shares the process behind ImpacTech’s work with Shell
  • 11:53 The first five start ups selected for the ImpacTech program with Shell – hydrogen batteries for electric scooters, smart meters for utilities, wireless charging for busses and cars, more cost effective solar panels, smart tent for the homeless and energy panels for different weathers
  • 14:42 The learning curve working with engineering startups – Kineret’s background is in the service industry
  • 17:25 Shell’s commitments to startups in this batch
  • 19:07 Why are large corporates like Shell investing resources into startups? What is in it for them?
  • 20:51 Are large corporates genuinely helping startups or just doing it for PR purposes? How can you tell?
  • 22:55 Kineret’s thoughts on the growth of accelerator companies and the startup accelerator model in Singapore
  • 27:18 Singtel and ImpacTech’s start up accelerator program “Future Makers” and what it involves
  • 28:25 The challenge of identifying the right startups and Kineret’s strategy to overcome this
  • 30:47 The commitments between startups and Singtel for startups in the 4 month “Future Makers” program
  • 32:30 Kineret’s secret methods of distinguishing a good startup from the rest
  • 34:12 The double bottom line – measuring the economics of na ImpacTech startup involves measuring the social impact created and the associated financial model associated
  • 35:14 How does Kineret measure the potential social impact of a startup?
  • 36:56 Kineret shares future plans for ImpacTech including expansions to Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan
  • 40:16 What kind of start ups is ImpacTech interested in?
  • 42:10 When would it be the best time for a start up to contact accelerator companies like ImpacTech?
  • 44:29 Get in touch with Kineret through her LinkedIn or website>

234: David Henderson – Building a Multicultural Team Across Asian Time Zones

Podcast highlights:

  • 09:15 What’s it like trying to build a business across multiple Southeast Asian markets? What are the most important markets for an IoT business like Drvr?
  • 28:30 Building up a culture of trust and rewarding people for pointing out issues is important. How does David make it happen?
  • 42:00 Diversity isn’t just a warm fuzzy CSR thing. It has real business benefit. Studies show that multicultural and diverse teams perform better, which is one of the reasons why David Henderson wants his team to be as diverse as possible.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome David Henderson to Asia Tech Podcast Stories. Today Graham’s talking with David Henderson, CEO and Co-Founder at DRVR.
  • 02:00 We take a look at Myanmar – its people are moving fast and open to new technology
  • 05:45 Myanmar is a very safe country with an interesting culture and warm people, says David Henderson.
  • 09:15 What’s it like trying to build a business across multiple Southeast Asian markets? What are the most important markets for an IoT business like Drvr?
  • 13:45 Partnerships as a strategy – according to David Henderson, building up partnerships is crucial for expanding in Southeast Asia.
  • 18:00 Asi is the place to be in the 21st century
  • 21:30 David Henderson discusses building company culture over three different time zones – from sales department meetings to kickboxing.
  • 25:00 What are some of the tangible benefits that come out of building partnerships in business?
  • 28:30 Building up a culture of trust and rewarding people for pointing out issues is important. How does David make it happen?
  • 33:15 David Henderson and Graham Brown discuss recruiting. David’s preferred method is giving potential interns and candidates a task of their own.
  • 38:00 You will be more successful in communicating with potential clients if you have staff from different cultural backgrounds.
  • 42:00 Diversity isn’t just a warm fuzzy CSR thing. It has real business benefit. Studies show that multicultural and diverse teams perform better, which is one of the reasons why David Henderson wants his team to be as diverse as possible.
  • 47:00 So how does David support diversity and include women in a technical environment where women are traditionally more disadvantaged?
  • 51:45 Thank you for tuning in! Congratulations to David Henderson for the Telematics Update Award. To find out more about DRVR, visit www.drvr.co.

230: Jon Tanner – Talent Trends and the Future of Work in Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 06:45 The Asian talent Market is “equalising” says Jon Tanner. What does this mean?
  • 29:20 Are coworking spaces the future model of work? We look at the latest trends. Still an ongoing social experiment but it certainly benefits the movement of talent in Asia
  • 40:50 Talented employees want to build something, solve a problem, make a mark in some way – we refer to the case study of Chirayu Wadke from SeedPlus ex Google Silicon Valley talking about working on 10x projects

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Jon Tanner to Asia Tech Podcast Stories
  • 00:45 What are the big changes in the Asian talent market?
  • 03:10 What are the reasons why people are coming to Asia now? San Francisco, New York and London are potentially both pricing themselves out of the market and offering less opportunity for the most talented of employees.
  • 05:25 Bali Green School in Bali and Bali House in Canggu – mix, co-working, incubator, hospitality space. People are making some serious choices about their lives and careers today beyond their benefits package
  • 06:45 The Asian talent Market is “equalising” says Jon Tanner. What does this mean?
  • 10:25 Talented employees aren’t focused on taking the highest-paying job in San Francisco anymore. A new generation of talent is seeking out something riskier, that makes Asia an interesting option
  • 12:20 Silicon Valley leads with regard to stories about role models which inevitably attracts people to the West Coast but the gap with Asia is closing fast. Asia is slowly discovering its own role models
  • 16:05 Could Jon see the situation where he could run Mitchell Lake from Bali and send his kids to Green School? We talk about the backstory of Steve Monroe coming into Ubud to found co-working space Hubud. Career paths are changing
  • 19:30 Do large IT companies need to rethink how they work with talent? Are they sending departments out into coworking spaces such as Hubud for the right reasons?
  • 24:00 Would this kind of remote work for a bank? What would the benefits of HSBC setting up in a coworking space be?
  • 27:20 Why did Jon suggest to his clients the idea of coming across and working in the same coworking space? What’s it actually like sharing a coworking space with clients?
  • 29:20 Are coworking spaces the future model of work? Still an ongoing social experiment but it certainly benefits the movement of talent in Asia
  • 33:30 Which IT companies does Jon admire with regards to digital transformation? We look at who is leading the way in decentralizing the workspace
  • 36:25 The success or failure of digital transformation comes down to its mechanics: The backstory of Innovation Director of Intel China – Kapil Kane – and his battle in getting Intel to agree to build the accelerator outside their office. We also look at the Virgin group example
  • 40:50 Talented employees want to build something, solve a problem, make a mark in some way – we refer to the case study of Chirayu Wadke from SeedPlus ex Google Silicon Valley talking about working on 10x projects
  • 42:30 The sharing economy combined with changing attitudes towards the “stuff” of life means talented people who have choices aren’t necessarily motivated by the things which our parents sought out like cars, job titles etc.
  • 44:55 Jon’s thoughts on frontier markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand
  • 47:05 Does Jon see a lot of interest in recruitment coming from that Asia-to-Asia market?
  • 49:40 Thoughts on Asia as frontrunning global trends in the curation of workplace culture and talent
  • 54:00 Check out Jon Tanner at www.mitchellake.com
  • 156: Silicon Valley No Longer Has a Monopoly on Innovation(ATP480 Asia Matters)

    In this week’s Asia Tech Podcast broadcast from Bangkok and Singapore, we discuss the growing importance of Asia in the global tech startup ecosystem. We look at the latest research data from the Google Temasek study which shows just how robust the South East Asian online economy is, reasons why Nutonomy chose Singapore as testing ground for its autonomous vehicles, and the importance of the Chinese Unicorns Alibaba and Tencent in growing the Asian ecosystem. But to kick off, a quote from Michio Kaku (co-founder of String Theory) this week, “Silicon Valley no longer has a monopoly on innovation”.

    119: Max Ward – CEO of OpenPort, Logistics for New Markets

    Max Ward is the CEO and Co-Founder of OpenPort.  Max is a true logistics expert with deep coding and technology experience and a background building customer value across the full spectrum of supply chain services.  His knowledge of supply chain management is unparalleled and that knowledge becomes more and more important every day.  Max is deeply committed to solving the front to back challenges that the supply chain presents all the way from major shippers to families with two trucks in South Asia that provide critical last mile logistics and deliver services to Asia’s rapidly growing consumer population.  The opportunity on which OpenPort focuses is incredibly large at over $100BN and emerging Asia is the fastest growing region for his services.

    095: Damien Kerneis – Founder SiamCarDeal

    Damien Kerneis is Co-Founder of SiamCarDeal.com , a platform helping car buyers finding the best deals on New Cars in Thailand. Originally from France, Damien has been living in Thailand for 12 years, and after 10 Years in the corporate world, launched his own startup in 2015.