300: Tiang Lim Foo – SeedPlus, Venture Capital, and Southeast Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 06:56 People in the region seem to speak highly of the work you guys do at SeedPlus. You seem to check all the boxes for the ideal startup founder most VCs look for. — Never referred to self as an entrepreneur. What entrepreneurs do is way, way harder than what we do as VCs. Having been in venture capital for a few years, have a greater appreciation for the dangers of stereotyping. Great founders can come from anywhere. Biases can lead to dangerous thinking and missing out on great opportunities. Empathy is probably one of the hardest skills to acquire as a VC. You need to have empathy with founders. Of course we are investing for financial gain; but at the same time we want to help build businesses that are good for human beings. An example of a company focusing on empathy is Amazon. Jeff Bezos has always been customer-first, customer-centric. This has not changed over the years.
  • 14:53 When you’re chatting with a founder, what do you look for? — It’s really about the team. At the seed stage there are a lot of unknowns. This means the founder and the team have a much bigger impact on overall outcome during this early period. We look for qualities like mental agility, understanding context, market fit, displays of leadership, and just like pure grit. It’s a delicate balance. When you come across someone who has an opinion about how the world should work, even if it’s not correct, this suggests it’s possible to have a discussion around making ideas work. It’s also relevant to consider the context in Asia. To have an opinion implies you’re willing to go against the grain. Asia is more conformist than other cultures, and this is not always great for entrepreneurship.
  • 45:29 A new generation of talent is wondering how they can be part of the Asian Century. What advice might you give? — There’s no better way than just being here. You can read and watch as much as you want, but it’s not as good as seeing things for yourself. Singapore is a great gateway into the rest of Asia. It’s good for families and it’s safe and efficient here in Singapore. Immersion and acquiring a language are also fantastic ways to get acquainted with the region.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Tiang Lim Foo, Operating Partner at SeedPlus, to ATP Stories with host Graham Brown.
  • 01:00 Can you give us a brief synopsis of yourself? — Operating Partner at SeedPlus, a seed-based venture capital fund in Singapore. We closed our first fund in June, 2017. Primarily we invest in the broader Southeast Asia region, not too much in Japan, South Korea, and China.
  • 03:50 All of the members of SeedPlus who have been on our show seem very relaxed for VCs. You all seem pretty informal in your approach to venture capital. This is not how VCs tend to operate in Asia. Is this deliberate? — Partially it’s a reflection of who we are and where we came from. [Tiang] came to SeedPlus from Evernote, the note taking software company that started in Silicon Valley. Worked for them in Singapore from 2012-2015. At SeedPlus, we have backgrounds in tech companies. It informs our dress, our language, etc.
  • 06:56 People in the region seem to speak highly of the work you guys do at SeedPlus. You seem to check all the boxes for the ideal startup founder most VCs look for. — Never referred to self as an entrepreneur. What entrepreneurs do is way, way harder than what we do as VCs. Having been in venture capital for a few years, have a greater appreciation for the dangers of stereotyping. Great founders can come from anywhere. Biases can lead to dangerous thinking and missing out on great opportunities. Empathy is probably one of the hardest skills to acquire as a VC. You need to have empathy with founders. Of course we are investing for financial gain; but at the same time we want to help build businesses that are good for human beings. An example of a company focusing on empathy is Amazon. Jeff Bezos has always been customer-first, customer-centric. This has not changed over the years.
  • 12:41 When you think of your role as a VC, do you take on board inspiration from people like Jeff Bezos? Do you read Tony Hsieh, for example? — That book is on my never-ending to-read list. If you think about this from a game-theoretic perspective, venture capital is one of the few industries that reward long-term strategy. Venture is a multi-round game. You want to partner with founders with whom you can have a long relationship. Reputation compounds over time. Founders may come back after their idea germinates a bit and you find it’s now a better fit for the fund.
  • 14:53 When you’re chatting with a founder, what do you look for? — It’s really about the team. At the seed stage there are a lot of unknowns. This means the founder and the team have a much bigger impact on overall outcome during this early period. We look for qualities like mental agility, understanding context, market fit, displays of leadership, and just like pure grit. It’s a delicate balance. When you come across someone who has an opinion about how the world should work, even if it’s not correct, this suggests it’s possible to have a discussion around making ideas work. It’s also relevant to consider the context in Asia. To have an opinion implies you’re willing to go against the grain. Asia is more conformist than other cultures, and this is not always great for entrepreneurship.
  • 19:18 When you look across Southeast Asia today, do you see these qualities coming through? — In a very macro sense, yes. 3-5 years ago if you were starting a business in Singapore, it implied you were unemployed. These days starting a business is a career choice. Across the region there is more of a groundswell happening.
  • 24:22 What’s happening at the macro level with China in Southeast Asia right now? — Historically speaking there have been very deep networks and connections with mainland China. There is still an enormous growth potential inside China. However, now we’re starting to see a shift towards expanding into Southeast Asia. This is a very natural extension for Chinese businesses. It’s a pretty exciting time. For VCs there are a lot of opportunities as people and markets begin to come online.
  • 28:48 How can investors in Southeast Asia manage this “Chinese effect”? — It’s not obvious there are clear answers. At the seed stage of investing, you go back to first-principles: are we investing in good businesses?
  • 33:18 The period you spent at Evernote was quite an interesting time in your career. They are a company who have tried to keep their product simple even as it evolved. As an investor, how do you manage the temptation many businesses face of wanting to move in many different directions at once? — This goes back to having empathy for users and consumers. Most users can’t verbalize their needs well. Designers have to intimately know what problem they are solving for their users. At the end of the day, the CEO must make a decision and have confidence they’re making the right decision on behalf of customers.
  • 41:43 When one looks at Southeast Asia, it’s possible to see a competition developing between Amazon and Alibaba. Where do you think this will go? — It’s too early to say. Also, it’s not clear Amazon sees it as a competition per se. It’s not just about e-commerce selections. It’s also about the ancillary services around the customer. This could be Amazon Prime media, storage, etc. Amazon is a company thinking 5 to 10 years ahead. You can’t do this if you’re defined by competition in the market.
  • 45:29 A new generation of talent is wondering how they can be part of the Asian Century. What advice might you give? — There’s no better way than just being here. You can read and watch as much as you want, but it’s not as good as seeing things for yourself. Singapore is a great gateway into the rest of Asia. It’s good for families and it’s safe and efficient here in Singapore. Immersion and acquiring a language are also fantastic ways to get acquainted with the region.

297: Geir Windsvoll – Live Streaming in Thailand

Podcast highlights:

  • 09:13 Geir shares his experience when in late 90s he tried taking the existing online services and combing with the community features and his various other experiments with internet.
  • 24:10 Geir tells us the challenges he face in scaling live videos and how important it is for tech team to be ready for what is coming. He also tells about prototyping and how it lets a team test out and give them experience in the field they wanted.
  • 36:30 20-30 years back we have seen millions of young population in China, Japan and Thailand moving from countryside to large cities. Its interesting to see how social apps are bringing them close to the roots.

279: Stuart Kerr – Rock Human Devices (PitchDeck Asia)

Podcast highlights:

  • 02:40 Stuart talks about Rock Human Devices, a Singapore-based company building tough, well-designed medical devices – starting with hearing loss
  • 22:10 What was Dyson really all about? Ultra-high performance first before aesthetics. Also, the backstory behind Dyson Supersonic hair dryer
  • 37:35 Stuart says Rock Human Devices will eventually become a software company that has the hardware that the software runs on. Also, he talks about developing a prosthetic limb with machine learning

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 PIT – Stuart Kerr – Rock Human Devices – The Pitch
  • 01:40 What is the point of The Pitch?
  • 02:40 Stuart talks about Rock Human Devices, a Singapore-based company building tough, well-designed medical devices – starting with hearing loss
  • 08:15 Stuart and Graham have a look at a functioning prototype of the hearing-aid glasses. How much does it cost to make one? Also, will the hearing-aid glasses be regulated and medically certified soon?
  • 14:15 How did Stuart fund the making of the hearing-aid glass prototypes? What were the assumptions challenged when he did the trial with 25 people?
  • 17:05 How light is the prototype? Also, why hasn’t this been done already?
  • 18:30 Stuart studied electronic engineering at Strathclyde and robotics in Japan, worked in Japan developing machines used in particle accelerators in CERN and SUPERKEKB, then worked for Singapore-based startup Pirate 3D in launching a 3D printer, then joined Dyson
  • 22:10 What was Dyson really all about? Ultra-high performance first before aesthetics. Also, the backstory behind Dyson Supersonic hair dryer
  • 27:35 Dyson develops core technology that solves very fundamental problems with how people interact with machines. So why wouldn’t companies start with that thought – “this is the problem the customer has. What is the best way of solving it?”
  • 33:00 When Stuart was prototyping the hearing aid glasses, how did he keep it lean? Did he consciously not go out and recruit or was he so busy doing the thing?
  • 35:20 After receiving funding, what’s next for Stuart and Rock Human Devices? What would be the value of that to another company? Can Rock Human Devices become the Dyson or Apple of the medical device world, or IPO?
  • 37:35 Stuart says Rock Human Devices will eventually become a software company that has the hardware that the software runs on. Also, he talks about developing a prosthetic limb with machine learning
  • 44:40 Contact Stuart on Linkedin here https://sg.linkedin.com/in/stuart-kerr-35a79449

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.

252: Ria Lao – Groupstar (Founders in Asia FIA4)

  • 06:30 The key question of when to pivot and what to focus on, the curse of the entrepreneur – everything is an opportunity
  • 24:20 Is it necessary to have a co-founder when starting a business? Ria and Jodie share their thoughts
  • 34:02 Ria’s number one tip for others who are interested in setting up a business in this region- don’t quit your day job!

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 FIA4 – Founders in Asia with Ria Lao, founder and CEO of Groupstar, hosted by Jodie Collins
  • 01:14 Ria talks about her background and how she ended up in Singapore
  • 03:00 All about Groupstar and how it transforms communication within large companies using video solutions
  • 06:30 The key question of when to pivot and what to focus on, the curse of the entrepreneur – everything is an opportunity
  • 09:03 The importance of having a clear vision for your team and not just focusing on the product offering
  • 12:02 As a founder, is the decision making backed by data points or gut feel? Ria’s views on this
  • 14:33 Where does Ria see the greatest opportunities across the region?
  • 15:47 Ria addresses the perceived challenge of selling technology to less developed markets
  • 17:52 Examples on how companies use Groupstar to turn internal information into videos
  • 21:49 Ria shares the lessons she has learnt and the mistakes she has made throughout her journey as a founder
  • 24:20 Is it necessary to have a co-founder when starting a business? Ria and Jodie share their thoughts
  • 26:51 Ria dispels the myth that you need investor money up front to get started with a team
  • 28:28 How various areas of expertise in startups are being handled by other markets abroad like in India or Philippines
  • 30:23 Where in the region does Ria see the most exciting growth potential for her business? From Indonesia, Japan to Australia
  • 32:03 The surprising demographic uptake of Groupstar, senior management are more interested in using it than the young millennials
  • 34:02 Ria’s number one tip for others who are interested in setting up a business in this region- don’t quit your day job!

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>

235: Amber Chook – Founder TEDX Roppongi – Female Entrepreneurship in Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 12:40 Why did Amber Chook start TEDX Roppongi in Tokyo? We listen to her background story, life at university, starting out on the career path at 19 and showing people that there is another way rather than just be part of the Japanese corporate machine
  • 22:45 Why don’t Japanese women ask questions at work? The subtle pressure on women at big Japanese companies and in society in general
  • 37:10 How does Amber measure the impact/success of TEDX Roppongi? The key is measuring the legacy of the event – how many people go on to create something after coming to TEDX Roppongi?

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Amber Chook to Asia Tech Podcast Stories
  • 01:00 Amber speaks three languages and is a badass – moving to Japan from China at 15 and studying English 14 hours a day to enter university in Tokyo
  • 04:25 The isolation and culture shock in rural Mie-ken in Japan – expectation for girls to become housewives instead of going to university
  • 09:55 Did Amber face any resistance in high school talking about girls going to university? You’ll be surprised that even the teachers were against the ideas of girls going to university
  • 11:40 Who did Amber think of as a female role model and who influenced her into thinking that going to university was not only possible but a good idea?
  • 12:40 Why did Amber Chook start TEDX Roppongi in Tokyo? We listen to her background story, life at university, starting out on the career path at 19 and showing people that there is another way rather than just be part of the Japanese corporate machine
  • 19:15 We discuss the reality of working for a big Japanese company. Japanese companies have a unique corporate environment that requires complete dedication and submission to the group.
  • 21:10 “Thinking about thinking” as the first ever TEDX event presented in holograph – but why think about thinking?
  • 22:45 Why don’t Japanese women ask questions at work? The subtle pressure on women at big Japanese companies and society in general
  • 29:25 What is power harassment? This is a common issue in some Asian companies. Unless overt sexual harassment, power harassment is coercion on the worker, forcing them to do overtime or to do something that they don’t want to do, something that’s obviously not part of their job description
  • 32:05 Going back to the telecom boom of 90s Japan – Mari Matsunaga in DoCoMo as a female role model. She kicked ass but ultimately faded away because she lacked the support of her community to continue what she is doing
  • 35:10 “If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have power, then your job is to empower somebody else” – What does the Toni Morrison quote mean to Amber?
  • 37:10 How does Amber measure the impact/success of TEDX Roppongi? The key is measuring the legacy of the event – how many people go on to create something after coming to TEDX Roppongi?
  • 40:55 “Every negative experience we have, we can always go back and draw more strength from it”
  • 44:20 Reach out to Amber Chook at facebook, LinkedIn and email

225: Asia’s $36 Trillion A2A Market (Asia Matters)

Podcast highlights:

  • 07:10 The A2A Metatrend – Asia to Asia trade. Asia now does more trade with itself than the rest of the world. The Asian Middle classes will be worth $36 trillion by 2030
  • 34:52 Why Asian brands have a massive advantage over Western competition. This is bad news for Amazon, especially in high growth markets such as Southeast Asia.
  • 73:20 The rising power of the middle class in Asia and how it is going to shape the future of key sectors like automotive

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ATP610 – Asia Matters with Graham D Brown on the biggest growth opportunity of the next 10 years
  • 01:05 The phenomenon of Bakugai or ‘explosive shopping’, a Japanese description of how Chinese tourists go shopping in Tokyo
  • 05:44 Going way back to when the Americans turned up in Europe
  • 07:10 The A2A Metatrend. Asia to Asia trade, projected to be a 36 trillion dollar market by 2030
  • 09:25 The construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and its potential implications
  • 16:36 The explosion of wealthy middle classed Asians over the next 10 years and its possible influence on world trade with Asia
  • 19:04 A comparison of Asia’s economy back in the 80s to what it is today, from Japan’s growth to China’s technological advancements
  • 27:43 An example of growth – bike-sharing startups are facing steep competition in Shanghai
  • 29:05 An overview of the A2A (Asia to Asia) market in terms of what it is today
  • 34:52 Why Asian brands have a massive advantage over Western competition
  • 44:25 Asian brands are using personal information data to optimise the retail experience as mentioned in the second AshleyTalks podcast
  • 46:42 There is access to large markets in Asia as a short flight from Singapore gives you access to half the world’s population
  • 48:25 There are smaller time zone differences within Asian countries compared to the West. Sounds trivial, but this has a big difference in ongoing communication
  • 49:24 Physical connectivity within the Greater Bay and Asia, from the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge to China’s One Belt One Road project
  • 53:30 The power of the Bamboo Network in Asia – interconnected Chinese families across Asia
  • 55:40 Western companies are going to find it a lot harder in Asia as their honeymoon period wears off
  • 58:58 Graham forecasts that in the next 5 to 10 years, Asian brands are going to take on Western competition on their home turf. We’re already seeing this with Alibaba.
  • 60:35 Rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in China and Asia
  • 63:55 Lessons from the automotive industry. If you look at automotive you see a recurring pattern in history – success isn’t based on disruptive innovation but from one country borrowing (or stealing) the ideas of another. Today in China it’s no different.
  • 67:05 The Lean Startup methodology in entrepreneurship and its history. Lean Startup owes a lot to a fusion of ideas from East and West
  • 73:20 The rising power of the middle class in Asia and how it is going to shape the future of key sectors like automotive

219: Nitin Sawhney – Reboot Life, Discover Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 17:30 Remote workers are more productive and efficient, and less likely to change jobs than office workers – companies can save costs employing remote workers according to studies
  • 32:25 The “I’ll get around to traveling the world someday” thinking – challenging the dominant mode of thinking and take a leap of faith regarding the digital nomad lifestyle
  • 40:05 What is Reboot Life’s program? Can you live a life you don’t even know you want right now?

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Nitin Sawhney to Asia Tech Podcast Stories
  • 01:05 An introduction to Reboot Life – a remote work and travel program for people who want to take a step back and reevaluate their goals
  • 04:05 The 12 cities Reboot Life is heading to – Bali, Indonesia – Chiang Mai, Thailand – Istanbul, Turkey – Budapest, Hungary – Split, Croatia – Leipzig, Germany – Serbia – Spain – Dubai, UAE – Cape Town, South Africa – Wellington, New Zealand – Melbourne, Australia – Tokyo, Japan
  • 08:00 Why Bali and Chiang Mai? Because they are the digital nomad capitals of the world
  • 12:30 In Bali – independent villa with a terrace and private infinity pool overlooking the rice fields and in-house cafe plus the importance of working in a public instead of the groups’ own private coworking space
  • 14:25 Are people actually getting work done? The criticism of Reboot Life as an around the world trip dressed up as work and discipline as key to maintaining a digital nomad lifestyle
  • 17:30 Remote workers are more productive and efficient, and less likely to change jobs than office workers – companies can save costs employing remote workers according to studies
  • 20:45 How important is it being surrounded by really positive and motivated people and location-independence as the default position of work in the future
  • 24:10 Does it take a certain type of mindset to be productive in a remote-work environment?
  • 27:55 Where did the idea of Reboot Life come from? A backstory to how the program started – combining work AND travel instead of work OR travel
  • 32:25 The “I’ll get around to traveling the world someday” thinking – challenging the dominant mode of thinking and take a leap of faith regarding the digital nomad lifestyle
  • 37:25 What does Nitin hope that changes inside of people who go through Reboot Life? When does the light switch moment happen for individuals who are part of the program?
  • 40:05 What is Reboot Life’s program? Can you live a life you don’t even know you want right now?
  • 43:30 The state of the digital nomad scene in India: changes in the coworking spaces in India as well as the number of Indians living the lifestyle
  • 50:15 Please check out Reboot Life at www.reboot-life.com
  • 218: Simon Kim – FASTx and The Startup Ecosystem in Tokyo

    Podcast highlights:

    • 24:44 The population fundamentals of Japan and how demographic changes shape the startup ecosystem
    • 36:29 Start up founders in Tokyo tend to get bank loans by default instead of seeking angel investors – does this present a challenge to Japan?
    • 40:48 The city of Fukuoka and its top down approach to building an ecosystem. Is it sustainable long term?

    Podcast notes:

    • 00:05 Welcome Simon Kim to Asia Tech Podcast Stories, hosted by Graham Brown
    • 01:00 A little bit about Simon Kim’s background and how he arrived in Japan
    • 02:00 All about FASTx, a start up accelerator platform and coworking space
    • 06:00 Bringing a Western influence into Japan
    • 07:20 Was not speaking Japanese when coming to Japan an issue for Simon?
    • 10:40 The reasons Simon chose Japan as a place to base FASTx, a start up accelerator
    • 14:55 Risk adversity in Japan. Why be a start up founder when you can work for Mitsubishi?
    • 15:55 The distinct lack of success stories about Japanese entrepreneurs
    • 18:45 The history of Japan often changes from the outside. Is that what Simon is trying to do?
    • 21:50 How is the typical start up founder in the Japan different compared to founders from other countries?
    • 24:44 The population fundamentals of Japan and how demographic changes shape the startup ecosystem
    • 27:40 Simon’s experiences of mentoring young start up founders in Japan
    • 28:56 The Japanese idea of starting a side business to supplement income
    • 31:48 The Japanese buoyance and passion about making things, and how this is reflected in start ups
    • 34:40 Business failure in Japan and facing debts when a start up fails
    • 36:29 Start up founders in Tokyo tend to get bank loans by default instead of seeking angel investors – does this present a challenge to Japan?
    • 40:48 The city of Fukuoka and its top down approach to building an ecosystem. Is it sustainable long term?
    • 44:25 Can the alternative lifestyle of Fukuoka be extended to Tokyo and other cities?
    • 49:50 Would Simon consider working with someone who is doing their start up on a part time basis? Does age matter?
    • 53:37 Founders need to have a good ability to present and sell their product
    • 55:26 Go to fastx.jp to out more about FASTx and sign up for the upcoming competition in April.To get in touch with Simon, email [email protected]