299: Future of work, up-skilling and top 3 learnings to run impactful conferences and learning events – with Casey Lau – Co-Host, RISE ASIA (NSH3)

Podcast highlights:

  • 00:53 Let’s start with Casey’s In the making’, the man behind the growth of RISE Asia in the past 4 years as it’s co-host and how he met and agree to join Paddy Cosgrave, the Founder of RISE, who also founded Web Summit for Europe and Collision for US – the brain behind this vision of disrupting tech conferences for scale and impact.
  • 04:54 On disrupting conference/learning and development formats for the sake of the audience. Are you re thinking of how you design them?

    People are looking for engaging content. It’s no longer that you can throw someone on the stage and expect someone to listen to them. You have to have a whole experience. It’s like going to Disneyland. That’s what Paddy has created with the conferences. It is like Disneyland – you see the big attractions, but you also try out the crazy hot dog, the mickey waffles, take a roller coaster ride. Some times you don’t know where you end up, whom you meet. It is very spontaneous.

    A great example of “ENGINEERING SYNCHRONICITY” – using data science, using technology to run a conference/learning events).

  • 09:35 Starting up vs. Startups? Starting up in a big Corporate or a tech company is a huge trend too. #Futureofwork
  • 11:30 Conferences are a great way to stay competitive, upskill oneself – be it as a speaker or as an attendee or as an organiser. Let’s talk about the 3 major takeaways and learnings:

    1. ***How to put together a conference

    2. ***Speaking at Conference – How to pitch to sign up as a speaker and speak more effectively at public conferences/ public events

    3. ***How to network more effectively

  • 21: 58 Pitfalls or failures or Lessons to be shared. Any example?
  • 28:23 Future of work. Role of network, the community outside of your own company, own startup? How would work differently tomorrow and the ways to keep up skilling yourself
  • 31:00 Biggest asset of an accelerator is it’s network. The mentor network
  • 03:39 Why RISE is different and unique?

    1. We are able to bring an amazing speaker team from around the world to Asia/ HK. Like – founder of Tinder, founder of Didi coming this year (July 2018). We are able to mix lot of the European, American and Asian leaders together on stage and not easy to inter mingle otherwise.

    2. It doesn’t end at 5 pm. It takes a breather and continues through the night – for what we call the NIGHT SUMMIT. So one can continue sharing what you’ve learnt during the day, meet investors, media, all kinds of tech people…

    Rise turns the entire city in a startup hub for 3 days.

  • RISE 2018 (4th year) is happening on July 9-12.

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.

293: The Growth of Entrepreneurship in Asia (Digital Lives Asia DLA5)

Podcast highlights:

  • 14:30 Simon: it’s interesting to consider how what you see defines the reality you believe in. An exposure to other entrepreneurs early in your life likely gives you the confidence you can do something similar. Digital has changed this so much because we are no longer confined to just looking at the people around us. You can see fascinating stories all over the social media platforms today. Graham: digital then is a great leveler, isn’t it? Look at how women in China can see people around them using these digital platforms. They no longer see the model entrepreneur as someone who is older and male.
  • 39:05 Simon: when it comes to scaling a business, it’s really striking to see the barriers women face in getting access to funding. Graham: in some ways this isn’t surprising given investors tend to back what they know, and what they know is men being successful in business. The challenge in Asia is generational. It will take a generation of entrepreneurs who exit with success and decide to go back in to fund the next crop of people. These will be the investors more likely to back women or non-traditional founders.
  • 44:55 Simon: the theme emerging from our conversation today is there is definitely an energy around entrepreneurship in Asia. A lot of this is just waiting to be activated. What we need to do is find out how to create the cultures to allow this energy to flourish. Graham: it seems the best thing we can do is to tell people’s stories. Help people access inspiration.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 DLA7 – Digital Lives Asia with Graham Brown and Simon Kemp
  • 01:00 Graham: Let’s start with the question of where is the most startup-friendly city in Asia today? What city has the best startup to overall population ratio? — Simon: The obvious answer seems like it would be somewhere in China. But this seems too obvious. Let’s say somewhere in Indonesia. Graham: Actually it is in China.
  • 02:37 Graham: The city with the most startups per head is Zhuhai, which is right next door to Hong Kong and Macao and part of the whole Pearl River Delta ecosystem. The level of startup activity in Zhuhai is 10 times higher than in the city with the highest level of startup activity in the US, Miami, Florida.
  • 05:45 Simon: In looking at entrepreneurship in Asia among millennials, Asia does not seem to be suffering the lack of people trying to create things. Graham: if you look at some of the data coming out of places like the US, you see entrepreneurship as a percentage of the overall population has slipped to something like 5%, which is down from the high a generation ago near 10.5%. The data suggest this generation is the least entrepreneurial generation in the US.
  • 08:55 Graham: thinking about why this is the case several things come to mind. First it’s a lot harder in the West to be an entrepreneur. Also people are generally comfortable, so there’s less of a drive to hustle. Simon: the data also show the burden of student debt in the US. It could also be the people with the drive to be entrepreneurs are finding other ways to scratch that itch so to speak. One way they’re doing this is through the gig economy.
  • 14:30 Simon: it’s interesting to consider how what you see defines the reality you believe in. An exposure to other entrepreneurs early in your life likely gives you the confidence you can do something similar. Digital has changed this so much because we are no longer confined to just looking at the people around us. You can see fascinating stories all over the social media platforms today. Graham: digital then is a great leveler, isn’t it? Look at how women in China can see people around them using these digital platforms. They no longer see the model entrepreneur as someone who is older and male.
  • 24:08 Graham: coming back to the subject of megacities in Asia. Looking back at the Zhuhai statistic we opened the show with, we see in Zhuhai there are 2,800 startups per 100,000 people while in Miami, the figure is 247 startups per 100,000. In Shenzhen, 16% of people there are engaged in entrepreneurship. The comparative figure in the United States is only 3.5%. Imagine living in a place where you’re surrounded by these stories all the time. This is what’s happening right now is Asia. There is this compounding effect where entrepreneurs are inspired by other entrepreneurs and want to go to places where a lot of them are.
  • 27:50 Simon: it’s worth unpacking this a bit. There are two side to entrepreneurship: the opportunity side and the necessity side. The businesses we are celebrating today are those on the opportunity side. This happens when people look at the world around them and spot an idea. Traveling around Asia you see so many more opportunities to improve people’s lives than you do when you travel in the West.
  • 32:28 Graham: look at some more facts here. In data from 2012, the highest ratio of male to female entrepreneurship is the UK. Twice as many men than women are entrepreneurs in the UK. In best ratio for gender parity in entrepreneurship is in developing markets in Asia. There are an equal number of male and female entrepreneurs in developing Asia. Simon: this really helps explain one reason to feel so optimistic when we look at these things. Of course there is still a long way to go in order to improve the chances of female entrepreneurs; but it is heartening to see the progress in Asia.
  • 39:05 Simon: when it comes to scaling a business, it’s really striking to see the barriers women face in getting access to funding. Graham: in some ways this isn’t surprising given investors tend to back what they know, and what they know is men being successful in business. The challenge in Asia is generational. It will take a generation of entrepreneurs who exit with success and decide to go back in to fund the next crop of people. These will be the investors more likely to back women or non-traditional founders.
  • 44:55 Simon: the theme emerging from our conversation today is there is definitely an energy around entrepreneurship in Asia. A lot of this is just waiting to be activated. What we need to do is find out how to create the cultures to allow this energy to flourish. Graham: it seems the best thing we can do is to tell people’s stories. Help people access inspiration.

287: Charles Reed Anderson – IoT in Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 24:00 You’re a recognized IoT expert. In your own day-to-day life, how wired up are you? Do you use these gadgets? — Just bought first smartwatch. There are drawers full of things that were used once and never used again. One of the best devices for me though was the Muse headband, which is a product designed to track your brain waves. As they developed it though, they turned it into a guided meditation platform that works really well.
  • 29:50 When you look around Asia now, what countries do you find interesting in terms of what’s going on with IoT? — One interesting thing is what’s going on with co-called smart cities. Very few of them have gone from having an infrastructure-centric focus to a citizen-centric focus. Taipei seems to have done better than almost everyone else. They’ve already launched something like 130 proof of concepts all around the city. Maybe 75% of these will fail, but that means 25% will succeed and give other cities new ideas moving forward. Already Taipei has some cool autonomous bus projects. This year they’re launching a shared scooter scheme. The next logical path you will see is where cities focus on making the smart city concept viable for businesses. Not everyone will be able to jump down the path like Taipei.
  • 50:20 How would one compare IoT in Asia to the rest of the world right now? Is it even possible to do this? — Asia is by far the biggest market for IoT in the future. There is a long tail there. It’s a fascinating market and the level of innovation coming out of China right now is just amazing. Keep an eye on India over the next 24 months. Tata is coming out with systems at price points that will allow developing markets to get into the game. This is what we need to see.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Charles Reed Anderson, founder Charles Reed Anderson & Associates, to ATP Stories with host Graham D Brown.
  • 00:55 You are the IoT person in Asia. What gets you excited? What do we need to know about IoT in Asia now? — One product is a new children’s smartwatch from Omate, which is based in Shenzhen. What’s cool is they’ve partnered with Tata Communications to make it with an eSIM. This will give Omate basically global market access on the back of Tata’s relationships. The eSIM allows the device to connect to almost any network.
  • 06:45 So what does this mean for telecoms? — Certainly smart operators will try and create business models to engage this new revenue stream. It could mean handset manufacturers are able to bypass local telecom operators. Imagine a Google or Amazon, with an eSIM, they could launch a new product globally and not have to negotiate with telecom companies in every market they want to enter. Laptop manufacturers are launching new models with eSIMs included.
  • 10:45 What devices do you really see eSIMs making a big impact on? — One thing about eSIMs is they will empower new startups who have good ideas. With the Omate watch, having the relationship with Tata means the watch’s communications are secured in a way that will help companies get past regulators worried about safety and privacy when it comes to products for children. Also in healthcare and medical tech devices where secure connectivity is critical.
  • 18:50 What are some of the areas where you see more of the medical tech coming through? Where will this make an impact? — In the last five years, there have a been several interesting things. Samsung was doing R&D on a device with a bunch of different medical sensors and testing out which ones were going to work and how to build a platform around it. Now you also see companies like Fitbit not just building devices, but actually bringing in people from the healthcare industry to help advise them on what to do with the data they’re generating from users.
  • 24:00 You’re a recognized IoT expert. In your own day-to-day life, how wired up are you? Do you use these gadgets? — Just bought first smartwatch. There are drawers full of things that were used once and never used again. One of the best devices for me though was the Muse headband, which is a product designed to track your brain waves. As they developed it though, they turned it into a guided meditation platform that works really well.
  • 29:50 When you look around Asia now, what countries do you find interesting in terms of what’s going on with IoT? — One interesting thing is what’s going on with co-called smart cities. Very few of them have gone from having an infrastructure-centric focus to a citizen-centric focus. Taipei seems to have done better than almost everyone else. They’ve already launched something like 130 proof of concepts all around the city. Maybe 75% of these will fail, but that means 25% will succeed and give other cities new ideas moving forward. Already Taipei has some cool autonomous bus projects. This year they’re launching a shared scooter scheme. The next logical path you will see is where cities focus on making the smart city concept viable for businesses. Not everyone will be able to jump down the path like Taipei.
  • 46:10 What was the recipe for success in Taipei? Why did things work there? — It’s a combination of factors. There are a lot of very good hardware manufacturers there. Lots of IoT vendors are coming out of there already. The city also has excellent infrastructure. It’s a good business environment where lots of MNCs have big centers there.
  • 50:20 How would one compare IoT in Asia to the rest of the world right now? Is it even possible to do this? — Asia is by far the biggest market for IoT in the future. There is a long tail there. It’s a fascinating market and the level of innovation coming out of China right now is just amazing. Keep an eye on India over the next 24 months. Tata is coming out with systems at price points that will allow developing markets to get into the game. This is what we need to see.

283: Wei Qing Jen from Vybes (PitchDeck Asia)

Podcast highlights:

  • 00:45 Let’s talk about Vybes. What is it and what are you doing there? — Vybes is a platform for millions of influencers to sell goods and services they create directly to their followers. We are disrupting the influencer market in a big way, allowing influencers to bypass brands and sell directly to their followers.
  • 10:03 Are there people or products that work really well on this type of platform? — We launched in April, 2018 and we’re still learning. It’s possible though to identify two types of people for whom this works well: 1) people with very niche products, and 2) people who really have superfans that will just buy anything.
  • 30:42 As a marketer myself, I am interested in what you call the K-factor. Can you explain what this is? — The K-factor is how many additional users does a new user bring onto the platform? If each user brings on an additional user, the K-factor is 1. If you’re interested, you should look into this as there’s a lot of information out there. What we want to do is figure out how to use technology to incentivize people to use our platform without us having to pay for them.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 PIT2 – The Pitch with Graham D. Brown and Wei Qing Jen from Vybes.
  • 00:45 Let’s talk about Vybes. What is it and what are you doing there? — Vybes is a platform for millions of influencers to sell goods and services they create directly to their followers. We are disrupting the influencer market in a big way, allowing influencers to bypass brands and sell directly to their followers.
  • 02:45 How can you replicate the successes of the leading influencers for the less well-known? — We are talking about people with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram. In the future we plan to look at other platforms. So we are already talking about people with a significant following, but who lack the team of professionals enjoyed by the most influential people in this space.
  • 05:25 What’s the barrier these people confront now? Why are they unable to monetize their influence? — Great question. My personal view is people don’t really understand their personal brand and what makes them different. Vybes helps by providing in part education and examples for people to follow. We also use technology to help by providing data analytics and helping people increase their following.
  • 07:50 In the same way Facebook has democratized advertising, you are democratizing the model for influencers. Is this a good characterization? — Absolutely yes, we are really trying to help our users not be bound to selling other people’s product but instead market their own, unique things. We are liberating both influencers and users.
  • 10:03 Are there people or products that work really well on this type of platform? — We launched in April, 2018 and we’re still learning. It’s possible though to identify two types of people for whom this works well: 1) people with very niche products, and 2) people who really have superfans that will just buy anything.
  • 15:00 Let’s talk a little bit about your background. Can you tell us a little about this? — Grew up in Singapore, went to the US for college. Did undergraduate work at Stanford and then went to Harvard for Graduate School. Lived in New York City after that before moving to China for six years; started first company there.
  • 18:40 With Vybes are you focused just on Singapore? — Right now because we’re based in Singapore, we’re focused there for the first launch. Once we test and make sure we’re happy we plan to expand into other markets.
  • 20:00 You could have set up in the United States and maybe that would have been easier for you. Can you tell us why you chose Singapore? — Personally it felt like the right time for me to come back. One thing to consider though is that because we are in the digital space, it almost doesn’t matter where we’re located.
  • 23:13 Can you talk about your funding and where you are in that process right now? — Last year we raised our seed round for almost a million dollars and we are likely to be raising another, larger round later this year. If you’re interested, reach out at weiqing@getvybes.co.
  • 24:30 What is the purpose of this funding round for you? — We have two purposes: 1) to support our existing team, and 2) to prime the pump for growing the company.
  • 30:42 As a marketer myself, I am interested in what you call the K-factor. Can you explain what this is? — The K-factor is how many additional users does a new user bring onto the platform? If each user brings on an additional user, the K-factor is 1. If you’re interested, you should look into this as there’s a lot of information out there. What we want to do is figure out how to use technology to incentivize people to use our platform without us having to pay for them.

259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)

Podcast highlights:

  • 09:36 Where do you find energy for your passions? — Everyone needs something that can keep them awake at 2:00am. At the end of the day these communities are people in flesh and bone. Serving them is a wonderful thing.
  • 14:48 Why do so many women have a complicated relationship to money in business? — This is ironic because so many women have experiences as homemakers. Some of the best business skills you could hope for emerge from this work; but for some reason, when women become product-makers or entrepreneurs they become “too feminine” about money and almost shy to talk about numbers.
  • 31:28 What is the future for workers who in a very short time may lose their jobs and livelihoods as a result of automation and technological change? — Bots and robots are inevitable. The sorts of “cookie-cutter” jobs that were designed in the first place for machines and not humans will go back to the machines. These human workers are not yet ready to take on more specialized tasks. We need to change this.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ASH13 – Ashley Talks with Ashley Galina Dudarenok and Nabomita Mazumdar
  • 00:55 What is your story? — In her final year in college, Nabomita was introduced to an anonymous online community in India. She linked up with the founder and helped establish offline chapters in cities across India and around the world. After four years as a contributor, she joined the effort full-time. These rich interactions taught her product development and business acumen.
  • 06:23 What are you working on right now? — Nothing inspires me more than building a product. Right now I’m working with a human resources (HR) company called comply4HR, which is a human resources compliance company who’s entire content is written by people in authority in HR governance. This makes the site valuable because the content is highly validated and curated.
  • 09:36 Where do you find energy for your passions? — Everyone needs something that can keep them awake at 2:00am. At the end of the day these communities are people in flesh and bone. Serving them is a wonderful thing.
  • 11:08 How do men and women differ in business? — Notice that we haven’t been talking about numbers or features. We’ve been talking about people, about women. This is the difference. Women do not think in terms of numbers but in terms of people. Sometimes this harms women trying to launch products or brands where investors and VCs want returns and systematized growth plans. Women need to learn these skills in order to succeed.
  • 14:48 Why do so many women have a complicated relationship to money in business? — This is ironic because so many women have experiences has homemakers. Some of the best business skills you could hope for emerge from this work, but for some reason when women become product-makers or entrepreneurs they become “too feminine” about money and almost shy to talk about numbers.
  • 17:35 What can men learn from women? — Empathy! Women instinctively know what to do next. If men can learn to empathize more and women learn number-crunching skills we can all build a better world.
  • 18:50 How have you seen India change in the past 10 years? — India is right now in a “maker’s moment.” Almost everyone is building a product. Everybody is adding to the ecosystem. It’s a great moment in India right now.
  • 20:30 What are some cities in India that everyone around the world should know? Where are the major tech hubs in India now? — Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai are the major metropolises everyone knows. But also Pune, where they are trying to build the best healthcare platform. India’s tier-2 cities are picking up but the major metro areas still rule the roost.
  • 23:33 Is it difficult to be a young Indian woman in business in India? — In India it is not easy to be a woman in business. There are some men who support women. Maybe the number isn’t great yet, but things are improving.
  • 26:00 Do successful women simply make their mark and demand the world change to meet them? — Absolutely! Be so lost in following your dream that everybody follows you! Let nothing break you down! We need to showcase successful women. We need so many role models that we cannot help but see an inspiring woman no matter where we look.
  • 28:08 What has it been like speaking at TEDx? — Because of my experience I have learned to see where industries are going and this has allowed me to talk now about the future of work. In my thinking and research on this topic I found in India there are three levels of talent. 1) The Maker’s Movement. These are the people who can’t wait to build the next best thing. 2) Those people who are stable and want to continue in their jobs so they can keep increasing their assets. 3) Finally, there is a group who know they will likely be churned out after the next performance review. This third group are the people who are expanding the gig-economy. The entire experience of TED has been an education.
  • 31:28 What is the future for workers who in a very short time may lose their jobs and livelihoods as a result of automation and technological change? — Bots and robots are inevitable. The sorts of “cookie-cutter” jobs that were designed in the first place for machines and not humans will go back to the machines. But these human workers are not yet ready to take on more specialized tasks. We need to change this.
  • 35:06 What are some examples of products you think are built, as you say, “for humans”? — Think about it this way. India as a country is too large. We do not need every person to leave the village and find work and services in the cities. We need to make the same quality services available in the village. We need to allow people to live where they want without having to give up on products and services found now only in major cities. This is the kind of pathway we need to build.
  • 36:57 Do you think we will find a future where people can opt-out of the workforce entirely? Can you see a future where people don’t have to work if they don’t want to? — What a dream! One of my mentors once said we need a society where people do not have to leave their homes and villages to cater to the world. This is how we need to redesign the workforce of the future. Allow people to cater to the world from their homes.
  • 39:29 Thinking about the future, what technologies are you most excited about right now? — Honestly AI and blockchain. They are the paths to the future, but they are not the future. We will likely find even more specialized versions of them. It like peeling an onion, there are always more layers. Expect to see more disruption in data-privacy and security.
  • 41:59 Do you think the world understands India’s full potential? — If you’ve ever traveled in India, you will know India changes every 60 kilometers. There is huge potential in the market because almost every area has it’s own unique requirements.
  • 44:27 Do you see more young people with a desire to innovate? Or are young people less interested in contributing to industry? — What I see are young people making things all the time. It’s true they often don’t know how to make a product work in the long run, but they are super passionate. I want to see young people building responsible products so that they’re not just doing “me too’s” and copies of other products. Be disruptive but learn how scaling-up works and see how people in the past have moved from idea to established brand.
  • 49:09 A totally unrelated question: how have Indian people become so spiritual? How is it you can find incredible spiritual depth in India? — No matter your religion you have easy access to the scriptures. This level of access to spiritual content goes a long way in fusing people with a sense of spirituality. Buddha says, “your work is to find your work and fall in love with it.” When AI takes away our jobs, our work will be to find our work and fall in love with it.

257: Does America’s Auto Future Lie in China? (Cross Border Kyle KYL5)

Podcast highlights:

  • 09:35 How do Asian startups go on the “pitch” side of things? The Valley does very well on the story side. In Asia, there is an overemphasis on technology and not so much in the story but this has changed dramatically over the past year
  • 17:05 Coming from “Motor City” Detroit, Michigan, Kyle touches on the innovations in the automotive industry of China – Shanghai Auto City
  • 31:45 An auto industry that’s starting to grow and see the pathway for innovation and the need to work with startups and to work on a global scale like the case of Oakland County in Michigan taking 300 companies over to China

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 KYL5 – Cross Border Kyle with Kyle Ellicott
  • 00:15 Graham and Kyle last saw each other in Hong Kong where they got to go on a tour
  • 03:05 Kyle spoke at the Startup Launchpad Conference by Global Sources. What did Kyle take away from having seen those Southeast Asian and Asian startups?
  • 06:10 Was there a lot of hardware startups there? Yomee – The World’s First Automatic Yogurt Maker. Kyle says “Lessons are being learned, companies are educating themselves on what works and what doesn’t, and are starting to see what the market needs are versus just building to build”
  • 09:35 How do Asian startups go on the “pitch” side of things? The Valley does very well on the story side. In Asia, there is an overemphasis on technology and not so much in the story but this has changed dramatically over the past year
  • 14:15 Did Kyle see anything interesting on the AI and deep tech startups side of things?
  • 17:05 Coming from “Motor City” Detroit, Michigan, Kyle touches on the innovations in the automotive industry of China – Shanghai Auto City
  • 23:40 Michigan and Chinese Automotive industries working together – was there a scenario where it’s too regulated to test some kind of tech in the US that they go to China and test it right out of the factory gate?
  • 26:05 How did the guys in Michigan take it when people from China went there and talked about technology and China itself?
  • 28:45 According to John Waraniak, Detroit has been so crushed that all of the traditional infrastructure was gone – did this have an effect on the Michigan people being open in the conversation with people from China?
  • 31:45 An auto industry that’s starting to grow and see the pathway for innovation and the need to work with startups and to work on a global scale like the case of Oakland County in Michigan taking 300 companies over to China
  • 33:10 The governor of Michigan has made 8 trips to China which is the most of any previous governor – which other cities out there are doing this?
  • 35:05 “Sometimes, something gets so broken that the only option is to start again” like the Michigan auto industry but you see this in Asia as well like Hong Kong and Vietnam
  • 39:35 Be open-minded as a business owner, as an innovator, as an executive, or as a consumer today and in the future and incredible things will come in the future because of that
  • 40:40 Check out crossborderkyle.com for podcast episodes and other unique content

247: Blake Larson, Expanding LaLaMove Across Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 28:30 How did Blake arrive at the day-to-day approach – his interpretation of strategy – as the right way to do it? Also, spending his first eight weeks for Rocket Internet in Hong Kong standing outside petrol stations handing out flyers to taxi drivers
  • 35:00 As a well-educated, successful and MBA-holding person who went well outside his comfort zone, what are Blake’s formative experiences? Personal growth is so much more when the world becomes not about you and what you’re trying to do and his love of feeling “small”
  • 42:45 Coming from outside of Asia and working for a high-growth startup, is this kind of environment for everybody? What kind of people thrive in a place like Lalamove? The four values of the company – passion, grit, humility and execution

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Blake Larson to Asia Tech Podcast Stories
  • 00:40 What exactly is Lalamove? How do consumers use this mobile app?
  • 02:45 In Bangkok, it costs $40 to move a parcel, which is the same price to hire a delivery driver for a day
  • 05:10 Lalamoves addresses the challenge of redundant inventory
  • 06:45 How does the trust aspect come into that? The number one thing Lalamove customers value the company for is its reliability
  • 08:40 Can you train people – from the provinces, who may not have an education or who may not be fully literate – to be great at customer service? Lalamove created a system that incentivises the behaviour the company wants
  • 12:15 Respect, income, and freedom – the three values Lalamove brings to their drivers. To what extent does driver-to-driver word-of-mouth help the company? Also, is it common for drivers who use Lalamove to use other platforms? One could be better off if it wasn’t exclusive on both sides
  • 16:00 A quick look at Lalamove’s published numbers of where they are right now – US$160 M in funding, 126 cities in 7 countries
  • 18:15 The dynamic on the ground is very different in each individual city – What is it like to do business in Ho Chi Minh for example? What’s it like to be a foreign business coming into Vietnam and work with people who may not have a lot of experience working with foreigners? Empathy as an increasingly used approach to building a service business
  • 23:45 As Lalamove’s MD International, what does Blake do? Does he force himself to go out there? Also, the idea about the training program conceived by Lalamove to make their culture stronger – making sure that as they grow quickly, they actually keep their feet on the ground
  • 28:30 How did Blake arrive at the day-to-day approach – his interpretation of strategy – as the right way to do it? Also, spending his first eight weeks for Rocket Internet in Hong Kong standing outside petrol stations handing out flyers to taxi drivers
  • 31:05 What did Blake learn from doing his market research at the petrol station? People make the internet to be way sexier than it is and it as a good reminder of humility despite his MBA and corporate background
  • 35:00 As a well-educated, successful and MBA-holding person who went well outside his comfort zone, what are Blake’s formative experiences? Personal growth is so much more when the world becomes not about you and what you’re trying to do and his love of feeling “small”
  • 39:50 How does Blake constantly challenge himself considering his position in Lalamove, a high-profile company? The risk gets higher but it’s even higher if you don’t do anything
  • 42:45 Coming from outside of Asia and working for a high-growth startup, is this kind of environment for everybody? What kind of people thrive in a place like Lalamove? The four values of the company – passion, grit, humility and execution
  • 47:05 Blake’s advice for people who would interview about joining a startup – go talk to whoever the users or potential customers of a company are
  • 49:00 The story behind Blake making their new employees build their chairs, which symbolizes why Lalamove are the way they are as a company

238: Chirayu Wadke – Partner, SeedPlus – Leaving the Valley for Asia

Podcast highlights:

  • 18:45 Leaving Google in Silicon Valley and returning to Asia was not a difficult decision for Chirayu Wadke.
  • 32:30 If you’re in tech, consider moving your engineering teams to Asia. Proximity brings more empathy for the users and affects cost decisions.
  • 47:00 Discussing Smart Cities in Asia and their business potential.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Chirayu Wadke to Asia Tech Podcast Stories! He’s an Early Stage Technology Investor and Operator, and Partner at SeedPlus.
  • 02:00 What’s an un-VC? Chirayu Wadke talks traditional expectations for people in the investment game and how modern technology is changing all of that.
  • 06:10 Chirayu Wadke and Graham discuss a recent visit to a watch-maker Geneva and the challenges of launching a new product in the modern world.
  • 13:00 Apple is outselling every single Swiss watch brand out there. What should traditional Swiss Watch brands and startups learn from Apple?
  • 18:45 Leaving Google in Silicon Valley and returning to Asia was not a difficult decision for Chirayu Wadke.
  • 29:00 The reference customer has traditionally been a Western consumer, this dynamic is chancing
  • 32:30 If you’re in tech, consider moving your engineering teams to Asia. Proximity brings more empathy for the users and affects cost decisions.
  • 37:45 If you’re in Silicon Valley, there are many reasons why you should consider expanding to Asia.
  • 42:45 We are moving further away from one central authority towards peer-to-peer type of business models. This movement benefits the lie of the land in Asia.
  • 47:00 Discussing Smart Cities in Asia and their business potential.
  • 53:30 What kind of advice does Chirayu Wadke have for those interested in moving their business to Asia?
  • 55:40 Thanks for tuning in! Find out more about Chirayu Wadke and his work on www.seedplus.com or contact him directly at chirayu@seedplus.com.

232: Shanghai Round Table with Kapil Kane, Jasper Gill, Vincent Djen, Carmen Wang and Nishtha Mehta (Asia Matters)

Podcast highlights:

  • 09:40 What makes Shanghai special? We listen to insights from Kapil Kane, Jasper Gill, Vincent Djen, Carmen Wang and Nishtha Mehta. We learn about the “Shanghai hump”? They say that if you live in Shanghai for four years, you’ll stay forever
  • 19:55 Shanghai is a maturing startup ecosystem so new accelerator models are emerging. We take a look into the world of XNode. XNode is a late stage accelerator, focused on scaling up startups. XNode mainly works with corporate like Intel
  • 41:05 What advice would our entrepreneurs give to people from The West who want to be part of the Shanghai scene? Empathy and tolerance go a long way. Volunteer and work for value exchange, come committed and for the long haul. Learn and localise fast, drop the ego. Stay hungry and foolish

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ATP620 – Asia Matters with Graham Brown
  • 00:35 Introducing XNode Shanghai – a physical coworking space in the startup accelerator with Jasper Gill who moved to Shanghai from Vancouver 2 1/2 years ago
  • 02:20 Vincent Djen from Hong Kong, cofounder of FashionEx which helps fashion startups to learn to grow and scale their business in the massive fashion scene in Shanghai
  • 04:15 Carmen Wnag from Nanjing – studying in US, Spain, Italy, India. We learn it’s typical of her generation to go out to the world and absorb different cultures
  • 06:50 What is it about China that you see a lot of female entrepreneurs? 50% of coders at Le Wagon Shanghai are females – ahead of Marseille, Lisbon, Barcelona. Females now are free to do what they want to do and choose to work or start their own company
  • 09:40 What makes Shanghai special? We listen to insights from Kapil Kane, Jasper Gill, Vincent Djen, Carmen Wang and Nishtha Mehta. We learn about the “Shanghai hump”? They say that if you live in Shanghai for four years, you’ll stay forever
  • 12:30 We listen to the story of Vincent Djen and FashionEx. Does the world need a fashion tech accelerator? Vincent shares the stories of how fashion brands are using AI to help find customers. We also hear an interesting case study about 3D printing customised bras for women
  • 15:35 What brought Carmen back to Shanghai after traveling around the world? We hear Carmen’s story of working on augmented reality software for a US company
  • 17:00 Where did Jasper’s scaleup accelerator idea come from? A backstory on Jasper’s earlier work in Shanghai and a further insight into how things move at a pace here
  • 19:55 Shanghai is a maturing startup ecosystem so new accelerator models are emerging. We take a look into the world of XNode. XNode is a late stage accelerator, focused on scaling up startups. XNode mainly works with corporate like Intel
  • 23:01 Why did Vincent choose XNode as his startup’s partner and what keeps him in Shanghai after 12 years of living there? We learn about the opportunities in Shanghai and how in areas such as fashion, it’s emerging to be one of the major metropolitan cities of the world
  • 25:20 What do they wish to change in Shanghai? Jasper is bugged about people not moving to the right-hand side of the escalator while Carmen complains about the price of housing!
  • 28:25 Everything just happens fluidly in Shanghai where it’s so open and easy to talk to people – Jasper’s first week in Shanghai and Carmen’s idea with a mixed-reality dining experience
  • 33:30 Is Shanghai indicative of the rest of China? We learn about the talent and people in Shanghai and how that sets its vibe apart from the rest of China
  • 34:40 35% of its population of Vancouver is of Chinese origin. Did this make it easier for Jasper (who is from Vancouver) to integrate with Shanghai?
  • 37:45 How important is that “international element” in Shanghai?
  • 38:40 Introducing Nishtha Mehta, lean innovation coach. We also talk about making the move from India to China.
  • 41:05 What advice would our entrepreneurs give to people from The West who want to be part of the Shanghai scene? Empathy and tolerance go a long way. Volunteer and work for value exchange, come committed and for the long haul. Learn and localise fast, drop the ego. Stay hungry and foolish