327: Robin Tan – Cloudzen, The Netflix of games

Highlights:

  • 00:47 Cloudzen is a streaming platform for games. In three words, it is Netflix for games.
  • 15:53 Robin shares that most mobile games annoy people to pay. He argues that games should be entertaining and people should pay because they enjoy it, not forced.
  • 35:06 Robin is raising 6 million USD. He is interested in smart money from a strategic partnership, not dumb money.

313: Edith Yeung on investment and future of blockchain (Ashley Talks 21)

Podcast highlights:

  • 14:58 You are investing a lot in China while many of your colleagues in the San Francisco area do not. How does this usually work? — Each investor has a different style in terms how they want to attract companies. It tends to be easier if you’re vertically focused on a particular market, for example blockchain. If you are a founder, it’s necessary to find the people who are vertically focused on the products or markets you are interested in. You should know when you reach out who you want to be contacting regarding potential investments.
  • 24:24 Turning now to the topic of blockchain, what is your vision of the future of blockchain? — Multiple parts to this answer. Excited because it represents a change in how we think about the ownership of data. From a technology side, it’s changed how people think about a lot of relationships. Obviously distributed ledger technology is not new, but what is new is the idea of tokenization. It helps creators and investors get the capital and resources they need right from the start. China and the Chinese government have been very supportive of blockchain as a technology. What they haven’t been supportive of is all the cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs). China is just a huge market that basically any company focused on establishing themselves there will have enough to attract investment.
  • 44:25 Let’s talk about women for a bit. How did it feel to be a female developer working in this space? — First of all, we should encourage everyone, not just women to have a basic understanding of coding. This is going to be a building block for so many things in the future. Even if you don’t end up being the person writing the code, you will be able to have meaningful conversations with people who do. In China, have met so many great women CEOs and investors. The important thing is to know what you’re talking about. It’s not about being a woman, it’s about being good at what you do.

Podcast notes:

  • NOTE: This podcast contains explicit language
  • 00:05 Welcome Edith Yeung, Partner at 500 Startups, to Ashley Talks with host Ashley Galina Dudarenok.
  • 00:40 Tell us about your journey. How have you ended up in San Francisco Bay investing in so many global startups? — Born and raised in Hong Kong. Came to the US at age 16 as an exchange student. Stayed with an American family in the Midwest. Have been in the US for over 20 years and started career as a developer building risk-management systems. Started own entrepreneur group in San Francisco using Meetup, which turned into a sort of media conference business. Through this met a partner from mainland China who developed Dolphin Browser on Android. This experience led to wanting to do more with investments and startups, and so here we are.
  • 07:14 What are the biggest differences between managing an investment fund versus just investing by yourself? — As an angel investor, the thinking was why not invest some of your own money to help a company get off the ground. When managing a fund, however, the entire thought process is how do we maximize the return for our investors. As a fund manager, it’s necessary to have true conviction your decisions will make a return.
  • 14:58 You are investing a lot in China while many of your colleagues in the San Francisco area do not. How does this usually work? — Each investor has a different style in terms how they want to attract companies. It tends to be easier if you’re vertically focused on a particular market, for example blockchain. If you are a founder, it’s necessary to find the people who are vertically focused on the products or markets you are interested in. You should know when you reach out who you want to be contacting regarding potential investments.
  • 18:38 What are the companies you’ve invested in that you’ve liked the most or been most impressed with? Have you had any failures? — So many. Really, there have been so many. Very much enjoyed meeting Prerna Gupta who is founder and CEO at HOOKED, which is the number one reading app in the US for millennials. As an early-stage investor, it’s important to be open-minded about products and services people haven’t seen before. You can’t try to invest in the next Instagram, this just won’t work. As a fund manager, if you see a great investment and miss out, that is a failure. When you see something you believe in, you just have to go for it.
  • 24:24 Turning now to the topic of blockchain, what is your vision of the future of blockchain? — Multiple parts to this answer. Excited because it represents a change in how we think about the ownership of data. From a technology side, it’s changed how people think about a lot of relationships. Obviously distributed ledger technology is not new, but what is new is the idea of tokenization. It helps creators and investors get the capital and resources they need right from the start. China and the Chinese government have been very supportive of blockchain as a technology. What they haven’t been supportive of is all the cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs). China is just a huge market that basically any company focused on establishing themselves there will have enough to attract investment.
  • 34:19 Do you have a favorite startup coming out of China now? — Again there are so many. If you think about content production companies, right now the power is in finding a way to produce and personalize content online. One exciting company in this space is Castbox. They are very impressive. Another company is Agora. They are doing basically video chat as a service. This is more back end, but it is gaining in popularity.
  • 44:25 Let’s talk about women for a bit. How did it feel to be a female developer working in this space? — First of all, we should encourage everyone, not just women to have a basic understanding of coding. This is going to be a building block for so many things in the future. Even if you don’t end up being the person writing the code, you will be able to have meaningful conversations with people who do. In China, have met so many great women CEOs and investors. The important thing is to know what you’re talking about. It’s not about being a woman, it’s about being good at what you do.
  • 50:52 Moving forward will you continue focusing on China? Will you continue focusing on any specific technologies? — Focusing on early-stage blockchain-related projects. This will be the focus for the next three to six months. If you’re working in this space, get in touch. It’s doesn’t matter if you’re focused on China or not. The number one quality to seek in a founder is to never take “no” for an answer.

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.

254: String Nguyen (Ashley Talks ASH12)

Podcast highlights:

  • 01:00 Starting out on Meerkat, how did String Nguyen build content and community around her video content and eventually get 20,000 followers on Linkedin?
  • 13:10 Growing your Linkedin followers to 20,000+ . There’s a 30,000 limit on Linkedin followers, how do you get around it? How do you win a Linkedin “top voice” award? It’s all about community and growth.
  • 44:30 Why did String delete SnapChat? What’s the problem with SnapChat for content creators? How does the ROI of SnapChat compare with Linkedin?

Podcast notes:

  • 00:00 ASH12 – Ashley Talks with Ashley Galina Dudarenok and String Nguyen
  • 01:00 Starting out on Meerkat, how did String Nguyen build content and community around her video content and eventually get 20,000 followers on Linkedin?
  • 05:00 How do videos convert compared to other platforms? Before you get to conversion, you should build brand awareness? Is it okay to publish informal personal content on Linkedin or does it have to be slick and professional?
  • 08:45 In video content creation, it’s tortoise vs the hare. Personal branding is a marathon not a sprint. It’s a full time job that you have to commit to for the long term
  • 13:10 Growing your Linkedin followers to 20,000+ . There’s a 30,000 limit on Linkedin followers, how do you get around it? How do you win a Linkedin “top voice” award? It’s all about community and growth.
  • 14:10 An insight about String’s entrepreneurship and her journey. Where did it come from?
  • 19:00 How do you become good at communication and ask great questions in videos and podcasts?
  • 21:00 String’s thoughts on Blockchain and ICOs, including who she follows on Twitter
  • 30:00 How do education systems shape our thinking processes and entrepreneurship long term?
  • 31:40 What are String’s thought on Asia, innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • 39:00 Why did String double down on video? What does it mean for SEO? What about sponsored video content?
  • 44:30 Why did String delete SnapChat? What’s the problem with SnapChat for content creators? How does the ROI of SnapChat compare with Linkedin?
  • 52:00 Live Streaming and the future of Video. Ashley and String discuss Live Streaming in Asia, its impact on social media, micro influencers and new retail.

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!

241: Horace Dediu – King of Apple Analysts on Asia’s Tech Future

Podcast highlights:

  • 28:45 Horace frames the story of Asia in the context of innovation and growth, with comparisons to the American and European Industrial Revolution in the mid 19th century
  • 35:03 The Wild West atmosphere of the transportation industry in Asia, with micromobility vehicles, new energy vehicles and shared vehicles (bike sharing) in China
  • 48:44 The connotations of the brand ‘Made in China’ and how it might one day suggest high quality products

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Welcome Horace Dediu to Asia Tech Podcast Stories, hosted by Graham Brown
  • 01:16 Horace’s journey from being a data analyst at Nokia to creating Asymco, his own data analysis website
  • 06:15 How did Horace earn the moniker ‘King of the Apple Analyst’? Horace’s journey to success
  • 10:40 Did Horace experience the ‘imposter syndrome’ when he achieved sudden success and fame in the business world?
  • 13:39 Horace’s strategy to produce site content worth sharing – he explores both emotional and analytical angles when analysing data
  • 16:28 Horace shares how he was criticised for oversimplifying when he published an article explaining Apple’s cash situation on his website
  • 19:02 Graham shares experiences of his Mobile Youth business in 2000 and how big companies like Nokia reacted to the idea of focusing on the younger generation
  • 21:42 The paradox of focusing on where the money is- the profits are there but the innovation is absent
  • 23:51 How Youtube trumps Netflix as the big player in the online video industry as short videos are more appealing to children
  • 28:45 Horace frames the story of Asia in the context of innovation and growth, with comparisons to the American and European Industrial Revolution in the mid 19th century
  • 35:03 The Wild West atmosphere of the transportation industry in Asia, with micromobility vehicles, new energy vehicles and shared vehicles (bike sharing) in China
  • 37:31 The role of media in influencing the way the West reacts to China and its innovations
  • 42:11 Germany was lagging behind in the automotive industry before World War Two because it lacked a production system
  • 45:15 Does history repeat? The parallels between Germany’s autooative industry lapse in the past and Asia’s struggles in the present
  • 48:44 The connotations of the brand ‘Made in China’ and how it might one day suggest high quality products
  • 52:20 The 20th century was the US Century but now, the 21st Century today is the Asian Century
  • 53:25 Everything has a precedent, nothing comes out of nowhere and ‘amateurs copy, but real artists steal’
  • 54:28 Find out more about Horace by following him on Twitter, visit his website asymco.com, and listen to his podcasts The Critical Path on 5by5.tv/criticalpath

208: Philippe Joly – Breaking into the Chinese Movie Industry as a French Actor (Ashley Talks ASH4)

Podcast highlights:

  • 24:33 French actor in China, Philippe Joly, shares his experiences of working with famous actors Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Lau Ching Wan
  • 44:24 What does the phenomenal growth online streaming platforms in China mean for actors and entertainment brands? Are Chinese consumers still willing to pay for subscription fees, licensed DVDs and movie tickets?
  • 51:37 Advice for budding foreign actors wanting to break into the booming Chinese movie industry from a pro

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ASH4 – Ashley Talks with French actor Philippe Joly, hosted by Ashley Galina Dudarenok
  • 00:25 Philippe’s story – how did Philippe get his acting start in China?
  • 02:40 What skills enabled Philippe to break in to the Chinese movie business in a remarkably short time?
  • 05:05 Being a foreign actor in China is a unique selling point in the local movie industry
  • 07:24 Lang Seng (Philippe’s Chinese stage name) and how it was born
  • 10:18 Philippe’s big projects for 2017 – playing a bodyguard on the Hong Kong TV Show OCTB, the movie Sounds of Neon Night, and his favourite project The Ultimate Coal
  • 16:40 Why are most Asian actors not known outside of Asia? Will this change in future?
  • 18:04 Exporting Chinese movies – the difficulties involved and the trend of exporting action movies
  • 22:30 Competing with other foreign actors who work in Mainland China and creating a niche as a foreign actor
  • 24:33 Philippe’s experiences of working with famous actors including Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Lau Ching Wan
  • 29:33 The importance of the hustle – networking, your reputation and being nice to everybody
  • 31:45 What’s happened to the once-famous HK movie industry? How has HK’s movie industry lost its relevance compared to what it was in the past?
  • 35:56 What are the key recipes to selling a movie to Chinese audiences?
  • 37:52 Turning a negative into a positive. Can not being able to speak Chinese actually be an advantage for foreign actors in China?
  • 41:23 What’s happening with China sponsoring Hollywood movies? Philippe shares his insider view on China going global with movie and entertainment products
  • 44:24 What does the phenomenal growth online streaming platforms in China mean for actors and entertainment brands? Are Chinese consumers still willing to pay for subscription fees, licensed DVDs and movie tickets?
  • 51:37 Advice for budding actors who want to break into the Chinese movie industry from a pro
  • 56:00 What’s next for Philippe? Is it going to be Hollywood after China?
  • 59:50 Coming up next on Ashley Talks: Gil Petersil, managing director of Mead Speakers and Mead Partners

201: The World is Listening, Audio is our Medium, The Message is Asia Matters

Podcast highlights:

  • 03:30 The most powerful way of us telling the world about the story of Asia is by audio. We are storytellers and the medium for our story must be audio.
  • 07:50 Podcasting is real. You can’t fake it. In the same way we pay 2x for a real coffee over what we can get at McDonalds, podcasting is the antidote to our 8-second Buzzfeed attention challenged world.
  • 25:30 Audio carries emotion in a way that video cannot. Audio is the channel of meaning and it’s the channel we need to start the conversation of why Asia Matters

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ATP580 – Asia Matters with Graham Brown – 200 podcasts into Asia Tech Podcast and what have we learned?
  • 00:50 The 3 big events in the next 5 years that are challenging the geopolitical landscape. China becomes the world’s biggest economy. Asian startup funding is just 5% behind the US. Asia becomes the world’s biggest trading block.
  • 02:00 This isn’t about Asia vs Silicon Valley or China vs the US. We have to talk emphasize the AND.
  • 02:50 How do we tell the story of why Asia Matters in a noisy world (the average American grows up seeing 170,000 marketing messages by her 17th birthday)?
  • 03:30 The most powerful way of us telling the world about the story of Asia is by audio. We are storytellers and the medium for our story must be audio.
  • 04:20 Why should you have a podcast (like Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan or Gary Vaynerchuck)? It’s not about making money, it’s about the message
  • 05:00 If you’re a storyteller and you want to create change, the most powerful format for you is podcasting
  • 06:00 Why should you consider audio in a world dominated by video?
  • 07:50 Podcasting is real. You can’t fake it. In the same way we pay 2x for a real coffee over what we can get at McDonalds, podcasting is the antidote to our 8-second Buzzfeed attention challenged world.
  • 12:30 As a society, we don’t have substantial conversations anymore but business needs conversation.
  • 14:30 In a world becoming increasingly digital and noisy, how do we use the audio platform to share that Asia Matters story?
  • 15:50 Podcasts, real food and live rock concerts aren’t going away, they are becoming more important than ever
  • 17:20 The problem with video is that although we love it, the barrier to entry is so low. Everybody and anybody can produce a video
  • 18:20 In The Dip, Seth Godin tells us that the difficulty of mastering a skill makes the skill itself valuable. There are a billion videos but podcasts number only 1000s
  • 20:00 The psychology of language reveals how we relate to meaning. Audience comes from the word to hear.
  • 21:40 We all have a relationship with music. Music is so powerful in our lives, it touches us emotionally.
  • 23:00 So you’re a storyteller – who are you going to be in portraying your message? A politician or a rock star?
  • 25:30 Audio carries emotion in a way that video cannot. Audio is the channel of meaning and it’s the channel we need to start the conversation of why Asia Matters
  • 27:00 Think about how we teach language – we learn by listening before we can even read
  • 29:00 It’s no coincidence that in this day and age, with all our advanced technology, we still talk about listening to the customer
  • 30:00 Find your voice – reference to Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • 31:00 Your voice is your message, not how you look
  • 34:00 The West and East can’t live without each other. These worlds are coming together. The most effective way of getting the message of the Asian Century across is via audio
  • 35:00 Johan Nylander – Shenzhen Superstars and the stories of people in the middle of that change
  • 35:40 The story of mobileYouth – voice of the mobile generation. If you want data to become meaningful, you have to turn data into a story
  • 36:15 The Digital Lives Asia podcast with Simon Kemp. Turning stats into stories.
  • 37:00 Since the beginning of time we have used stories to get meaning across to large numbers of people
  • 37:30 If you have a story to tell about Asia, you MUST podcast
  • 38:50 Steve Jobs was a master storyteller. We listened. We were the audience. The 2 biggest innovations he brought to the table in the 21st century were the iPod and the iPhone – tools of the audio world.

178: Unlocking the World’s Largest E-Market – China (Ashley Talks ASH1)

Podcast highlights:

  • 00:50 A first look at Ashley Galina Dudarenok’s new book about China: Unlocking the World’s Largest E-Market
  • 16:30 Different Chinese mobile payments systems and how embedded they are in day-to-day life. Will China become the world’s first cashless society?
  • 42:50 What are some of the common misconceptions about China and Chinese consumers?

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 Ashley Talks with Ashley Galina Dudarenok today hosted by Graham D Brown
  • 00:50 A first look at Ashley Galina Dudarenok’s new book about China: Unlocking the World’s Largest E-Market
  • 02:40 A little background history on Ashley’s story
  • 06:30 Ashley on speaking Mandarin and moving from China to Hong Kong
  • 08:05 How big is the Chinese e-commerce market?
  • 11:45 A 101 on WeChat – introduction to China’s operating system for life
  • 16:30 Different Chinese mobile payments systems and how embedded they are in day-to-day life. Will China become the world’s first cashless society?
  • 25:00 What’s going on with the crazy world of video and live streaming in China? Why are people paying monthly subscriptions to tune in and watch people eat?
  • 34:20 Why is it important to back the right video platform in China?
  • 36:35 How does Ashley use social media platforms to build her personal brand in China?
  • 39:35 Is it easier as a foreigner to succeed in China?
  • 42:50 What are some of the common misconceptions about China and Chinese consumers?
  • 48:40 How are Chinese consumers now educating brands about how to behave in the digital space?
  • 55:20 How can Chinese brands get roasted when social media goes wrong?
  • 57:20 New retail experiences in China

138: ATP Stories: Paul Meyers – Head of muru-D in Singapore

Podcast highlights:

  • Introduction to muru-D Singapore
  • What is the role of accelerators like muru-D in Southeast Asia? What value can corporates like Singtel/Telstra add to the accelerator space that’s not already being covered by traditional setups?
  • What makes Singapore an excellent jumping off point for startups who want to go global?

Podcast notes:

Paul Meyers is currently the Head of the Southeast Asian business for muru-D, which is impressive in and of itself. But there is so much more to his story. After moving out to San Francisco post college and building his eponymous media and production company, Paul travelled to Asia in 1995 and has remained ever since. His experience in building and running media properties included animation, live streaming television, music and listing a company on Nasdaq. Paul has worked with or built some of the most well known brands and media properties in the the world. His involvement as a business founder, builder, mentor and advisor is substantial and makes him insanely qualified to lead one of the most forward thinking accelerators in Southeast Asia.