You are not Late

I came across this Medium post and it has been shared, re-shared, numerous times but it is so good I feel the need to bookmark on this blog as well.

It’s written by Wired‘s founder and Editor at Large, Kevin Kelly.
Reading the whole piece is recommended, but here is the meat:

So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet. There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!”

 

The last 30 years has created a marvelous starting point, a solid platform to build truly great things. However the coolest stuff has not been invented yet — although this new greatness will not be more of the same-same that exists today. It will not be merely “better,” it will different, beyond, and other. But you knew that.

 

What you may not have realized is that today truly is a wide open frontier. It is the best time EVER in human history to begin.

 

You are not late.

 

Especially in 2014, where we live in the age of the Internet, it doesn’t matter where you live or who you or know or what you’ve done in the past. If you build it, and it is good, people will come. Just look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Uber, Box, etc., etc.

Read the whole thing here.

Southeast Asia

Quickly: I joined Dave and Geeks on a Plane in Manila last minute. Justin Hall of GG Ventures best sums up my take away of Manila:

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 8.21.24 PM

 

…which further enforces what I’ve been thinking about since coming back from Singapore and Bangkok. “Is a country’s GDP an accurate indicator of potential when it comes to startups from emerging nations?”

Manila particularly stands out to me, as the community is healthy and enthusiastic. Founders work together, there is a pay it forward type culture I haven’t seen elsewhere. This type of camaraderie is reminiscent of Silicon Valley around 2006-07ish, before the startup ecosystem blew-up.

Potential capital is of course, first and foremost the thing investors look at. But as someone who believes in the power of mentorship and how entrepreneurs nurturing other entrepreneurs is one of the main reasons why Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley, GDP shouldn’t be the only thing people focus on when it comes to building products. This is why to me, the Philippines is the country I am the most excited about in Southeast Asia.

Either which way, now is the best time to be in Southeast Asia, as the ecosystem is still in its infancy.

Added: just came across the blog of Oliver Segovia, founder of an eCommerce company AVA.
Aside from building a great platform, turns out he is an author of several books and blogs as well. He has an essay on the Philippines’ ecosystem and his vision of the innovation economy there. If you are the slightest bit interested in SEA, this insightful piece lays out the Philippines: “A Vision for the Philippines’ Innovation Economy, & a 4-Point Plan to Achieve It (and why it does NOT include Venture Capital)

Example Mindset of a Sexist Society

It’s bad manners to put someone on blast but this is just too much.
Over on Facebook, there is a discussion going on about Japanese politics, our Prime Minister Abe and this feminist movement he is attempting to push. One of the commenters was so far out there, I just had to document.

Take a look:

Screenshot_7_23_14_10_13_AMScreenshot_7_23_14_10_10_AM

 

This part is the most peculiar:

Why women would desire to enter the rat race of capitalism is beyond me, but many men are also duped by the compulsion to maximize filthy lucre as their narrowly conceived contribution to society.

So, as far as I’m concerned, Japanese society is not hurting for its unwillingness to put women in the front lines.

Wow. Just… wow.

This is the type of mindset sexism breeds. Until moving to Japan, I had no idea. I am so fortunate to have been raised in the US, where this type of thinking and ignorance are rare.

This is also the reason it is so important to keep fighting for equality and diversity, no matter gender or race.

Absolutely incredible. And frankly, a bit sad. No wonder this guy chooses to live in Japan. God.
Note to self. Companies to avoid:

 

Screenshot_7_23_14_10_11_AM

 

 

This was my Tweet in response to the article by the way:

Screenshot_7_23_14_10_14_AM

 

…and for a more personal experience, you can read on here.

 

 

Indonesia 101

Indonesia 101

A huge part of me is kicking myself for not participating in the Jakarta leg of GOAP SEA 2014 — what a fascinating market.

Quick rundown:
– Indonesia is the number one GDP country in Southeast Asia
GDP (PPP): $878 billion USD
Thailand is second in SEA with GDP of $643 billion USD

– Indonesia is the fourth country with highest GDP in Asia
China is first in APAC with $8.2 trillion USD
Japan is second with $6 trillion USD
South Korea is third with $1.2 trillion USD
Indonesia $878 billion USD

- Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world
population: 252 million people
the US has a population of 318 million people

- Indonesians spend a lot of time on the Internet, mainly on desktop / laptops. Mobile is still at its infancy.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 4.04.19 PM

- eCommerce transactions are completed by bank transfers. No cash is exchanged. The interbank transfers are free because of the Bank Indonesia Act (BI Act) *if you’re interested, there is a legal document here explaining detailed legalities.

- GS predicts eCommerce will grow the most in SEA in the upcoming years

Screenshot_7_22_14_3_35_PM

- Under a revised law, Indonesia just increased foreign VC money allowed from 80% to 85% source

I was at first a little puzzled by Justin’s assessment that Singapore and Indonesia is where a majority of the VC funds in SEA would be focused, but I think I get it now. There are parts of me that wonders if Indonesia’s market could still be premature, with such low Internet / mobile penetration rates. And Singapore is too small but I still have so much to learn. Wishing I discovered this region sooner and I can’t wait to see Indonesia for myself.

*above sources not linked in post: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Thank you, Singapore and Bangkok

Still parsing thoughts from my 12 days in Singapore and Bangkok. I loved everything about Singapore — from the diversity, food, city, harmony, it truly is, a melting pot. Bangkok absolutely blew my mind. I couldn’t help but be that girl, walking around with her mouth wide open. I spent an extended time in the Philippines (Manila and the countryside of Southern Philippines) a while back, so I should have been used to an emerging nation… in theory. But I don’t know what it is about Bangkok that at first, made me a bit uneasy.

Then, I got used to it, and fell head over heels in love. There is so much energy, stimulation and there are movements happening in various communities, industries, that I was very fortunate to see first hand. It’s a bit of a bummer that it seems as though no one is telling the stories, so I definitely plan to do so. I hope I can do it justice.

My initial takeaways:

- Singapore is very developed and civilized
– Bangkok is an emerging nation, yet not as messy as say India, China, or the other BRICS
– there are massive opportunities in both nations
– and there are still many, many, more regions I need to see

The majority of my time was spent as a holiday, connecting and re-connecting with the friends living in SG and BKK (most in the food industry). I will chronicle my learnings on hi.co.

I also had the great fortune to meet and travel with so many great people. I cannot thank Dave McClure and the entire 500 team for allowing me to tag along for portions of it.

Until I get everything out here or on hi, I will leave you all with this tweet which basically sums up how I feel about SEA.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 12.18.10 AM

SEAsia Messaging App Share

BqieJL4CQAAmH-o

 

LOTS of opportunities in SEAsia.
To recap on LINE:

  • 60% of LINE’s revenue came from the mobile games
  • LINE was the world’s top app publisher by monthly revenue
  • LINE Posts $143 Million In Revenue, Up 123% Year-Over-Year
  • $1.5mm USD revenue for user generated sticker marketplace

Granted, we may not see the same sorts of revenues from SEAsian countries, as most are developing nations and notorious for not spending (ex Path is Indonesia’s largest market, yet they never boast revenues or lack thereof).

The next few years will be fun to watch as chat apps mature and become more dominant.
(Sources 1,2,3, image via here)

 

43.3% of Japanese use LINE Professionally, 29.6% use Facebook

20140407_9

 

Wow — I knew messaging apps are huge in Japan but it still astounds me to see numbers.
43.3% of those in the sample pool use LINE professionally.
29.6% use Facebook as a professional communication tool.

Skype is 12%
KakaoTalk 6.1%
Followed by LinkedIn, Viber, communicator.

I guess as Hiroko Tabuchi of the NYT reported: “It’s just easier when a bear says it.”
*above stats provided by MMD — a Mobile Marketing Data Labo, a research company in Japan.