A while back, my friend Jeremiah Owyang wrote his perception of the state of social to which I contributed. Decided I’ll add onto my blog as well.
Twitter: dumpster fire but central to US current events, news Facebook: where The Olds who ‘don’t get’ other social networks congregate to get attention, Asia’s LinkedIn, and others have an account for the sole purpose of Messenger (messenger.com via web) Messenger: communication utility (Skype / Hangouts replacement; the Westerner’s WeChat and Weibo — encrypted messaging and P2P payments? Yes please!) LinkedIn: depot of shameless self promoters and what NOT to do cues for teens and millennials professionally networking. I.E., Stay away from descriptors such as, but not limited, to: ‘futurist’, ‘keynote speaker’, ‘innovator’, ‘change agent’, etc., etc., Snapchat: dancing Hot Dog and awesome filters to cross post onto IG IG: branding tool for the non-olds (teens). Lifestyle diary for Millennials (food, beauty, fashion, etc.) Google+: Huh? What’s that??? Telegram: status symbol to show you’re ‘in the know’ about cryptocurrencies. Slack: quickly becoming the new email WhatsApp: where European Android users are LINE: only relevant to Thais and old Japanese people Ding Talk: where Chinese who don’t trust Weibo or WeChat conduct business
Social networks aside, my phone is the place I do the most internetting and boy has my homescreen changed a lot. Take a look:
The three apps on the bottom are apps most used: Twitter, brower, mail.
1. Apple’s mail app has been replaced by Outlook (yes, Microsoft Outlook) because Gmail loads the quickest plus the experience is much better. I can’t believe I’m saying this either but hey — it is what it is.
2. Safari has been replaced by Brave — which I wrote extensively about here.
Despite having 256gigs on my phone, I only have one page of apps. Mainly because I realized long ago I only use a handful on the daily. I also turn off the little red circles because they induce anxiety and helped me wean off my addiction. (Read about that journey here.)
Funny how things change!
Related: Snap Chat should be worried — check out this neat graph I found. 300M daily active users for Instagram stories! Amazing.
Most have now heard of Bitcoin because there is so much coverage of people getting ‘rich’ from Bitcoin. But the more I research, the more I realize: Not that many people know exactly what it is, how it applies to them, and why ‘Bitcoin’ is so valuable.
I put Bitcoin in quotes because Bitcoin only represents a sliver of the possibilities behind the fundamental reason Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency, digital assets, alt coins, and blockchain are so important. That said, disclaimer: If you’re here to learn how to instantly make money from ICOs, this post isn’t for you.
Let me back up a bit.
The rapid growth of the middle-class is the reason I choose to live in SEA but it also should be worrisome to the world for one reason: by 2030, it is projected that 2/3 of the world’s middle class population will be living in Asia.
I use the term Asia broadly, but these countries include, but not limited to: Asia-Pacific (Southeast Asia ie: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei), and of course, China, and India. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)
What this implies is if 2/3 of the middle class population is based in Asia, the economic power will start shifting, new problems and solutions for these problems come alive. Or, as we commonly hear: disruption and innovation.
My interest in Bitcoin (or crypotcurrency and blockchain technology) simply started as a curious, technologically savvy person residing in this region, as crypoto is only one of the ‘disruptive’ or ‘innovative’ technologies deriving from quick change. Within the short 4.5 years I’ve moved from the States to ‘Asia’, I’ve seen with my own eyes, massive advances.
What does this mean?
I’ve been obsessed with messaging apps, anything mobile, and SEA — specifically how technology is changing economies in high-growth nations, driving innovation from need, reducing socio-economic inequalities, and the failures of first world nations to keep up. (This sounds like a bunch of jargon but whatever. Deal with it.)
Messaging apps that started as communication utilities are now full-blown ecosystems where billions of micro-transactions from communication (messaging), payments (cashless), to things that make daily life easier (food delivery, share economy, etc.) take place on a daily basis. And this is just the beginning.
In a region where things change on close to a daily basis, conversations about currency are naturally floating about because
according to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database, over 2.5B adults in developing economies do not own bank accounts
and only 20% of those living in extreme poverty own bank accounts
And by 2020, there will be 1 billion new smartphone subscribers only in SEA. (source)
With the mobile penetration changes, our daily lives are impacted, as daily necessities are physically met through mobile technology. If you live in a first world, it may be hard to imagine a world where getting from point A to point B can take an entire day, since city infrastructures in developing nations aren’t designed to handle traffic and congestion. Imagine taking a day off to run simple errands, such as shopping, banking, and paying bills. Now, imagine not having a bank account because you can’t afford to pay banking fees or you don’t have a valid I.D., or worse: the nearest bank to your home requires a day trip.
In regions with pain points such as the above, the notion of currency that doesn’t require the middleman (banks) is the reason investors, bankers, and smart people in fin-tech find Bitcoin so alluring.
Put it this way: If we can make free calls between San Francisco and Beijing, why do we have to pay to transfer money from San Francisco to Beijing? If it takes all day to take out cash from my bank account, why won’t I leave it in a safe under my bed unless there’s a better option? In a world where middlemen can potentially take six paychecks worth of fees, why wouldn’t I find a way to cut out the middleman and directly transact?
These are only a few problems ‘Bitcoin’ or more accurately, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can solve.
Do note, these are examples in high-growth nations to simply illustrate the promise of cryptocurrency, but there are a ton of first-world scenarios where the blockchain can innovate and disrupt that I’m looking to share in the upcoming months.
In the meantime, hope this post clarified what the fuss about Bitcoin is about.
Stay tuned for Part II: An Explanation of Blockchain for Non-Tech People
Edit: published! You can read it here.
Until someone as uninformed, angry, self-absorbed, and delusionally unaware of their own short-comings as Trump took seat as the leader of the free world, I am ashamed to admit I had no idea the power and impact of an American president.
He bullies and insults members of Congress, high-ranking and respectable government and military officials, scholars, businessmen, and world leaders. He rallies support by corralling the forgotten Americans with his “Make America Great Again” rhetoric, singling out ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic demographic groups resulting in the creation of angry hate mobs.
By preying on the weak, Trump has enabled the worst of the worst of the American people giving them platforms and a voice. He’s putting money in capitalist scumbags’ pockets who are profiting from the hate. The impact from their selfish purposes has caused more damage than anyone could’ve probably imagined. I don’t even know how long it will take the country to heal from the Nazis coming out of the woodworks into the public, hate rallies and speeches that are being held, to the American citizens openly making racist remarks and bigotry that is exercised, all justified under “MAGA”. He has put forth unfathomable policies, putting unqualified family members and extremist conservatives into positions of power and, well, I am probably preaching to the choir.
Meanwhile, over in other parts of the world, China and Russia are making power moves in regions the economy is rapidly growing. The rate the Middle Class is growing in, for example, ASEAN, is moving along as been predicted by the big financial institutions: MS, GS, JP Morgan, et al., and starting 2020, economic powers will begin shifting.
And here is Trump, touting MAGA, and the damage he is causing for America is not good, to say the least. I truly hope there are people in Trump’s inner circle advising in terms of long-term economic and geo-political implications since things are moving quickly on the ground in the high-growth Nations.
Another concerning thing is the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency. And no I am not talking about ICO (initial coin offering, which is the same as an IPO). I’m talking more about the core value of crypto and the reason why VCs and entrepreneurs are into an alternate form of currency aside from the current thing we call ‘money’. Crypto is a post on its own but once cryptocurrency is adopted to the masses, it is highly likely the dollar will start losing value.
So, essentially, the dollar will start losing power alongside American economic power (purchasing, market, bargaining, trade, class, etc.) and there is a chance America will no longer be a ‘super power’.
These things aren’t going to happen tomorrow or next year and I hope we don’t see effects within Trump’s presidency (a decline that rapid is a sure indicator of a disastrous outcome).
An economist scholar once said to me: “Don’t worry Mona, the economy always works itself out.” but I can not help but be concerned for our future.
I cannot vote (am not a U.S. citizen) but I hope those with voting rights in America, do. Because as much as we all complain about America, I do not know another country on the planet where democracy actually works and makes impact, quickly (just look at the mid-term elections). Another country where there are so many bright, enlightened, and experienced people are changing the way the world behaves and thinks. America is, one of the greatest countries in the world to live and I cannot see a world where American influence (usually for the good) is no longer a reality.
But most concerning, if you look closely at Trump’s business accomplishments, he’s capitalized through his name (licensing, trademarks, etc.) not wise business decisions. He is a brand marketer. Not a businessman. I do not trust him to grow America’s economy and I hope you don’t, either. So please. Vote!
It’s not about abortion. It’s about the next 20 years. Twenties and thirties, it was the role of government. Fifties and sixties, it was civil rights. The next two decades, it’s gonna be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cellphones. I’m talking about health records, and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on a will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?
— Sam Seaborn in The West Wing, Season 1, Episode 9. Air date: 11/24/1999
I’m re-watching “The West Wing” again, letting it run in the background in lieu of music. No matter how many times I watch the series — at least three times a year for about six years in a row now — I am blow away by the super sharp, clever dialogue.
The quote up top is only one of the many reasons why “The West Wing” is still my favorite series on television – hands down. Think about it. In 1999, the public was still heavily reliant on pagers. The internet was only used by ‘nerds’ and ‘weirdos’. Dial-up was the norm. Aol was slowly being discovered by teens. Sorkin was way ahead of his time for someone writing for television.
If you haven’t seen the series, it is highly recommended. I may also be biased, as that particular quote by Sam, reminds me how fortunate I am to have lived through one of the most spectacular eras: the shift from analog (vinyls, cassette tapes) to digital. Rise of hardware, software, cloud and back to hardware (wearables). The mobile revolution (pagers to flip phones to smartphones) — I mean, I can go on and on. Every time I think of all that I have seen and experienced, I cannot help but to be grateful.
“She sucks.” he said. “Just because she has different email habits than you and me, it doesn’t means ‘she sucks’.” I immediately wrote back.
The other day I hooked a friend up with a friend of a friend for a ‘friend’s and family’ AirBnB discount. My friend looking for the AirBnB isn’t online 24/7 but for hyper connected people, one day of unresponsiveness seems like a week. My friend hooking my other friend up with the AirBnB sent a borderline hostile email threatening to cancel the verbal reservation if she doesn’t respond within x number of hours. The whole thing was a bit stressful for all parties involved and unnecessarily dramatic.
But then I thought about it and realized I am guilty of acting like him too. That when I send an email, I expect a response within a day. Which got me wondering: “Do digital people expect too much from others who have different behaviors than us? Do I cause unnecessary drama, stress and negativity because of those expectations?”
I don’t know if there is one answer but the biggest takeaway I got from this interaction is the world isn’t going to end because someone doesn’t immediately respond. Be more empathetic. Lay off expectations. Ease up a bit. Not just for myself but to be better towards others and, to the world.
I got sucked into signing up for a lame site / app. It’s apparently the ‘new Tinder’ but a more selective version, as people of the opposite sex need to vote you in to become a member.
So I log-in, create an account and am immediately judged by the opposite sex.
The first thing I notice? How dare an app that’s not even optimized for the iPhone 6/6+ judge me. The app’s text is so massive it looks like an old person phone where the font is blown-up so large, one text message hogs the entire screen.
The more I think about it, the stupider this app seems so I delete it from my phone. Not even 10 seconds later I get an email notification: “Someone is checking out your profile.”
Um what? Deleting the app doesn’t delete my profile? Great.
So I log onto their website and…
Holy 1999. This service just took some button .gif off stock images or something, didn’t even bother cropping it. Even kids on MySpace had better graphics than that up there on their clunky HTML pages. Jesus. And don’t even get me started on the font.
Maybe it’s just me but for a service to brand themselves as ‘exclusive’, their attention to detail – or lack thereof – is quite shameful. I’m embarrassed for them and hope this service burns to the ground.
I came across a post from a blog that taught me something so great, I wanted to share with everyone. However the writing was so painful to read (like fingernails on a chalkboard cringe worthy painful), I didn’t feel compelled to pipe it out on my networks, and did the next best thing: blog about it myself.
The 4-7-8 trick is actually not a trick. It’s a breathing technique used during meditation, yoga, wellness practitioners swear by it, etc. and now that I think about it, I’ve done it many times before during yoga. It never occurred to retain what I learned after leaving the session until now.
If you feel anxious, stressed, or have trouble sleeping, try this. I swear. It works.
breathe in through nose for 4 seconds
hold breath for 7 seconds
exhale from mouth for 8 seconds
Stress, anxiety → adrenaline pumps through veins → causing heart to beat rapidly = under-breathing.
4 second inhale forces more oxygen intake
7 second breath hold allows oxygen to affect bloodstream
8 second exhale emits carbon dioxide from lungs
above slows heart rate and increases oxygen in bloodstream to relax your heart, mind, and overall central nervous system; almost like a natural sedative.
The human body never ceases to amaze.
To learn more, I think this man pioneered the technique.
*Sidenote: not sure how I feel about the first post of 2015 being about some metaphysical mumbo jumbo but whatever, maybe this is a sign I need to think of myself and my well being more? Who knows, not really reading deep into it.
People who live outside of Japan find it hard to believe when I tell them: YES, Japanese people still use flip-phones. And YES, they reside in Tokyo.
Flip-phone sightings happen daily but since I get asked the same questions a lot, I finally took photographic evidence.
This particular young gentleman was in his late to early 30’s, working on his Macbook Pro. He caught my eye because his Pro was up and running with connection, owned an iPhone (see photographic proof *points below)…
…yet he chose to e-mail from his dinosaur flip-phone.
I wish I was slick enough to take photos of him navigating the iPhone… he was like a 65 year old man using an iPad for the first time. He held his iPhone upwards, tightly gripped with his left hand. And he was typing with one finger — his right pointer finger to be precise — but the gestures OMG. He was basically stabbing the iPhone screen, tapping the screen so hard he had to grip with his left harder and harder. So exhausting to watch… and his poor, poor phone. I almost wanted to place him under Citizen’s Arrest for device abuse.
Anyway — this is only one of the many reasons I choose to be in Asia. Mobile habits and usage are similar to those of the US in 2007-08ish when consumer Internet just started getting disrupted.
TC just reported that LINE’s revenues have doubled YoY to $192m USD in Q3 2014. And just like that, LINE is back in the news again.
Since I seem to repeat the same answers to the same questions about LINE over and over, here is what I wrote in 2013 for TNW. The piece is about messaging apps but I go over all the basics of LINE. From history to adoption, features, business model, etc., this should cover any and all questions so it’s really, really, really long.
Enjoy — and feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
Line’s rise in Japan
Take the Line story, for example. Line, wasn’t an overnight success and there is good reason for that. Line’s biggest marketshare is in Japan. Japan’s smartphone market really began growing in 2011 — some four years after the US — and analysts have found a near-150 percent rise in smartphone adoption between 2011 and 2013.
Of the 127 million people in Japan, smartphone ownership finally passed 50 million users in August, but things are developing rapidly. Japan overtook the US as the biggest spenders on apps only this week, and the market is potentially hugely lucrative for makers of popular apps.
This market shift also affected Japan’s text-based communication.
Text-based communication in Japan is very different from the US and other parts of the world. Japanese telecoms have advanced emailing systems, where carrier-issued email addresses are attached to every mobile number. The email system functionally operates like SMS: simple, free and unlimited. SMS in Japan is charged per text, so before mass market smartphone adoption, text communication was done by keitai meru (cell phone mail).
With the rise of smartphones, apps quickly became popular. As users got used to beautiful, gesture-based UIs, text-based cell phone email no longer fulfilled their needs. That’s when Line started gaining serious traction. People go where their friends are and Line happened to be in the right place, at the right time.
Line changed Japanese mobile communication.
And it’s easy to see why people quickly adopted Line. An Internet connection gives users free unlimited voice calls, unlimited free messaging, unlimited instant photo sharing, group chats and video communication. The interface is cute and Line is very easy to use, but, most importantly, it offered a solution to the ‘pay for all and everything’ Japanese telecom model — and Line disrupted the Japanese mobile industry.
Anthony Bourdain has a foul mouth, likely a drunk, and stirs controversy. But you cannot deny, the man has legit entrepreneurial game. He’s written best selling books. Hosted some pretty damn good shows, and now a household name.
Maybe I can relate to him more as I’ve worked in the food industry. My very first job was as a waitress in a sushi joint — typical — then moved on to bartending. Working in food is where I picked up a lot of hustling skills that consistently help me in my non-food industry life. In food, it’s about knowing your capabilities and ceasing opportunities. When your salary is minimum wage and you depend on tips, there is no such thing as ‘luck’ — you create your own luck. Not because you want to, but because you have to make the most out of situations in order to make ends meet.
Any business owner, founder, aspiring entrepreneur, and even individuals looking to climb the corporate ladder can learn a thing or two from successful people who have ‘made it’, in an industry as cut throat as food. And Bourdain lays it out best in this Men’s Journal interview.
On actions vs words
“I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday, and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know.”
Takeaway: When it comes down to it there are those who walk the walk and those who talk the talk. Key is recognizing the difference quickly and cutting out the bullshitters. It saves lots of time, effort, money, and feelings. Yes feelings. Let’s be real. It sucks being let down or disappointed.
“In a world full of bullshit, when you need something as badly as drugs, your bullshit detector gets pretty acute. Can I trust this guy with money? Is this guy’s package going to be all he says it was?”
Takeaway: Imagine every conversation like a beautiful presentation. If you think about it, 99% of presentations that stick with us have filler slides — you know, the slides that seem to have no purpose except to impress the audience with inspirational quotes in pretty font faces, compelling charts with repetitive factiods or some unrelated slide with cute baby animals or a funny meme photo, etc., etc., — you get the picture right? When stripping away filler slides and concentrate on the objective of the deck, the essence is 1% — if that. On decks, it’s okay. Presentations are supposed to awe the crowd and leave impressions.
I look at conversations with people we meet for the first time like Powerpoint (or Keynote) presentations. People paint the best pictures of themselves. It starts from presentation — attire, mannerisms — to online personas to what they talk about. Ignore 99% of the superficial stuff and listen to what they say.
Bourdain nails it with two questions to ask yourself when meeting new people: is the other person all he says he is? And can I trust this guy with money?
Words that come out of people’s mouths and first impressions can charm and impress. But life is way too short to deal with bullshitters who simply want to look good to other people for whatever reasons they may have. Do you really think people who spend all their energy looking good to others can add value to your life? Sure they may be fun but they most certainly don’t help you make money, and frankly, distract you from reaching your goals. And I’m not going to lie, I’ve wasted a great deal of time being burned by people who seemed this way and that way, promised all kinds of stuff but were just full of shit.
Find your own questions that help identify if someone is really worth your time and can help reach your bottomline.
The WSJ had a nice piece breaking down the mega internet companies of the world — of course US leads the pack but Asian companies aren’t doing so shabby either. China is of course leading the ‘Asia’ pack due to sheer population volume. Seriously, file that under no shit Sherlock.
But there were some fun factoids:
45% of the world’s nearly 3 billion internet users are in Asia
WeChat (owned by Tencent) has about 440m users
Tencent’s profit margin in the second quarter was 32%, compared with 27% at Facebook and 21% at Google.
Tencent’s stock-market value is $148 billion, compared with Facebook’s $194 billion.
LINE (Japanese messaging app) had revenue of $323 million, 16 times the estimated revenue of WhatsApp.
…separately, it’s really funny how ‘tech journalists’ don’t seem to understand the products they are writing about. This particular author, said WeChat is WhatsApp’s rival. No. No. No. I can not say this enough times: they are two very different products. WhatsApp is a communication utility – a tool. WeChat is a full fledged platform, an ecosystem.
The author also calls LINE stickers ‘cutesy emoticons’ — which further highlights the lack of understanding of mobile behavior in Asia even after NYT wrote about it!! (Pretty embarrassing).
Oh well. I guess that’s why there is a need for someone like me or Jon Russell of TNW and a dedicated publication like TIA to pipe on about this region.
During conversations with one of my favorite VCs and separately, with one of my favorite tech bloggers, services I never heard of were brought up. I also learned a few things I’m just going to leave here — more like a note to self — before I forget.
Old age, the struggle is real.
Opera still has 300M MUAs.
Opera Mini (the mobile browser
– Indian users of the Opera Mini mobile browsers used 75% less mobile data in the first half of the year
– is compatible with over 3,000 mobile devices, dumb phones and smartphones
-works on basic Java to the latest Android and iOS platforms
Wow – who knew. It’s such a perfect browser for emerging nations where cost and access are barriers source
Random thought: I wish I was passionate about logistics. So much money and room for disruption there. Imagine “between x and y is z” (where x, y = time and z = service ex: delivery, internet, cable, food, etc) is non existent. Time is precise. Or in plain English, parcels will be dropped off and service rendered at exact times.
The solution would involve an algo that calculates most cost efficient delivery radius in a way that’s never been done before. Combine that with a notification app like Yo, that’s a billion dollar business right there. And I believe the solution will come out of Asia.
…this was my stance after the Apple announcements of iPhone 6, 6+, and the watch but all jokes aside, there is good reason Apple is the most valuable brand on the planet and simply “mind-blowing“.
Personally, the Watch does nothing for me. I would never own one. The app screen (points below)
triggers my trypophobia (yes, trypophobia is real) and the design is just outdated — totally 80s.
However, what Apple did with the watch, as well as all the iPhones after the 4, is create a problem then solved the problem for us. First world problem-ing in the highest order. Or in scientific terms: they tap into the last triangle of Maslo’s Hierarchy of Needs, by making us need things we didn’t know we needed.
This deep understanding of human behavior and finding ways to hook people with design and hardware is something very few companies can achieve. Apple consistently creates problems then seamlessly and elegantly solves them for us — truly, one of the most innovative companies of our time.
People say now, things like “why do we need payments on our wrists, when we can do them on our phones?” Or, “why would we need payments on our phones and wrists?” I say, just wait – people will start getting lazier because they’ll adopt to the convenience of phone functionalities on body parts (wearables) and soon, it’ll be the norm.
Think about it: everything about technology is creating and solving more convenient ways of living. Telephones, email, computers, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets… and the next: wearables.
With the Apple Watch, Apple is now giving us 1) predicted text so we don’t have to type. 2) a way to transact without the extra effort of pulling out our phones. 3) a new type of push-pull notification system in a way that no other product or software does.
Which to me, is the most exciting part of the Apple announcement – all personal thoughts about style aside. It’s a bit peculiar to me how a lot more people aren’t excited about that vs the new and shiny hardware.
I randomly watch this Call Me Maybe Chatroulette video when I recall it, because it never fails to make me laugh.
Today I needed to escape from all the Apple news and was happily watching it, dancing away, and noticed on the recommendation side tab, another Call Me Maybe parody from a super popular Japanese pop idol, Rola.
That’s Rola – she’s cute, pretty, and super funny. I’m a fan. So I clicked on the video of her lip synching to ‘Call Me Maybe’ and laughed out loud. Universal Music Japan (her label I guess), put the video up. I mean, it’s a lip synching video, what the hell, why couldn’t she put it up herself?
There are so many other ‘Call Me Maybe’ lip synching renditions by famous people like the Bieber+Selena Gomez+Ashley Tinsdale or the one by The Roots and Fallon — uploaded on YouTube not by their labels.
Japanese companies strong hold content so much, there are close to zero streaming services. Almost the entire population has no idea what Spotify, Netflix, or Hulu are. It’s really quite sad.
Looking forward to the day all this changes. Perhaps in another 10-15 years LOL
The first week of Sept. 2014, I will always remember as the week a lot of people I value and cherish came to Japan for Startup Asia, Tokyo. The conference was wonderful and I cannot say enough nice things about everyone at Tech in Asia and the people they attracted.
So please don’t get take this the wrong way.
The following post has nothing to do with Startup Asia, Tech in Asia, the people who attended the conference, nor my friends and colleagues. This post does, however, has everything to do with an attendee I unfortunately met.
He was introduced as a friend of a friend and during the first few seconds of our conversation my gut told me something was a bit off about this guy. And so I was short with him and didn’t really engage. Little did I know, my intuition was correct.
This guy introduced himself as Ken Charles, but lo and behold: I found out his real name was Ken Hoinsky. He is known as the “Reddit Pick-up Artist” and wrote a book on how to pick up women.
He was under fire on the internet for certain things he wrote on Reddit and passages from the book.
It’s easy enough to believe that Hoinsky did not set out to write a how-to guide on forcing women into sex, but his political and cultural blindspots enabled him to publish advice that instructs men to “continue to try to escalate physically until she makes it genuinely clear that it’s not happening” (defined by Hoinsky as shouting “STOP,” or “GET AWAY FROM ME”) without an ounce of critical self-reflection.
Whatever this guy’s deal is or was, I don’t really care, as I plan to never interact with him again. Lesson here, is that you can change your name. Change locations. Change jobs. But always remember: THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS.
Nikesh Arora ex-Google exec, now Softbank Internet and Media CEO / vice chairman of the overall company tweeted he is looking for “ivy leaguers with US / Japan experience”. Why did he specify ivy leaguers? Does he realize he is biased?
Or, what about when we see someone in the US, who is using a smartphone other than an iPhone. What are your initial thoughts? It’s okay, be honest. You’re not alone. I’ve heard many girlfriends say things like “I’d never date someone with an Android phone.”
We automatically assume things about people born and raised in certain cities, countries, regions, etc. And judge people by how they look or present themselves to the world. We don’t do it on purpose but we are all guilty of some sort of bias and judgment.
But imagine if you unknowingly carry those thoughts into the workplace. Do you choose to do better work with colleagues you already have an unconscious bias towards? Or what if you are a hiring manager; are you confident your choices aren’t driven by bias?
Ponder that for a second.
I’ve expressed on Twitter how I am thrilled to the toes Megan Smith is America’s new CTO. And it seems most of the tech community is too. General consensus is because she is a female. Or part of the LGBT community. Or both.
I am excited because I have followed her and what she has been doing for Google as an individual (if you’re interested, YouTube her talks from Google I/O or interviews on Google.org and Google [X] to see the many reasons why she is such an excellent leader and technologist — if you love tech from the core like me, it’s really, worth your time.)
One of my favorite clips I’ve seen of her, is about bias — conscious and unconscious bias — which I believe, is important for everyone to be cognizant of. Especially, if you are management level or higher.
This is the video, I’ve been tweeting a lot (with little to zero interest) but now that you’re here, watch:
I wish there were transcripts but some of my favorite soundbites – few are paraphrased:
“You hear venture capitalists talk about pattern matching when they are looking for the next young entrepreneur. But they are also pattern matching for things they have bias in, and not realizing they are doing that. So they might be more likely to fund a White or Asian man vs another (and she gets interrupted).”
“(Unconscious bias) is no one’s fault. It’s not like we are actively doing this. We all have it. It’s inherited. It’s systemic. What we have to do as an industry, is educate ourselves.”
“Diverse teams just make better products. Patents written with men and women on them, for example, are cited more. And the number of times a patent is cited, is a measure to know if a patent is better.”
“If you are applying for a role, a woman would only apply if they have 7 of the 10 characteristics required. Men would apply if they only have 3 of the 10. So as a manager, you just need to be conscious of that, look at all the candidates, and do a little more active work to make sure you’ve got the best pool.”
Research shows that when we are more aware of our unconscious bias, we can make more objective decisions. In 2013, more than 20,000 Googlers (nearly half of our Googlers) engaged in workshops that focus on the science of how the brain works. This created a company-wide dialogue around how unconscious bias can affect perceptions of others, interactions with coworkers and clients, and the business overall. We hope our focus on making the unconscious conscious will not only foster a more inclusive workplace, but also make us a better company. Watch this video to find out more.
You can learn more about unconscious bias here, here, or here — or Google yourself.
To further reinforce the previous post on the mobile payment market, I came across a BI deck on the The Future of Mobile Payments.
1. Might be difficult for people in developed nations to digest, but in emerging nations, billions of people don’t have access to banks. Southeast Asia is leading the pack:
2. Global share of payment opportunities in these emerging markets are beyond ridiculous. YoY of MENA is the steadiest, while Southeast Asia and Latin America are predicted to steadily grow as well (granted, these numbers seem to be pulled from Cap Gemini — would be interesting to see Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and GS’ predictions)
3. And of course, global numbers of mobiles — billions of handsets, most still feature (flip phones or the ancient Nokias). What this means, is, citizens of emerging markets are reliant on capabilities away from smartphone apps we in developed markets are used to. Ex: M-Pesa is the first that comes to mind. Their major market share is Kenya, Tanzania and they are increasing efforts into Middle East (Afghanistan, South Africa, India and Eastern Europe, respectively).
Neat tid-bits I’m digesting with a grain of salt. The market can rapidly change, especially with the amount of funding going into Bitcoin ventures, the payment sector in developed nations is unpredictable. The question lies, would the trend trickle over to emerging markets? Distribution of wealth amongst emerging markets is also a factor (ex: even if Indonesia has highest GDP, population of <1% of the population are the only ones with purchasing power, would it make more sense for a startup to look at Thailand first, where spend per population is more evenly distributed?) And so on and so forth, there are still many, many questions.
Biggest takeaway though is how Southeast Asia is still up for grabs for payments. I really want to see young entrepreneurs beat Rocket Internet and SMART’s initiative in Southeast Asia. Exciting time to be in APAC and especially, SEA as technology is still very much in its infancy.
Leaving the US has opened my eyes to a lot of things, especially how the world outside of America operates. Because the iPhone isn’t as adopted in other parts of the world, there are many solutions to make communication between iOS and Android possible — which is why I became so fascinated with chat apps.
Then, I fell into the chat app rabbit hole and became obsessed with learning, using and following the big players outside of the US: WeChat, LINE, Kakao and WhatsApp. Which lead to learning about the different use cases and the reason I keep piping on about how SnapChat, WhatsApp, FB Messenger are not like WeChat, Line and Kakao. I also argue WeChat is in a league of its own. (If you’re interested, my messaging app series is here). Living in Asia, it’s easier to appreciate various ways people and cultures use their mobiles as I am an actual user vs. reading about use cases.
When I visited various Southeast Asian countries with Dave McClure’s Geeks on a Plane tour, my mind was blown. In countries still considered emerging nations ex: Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, the way phones are used are so different. Actually, everything is different. Most mobiles are pre-paid. Mobile internet connection is mostly 3G and the majority of the population still uses flip phones. I even saw old Nokia phones with the green, pixelated screens. Remember those? I was really good at Snake. Reading and researching about mobile, I was aware of the numbers but to actually see how low smartphone penetration actually was, is a moment I will never forget.
The biggest opportunity I see in emerging nations is how technology is solving dual objectives: social problems and monetization. And the biggest opportunity I see is in mobile payments. I’ve said it once and will probably keep repeating, that because WhatsApp has capabilities on flip phones and older phones, their biggest missed opportunity is moving from a communication utility into a full fledged platform.
I really wish I knew more about payments or was passionate about the topic enough to jump into creating a product. But I am, super excited to see who will be the first to solve across SE Asia.
qz really sums it up best:
At the end of April, nine mobile operators with 582 mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East committed to make their mobile money offerings work across their networks. With interoperability comes greater cohesion and opportunity for new services.
And the kicker:
If it’s done right, it could form the foundation of a whole new global financial-services industry. And the US and Europe will be far behind.