Why Are We Still Carrying Wallets in 2017?

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The food court inside one of the biggest malls in Bangkok — Paragon — has digital menu boards and is cashless. This food court in this ‘third world country’ Bangkok is more advanced than Japan or America. This digitization not just aesthetically pleasing, it actually works and here is why:

  • efficient — because cash is not exchanged, there is barely a line and even the most popular spots the transaction is really fast
  • effective for SMBs — zero cash transactions with profit reconciliation at end of day, the number of mistakes are limited to erroneous input vs erroneous input + too little/less change

In Bangkok, the public transportation system is called BTS. And each BTS station also have similar methods where all the tiny stalls take zero cash and only these pre-paid cards.

How does a developing nation figure it out before the rest of the first world???

Only a few reasons I love emerging markets

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.


 

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Which reminded me of Frontline SMS Screenshot_9_15_14_9_28_PM

 

Google APAC has WiFi enabled rickshaws to help people go online

*Pardon the lazy post

Why Aren’t More Tech Journalists Talking About This? #Apple

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…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)

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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.

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.

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– 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

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– 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

When Japanese Efficiency Meets Creativity

Lovely example of when Japanese efficiency meets creativity.
From Peatix, the EventBrite from a Japanese startup.

…sadly, I don’t think a lot of venues will adopt, as lines creates the illusion of popularity, which leads to need then ultimately, conversions.

Would love to see US retailers adopt this to prevent Black Friday madness though (for example). And this, is why I still believe in Japan.

Quantitative vs Qualitative

I once heard a story of how the head of Morgan Stanley’s Emerging Markets spends time on the ground, for months, before drawing conclusions and making moves.

I am not head of emerging markets anywhere nor am I an analyst. I am a technologist.

I started out as a product manager in a Fortune 100 B2B enterprise software corporation. My role was to mobilize their main product. I then continued to find places within the intersection of product, Internet, users and content that aligns with business objects, and fell into marketing and content strategy. I’ve lived through one of, if not, the best, times in technology — experiencing the shift of hardware to software, software to web based apps then to mobile apps. I saw the disruption of music, telecom, hardware and electronic industries. I lived it. Breathed it. Worked in it — and still do. There is nothing I am more in touch with, than technology (even myself).

So yes, my posts are mainly qualitative observations. I depend on multiple analyses and news pieces, blogs and tech blogs, and even Twitter, to stay on top of hot topics.

Right now, there is a lot of focus on Asia.

As someone on the ground in Asia and knows the US market, I hope to bring cultural truths which supports numbers from people who get paid to conduct quantitative analyses.

I love technology. I also have a lot to say; too much sometimes, as I am living in one of the most exciting markets in 2013: Asia.

This blog, is the outlet I dump my thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I love writing them.