Via: Inside the mind of Marc Andreessen – Fortune Management: “I never heard the term ‘venture capital’ until I got to California. I got a job and landed in Silicon Valley, and I found out about this venture capital thing. And I was dumbstruck. ‘You mean there are people who will give you money to invent new things and start a company? Really? Seriously? It’s like wow! That’s really cool!’ And of course we got lucky.”
That was 20 years ago. There was a lot less media coverage of VC, deals, angels, etc.
What would be an interesting exercise is to see when VC firms in Asia started? Is it all pushed by the democratization of media?
The fact that today, media is cheaper – everyone and his uncle has started a publication of some sort. In tech, it seems that most of the media will only cover VC-related stories (i.e. money driven). They’ve forgotten real tech.
MAVCAP, the largest VC fund in Malaysia, only started in 2001. A mere 12 years ago! Singapore’s first firm started in 1984 – Seavi Advent Private Equity (29 years ago) – though I’m not sure if they deal with tech much.
So is this the rise of VC/angels/incubators/etc. or the rise of media?
We’ve taken a scare resource and made it infinite, an idea by Adam Curry. In the print world, you had n-number of ads. In the online world, you can place any amount of banners on your site, or there are a multitude of sites serving such banners. This is why its hard to generate revenue.
Robert Scoble brings up a great point on TWiT#423 – tech journalism is everywhere. Its hard to make good quality tech content because it costs money. A good article on how an iPhone is made involves you to head to China to visit the factory floor, and can easily cost $10,000. However when you write a (blog) post, what can you make on viewership in terms of CPM? $5? $15? It is a tiny amount which is why many tech journalists/bloggers end up repackaging press releases.
Worlds that haven’t been touched negatively seem to be fashion & cars. But tech is clearly affected.
Evan Williams gives us tools to express ourselves – Blogger, Twitter, Medium. He’s made tonnes of money as people have been willing to create content for free. How do journalists make a living? Leo Laporte suggests that the Internet has arrived – you figure out to make a living.
The problem is people doing it for free. It devalues the work of people doing it for bucks.
What about the CPM for location based ads? Today you get so many apps that give away the location, with users opting in.
I recently read a plea by a fledgling entrepreneur trying to build a global company, who’s been through a bunch of startup competitions, “But struggling on getting grants or investments from local VCs/Angel.”
I recently saw a customer get annoyed with a service provider she had been using at length, only to rally a “hate page”. However it never garnered too much as there was an odd flair to the way she wrote.
In business or in any inter-personal relationship, attitude matters.
You may have the best private security system out there, but if you have a shoddy attitude, you will get no users. You may have the best cause out there, but if you have a shoddy attitude, you will not get followers. You may have the best piece of software out there since sliced bread, but if you take on an aggressive attitude, you may not get as many users as you had hoped for.
Think about how you portray yourself to others, and if need be, improve your attitude. People are a forgiving and forgetful lot.
Lunch with the FT: Tadashi Yanai – FT.com: “‘Scale has no importance on its own,’ he shoots back. ‘But unless you have scale, you may not be able to stay alive or competitive. Unless you have scale, you can be bought by someone else or you may go bankrupt.” - Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing, makers of Uniqlo.
It’s not a classic mistake to prioritise scale over profits. The above statement is spot on about scale.
The business of making music compilations are changing. Ministry of Sound. NOW That’s what I call music.
Today you can make compilations as a playlist, and share it with the world on services like Rdio and Spotify. It’s clear that the Ministry of Sound isn’t too happy with this – read more about how the Ministry of Sound is suing Spotify.
Listen to the quotes from the MoS:
- “What we do is a lot more than putting playlists together” – Lohan Presencer, CEO MoS
- “A lot of research goes into creating our compilation albums, and the intellectual property involved in that. It’s not appropriate for someone to just cut and paste them.”
- “We painstakingly create, compile and market our albums all over the world. We help music fans discover new genres, records and classic catalogues”
- “Millions trust our brands, our taste and our selection. We give them great listening experiences at a good price.”
I call bullshit on all of this. Yes, people like a curated compilation (I for one enjoy it – like dance hits of the year or something). But everyone can now curate compilations. This doesn’t make the MoS special any longer.
The commercial business of making compilations will go away in time to come. We will soon get to federate playlists so you can take your compilations with you, so it wouldn’t matter if you use Rdio, Spotify or something else. DJs will share their mixes that they played in a club and attendees and others will get to listen to the mix – this will eventually decide how “hot” a DJ is.
This is the future, and compilation manufacturers will find something else to do. MoS has nightclubs to fall back on. Embrace sharing.
Some interesting news happening in the Malaysian e-commerce space today.
- Shopify, the Canadian company, is now in Southeast Asia thanks to SingTel backing. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India get access to Shopify, and by September, you can work with local payment gateways as SingTel will help Shopify get onboarded. In Malaysia, that means working with MOLPay (NBEPay) or iPay88. Both have woefully terrible pages that break the flow.
I read about a startup, Off The Rack Asia, that aims to compete with Zalora/FashionValet/Rakuten/etc. The story broke at FZ, which is also worth a read. They don’t disclose how much Cradle gave as a grant? It’s anywhere between RM150,000 – RM500,000 isn’t it (CIP150 or CIP500)?
- With Maybank pushing e-commerce and “blogshops”, I’m surprised they didn’t have the foresight to do this. Shopify could have chosen Malaysia as a headquarters, no? Alas, the sufferance when Singapore is your much more welcoming neighbour.
- This is great for merchants. They have more places to distribute their goods. Love that they’re supporting locals.
- Target market is 18-35 – I think that’s two broad, you get at least 2 distinct age groups there, if not three!
- I checked out the site – nice design. I notice that the items are generally quite pricey, so definitely not mass market fast fashion prices.
- Checkout page can do with improvements. (I must accept terms but can’t read it via a clickable link?) Payment page basically sucks, it heads to MOLPay.
- No idea if they’re drop shipping or holding inventory. Zalora started via drop ship, but soon realised that fulfilment was an issue, so they have a warehouse with inventory.
- Zendesk is their Q&A platform (odd choice that you’d pay for such a service).
Overall, I’m hoping to see improvements in payment gateways with lobbying by all these players. And I wish the girls at Off The Rack the best, it’s a tough space to be in, but one that can only grow as Malaysia itself grows digitally (as does the region).