BRAVE: Southeast Asia 10 Year Patterns, Regulating TikTok, Generative AI Boom & Gen Z Hybrid vs. Nomad Trends

February 2023 Newsletter

· Newsletter,Blog,Founder,Creators,Singapore

We’re happy to announce the successful launch of our weekly Monday morning “Espresso” podcast covering Southeast Asia’s latest tech news. Our co-host is Shiyan Koh, founder and managing partner of Hustle Fund. We have debated 1. the lessons for startup founders from the legacy of Sim Wong Hoo, founder of Creative and creator of the MP3 player, 2. Predictions for 2023’s winners, losers and contrarian beliefs, and 3. Zalora’s talent mafia vs. network magnets, being “language-locked” and Vietnam’s “sea turtles inspired by Asia Partners’ research report.

Most Popular Episodes

  • Brian Ma: Unicorn Founder to VC, Southeast Asia 10 Year Patterns & Letting Go of Ego: Brian talks about the reflections from his prior startups that led him to eventually build a billion-dollar company. He also discusses Southeast Asia being a launchpad for future unicorns and Iterative’s learnings as an accelerator and fund.
  • Kathryn Cross: TikTok Star Founder, Accelerating Learning Curves & Die Trying: Kathryn channeled her grief over her brother's death into founding the first stem cell depository startup, Anja Health. She shares about how she became a star social media influencer, accelerating her learnings by building a "second brain" and turning herself into an operating system. 
  • Nir Eyal: Fighting for Agency, Free Speech & Regulating TikTok and Hope for Our Children: Forming habits and breaking tech addiction require personal agency and claiming responsibility instead of shaming oneself or blaming others. Nir, bestselling author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, also advocates for calibrated regulation on TikTok due to the lack of transparency of their content algorithm and undue influence.
  • Kai Yuan Neo: Engineer to CEO, Edtech Localization Playbook, Build vs. Sell in Boom vs. Bust: Kai shares his career journey from being an engineer to becoming the founder and CEO of Rocket Academy, a Singapore based live-online coding bootcamp. He talks about localizing the US edtech "Lambda Education" model for Singapore and the lessons learned from that transition. He emphasizes the importance of building, selling, and adapting to both bull and bear tech market cycles.
  • Eugene Cheah: Generative AI Boom, Societal Hallucinations & UI Testing Automation: Eugene shares the key innovations and predicted advancements for generative AI, including automated UI testing, and new roles for creators and game developers. He founded UIlicious, which integrates generative AI into their software to automate the generation of UI testing scripts. He also raises caution on generative AI’s ability to guess and provide false answers or information, and the societal impacts that will ensue.
  • Florian Jacques: Gen Z Hybrid vs. Nomad Trends, Surfing Bali Mornings & Rebuilding Founder Mentorship: Florian discusses the growing trend of the “slowmad” lifestyle, wherein digital nomads travel slow, stay in a place for a few months, and connect with the local community. He also talks about the lack of mentorship and community support in the remote work environment, which he addresses with his startup Midstay, a platform helping companies support and manage their employees across remote and hybrid work requirements.

Community News

Spencer Yang was previously featured in Tech in Asia for closing Gomu’s seed round of US$5 million backed by Coinbase Ventures. Check out his podcast about founder and operator tradeoffs and frameworks in angel investing.

We successfully hosted the Phoenix offsite, where we supported 10 startup founders who are transitioning into the next stage of their professional careers. Thanks Aswin Andrison and Viktor Kyosev for your support! If you know founders who are wrapping up their time in startups, please refer them to our next run on June 10.

Eleven of us had a wonderful founders’ hike along the Green Corridor. If you’re a current founder who’d like to join us on February 26, 5-7pm for our next walk, reply to this email and we’ll add you to our community.

We have also successfully moved to our new domain name Shout out to the two listeners who flagged bugs, so keep letting us know!


Best Read

I enjoyed reading “Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World” by Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross, which discusses the science and art of finding talent from a macro level. It goes over the societal value of interviews, references for executive roles and how to match personality and traits to jobs. I find that this is nicely complemented by “Who: The A Method for Hiringby Geoff Smart and Randy Street, which is a more hands-on hiring guidebook for interviewers.



"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness." Brené Brown

Stay Brave,
Jeremy Au