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18 - How organizing meetups led to Rise Hong Kong, Asia's largest conference with Casey Lau

“This was all without sponsors, without pay… we went to events, they sucked, so we wanted to make a better one”

Casey Lau is one of the pioneers of the startup scene in Asia and more specifically Hong Kong, which has been his home base since moving there from Vancouver when he was 21 years old.

Although he went to school for graphic design, he now splits his time between Web Summit RISE (conference), Startups HK and Blue Startups in Hawaii and he describes himself simply as a ‘Startup connector’.

Casey built up his reputation in the startup scene through a constant evolution of design & tech, building small business in the early days of the internet before getting heavily involved in starting StartupsHK with 5 friends.

Casey has a very proactive attitude and has made a career and a life from sharing his personal knowledge of running internet based businesses while keeping on top of the latest technology.

 



In this episode:
+ Casey’s background, and moving to HK (Hong Kong).
+ Using a Mac in Asia 10 years ago vs technology now.
+ The pro’s and cons of the universality of the English Language.
+ When and why Casey started the first web design studio in HK.
+ The Internet culture of helping each other.
+ Why there’s is such a wave of interest in startups now
+ The differences in speed of success in startups between Asia and America
+ The 2nd wave of podcasts, and their connection to the start-up scene.
+ The different ways people are consuming podcasts.
+ Business models for podcasting.
+ How StartupsHK functions (then and now).
+ How Casey became the ‘co-host’ for Web Summit RISE conference.
+ Why Web Summit RISE conference is so special.
+ The value of ’Night Summits’ and pockets of different specific activities.
+ The ways Casey keeps himself creative and inspired.
+ Being a digital nomad today, and the growth of co-working.
+ The importance of ‘just showing up’.
+ Starting meetups and how to keep them going

Links:
Web Summit RISE:
https://riseconf.com

RISE podcast
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-conf/id1212269228?mt=2

Collision conference (New Orleans):
https://collisionconf.com

StartupsHK:
http://www.startupshk.com

Blue Startups (Hawaii)
https://bluestartups.com

Casey’s favorite podcasts:
https://medium.com/hashtagpodcasters/podcasts-i-listen-to-and-podcast-resources-a9c0034ba619

Info on the podcast scene
https://medium.com/hashtagpodcasters/the-state-of-the-podcast-industry-at-podcast-movement-2017-20d1c7a0017c

Robotics debate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1NxcRNW_Qk

Giro Dreams of Sushi – documentary:
http://www.magpictures.com/jirodreamsofsushi/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Ve7ec1HpY

Twitter: @casey_lau
http://twitter.com/casey_lau

LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/caseylau/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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17 - How being sued at 13 years old led to building startups in Asia with Ryan Shuken of MOX & Chinaccelerator

“He bought cocacola.com & sold it for $2million. And I thought, that’s so stupid, I could do that.”

Ryan Shuken started his life as an entrepreneur at a very young age and he now shares his years of learnings as the Program Director for Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX), a start-up accelerator that focuses on Android applications in developing countries. He and his team work mostly with start-ups that already have their product and now need to grow it in multiple countries around the world, often at the same time.

Ryan (33) was born in California & moved to China when he was 18. He started his first business when he was 12 years old, just as the internet was starting to become more widely adopted. He bought web domain names of neighborhood businesses and waited for them to sue, before counter-suing and settling on terms to sell the domains, all accompanied by his mother of course. He went on to teach himself to code and also to clone popular websites as he crafted his own path through entrepreneurship.

Once in China, Ryan studied International Trade and Culture and then had short stints at other colleges around the world, before settling in Shanghai and working with The China Startup Pulse, then Chinaccelerator, and now MOX.

Ryan says he has done all of this with the support of his family, most of whom also run their own businesses. Then we dive into how this fuels his motivation to help other startup entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

In this episode:
+ How MOX’s program for startups works.
+ Buying domain names when the internet was young.
+ Making web clones with people you meet on the internet.
+ Why Ryan moved and the lessons from living in China for more than 15 years
+ ‘Secret Co-founders’ and the importance of discussions.
+ Can anyone be an entrepreneur?
+ Accepting weaknesses and making up for it with hard work.
+ Getting perspective through failure. Then using these perspectives for mentoring.
+ Teachings of rapid iteration, reduced risk, and building for the customer.
+ How problem solving and focus helps a messy ‘backstage’ look polished and perfect to the outside world.
+ Home brewing beer
+ A new community podcasting space in Shanghai

Links:

SOSV (MOX and Chinaccelerator):
https://sosv.com/

The Original Content Room (The OC) podcasting studio:
Located in Shanghai, People Squared, 28 Yuyuan Dong lu, building 3
[Not currently public – add brandon-owens on WeChat to get connected to Ryan for more info]
http://www.people-squared.com/hero_center.html

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries:
http://theleanstartup.com/book

Ryan’s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/rshuken

Ryan’s Linked in:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/rshuken/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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16 - Managing a company while being an introverted CEO with Ronan Berder of Wiredcraft

“Managing people is still an enigma for me”

Ronan is founder and CEO of a successful app-development agency in Shanghai called Wiredcraft, which has offices in Asia & Europe.

They eventually found themselves working on projects in the international development space, such as building apps for the South Sudan referendum and other projects for both the UN & the world bank. Now they’ve focused more on larger corporate clients like Starbucks.

He was born in the south of France and moved to Tahiti when he was young, moving around a lot as his family was working in the army. He has spent many years in the US as well.

He considers himself a massive nerd, all the way from childhood through to studying math & physics later in life. He leads his company as a very intelligent but fairly introverted CEO who has to balance how to manage others & constantly be in social situations.

 

In this episode:
+ How he started his company as freelancing that snowballed into a proper company
+ Differences between building an agency vs building a product
+ Underestimating what it takes to build a product
+ Differences between design & engineering
+ How to sell the methodology by almost making an agency itself into a product
+ How he used drinking as a crutch to handle introversion
+ How he designed experiments to figure out how to interact with people better when he was young
+ Challenges of managing people as an introvert
+ How a lack of sugar coating leads to misperceptions of arrogance
+ The effects of alcohol on introverts networking

Links:

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronanberder/

Wiredcraft:
https://wiredcraft.com/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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15 - Scaling both a career & company through Y-Combinator & China with CPO Teng Bao of Strikingly

“We were scared, like the jobs that we had, made us scared for our futures.”

Teng Bao is cofounder and Chief Product Officer of Strikingly (Sxl.cn in China) which is a website building tool that went through Y-combinator and has scaled from 0 to more than 1 million websites since its inception in July 2012.

Teng is currently heading up product design there and got into product by way of trying to design video games when he was young. His interest in games led to coding and eventually to overall product design. As he puts it, “videogames are purely UX” and he sees a huge overlap in building a good game and designing a product for smooth user experience.

Teng has started several companies in the past few years before and during his time at the University of Chicago before meeting up with his current cofounders to launch Strikingly. In this episode we discuss his career journey, which used a lot of ‘well I don’t want to do that’ to eventually find his way into moving to California and joining Y-combinator.

From there, we then track the company’s journey to Shanghai and building out the team with China-focused products to supplement their current US-based web design products. We also delve into some of the strategies they use to develop and nurture their international company culture.

In this episode:
+ Moving to the US when you’re young
+ Making flash video games
+ Which parts of gamification translate well to product
+ Being a summer intern in finance
+ Advantages of being a mix of a designer & a developer
+ Crowdfunding for school projects
+ Battling against constant self-doubt
+ Being rejected by Y-combinator
+ Then fighting back into Y-combinator
+ Moving a company to China from Silicon Valley
+ Building products for the Chinese market
+ Cultivating an ‘international’ company culture

Links:
Teng’s site:
http://tengbao.me/

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tengbao/

Strikingly:
http://strikingly.com/
https://www.sxl.cn/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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14 - How cooking pumps up WikiCookJoyce for a VP corporate strategy job at Publicis with Joyce Ling

“When something is happening top down, you think about their reactions from bottom up. And then you’re able to find the right strategy right in between.”

Joyce Ling is WikiCookJoyce, a food & cooking WeChat KOL influencer, when she’s not managing a large team at Publicis.Sapient as VP of Strategy. Joyce lived in Taiwan before her family moved to the Bay Area. She attended the University of California Santa Barbara with a dual major in fine arts & Chinese literature.

Around that time, Joyce started working in the makeup industry and eventually found herself moving to China to help Sephora launch there. After that she spent ~4 years in Dior where she split her time between training and Product Marketing. An interest in digital marketing led her then pursue agency life at Razorish & Digitas before roles at Michael Kors & ToryBurch brought her back to the fashion & brand side.

She’s now back on the agency side at Publicis.Sapient overseeing consumer insights and digital strategy development while on the side becoming a WeChat KOL for cooking. Joyce runs a popular account called WikiCookJoyce posting food and personal recipes. She even met her current boyfriend who was a fan of her blog and so we discuss how this just might be one of the smartest dating strategies around.

In this episode:
+ Her journey between Taiwan, US & China
+ How art is connected to the makeup industry
+ The importance of employee retail training
+ Meeting her first boyfriend in an AOL chat room
+ Why she became a food blogger on WeChat
+ The fear & drive of going on your own into the unknown
+ How she met her boyfriend through her WeChat blog
+ The “work” personality vs the real “Joyce” personality
+ The rituals she tells herself to get ready for a very social workplace
+ 10-minute problem breakdown strategy
+ How she uses food rituals to break out of her introvert shell
+ How management is seeing the best in people & knowing how to get it out of them as individuals
+ How to manage your own reactions
+ Using you early life interests to find the meaning in your work
+ How cooking can help you organize your thoughts

Joyce’s book (Amazon China):
https://www.amazon.cn/从厨房到餐桌-Joyce-Ling/dp/B01HRF23YQ/

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceling/

Instagram: (don’t click if you’re hungry)
https://www.instagram.com/wikicookjoyce/

WeChat Official Account: (see above, same warning)
WikiCookJoyce

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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13 - Why Kevin Chen left finance to tackle the global language education market as CEO of Italki

“After 10 years, some investors joked you should have IPO’d or died by now.”

Kevin Chen is co-founder and CEO of Italki.com, a language learning social network and marketplace for connecting teachers & students for private classes. Before that, Keven also cofounded Famento, which sought to use social networking to help families record and share their family history.

Kevin is a reformed finance guy who spent several years working at Merrill Lynch & Lehman Brothers in London, New York and Japan. We speak a lot about his personal backstory and how he struggled to work in an environment that while mentally challenging and interesting it was ultimately unsatisfying.

We talk about how he made some of these big career decisions, the interactions with family about it, a cross-Asia backpacking trip and eventually moving to Shanghai with no plan, just a feeling that it was the right place to be.

Kevin is a really intelligent guy who’s in a somewhat unique position of a managing an extremely cross-cultural team in China with a Chinese cofounder. We talk about some of the unique challenges he and his cofounder face when trying to set a company culture while also rapidly scaling from a small, lean team to more than a hundred.

In this episode:
+ How “Liar’s Poker” got him into finance
+ Working in finance in NYC vs Japan
+ Using solo travel to reflect
+ Being a first-time founder
+ The desire & importance of documenting family history
+ Should people become chatbots after they die?
+ His motivation to start Italki
+ Challenges of building single company culture in multi-cultural business
+ Being a “bridge builder” cross-culture CEO
+ How to handle rewarding early loyal employees vs new staff needed to grow

Books;
Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
http://amzn.to/2uwvZ38

Mr China by Tim Clissold
http://amzn.to/2wReRSo

Wild Swans Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
http://amzn.to/2uR8g8U

The Quantum Thief (Jean le Flambeur) by by Hannu Rajaniemi
http://amzn.to/2vPSrnG

The Hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz
http://amzn.to/2fC7Lh3

Linked in
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinchen501/

Email him
kevin at italki.com

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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12 - Building culture at Airbnb in Asia and leading with authenticity - Alan Chang

“I would have been a better manager, better leader & better friend had I known the difference between compassion and empathy.”

Alan was born and spent most of his life in the US between Hong Kong & North Carolina. He sold his first company in 2009 and then relocated to Hong Kong to further explore Asia.
In 2010 he went all-in on digital businesses after he saw Groupon explode in Chicago and helped a friend’s company that was able to partner up with Groupon in Hong Kong.

As he continued to network in tech in Hong Kong, he was introduced to the Airbnb founders in 2011 at an event and quickly bonded over some of their shared values. So Alan decided to postpone his next entrepreneurial venture and instead join up with Airbnb and eventually become the Regional Manager of Northeast Asia.

For the past year, Alan has relocated back to Silicon Valley and is now heading up Special Projects for Airbnb. One of his key projects was helping the design, strategy & expansion strategy for newly-launched Experience platform.

Alan is a no-BS, very authentic guy who is well connected to his personal values and carries that authenticity and connection into his daily life at Airbnb.

In this episode:

+ How he tricked his mom into loving Airbnb
+ How he got into Airbnb so early on
+ The importance of core values driving your career
+ How he personally reflects and maintains his set of priorities
+ How he developed the confidence to be authentic
+ Idolizing Michael Jordan’s story but not idolizing people
+ Why you should hire people you’re ‘scared of’
+ How to build a culture, especially in a remote office in Asia
+ How to get global teams to build trust & empathy across cultures
+ Using Discovery Insights across all of Airbnb
+ His favorite interview question
+ Talking some his favorite potential hires out of starting the job because their goals didn’t align well to the role
+ How he could BS his way into a Michelin starred restaurant
+ Battling his “resting confused face”
+ The difference between Empathy and Compassion
+ Why Compassion is more important for business leaders than Empathy

Insights Discovery:
https://www.insights.com/us/products/insights-discovery/

Alan on Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/changalang/

Alan’s book recommendations for startups & culture:
1) Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
http://amzn.to/2ugDBVZ

2) The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
http://amzn.to/2sSzeg6

3) Start With Why by Simon Sinek – I first discovered it on Ted
http://amzn.to/2sSmXbN

4) The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
http://amzn.to/2ugBxNM

5) The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
http://amzn.to/2ukXdcf

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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11 - Managing large corporate teams in China at Apple & IHG with Starbucks China CMO Emily Chang

“In China, everything is possible but nothing is easy.”

Emily Chang talks with us shortly after she joined Starbucks as CMO in China. Before that, she was managing a large team and overseeing more than 270 hotels in the hospitality industry at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®).

Before that she was the Head of Retail Marketing, Asia for Apple where she worked ‘in startup mode’ to be the face of Apple brand in Greater China. She shares some of her favorite stories about how they handled the size and stresses of new store launches there.

Emily is a very down to earth executive who has managed to be extremely successful in the world of marketing without ever feeling that she was a marketing person. We touch also on some of the cultural differences she sees when working in the US & China.

Her background was originally in Biomedical Engineering but found herself excelling at Procter & Gamble (P&G) working across every aspect of consumer package goods in the US & China.

In this episode we discuss:
– Blogging on LinkedIn vs writing a book
– Her motivation for writing & sharing
– How ‘congruence’ is essential in a career
– Strategies for balancing a marriage and career, across multiple geographies
– How to manage culture changes at a large corporation
– The ‘end’ of marketing & rise of customer experience
– Differences between CPG, retail & hospitality
– Need for ‘play’ in corporate settings
– How balancing a personality paradox like confidence & humility can appear as powerful
– How her family uses their spare room to help people in need
– What it’s like growing up as an immigrant in the US
– What makes a good mentor
– The differences in work culture & style between the US & China

Emily on Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilychang8621/

Congruency: critical to job satisfaction.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/congruency-critical-job-satisfaction-emily-chang

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
http://amzn.to/2tz3i3L

Baobei Foundation
http://www.baobeifoundation.org/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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10 - WeChat marketing expert Matthew Brennan discusses latest trends in China

“WeChat is like the operating system for your life in China”

Matthew Brennan has been in China for 13 years, working in many different cities and eventually finding his way to research and becoming a WeChat expert.

Matt cofounded China Channel, which organizes China’s largest WeChat marketing conference series for international companies. They also produce a massive amount of content in the form of blog posts about WeChat & China tech.

Matthew spends his time working as a consultant, trainer, writer and public speaker. He’s also in the process of writing a book called ‘Building your Business through WeChat’ and his opinions regarding WeChat and the China digital ecosystem have been featured in global media:
– The Economist
– BBC
– The Financial Times
– Forbes and more.

In this episode:
– how to operate official account as foreign company
– the challenges of writing a book
– some of the ad products coming from Tencent
– how Tencent is driving search & AI forward for WeChat
– the decline & transition of the newsfeed, pushing people out of WeChat
– the challenges of social networks when they become a hybrid of colleagues & life mixing together
– how Tencent thinks about getting people out of WeChat & to talk more
– how people can make a job just selling in WeChat groups, like buying luxury bags in Paris & selling through WeChat groups
– live streaming & other unique China business models
– the state of micropayments in China

Matthew on WeChat
https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-brennan/

Amazon FBA in Guangzhou – sourcing from China selling on Amazon
http://www.chineseimporting.com/how-to-get-your-shipments-from-china-to-amazon-fba/

Fenda:
http://chinachannel.co/fenda-answering-questions-wechat/

Xiaomiquan:
https://www.xiaomiquan.com/

Dedao: subscription content for audio
Download on itunes link

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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9 - Rui Ma China startup investing at 500 startups & Rookie Fund - The Beertelligence Podcast

“Why Finance?” “Basically because I was a shitty engineer”

Rui worked 4 years as the Partner for Greater China at an early stage investment fund called 500 Startups. She spent 3 of those years in Beijing and 1 year in Mountain View where the company has their headquarters.

Rui, pronounced like “Ray gun”, was born in rural China and we follow her career path as she went from China to San Francisco and back again, investing in startups, raising a new fund (maybe) and figuring out her next big thing.

Rui has always been interested in educational technology so we spend some time discussing the opportunities she’s looking for as she kicks off a non-profit called Rookie Fund, which is a student-run fund for investing in other student entrepreneurs in Asia.

She also shares a lot about her career decisions, motivations and life overall, like for example how she lost her fiancé and her job on the same day as she bought a new house in Shanghai. And how that ended up being one of best days in her life.

In this episode we discuss:
+ Changes in San Francisco after 10 years in China
+ Surviving the first dot com boom & bust
+ Failing Newtonian physics twice
+ The value of working with good mentors
+ Some good & bad advice she received about career guidance
+ Resisting FOMO – the fear of missing out
+ Benefits of experiential education “apprenticeship” over traditional education systems
+ The future outlook of cryptocurrency
+ Communication gaps in education
+ Using time off to focus her career before raising a new fund
+ Getting good & bad advice
+ How losing her job and fiancé on the same day was the worst day that eventually became the best day
+ RookieFund and how students can be trained to invest in other students
+ Working on confidence as a skill
+ The benefits & drawbacks of an executive MBA
+ How to develop a “Growth Mindset”

Books:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
http://amzn.to/2sNjOtV

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD
http://amzn.to/2r53mnE

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane
http://amzn.to/2sNdrqJ

Companies:
Rookie Fund:
http://rookie.fund/

500 startups:
http://500.co/

INSEAD Tsinghua EMBA:
http://tsinghua.insead.edu/

About Rui:
Rui on LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruima/

Rui on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ruima

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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