What I Learn From #TIASG 2018: Day 1

Yosef Ardhito
3 min readMay 16, 2018

Yesterday I joined Tech in Asia Singapore Conference 2018 as a Volunteer. So far, this has been a great decision. The work required from being a volunteer is limited, the rest is up to you to wander. I can enter any stage and booth I wanted.

I attended several segments and take note on some highlights that I find interesting. I mainly joined the main stage and round table sessions — where I assigned as facilitator.

To keep this post short, you can learn more about the event itself here.

Please note that I may misquote the speakers, all statement here are subject to my memory’s limitation :)

Mainstage 1: Fireside Talk with Eric Migicovsky (Pebble, Y Combinator)

  1. The key to building a multi-billion dollar company is “don’t die”. Even if you only have a low amount of fund left, you still have the chance on being a multi-billion dollar company.
  2. The early story of pebble: got rejected by 30 VCs, went to kickstarter as the last resort and raise 10mil. On the first day, he predicted they would raise $8,000 for day 1; instead they raised $200,000 on first hour.
  3. One of the driving factor for pebble’s success is: focus only on 1 thing at a time. After they raise $10mil on kickstarter, all they wanted to do is to fulfill the requirement they have written and produce as many as they are pledged to. They even stop hiring when they got 11 people, who he (the CEO) really trusted.

Round Table 1: Made in Singapore

Tiang Lim Foo / Operating Partner, SeedPlus Ventures
Leung Pui Yan / Director (Investments and Operations), Singtel Innov8

  1. VCs are looking at risk when they are about to fund founders. For instance, founders who have experience in manufacturing but want to build a start-up in hyperloop are considered high-risk.
  2. Product building and company building are completely different thing. The former is common among early stage of startup, and as the company get bigger they will move to the latter.
  3. Where does start-up environment moving to: people who can marry the business side and engineering side. Business people talks about business plan but overlook technology potential, whereas engineers the other way around.
  4. What VCs need to realize is that founders are humans too. Each founder has different characteristic and need different treatment.

Main Stage 2: Chang Wen Lai (CEO Ninja Van)

  1. Build culture from the start, people are the most important. You can lose money, but do not lose your business soul.
  2. Maintaining culture will be harder the bigger you get.
  3. What impact does your education have for you as an entrepreneur? As a backup plan; and backup is important!

Round Table 2: Empowering People

Patrick Steinbrenner / Managing Director, APAC, Insider
Kevin Fitzgerald / Regional Sales Director, Xero
Trey Guinn / Solution Engineer, Cloudflare

  1. Cloudflare: tend to keep the role general and avoid specialization (quite interesting).
  2. Measure outcomes instead of tactics. Do not measure how many e-mail reply your sales do, measure how many deal they lead.
  3. Before break the rules, master them. Employee can do what they think is right, only if they have shown that they understand the existing rules.
  4. Differentiate yourself among other start-up: create a brand, sell your company right from interview phase, create a blog that helps a lot of people (case in point is cloudflare).
  5. How to know KPI is correct: Correlate with business result, use SMART goals. When you have a KPI that declines, yet the key business metrics are up, probably the KPI is wrong.

Those are all I have for the first day, obviously I did not cover all that the speakers have shared.

Day 2 post here.