Street Music

We're going busking today. All the videos were shot with one cam and in one take. Though the audio is a bit rough, we hope the music comes through.

Busker group ETC reprises cantopop favourite Under The Vast Sky @ Chinatown, SG.

Aussie passerby Claudia Migliaccio joins Doo Wop buskers Spank for Stand By Me @ NYC

A Bosnian visitor renders What's Up backed by busker group Sentuhan @ Downtown KL

Startups @ Computex

Innovex is a startup focused satellite event of Computex. It features 400+ exhibitors in addition to the 1,500+ exhibitors at Computex. Entry to Innovex is open to all [NTD 2000 | USD 63] while Computex [gratis] is open to trade professionals. [Computex: May 28 - June 1, Innovex: May 29 - 31 @ Taipei tix]. Sample:

Forum tix
  • Rising Stars in Innovation - Whoscall
  • Investing in Sports Innovation - Hype
  • Global SportsTech Ecosystem - Velodash
  • How ARM Can Help You Win - ARM
  • Intelligent Manufacturing & Industry 4.1 - NCKU
  • AI for Genomics - NTU-BIME
  • Personalised Genomics - AllBio
  • Artificial Intelligence Trends - Appier
  • International Accelerators - AL PG PC LM

Startups | Exhibitors

Pick of Events (W4-May-2019)

Link Starting a Business @ KL
Link Dept of Exports @ KL
Link Coworking Spaces @ KL
Link Flutter Hackathon @ KL 1
Link Biz Expansion @ KL tix
Link Startup Pitch @ JB also
Link Tech Ladies @ PG

Link Music Buffet @ KL
Link Micro Arts Grant @ KL
Link Poetry Workshop @ KL tix
Link Urban Conservation @ KL
Link Alena Murang @ KL 1 2
Link Girly Book Club @ KL

Around The Region
Link Fintech Iftar @ JKT
Link Analytics Ramadhan @ JKT
Link Influencer Ramadhan @ JKT
Link Driving Innovation @ JKT
Link Women Founders @ JKT
Link Social vs Business @ JKT
Link BlueBird Adventures @ JKT
Link Security Tokens @ HK
Link AI in Finance @ HK
Link IEEE Blockchain @ SG 1
Link Google Cloud Next @ SG
Link Accelerating MedTech @ SG
Link Commercialising MedTech @ SG
Link Fintech CoInnovation @ HCMC tix

Crypto: Starbucks Microsoft Facebook

Some notes and observations on three brands that were in crypto news recently.

Starbucks Accepts Bitcoin?
  • The title of a recent Forbes article suggests Starbucks has begun accepting bitcoin for payments (and thus Starbucks endorses bitcoin).
  • Reading the article reveals it is Spedn, an ewallet by Flexa, that is said to be under limited testing by Starbucks. (The article later mentions Starbucks denies working with Flexa).
  • It is like if Boost (an ewallet) decides to accept Ethereum. This does not mean 99 Speedmart and KK Supermart (two grocery chains that support Boost) endorse Ethereum. Boost may simply process Ethereum and pay merchants in fiat (MYR etc), the merchants do not see or need to know about Ethereum.
  • Taking this further, this suggests payment processors and intermediaries could be a key to the practical usage of crypto. Payment processors may allow, say, bitcoin (which charges about USD 4 and may take from 10 minutes to hours to confirm a transaction), to be used for quick micro transactions (eg. pay for a cup of milk tea in MY for around USD 0.50) by consolidating transactions and storing details (time stamp, payer, payee, amount, item description etc) off-chain (ie. in a database rather than a blockchain).

Microsoft Picks Bitcoin
  • Wired reports Microsoft has picked the bitcoin blockchain to further its digital identity initiative together with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF, post image) whose members include IBM, Aetna, R3, WeBank and NEC.
  • The purpose of the initiative is provide digital natives with a digital identity which is 'self sovereign', that is not dependent on, say, a Google, Facebook or Twitter account (which could be withdrawn by the principal).
  • How is the bitcoin blockchain used? Here's how it might happen. Essential data eg. name, nationality, identification number (or a hash thereof) will be stored in the bitcoin blockchain to secure it. Larger data eg. photos, will be stored encrypted in the Inter Planetary File System (IPFS). a new decenralized file system that is torrent like.
  • The decentralised nature of the bitcoin blockchain and IPFS makes the identity more secure and harder to take down. Note that the emphasis here is on blockchain not bitcoin. Nevertheless, to commit a transaction, a bitcoin transaction fee needs to be paid, so at first glance, the identity system may not be free (Microsoft says it has yet to figure out the business model and other chains might be supported in the future).

Facebook's Cryptocurrency
  • Facebook's hypothesized cryptocurrency has been given the code name 'Libra' by media because Facebook recently registered a Swiss company named Libra Networks amidst other possible cryptocurrency ramp-up measures.
  • Traditionally, Libra denotes justice, fairness and balance, and the higher aspects of law and order.. This might hint at the crypto ambitions of Facebook. Libra is also phonetically close to the word Liber, as in Liberty.
  • Since Whatsapp is increasingly a medium of P2P and B2C transactional communications ('deliver an impossible burger to me at my office for lunch'), it is natural for Facebook to want to add a payment option for the convenience of users.
  • To ponder: Will it be crypto or fiat? If crypto, will it be a stable coin or a free floating coin? Will it be an alternative to PayPal, the current de facto global consumer payment platform? Will long-time, active Facebook members get an air-drop (free coins on launch)?
  • Facebook is already very powerful and encompassing. Going into payments could potentially lead to corporate power overreach, more data mining, and increased regulatory scrutiny and oversight. Or perhaps Facebook will do something out-of-the-box and carve out payments into an independent entity to be governed by an august board of directors and/or advisers, as what a Libra-ian approach might suggest.

Que Será Será

My Heart Will Go On [The Music of James Horner, 25 May 2019 @ KLCC tix]

Viva La Vida [Strings Go Pop! 31 May 2019 @ KLPAC tix]

Doris Day's Que Será, Será [cover by Sophia Ng]

Startup Roll

In a blink we are almost at the end of May and the end of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Symbolically, Spring is the season of startups, thus there is just a week or two left to launch. A sample of local startups:
  • MyBioMass - Nanocellulose: Plastic from Plants
  • Octo - CIMB's Neobank (VN and PH only)
  • EzCab - Ride Hailing: accepts major ewallets
  • Frenzt - Ride Hailing: can select M, F or Previous Driver
  • CapitalBay - Supply Chain Finance
  • GoLog - On-Demand Delivery
  • BizzApp - Ecommerce Wholesaler App
  • DriveMark - Safe Driver Ranking
  • AinMedicare - Halal Pharma
  • CMC - Mobility Projects
  • iFix - Repair App
  • MindAppz - Tuition App
  • Rtist - Hire Creative Talents
  • Sling - Tinder for Job Seekers
  • OurTalent -  'Rogue Rapper' Namewee's Startup

Pick of Events (W3-May-2019)

Link Saving Oceans @ KL 1 2
Link AI for Startups @ KL
Link AI for Business @ PG
Link IoT Challenge @ MY

Link Google Iftar @ KL
Link TnG Ramadan @ KL 1 2
Link Tea Appreciation @ KL
Link Coffee Appreciation @ KL

Around The Region
Link Greater Bay Forum @ HK
Link Smart Mobility @ HK
Link MicroServices @ JKT
Link ID Creatives @ BKK
Link SpaceTech @ SG tix
Link Explainable AI @ SG
Link Digital Marketing @ SG

Ewallet vs NeoBank vs DigitalBank

BigBay Goes NeoBank
In the best tradition of growth hacking, AirAsia's BigPay is going neobank not by licensing but by practice [by our estimation]. In a video, Group CEO Tony Fernandes mentions as soon as BigPay receives approval from regulator BNM to increase the maximum ewallet deposit to MYR 50K [USD 12K], AirAsia will pay staff salaries into BigPay. This will be a major boost for BigPay and the ewallet ecosystem. Imagine other ewallets that have a substantial local parent following suit:
  • Boost - Axiata & Digi payrolls go into Boost. [Vcash folds into Boost?]
  • TnG - CIMB & TnG payrolls go into TnG [CIMB unlikely due to firewall]
  • MAE - Maybank payroll goes into MAE [maybe start with IT staff]

Long Term Stock Exchange
The SEC has just approved (Friday, 10 May 2019) a new stock exchange: the Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE). LTSE differs from standard stock exchanges in the following:
  • Long term investors get more voting rights than short term ones
  • CEO salary must not be linked to stock prices
  • Longer reporting cycles (eg. half yearly vs quarterly)
Next in the pipeline awaiting SEC approval is MEMX, a new stock exchange that is led by brokerages and banks in a promise to simplify listings and reduce costs.

Comparison of Banking Types
How to distinguish neobanks, digital banks, virtual banks and traditional banks? Virtual banks are another name for digital banks. Neobanks are more nimble and easier to start than digital banks because neobanks do not require a banking license, they leverage on the backend and license of an existing bank. Digital banks differ from traditional banks by having no branches. The table below provides a fuller comparison.

Ewallet NeoBank DigitalBank StandardBank
Onboarding Instant eKYC eKYC Counter
Deposit Yes Yes Yes Yes
Withdrawals No Yes Yes Yes
Transfers Yes Yes Yes Yes
ATM No Yes Yes Yes
Lending No Yes Yes Yes
DebitCard Maybe Yes Yes Yes
CreditCard No Maybe Yes Yes
MaxDeposit Small Medium Large VeryLarge
BankingLicense No No Yes Yes
DepositInsured No Maybe Yes Yes
Branches No No No Yes
Humans F2F No No Maybe Yes
OnlinePortal No Maybe Yes Yes
AppBased Yes Yes Yes Optional
EasilyBanned Yes Yes Maybe No
DataSlurping Yes Yes Yes No
InterestBearing No Low Higher Low
Characteristic Speed Agility Reach Stability
TargetMarket Unbanked, Youngsters, Digerati Underbanked, SME/SMB, Young AdultsMedium Sized Businesses, Niche Markets Institutions, Large Businesses, General Public

Moment in Time

Have you heard the phrase 'live in the present' and wondered what that means? We don't have an answer though we have heard it may mean not being distracted by the past or the future. We like Belgian singer Dana Winner's take, One Moment in Time. [Good speakers or headphones recommended.]

DLT: The Next Wave

DLT projects are not only technically challenging (uniqueness, maths, economics, distributed architecture, security, speed), its adoption and usage are dependent on consortium or community building. Given this, here are some DLT projects which have been in the news recently for gaining traction with established organisations:

Pick of Events (W2-May-2019)

Link Measurability @ KL
Link Digital F&B @ KL tix
Link Embracing IoT @ KL tix
Link 2F Authentication @ KL
Link Ecomm Update @ KL also
Link Reducing Regulations @ KL
Link Multitasking Woman @ JB

Link Triple Orchestra @ KL vid
Link Senandung Express @ KL

Around The Region
Link Street Venture Capital @ SG
Link MIT AI and ML @ SG tix
Link Quantum Economy @ SG
Link Job Seeker Data @ SG
Link Energy Startups @ SG
Link Going Digital @ SG
Link Token Economy @ HK
Link WeChat Conference @ HK
Link Sustainable Startups @ HK tix

Industrial Revolution

What is Industrial Revolution 4.0? The top two results from Google point to articles from Forbes and Wikipedia. If you find these heavy reading, here's a lightweight guide.

Rev Period Driver Products
0 1700s Humans Agriculture, Philosophy, Arts, Crafts
1 1800s Engines Locomotives, Ships, Bridges, Roads, Buildings
2 1900s Electricity Houses, Cars, Consumer Products, Mass Entertainment
3 2000s Computers Internet, Social Media, Gadgets, Global Supply Chain
3.5 2010s Connectivity Sharing Economy, Commoditization, Distributed Systems
4 2020s Robots Unknown (perhaps agile products from agile production)
5 2030s? Nature? Clean Air & Water, Greenomics, Sustainability?

  • IR0 This was 1700s and before (earlier: Iron Age, Bronze Age, Stone Age)
  • IR3 The advent of computers saw the addition of robotics to the factory floor and increasingly powerful design, simulation and control software.
  • IR3.5 (our take) Industrial production took a big conceptual leap from factory floor to gadgets via software and apps. For example, a car can potentially be transformed from a personal product into a shared commodity.
  • IR4 We lump Cloud, Big Data, IoT etc (the often mentioned components of IR4) into Robots. Just imagine a powerful robot which can sense via IoT, use the cloud, learn and does stuff. What stuff? We don't know, maybe like this.
  • IR5 Just exploring some possibilities looking ahead. A product example could be Beyond Meat, whose share price rose 163% upon its IPO on Thursday (2nd May 2019), the best performing stock debut since 2008.

Food Delivery

Labour Day
In a previous post, we showcased Westlife's signature tune My Love. The music video opened with a scene of the group missing a flight and forced to walk (presumably to find another means to get home). This was probably working class cred from Westlife. Those, now or at some point in their life, who do not have their own ride, who missed the last bus, train, or were ever stranded in a place with no clear means of getting home will identify with the opening scene.

Westlife plays the working class theme again in the above cover of Uptown Girl. Despite slightly raunchy visuals, it's a clean, old-fashioned video (made circa 2001) with colourful hues reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell-ish early 60s and modern K-pop. The video is strangely contemporary with depictions of selfies and a mention of "we are slumming in a Facebook blog" which would actually be "we are slumming in a place called Blonde's". Facebook debuted in 2004.

Food Delivery
As the Labour Day holiday fell on Wednesday (right between weekends), and it was a hot day in KL, folks might have stayed home during lunch and tried food delivery. This was an ideal day to run a one-day food delivery promo but most campaigns that we came across ended in April.

But kudos to the food delivery riders who were working on a public holiday. Drivers in KL may have noticed a marked increase in food delivery riders since the beginning of the year with FoodPanda, GrabFood and HonestBee being the most prominent, and the occasional DahMakan riders and more rarely McD, Dominos and PizzaHut. Our (casual) research indicate FoodPanda is tops in KL, with GrabFood making gains and HonestBee soldiering on.

Random Notes
  • Gen-Z may be hanging out more online and less in eateries, and hence food delivery may be the thing for them.
  • [Gen-Z also seems to shun more grimy eateries like mamaks, road side joints and hawker spots but patronise modern cafes and branded venues (eg late night nasi lemak at a back lane in PJ). Thus, ambience and experience may be more important to them than taste (a subjective measure) or price.]
  • If the authorities implement road congestion charging, the food delivery business will gain.
  • Food delivery packaging is un-green (thick cardboard boxes, plastic containers, utensils and bags). It is possible food deliveries are doing all they can, and it is the packaging industry that is presently unable to provide green alternatives. Or it may require minimalist packaging (eg just bags of food) on the understanding the customer will provide the rest of the utensils.

Semiconductor Conference

SEMICON Southeast Asia 2019 [ May 7-9 @ MITEC, KL | prog | exhibitors | tix ] is an exposition for the electronics industry. SEMICON is an event of SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries. Exhibitors include TokyoElectron, Elliance, Chroma, MARii, AlliedVision, Atomic, AgrHub and SodaVision. Hardware startups could be eligible for a free kiosk, apply here.

Topics sample
  • Autonomous Mobile Robots - Sesto
  • Industry 4.0 Open Platform - Vitrox
  • Flatveyor and Cableveyor - Tsubakimoto
  • Smartphone of The Future - TechSearch
  • Industrial IoT: Ready for AI - Intel
  • IoT Boon or Bane - PwC
  • AI Wars: Return of Hardware - McKinsey
  • Escaping Pilot Purgatory - McKinsey
  • Virtualizing the Substation - TNB
  • IoT for Water Utiltiies - Maynilad
  • Industrial & Logistics Clusters - UEM
  • Anchor Company Ecosystem (ACE) - EXIM

Pick of Events (W1+May-2019)

Link AWS Blockchain @ KL info
Link JP-MY Smart Mfg @ KL
Link AirAsia Vidi @ KL
Link AU-CN Pitch @ KL
Link Youth Conference @ KL tix
Link Scaleup Meetup @ KL
Link eTrade Briefing @ KL

Link Surely Honey @ KL tix
Link United Humour @ KL tix
Link Piano Romantics @ JB tix

Around The Region
Link Responsible Tech @ BKK
Link Blockchain 3 Under 30 @ BKK
Link Pricing What You Throw @ BKK
Link Lean Beer @ SG
Link AI for IoT Data @ SG
Link China Ecommerce @ SG
Link Digital Supply Chain @ SG
Link Hyperledger Adoption @ SG
Link She Loves Data @ JKT
Link Lessons from SV @ JKT
Link Product-Market Fit @ JKT
Link Japan Data Scientist @ JKT
Link AI Graduation Demo Day @ HK

Water Challenge

  • KL had a brief, scheduled water supply hiatus a few days ago (Apr 24-27, 2019) due to water infra works. 1
  • Since stoppage at the source lasted only a day, residences with water tanks may not have experienced any interruption to their water supply.
  • Yet, many would have stored up water in anticipation of taps running dry. 2
  • If you have stocked up on water, and don't need it consequently, don't pour it away. Instead try to live with that water reserve and see how long it will last, and how you would cope without running water.

Water Challenge
  • Last year (2018), Cape Town nearly ran out of water. Disaster was averted when residents heeded government calls and limited water usage to just 50 litres per person per day in a stirring holdout (until rain arrived in the nick of time after three years of drought). 3 
  • How much is 50 litres? A box of mineral water (1.5 litre x 12 bottles) is about 20 litres, so 50 litres is slightly more than 2 boxes.
  • How much does the average MY resident use a day? Around 210 litres. 4
  • In SG, usage is reported to be approximately 150 litres per person per day. Journalist Audrey Tan travelled to Cape Town and returned to take up a challenge to make do with just 20 litres for a day, the amount some Cape Town residents were down to. 5
  • In her video essay, she looks happy and eager to take on the challenge in the opening video, but by the end of the challenge, in the closing video, she looks decidedly pensive. According to her, the hardest part of the challenge was in the kitchen (cooking, cleaning). 6
  • For the kitchen, if you attempt to live off stored water (see preamble), for the short term, one possibility is to use disposable (and biodegradable) chop/satay sticks or hands to eat (though if water is short, hand washing itself might be a challenge) and food grade paper (the type used to wrap nasi lemak) to cover plates. To avoid having to wash greasy pots, pans and utensils, try the old college hack - everything cooked in one go in a rice cooker.
  • As you can see, the water challenge could be an interesting exercise and it would definitely make you value water more.

Global Water Awards 2019 via
  • Water Company - VC+SE for water top image
  • Desalination Acciona Agua - Wide array of successful projects
  • Digital Water Company Evoqua - Water monitoring for critical applications
  • Breakthrough Tech Microvi - Treat water using biology, not chemistry
  • Public Water Agency Saudi Water - Privatised, greenfield desalination
  • Desalination Plant Tuas - Solar powered, space efficient desalinator
  • Water Project Green Meadows - Convert swamp water to drinking water
  • Wastewater Project Utrecht - Small footprint, neighbourhood friendly
  • Industrial Project Tata Steel - Towards the first zero liquid discharge city
  • Smart Water Sydney Water - Preventive maintenance via geospatial & IoT
  • People's Choice Aqua Membranes - 3D printed spacers for reverse osmosis

Boy Band

Westlife's August 2019 concert in KL was sold out within a day suggesting boy bands and melodies from the 90s continue to attract a following with new and younger audiences. Some music commentators find boy bands too sugary but newer fans may see in them a message of fellowship that seems to have been lost in a more fractious, modern world.

Plastic Apocalypse

A summary of an article titled Microplastics are raining down from the sky published by National Geographic on April 15th 2019:
  • Microplastics are not only present in the oceans, they are now found in the atmosphere.
  • Scientists have detected microplastics falling from the sky at a pristine, remote part of the Pyrenees Mountains.
  • Two previous studies have found microplastics present in city air.
  • The scientists do not know where these airborne microplastics come from.
  • Scientists also do not know the health effects of airborne microplastics which can be inhaled or ingested.
  • More ominous, microplastics could be breaking down into nanoplastics.
  • Currently, there is no easy way to detect nanoplastics.
  • Nanoplastics could be more nasty than microplastics by being more reactive, and being nano-sized, can pass through biological barriers.

In a previous post we cited Elon Musk saying AI could be more dangerous then nuclear bombs because AI's increasing reach could go unnoticed, and if it turns rogue, it might be too late or too hard to flip the switch. Could the same be said of plastics? And could it be even before microplastics could be defeated, they are morphing into nanoplastics?

Sunway University is hosting a joint-lecture [this evening, 5:30pm, 23-Apr-2019 @ Sunway tix] on eliminating plastic waste, the circular economy and the use of accounting tools to drive these practices by Gail Whiteman and Jeffrey Unerman. [Stodgy as accounting may seem, it could be a powerful tool in the battle against plastics by, for example, assigning plastics a much higher cost.]

Pick of Events (W1-May-2019)

Link Energy Trilemma @ KL tix
Link MDEC x MaGIC @ KL
Link Facial Recognition @ KL info
Link Digital Smorgasbord @ KL
Link MBApreneurs @ KL tix
Link Cyber Forensics @ KL
Link Managing Cashflow @ KL
Link Tracking Prevention @ KL info
Link International Pricing @ JB
Link Coffee Meetup @ KK tix
Link Green & IR4 Fund @ PG tix
Link Digital Economy @ PG tix
Link Survey Sampling @ PG

Ecommerce & Hackathons
Link ID & SG Ecommerce @ KL
Link Cross-Border Ecom @ KL
Link Visual Ecommerce @ KL
Link HLB FinHack @ KL
Link HSBC FinHack @ KL
Link Big Data AI Hack @ KL

Link Commons Festival @ IP tix postponed
Link 15 Shades of Green @ HK
Link Digital Performance @ KL
Link Quarter Life Crisis @ KL
Link Music Forum @ KL tix

Around The Region
Link Going Global @ SG
Link Smart Mobility @ SG
Link Energy Supply Chain @ SG
Link B2B Sales & Marketing @ SG
Link CTO Meetup @ JKT
Link Female Tech Stars @ JKT
Link SocMed Marketing @ JKT
Link ID Genetic Ancestry @ JKT
Link From Data to Product @ JKT
Link Due Diligence Checklist @ JKT
Link Ecommerce Gamification @ JKT

Security vs Utility

Old School Security Token: The Stock Certificate

[Security tokens vs utility tokens] There seems to a flurry of interest in STOs (security token offerings) lately. In this essay, we shall try to distinguish between security and utility tokens and fathom how STOs might be used.

Game Arcade Analogy
  • Game arcades offer a plethora of games including merry-go-round, basketball hoop shoot, pinball and electronic games.
  • Payment for games is usually via tokens which can be purchased from a token counter.
  • Why use tokens instead of coins? Centralised cash handling, security (not having 50 cash locations in an arcade of 50 games), ease of converting notes including foreign notes, ease in changing prices (eg from 50 cents per token to 60 cents per token) etc.
  • These arcade tokens are an example of utility tokens - one utilizes them to play games at the arcade.
  • On the other hand and completely different, if the arcade operator were to offer shares in the company, the share certificates would be the equivalent of security tokens.
  • [In the old days, shares were issued as paper certificates. These certificates secure (hence the term 'security') the share ownership of the holders of the certificates.]

  • STO came about after the SEC looked into ICOs and determined that some or many were offering shares without being regulated by the SEC (and are thus illegal).
  • Consequently, if a business were to offer shares (stock) via a token offering, and it is approved by SEC (have audited accounts etc) then it becomes a STO, an ICO which has been vetted by authorities.
  • Though the one major claimed STO in 2018, tZERO, which raised USD 134 million (MYR 553 million), seems to have run into some headwinds. 1 2
  • It might be more useful for STOs (as a concept) to leave the ICO legacy 3 behind, and be approached from a fintech, proptech or wealthech perspective.
  • A STO should be for a running business with traction and proper accounts, whereas ICOs have largely been based on 'whitepapers'.

STO Use Case
  • Allow the issue of stock to 3 different groups: institutional investors (T20/upper class), retail investors (M40/middle class) and security tokens (B40/working class/newbies/dabblers).
  • Thus, a newbie/bit investor can simply sign up online or on-app and buy a small lot of say Apple stock. Being on a token platform, the platform can define lot sizes, spread of investors (eg. no more than one lot per person) to limit risk, speculation and manipulation.
  • Holders of tokens are entitled to dividends similar to other stock holders, and to (fractional) voting. Can the crowd vote competently on CEO remuneration and other complex issues? Left as an exercise for readers.

Free vs Paid

Jack Ma turns up at many events all around the world. He is usually more reserved and careful when speaking at big conferences and in front of high powered audiences, but lights up with smaller, more casual crowds and with young people (video). This leads us to the topic of this post: free vs paid events.

Free Events
  • Free events are not free. It is a paid for by the organizer in time, effort and resources. There are many details to take care of: theme, speakers, topics, venue, marketing, sponsors, logistics, f&b, audio, video, hosting (making speakers and guests feel welcomed and comfortable), registration, staffing, accessories, swags, ambience etc.
  • Why make it free (or at a nominal fee)? Possible reasons: paying it forward, community building, knowledge sharing, commonwealth (vs private hoarding), freedom (barrierless admission, all welcomed), CSR, corporate or government initiatives that are meant for the general public, special occasions, celebrations, semi-structured meetup or get together.

Paid Events
  • Paid events are usually broadly industry focused (many speakers, topics, tracks, side-events) and might suit audiences with broader objectives.
  • For example, if a person is into the content of, say, cutting edge mobility, a top notch conference on this theme might help him or her glean what is at the edge (which might otherwise require reading through dozens of technical and industry journals).
  • Or, if a person is into networking and would like to meet suave and articulate people, a lawyer's conference (say) might be a suitable event to head to.
  • Here's a (speculative) example of getting the best out of a paid event. Gojek (GO-JEK) will be in town for a conference on 29 Apr 2019 @ KL [ MYR 1200 USD 288]. For some reason, Gojek is not operating in MY yet. If you are an analyst and would like to find out why, this might be a conference to go to. Or if you are a ride-sharing startup, and would like to JV with or be acquired by Gojek, this might also be a conference to go to.

Security Token | DLT Accelerator

Bumper slate of events to mark the end of April 2019. The post title refers to two topics in a DLT/STO event happening in Taipei.

DLT101 Distributed Ledger tix 24 Apr 2019 @ Taipei
  • Real World Examples of DLT - HTC
  • Amazon Managed Blockchain - AWS
  • Security Tokens 101 - STN post image
  • DLT Accelerator - BoostX
  • Separating Hype from Reality - R3

CoCoon Pitch Finals Spring 2019 tix 25 Apr 2019 @ HongKong
  • LambdaSense - Gait analysis (identification, fall/incident prediction etc)
  • Recruiter - Job portal for recruiters (instead of candidates)
  • Boxs - Shopfiy/WooCommerce challenger (WeChat commerce capable)
  • TaleLabs - Computer coaching for public speaking (vocab, pace, fillers etc)
  • Borecast - Tunnel boring maintenance forecast system
  • OurBigDay - Wedding portal (traditions, vendors, website, digital redpacket)

Ambank BizRACE Season 2 info acceleration in progress, picks:
  • ISSES - Industrial engineering (robotic spray painting, infrared catalyst etc)
  • EmergingEPC - Industrial engineering (compressors, dehydrators, filters etc)
  • Chemseal - Industrial engineering (waterproofing, flooring, coating etc)
  • NEXPlatform - Digital property showcase
  • LetMeStore - Outsourced storage for expanding ecommerce businesses
  • Vesbo - Instant bird's nest porridge

Pick of Events (W4-Apr-2019)
1. Events may fall before, during or after the indicated week. 2. Locations are generic and approximate eg. KL=Greater KL. 3. Posts are crafted on the go and are often polished after posting. 4. Event names are interpreted and abbreviated. 5. Some words or terms are abbreviated, for example, from 'e.g.' to 'eg'.

Link Industry 4.0 Fund @ KL tix
Link Big Data for Biz @ KL tix
Link Open Data @ KL tix
Link Object Storage @ KL
Link Data Analytics @ KL
Link Halal Business @ KL
Link Google Genomics @ KL
Link Speed Mentoring @ KL
Link Fintech DevHub @ KL
Link Local v Foreign VCs @ KL
Link Experience Economy @ KL
Link 5G for Work & Play @ PT tix new
Link Mum's Bakery @ JB tix
Link Side Business @ KK
Link Road to Growth @ KK
Link Accelerator Show @ KC tix
Link Machine Learning @ PG tix

Link Among Great Apes @ KC
Link A Smithsonian @ KC
Link Inclusiveness @ KL tix
Link Empathic Design @ KL
Link Portrait Videography @ KL tix
Link Writing for Netflix @ KL
Link Explain Science @ KL 1 2
Link Social Whispers @ KL
Link Design Meetup @KL new
Link Celebrity Chefs @ KL new
Link Zine x DIY Fest @ KL new
Link Design Curation @ HK
Link Scientific Lenoardo @ HK

Lectures | Economy | Politics
Link Direct Democracy @ KL
Link Eliminating Plastics @ KL
Link Fortune500 Culture @ KL
Link Economy Meetup @ KL
Link Digital Dialogue @ KL
Link Nuclear Disarmament @ KL
Link EU-Asean Regionalism @ KL new

Around The Region
Link European E-Residency @ SG
Link Floating Solutions @ SG pdf
Link Maritime Innovation @ SG
Link Expanding to SEA @ SG
Link Women Investors @ SG
Link Boutique Fitness @ SG
Link Explainable AI @ SG
Link Analytics & AI @ SG
Link CEO Meetup @ HK tix
Link Logistics ML @ HK
Link Expat Women @ HK
Link Security Token @ TP tix
Link Fake Hackathon @ JKT
Link Tourism Big Data @ JKT
Link Bespoke Big Data @ JKT

Subway Blockchain

Metro Shenzhen Subway [ droid | iOS ] Left: Suggested route from the Civic Center to the airport (distance: 33.7 km, travel time: 55 minutes, fare: CNY 8 (approx MYR 5 | USD 1.2), requires 2 changes of trains). Middle: station information showing where the two lines that connect to the Grand Theater station lead to, includes dining suggestions around the station. Right: built-in map shows places around the Grand Theater station. [These screenshots are for miscellaneous illustration and are not directly related to the discussion below.]

The Curious Case of a Subway Blockchain
  • Shenzhen Metro is reportedly issuing blockchain backed invoices for rides.
  • An invoice in a more formal sense is a bill ie a request for payment. However, not infrequently, the term invoice is used for a receipt, a record of what was paid. For this discussion, we will assume the latter and use the word 'receipt' instead of 'invoice'.
  • Why use a blockchain to record receipts (and not a normal database)? Is a trustless system required? Not obviously so, the metro operator could presumably be able to competently record journeys and issue receipts. Do intermediaries need to be removed? Doesn't seem applicable, the metro transacts directly with commuters.
  • Must the receipts be absolutely tamper proof? Receipts have no intrinsic value except as records. A receipt for a ride is not high value, not an asset or exchangeable (except for corporate expense claims), and is not performing a hyper critical function (the metro could lose a ticket or two and still run vs if a bank loses some transactions).
  • Receipts as a whole are important to the metro to record revenue and rides. To ensure their accuracy, internal controls can be effected through subsidiary ledgers (eg. a secondary counting system at the entry/exit barriers) and other techniques. These would probably still be required even if a blockchain is used.
  • Then, why use a blockchain? Some possible reasons (as we speculate):
    • For publicity. • It is indeed an invoice and not a receipt ie a post-paid system. The record of journeys must be robust because the customer will be billed for them later. However, telcos have been doing post-paid billing for a long time without blockchain. • The owners (or tax department) does not trust the metro to record transactions diligently and is requesting it to use a blockchain (though if the metro can't be trusted, there might be issues elsewhere). • The metro (and/or its blockchain supplier) is trialing the blockchain in a non-critical, high throughput environment in preparation for something more substantial.

Michelle's Story

Former YouTube sensation Michelle Phan draws and tells her story. [Best viewed from a laptop or desktop with good speakers or headphones. The video is soft cropped for better focus.]


Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, is in town to give an update on the state of Ethereum this evening 6:30pm at PayPal's offices (in SG). After which, another co-founder of Ethereum, Gavin Wood, will cover Polkadot, which has a breathtaking vision to unify the different blockchains so as to get the best of each. Perhaps conceptually like (as far as we our brief reading tells us) how the internet allows different databases (Firebase, MySQL, SQLite, Azure, S3, MongoDB etc) to work together to serve the web. We haven't been looking much at blockchains lately but we'll make an exception for Vitalik. [ tix | fullhouse but check with the organizer who may have a reserved seating for ticket holders for x minutes only policy | caveat emptor ]

Pick of Events (W3-Apr-2019)

Link Game Industry @ KL
Link Green Factories @ KL
Link Socialpreneur @ CJ
Link Functional Ruby @ PG
Link Pre-Accelerator @ KC
Link Food Delivery @ ME

Art & a bit of science
Link Primordial Soup @ KL
Link Comedy Workshop @ KL
Link Design Handoffs @ KL
Link Music Royalties @ KL
Link Quality City @ KL
Link DNA Testing @ JB

Around The Region
Link Echelon Korea @ SO tix
Link Internet Economy @ HK
Link Silicon Dragons @ HK
Link Supply Chain @ HK
Link New Gen Retail @ SG
Link Women Startups @ TP
Link Women Capital @ JKT