Live from X Media Labs @ NTU Singapore

xml_logo.jpgBernard and Sriram are the other livebloggers for this event. If you are lazy to read, Justin’s the photoblogger here. The official event blog is here. Check out the coverage for the earlier part of the day here and here.

There’s a significant number of prominent personalities in the local digital media space here. I just caught up with ex-STOMP editor Jennifer Lewis and also MDA’s Interactive Digital Media head Michael Yap outside. There’s also a number of local media entrepreneurs which I managed to catch up with last evening developing games and producing content for the web and mobile universes.


NewsFLASH! There;s also a post-event party tonight at Minstry of Sound thrown into the event upon feedback from attendees. Cheers to Megan Elliot who has made it all comne together, its ging to be a fanstastic opportunity to mingle with the other folks here in less stuffy environ. =)

There’s about a 100 attendees at this event, mostly entrepreneurs and practitioners from the various media companies around the world. There’s surprisingly few students at this event which I consider a pity as it will be great from an educational perspective providing exposure to what happens in the digital arts space outside of this lil island nation.

The current talk is about the evolution of Chinese art and the current development of digital art inside CHina by Prof Lin Hua from Tsinghua University. According to his bio, he is the dean of artsthere and has contributed his art works as diplomatic gifts through the Chinese government.


Ou Ning kicked off his presentation on “Creative Noise” with a video show about CHina’s young generation “Getting it Louder!”. More on Ou Ning’s project here. It comprises of clips of Chinese youths in their natural habitats of shopping centres interacting with the “Get it Louder” exhibitions. Ou Ning proceeds to show examples of the exhibits and I think my friend Justin has taken some photos of them which I hope to put it up here later.


We are watching a machinima clip that seems to be produced by Second Life citizen China Tracy. Its a story of courtship with themes of solitude and emptiness that perhaps describes some of the motivations for urbanites seeking companionship online. An utopianistic fantasy island within Second Life is profiled in the next video clip. Its a mash of structures and buildings evoking imageires of images of CHina such as the Shanghai skyline, the Beijing Olympics Birds Nest satadium, a floating bicycle wheel, flames from some power station, a large workers’ hat , the La Defense building in Paris orbits around the Forbidden City embedded within this island. Strangely, this island reminds me of Kevin Costner’s WaterWorld, albeit much cooler and the pproduction costs (of this video) less expensive.. 😉


Next up is the team behind Singapore Press Holding’s digital media efforts. Felix Soh, deputy editor of Straits Times and Jennifer Lewis (previously of STOMP! the user-generated content portal) will be talking about their efforts in building an online community and how to make that leap from offline print to online. There’s 240+ slides in his presentation, I hope he’s not going to go through them all..*groan* Many people have had their strong opinions about STOMP, there’s going to be a Chinese clone as well called OMY.

News break from Felix — Breaking news coming up will be a story on a Singaporean shot in the legs inside Myanmar! Shot by 40MM anti-riot weapon and then kicked into the drain, allegedly with his wife too. Pictures of his injuries were sent in anonymously this morning to STOMP — Straits Time’s citizen journalism effort. Its great to hear they regard this as a laboratory and continual work in progress and take pride in the fact its a living and breathing media organism. “DON’T COOK, KEEP THEM RAW” is their mantra to keeping content edgy. Only then will mainstream media appreciate the dynamic nature of interacting with real people whose minds and thoughts shift and cannot be captured in its entirety on any static sheet of paper or webpage.


Formerly Head of R&Dof China’s online gaming titan Shanda, Monte Singman, takes the stage. He is currently co-founder of Radiance Digital Entertainment (Linkedin profile). He has been in gaming for 21 years, sold his company to Shanda which explains his involvement there and was even involved in that legendary name most Gen Y pple of my age knew — Streetfighter!! THere are 44 million gamers in CHina, 90% are online gamers, and most are services, not products, since the latter is less likely to be pirated easily. There is a new trend of gamers playing from homes than from cafes. There are more broadband users in CHina than in United States. People who grew up during Cultural Revolution are learning to use computers and that demographic is a fast-growing one with car games being very popular. In terms of geographical composition of CHinese gamers, 44% are from provinces/ county capitals, 12% are from coastal cities, 31% are from 2nd/ 3rd tier cities. In terms of MMORPG players by occupation, there are equally as much professionals as there are students, which means some pple are not working. 😉 The ARPU of the average Chinese gamer is 200RMB per month, substantial in terms of Chinese standards, almost US$200 in terms of disposeable income within China.


This guy is phenomenal. I think he’s talking about me – the young of today, doing what we believe in and living out experiences when we are young, rather than regretting and musing in old age about the things we COULD have done in our youth. =) sorry, ego trip here for a while. This person is Suresh Seetharaman from Virgin Comics.


Assia from Ministry of Sound TV is up next. MOS TV was started in November 2006 and takes the famous superclub into new territories. MOS TV started from IPTV and is also on terrestrial TV now. It seeks to be the leading digital portal of dance music, pitting it close to MTV turf.

Assia goes on to lay out her business strategy for the audience. Awesome stuff as she obviously has lots of passion in what she is doing. She’s particularly impressed in Singapore being the 4th most connected nation in the world (in terms of broadband) and how we are ranked #1 in the world in terms of ease of doing business. MOS TV’s entry into Singapore has great timing, what with the first Formula 1 race next year, our new casinos in 2010-11 and its expected influx of sophisticated, club-going consumers. Its strong brand will jive up the local media and entertainment landscape and provide more impetus to startups and current industry titans like St James Power Station (an IPO expected early next year on the Singapore Stock Exchange) and Zouk.


Last act of today’s play — Amit Anand of Venture Gurus. They are not a venture capital firm but more of a consultancy service provider in terms of industry knowledge and connections. Sounds like a “startup mentorship” provider to me. Their focus in currentinly in Singapore and Mumbai but will extend to Australia and London soon. This sounds more like a commercial pitch of their company and their operations.


Milestone for a Programming Idiot

Yup, that idiot’s me. =D It took a long time in making the decision but you gotta do what you gotta do.

To all my regular readers, I finally managed to get my own domain up and running and will be blogging at from today.

My New Blog -

To ease the transition, I might pop by this site here and then but all comments and new posts will go up at the new blog. Its a big leap of faith, i know. But owning your own domain offers me more control over the look and feel of the blog. I am really new at maintaining my own site and will be gentle.

To my dear feed readers, I will need you kind souls to update your feeds. (New feed link to my left. Feed icon on the sidebar will also be updated from now on.) If there is any problems with that, feel free to drop me a line anytime. I understand many of my feed readers are new so please bear with me. I promise i won’t change my blog again for at least some years.

To my fellow bloggers, please update your links and help me boost my PageRank. I really appreciate it.

Thank y’all!

Wrote a Business Plan when you were 17?

I didn’t. But the high school students at Raffles Junior College (RJC) sure did. I was at the school yesterday giving a presentation on business plan writing to about 40 (?) members of their Entrepreneurship club (along with Justin who’s an alumni). This was a weekend camp for the new members who had a 2-hour crash course on business plan writing as part of their camp programme. 2 hours?!?! Man, it took 10 weeks for John Nesheim to teach that same course. Maybe a couple of days for a proper workshop for business plan competition participants. But 2 hours? I didn’t really know what I was in for when i took this project up.

“Can you talk about “Business” or “Entrepreneurship” for more than 3 minutes when you were 17?”

I am good at BS, so I sure could =D But it won’t make sense to those who really knew. I wanted to develop a presentation that excited the young audience without killing their interest by boring them with details. Thats where the E27 philosophy came in. We invoked a lot of excitement by highlighting Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Blake Ross, Mark Zuckerberg, the Youtube guys — most of which were 1-5 year timeframes away from the young audience when they started up. But inspiring them was easy, the meat of the presentation was the tricky part.

I had ONE BIG Challenge: the Curse of Knowledge.

1. I had way too much knowledge from my years of starting up and working for a startup. A fine line had to be drawn between simplicity and quality.

2. These kids had their own Curse of Knowledge too – from Google. I have to help them navigate through that surplus of information that plagues modern society today.

We realized 3 things early in developing our presentation:

1. A business plan format is really boring and tedious to 17-year-olds.

2. Everything was available on Google.

3. We are all very good “buying” consumers but we just dunno what its like on the other “selling” side.

We ditched the entire business plan format as the focus. And did away with a lot of business jargon like sustainable competitive advantage, core competency, value proposition. At its very core, entrepreneurship=business=making money. To me, entrepreneurship is making money with soul as a real human being. (You have to curb some human instincts when you work in a big corporation.) Injecting what you know about human society, their psychology and their attitudes towards buying things. All of us are humans and we are in contact with many businesses every day. And thats the angle I took.

Since everybody could google “Business plan writing” anytime, we focused on 3 key concepts that will be good filters in knowing the core of what it takes to write a good business plan. These filters were intended to be the mental “Compasses” to navigating the “GoogleLand” and overcoming the Curse of Knowledge.

1. Unfair Advantage

2. Positioning

3. Strategy

These were smart kids and I tried to make the examples and analogies as close and personal to them as possible. I asked that what shoes they wear, the food they eat, the MP3 player they like and what other company dominates their consciousness. From there, I explained why Nike, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Apple iPod conquers the business world and their minds.

Hopefully, it was all engaging. The room was bloody cold and the kids were dressed in T-shirts and shorts. I feared there would be a mass exodus midway through the lecture due to hypothermia fears. =D Thankfully, there wasn’t. Lets see if any of them find this blog post so we all get some real feedback.

Gmail: The Video

For those still stuck on Yahoo Mail or lousy Hotmail, get a life. =D

Made by the Gmail team, this video is great for pple who dunno about its kickass features. Especially in Asia where so many pple are still stuck on oter crappy email apps. Having used Gmail for a long time, I like the video cos I was able to see why a new user will like Gmail cos it really solves problems in sorting out the mess in your inbox.

Credit to Tony Chung’s Geekwhat.

How to Design Web 2.0 Logos

web2-logos.JPGWeb 2.0 logos are clearly distinguishable from their look and feel. But how do you put a finger to it in terms of design style? Check out this blog for an overview of the most popular logos we see.. The font of some logos are also identified, which really helps since its a bitch for graphic designers in trying to find them… (or at least for amateurs like me)

Get your web marketing education, you Old Media guy..

Jeremiah Owyang, from Podtech, has this beautiful summary of the various web marketing forms and tactics. I think of this post as the beginnings of the definitive guide that will enter all major marketing textbooks over the next couple of years. Get a headstart on everyone else NOW. If your company’s marketing director is pondering whether web marketing is restricted to mailing lists, newsletters or think that buying banner ads is really advanced, get ready for a re-education.

My favourite part is Section 5 “Community and Social Media Marketing”. I believe widgets will rule this year and get really mainstream, after Vista launches.

Unlearn English with Zlango

Zlango has received $12M funding from Accel Partners (fyi, the facebook investors) and Benchmark Capital. The service they provide is a text-to-icon translation service. I see it having immense impact among the IM users of ages 10-16 , also regarded as the next generation of kids who already are struggling with their English writing. Zlango, if successful, will eradicate the use of english over the web. We will enter the Web Version of the Caveman Era.

Here’s a horrible peek into the future, with the Adam and Eve story from the Zlango site.


I think its a ridiculous idea. I already dislike people who use too much icons to talk in IM, why the hell do I want more? Did I tell you this site was created by the Israelis? Man, I should emigrate there, my fart could probably be the next bio-fuel to solve the world’s problems. 😉