# Thursday, December 13, 2012

On Monday I spoke at Open Web Asia held on beautiful Hainan Island in Mainland China. The event, in its third year (year one was held in Korea and year two was held in Malaysia), was organized by Gang Lu of technode, a popular tech blog in Asia.

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I was asked to speak on two panels, one on “The Golden Age of Mobile” in Asia, where I made the argument that it has always been a golden age for mobile in Asia, Japan and Korea led the world in mobile a decade ago and the NTTDoCoMo iMode phone was the hot hop must have phone in 1999-2001 that lead the world in innovation. Hong Kong’s very own Yat Siu made some great points about WeChat (200m users) and Weibo (400m users) explosion due to the migrant workers in China needing to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

I also spoke on an investors panel about the startup investment situation in Asia. I was asked what was the #1 criteria when selecting the companies to invest in for the AcceleratorHK program and I said the team. All the other panelists agreed, I was glad that I was asked first. Smile 

In addition to other great panels, there were startup pitches by 10 hot Asian startups. We had startups from Korea, Japan, HK, Singapore, and Malaysia presented. I loved a team from Malaysia, however I was still a little biased towards the Hong Kong startups.

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Lastly, the best part of the day was when the community leaders from 9 Asian countries did a presentation about the startup ecosystem in their home country then had a panel discussion. They represented very diverse countries at different stages of economic development: compare Japan to Vietnam to Indonesia to India for example. What was fascinating was that while each country was different and had unique challenges and opportunities, they all wanted the same thing: more entrepreneurs. I think we may be entering the golden age of Asian entrepreneurship!

The community leaders where:

Lastly, what would a conference be without a party and what would a party be in Asia without a Gangnam Style dance. Here is Daniel, James (from Korea!), and Casey getting down:

posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 8:20:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Monday, December 10, 2012

Last week was Week 5 at Accelerator HK. I can’t believe how fast it all is going, before we know it, it will be Demo Day! The teams last week worked hard at Customer Validation and have been narrowing down their segments and value propositions. They have been starting to develop MVPs of various shapes and sizes. Some of the developers have been hacking away at PhoneGap and have sent Telerik feedback on Icenium and KendoUI. We had two mentors  with specific skillsets come in to spend time with two different teams as well.

In addition to Customer Validation, we had the opportunity to attend a Pecha-kucha night in Hong Kong. We were lucky enough to have the founder of the global phenomena of Pecha-kucha nights, Mark Dytham, in town to MC. It was an interesting night complete with arguments over how to pronounce Pecha-kucha, two Macs crashing in the middle of presentations, and topped off with someone in the audience fainting. Despite all of those setbacks, the night was a great learning experience for the cohort.

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On Thursday most of the cohort was at the SME Expo in Hong Kong doing customer validation interviews and MVP inspection. After the long day at the event, we had a Hot Pot social diner.

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Friday was our typical elevator pitches, Friday check-ins, founder talks, and our very own Pecha-kucha talks. Then on Saturday we went up to Shenzhen to the massive component markets to see how hardware startups operate. Since we are a hybrid mobile accelerator, two teams bought their first Android phone at the gadget markets.

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We then chipped in and bought Paul some jeans. Next step, tee-shirts…

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We caught up with some friends in Shenzhen and the cohort went to late night Karaoke as well as some more customer validation on Weibo.

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Stay tuned for news from Week 6!

posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 12:55:20 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 02, 2012

This past week was the 4th week of the Accelerator HK program. We are already 1/3 of the way through the program!

This week we had mentor Michael Michelini, founder of Weibo Agent come in and speak to the teams. Mike is an American living in Shenzhen, China and working on his own startup called Weibo Agent. Weibo Agent is a graduate of the accelerator Chinaccelerator in fall 2012. Mike came in and talked Social Media strategy and about his experiences in an accelerator.

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Later in the week we had Cory Kidd, co-founder of Intuitive Automata come in and speak to the teams. Cory is an American living in Hong Kong and running a startup that is building a robot to be used as a weight loss coach. It is always awesome for me to listen to Cory speak since he runs a hardware company and I think hardware is the new software.

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Cory also took advantage of some Hong Kong government grant money for startups and explained how to take advantage of those.

This Friday at the Friday check-in we worked on presentation skills with many presentations and demos going on. We even challenged members to deliver the 1 minute elevator pitch for other startups in the cohort! Now that most of the cohort have done the “Founder Friday” talk about themselves, Paul and I were able to give everyone feedback based on the skills we saw them demonstrate in their personal speeches.

Paul of course was dressed down again for Friday Hoodie Day (where we channel our inner Zuckerberg). Smile We will see if he buys a pair of jeans this weekend.

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Lastly, most of the cohort attended the Agile Tour Hong Kong all day seminar on Saturday. We had five speakers from around the world talking about DevOps, Scrum, Distributed teams, Agile Estimation, and TDD.

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Week 5 is also a busy week, stay tuned for more progress.

posted on Sunday, December 02, 2012 5:46:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last week was our third week at AcceleratorHK and the teams are starting to really get the hang of Customer Development, specifically Customer Discovery interviews. A lot of the teams have taken the feedback that they got on their customer discovery interviews and started to build MVPs and prototypes to do the next round of customer discovery (and some are thinking about moving to Customer Validation soon.) Even though it is early, it is exciting to see the early stage prototypes. (I can’t help the application developer inside of me.)

One team treated some of their interviewees to a Hong Kong Hot Pot dinner. What better way to get a captive audience? Smile

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We also focused on presentation skills at our Friday meeting. We had some founders give presentations about themselves and some do a Petcha-kucha.

 Carrie Founder FridaySoren PK

Lastly, we finally got our program director, Paul to loosen up and started a brand new Accelerator HK tradition, Friday Hoodie Day.

Paul dressed up2

This week is a big week with mentors coming in, demos, and more customer discovery/validation. Stay tuned.

posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:03:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Last week was our second week at AcceleratorHK and things are starting to fall into a good cadence. On Monday, we had our first of the weekly 1:1 meetings and Paul and I worked directly with the teams on the issues that they face. We also had two amazing mentors come in:

First was Salim Virani, the creator of Leancamp. He talked to us about Customer Development and took a lot of time out of his vacation time in HK to spend with the teams on how to ask the right Customer Discovery and Customer Validation questions.

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Later in the week we had Mikaal Abdulla, co-founder of 8 Securities, a Hong Kong startup success story, come in and tell us the story of leaving a well paying secure job and going out and starting a new business in Hong Kong, along with the war stories of raising money and some secrets to their brilliant marketing campaigns.

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On Friday we did our first Friday all-hands meeting and was able to have an update by each team on their progress, practice their elevator pitch (next week I am going to put some of them in an actual elevator to practice), and ask the cohort for any help. We also gave out some Telerik tee-shirts. Smile We have a strict attendance policy, so one member had to phone in via Skype who was home sick. (Notice we gave him his tee-shirt anyway.)

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On Friday night we went out for some beers after a long week at the Accelerator doing Customer Development. The teams are still focusing on Customer Discovery and Customer Validation and will be in Week 3 as well. Stay tuned…

posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 6:50:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am happy to be part of the organizing committee for the Agile Tour in Hong Kong on December 1st. I also convinced Telerik to send me 30kg of Tee-shirts for attendees of the event. Smile Details are below, register today, space is limited (only about 30 seats left)!

EventBrite Link to register: http://agiletour2012hongkong.eventbrite.com

AGILE TOUR 2012 COMING TO HONG KONG DECEMBER 1, 2012

Welcome all,

Agile Tour is finally coming to Hong Kong! We organize a full day with international and local expert speakers on a variety of Agile topics:

Title : How to suck less with distributed teams
Speaker : Emerson Mills
Abstract:

We all know that distributed teams suck. ( Don't we? ) They perform much worse than co-located teams. Unfortunately for places just starting to move to Agile methodologies, it's often a impediment that has to be worked around or removed. In this session we'll discuss some of the illusions about distributed team productivity and how to get around some of the problems before you can move to co-located teams.

  1. Why did we even use them?!
  2. Distribute teams not people
  3. Giving teams ownership of features and not tasks
  4. Sharing a product development culture

Title: Inject start up spirit
Speaker: Wang XiaoMing
Abstract:

During the past a couple of years I heard many complains from CEOs and senior management that there was unavoidable bureaucracy and large company problems which were their big pain. Many teams suffered unclear project goals, small team but many management layers, ineffective meeting, tons of reports and unstable products. Those problems caused project failure or delay. In this presentation I will lead you to experience a real project in a large company who saved themselves from failure and transferred to a team with start up spirit and doubled their velocity in 4 months.

  1. A real project, double velocity
  2. The pain of founders
  3. Inject start up spirit
  4. Lightweight Agile.

Title: Test Driven Development
Speaker: Ian Lucas
Abstract:

In this session we will explore Test Driven Development (TDD) utilizing XQuery, the XML Query Language. TDD helps facilitate higher quality software solutions, and the modular nature of XQuery lends itself well to the practice.

  1. TDD in context
  2. Defining Success criteria upfront (i.e. Test Cases as requirements specifications)
  3. Practical examples of TDD with XQuery and XQunit

Title: Agile ate my Project Plan!
Speaker: Michael Mallete
Abstract:

Among the biggest reasons for the reluctance of organizations in adopting Agile is their belief in the effectiveness of traditional models in estimation and planning. The fear of losing their perceived predictability through their conventional techniques. Agile erases these all and leaves you with a chaotic view of what is to come. But is that truly the case?

We will first explore the assumptions behind traditional estimation and planning techniques
We will then counter that with the assumptions behind Agile estimation and planning
We will show the different features of traditional estimation and planning
We will then show the different features of Agile estimation and planning
We then compare what we actually lose and what we gain when we move toward Agile estimation and planning

Title: Introduction to DevOps (topic to be confirmed)
Speaker: TBD
Abstract:

DevOps is a response to the growing awareness that there is a disconnect between what is traditionally considered development activity and what is traditionally considered operations activity. This disconnect often manifests itself as conflict and inefficiency.

You will have a chance to meet and talk to international and local Agile experts!

Intended Audience

  • IT professionals already experienced in Agile or thinking about moving to Agile (Developers, Testers, Business Analysts, Project managers, Scrum Masters, Product Managers / Owners etc.)

  • Managers responsible for Agile Development or in future likely involved in Agile

  • Anyone interested in Agile

How to register

Through EvenBrite. Register Early to avoid disappointment.

Regular: 75 HK$

Price on day self – provided there are still seats: 100 HK$

EventBrite Link: http://agiletour2012hongkong.eventbrite.com

Date
Saturday, December 1, 2012, 9am – 5pm, with lunch break from 12-1:30.
There will be time to meet speakers after 5pm.

Location

Cocoon, Causeway Bay, close to MTR and various lunch locations with local or international food.

http://www.hkcocoon.org/en/index.aspx

Transportation

  • Tin Hau MTR Exit A2 (10 mins walk)
  • Fortress Hill MTR Exit A (7 mins walk)
  • From Hong Kong Island, take Route 5X or 5 Bus straight to the final station
  • From Kowloon, take Route 118 Bus, get off the bus at Gordon Road station (3 mins walk)
  • From Airport, take Route A11 Bus, get off the bus at Gordon Road station (3 mins walk)

Supporting Organizations

posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:53:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This past weekend was the 3rd Startup Weekend in Hong Kong and I was lucky enough to return again as a judge. This year it was huge with 14 teams competing!

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As usual, I was very impressed by the ideas, hard work, and execution. They stared on Friday night with lots of pitches and team formation. The group worked all day Saturday and Sunday at the CoCoon co-working space in Hong Kong (the same co-work space AcceleratorHK is using). A few AcceleratorHK cohort members as well as program director Paul Orlando were helping out as mentors.

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On Sunday night we all gathered to a different venue where we heard all of the 14 pitches. Myself and four other esteemed judges listened to the 5 minute presentations and lead the 3 minute Q&A session.

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The teams came from all walks of life as well as had ideas and teams that were in a variety of domains including: social, conference networking, kitchen rental, shopping, car sharing, film location scouting, and creative ways to use your free time. After the deliberation, which was close, we choose “FilmScout” as the winner. FilmScout was a team that built a solution for filmmakers and film students to find film locations to shoot in. While a niche market, they were a 100% solution to a market segment and demonstrated that they followed the Customer Development process over the course of the competition (which accounts for 1/3 of the judging criteria).

After the event there was some networking and I was interviewed on local Hong Kong TV about the startup scene in Hong Kong, AcceleratorHK, and of course my role as a judge in Startup Weekend.

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posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 8:49:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last week was the first week of the AcceleratorHK program. We have six teams that make up this cohort coming from: Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Mexico, and Malaysia. The teams are just starting out but are in the following domains: social, location based, and community.

We started out with an introduction to Customer Development by program director Paul Orlando and then broke up the teams and gave them a Startup Weekend style assignment : go out and work on project for 48 hours with new teammates with a focus on Customer Development. The results were…interesting.

We had two mentors come in and work with the teams. John Bristowe came in from Australia and spoke about HTML5 and Phonegap (since we are a mobile accelerator) and then provided technical training on KendoUI and Icenium.

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Shanghai based, Spanish investor Oscar Ramos also came in and did a great mentoring talk on Visual Thinking and how to use it as a tool in your customer development process.

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We even had time to hit the racetrack at Happy Valley on Wednesday night for Oktoberfest night for a cohort social.

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On Friday we had our first check-in to see how the teams were doing and each team did their elevator pitch. (One team included their winnings at Happy Valley as their first revenue. Smile)

A great start to the Accelerator. Stay tuned for more updates.

posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:35:09 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback