Kristine is a community builder, digital media dynamo and world explorer. She began her career promoting truth and reconciliation at the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation in NYC and took her messaging digital after moving to San Francisco in 2006. Last year Kristine left PBwiki.com to backpack across Asia -- and liked it so much that she set up shop in Singapore. She organized Singapore's first Walkabout, an event when the companies behind your favorite products and services will open their doors for a city-wide open house.
Russel Simmons is in Singapore on October 15th to speak at FailCon, a one-day conference for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success. Check him out on the panels ‘How to be a kickass CTO’ and the ‘Metrics of Success’.
Russ is a card carrying member of the Pay Pal Mafia, a small group of early hires at the legendary payment platform that have gone on to build their own successful companies. In 2004 Russ and his business partner Jeremy Stopplemen set out to tackle that oh-so familiar problem of where to find the city’s best coffee / dentist / bowl of char keow teow. Their company, Yelp.com, went IPO in 2012 and launched in Singapore just last month. With all this success behind him, we wonder, what is Russ going to speak about at FailCon?
As it turns out, Russ has a lot to say.
The importance of data
Since being founded in San Francisco in 2004, Yelp has grown to become one of the most popular and influential customer review websites but it didn’t start off that way. In this early interview, co-founders Russ and Jeremy explain that the first version of the site focused on asking friends for recommendations via email. Looking at the data they found that early users didn’t email friends for recommendations, but instead found a link buried in the site that allowed them to create their own unsolicited reviews. Today yelpers have written over 30 million local reviews.
His new company isn’t so lucky
These days Russ is working on Learnirvana, a two-person startup that’s reimagining the experience of learning. As Russ explains it, “my current company is an epic business failure, since it has not yet had any real success after a year.” The core product, Lentil, helps students learn not through countless flash cards and route memorization, but by combining ideas in knowledge modeling, psychology, and interface design to create a streamlined and rewarding learning experience. As Russ says, “I am OK with having a “business failure” if I love what am working on (and can afford to fund it, hah!)”
So what is it that keeps him going, even when his company isn’t seeing the astronomical growth that this start-up celebrity is used to? His response – “I am mostly happy and relaxed about work”.
Hear more from Russ and 13 other awesome entrepreneurs at FailCon on Monday, October 15th. Bonus! Use the code SGEwin to get a 20% discount on your tickets!
Editor’s note (Gwen says): Yes, Kristine and I did take quite a few videos! If you have been following SGE’s live and post-event coverage of Asia’s largest launchpad for emerging technologies, DEMO Asia 2012, we have been posting several “quick and dirty”, “on the ground” video interviews with attendees here, here and here.
And with that, Kristine (and Gwen) interviews a few more people at DEMO Asia 2012 last week.
Gwen with Rebeca Hwang of YouNoodle
Kristine with Akira of UrbanCook
Kristine with Callum of Fitness Buffet
Kristine with Eugene Fabian of Microsoft. What is a huge company like Microsoft doing at DEMO? Find out!
As the Demo Guru awards were announced at the end of the conference, a sign of life could finally be seen from the audience. To moderate hooting and hollering, the winners walked on stage, smiled and prepared themselves for instant fame. Congratulations to Fiett, dropmyinbox, Sofshell, PixTelz and FlexiRoam.
The biggest winner of the night was Hoiio API, who cannily used their own system to sweep the People’s Choice award.
We followed up with winners to share in their excitement, here’s what they had to say about their experience at DEMO Asia 2012.
Sofshellclearly had the best presentation of the conference and it turns out they have one of the best products as well. The team dared to test their impact protection product by dropping a 12-pound bowling bowl on an iPhone. With their Demo award in hand, the team is looking forward to monitization and “making athletes look sexy and fashionable while being protected.” Read more
Elisha Ong of Burpple gave us some of the most colorful and enthusiastic 90 seconds at DEMO Asia. Addressing a particularly well-fed room of people, Elisha introduced Burpple, a mobile food diary app that helps you remember what you ate, where you ate it, and share the pictures with friends.
The 90 second pitch was just enough time to whet our appetite. Audience members and experts alike were impressed with Burpple’s slick pink design and intuitive user interface. Read more
Steven Goh, founder of mig33; Mario Jobbe, co-founder of Circos; and Jerry Kuo, co-founder and CEO of Atlas Post, will share with the audience about their progress since launching their products on DEMO. Moderated by Chris Shipley, formerly the executive producer of the DEMO Conferences. Read more
We’ve done more on the ground short video interviews with teams that launched or pitched, investors looking to find the next big thing here at DEMO Asia. We are still in the midst of uploading all, but here are some more:
There were two major themes in DEMO Asia’s pitch session on social media startups (live blog): gamification and modernizing customer loyalty programs. It’s the battle between start-ups — those that encourage you to have have fun in your daily life verses those that help you make money.
Keith Ng at GameMaki brought a Angry Bird plushy on stage and challenged the audience to put away their mobile games for real world challenges. He asked the audience to join the game by taking a picture with a DEMO friend and put it up on the GameMaki app, which allows people to see what interesting challenges are taking place around them and easily join in by snapping a picture of the completed activity.
We all want to make a bit more money – or at least I do! Sageby, Squiryl, and Trade Hero are three new startups betting that you want to make, keep and invest your money wisely. And they’re probably right.
Squiryl is an iPhone app that allows you to track your customer loyalty points and trade with friends. If you’re the type of person who has lost several Subway Club Cards, this is what you need to make sure you redeem your points and earn that free $5 foot long.
Just scan the QR code on the receipt to record your points (which Squiryl oddly calls acorns). Read more
Mongolian Tsedev Shinendentsel from DropIcon practicing for the actual pitch.
Check out how these social media companies intend to change the way we live. Companies launching their products in this session are: MeSixty, Wildfire, DropIcon, GameMaki, Sageby, Teamie, Oceans Inc, and Squiryl. Startups doing Alpha Pitches are Burpple and MyManisku. Read more