No Girl Scout cookies in Singapore?

Installed the Girl Scout cookie finder app. It found nothing.

Are there any Girl Scout cookies in Singapore?

Help me…

A tale of two app stores…

So recently I had my first experience shipping an Android app. It went pretty smooth – actually better than I thought.

In general as someone leading product at a startup – there are only 2 mobile ecosystems to focus on. iOS and Android. I am keeping windoze mobile on the horizon cause I think MSFT will keep dumping money into it and Nokia is tied to it. They will keep at it but for now it is too small. BB, RIM or whatever you want to call them – isn’t going to make it. I have been saying that for some time. Their new phone is not that amazing and the price points are borderline ridiculous. So no, I don’t think their chances have improved much at all. Neither does one of their founders.

Palm is toast. Tizen and Jolla is interesting but at the moment there is no way to take them seriously at all.

So it is Android and iOS for me.

This is not a deep, exhaustive comparison. Just my thoughts from having to dig into both ecosystems each day now.

I am not a developer so I can’t give you the bird’s eye view of writing code for these ecosystems but I have some sense of managing getting something launched, dealing with the payment systems and dealing with admin portals.

App Stores:

Apple – C: It is really a horrid management interface. The mobile tools help but they suck to. The review time is pathetic. Why can’t they throw more bodies at it? Why can’t someone with an approved app with no infractions manage their own updates. If you do and break the rules you are out. This idea of waiting for reviews for every app changes is really silly. The reporting tools are abysmal and the ability to see rankings across the ecosystem is best done with outside tools. In general Apple could build a much better ecosystem for their apps all the way around.

Google – B: So far I like the Play Store better. You can push an app anytime you want. The tools for seeing what is going on is nice as well. It shows you lots of data and I find it easier to dig through it. It is not amazing either but just feels better than Apple.


Apple and Google – F: Both ecosystems fail with discovery in my opinion. Sure Apple acquired chomp but other than a revamped app store I don’t see anything new or interesting. Appsfire is interesting but I have not gotten into the daily habit of using it yet. However I think they are on to something. The problem I have with both ecosystems is that they rely heavily on ratings and comments – it is such a flawed system with people using the comments and rating to lodge complaints or feature requests. Thus totally destroying any notion of the ratings and comments being valuable. I notice google is allowing developers to reply to comments but so far it is not turned on for everyone. I think both companies should overhaul this systems entirely.

The one thing Apple has going for it is they review apps which means there is less shit in the app store – so that means generally the quality of apps is better and decent apps tend to rise to the top. However in the Google store there is just a shit ton of shit. Any app gets in and even apps who pirate crap or are trying to mislead the user get away with murder. So this means quality apps get buried by apps working the system. There are even sophisticated developers using things like mechanical turk to work the comment/rating system to drive app the discovery of their apps.

Plain and simple – discovery is broken IMHO.


Apple – B: I give Apple credit for pioneering the way and for allowing users everywhere to easily pay but I think they need to open up a bit more and allow other methods to feed into the system versus just credit cards. Things like carrier billing, cash/voucher systems and so on would help a ton. Their management interface for the money sucks as well. Also Apple is being slightly disingenuous when it comes to not allowing anyone to pay for rentals outside of the iTunes/apple tv system. Maybe they will open this up when they open up the Apple TV but they need to stop protecting their own turf with the silly no rental of media rule.

Google – B: I don’t have enough experience yet but already I would give it a B and depending on how we go with it – maybe an A. You can sell practically anything and the interface for managing it all is pretty good. We shall see how reporting and stuff goes. It would also seem that you can implement other non google payment methods in your android apps. Let’s hope that holds.

All in all both ecosystems are unavoidable. Apple has tons of users who will pay for things and the app store is not the wild, wild west. Google and Android are just too big to ignore but the quality of apps is low and the system is too easily worked over. They are making strides to deal with it by making sure only google+ profiles can be used for commenting, users can say things are spam and eventually they will open up replying to comments by all devs.

I assume the next app ecosystem I will get any experience with is going to be windoze in some form or another.

Heading to Khao Khitchakut (Kitjagut)

Thai transliteration is never perfect so not sure if it is Khitchakut or Kitjagut. I have seen both spellings.

So the great thing about where we live is easy access to Chanthaburi Province – nice mountains, beaches and cool sites to see.

One of the many things I have wanted to do is visit the holy mountain with the crazy Buddhist rock on it. It is only open 3 months out of the year and is quite the mad house of people.

So that is the plan. Not sure how it all works yet but hopefully the force will be with us.

Plan is to stay at a new place, Faasai Resort and hit the spa.

enjoy the weekend!

Lesson #4: 90% of startup networking events are a waste of time

Read this the other night :

I always try to have the motto that the doers are doing and don’t have time to not be doing. Obviously I don’t mean that all events suck or that one should not seek the community but people do tend to get carried away with eventing versus doing. So I thought this was appropriate:

What you learn at most startup networking events, is the same stuff you can learn online. The only difference is, startup events typically cost money. There are a few networking events that are worth attending, but most aren’t.

Look for attendee lists before you register for conferences or networking events. Make sure there are either potential clients or people who are a lot smarter than you at these events. If you are the one teaching the room on how to run a company, something is off. You can only learn if people smarter than you, are at the event.

If you want to attend good networking events, look for the ones that are intimate and invite only. It’s hard to get into those events, but when you do, it will be worth it. Those are the type of events that will allow you to create new friendships and business partnerships.

Few other ones in there I like:

Lesson #6: It’s never too early to start making money

This one is so true. I think the longer you wait to force a revenue model on users the harder it will be.

Lesson #9: The grass is always greener on the other side

I struggle with this all the time – thinking that where I am right now is not possibly as good as where my buddy is, ex colleague, or that guy I read about in online. It is easy to think that the grass is always greener – usually it is not.

have a good sunday!

Singapore – the ecosystem

There are times I sour on the sing scene or get skeptical.

However this has been one of those weeks where I feel the vibe that could be the Singapore startup scene.

Slowly but surely more and more people who matter are focusing on the series A problem. Will it get solved? I don’t know but there are people thinking it might and I want to believe.

There are huge markets surrounding Singapore and Singapore is a great place to attack them – safely. I see this more and more.

Random, but important people, keep dropping in on Singapore to check out the scene and judge if it makes sense for them to be here in some way. To me this is the most important part cause this idea that the scene will be made up of locals just won’t happen. It needs to be as internationally influenced as possible – similar to Silicon Valley. Every week that goes by I see the inflow of people looking into the sing tech scene grow. This is positive.

There is much for Singapore to get right before it really takes off but I feel confident it will get there.

carry on…

Revel in the execution

I think at times I blog for my own therapy. Possibly to remind myself of what is important.

to take great pleasure or delight

I use instapaper but sometimes it can get the better of me cause I will use it too much but then never read the links. So I have to go through and purge it from time to time. Delete some stuff, file some stuff, read some stuff and blog about some links I saved.

So here is one read I am still enjoying – .

This happens to me all the time. I start to freak out about not formulating enough new ideas or not thinking of the next new thing. Don’t get me wrong – it is good to brainstorm and of course any product guy has to be thinking about what is next. At the same time though my to do list of things that I know needs to get done is plenty long.

Hell – Asana is so full at times I am looking for an exit sign.

What I am constantly grinding on is how to juggle executing what needs to get done, thinking about new things, figuring out what new things to do and then circling back to adding them to the execution queue. It feels at times like a brutal merry go around – but hey if it was easy – everyone would be doing it. Executing is not easy. So I will get better at reveling in the execution.

Still hunting for the best way to bubble sort the new ideas though…


Who you know and how you treat them…

Was reading this today by Derek,

So if it seems that there’s an uncrossable canyon between you and your heroes, don’t forget that all it takes is one connection to catch your rope, so you can shimmy across. And you can do this from anywhere by creating great stuff online, and reaching out to potential friends.

So very true. I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing or having the career that I have had if it were not for connections. What strikes me today though is how far back the connections go and how much they would be affected by how I treated people. I have called upon old connections for new ventures and new connections but there would be no reason for the connections to help if I had treated people poorly. I am sure I have treated some connections poorly and it will come back to me. That is karma. So build your connections early, treat them well and do what you can to help others. It will come back you someday in the future.


If only Thailand had a clue…

I love Thailand. Have since the moment I first arrived for a business trip. The chaos, the city of Bangkok, the mountains, the oceans, the people, the food and this list can go on and on. However the place is not without it’s issues – just check this article for the silly reaction to a skit on SNL making fun of the sex biz in Thailand. I won’t get into how the biz is mostly run by and for Thais and is ingrained in Thai culture. Plenty of interesting books on the subject if you think I am off in left field here.

However I digress. Thailand has so many positive points but the country usually gains notoriety for its problems and usually these problems are self inflicted.

So that being said I am continually amazed why Thailand doesn’t quickly and decisively leap frog most of SEA by going for the Gold in the startup olympics. There is a startup fever in SEA – the HQ for this is Singapore but we all know the place is getting way too expensive. Many folks decamp for Malaysia or even work in Singapore and sneak across the border to live. Lots of folks setup shop in Indonesia which works for some but Jakarta traffic and lack of transportation infrastructure keeps folks like me out. Vietnam is cool and all but it is too much a mini China for me with the censorship and the government protection racket for incumbent companies.

So back to Thailand. It has issues. Freedom of speech, censorship and some others I won’t get into to. All in all though Thailand could be a great hub for SEA startups but the funding scene, the work permit and company issues tend to drive out anyone but the locals from really making a go of it. Sure I know there are startups in Thailand not started by the locals but there are plenty of stories from those who have tried and promise never to do it again. Some of those folks still work and live in Thailand but don’t form companies and legally stay via marriage or education visas. All good but not really the most convenient.

So when one see what Canada is doing to get startups to come to their country – I silently dream about Thailand doing the same thing. I know it won’t happen but it is possible and it would radically change the SEA landscape since Thailand is a good place to live, has talent and is starting to attract lots of hip people who just want to be here ( I know an investment banker thinking of jumping from Singapore to Thailand cause he thinks it might be a better city to live in for a while) but startups face such an uphill battle to be legal in Thailand if they are not founded by Thais. I won’t even get into the inane work permit requirements, the silly annual audits and all the other red tape that is death to a lean startup machine.

I will keep dreaming. Hoping that maybe someone in a big meeting room somewhere in some part of the Thai government decides to get radical.