The next, new thing is …. Mobile.

Great deck by Benedict Evans ::

Video of the presentation ::

He strikes me as the new Mary Meeker but needs to make longer decks first. 😉

Some good factoids in the deck but the common refrain from Benedict that one easily picks up on is that mobile is the next thing. Sure there will be other inventions and trends – health stuff, space stuff and so on but for the everyday person and the everyday product person the biggest thing to work on is mobile.

A great quote for this:

For the first time, tech is selling to everyone.


Everyone gets a pocket supercomputer.

We honestly have not built yet a world that could exist when everyone has a supercomputer in their pocket with fast connectivity.

So people always look at me funny at work when they ask what’s the next thing. I always say making mobile insanely better than it is and figuring out what new things we can do with mobile that we haven’t thought of yet.

Much left to do and to be fair most apps are still pretty shitty.

Other thoughts about Singapore As the Startup Hub

Added tweet conversations as they come ::

From here on out I am calling this SASH – yes. SASH. Saves me some keyboard time since I do a lot of posting from my phone one handed.

I will even add a blog category for it. So it’s real folks.

One of my most recent Singapore posts in reply to TIA (penn olson if you look at their social media account) ::

I am all in on Singapore – just FYI.

I wrote this today – mostly out of frustration ::

But it made me think about it more deeply – something I conversed with Andy on twitter ::

Btw this is the easiest way to get a twitter conversation link – easier than using Storify directly. Use tweetbot to see a conversation and the tweet it to get the link. I am sure other nerds have an easier way – please share.

In many ways Singapore is rocking when it comes to support or in the list of companies who support Singapore that sell picks and shovels to people building startups. I won’t go through the list here but I will point out a glaring omission – the payment infrastructure options suck huge ASS in Singapore. Please someone from banking or the government read this. Let me repeat the payment infrastructure options available to startups in Singapore is horrendous.

Yes I know some companies work around it. They become a merchant, then get some gateway provider to help smooth over the shitty API options from the bank or merchant accounts but it is a serious amount of work and costly. The bill is normally out of reach for most early stage startups. Even if you can afford it you have to set aside capital for it but you may also find you can’t get approved. At Spuul a lot of the banks could not deal with subscriptions for digital goods. Yes – something like that they were hung up on. Pathetic.

Before any of you slam me to say their are options please note that I write this stuff to learn as much as to complain. If you know of better options please spell them out since the purpose of the blog is to learn as much as to share, but I know from talking to real companies, real devs and our own experiences – that this is a hard road to ride on. Very experienced devs and startups are flummoxed daily.

What I don’t get is with Singapore being such a banking center, the government throwing money at SASH, and with all the “accelerators” here – why is no one working on the problem? Could it be that everyone is just waiting for Stripe, PayPal or someone to solve it but no one willing to risk it? Stripe says they are coming but been hearing that for a while. All the braintree stuff from PayPal is really for just US accounts so none of that is helping. So we all wait but sometimes I wonder if it will get fixed.

Anyone with deeper knowledge on the subject please chime in.

My new fav podcast

I am sure these guys don’t need my promotion but going to do so anyway.

This is one of my fav podcasts right now:

I actually had a nice email exchange with James and my comment to him was that it covers tech but gets into the human stuff as well. They don’t diverge too much into politics, sports and so on but they talk tech, argue and discuss the impact on humanity. It is also not too long to make it a regular habit.

I assume these guys must be killing it.

I have not heard this episode yet but seems they discuss peak Google more which I wrote about here ::


Microsoft is only missing the apps…

Excellent read here by Aulia ::

Bummer it’s on medium…

As I read the article I nod my head and concur that it sounds like a great phone and the camera is amazing. My wife has asked about these phones before cause she wants the best camera but I always warn her that in the end she will hate the phone. Yes HATE it. Why?

That’s very simple. The apps suck.

The Lumia 930 a great mobile device that’s let down by the lack of third party app support in terms of quality if not selection but the popular apps are there and functional and the lack of polish doesn’t seriously affect their usage (except maybe for Path and Flickr, which at this point are just ridiculously bad).

Microsoft will never be able to crank out enough of their own apps to fix this issue. They also seem to be unable to properly prime the pump.

What you see then is a bunch of 3rd rate apps with some of them even being from first rate companies who have been convinced by someone in marketing to build the app (they were promised promotional love by Microsoft). The app is built, probably outsourced, and it works but it doesn’t compare to the same app on iOS or Android. Those apps were written by the core team cause they know that they have to excel – it is where all the competition and customers are.

For this issue we only have Microsoft to blame. They tried to incentivize a lot of devs but they did it the wrong way – they created an open door policy around getting apps built. This didn’t work well cause it was just devs chasing easy money.

What they should have done and still refuse to do is help folks with category leading apps on either iOS or Android to build something for Microsoft.

Let me highlight my own experience with Spuul. Microsoft was willing to help pay for a Spuul windows app but we told them over and over we see no reason to have one – our website works just fine on IE. This flummoxed then because they were focused on pushing windows – we all know now that didn’t go so well.

Then they offered to help coach us with design and said there were even some design resources we could use to outsource the work to but we told them we have our own designer. They seem to think if they help with design that all the apps will look cool but they don’t realize that design is only half of it – you still need to build a great app.

We asked if we could take the design money and use it to outsource the code since we don’t have the expertise on the Microsoft stack. Nope – the money was only available for design.

So we did nothing.

Months later we finally got a phone out of them so we could test our designs some and model app behaviors. Getting this phone was like getting a tooth pulled – it’s funny to me that Microsoft thinks all of us have their phones. They sure seem to hand them out like candy to bloggers. Newsflash – bloggers don’t make apps Microsoft – you need apps more than you need bloggers writing about cool phones that are missing cool apps.

Microsoft is a big company – they could fix this problem. Hand out phones. Design kits and IDE kits. Give every real startup or company with a good app some cash to outsource development to – a starter package of sorts. Offer every certified app a discount on App Store transaction fees and give each app a week of promotion.

Prime the pump in a methodical way.

Otherwise be prepared to keep reading blogs about cool phones that don’t have any cool apps.

Your move Microsoft.

Ps. I will add that even when I approach Microsoft to concur that I will build a Spuul app they still will not put in writing they will promote it. So they offer zero incentives to take a risk. Yes – spending a startups resources to build for Windows Phone is a risk.

Singapore the aircraft carrier

Great article and largely models how I think about Singapore – it is an incredible base for being a global startup and it should be how it is marketed. I still think there is too much focus on local businesses and having your staff all be in Singapore though but it is improving.

We at Spuul don’t get talked about much in the local scene – I think mostly cause we are not great at PR, have never been externally funded and are not very big in Singapore. My guess is there are others out there in Singapore like Spuul who else don’t get much attention since they don’t focus on Singapore but just use it as a hub. At Spuul we are now even exploring our first remote engineering center – guess where we are putting it? 🙂

I also think Singapore is a good hub for foreigners as well given the ability to become a permanent resident, the schools, the family friendly atmosphere and the rule of law. Nowhere is perfect but from other places I have been I think Singapore is pretty damn good.

All the recent activity is just a nod to how important the region is becoming but Singapore in my opinion will do very well as the center of the region for a lot of startups.

Hopefully you will see more global ones in the making.