Yahoo and China

I won’t even to link to anything since I am not trying to slag the tech press but I find it is comical that there is not much research put in to finding out what Yahoo was doing in China.

This is how I understand it from working with that team, knowing the backstory and such.

First off – ever since Alibaba did the Yahoo China deal there really was no more consumer facing Yahoo products in China. In fact one of the longstanding beefs was Yahoo being unhappy with how Alibaba did nothing with Yahoo tech or the brand in China. They did the deal for capital mostly and tech but I don’t think Alibaba used the tech much. So it was more about the financing and the blessing it provided with Jerry being involved and all. Big turning point for Baba.

From that point on Yahoo in China was nothing really. At one point though some senior Sunnyvale execs who were close to Jerry and who had good ties to China wanted to return with their families to Beijing. So they went and opened up an R&D center but mostly I would say it was just remote engineering. In all it was mostly an experiment in that I don’t recall a lot of mainline stuff moving there but there were some big projects and the team started to become a key part of building and maintaining Yahoo’s core platform. Problem was that it was not a real a cost saving move given the inflation in China and the double whammy of also not doing any business in China.

So China was really just one of the last remote engineering orgs to go. Brazil gone. Indonesia gone. The centralization plan was back on target. Build in HQ – launch everywhere. Like a lot of big internet companies really.

So yes – they closed China. I don’t think it has any connection to a pull back in China since Yahoo is already gone from China. Now the engineers are too.

Big deal. Not.

Is Apple all about China?

My brother sent me this link ::

Actually I don’t think they are all about China although they are emphasizing it more and more but somehow I don’t think they will always do that. I think they used the last keynote to highlight how far they have come in China since everyone always talks about how the valley tech companies get hosed in China. And mostly they do. Look at Google, Yahoo, Tesla and many others who have tried and have failed to go big in China. Now look at Apple. Killing it in China.

I think from here on out it will just be the norm for them. I don’t think it will have to be continually highlighted.

However I would add that the focus on China is really just a pivot to Asia in general and that is the right pivot. I find it comical when people say oh the Chinese will love that gold iPhone. Or that gold macbook. Sometimes I think the people saying this crap are the same people pontificating about Asian trends just because they eat at Panda Express a few times a week.

Folks – all of Asia is quite similar to China. I suspect more than a few rich Indonesian, Thai and Singaporean folks will be doing all they can to order a gold Apple watch to go with their gold iPhone and iPads. It just comes with the territory.

So yes – China is huge for Apple. But I know they are working hard to crack India and to make a thorough dent in SEA region as well. My guess is they only get more dominant for the time being.

Is human curation the next cool thing?

Rumors are the Apple is looking to do this for Beats music. I think it would help me find stuff to listen to.

Roku is having some luck with it:

One hint of how that might work is Roku’s Roku Recommends barker channel. Roku’s search engine is well regarded for its ability to search for content across all 2,000-plus apps on the Roku platform. But in mid-December the set-top box maker launched the human-curated Roku Recommends channel to help surface content consumers didn’t know to search for. According to Roku VP of programming Doug Craig, the channel is now among the most popular with Roku users.

This was taken from here ::

It’s cool to have bots and big data but maybe nothing beats human taste?


Met one of the founders this week, Jeremy, for some coffee. Jeremy used to work at AWS Singapore and also did a local startup after that. Then he moved back to the USA to start flockdata with a partner from New Zealand.

There is so much going on in the data world. For guys like me I swear it takes a lot of work just to keep tabs on big data. My world now is keeping tabs on languages, advertising products (customer acquisition and revenue), web tech, mobile tech, streaming tech, analytics and now data. 

There are always lots of ways to skin something – you can roll your own, use the off the shelf stuff from AWS, grab lots of open source stuff or spend lots of cash on commercial products. I guess it all depends on money and time to market.

flcokdata has an interesting model and I plan on checking into it more.

Nice work RedMart

I took a slight beating by some folks yesterday for this ::

I don’t think I was doing anything but being honest. I love RedMart. Use it weekly or every other week. It has greatly enhanced my family’s life – we spend less time dealing with gathering items. I just open the app and presto – my wife lets me know they show up a few days later. Awesome sauce.

So when it all fell apart – I wrote about it. I was stunned to get this awesome reply on my blog ::

My premise was not bashing that things went wrong but they way they handled it.

I also think I discovered that they took care of the site, when things went haywire, but not the app – seems they corrected that. Cool.

So now they have also blasted this out ::

Congrats to them for being open, honest and clear in their resolve.

RedMart is a part, critical part, of people’s lives in Singapore. Congrats to them for getting to that point so quickly. It is telling that when things went wrong – people were affected. That means the service is a home run.

Hope the regular diaper deliveries resume soon!

Whither RedMart

Update: As a fellow startup guy, nowhere near as successful as RedMart, I feel their pain. I am not trying to bash but in my opinion there are zero excuses for poor customer service and lack of communication to loyal customers. That is the stance I won’t back down on.

I opened the app last night – placed my order. My wife added a few items and then went to checkout.

I get a nice error – sorry, system error. Failed to get delivery slot. please try again later.

It’s 2015 folks. Why can’t it schedule me for days down the road so at least my order is complete?

Why didn’t the app tell me before I tried to order that I wouldn’t get a slot so I should wait till later?

Why didn’t it email me after I tried to place an order to let me know what’s going on?

Nope. Nadda. Nothing.

So it was 9pm. I called the help line. No answer. Called a few times. App says support is till 10pm. I guess I am in the wrong time zone.

I sent an email. Got the auto-reply. As of this morning no one has replied to the email.

So then I called the help line again. Got a nice person explaining to me there are no delivery times available. He doesn’t know when there will be. He said the site should have told me. I said I have never used the site – I use the app. Why doesn’t the app warn me before placing an order? He doesn’t know. I am guessing he can’t help. I feel bad for the guy answering the phone to be honest.

Throughout all of this I have been tweeting at redmart – yet to get a reply on twitter either.

Yes – I know they moved their logistics and shit – fine. But this deplorable customer service is inexcusable.

Also – this is not just me this is happening to ::