The Future of Fintech

Nice post about Fintech from my partner at SeedPlus, Gabriel.

Enjoy and if you want to chat more – holler.

Nice article about Taembe from Vietnam

I mostly go on and on about Singapore but Don from Taembe sent me this today. I thought I would share.

When I first started working for Yahoo, I would spend a lot of time in Vietnam. Yahoo used to be the King of online in Vietnam. Everyone was on messenger, everyone used Yahoo mail and Yahoo 360 was the social network for Vietnam. It was fun doing business in Vietnam carrying a Yahoo biz card. 

Even saved my ass once at immigration.

I was going to HCM to speak at a government conference and I changed my flight to one day earlier than I had first booked. When I arrived I realized my visa date was for entry the next day. The immigration folks were basically saying I could fly back or hang in the airport till the next morning. Neither sounded like a great option. As we kept chatting they asked what was I doing in Vietnam and I showed them my Yahoo biz card. Boom. In like flynn.

Those were good years.

The world has changed and Yahoo is meaningless now.

Interesting to see the new breed of internet companies and I am watching to see if the started in Vietnam companies can start to take on the region and greater Asia. Time will tell.

Enjoy the weekend.

The Thiel stuff just rubs me the wrong way. I won’t lie.

I will leave the thread at that with my last addition from Dan Primack.

I will then remind folks of this post, since the world just need more “E” ::

A friend shared this link about Sesame Street and Empathy. It’s awesome ::

Makes me freak out a bit about raising kids. It is not about just having polite kids but having kids who generally care and who want to help others. I see as my kids grow they easily can remain polite but yet not helpful or caring. 

Empathy. Spread it around. It’s good for everyone.

Whither twitter

This is one of the more honest reads about twitter in a long time.

The bottom line is twitter makes money, isn’t growing much, has way too many employees and isn’t innovating much. As someone from the video world I don’t buy the tech feat around all the video since video at scale is pretty easy now. The hard part is local relevant ads, both making it perform and selling them. Twitter hasn’t innovated on any of that since the live streams I have watched in Singapore had no ads. Video is not that hard anymore. 

So video won’t save twitter. 

I myself thought Disney might have made a good buyer but I think Disney knows it will be a mess to clean it up.

Salesforce made zero sense. None.

I tend to agree with this brutal assessment. Reminds me of Yahoo. Marissa should have cut costs, focused and made Yahoo super profitable. Twitter should do the same but guessing it is too late. A 10 year old company has to do better than burn money.

But Twitter is past that. Somewhere near half a billion dollars of costs need to be taken out almost immediately. And that involves firing people and being a general tough-bastard. It’s inevitable anyway – because Jack Dorsey burning half a billion dollar per year isn’t a sustainable business. The cash eventually runs out. 

The problem is if you mix this with a or similar company it will be really hard to take costs out in a disciplined fashion without upsetting the culture of the home company. Instead this should be fixed (with extreme prejudice by a disinterested outsider) before it is sold again to a strategic buyer.

Or – in summary: the best bastards are from Wall Street. And this needs a Wall Street bastard. 

I use twitter. I love it. It confounds me how little innovation there is.

– the clients suck compared to the non twitter ones.

– their is so little personalization. Like scrubbing my feed for shit it knows I don’t like for example.

– their developer program is a joke

I could go on and on. Problem is I would miss twitter if it goes under. I hope someone fixes it.

Life is better with twitter.

Y Combinator and Peter Thiel

Dan Primack finally weighed in ::

And I agree with the pitch-forkers. Thiel has to go. Not from his own funds, of course, but from third-party organizations whose continuing embrace of Thiel is a de facto acceptance of his candidate’s racist proposals (banning immigrants based on their religion) and pathological misogyny. Thiel isn’t publicly endorsing those parts of Trump, but picking a president isn’t a trip to the salad bar. You get the whole meal. Thiel’s continuing presence at Facebook and YC is a cocky, counterproductive reminder to female and minority entrepreneurs that they are second-class citizens in the white boys club of Silicon Valley.

Another great read on the situation ::

Thanks to for pointing that one out to me.

I tend to agree with Ellen ::

Updated with a link to the Sama post ::

Quite the twitter battle today.

I don’t claim to know a right or wrong but it is a good topic to discuss. I think Thiel has lost the plot and people are judged by the company they keep. That’s all I am saying.


When I had the chance to answer this question for the Today newspaper –

What traits do today’s leaders lack most?

I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I was thinking of techy stuff. Then was thinking about the future.

But then I started thinking about people.

This post hints at why ::

So I tell people we’re fundamentally in the people business. Our core skill is being able to identify talent and how to persuade the most talented people with whom we have access that we would be valuable to work with. We then help surround founders with other talent who want to join important causes but don’t have the startup idea themselves. We help founders through difficult moments, we help coach, we act as sparring partners, we help them resolve conflicts when they’re fighting with co-founders and we help them deal with adversity as well as successes.

I am learning. I am a VC in training, but I know everything is about people.

I think we are all so spoiled sometimes that we forget how lucky we are.

That is what my answer to this question was and is, empathy.

I suggest more of us should put empathy first. It makes everything better.