Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Reports – My Take on Asia

D11 just finished and I’ve been reading some reports, but as always, I’m more interested in Asia rather the common markets that we always hear from.

Saw Rick Martin’s post on his analysis of the Internet Trends Reports here and he focused on the job market and how countries should react to this shift. Seeing the trends in labor forces declining is very interesting especially with larger markets. Now that the whole global industry has changed, we are seeing how markets respond and how companies are addressing the challenges of the new world. It’s also defining how companies are formed all the way to employment.

I’ll be referencing this slide as I make my own opinions and analysis based on my knowledge and some data to back it up.

Slide 4

I love seeing how internet growth is happening all over the world especially in developing nations. Coming from the Philippines, and knowing the effects of easier access to information, I’m pleased to see how well the internet is growing. Countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are growing rapidly as well. The past two years has been good for Indonesia with various internet companies setting up shop and investors seeing potential with the growth of the market.

That’s just the major coverages aside from the more local ones like Techinasia and e27.

The Philippines has been growing for the past year and it has been surprising markets all over the world. The Philippines still has a lot of challenges to overcome but seeing growth is always good. The infrastructure is still lacking compared to other countries in South East Asia, and with a monopoly between two major teleco companies is not helping at all. A huge intervention is needed to be able to solve this problem and I hope they realize this sooner than later.

Also, the establishment of two major incubators (backed up by the same telco) is helping tremendously with the growth of the technology scene and I’m really grateful to have met the people behind it. has a good summary of this

Vietnam is also on the rise for the past few years. Although internet censorship still exists I’ve been hearing great news about the infrastructure in Vietnam. If you are having a hard time researching about Vietnam and what’s going on there, TechinAsia has a good summary of news sources here

Slide 6

Not surprising considering the growth of these markets. Even Socialbakers analysis got it spot on with 4 out of the 15 top countries in facebook usage growth during 2012.

Slide 7

I’m still torn on this as I haven’t seen enough data on the mobile phone OS usage in South East Asia. I know modern smartphones are big in Singapore, Blackberrys are popular in Indonesia, but there’s not enough movement on this front for the usage to be similar to more developed nations. Everybody has two phones in the Philippines, but it doesn’t mean that majority has smart phones. I know that this will change as cheaper smartphones flood the market and we can easily see this happening now as more and more. Mobile development is happening around the region, but until we get more utility based apps that solve local problems we’ll have to be followers more than anything. Facebook and Google has been exploring this market such as Google Free where you can connect to the net for free if you want to search for something and Facebook launched zero as a light weight method to connect to Facebook on feature phones. I’m not really sure of the success of these programs, as they are merely bridges for a more full fledged smart phone experience.

Slide 40

The growth and potential is there but again, the penetration is not enough for smartphones to be ubiquitous. It’ll only take time. There’s a bunch of mobile companies now and if you are entering the world of software development, being a mobile developer now in Asia (well a developer anywhere) will be a good career move.

Slide 45,46,47

Netbooks had a good thing coming during the day, with it’s cheap price point and basic enough features, killed by the tablet, and smartphones, this will be the entry point of developing markets to the internet. Being cheap and having enough capabilities we can easily see the demand for these devices surging on. Considering that even a cat can use the iPad, cheaper iOS devices will be welcomed by developing nations with arms wide open.

Newer technologies are introduced in the following slides such as wearable devices and drivables but I don’t see these devices arriving anytime soon in SEA. Still a lot of challenges with infrastructure being the base of everything. I can’t wait to see more from these countries as more and more grassroots movements happen. If you are thinking of exploring new markets (well, relatively new) South East Asia is brimming with money, growth, and potential.

As always, I would love to hear from you, let’s have a discussion. 🙂


Lean Startup Machine Tokyo Edition

My first Lean Startup Machine experience was in Singapore where Microsoft was a sponsor of the event. It was the first time being held in Singapore so there was a lot of buzz especially on the process. This was the time that the Lean Startup book was gaining followers so it’s timely to be held in Singapore.

Moving to Tokyo, I was lucky to be contacted by the organisers to be a mentor on it’s Tokyo leg. It’ll be a good opportunity to meet and connect with the local community and, more importantly, fuel my curiousity on the problems that people are trying to solve in Tokyo. No matter where I go, it’s always the problems that interest me more than anything else.

There was an interesting diversity of the attendees, around half of which are foreigners. I’m fascinated with this diversity as it’s the same in Singapore and even in Cebu. I know this has some meaning behind it as the entrepreneurship culture is different everywhere in the world. Enterprising individuals, no matter where they are, will always show up in events like this to fulfil their need to solve a problem.

As always, the pitches are the most interesting part, having seen many startup events with pitching opportunities, I wanted to know what type of problems people are concerned about in Japan and how they propose to tackle them. I always thought that Japan is this hi-tech heaven, but after spending a few months here, it’s not the case. With that in mind, I was opening myself up to more on the ground type of solution rather than the magical hi-tech miracles.

Striking, and yet not surprising, that everyone in the world has the same problems. Keeping in touch with love ones, achieving your goals, keeping healthy and the like. If you are looking for some world chaging solution in these type of events, then you’re at the wrong place. The great thing with these type of events, is nobody aims to solve the largest problem in the world and yet from these solutions, larger problems are solved. I won’t say how many things came out of small beginnings and the lean methodology is a great way to get started and see if you are going into the right direction. I gave my review of Lean Startup here and if you follow it while keeping the learnings intact, then your relatively small solution, will start getting bigger as you continue your learning and discovery.

Here are some of the teams that presented at LSM Tokyo in my raw notes form.


1. Yaoya-IT – shop management/ loyalty app.

2. Kizuna connect – connecting with grandparents via physical printed pictures.

Hypothesis – If people would actually subscribe to a service that will send physical photos to parents

Reached the pitch stage but now will come to execution. Something similar exists? not sure. All I can think of is touch note.

3. Happy Family Lunch – tool to be able to each with your family together while knowing if the restaurant has the correct facilities.

Eating out with kids – diapers, type of food.

Hypothesis – Family who wanted to enjoy good food experience. The issue is not serious enough so they pivoted. They went out to understand the customer base and who they are actually targeting and ended up targeting moms WHO wants to eat out.

4. Wishmall – is this a wish, service request app? List of peoples need and match with who can provide it. (craigslist)

Illusionary feedback which is good – invalidated.

People like advice on expensive stuff rather than cheap stuff. shoes for special use that then jumped to baby sitting. The whole service became a babysitting service with other features.

Interesting how they transitioned from shoes and being things, which the process lead to something that people actually trust and there’s no more thing that you will trust other than your kids which then transformed to a baby sitting service.

They went out to ask how baby sitting is and the most important thing is the trust rather than money. It will be a babysitting review site more than anything else.

5. Bilinguals – accumulating medical information for kids and recommend hospitals.

First assumption were new movers and taking over the counter medicine. Focused on who. Seriously ill and who are not satisfied with their treatment, moved to healthy people who are concerned with kids health. went out again, people who have cards and who are not happy with keeping their hospital cards.

Keeping one card and information in the web.

6. Achievement – achievement tool. Focused on getting your goal achieved. Pivoted 3 times based on feedback.

Turned into a business matching for wannabe entrepreneurs or people who wants to explore entrepreneurship. from starting a business into an app for people who are doing weekend business. A motivational tool for people creating business. Turned into a team management but more of people who share the same vision.

7. Super Wifi – They have a nano material called Graphene and is looking for a problem to solve. Didn’t get a solution and is still looking for the problem that they want to solve. Needs more time to simmer as they don’t have the solution that they are looking for.

8. GoIssho – starting with suica expansion/loyalty card. Starting with a long story rather than learnings good points on how they should not hold onto the idea. Created Goissho, mentor and entrepreneur connection tool. Not sure if they did the correct thing but after going through the Suica process and chaining their minds, they focused on their cookie monster effect. I’m not sure if they maximised the learning that they could haver learned today none the less they pivoted and moved on from their initial idea which is good.

People are hesitant to pay more than 1000yen with their suica. They want a detailed breakdown of their suica spending.

9. I love kosadate – providing busy moms with health information for their kids. Followed the energy of the audience instead of going with their first instinct. the pivot was good and I think this team will win as they did all things write.