Small talk

Voice of our entrepreneurs

Getting rid of Excel?

No one would argue that spreadsheets and Excel are really intrusive in any business.
Our financial departments live and breathe through Excel spreadsheets and it is a very useful tool, no doubt about it.
However any organisation should be very careful about over-using it for obvious reasons.
The following article details several recent massive mistakes that can be attributed to Excel wrong manipulations.

Automating the work through business process management software and using the proper IT tools to separate the tasks as well as putting in place the right controls are a proven way to reduce dependencies on those spreadsheets. At Soft Venture, we always help our customers in ensuring they only use spreadsheets for the right tasks and use 'smarter' tools whenever possible. Is it an issue that you have been experiencing with as well?

OS for the Cloud

It's been a while since we last updated this page, trust us we have been extremely busy working with entrepreneurs in US, Europe and of course South East Asia. As you know we are following the work of Pivotal that is set to change the way companies develop and deploy applications. One of the company gem, Cloud Foundry recently received backing from IBM and is already set to bring US$300 of revenue this year.

Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz predicts now that a multi cloud world will kill vendor lock-in which has been so far one of the major hurdles for companies to adopt Cloud technologies. He is also talking about an OS for the Cloud and this is an idea we are supporting. Several industry players are also talking about creating specialised OS like OS for Robotics, OS for Home Automation or security specific OS.

This is definitely an idea we are supporting and we encourage the companies we are working with to work with those great open source technologies and more importantly to participate to the projects. South-East Asian startups are rising and they need to show their presence among the developer communities. They can contribute great technologies and foster the adoption of open source in the region.
In case you are wondering yes we are helping companies both in the Cloud computing space and Open Source space :)

Disruptive Technologies

We often get the question on what technologies interest us and how do we select our customers.
The answer is simple: we are truly passionate about disruptive technologies that aim at changing the world.
Disruptive Technologies 2013
McKinsey published an extensive report showing that the world is about to be disrupt by mobile technologies, internet of things and cloud computing which will all have a major impact in South-East Asia. Let us know your thoughts about the report, I strongly recommend the read.

Re-designing product the Google way

It's obvious to mention that customers should always be the center of attention when designing new products, it's a bit more complex when you have to redesign existing products that millions of users are using on a daily basis: they have certain expectations and you cannot jeopardise your brand. However some companies such as Google are bold enough to launch complete redesign of their products.
I strongly encourage you to read this article and watch the video explaining how the Google team collaborate around one single vision to launch the Google redesign.

Founder or CEO or both?

When companies are starting to grow, founders are faced with the need to transition to CEO.
It is a personal transition that is far from being easy and can often kill companies/projects if not handled correctly.
Check out this great post from Fred Destin at Atlas Ventures and this other one by Marc Barros.

Hardware is hard

As you may know we are actively involved with a really cool company that is becoming the pivotal labs of robotics.
Hardware is becoming sexy again with incubators like Highway One and Foundry @ Citris in the US. I am convinced that new incubators focusing on hardware will start in South-East Asia.

It is important to well understand the challenges that come with building a hardware company and Jean-Pierre found this great article from the founder of Romotive that go through some of those challenges.

Are you working at the moment on hardware projects?

When to post on Social Media?

For marketers, it is quite an important question. Timing your posts to reach out to the maximum of people is very important especially when we are all over flooded with information.
PR Daily has a great infographic on the topic.
I am not sure the results would be the same for South-East Asia though.

Emails still remain a major channel to reach to consumers, I recommend to study the MailChimp Research site for great analytics on how to manage your marketing emails.

Government, Big Data and Developers

The US government just released a huge amount of data in preparation of their National Day of Civic Hacking.
This is a very interesting initiative that proves once again that computer science literacy and ability to handle vast amount of data is critical in our modern world.
A not well known fact, Singapore has also published a lot of data that can be used by developers to build applications through their Data.gov portal. Have you heard about any 'Big Data' company trying to leverage all that data set in Singapore?
See the original story on Venture Beat

Big Data in Media

All Things Digital published a very interesting article about the usage of Big Data in Media which made me wonder how Data Driven can businesses can be in Asia. In my experiences when it comes to Asia and South-East Asia in particular, there are really various ways of looking at data:

  • For some companies, it is an opportunity to increase productivity and provide better services to consumers. They are scores of stories about malls in Singapore using multiple data points to lure the customers or even taxi companies leveraging data to optimize their taxi fleet dispatch
  • For others, they believe their problem is more about collecting too much data that they see as junk which prevents them from acting and executing. I would argue that they have not found the right technology yet to implement pattern detection

From a cultural standpoint, do you think we will see issue in adapting data driven management in the region?
We have been learning a lot since the beginning of the year on the topic as several of the companies we are helping are in that field. I will have the opportunity to tell you more about them in the next few weeks.

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