Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Talking about traction running a workshop at MaGIC Startup Academy

YBhg Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah entertaining welcome address
(note: notice the 'm' from MaGIC looks like the logo of Gmail? ;)

Proud to be among the awesome speakers of MaGIC Academy in Kuala Lumpur, to talk about TRACTION.

Some of the main messages I tried to convey are:
- Write down your "business plan" (not the 150 pages long one, but one which shows that you know what you are talking about). If it's not written, it does not exist. Or as Jeff Bezos says, "There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking."

- Know the metrics to follow along your journey, that will be the traction you can communicate. It will help you attract staff and investors. Remember, investors invest in lines, not in dots. Start not: decide on 5 KPIs which matter for your business.

- Make sure you're not wasting your time (we have a limited 30,000 days to live when we are born): do quick calculation of your Total Addressable Market to estimate the max impact of your project.

Additional resources:
- I strongly suggest MaGIC participants to go for Yongfook talk about growth hacking. I love going through his list of growth hacking strategies and adapting them to projects I'm looking at.

- Find investors for your venture on MAVA, the Map of Active VCs in Asia.

Looking for a job in some of the best startups based in Singapore: Product Managers, Engineers, Marketing, Data Analysts, Country Managers... contact me

Monday, 13 October 2014

Stress-free import of OCBC transactions into Xero

Before the feeds are available for live sync of Singapore's banks with Xero, we are left to do so manually.
Which can be made quite easy with a proper template. Read more on

Saturday, 27 September 2014

How many Series A round will happen in the next 2-3 years?

Just published MAVA, a map of active VCs in Southeast Asia.

It allows entrepreneurs to filter VCs they should talk to based on the amount they are trying to raise.
It also highlights the available capital for investment... through which we find that $1bn is available for investment... Good time to do a startup in the region!

About MAVA

Monday, 22 September 2014

10m iPhone 6 within 3 days

Now that the iPhone 6 is available for 3 days, Apple released the sales number... breaking a new record with 10 million phones sold!

Updating the chart started for the 24 hour sales,  we see that while the growth of sales is still present, it's is not as dramatic as it was for the iPhone 5S.

In $ terms, considering a price of $1,000 and up, it's more than $10 billion of revenues in just 3 days that Apple generated!

Monday, 15 September 2014

How are iPhone 6 first day sales comparing to previous iPhone? Fasten your seat belt...

Curious about the sales numbers Apple just released for iPhone 6, I scrolled through the previous year numbers and charted them.

Open for pre-orders on september 12th, it's 4 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus which were bought over 24 hours.

Going through previous launches shows that it's 2x better than iPhone 5 launch in 2012. 
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold 2x more within 24 hours than iPhone 5.
2013's iPhone 5S and 5C numbers are not available.

The ratio of 3 day sales over 24 hour sales from 2010 (2.8x) and 2012 (2.5x) leads to believe that 3 day sales will reach 10 to 11.2 million for the iPhone 6 family this year.
How much iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be sold within 3 days? Probably around 10-11m.

How many iPhone will be sold during the last quarter of the year? It was 48 million in 2012 and 51 million in 2013, with the ratio of sales over Q4 divided by 3 days sales of the new iPhone dropping from 9.6 to 5.7. The range of iPhone 6 family sales would then be 57 to 97 million.
We will get the answer in January!

For those who prefer tables over charts, here are the numbers from Apple's press releases.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Apple is 50% more valuable than Exxon! That's $200bn

Looking at the biggest companies in the world, I noticed that Apple is $200bn bigger than Exxon, the second on the list.
$200bn... is like 1x IBM valuation .
It's also 3/4 of Apple' cash reserve, which is much bigger than Exxon's one:

Cash: $150bn for Apple, vs. $20bn for Exxon

Other operating metrics for reference:
Revenues: $170bn for Apple, vs. $420bn for Exxon
Net Income: $37bn for Apple, vs. $33bn for Exxon

The extract from our monthly monitoring:

Previous review of listed companies through Google Sheets:
- Some news in the Travel Industry in July:
- Explaining how it's done:

This month we added Media monitoring, which brings us to 8 industries:
Social Media
Mobile Advertising
Global200bn (Companies with a valuation of more than $200bn)

If you're interested to receive any of these, email

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Two exciting deals in the Travel industry and 8 Industries available

We recently sent our monthly monitoring of listed companies to our subscribers, which now includes a few main news related to the industries. For Travel for instance:

Tours & Packages market is ready for growth
TripAdvisor acquired Viator for US$200m early July; that's 18 months after their partnerships for TripAdvisor to distribute Viator products. 
Viator is 20 years old (1995), based in SF, and raised around $11m incl from Carlyle. Focus was US, UK and Australia; with 20,000 activities in 1,000 destinations in 160 countries 8m MAU and more than 1m total downloads of mobile Apps; 3,000 affiliates incl 17 OTA, 18 Hotels brands, 33 airlines; 700,000 email addresses; 80% bookable with 24h, 90% within 48h; 250 employees Other actors in the tours/packages area are GetYourGuide which raised $20m, Peek which raised $7m, and Flocations (disclaimer: I'm a founder of this one ;)
more on

China's travel market is still wide open
Global leader Priceline will invest $500m in cTrip and the companies will access each others inventories.
more on

We also added F&B (Food & Beverages) monitoring too, which brings us to 8 industries:
Social Media
Mobile Advertising
Global200bn (Companies with a valuation of more than $200bn)

If you're interested to receive any of these, email

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Thanks MakeMyTrip for selling my email address

While going through my inbox, I notice a mailing list that I have no memory of subscribing too... For a good reason: I probably never subscribed to it.
How do I know? I use specific email addresses for commercial services, making the origin of an email easy to trace. Of course, I always opt-out of mailing lists while checking out / signing up for services.
Then, if I receive an email to this email address from a different sender, it's probably because the initial service provider sold the email address to the sender. In this case, my "" went to Payback for some reasons. Maybe I forgot to un-check some (hidden) checkboxes. Maybe I choice was simply not respected. I now unsubscribed from this mailing list, and hope no other will follow.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Insights of the life of a MacBook Air battery

"12 hours of battery life" is the premise of the new MacBook Air. How does that hold over time?

Since my previous laptop bought in October 2012 (in Malaysia, one of the cheapest country to buy Apple products, ask me more), I started tracking (manually so far) the battery capacity and cycle counts on a monthly basis.
I found that after 6 months and 220 battery cycles (full charge), the battery capacity had dropped to 90%.

Jared Davenport found a similar pattern with 10% of battery capacity gone after 4-6 months of use.

Over the 19 months period, the drop in battery life is pretty regular.

Less cycles per day after leaving my startup.

To know more about my usage of the computer, I compared the number of battery cycles over the different periods. It appears that the number of cycle dropped after October 2013, which matches the change in my professional life (I stepped down from my startup While I believe I still spend most of my days in front of the MacBook Air, I probably changed the way I plug it.

The battery capacity of my 2012 MacBook Air now stands at 5,200 mAh, with around 5h40 of use time as per the battery indicator.
The new MacBook Air (2014) shows me 7,440 mAh and 12h40 use time (with no software running).

How to get the battery data on your Apple computer

Go to Apple Menu > About This Mac > More Info... > System Report > Power

Find the interactive charts on my site.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Get (part of) your Industry Intelligence for Free. Google Sheets Magic for Entrepreneurs

Email personalised for your industry. Read below to receive the same monthly.

How often do you conduct industry intelligence for your startup? Odds are - most entrepreneurs need to do it a lot more than they currently do.

While an entrepreneur in an early stage startup should focus first on his own product and business, spending a few minutes a month on the industry you're operating in and watching the market performance has value (the ultimate valuation of a startup is linked to listed companies in some ways and listed companies are potential acquirers).

I like to regularly follow the news in the spaces I'm interested in, and monitor market trends for listed companies in these sectors. Google Finance and Bloomberg are great tools I love to use to track the market and trends. For most entrepreneurs though, they are scary tools reserved for Wall Street bankers and market finance-tie wearing people.

Could we make it easier? 
Could we get stock market monitoring through a tool that all of us know how to use? Industry intelligence as a "nothing-to-do" service.

When I work with entrepreneurs as a "CFO by the Day" to help them monitor their progress, I build with them easy to use dashboards for themselves, their teams and their investors. That sometimes involves doing spreadsheets. Not the boring Excel ones. The magic-powered Google Sheets.

Most entrepreneurs I work with with are not market finance experts and don’t do industry intelligence. But that’s not to say that they don't realize the importance of it. It’s just that for a zillion reasons, they don’t.

So, I got down to creating industry dashboards of listed companies. The setup is on Sheets. The data is loaded from Google Finance. Emails can be sent automatically. Best part - it’s all free. Entrepreneurs can get a regular update on listed companies in their industry right in their inbox.

Get Yours for Free once a month: Just email me at with the industry you are interested in. That's it.

SaaS, Gaming, e-commerce and Travel are already available. I will add other industries on popular demand.

This is what you can expect:
- Highlight of the 3 biggest players in your industry (Did you know that in the travel space, Priceline is the biggest at $60bn, followed by TripAdvisor and Expedia at "only" $10bn?)
- Best stock price performance over 30 days
- Worst stock price performance over 30 days
- Listing of all the listed companies included in the monitoring

For those of you who love spreadsheets, this is how it looks behind the scenes. Yep, sparklines are available in Google Sheets to show trends. Isn't life beautiful?

Google Sheets receiving data from Google Finance. You don't even have to do it, just email me.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Drawing the First Dots for JFDI2014a's Startups

Friday, March 21st: As every Friday at Blk71, Singapore, startup, wine and cheese enthusiasts are gathering with the JFDI frogs. Even more so this week to welcome the 13 new awesome startups to go through the 4th bootcamp (the first 3 incubated 26 startups, 60% of which raised $600k).

Pic by JFDI CEO Hugh Mason

Listening to the 13 great pitches, the following stats can be made:

On Day 2 of the bootcamp, 71% of the startups (9 out of 13) have no traction yet (or do not mention it). This number will go dramatically down over the next 98 days, JFDI helping the startups doing their customer development and improving the way to pitch themselves. As investors invest in lines, not dots, I will follow this closely.
4 startups are not easily found with a Google search.

e27's Theon (aka The Toad) is covering the bootcamp on a daily basis.
TechInAsia has no coverage so far.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

How to get Google apps (Gmail, Maps, Chrome and more) on Xiaomi's phones

Have you heard of Xiaomi? 

- The company was founded just 4 years ago.
- It sold close to 20m smartphones in its third year, bringing the total number of MIUI users to 30m (MIUI is the name of the Android version modified by Xiaomi).
- Google's VP for Android even joined Xiaomi in August 2013.

While Xiaomi's phones were mostly sold in China (with some in Taiwan and Hong Kong) so far, 2014 will be the start of international expansion, starting by Singapore with its S$169 Redmi (named Hongmi in China).

The latest smartphone from Xiaomi is Mi3, a powerful 5" smartphone with a weight of just 145g (more specs on Xiaomi). Opening the packaging looks like this:

The hardware is great. However, as an international user with no Chinese reading ability, the first thing I wanted to do was to install the Google apps to access my Gmail, Maps, and others.

Where are Gmail, Google Maps and the other Google apps?

The apps themselves are not available on the Xiaomi market. Searching for "Google" brings results such as below:

The first result, by Eric Xiang (and marked installed on my screenshot), is a Google Installer. It's basically an app which gives access to the Google apps.

Going Google on Xiaomi

Once installed, open the app and scroll down to access the Google Play one.
While installing, it will prompt to install dependencies, which you have to accept.

With Google Play now installed, you can sync your Xiaomi with Google Accounts and access all the apps from the store, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Keep, Chrome... I added around 15 Google apps.

Solving the Google Contacts sync

One problem I had after the install was the inability to sync my Google Contacts. While it should be in the Google account settings for sync (accessed from Settings > Accounts > Google), the 'Contacts' line was simply not there for me.
Sync settings for Google accounts in Android. At first "Contacts" was not available for me.

The solution was to go back to the Google Installer, and manually install the app looking like a contacts card (The third app in the screenshot below, marked 'installed'). 

I had no issue for Calendar sync or any other service. I would have saved time if the Google Play installer contained this contacts sync as part of the dependencies.

Step by Step guide to install Google services on Xiaomi MIUI

  1. Search for "Google" in the Xiaomi market
  2. Install the "Google Installer"
  3. Open the Google Installer
  4. Install Google Play, accepting the dependencies proposed.
  5. Set up your Google account(s) in the Android settings
  6. Enjoy Google Play for your usual apps.
In case of issues:
- While installing Google Play and its dependencies, you might have to check the boxes "I trust this app"
- For Google Contacts sync, you might have to separately install a Google Contacts sync app from the Google Installer app.

Hopefully, this is just a hack before a native install of Google apps... which would help Xiaomi's development outside of China.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Your guests will love you for doing this. Or how to set up your wifi and get good karma.

What do you do first when you arrive at someone's place?

"Hello" ?
hmm, old school.

"Where are the beers?" ?
hmm, a bit rude in most cultures.

"Dude, what's your f****** wifi password?" ?
You're a geek, I like you!

And 52.4% of the time, you are set to find a 10+ characters string to connect to the local wifi. Then to type it - lowercase, uppercase, weird characters - in your iPhone, Android, laptop and other connected devices.

(Then you say "hello" to your friend, their partner, their dog, their cat and their fish, and you open a beer).

There should be a better way you think. The good news is... There is (for Android):

Yes, a QR code can automatically connect to the wifi network.
Anyone living in a place with a wifi network and friends sometimes crashing in their sofa would make better friends by printing their QR code right now. Once scanned, the QR code is automatically recognised by Android which proposes to connect to the network.

How to get the QR Code for my wifi network?

Go to You will get your QR code in 1 minute; you just need to type your network name (SSID), password and network type (WEP/WPA?).

Is it safe?

As safe as giving your wifi password to someone. Only people who see your QR code and are within reach of your network will connect to your wifi.
Tip: Using your email or bank password for your wifi network is not a good idea.

What if my friends have no QR code scanner installed on their phone?

Get new friends.
Or give them a beer and enjoy your time with them.

Is that all I should do for my wifi?

This trick only works with Android, so you could please iOS fans and laptop-holder friends by choosing a password which is easy to remember and to spell.

(Update: following readers' feedback, this Q&A was added)