Tech In Asia Singapore 2017

Sometimes in the flow of your work life there occur events that make you stay still and take notice. They become one of the marquee events of your life, a bookmark as you may call them in the book of your body of work. Opportunity to visit and see the events unfolding during Tech in Asia conference is turning out to be one such event that I’ll look back with bewilderment and fondness and even with some laughs as I saw a few mini-events unfolding in the industry I work in and these I may remember later as the turning points for my own career.

This little effort to summarize what I saw and experienced is a little effort to bring you to the events from my eyes and show you what you’ve experienced if you attended the Tech in Asia event.

The event structure was broadly constituted of 5 parallel events going on at the same venue and depending upon your choice of subjects and speakers one could choose to attend any of them.

There was the Main stage, that hosted the event kickoff and numerous other fireside chats with thought leaders, Entrepreneurs, VCs, NTUC Head and many more top achievers who gave their piece of advice and views of how to succeed the tricky way of setting up your own thing in the world of opportunities and tough times of fundraising and survival.

Then there was the Startup 101 area where most of the talks, presentations and content was focused on head hardy budding entrepreneurs to learn the subtleties of how to hire, retain talents, remain focused, how to raise money, when to raise money and potential exit strategies. There were certain takeaways that would fit well for any corporate company to learn from these sessions specially those who want to remain a 22000 employee strong startup.

The third area was the Revenue or Marketing Stage eagle focused on identifying the right mix for the marketing guys and for those who’re trying to drive a business value for startups and in latest tech arena as well.

For the uninitiated the temptation to attend the glitzy high level discussion in Revenue stage were quite inviting but it was the Developer Stage that was hosting some real benefiting discussions. If the occasional product hard sell were to be ignored, then there were plenty of takeaways from majority of the sessions.

Let me start with what the initial view of the Tech In Asia Singapore 2017 had in store for me. I am sure many people saw & experienced things differently but I’ll give a small perspective of what it meant for me and my understanding of the event. I’ll try to bring the flavor of each session attended and what I got from it as a weekly post for your all. Watch out for this space.

With all the glitz and glamor, Tech In Asia Singapore 2017 started with a grand musical fanfare that brought startups and VCs as the rockstars of the event. The first session with Adi Tatarko (CEO & Founder of Houzz). The discussion started lighter but soon the pain for any startup were shared and the process of taking relevant user feedback and the importance of how to get the right feedback and bringing in the right features to take the product forward was shared by Adi.

Houzz started as an exercise to help a small neighborhood, soon gained traction and the 20 families from where the effort was started contributed and influenced to push the company to step into a global delivery model than just containing itself to the confines of that neighborhood. The major takeaway from this is that if the initial customer base is passionate and are made to be felt like the partners of the process, then the feedback from them would come is as a true stakeholder and valuable strategies can come out from the feedbacks or suggestions.

The challenges that came along with the globalization, where the clear break in the business cycle was identified by Houzz team, also came the realization about their limitation to close the buying cycle for global customers as logistics and supply chain to provide the specific products where the buying requests were coming from Canada, Alaska and even EMEA clients brought more headaches to the team. Of course, the opportunity that came with it was tremendous so is the challenge of identifying trusted partners that can provide same quality of service and shipping standards, what Houzz maintained with in US.

The realization of how difficult the closure of the demand & supply cycle could be made the management take some tough decisions that drive many companies into the path of trying to achieve too much in too little time without establishing the fundamentals. Fortunately, Houzz came out with the stead and slow approach that made them expand to multiple regions, but maintaining the quality standards they wanted to be known for.

The talk gave many learning points for people both from Startup and incumbent companies to put the importance on right customer feedbacks and remain focused on maintaining the standards of delivery while looking to scale up the service / product availability in the respective markets.

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