Random Musing

July 23rd, 2007

Thymos Capital LLP

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thymos.jpgSome of you might got my email over the weekend and some might have jumped the gun and blog about it (thanks). So I guess it is time that I blog about my latest venture, Thymos Capital LLP.

Thymos capital LLP is a business incubator focusing on Singapore interactive digital media startups. (that includes web 2.0). Our fund is a combination of private investors and public fundings.

Our target is to fund 100 seed-stage startups, S$50,000 each, over the next 3 years in Singapore.

S$50,000 may not a lot of money but it means a lot a young startup. More importantly, the value of Thymos Capital is not the S$50,000 but rather the mentoring and advises we can provide to the startups; Thymos Capital are made up of partners and advisers who have a track record of doing startups. As I told another startup yesterday, we may not be your executives but your cheerleaders and evangelists.

This is why I have been meeting with a lot of young entrepreneurs.

Now, some of you might remember me talking about why Singapore is not ready for web 2.0. Isn’t it contradictory?

In that blog entry, I lamented 3 issues – the first is access to funding for web 2.0 startups and that is precisely what Thymos Capital aims to solved. As for the mindset, thats why we don’t just come in with investment but take an active role advising and mentoring startups. As the for the last one regarding the lack of talents, that is unfortunately still true. Several folks have asked me to start a web 2.0 class for hackers. Worthy idea but I think I leave it to someone else to start one. (Let me know if you are doing that! I love to talk to you.)

Nevertheless, we are lucky to have found over 10 talented team of people who going to kick start Thymos Capital. I will mention them here later.

In the meantime, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur and think Thymos Capital can assist you, do drop me an email at james@seng.sg.

July 19th, 2007

What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren’t Listening


Neocons on a Cruise: What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren’t Listening

“A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country,” she says. “Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that’s what you’ll get.” She squints at the sun and smiles. ” Then things’ll change.”

Read the whole article. I wish it is fiction but sadly, it is not. Gosh, what do they feed them in the red states?

July 17th, 2007

Samsung Retreat


Amazing what you can do with 222,000 employees.

via Squarebrain

July 11th, 2007

Night Safari with Mao Wei


Mao Wei who is in Singapore for APNIC EC meeting. We usually meet overseas, like in Cape Town or Kyoto. I guess going to Night Safari with him is the least I could do to return the kind hospitality in JiuZhaiGuo and Xiamen.


(Yes, that is Gwen with us on the trip. Another story another time)

June 23rd, 2007

Having fun @ Supernova Backchannel


Part of the fun of attending a tech conference is the backchannel.

[In references to the panel on The Social Web: Choices and Voices]

(1:38:51 AM) jseng: erm, i have no idea what they are talking on the panel matters
(1:39:20 AM) davidjoho: jseng, they are in the unique consumer personalization long tail bucket. Clear?
(1:39:56 AM) nicolelazzaro: I have no idea what they are paneling on the talk, jseng
(1:41:29 AM) jseng: joho, ya, they are doing innovative paradigm-shifting transparent process re-engineering long-tail customization for user centric application
(1:41:53 AM) davidjoho: ah, thank you, jseng. For a moment there I actyually thought I understand what they were talking about!

June 22nd, 2007

The last 36 hours


The last 36 hours was a crazy non-stop activities.

Started my day by going to the IX 2007. Met Jeremiah (finally!) although sadly we didnt get much chance to talk one-on-one. (He was blogging, chatting and preparing for his talk). The talks itself was a mixture of good and bad and so-so. Some are so outright offensive that Choon Keat decided to step out of the room totally than to listen to the corporate bullshit about security. Haha.

Left IX after Jeremiah’s talk and drive over to SPH. Did a vodcast for mypaper together with mrbrown. We took a while to discuss before we start because the topic was kind of vague. When we probe further, the producer said “No, really. We have no idea what we want.”. mrbrown later commented that thats a refreshing difference between Zaobao and Straits Times, as the former approaches things with an open mind while the latter often already have an angle to the story and just trying to squeeze quotes from you so they could tell their story. Okay, not always true but happened often enough.

Got a bit of quick bite and then over to meet Dr. Toh See Kiat and Dr. Ang Peng Wah (a very old friend and is also the Vice President of CASE, beside the Dean of NTU School of Information). We have something planned that I am very excited about. :-)

Then hop back to IX 2007 for a party with the digital movement folks. The party is small but it was a blast. Jeremiah already blogged about them and also gave many good advises (thanks!). There are no lacks of entrepreneurs and I spend a lot of time talking to many, some I knew and some new ones. One of the longest conversation I had is with one who tried to argue with me why he dont believe in X (altho he dont have much direct experience inX) in front of another well-known expert on X. I guess this is common problem when you believe too much what you read and listen too little to the people who actually knows the stuff.

ps: Apologies to Jeremiah over the confusion over his name on my part. I had this idea that his real name is Jeremy and Jeremiah is a nick. *doh*

Got home by midnight. Catch up with a bit of emails and then joined Supernova 2007 virtually, watching the Live Stream, keeping update via its blog (Suw was great!), the Jaiku backchannel and most fun on IRC. Suw, Joho, Doc Searl and the whole gang is on IRC. Gosh, my blood was boiling listening to John Kneuer on 700mhz auction. They spent years trying to crawl back 700mhz from incumbents only to auction it to another set of incumbents? Luckily, we have Joho, Doc and Isen tie-ing him apart while Kevin (pretend) to look chagrined.

Stayed until 6am, catch 2 hours of sleep and started a whole new day of meetings until now. Better get some sleep soon cos I want to join Supernova Day 2 tonight again. More fun tonight :-)

June 22nd, 2007

Paul Potts sings Opera


Incidentally, what kept me awake last night during the breaks for Supernova, is Paul Potts’ Con Te Partio and Nessa Dorma.

I hate to admit this but yes, I cried.

Pauls’ vibrato and control of his voice is nothing compared to Opera masters like Andrea Bocelli or Luciano Pavarotti. What he lacks in technical skill, Paul made up in his incredible emotion rendering that has that magical touch on the mass; the ability to lure people who never appreciate to Opera to stop and listen to him sing. In that regard, he is comparable if not exceed the masters.

June 19th, 2007

Meet the People


Some of the people I met today, not in any particular order:

Douglas Merrill
John Seely Brown
– Cory Ondrejka and Jean Miller (yes again :-)
Paul Saffo
Madanmohan Rao
James Lim
– Jose L. Encarnacao

Its late and I need to go to bed so I can wake up early for tomorrow event. So no long stories about each one but heck, I have fun ;-)

June 18th, 2007

Busy week


This is going to be a busy week for tech geeks in Singapore. CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia is happening this week. In conjunction of CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia, IX 2007 also bought about a whole list of interesting speakers in town, like Cory Ondrejka and Jeremiah Owyang. Speaking of Jeremiah Owyang, we are going to have dinner on 21st June (Some of you might got my private email to ask you to reserve the date. This is why :-)

On the same day with IX, MDA is also organizing a panel discussion on New Media @ Art House with the who’s who in the media industry. This is an invite-only event to discuss the future of new media and how business and society is going to be impact by those changes. And yes, there would be bloggers during this event who will keep us updated of the event on the New Media Blog. Check it out :-)

Incidentally, every year on the same week, Supernova organized by Kevin Werbach is happening in San Francisco. I have attend it in 2005 and I always wanted to go back again. If you aren’t able to make it to Singapore, you should definitely try to attend Supernova. Sadly, this year I have to can the plan to be in Supernova again but as I was discussing with Kevin over email, we will try to do something together for 2008.


Technorati: supernova2007

June 16th, 2007

Dream of the Red Chamber


On the last trip to China, I remember there was a big story about CCTV remaking Dream of the Red Chamber 红楼梦. The last Dream of Red Chamber made by CCTV is in 1987.

For those who don’t know, Dream of the Red Chamber is like Romeo and Juliet for Chinese. It is a Chinese classic and millions of Chinese girls (and boys) read the classic for at least two century. The main characters in story are Jia Baoyu 贾宝玉 (“Romeo”) and Lin Daiyu 林黛玉 (“Juliet”) and Xue Baochai 薛宝钗 (“Juliet #2”).

Because of the special place the story has in heart of the Chinese, the selection of the actors and actresses for the remake become a hot topic. So “America Idol”-like competition was held where everyone can vote for their favorite actor and actress.

Today, my wife asked me how goes the competition (she is a big fan of the classic) so we check it out.

Seem like they have selected Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai but not Jia Baoyu. Sigh, I thought Wu-Ting would win. :-(

Lin DiaYu
Xue Baochai
My favourite for DaiYu.

My wife now looks forward to the remake. In the meantime, she is watching the 1987 version.