March 17th, 2008

In Beijing

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Have been very busy setting up Thymos Capital last couple of months so wasn’t able to travel much so feeling a bit out of touch. So after postponing this trip a couple of months, I am finally arrived in Beijing last night.

This is mostly a study trip for me, to catch up with old friends and hopefully meeting new ones. I also hope to get a feel of China, which isn’t much as a touch-and-go, but I intend to speak to as many people as possible.

September 24th, 2007

Home Sweet Home (with iPhones)

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30 hours and finally back home in Singapore. It has being a good trip and I have a lot of fun! :-)

Now unlocking the iPhones I bought back. Who wants one?



Okay, I was joking when I say “Who wants one?”. These are for friends who asked me to bring it back for them. Sorry, I am not about to start a parallel import business (nor have the time).

Incidentally, for the hackers out there, these are things you can do to make it more usable in Singapore.

1. If you have data plans (3G or GPRS) with your provider, goto Settings->General->Network->Edge and then enter these settings depending on your provider

Operator Access Provider Network Account Password
M1 sunsurf 65 user123
Singtel internet guest guest
Starhub shwapint guest guest

2. The incoming callerID is kind of screwed when in Singapore. But luckily, you can download this hack/fix (instructions in the zip file). You need to know sftp or ssh so if you don’t know what I just said, ask your nearest geek to help you with it.

3. Call *3001#12345#* on your iPhones to access really field test menu. You can check your firmware using this too:

03.12.06_G is firmware 1.0.0
03.14.08_G is firmware 1.0.1 and 1.02
04.02.04_G is firmware 1.1.1

September 22nd, 2007

People I met

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People I met in Bay Area:

Bruce Schena – Founder of Immersion. Cool guy to hang out when I am in Bay Area again.

David Hornik (August Capital) – One of my favorite VC blogger. Finally got to meet him and I hope to invite to Singapore to talk to the startups here.

Dewayne Hendricks – Finally catch up with him for lunch on Friday after the mishap on Wed. Thanks for the insight on spectrum in US.

Don Park – Very smart guy! Read his blog for years, play WoW with him and finally get to met him.

Jeff Clavier – Ross say he is in office and I drop into his office uninvited. Catch him at a bad time and didn’t have much time. (He remembers me from Supernova 2005)

Keith Teare (edgeio) – Old friend and very smart (business) man. Partner of M. Arrington. Always value his advice (he asked me to move to Bay Area :-)

Lee Felsenstein – Gosh, I didn’t even know I was speaking to THE MAN until someone mentioned the word Osborne!

Loic Le Meur – Old friend. Glad to see him doing very well.

Marc Andreesen (Ning) – No, he don’t travel outside Bay Area :-(

Michael Arrington (Techcrunch) – Need to follow up with him from our short conversation.

Michael Montgomery (Montgomery & Co) – Excellent speaker at the panel of TC40. Another person on my invite list (not sure he needs it tho, since he probably knows more people in Singapore than I do)

Om Malik (GigaOM) – Had coffee with him on Friday at SF. May be in Singapore in Dec.

Shel Israel – Old friend. Wish I have more time to spend to talk to tho but he is busy with family. Family always first of course :-)

William Reichert ( – Wonderful discussion. I am sure we can figure out something to do together.

Ross Mayfield & Phil Wolff & David Beckemeyer – Already covered them in my previous post. Wish I spend more time with them.

Thank you for spending the time with me. I hope to be back soon.

On a separate note, people I wish I have met:

Michael Moritz (Sequoia) – Sadly he left town immediately after Techcrunch

Ron Conway – Brilliant angel who made wonderful investments like Google & Paypal.

Perhaps next time I am in town. They are one degree apart so I need to make more preparation.

September 21st, 2007

San Francisco to Palo Alto

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iphones.jpgHad a wonderful lunch with Phil Wolff and David Beckemeyer at the Silk. I haven’t have so much fun having conversation talking about voip for a while. The industry landscape has changed a lot bu certainly lots of moving. But one take away from lunch is no one has found the “killer” in VoIP yet.

In case you are thinking of “Skype”, Skype has done excellently well for the founders but we aren’t sure it is doing that great for eBay. eBay and Skype could have being two separate company for all intend and purpose. They have two years to integrate….

After lunch, we adjoint to the lobby to wait for Dewayne Hendricks only to discover my rental car disappeared. I was really in panic since everything I have (luggage, laptop and passport) is in the car. I have a sigh of relief when I discover my car has being towed but it didn’t last long when David tells horror stories of stolen stuff from towed car.

To cut it short, I recovered my car with all my stuff (phew!), paid a US$250 fine (that is more expensive than the rental) and missed my meeting with Dewayne :-( I am really sorry.

After that, I drove down to Palo Alto and catch up with Ross Mayfield. He is one of the few people I wanted to meet (we raided together in WoW) but never got around to so I am glad we catch up. He is one of the few people that really knows the vibes of the valley. I heard many good things about BarcampBlock so I am kind of disappointed I missed the event.

Incidentally, I love Palo Alto. I remember very fondly of University Ave when I was staying here in the valley in the late 90s. Coming back bring back a lot of memories…Also pick up a few iPhones yesterday. By “a few”, I mean a “dozen”.

I am now crushing in at Meng Wong place.

September 19th, 2007


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Techcrunch already has a great coverage of the Techcrunch40 event so it is pointless for me to repeat here. Beside, I was busy running around, speaking to people, catching up with old friends and making a lot of new ones and not really paying attention.

So instead, I will cover a few companies I saw which I really like.

maxroam.jpg1. First on my list is Cubic Telecom. Okay, I like them (no sorry, I love them) not only because Pat Phelan reads my blog but they have a killer idea. Imagine having a sim card that gives you numbers up to 50 countries; no more carrying multiple sims and phones for different country; Then imagine anyone can call you on any of those numbers (paying local or international calls charges as appropriate) but more important, you, the recipient pays only local charges. NO MORE ROAMING CHARGES!

How many of us who travel around often get hit with a $1,000 roaming bill? Imaging all of that all gone, with all the multiple sim cards! I love them so much that I got 5 simcards from Pat. I can sending this sim to someone :-) And don’t get me started with what they going to do with their own branded phones and wifi.

It is pretty sad that most people in the audience don’t really get them since they aren’t web 2.0. But if there is an billion dollar idea from the event, this is it! Simple technology (little technology risks), high-entry barrier (this cannot by two guys in a garage, not with at least 20 years of telco experience between them), great business proposition and a clear path to profitability.

2. MusicShake has the killer presentation on day one. I was dozing off due to jetlag and their showy presentation puts me off initially. Then I hear the music, I open my eye and my jaw dropped.

When they say that they have a tool that allows anyone, even without music background, to create music, they really meant it. The demo blew the audience totally away.

Nevertheless, I am a bit skeptical that they will be big. Although it does not requires any music background to create music, there is a lot of trial and error so it is extremely time consuming. It is a cool tool of cos, but like Comic Life, I probably use it once or twice and forget about it.

3. XTR3D makes me wonder why they aren’t at Wired Nextfest. Using a camera to capture hand gestures, it translate the hand gestures into inputs. It is difficult to explain it (already failed the elevator pitch) without seeing it in action so here is the demo

I missed a few presentations as I was running around but I was told Powerset and Mint are really good. The feedback is that Powerset seem to have a very smart team of people who knows what they are doing, considering they are taking on Google with a nature language search, sound like a good thing to have. And Mint, well, won the US$50,000 award. Congratulations!

Incidentally, I am crushing in at Andreas Weigend house the last few days. I have a lot of fun with all the conversations we have the last few days. Thank you!

ps: I finally managed to shake hand with Marc Andreessen! After all these years!

September 14th, 2007

In Los Angles

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Just checked into Westin Bonaventure Hotel in LA.

I like to meet the genius who put the ethernet connector on the table far away from any wall power plug.

And United Airs tried to charge me US$191 to make a slight change (30mins earlier flight) for a US$204.80 ticket. Good Lord!

September 13th, 2007

Packing for LA

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mybook.jpgAlmost done packing my luggage and preparing to leave for LA. The last week was really busy for me as I was running around doing errands, meeting people, and making sure things still go on while I am away.

Speaking of errands, I bought a NAS 500Gb MyBook yesterday. A minute after it is booted up, I got SSHD running (courtesy of Martin Hinner). I tested compiling some stuff on it and the CPU is really slow. But on the other hand, I have a shell :-) I will play with it more when I am back.

Oh and wave to Michael Everson who just fly in yesterday. He is in Indonesia the last couple of days doing some Javanese scripts and now in Singapore with Uli Kozok working on another Indonesian script. We have wonderful sashima dinner yesterday and man, I am still full from last night.

August 3rd, 2007

Going to Los Angeles and Bay Area



I will be flying into Los Angeles on 13th Sept to attend the Wired NextFest.


Then I will fly to San Francisco on 16th Sept to attend Techcrunch20.

After Techcrunch20 ended on 18th, I intend to stay on in the Bay Area for a few more days to catch up with friends and hopefully making new friends. I should be back in Singapore by 23rd Sept.

This is the first time I am going to these sort of geek conferences as an “investor” (Thymos Capital). The feeling is kind of different.

If you happened to be around during those dates or you know someone I should meet, please drop me an email at

April 21st, 2007

Customer Service @ Immigration



This trip to Beijing, I notice the immigration counter has a new device (above). Yep, you can give instant feedback of the officer who is serving you. Customer Service @ Immigration. Wow! Guess Beijing is taking Olympic 2008 very seriously, making sure they have the best in front of the visitors.

Anyway, it is a refreshing compared to what I get when I go US, finger print and 100% (what you mean it is random?) full check, every time.

April 18th, 2007

Transit in Hong Kong



Just arrived in Hong Kong and taking a super red-eye (3am) flight to Beijing. Don’t have a choice…only way to make it to my meeting in time. :-(