A Khmer American singer and lead vocalist for the band Dengue Fever
In 2010, I had a one-year stint at the Phnom Penh Post. While it’s a newsroom, it’s also an informal academy. I had the opportunity to get to know some brilliant media students. These are the new generation of Cambodian journos who love beating the deadline and drafting the first drafts of Cambodian history.
Many of them are now doing remarkable work in PR. I hope one day (in a few years), they will buy an independent newspaper (if any) in Malaysia. But to only make it more independent.
The future is here.
While I’ve been expecting to get my hands on Google Home Mini, I got this Amazon Echo first. As I’m writing this blog post, this the second day with the Echo (although I prefer to communicate with Alexa more). So the Echo is a smart speaker made by Amazon. Alexa is the digital assistant, whom I have a conversation with. The Echo Dot is on sale in Phnom Penh.
Before I can add more about my experience with this smart speaker, here’s some interesting things I like about the Echo:
Thank John for this 2018 gadget gift.
A story I wrote about Asia’s technology trends to watch in 2018 was published on Red Herring on December 22, 2017.
Read my full story here: Asia’s Top Tech Trends in 2018: By the Letters.
Across Southeast Asia, rising tech startups and firms are vying for glory in 2018. While artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) may be touted as the next big things in Silicon Valley, Asia will embrace simpler trends. According to a report by Google and Temasek, Southeast Asia’s Internet economy is flying along: it will reach $50 billion this year, and $200bn by 2025. Here are some of the biggest trends to watch out for heading into the new year.
I’ve started listening to Gary Vaynerchuk podcast lately through the word of mouth from Sereyboth. Seth Godin the magnificent marketer guru has long been one the best bloggers I’ve following for years.
I came to this YouTube video after listening to another video talk by Seth while I was gardening at my front yard.
This video title does really resonate with me in this 2017.
Sophie, my 3-year-old daughter, started her first year at the kindergaten several months ago. This year, her school will be supporting LICADHO’s Early Years Behind Bars for its annual beloved Giving Night.
I’m supporting this cause. And I’m asking you to join this with me.
What: I’m now collecting donations of child/adult toothbrushes as well any gently used or new toys, books, clothes or art supplies for children born into Cambodia’s prison system.
When: I’ll bring the donations of mine and yours to The Giving Tree School (Tuol Kork Branch, house #5, St. 325, Phnom Penh) on December 11th, 5:00 – 7:00PM.
How: If you wish to send your donations of stuff (not money) through me, please drop me a line of your pick-up location (Google Maps link) and mobile phone number. Thanks!
Last year, when my son 5-year-old Tom was a pupil at the school for this Giving Night, I also donated a set of Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit to the Rabbit School Organization. This year, I’m planning to get old books for the donation.
Currently, I’m on a Telegram chatroom of nearly 40 Cambodian tech folks (less than 10 are active) discuss about the potential of blockchain, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, among their personal pursuit in mining the next the big thing.
In his blog post there is also a link to another blog post, which mentioned this book, Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages.
Personally, I thought The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) and the dot-com bubble (1997 to 2001) are pretty the same thing as this blockchain big bang.
Updated: December 7, 2017
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has just warned the public about the risk of the Bitcoin and other cryptopcurrency. While the rejection has been widely publicized in the media, it’s not just warning but also a big publicity for this blockchain technology and cryptopcurrency.
Cambodians spend much of their time playing on Facebook, the world’s popular social networking website. Despite Cambodia is a hotbed for Facebook experiment, I expect that it will not affect the number of growing users. Of course, a small number of people here (including me) don’t like it.
If you’re wondering why Khmer people are in love with Facebook, please continue to read on.
Each and everyday, Facebook asks me: What’s on your mind? Here’s my answer to Facebook the company and its shareholders.
1- Cambodians started to hate TV because TV talked to them without listening to them.
2- TV is expensive. They spend money to buy a TV set just to watch. That’s all. Not fun. Nothing much on TV are cute. No cute cat. Not much to see selfies.
3- Cambodians think that everyone in Cambodia and all over the world is on Facebook. So they have to be on Facebook even being the last one in the kingdom to get on the social site.
4- Cambodians can create organic content with high reach. Cambodian users are probably the best viral content creators on the planet.
5- Cambodians have already abandoned TV. Facebook is the main source of all things day and night.
6- Ads spending on Facebook is high and growing non-stop. Why? Big, medium, and small businesses no longer want to spend their marketing money on TV and newspapers. They can easily pay Facebook to the work. $1 per day? Acceptable.
7- Cambodia’s Facebook users care about being on Facebook. Facebook Explore Feed. Who cares?
8- On Facebook, business is business. You have to pay to get in the frontpage if you want to sell.
9- On Facebook, you’re completely free to share your personal information and content (photos from your backyard, yes).
10. Blockchain? What? Facebook invests in you all and mine your data like a pro.
There is this new thing called Explore Feed for all the not sponsored Page content. It’s a Facebook’s experiment. And Cambodia is among the six test countries. So only sponsored Page posts get shown on the prime Frontpage.
The world’s most popular social networking site has just launched a new version for Cambodia’s users, among 6 other countries, the Facebook Frontpage. This newest test version is dedicated to updates from its users and sponsored content only. No more. For those publishers and brands who spent their budget on gaining the quanity of Likes will not get the same treatment of having their messages on the first front page. Those messages are now placed in a secondary section called Explore Feed. Just like its name, it means Cambodian Facebook users will need to do their own exploration.
Facebook is a tech company that focuses on the result. Tweaking a small feature to get more advertisers to continue spending more money is the goal for the company and the shareholders. User experience is secondary. Publishers or Page owners with largest followers has already spent their marketing budget on getting the number of Likes. It’s as if the number of Likes is useless. This new feature allows Facebook to keep earning more from these businesses and others.
Cambodia has a lot of love stories with Facebook. But the interesting timing is Facebook, Google, and Twitter, are being grilled for their role in the last year’s US election.
I think the majority of Cambodians may not notice this tweak. What matters is that they still see that Facebook is working and feeding them the content they want to consume. If the social networking site were having a one-hour downtime, the public will get angry much more
than this introduction of the Explore Feed.
It’s the first time ever that this issue has happened. Facebook should have done much better than this. But after all, it’s the global tech company that can decide without listening to their users.
This is the worse tweak ever. My tweets here (also others’)
— Tharum Bun (@tharum) October 24, 2017
Most users will never know or notice. Nobody should ever blame Facebook.
I was quoted in this VOA News article here: Facebook Faceplants in Cambodia.
One of the biggest sessions at this year BarCamp Asean (a special edition of BarCamp Phnom Penh), TechTalk 2017 offered some highlights of Cambodian tech startups to the enthusiastic audience. Key business players from big to small shared their thoughts on their tech offerings, challenges, golden opportunities, and what it’s like to build and grow a company. Read on my note from this event as I kept trying to capture some of the most important points from the speakers.
When: October 22, 2017
Where: Institute of Technology of Cambodia
Anthony Perkin, Chief Technology Officer of Smart, on cashless society
Sophorth Khuon, Founder and CEO of Morakot Technology, core-banking system for microfinance and banks
Leakhena Long, Joonaak Delivery
Ly Channa, CTO of BookMeBus
Bora Kem, Investment Manager of Mekong Strategic Partners
Makara Khov, Underscretary of State, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication
Chy Sila, CEO of Sabay
Chanda Pen, moderator
Socheata Lim, Vice President of Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC)
Ros Khemra, Regional Accesss to Finance of Mekong Business Initiative (MBI)
Zoe Ng, Managing director of Raintree
Member of Corco and Co-founder of Emerald Hub
Head of Strategy, Smart Axiata
Chanda: One of the issues facing startups
a company needs at least 3 years of capital
What are the some the criterias that Smart looks to invest?
Smart Fund. 5 millions dollar that invest in early stage compnay. lacking of fundings is one of the challenges
To MBI: what are some of the things MBI is looking for?
we’re an ecosystem builder that supports startups. government in Vietnam, Singapore and other countries are turning their focus to support startups
Startups have a lot of potential.
Startups can grow from a small company into a big one in the region
Investors look for in a startup. Team. skills. Realistic of the product. and growth potential.
invest in 4-5 startups. 3 gone. one is half success
a lot of young and talent people. only 16 million population
Ecosystem is important
what advice to you have to startup people
A lot of challenges and opportunities
If you start the business, you need a clear mission, vision,. strong team and commitment.
What advice do you give to entrepreneurs
Networking. The people they know, partners, are one of the driving factors…
Have fun. Relationship is not going to last if you’re not having fun.
Try different things all the time.
Don’t just go to tech tech events.
CSR: Support events like BarCamp Asean, …
invest in company
Invest in young startups
partner with iflix. Support ecosystem.
The tech ecosystem in the region:
The whole ecosystem: corporate support, government support policy
More co-working spaces
In term of technical capacity, we’re good. Top ten in 2016-2017. BanhJi top 10.
We have a smaller community, but good.