12 Apr 2021

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of initiatives that have raised global awareness about the importance of gender diversity, the challenge of the gender pay gap – as well as the issue of a lack of women in senior leadership positions.

But while these initiatives draw more attention to these issues, what I want to understand is has this attention led to progress. 

And our guest, Uma Thana Balasingam, is ideally suited to help me delve deeper into this question. In her day job, she’s the Vice President of the Partner & Commercial Organization for VMWare in Asia Pacific.  She has also been recognised by CRN in their “Most Powerful Women of the Channel” global list, and she also features in Singapore’s Top 100 Women in IT.

But she does so much more across the ICT ecosystem than just that. 

She’s also the Co-Founder of Lean In’s Singapore Chapter, which brings together its 4,000+ members to drive gender diversity in the workplace – and she is the Founder of Lean In Women in Tech Asia and  Women in Tech Singapore. 

Show Notes:

02:00 Intro to Uma – how she got where she is today

07:20 The opportunities the pandemic created for VMWare

10:00 How has the pandemic affected how you communicate with your internal and external teams?

14:00 What do you understand today from a business perspective that you wish you understood 5 or 10 years ago?

17:00 How has an introvert thrived in what many would think are extrovert roles?

20:00 We hear about gender equality and the gender pay gap, but the question is, are we really making progress?

24:00 The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 highlights the massive gender gaps in emerging jobs – what do we need to do to improve this?

31:30 Intro to Lean In Singapore 

33:30 What is unconscious bias? And can you give us examples of where you have experienced it?

42:40 The Provocative Questions. Uma and I agreed that I would be intentionally provocative in this section – asking her questions that some men might want to ask, but won’t because they are concerned they will be branded as sexist. 

64:30 What can men do to help create fair and equal environments for women?

 

Video Snippet: Uma’s Advice on How Men Can Become Part of the Solution

 



09 Apr 2021

The amount of data that we create, capture, copy, and consume is growing exponentially. In fact, according to IDC, the amount of data we will create in the next three years – will be more than the data we created over the past 30 years.

That sounds great, but it does raise a lot of questions. Like what are companies and governments doing with that data? Is our data being used ethically? What concerns should we as citizens – and consumers – have about the data that is being collected? And finally – does all that data actually lead to actionable intelligence. 

These are just some of the questions that we will discuss in this podcast. 

Today’s guest, Michael Conlin, will help delve deeper into these questions. He currently is the Chief Technology Officer for Definitive Logic, a US-based analytics and digital transformation specialist vendor, and was previously, the first ever Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Show Notes:

02:00 The journey that led a psychology major to become the first Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

09:00 The transition from the private to the public sector – what attracted Micheal to the DoD?

14:30 What was it like on Day 1 when you realised you were responsible for straightening out the data structure and strategy for the DoD’s 3.2 million employees and across its 13,000 operational IT systems?

20:00 The U.S. has a Border Czar, Bird Flu Czar & Cybersecurity Czar – was Michael the Data Czar?

23:30 What are the main differences between being a CTO/CDO in the public versus private sector – and what unique challenges did you face with the DoD?

33:15 Why do we still trust Facebook despite its data breach that released the personal information of 533 million users – but don’t trust the government with our data?

43:15 The role of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence

52:15 Who should be responsible for setting the rules and regulations relating to the acceptable and ethical use of data captured by companies, governments, etc.?

60:00 Microsoft recently signed a USD 22 Billion contract with the US military to deliver 120,000 HoloLens mixed reality headsets. If you were the CDO/CTO overseeing this for the military, how would you mitigate the risks – and what opportunities would you see for the devices?

67:15 You recently left the U.S. DoD and its 3.2 million employees for Definitive Logic and its 250 employees. What led to the change? 

71:30 The Fun Questions

  • How does an introvert like you thrive in situations that require you to play the role of an extrovert?
  • Tell us about your interesting hobbies, including being a blacksmith, enamelist, glass gaffer, goldsmith, sculptor & lapidary.
  • Prince William was recently crowned the world’s sexiest bald man – are you disappointed that you weren’t nominated? 

 



15 Mar 2021

I wanted to understand the pandemic’s impact on the DESIGN, BUILD & OPERATE phases of the Real Estate industry, so I pulled together an expert in each to create the first TechBurst Asia Podcast Panel.

The global pandemic has impacted every industry, but one industry that will face more impact than most is the Real Estate industry. In this podcast panel discussion, we’ll discuss…

  • Why it took a pandemic to kick-start innovation in an industry that is notoriously lax in adopting innovation
  • Why focusing on the human experience isn’t optional, it’s critical, to driving success
  • Work from Home – is it a passing fad or here to stay
  • Employee experience & well-being – will corporate empathy last in a post-Covid world
  • How what’s really changed is the speed of change

Guests:

Tim Kobe
  • Founder & CEO, Eight Inc. 
  • Founder & Chairman, x8ventures
  • Author of the new book, Return on Experience
Thomas Jakob
  • Regional President, Bosch.IO Asia Pacific
Susheel Koul
  • Division President – Corporate Solutions, JLL Asia Pacific

Show Notes:

02:00 Intro to the guests, their companies and the role they play in the Future of Buildings

03:30 What’s something that the pandemic has fundamentally changed with your business?

08:40 Once you got over the initial shock of the pandemic, what opportunities did you identify that your companies should go after?

14:20 Let’s say that I am your customer – and that could be a retail store, an office tenant, building owner, or city. Not only am I trying to ensure that I can create a safe and secure environment for my employees/customers/citizens to return to, but also an environment they WANT to return to. What advice would you give me?

21:15 You each sell products & services to corporate clients, but people are the end users. How do you incorporate the consumer – or employee – or citizen experience into your work?

27:50 One positive that has come about as a result of the pandemic, is that governments have used the time to fast-track their sustainability initiatives – which will hopefully lead to more green & energy efficient buildings in the future. How has this increased focus on sustainability impacted your company and your clients?

33:25 You each possess a vision for what is possible – even if the market isn’t ready for it. Tell me about something your company has the capabilities to deliver, but you’re still waiting for someone to say, “yeah, let’s go for it”.

38:20 The pandemic has forced companies to care more about the welfare of their employees. The question is, will this corporate empathy last when we shift into the post-pandemic world?

43:00 What is your key takeaway that the audience should remember for the post-Covid future…

47:00 Fast and fun round of questions

  • What’s your prediction for when we get back to business as usual – or will we?
  • Tell me something about the future of work that will be fundamentally different post covid. 
  • Work from home – will it last in a post-covid world? 
  • Tell me something your company has done during the pandemic that makes you proud. 
  • In pre-Covid days, we all spent much of our time travelling around the world for our work. But those days are long gone. What’s the best – and worst – thing about not having the crazy travel schedule?

Video Snippet: Is Work from Home a pandemic fad – or is it here to stay?



02 Mar 2021

We live in a world where the latest technologies, including AI, 5G, and blockchain, have the capability to truly transform the way we work, live and play. The problem is, they don’t always live up to the hype. 

One reason is the supply and demand sides of the market don’t work together as effectively as they should, and that’s why we are lucky to have today’s guest, Michael Gryseels, with us because he sits at the crossroads of technology supply and market demand.

He’s currently the Executive Vice Chairman of Thailand’s True Digital Group and the Chief Digital Officer for CP Group, which is Thailand’s largest private company and one of the largest conglomerates globally. 

This combination of roles provides him not only with insights into the market’s requirements – but also the capability to launch solutions to meet those requirements. 

Prior to these roles, he spent nearly 20 years with McKinsey & Company, where he was a Senior Partner and led McKinsey Digital Labs in Asia.

Show notes: 

01:15 Intro to True Digital, CP Group and A Day in the Life of Michael

05:15 CP Group operates in 15 industry verticals. What process do you follow to identify the opportunities and source the innovation that will digitise these industries?

07:00 You have been in your roles for 3 years, can you give us some examples of the initiatives that you’ve implemented, or solutions that you’ve deployed, that you’re proud of?

10:00 Status of 5G in Thailand

  • Which 5G use cases has True Digital identified?
  • Does Thailand’s strong manufacturing sector create an opportunity for Private 5G?
  • What are the Critical Success Factors for operators to be successful in 5G?

15:10 Where would you like to see True Digital and CP Group in 2 – 3 years time?

17:15 When you look at the global mobile operators, which ones do you think are doing the best job at driving digital solutions?

19:00 When implementing digital solutions, companies often get stuck in what McKinsey defines as “Pilot Purgatory”. What advice do you have for companies to overcome this?

22:10 Which technologies do you think will have the biggest impact in the next 12 – 24 months?

24:00 Fun Questions

  • What do you know today about True Digital / CP Group / Thailand that you wish you understood when you started on this journey?
  • You have lived in 15 countries – and worked in many more. Outside of Thailand, where did you find the most exciting place to work?
  • When I was 16 years old, I had a blond mohawk, spent my after school hours skateboarding and attending as many punk rock shows as possible. What were you doing at 16?
  • Let’s say I have the power to turn back time – and I can turn you into a university student today. What would you study – and what would you want to do with your career?

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23 Feb 2021

We recently have talked about the future of 5G – and in this episode – we will take that to the next level.

We’ll discuss the models being used to fund 5G investments, the consumer and enterprise solutions and services that will help operators monetise those investments and discuss which types of operators are best suited to capitalise on the emerging opportunities.

We are joined by Ferry Grijpink, a Senior Partner with McKinsey & Company based out of Amsterdam. Ferry is also the Founder of the McKinsey Center for Advanced Connectivity and is their Global Lead for Digital and Analytics for the Telecoms, Media and Tech Industry.

Show notes:

01:00 Intro to Ferry Grijpink, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

02:20 How can operators monetise consumer 5G solutions and services – beyond gaming

06:00 The 5G funding models – is network sharing the way forward?

09:30 What is OpenRAN – and can it become a game changer?

13:45 Why do operators struggle to provide solutions and services to the SMB market segment?

17:30 Which industry verticals and use cases will drive the Enterprise 5G market opportunity?

20:45 What role – if any – will operators play in the Private 5G market?

23:30 Which telecoms markets do you find the most exciting?

26:35 What advice do you have for operators to help them build the infrastructure, solutions and services to be successful in the 5G world?

28:45 The fun questions

– Which 5G buzzwords (e.g. OpenRAN, Private 5G, shared network infrastructure) will get the most hype in 2021?

– What do you miss about living and working in Asia?

– What would you do with your career if you weren’t in consulting?

Ferry has a new “5G Chart of the Day – all charts, no bullshit” newsletter. You can subscribe to it here: https://ferrycgrijpink.substack.com/

Keep an eye out for Ferry & I talking on Clubhouse soon…

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01 Feb 2021

TechBurst Asia sat down with PwC Malaysia’s Mike Graham to discuss Southeast Asia’s latest tech trends and the annoying buzzwords and catchphrases we have been forced to endure during the pandemic. We also talk about our predictions for what WILL – and WON’T happen in 2021. 

Show Notes

01:00 Intro to Mike Graham and his multiple roles at PwC 

08:20 Review of 2020: Which companies managed the pandemic well – and not so well?

12:15 What positives can we take from 2020?

15:50 What will the big stories in 2021 related to 5G in Southeast Asia

23:50 Why have Southeast Asia telcos lagged behind the global telcos with regards to innovation?  

28:30 We keep hearing that during 2020, companies will implement 10 years of digital transformation in 2 months – can we keep the pace of change? 

32:00 Which buzzword (e.g. 5G, OpenRAN, Digital Twins, FinTech) will have the biggest impact in 2021?

34:30 Random tech chats about OpenRAN, Rakuten Mobile, Jio, Drones, Smart Cities, higher education’s role in PPP’s, etc. 

43:15 What WON’T happen in 2021?

47:00 What is the worst buzzword or phrase we created during the pandemic?

48:00 The importance of finding a way to decompress while working from home (spoiler alert: jigsaw puzzles help!)

52:00 PwC’s new B2B digital marketplace to help their clients source innovative solutions – and help start-ups reach enterprise customers. 

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11 Jan 2021

It is time we reset our 5G expectations.

In this podcast, we are going to take another look at 5G. In our last episode, we discussed whether Telcos will be able to monetise their 5G investments. We were pretty harsh in our criticism of the 5G ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think 5G will be a game changer. Rather, I just think we need to reset our expectations of capabilities and benefits that 5G will bring to the market.

In this episode, we sat down with Danial Mausoof, Nokia’s Global Sales Head for Enterprise Services, to discuss what differentiates 5G from traditional networks – and and whether 5G will become the tech industry buzzword that FINALLY lives up to the HYPE. 

Show Notes:

01:30 Danial’s career journey with Motorola Solutions & Nokia 

09:05 What differentiates 5G from the existing networks like 4G?

12:40 Today’s 5G networks deliver faster speeds, but there is still more spectrum to be allocated that will support future 5G services (e.g. mission-critical services). How do you see 5G deployments evolving?

17:00 Nokia recently released its “5G Readiness Report”, where it surveyed 1,628 global technology decision makers about “5G+ enabled digitalisation.” To start, what the hell is 5G+ enabled digitalisation?

19:50 In 2030, 5G+ spend in 2030 will reach $4.5 Trillion – but only $600 Billion (13%) will be for public connectivity. $2.2 Trillion (48%) will be on Edge Infrastructure / Cloud Platforms. How is this related to 5G?

22:10 $900 Billion (20%) of this spend will be on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning – how is this related to 5G?

24:40 The final $800 Billion (18%) relates to the deployment of Private 5G networks. Why do we need Private 5G networks – and why are companies like John Deere and Bosch deploying them to support their manufacturing plants?

30:00 86% of decision makers already have some kind of a 5G strategy – what are the use cases that are driving the strategic focus on 5G?

33:00 72% of those surveyed say they plan to invest in 5G by 2025. What do these enterprises need to do to make sure they get a positive ROI on these investments – and what challenges will they need to overcome?

36:20 How will 5G impact Smart Cities?

39:00 Tough Question #1: What are the security implications for 5G?

43:20 Tough Question #2: Let’s say I am a tech decision maker managing the complexities created by the global pandemic – why should I give a damn about 5G?

45:20 Tough Question #3: 500,000 South Korean consumers have switched back to 4G from 5G – does that mean that we really don’t need 5G?

47:15 Tough Question #4: As an industry, we have failed to live up to the hype around the latest tech trends (e.g. 4G, IoT, or Smart Cities). Will we learn from our past mistakes – or will 5G follow a similar path?

49:15 What is something going on in the 5G ecosystem that we should be tracking? (spoiler alert: it is OpenRAN)

50:30 Tell me about a solution that 5G will enable that I – as a consumer – should be excited about. 

52:00 When do we have to start worrying about 6G? 

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17 Dec 2020

5G will be fast…is that enough?

In 2021, most mobile operators in the developed markets will have launched 5G – the question is – will they be able to monitise it. And more importantly, do customers even care about 5G?

Today’s guest, Chris Lewis, has over 30 years’ experience as a telecoms and ICT industry analyst, but don’t let that scare you. While many analysts pontificate about their vast knowledge, Chris’ insights are pragmatic and entertaining – which is why I like him so much. 

Chris is also one of the UK’s leading advocates for the visually impaired. Is the telecoms industry doing enough to drive inclusivity? Or are we creating yet another digital divide? And why doesn’t his guide dog Varley have his own Instagram account? 

Show Notes:

01:00 Intro to Chris Lewis, Founder of Lewis Insight and the Great Telco Debate

05:50 Connectivity – the invisible service 

07:30 Highlights from the 2020 Great Telco Debate

11:30 Telcos in a post-Covid world: are we creating a two-tier Telecoms industry?

14:00 Are the Telcos ready for 5G? And do customers actually want or care about 5G?

20:00 Telcos have a sustainability issue – should we see more network sharing?

24:30 What the future holds for the tech industry analyst industry

27:00 The key to career success – find something you are passionate about

29:00 Telcos tell us the future is mobile – in reality, the world runs on fixed. And why the hell do telcos still charge us for having a home fixed line phone when no one has one? 

36:00 Accessibility – are telcos doing enough to help? Chris is one of the UK’s leading advocates for ensuring people with disabilities get access to the digital lifestyle through his work on the boards of the  Royal Institute of Blind and Vision 2020 Technology For Life initiative. 

41:00 Telstra was ranked #1 globally in a recent ICT industry “Digital Inclusion Benchmark”, which ranks vendors’ focus on digital inclusion as part of their overall strategy. 

42:00 Why doesn’t Chris’ guide dog Varley have his own Instagram account?

48:30 How telcos can use emerging technology to support guide dogs. In a difficult year like 2020, where charities for the visually impaired have struggled to raise money, why hasn’t someone like Vodafone sponsored guide dog technology? Jon Buckthorp – over to you!

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TechBurst Asia Podcast · 020: The Sustainability Challenge - Balancing Profits & Social Impact

16 Nov 2020

Many of you will know today’s guest, Steve Melhuish, as the Co-Founder, former CEO and Vice Chairman of one of the darlings of the SE Asia’s start-up ecosystem, PropertyGuru Group, but he’s also a Venture Partner with Wavemaker Partners – the venture capital firm, and the Founder and CEO of Planet Rise – a company that invests and supports start-ups that tackle climate change and poverty.

In this episode, we are going to discuss sustainability. And more specifically, how do you find the right balance from delivering social impact – while still creating a profitable business. 

Show Notes:

02:10 What Steve has been up to since he left his role as CEO of PropertyGuru (hint: Angel investing in startups that address climate change & poverty)

04:10 What characteristics Steve looks for in the start-ups he invests in 

07:15 The evolving sustainability ecosystem – and how the economics/business case behind renewables finally stacks up

10:50 Governments seem to be launching more sustainability initiatives during Covid-19 – is there a correlation or is it just a coincidence?

13:45 How well has the sustainability ecosystem progressed – and what will it take to move it forward?

18:50 How do you balance the profits versus social impact dilemma when you evaluate your investments?

21:50 What does Steve understand about the sustainability ecosystem today that he wishes he knew when he started investing in sustainability start-ups?

25:50 What are the “red flags” Steve looks out for when evaluating early stage businesses?

27:00 What lessons did Steve learn during the dotcom era that he still applies to his work with start-ups today?

30:30 What’s your craziest start-up story?


TechBurst Asia Podcast · 019 The Future of Talent & Leadership

11 Nov 2020

The challenges created by the global pandemic mean the role of talent acquisition and leadership strategy have never been more important. Companies must transform their approach not only to navigate the current crisis, but also to prepare for the future. 

In this episode, we are joined by a global leader in this space – Elaine Yew – Senior Partner & Global Co-Head of Leadership Development for Egon Zehnder – the world’s largest privately held executive search and leadership development firm.

Show Notes:

00:50 Elaine’s journey from a drama student to Senior Partner at Egon Zehnder

06:52 “A Day in the Life” of Elaine

10:00 How has the executive search and leadership development industries have evolved over the years

14:30 Can AI replace humans in the executive search process? 

19:00 How companies are adapting their Leadership strategies during the global pandemic

22:45 How Egon Zehnder has evolved it’s business to adapt to the crisis

27:00 What will it take to see more women in leadership across Asia

33:38 Elaine’s involvement in the “end to end lifecycle” of the workforce – from high school students to the C-suite 

  • What skills we all need to survive in today’s world
  • The importance of “range”

42:20 The value of coaching 

47:15 The positive things that come out of negative events like the pandemic