Riding Uber in Shanghai

Uber recently entered Shanghai and I used their launch promo code: hellosh to get my first ride for free (up to $20USD). It was a pretty smooth experience, and definitely fun to pick up a date in an Audi A6 and be dropped off in front of a nice restaurant in style, without having to fumble around with cash. Payment is all done via credit card (which I guess could be a problem in China? Though for their target audience, I’m assuming most of them will have a credit card on hand).

Booking the car is quite straight forward, though I did have a bit of confusion as to which button would actually book a car =) Do I click that round button with the car symbol? Or do I click on the pop-up over the pin?

The service is still really new, and I was my driver’s first client, on his first day of work. I was amused because he kept asking me if I was “Jacky”, and when I tried to confirm that he was an Uber driver, he didn’t seem to recognize the company name at all. It seems like they’re hiring drivers from Hertz for now, just to get cars on the street. Whatever works, right? Gotta tackle the chicken-or-the-egg problem somehow in a two sided market.

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Uber Shanghai Uber Shanghai


We’re Famous! Okay, Not Quite

I realize I have yet to update about our previous two week business trip through Malaysia and Singapore, but here’s a little tidbit for now. We were interviewed by The Malaysian Reserve newspaper, and our story was just published and syndicated recently!

Here’s the news and link at the bottom from FMT:


RiseHub to launch system in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: RiseHub, a Shanghai-based provider of cloud-based retail system – iPad point of sale (POS), inventory management and reporting – will launch its system in the Malaysian market soon.
The company is in talks with retail chains which would serve as a stepping stone for it to gain access in the Malaysian market.
“We are also talking to investors but we are more keen on finding investors who can give us more than just money,” the company’s founder Wai Hong Fong told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview.

Oozing unparalleled confidence for a business venture started by three young entrepreneurs with money pooled in from their pockets, the company is aiming for a big target of selling systems worth over RM100 million to retailers within three years.

Backing the confidence is the conviction with which Wai claims that the product created by Risehub – StoreHub – is priced at RM3,000, much lower than other retail systems available in the market.
With the system, retailers can have access to real time data about their business.

“If you go to any retailer and ask which is the most selling product in your store in the last one week, it is very likely he may not have an answer to it soon. With StoreHub, the retailer will have a ‘finger on the pulse’ understanding of the state of their retail business,” Wai said.

“Whether you’re running a single hot dog stand or a chain of high-end fashion retail outlets, we believe that StoreHub will simplify your processes, improve your understanding of operations and help you focus on growing the business,” he said.

The concept of RiseHub is still new in Asia. However, in the US, a company by the name of Square Inc provides a similar application. Social networking site Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey was the founder of Square which is now worth over US$3 billion (RM9.86 billion).

Even though Wai’s company came about accidentally, he is not shying away from churning big numbers for the company.
Wai was engaged in the retail business with his family and found the urge to provide an economical system for small businesses and online retailers at a cost that would be much lower than those available in the market.

Wai’s own experience while grappling with managing a retail business led to the creation of “StoreHub”.
He brought on board two more partners Cong Yu Li, the chief architect of the company and a software professional and the other partner Duncan Leung, the product manager.

Original link: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/business/2013/09/02/risehub-to-launch-system-in-malaysia/


“Develop the Product for the Few, Not the Many”

From my current reading: Four Steps to the Epiphany

It pains me to see products/UI that are, what I call, “Frankenstein” products. I’m not against company clones. It makes sense that if there’s a business/business-model that works in another country, then it’s almost stupid to not try to bring it to a foreign market. I’ve also seen that well executed “copy” products can really flourish and do evolve with a unique edge for the local market. The cliche/no-brainer example is Sina Weibo, which started as a Twitter clone, but implemented a great commenting/re-weibo’ing UI before Twitter did. Frankenstein products, however, are basically cloned from another product, but instead of iterating from thereon out to fit the local market, it continually ‘borrows’ features/UI/product direction from their foreign competitors. But what this usually results in is:

  • Cluttered UI
  • Unfocused product focus and direction
  • The user doesn’t know “what the product is supposed to do”
  • ‘Extra’ features become unused (see: Cluttered UI)

Basically: “Only do your one thing…” and do it well!

“Only do your One Thing” – Product Development

Random Aside:

I love StartupDigest’s reading list. There was a point in time where I would use Google Reader everyday and check out all of the cool new technology that was being released into the world… then I realized that I was spending half of my day on Google Reader, and spending very late nights trying to catch up on work. Yeah, not smart.

My personal trick (that I use for myself, and more power to those who have the time to discover their own news) is to:

  1. Subscribe to newsletters. Newsletters are generally curated ‘top stories’, delivered right to my inbox! I always have my inbox open (except for certain periods where I vow to work by only opening my inbox at set times in the day. Those binges never last, and I always revert back to having my inbox always open, lol).
  2. Subscribe to people who love to curate news and Tweet/Google+/etc it to the world.

StartupDigest is one of those awesome curated resources. Chris McCann, I’ve never met you, but you rock my world with your curated startup reading list.


Two recent articles from StartupDigest that have stuck in the back of my mind, especially as I’ve started reading “The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win“:

  1. 90 Things I’ve Learned from Founding 4 Technology Companies
  2. The Pmarca Guide to Startups, Part 4: The only thing that matters (by Marc Andreessen)
  • Only do your One Thing. Everything else is a distraction. Don’t do side projects. Don’t take unnecessary meetings. Anything that distracts you from executing on your One Thing is just that, a distraction. Say no to everything that does not contribute to your One Thing.
  • The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.

Swinging It Up

Waihong and I took some swing dance classes at Shanghai Swings just for kicks. Alright- I wanted to impress a girl, hah. Is that so bad?

Well, it ended up being a lotta fun. Will prolly go for the next level’s classes when I find time again.