I won’t get into how jealous I am of Jon being on svbtle, very stoked for you Jon, but your latest post, http://insidethenoodlebowl.com/the-four-big-issues-for-southeast-asias-startup-ecosystem, got me thinking a bit. I agree with pretty much all of it so this is not really a rebuttal but to add some more color to point #3.
3. Lack of big firm presence: Founders invariably gain experience and ideas from working for big firms or other startups, that’s much harder when the few major players that are in the region – eg Google – hire sales and marketing staff rather than technical teams. Few from Silicon Valley would come back to Asia to start a company – though that could change in the future.
I may be asking to much on this thread in general but one of the things that I am not too impressed about with all the local big firms is their local technical support/escalation path for startups seeking assistance in Southeast Asia. I won’t name names when it comes to shaming since it won’t do me any good but I will state that Amazon or AWS is absolutely fantastic and tops in my book. In the world of startups – spuul is just a minnow but yet AWS is so responsive and extremely helpful. They check in on us regularly and bring many a good technical talent by our office to help us further our capabilities. Love the support and the technical talent in the region working for AWS continues to get more impressive.
We have had good luck with Apple as well when it comes to developer support but it could just be that we have a good line to them via one of our devs. I am not sure that everyone else gets the same support.
Google has also been helpful but it usually takes a lot of persistence and it is mostly cause I know a lot of folks there.
I think for the region to really take off the various big companies must offer a lot more product/technical support in the region hopefully from people who are in the region or at least a nearby time zone. Most of the companies continue to support from the valley and apart from conferences, dev events and evangelism – there is not a steady stream of information and local support.
I hope it changes for the benefit of the region.