Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 1

What kicked this all off :: http://www.nokpis.com/2014/02/27/thinking-about-koprol-2-0-2/

I think enough time and emotions have passed that now is the moment to start writing some of the story about Koprol. I have had two larger than life moments in my tech career. The first was being a systems (sales) engineer at Weblogic which eventually got bought by BEA Systems, later acquired by Oracle. I still am in touch with many of the people I took that journey with and much of that success helped me arrive to where I am today.

Small side trip – karma, whether you believe in it or not – is very real. What I mean is the relationships you foster in your career with people you work with or encounter while working will inevitably lead to being useful or destructive to your present career. I fondly remember where I was an ass when working or where I was being a nice person. I should have been nice more but fortunately the relationships I made at Weblogic are very much intact and basically lead to my short career at Yahoo.

I need to, at this point, give you some more background about myself. Also I have decided that the best way to tell the inside story is to only name myself. There are so many people involved in this story but I don’t want to point fingers, celebritize, or ruffle any more feathers than I already have at this point. The thesis for writing about Koprol is to possibly explain some of what I was trying to do and to hopefully share the experiences of acquiring and trying to make something big out of an emerging markets product and team.

A slight bit about me. I was in Thailand for about five years trying to make a go of being a non-techy. Let’s just say I jettisoned from Hong Kong and the enterprise software scene to see if I could make it as pub owner who dabbled in tech. Well – take a look at what is happening in Bangkok now and put yourself back a few years to when this first happened but imagine trying to run a business in that very same climate. Let’s just say I didn’t do to well and realized that I was better off being a techy.

I learned a lot about myself and other people, which I think is why I am better at what I do today – I am also not afraid anymore. You might ask what that means but I will just simply say that I think a lot of us might be afraid of what people think or are afraid of the powers that be. After my years in the trenches of the pubs of Bangkok I am just not afraid of the normal work world or the startup scene. I have a lot more confidence now.

So there I was in Thailand and needing a job. I put out my feelers and turned the bat light back on. Sure enough it was the people that I knew from my Weblogic days who helped me out. I was out of work for five years and suddenly I had a few bites. I hopped on the plane to Singapore and within a few days had a written offer from Yahoo. Some very special people in Sunnyvale and Singapore took a chance on me and I am forever grateful to those people. I was back in the game and loving it. Great title, awesome pay and a charter to try and help Yahoo win back some audience and developers. Of course this was a doomed mission cause Yahoo was doomed (I learned this later) but I will save that for another thread. I didn’t care so much cause I had a line to Sunnyvale and I was looking at all of Southeast Asia as my playground. Rocking.

How does this all lead to Koprol? Good question.

On my numerous trips to Sunnyvale, Yahoo HQ, I happened to get connected to a very cool team called the IGTF. I am sure the team involved made up their team name just like I made up my title – Director of Global Tech Initiatives. The International Growth Task Force had an awesome charter. They traveled around the globe studying other products and trends to see if they could figure out ways to get Yahoo’s core products growing again and to see if there might be new ideas to experiment with. They had a list of interesting trends or concepts that they shared with me to see if I could spot any companies in SEA that might fit one of the trends they were focusing on.

One of the trends was:

People/Location/Conversations.

Ding!

So with that need in my head and the team willing to sponsor a small acquisition, my job of running around SEA talking about YDN (Yahoo Developer Network) suddenly was more interesting. Since the hope was I could find a small company in SEA that might jumpstart Yahoo’s work around – People/Location/Conversations.

Part 2 :: http://www.nokpis.com/2014/03/01/koprol-the-inside-story-part-2/

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Thinking about Koprol 2.0

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As ? aims to become the world’s number one Internet services company …

A lot of people not in Asia will probably not know who the company representing the question mark is. I myself didn’t really take notice of this company till they bought Viki – just due to the fact that it was a Singapore deal in the video space. Anyone who has ever been to Japan will have heard of Rakuten and of course all around Asia they have been launching various initiatives and buying up companies.

Now they buy Viber for some serious cash.

Where is this going?

This is their statement regarding the Viber deal:

“As Rakuten aims to become the world’s number one Internet services company, this acquisition will enable Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms,” the company says.

At first you could just pass that comment off as PR hubris but when you look at who they are buying and if you have ever heard Hiroshi Mikitani talk, one must take the statement somewhat seriously.

Rakuten wants to go global and it looks like they are going to buy and build whatever they need to get there.

I still don’t see the cohesive vision or how all the pieces fit together but for sure they are trying to make it happen.

This is going to be fun to watch.

One app store to rule them all?

Not talking about mobile phones but about TV’s. I won’t hide my disdain for the TV ecosystem and the supposed smart TV mess. Nothing smart about it really. I was recently at a telco in Singapore on their pipe, meaning a very fast line, using a new TV and when I clicked the app store button I looked at a spinner for about 3 mins. Imagine doing that on a normal internet line.

This TV stuff is a mess. Apple TV, Roku and Google are trying to cut through it but all have their flaws. Apple is Apple only, Roku is not an open platform and Google didnt make chromecast as easy as implementing AirPlay is for iOS. Yes I know chromecast is android and iOS and that it has some sense of apps but they didn’t make it dead simple to build on. Bummer. They also did not take into account DRM and encryption as much as they should have.

So the TV’s and their app stores will still exist and they suck but they are not going away just yet. So I am liking a little of what I am hearing from Opera – yes Opera. http://www.operasoftware.com/products/tv-store

Opera wants to try to build one TV app store and then get various TV manufacturers and OEM’s to embed it. Then you go to one app store, QA it and launch it – hopefully getting all the platforms that Opera is running on. Still a pain but not as bad as going to each TV vendor for each QA and legal process. Yes – legal. Unlike iOS and android app stores you have to sign contracts that lawyers make. It is a silly, silly process.

Can Opera do it? I am not sure. I am cheering them on though.

You add that Roku is doing the same thing with their stuff by getting it into TV’s. True but the Roku platform is a proprietary non HTML stack and they don’t take all apps due to there cozy DISH relationship. So Roku might have a similar plan as Opera but it won’t work is my guess due to the way they have tackled it.

We shall see.

I still want the TV is dumb glass scenario and I just project on it. One can hope.

Wonder if the new CEO will seriously overhaul Windows?

Before I rant – I am cheering MSFT on to win a lot more than they do :: http://www.nokpis.com/2014/02/06/microsoft/

In order to do that they need to fix the turd that is Windows at some point.

Gruber linked to this, from a MSFT fanboy at – scathing indeed :: http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/what-heck-happening-windows

I don’t own a windoze box. Got rid of the last HP netbook we had laying around cause it ceased to boot anymore.

So I run Parallels and had windoze 7 on it. Then I bought windoze 8. Tried upgrade and couldn’t. Tried a clean install and couldn’t.

Finally discovered I had to upgrade over win 7 but I needed to use the win 8 32 disks cause for some reason my win 7 was 32 bit.

Horribly confusing, very slow process and lots of rebooting.

Windows needs to be redone from the ground up at some point.

Or maybe it is too late?

We shall see what the new dude does.