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:
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.