RISE Hong Kong 2018: Take Aways

This is the last article of our experience at RISE Hong Kong 2018. If you haven't read our 3 day journey, here are the links: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3

Another goal of ours for RISE was get some exposure and gather feedback about what we do and more importantly what our clients’ needs are. In an effort to learn what works and what doesn’t as quickly as possible, we put our product out for anyone to try. The product isn’t polished or operating at a level that would keep people coming back. Releasing such a product sounds and feels like a terrible idea, why would we put out a product that isn’t ready for use? The answer is the ‘use’, it is the part of our product we are trying to hone and understand better. Yes, we are risking losing potential customers, but what better way to collect feedback and develop a product for the exact audience we’re creating the product for. It’s like designing an ergonomic mouse that is molded perfectly to a user’s hand. The constant user input is what we use to make the mold for our product. While the company is small and the product is flexible, we want to find as many points of failure as possible and within the shortest time frame possible. Otherwise we may wind up going so far in the wrong direction that going back and revising would mean rebuilding from scratch.

The other part of our ‘exposure’ goal is to familiarize ourselves with what’s happening in the Asian world of startups. Allow me to quickly paint the picture we, at dipp, are seeing these days.

Most of us have probably heard that China is making giant strides in tech, economy, development … life in general. By giant, I mean if you took a Liliputian from Gulliver’s Travels and put him next to a person from Brobdingnag of the same book, type of giant. In a sense of, taking New York City 100 years to build 3 subway stations along 2nd avenue (yes, I’m hitting a little below the belt here) and China taking 20 years to do this to Shanghai:

The night time lighting ads more drama to the already dramatic transformation between 1990 & 2010

The night time lighting ads more drama to the already dramatic transformation between 1990 & 2010

As The Next Web points out in “4 reasons why your startup should go to China RIGHT NOW”, everything is bigger in China. And no, we didn’t misspell ‘Texas’. The point being made is that China is developing at an incredible rate, and with its giant population, the opportunities seem limitless.

A lot of speculation is also being made about the southeast asian market. Contrary to the average American perspective, which sees southeast Asia as a single cluster of Underdeveloped States of Asia (coincidentally also abbreviates to USA), it is actually quite a large and diverse collective of nations. Culturally, economically and historically they are all different and at different stages of development. Singapore boasts an exemplary achievement of going from 3rd world to 1st in a single generation and having a very strong startup scene. Bigger nations like Thailand, Vietnam and especially Indonesia are also actively investing in developing their own startup ecosystems. So approaching southeast Asia as a single market would be incorrect.

Observing startups from all over Asia and the world communicating with one another, really puts that notion of diversity in perspective. Everyone at RISE has different gestures, manners of speaking, expectations and goals. The communication between startups with all these differences was pretty incredible to watch. Let’s remind ourselves, this was only one event, where a handful of startups from each country got to exhibit, so in the grand scheme of things we’re only witnessing the surface of a highly complex and well connected world of startups.

To sum up our goal of ‘exposure’ was two-fold. See how much of our current product we need to adjust, what features to add and what features to shake off altogether. The magnitude reminded us that research of the target market should be an ongoing process as it will help mold your product to the specific market you are aiming for.

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