How to craft a cocktail menu that sells

F&B Report | November 2018
Photo by Ash Edmonds|Unsplash*

When it comes to the modern cocktail movement, Manila is steadily catching up to Asian neighbors Hong Kong and Singapore. The city is coming on its own, its drinking scene making up for lost time and covering the gamut from gritty street side dive bars and gastropubs in Poblacion and Escolta to luxury hotel rooftops and hidden whiskey retreats in Makati’s Legaspi and Salcedo villages.

What’s driving the movement? Two things, points out Lee Watson. The beverage consultant and co-owner of fine-drinking watering holes ABV, Mandalay, and the soon-to-open Spirits Library says, “The growing middle class in the country means people are becoming a little more sophisticated with what they drink. While majority would still order buckets of San Miguel when they go out, people are becoming more adventurous when it comes to their drink options, i.e., instead of the usual Johnny Black, they’ll try American bourbon.”

Watson relates this is a natural effect of the country’s dining scene, which is becoming increasingly sophisticated. “It’s a similar trend you see in more progressive markets—when the food scene is growing, the bar scene is very close on its heels,” he says.

“There are a lot of trends and excitement going on around Manila’s drinking scene, but it’s one thing to jump on what’s trendy and another thing entirely to sustain an F&B business,” says Daniel Ganser, director of F&B for Grand Hyatt Manila. “Incorporating trends is important in the sense that you don’t want to fall behind in making cocktails. But when doing so, don’t compromise on the quality of your product. For any bar program to work, you need to be consistent when it comes to quality.”

While there’s been a growing number of innovative branded concepts coming out in Manila, there’s still plenty of room for improvement before the city’s cocktail culture matches city peers Hong Kong and Singapore. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality—how, then, do bar owners and restaurateurs ensure they fall under the latter instead of the former?

CONCEPTS TRUMP TRENDS

There’s no shortage of bars dishing out cheekily named cocktails like “Midnight Butterfly,” “Widow’s Kiss,” or “Death in the Afternoon.” Like clickbait, these drinks may initially attract customers to try your establishment but not necessarily convert them into regulars.

When it comes to “narrative menus,” Ganser—whose experience includes working at New York Grill & Bar in Park Hyatt Tokyo, made famous by the Sofia Coppola movie Lost in Translation—relates that while he’s not necessarily a fan of such fancy-named creations, “it’s important that customers understand what they drink and order. Always list the components of the drink, and when doing ‘creations,’ it should be all about the story. When I worked at New York Bar in Tokyo, we created drinks inspired by places in the city like Carnegie Hall, High Line, and Radio City, and these creations never changed. All are institutions or signature drinks of the bar to this day.”

A trend Watson is seeing these days is bars playing with culinary techniques, including sous vide bags, creating infusions to make certain syrups the way a chef would reduce their sauces. “Now you have people playing with savory ingredients once thought exclusive to the kitchen. Like adding salt and pepper to a cocktail that’s not a margarita.”

Kitchen and bar integration is currently being practiced at The Cellar, one of Grand Hyatt Manila’s dining concepts. “Usually in restaurants, the bar and the kitchen have separate identities, but at The Cellar we incorporated the bar program with our show kitchen. You see the chef working on the hot plate, and you see the bartenders mix the drinks—it’s a showcase of craftsmanship,” he says.

BE CREATIVE BUT PRAGMATIC

Watson, who’s worked with many of Manila’s leading bars, says he likes creating a cocktail menu that represents the bar or restaurant.

For restaurants, the first thing he advises is to look at the kind of food they want to push. “Even when the style of food is not well-defined, and some restaurants are like that, look at the ingredients and see which ones you can ‘borrow’ and use in your drinks. Borrowing the ingredients means your drinks will naturally match the food,” says Watson. An added advantage of this practice is that you’re not requesting items to be used only for a single drink. “A dragonfruit cocktail may seem pretty interesting, but if your kitchen is not using the ingredient, then what happens is you’re stocking one item for a single drink in the menu—and if that drink doesn’t move, you’re just throwing away spoiled dragonfruit every week,” he says.

For a standalone bar where you’re not necessarily trying to match the drinks with the food, look at the concept and what the bar wants to achieve. “Clubs that do big volume do not necessarily attract people who want a perfectly well-crafted drink, so look at things that make sense operationally for these,” advises Watson, who had worked with both Solaire and Okada. “Clubs want something that’s kind of sexy and fun and playful so focus on presentation and keep the construction of the drink simple and straightforward. Do three- to four-ingredient cocktails with an interesting garnish or put it in an interesting glass,” he says.

As for the brands used, Watson says to filter by price point. “What you do is look at the place, check out the price range for drinks, do your costings, and work backward from your target menu price,” he says, adding that for every category of product, there are at least several brands available at certain price points. “There are at least six gins within the P1,000 per bottle price point, for example, so working within a budget won’t really limit your creativity too much. You just really have to know what’s out there.”

PUT A SPIN ON CLASSIC COCKTAILS

The classics are the classics for a reason: The marketability of these drinks are tried and tested. But there are ways for a bar to give these drinks a refresh. To do this, Watson looks to the classic formula for drinks. “It’s a triangle—the base being your base spirit, and the other two sides your souring and sweetening agents. It’s the simplest of concepts—balance within the drink,” says Watson.

The three-ingredient formula covers majority of the classics, from the whisky sour and margarita to daiquiris and mojitos and caipirinhas. To put a unique spin on these drinks, Watson suggests replacing certain ingredients. A more “modern” whisky sour, for example, would use homemade Earl Grey or burnt orange and thyme syrup as its sweetener, and for its souring agent use, instead of the typical lemon or lime, other things that lend acidity. “You can play with different local citrus, or even vinegar. A little teaspoon of vinegar in a drink adds a nice flavor, or you can experiment with different acidifying natural extracts. So just based on that formula alone, you can take a whisky sour to a hundred different directions,” says Watson.

 

 

*taken from F&B website

Keep on truckin’

FAS Maritime Magazine | Maiden Issue
Photography by Arabella Paner

Amidst a daunting modernization program, fuel price hikes, and turnaround delays, the men behind this humble but mighty industry forge on

 

From bananas to bicycles to beer, consumption levels are breaking records. Even amidst inflationary pressures, figures from the World Bank point to private consumption being among the Philippines’ main economic drivers, having grown at a moderate 7.3 percent in 2017 and contributing 10.3 percent (or $31.3 billion) to the same year’s GDP. This, a steadily growing economy, and the exponential rise of e-commerce in the country—payment solutions firm PayPal predicts Filipinos will be spending P121 billion on online shopping in 2018—mean more goods are waiting to be moved.

As the Philippines is lightyears away from self-driving trucks, the country needs more men like Misae Cagubgub hauling freight and making deliveries.

The 44-year-old has been working as a driver since 2001. Initially, Cagubcub, a licensed inspector, drove to kill time and earn while waiting for his application to the Philippine National Police’s lateral entry program; when that did not pan out, he got into the truck driving business in 2002.

Kumpara sa iba kong skills, pinipiliko ang pagdrive. Dahil habang kumikita ka nang disenteng pamumuhay, nakakapasyal ka pa [Out of my other skills, I chose to drive. You get to go around the country while earning a decent living],” he shares. Truck driving has brought the Cagayanon all around the Philippines and even as far as Saudi Arabia, where he drove the 1,000-kilometer Riyadh-to-Jeddah desert route for over a year. But the urge to return home proved strong; these days, Cagubgub finds himself among the long-haul truck drivers plying Manila’s increasingly congested expressways, delivering goods to places as far as Ilocos, Isabela, Romblon, Marinduque, and Bicol.

Dito sa Manila, ang kalaban mo lang naman kasi traffic. Nakaka-delay pero bigyan mo ng dalawang oras at makakalabas ka na sa probinsya. Sa Saudi, ang kalaban ko pagod. Malalayo ang biyahe ng mga kompanya—daily, back and forth na1,000 kilometersbawat trabaho. Mas obligado ka pa dahil kung walang biyahe, wala kang pandagdag sa basic mo [Traffic is the only enemy here in Manila—there are delays, but give it two hours and you’re already crossing provincial road. In Saudi Arabia, my enemy was exhaustion. Deliveries there covered long distances—I had to drive 1,000 kilometers back and forth for a job order. And you’re obligated to do it, otherwise you won’t earn anything on top of the basic salary],”he shares.   

Cagubgub now works for leading trucking service provider Acro Distribution Network, Inc., where he counts himself among the company’s veteran drivers. Founder Alfredo Tumacder III relates Cagubcub has been with him since 2008, the year Acro began its humble operations in a truck yard located on land leased by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa, and that his role in the company has expanded. “Misae’s been my driver, body guard, mechanic, trainer, and really a role model for the rest of my drivers. Never nasiraan ‘yan ng truck [He’s never had a truck break down],” affirms Tumacder. “We put a primer on safety and security here, and we continuously train our drivers. But without people like Misae whom they can relate and see firsthand the benefits of taking care of themselves and their trucks, building a culture rooted on safety would be challenging.”

Apparently, good truck drivers are hard to come by these days. Tumacder, whose business has grown from one truck to a fleet of 140, finds that, on average, only one out of three drivers trained in a month is retained. “We have a CSR program where we train our existing truck helpers who want to be drivers. We subsidize their training and apprenticeship salary—it’s a financial risk for us because not all those guys pass our requirements,” he says.

As if to cement his boss’ point, Cagubcub gestures toward a younger driver sauntering out of Acro’s newly renovated head office. “Pinakamaraming aksidente ‘yan—mahilig kasi mabilis magpatakbo [That guy’s had the most accidents here—he likes to drive fast],” he says, surmising his fellow driver probably came from a disciplinary meeting with his dispatch officer. “Swerte nga kami dito kay boss dahil hindi naniningil pag may aksidente—lahat kasi ng trucks may insurance.Sa ibang kumpanya, pag nakasagi ka ng kotse, sagot mo [We’re lucky here because our boss doesn’t charge us for damages—all his trucks are insured. In some companies, when a driver hits a car, that comes out of his pocket],” he says. 

Cagubgub and his fellow drivers at Acro are indeed luckier than most. With its fleet of 140 vehicles spread across four truck yards in Metro Manila—the one in Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa is massive at 1.5 hectares, with barracks and a canteen provided for idle drivers and helpers to rest during Manila’s 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. truck ban—Acro counts itself among the minority of corporate-run trucking firms with fleets that number more than the industry average. “Most of the trucking sector—70 percent—are truck owners with three to five units. Bigger companies with more than 50 vehicles comprise about 20 to 30 percent,” informs Atty. Ryan Esponilla, general manager of the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP).
Industry upheaval

According to Esponilla, it’s the smaller trucking firms who bear the full brunt of the current pains plaguing the trucking industry, the foremost of which being the government’s truck modernization program. Drafted under the premise of road safety and preservation of the environment, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued a memorandum circular mandating an age imposition to trucks: Only those less than 15 years old can secure the CPC (Certificate of Public Convenience) required for it to operate.

In the Philippines, it’s been common practice for truckers—bigger providers like Acro, included—to buy second-hand surplus trucks in Subic. These vehicles, usually right-hand drives manufactured in Japan, are converted for local use and while often already a decade old, perform as well as brand new ones from China and Europe (which cost an exorbitant P3.5- to P5 million) when well-maintained.

This is precisely why CTAP and its 15-member organizations are pushing for the LTFRB to issue CPCs based on a truck’s road worthiness instead of year model. “It doesn’t necessarily follow that newer trucks are safer than old ones. If they’re not properly maintained, they can cause more damage than older trucks that are well-kept,” says Esponilla.

“We understand the policy is designed to increase the competitiveness of Philippine truckers, to make us at par with ASEAN neighbors,” affirms Esponilla, but the problem with such policy is “abrupt implementation” will not only cripple the average truck owner, but the industry itself. “We’re going to have a shortage of logistics providers here in the Philippines, because around 80 percent of the country’s existing trucks-for-hire are already more than 15 years old, and for majority of truckers, the value of the truck they would have to dispose won’t be enough to cover buying a newer unit,” points out Esponilla.

CTAP is urging the government to revive their Motor Vehicle Inspection Service (MVIS) program, and put up MVIS machines nationwide to determine trucks’ road worthiness. “There should be one MVIS in every region. Ang kinakatakot namin ay pag hindi maput-up ang MVIS two years from now, magiging edad talaga ang basehan [We’re concerned that if they don’t put up MVIS in two years, they’ll use age as the requirement for the CPC],” says Esponilla.

Adding to the trucking industry’s headaches are Codes 12-2 and 12-3 of Republic Act No. 8794 or the Anti Truck Overloading Policy of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which sets the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight (MGVW) for trucks and trailers at 41,500 kgs and 42,000 kgs respectively. According to CTAP President Mario Yap, the law, while designed to protect the early deterioration and damage of government roads, as well as uphold road safety of drivers and other users, failed to consider the average weight of containers arriving in the Philippines.

“Containers weigh around 30,000 to 36,000 kgs—if you add the minimum weight to the tare weight of the tractor head and trailer itself, which on average is around 16,000 kgs, you’d get a total of 43,500 kgs. That’s an automatic violation of the law. If the DPWH implements the law without amending the MGVW, then 80 percent of container cargoes stockpiled at the Port of Manila could no longer be transported, putting to naught the government’s effort to facilitate a seamless and sustainable mobility of container cargoes at the Port,” states Yap in a position paper submitted by CTAP to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

CTAP, apart from pushing for amending the MGVW under Code 12-2 from 41,500 to 53,500 kgs, and Code 12-3 from 42,000 to 54,000 kgs, also pointed out the need to weigh cargo within port premises. “Para pag overloaded, hindi na pwedeng ilabas [If it’s overloaded, then it won’t be allowed to leave],” says Esponilla. It’s an area where corruption is rampant, he laments. “Some just pay a fee when overloaded, and they’re good to go. This just waters down the essence of the law, which is to protect roads from overloading.”

Bottleneck pains

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila is now costing the Philippines P3.5 billion in lost opportunities per day. Nowhere is this felt more than in the country’s trucking industry where business success is largely dependent on the swift turnaround of vehicles.

Truck turnaround today, according to CTAP, averages two to three days, covering the pickup and delivery of goods, and the return of empty containers. Delay in the latter is exacerbating congestion and has even prompted truckers to stop accepting and delivering cargoes from four international shipping lines.

The root of the problem, states Esponilla, has been largely due to shipping lines designating container yards located close to the Port of Manila, most of which are brimming in overcapacity. “What ends up happening is that trucks who come to these container yards to return empty containers end up being diverted to yards outside of Metro Manila, which costs truckers not only money but wasted time,” points out Esponilla.

It goes without saying that when these problems fester, the toll it takes on the health and well-being of drivers like Cagubgub can be great.

With Manila’s truck ban still strictly enforced—cargo trucks loaded with perishable and agricultural cargo, as well as trucks registered under the port’s Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS), are exempt—the earliest a truck can pick up a container from the port is at 9 p.m. “Pag11 p.m. ang bookingko sa pier, tanghali pa lang papunta na kami. Dun na kami aabang sa holding area for four to five hours kasi pag nahuli kami, ibibigay ng brokerang karga mo sa ibang truck [If our booking at the pier is at 11 p.m., we’re already headed there as early as noon. We stay in the holding area for four to five hours because when we’re late, the broker would give away your cargo to another truck that’s already there],” relates Cagubgub.

A job order for Tarlac would mean Cagubgub and two truck helpers unload their cargo at around 1 a.m., rest from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. and be on the road again to return their containers. “Sobrang puyat at pagod dahil gabi ka tatakbo, tapos pag balik mo araw na, at maghihintay ka ulit ng karga [It can be quite draining—you leave at night, and it’s already a new day when you come back, and then you wait again for the next cargo], he shares, adding that it’s the same pattern the rest of the week, with Saturday 11 p.m. to Sunday 3 p.m. comprising his rest hours.

Lingguhan lang talaga ang uwi—pwede naman araw-araw pero mauubos oras mo at dahil nagmamahal na ang bilihin, ang gastos mo lalaki pa. Kaya usually dito na kami sa barracks sa yarda [Most of us go home only once a week—we can go home every day, but the commute eats up our time and, with the price of goods rising, our expenses will balloon. So most of us just opt to stay in the barracks here at the yard],” relates Cagubgub.

 

Trucking in the age of Dutertenomics 

The trucking sector gives mixed reviews when it comes to political transitions in the Philippines.

Tumacder, who founded Acro Distribution Network, Inc. at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, saw his business aggressively expand in the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, when foreign direct investments had come in droves and economic zones in the country were abuzz with activity. “I was investing in a truck every month during that time, at P1 million a truck, because growth was sustainable. Ang tapang ko nun [I was very confident]—I told our landlord that I was taking over the whole facility here in Muntinlupa, build a nice office and cement the entire 1.5 hectares,” relates Tumacder.

These days, because of current developments like the TRAIN Law, which caused a spike in fuel costs, Tumacder admits he is “holding off on investments and focusing our efforts into developing our systems—streamlining the business, developing the mindset of our people, culture change. When everything stabilizes and the landscape improves, that’s the time I’ll invest again.”

Tumacder concedes, however, that with President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program, it’s a “great time to be buying dump trucks because construction is booming.”

With the Philippines entering what political analysts are saying to be the country’s “golden age of infrastructure,” CTAP’s 15 member associations remain bullish about the trucking industry’s future—present pains notwithstanding. “In terms of facilities, once infrastructure projects of the government are completed, congestion will hopefully be minimized, which only spells better business for our truckers,” relates Esponilla, adding that the good thing about the current government is that “unlike PNOY’s time, it’s easier to talk to government about our concerns—at napapakinggan talaga kami[and they really listen].”

With such big-ticket infrastructure as the SLEX-NLEX Connector Road Project currently ongoing, truckers are keen on talking to government about allotting a single lane exclusive to trucks 24/7. This is on the premise that the current truck ban isn’t really helping alleviate congestion problems. “Sure, there are no trucks on the road during these hours, but the moment the ban is lifted, there’s congestion. Our solution is a single designated lane for trucks—we’ll even take the innermost lane basta takbo lang nang takbo [as long as we’re running all day long],” says Esponilla.

More than anything, Esponilla shares that CTAP’s vision is for the public to change their perceptions when they see trucks plying the road. “Dito sa Pilipinas, tuwing nakakakita ng truck, nakikita nila mga nagpapa-traffic [Here in the Philippines, when people see trucks, they see the cause of traffic],” he observes. “But in places like Japan, or any Asian country for that matter, when people see trucks, tuwang tuwa ang mga tao dahil ang trucks are indicators nagumagalaw ang ekonomiya [they feel joy because trucks are indicators that the economy is moving].”

Mababa ang tingin ng mga tao sa aming mga [People look down on us]truck drivers,” says Cagubgub. “Pero kung wala kami, walang magpapatakbo ng transportasyon na nagdadala ng mga kailangan nila pang araw-araw, tulad ng asukal. Bilang driver, hindi kami nagrereklamo. Basta araw-araw may biyahe, kahit anong ruta, basta kumikita. Biyahe lang nang biyahe. [But without us, nobody’s going to run the transportation that will bring things they need on a daily basis, like sugar. We drivers are not a complaining lot—as long as we’re driving every day, regardless of the route, and earning a decent living.

 

The Godfather of global transport: How Softbank gains the most from the Grab/Uber deal in Southeast Asia

Inc. Southeast Asia | 26 March 2018
Photo c/o Getty Images
Co-reported with Marishka Cabrera

Japan’s SoftBank is positioning Uber in strategic locations where it doesn’t have to compete with local rivals

Is this a case of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer?

Following weeks of speculation, Grab finally made it official today that it has acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations and assets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—the largest-ever deal of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Now the no. 1 online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platform in the region, Grab may have emerged victorious in the race toward getting the most market share in the ride-hailing app sector—as of press time, the company announced it has reached over 90 million downloads with more than five million drivers and agents now in its fleet—but a closer look at the deal reveals the real winner to be SoftBank Group Corp (SoftBank).

The Japanese technology conglomerate and late-stage start-up investor, whose total investments in Grab now amount to $1 billion, had closed its long-pending $9 billion deal with Uber in late December 2017. According to Crunchbase, the massive investment brought with it a series of changes, the most notable of which have been SoftBank effectively becoming Uber’s largest shareholder at 15% and Rajeev Misra, a member of SoftBank’s board of directors, taking a board seat at Uber.

As the Grab and Uber merger gives Uber a 27.5% stake in Grab, the deal fits in well with SoftBank’s rather clever plan to position Uber as the leading ride-hailing app in strategic locations around the world where it does not have to compete with local players. By the same token, the local competitors that Uber was trying to wrest customers away from will also gain from Uber’s exit. Yet the ultimate winner will be Softbank, pulling the strings from Tokyo and London, whose investments in both Uber and its erstwhile local rivals will rise in value as the fierce competition for ride-hailing apps abates in key Asian markets.

Setting the stage for Southeast Asia are SoftBank’s recent moves in China and India.

In May last year, SoftBank contributed $5 billion to the $5.5 billion fundraising round by China’s Didi Chuxing, and in December took part in another round of funding amounting to $4 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Uber had high hopes when it entered the Chinese market in 2013. But fierce competition from local rival Didi led Uber to sell its China operations in 2016 in exchange for 20% stake in Didi and a $1 billion investment from the Chinese ride-hailing company.

In India, local transportation app Ola scored $2 billion in fresh funding from investors, including SoftBank in 2017 in a bid to shore up its lead against Uber. Though Uber hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet, Ola is racing ahead as it operates in 110 cities compared to Uber’s 31 and has over a million drivers crushing Uber’s 450,000, according to data from Quartz.

The battle isn’t quite over for SoftBank just yet. Grab may now have enviable market share in Southeast Asia’s ride-sharing market, but there’s still Indonesia’s now-$5 billion market leader Go-Jek to contend with.

Backed by Google and Tencent, Go-Jek has yet to expand across Southeast Asia. In December 2017, the company announced plans to enter the Philippines in 2018. When it does, competition between the two start-ups may first kick-off in the ride-hailing category, but with both Grab and Go-Jek making more investments into food delivery, logistics, and mobile payments, the bigger race will be: Who will win the larger prize of Southeast Asia’s on-demand economy? No doubt SoftBank will have a say.

Sticky situations: 9GAG’s Ray Chan lists ways to increase your content’s ‘stickiness’

Inc. Southeast Asia | 24 October 2017
Photo c/o Getty Images

With the amount of information online, it’s safe to assume you have a discerning audience that can smell ‘phony’ from a mile away

In a world where brands not only compete with other brands but with the ubiquitous device we all bow our heads to these days (read: the smartphone), the value of stickiness — your content’s ability to captivate and sustain user attention — is surprisingly under-sung.

Content stickiness makes the difference between the ideas that survive and those that die. And because, to survive in this new world means getting with the program and catering to the often-capricious millennial mind, content stickiness is key if you want to hold their attention for more than a second.

How, then, do you create content that has the power to captivate an audience with low attention spans and infinite options?

Inc. Southeast Asia asks Ray Chan, co- founder of laughter generator 9GAG, to shed light on the content stickiness that has eluded many brands and content portals but has kept the nine-year-old website a go-to source of the funniest home videos and memes among audiences spanning different generations.

1. Authenticity sells

With the amount of information available online, it’s safe to assume that you have an audience that’s discerning and can smell something phony from a mile away.

“Truth and real sells. People value honesty because it’s very easy to put themselves in your shoes. In entertainment, funny and candid photos of celebrities are loved by a lot of people because it shows authenticity. For brands and companies, we’re seeing the same trend,” says Chan. “The more authentic you come across, the more people tend to gravitate toward you.”

2. Effort is attractive

In the world of branding, you tend to get what you put out. Take pop-up ads, which, according to Chan, people do not necessarily hate watching. “They just don’t like watching irrelevant ads,” he points out.

“For some users, some commercials are so good they don’t mind watching it. What sucks is when there’s not a lot of thought and effort that goes into it,” says Chan, adding that there will eventually be a “co-merging of ads and content,” which is “bad news for lazy ad producers.”

3. For content consumption, results trump technology

With all the buzz surrounding technologies like augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the like, Chan says that it’s often irrelevant to content consumers what technology powers one’s platform.

In the entertainment space, “people just want to know whether this is fun, interesting, and if it brings comic relief. It’s all about the result, and not about how you make it,” he points out.

In other words, before you invest an arm and a leg on sophisticated technology, make sure your content is contagious enough. Delivering an uncomplicated yet profound message should be more your priority. “Technology is just the enabler,” says Chan.  

Zilingo: The e-merchant of small things

Inc. Southeast Asia | Beauty Killers
Photo by Joel Lim

Any shopaholic worth her salt has made the pilgrimage to Southeast Asia’s most vibrant weekend market: the busy and bustling sensory overload that is Chatuchak along Bangkok’s Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road. Continue reading “Zilingo: The e-merchant of small things”

Remember the Twitter Fail Whale? Here are three design tips from its instigator

Inc. Southeast Asia | 9 August 2017
Image by @YiyingLu 

Creative Yiying Lu shares tips on how start-ups can come up with design ideas that marry local flavor and global reach
Continue reading “Remember the Twitter Fail Whale? Here are three design tips from its instigator”

Context clues: Mark Britt of iflix on what it takes to successfully go native

Inc. Southeast Asia 19 July 2017

What gets this co-founder out of bed in the morning? Piracy, leading the entertainment revolution, and ‘little Raspberry Pis’ tracking Internet telemetry across 10 emerging markets Continue reading “Context clues: Mark Britt of iflix on what it takes to successfully go native”

Go public or stay private? Five unfiltered growth lessons from Trivago’s CEO

Inc. Southeast Asia | 25 July 2017

Rolf Schromgens dishes out the costs and benefits of taking his company public

Continue reading “Go public or stay private? Five unfiltered growth lessons from Trivago’s CEO”

Vroom to grow: This Cambodian start-up enables seamless transit in Southeast Asia

Inc. Southeast Asia | 7 April 2017

BookMeBus is every traveler’s ticket to the touristic wonders of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam Continue reading “Vroom to grow: This Cambodian start-up enables seamless transit in Southeast Asia”

How to create a truly original start-up in Asia

Inc. Southeast Asia 20 January 2017


A Filipino tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley shares his thought process on creating start-ups that disrupt the status quo
Continue reading “How to create a truly original start-up in Asia”

Every Body Yoga

Urbanyogi.ph

There isn’t a shortage of #yogininspiration #yogaeverydamnday photos across all social networks of lithe, limber women doing every enviable pose imaginable. From the usual handstands and backbends, to gravity-defying arm balances and that rather Exorcist-esque variation of Kala Bhairavasana (this is worth a google), these yoginis make seemingly impossible asanas look easy peasy. Continue reading “Every Body Yoga”

Not all glitter and glam

Style Weekend | The Pink Issue

The country’s top designers, models, and muses channel their creative vision to raise support for ICanServe Foundation and its advocacy of breast cancer awareness and early detection Continue reading “Not all glitter and glam”