With Karl Mak (founder of Hepmil Media Group – SGAG, PGAG, MGAG) on how he built Southeast Asia’s largest meme startup.
So This Is My Why | Issue 29
For those celebrating, Happy Easter!
This is going to be a Web3/NFT-heavy newsletter so let’s get to it by firstly…
Meeting STIMY’s #4 guest from the Web3 space: Debbie Soon.
Debbie Soon is quite the powerhouse.
She’s the OG Chief of Staff to Chatri Sityodtong (who now has a reality show, The Apprentice, where contestants literally battle it out to be his next Chief of Staff!). While at ONE Championship, Debbie spearheaded ONE Esports, launched its Japan arm and also ONE Shop.
Then she made a COVID-inspired move to LA.
Made a Wish at a Wishing Well, which was seen by Randi Zuckerberg (no joke).
Hopped onto a Zoom call and soon after, became the co-founder of HUG alongside Randi: a Web3 platform that supports creators via:
- HUGhub: curate-to-earn dicovery platform for NFTs – i.e. instead of DYOR (do your own research), people come together to share the research they’ve done on various NFT projects and earn tokens (to be redeemed at a later stage)
- groupHUG: NFT growth accelerator – that a number of STIMY guests are a part of, e.g. Nicole of 8sian, Lily Wu of WOW Pixies & soon to be featured, Mai of Curious Addys
- hedgeHUG – early stage pre-mint program
And if that wasn’t enough (they only launched in Feb 2021), they helped NFT founders raise over USD 5 million in the past month!
As you can probably tell, this isn’t an episode to miss. 😉
- 6:00 Launching 7Cycle Pte – Southeast Asia’s first boutique indoor cycling studio
- 8:26 Joining ONE Championship
- 10:36 Being the OG (“The Apprentice”) Chief of Staff to CEO, Chatri Sityodtong
- 12:49 Establishing ONE Esports
- 15:50 Launching ONE Shop as VP, Head of Consumer Products
- 17:42 Moving to LA
- 19:52 Nearly stealing the furniture of a homeless person in LA
- 21:20 Launching her second startup
- 26:23 Meta Angels NFT & the Wishing Well
- 31:43 Getting on a Zoom call with Randi Zuckerberg
- 33:16 Getting a Web3 job without any relevant Web3 experience
- 35:25 The problem that HUG is trying to solve – discovery for creatives
- 38:48 Scaling HUG’s Curator Club from 300 to 3,000?
- 41:17 Making HUG’s Discord channel the go-to channel for people
- 42:03 Hosting weekly Twitter Spaces with Randi Zuckerberg
- 43:10 Analysing 3,000 reviews of NFT projects
- 44:46 Is art an important factor?
- 45:36 Analysing roadmaps for NFT projects
- 46:55 HUGhub – the curate-to-earn discovery platform for NFTs
- 49:00 How to make HUG unique from other NFT accelerators/platforms
- 51:04 Sharing of confidential information?
- 52:32 How groupHUG is different from a typical Web2 startup accelerator?
- 53:39 How the groupHUG cohorts are curated
- 55:12 Biggest needs of NFT founders
- 56:03 Raising USD $5 million in VC funding for NFT projects in 1 month
- 57:32 When is a NFT project ready to pitch for VC funding?
- 58:51 Web 2.5
- 1:01:03 How NFT Collection founders can pitch for partnerships
- 1:04:13 Web3 influencers that Debbie recommends following
- 1:05:22 What a Web3 dating app might look like
Other places to listen to: Website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes
Looking for past STIMY guests? Check out:
- Lily Wu: Co-Founder of WOW Pixies – the first venture DAO focused on women-led NFT projects. Previously founded two 7-figure businesses in the shoe/sneaker and edtech industry
- Nicole Yap: Co-Founder, 8sian NFT – the first NFT collection focused on Asian women (including the creation of a Chinatown in the metaverse, Fashion Week & high profile collaborations)
- Red Hong Yi: Artist who paints without a paintbrush. She has worked with Jackie Chan, Google, Facebook & Nespresso, was featured at the World Economic Forum & more recently on TIME Magazine’s 26 April special issue on climate change. Recently completed Malaysia’s most successful NFT collection, Memebank
- MoonHMZ aka Mumu the Stan: Co-Founder of MalaysiaNFT. Mumu is a young Muslim mother/artist who first got into the NFT space because of her Stan account & sold her first NFT to Mike Shinoda (lead singer of Linkin Park)
- Kyne Santos: Mathematician, drag queen & Tik Toker who makes fun educational math Tik Toks to nearly 1 million subscribers, and was a contestant in Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race!
Favourite Finds of the Week
Cantino.eth: The Future of NFTs
It might be safe to say that there are more than enough high drop NFTs out there, many of which are derivations of each other. Personally, I do believe the tech will hold out but apart from the common uses people are deploying with their NFTs (assuming they aren’t rug pulls!), what other utilities could there be?
I personally liked this Tweet thread by Cantino, who shared some of his thoughts on the future of NFTs:
- Vertical marketplaces – DTC marketplaces to help with customer retention
- “Soulbound” NFTs – e.g. driver’s licenses, diplomas, certificates, proof of attendance etc. [note: would definitely appreciate knowing where all my equipment warranty cards are, but not sure if I want the whole world to know in perpetuity!]
- Borrowing platforms
- NFT Indexes
- Bounties – e.g. brands dropping unique quests within their communities, with NFTs as a reward.
- Social investing – spreadsheets & signature collections, begone
- Legal – note: hmm I think we have some way to go with this, but it’s an interesting idea
- Content Submission
- Social feed marketplaces
- Multiplayer – note: oh yes, Web3 MMORPGs are highly addictive. Will report back once I’ve spent more time in the Gotchiverse!
- Loyalty Exchanges
- Customer Cohort NFTs
- Education & customer support – a little like what Debbie Soon & Randi Zuckerberg are doing at HUG
Buying a Tasty Toastys NFT
If you feel anxious about buying your first NFT, fret not. You’re not alone.
Annika Park published a really fascinating, relatable & funny LinkedIn post on her experience buying a Toasty aka her first NFT.
Her objective wasn’t for investment/community/utility/play. Instead:
It was simply to experience what it was like to buy an NFT.
With 0.02 Eth.
If you’d like to read of someone’s experience in purchasing an NFT because of the art, then look no further.
People say that NFTs are going to be your persistent digital identity in the decentralized future of the web – but for me, it was less because I wanted a human NFT identity for the metaverse. It was far dumber than that. I just wanted something that looked like me.
It was at this point that I realized it’s really possible to fall impossibly in love with a digital good – to a point that all rational thought is paralyzed.
Sadly, her initial love of an 8sian NFT (remember out last newsletter on Nicole, the founder of 8sian?) didn’t pan out due to its cost, but she did end up with a Toasty!
Fun Fact: The founder of Tasty Toastys announced 2 days ago that they’re creating ToastyTown – a community-first Microverse that allows its holders to hangout, play mini games & decorate their own personal homes. Read more here.
Crypto Lawsuit: Tulip Trading Limited v Bitcoin Association for BSV & Others 
Because not everything crypto glitters in the millions…
Going a bit nerdy here by referencing a writeup that Lee Shih of the Malaysian Lawyer wrote about a recent English High Court case involving a hack, that resulted in the loss of control of US$4.5 billion in Bitcoins. 😱
- Tulip Trading (“Owner“) lost private keys to USD$4.5 billion in bitcoins due to a hack
- Owner sued the developers (“Defendant“) to implement a software patch to let the Owner regain control of Bitcoins
- There was no serious issue to be tried (note: this is a common test used by the courts to sieve through claims deemed frivolous/vexatious & ward against bad players who’d want to abuse the court process)
- Defendant owed no general duty of care to the Owner
- Arguable that bitcoins are located in the UK jurisdiction
- Arguable that damage was suffered in the UK jurisdiction since the loss of control happened in the UK (note: to determine whether the UK courts have jurisdiction to decide on the case)
Launching Meta Angels
Debbie got into Web3 thanks to Meta Angels’ Wishing Well. But what was it like to launch Meta Angels?
Co-Founder, Alex, shares some really detailed insights on how they did it by focusing on high quality engagement, a diverse but welcoming community, no gas wars/panicked FOMO or selling out within a month.
Some things they did:
- held weekly Twitter Spaces;
- built relationships with people with similar values;
- opened a pre-sale list (that was easy to get on);
- being cautious with their mint allotments;
- had a team of Addy Ambassadors provide 1-to-1 support for people having trouble during the mint;
- had two people dedicated to managing their social accounts (including Debbie Soon!)
Upcoming STIMY Guests
- Jamilia Grier: Web3 Lawyer
Also, do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?
Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at)gmail.com 😊
Until next week!
P/S: If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up here.