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 27
Hard to imagine a war is currently unfolding! I won’t pretend to really understand what’s happening, and I’m sure you’re all deluged with information, but here are some things I came across that might interest you (but please do your own DD to verify the information!):
- Why is Russia invading Ukraine? – RealLifeLore has produced a well-researched 31-minute piece on why the invasion is happening
- What’s at stake in Ukraine is the direction of human history – famed historian, Yuval Noah Harari, wrote a piece for the Economist on how humanity’s greatest political achievement, i.e. the decline of war, is now in jeopardy.
- The Power of Twitter: Ukraine’s vice PM tweeted at Elon Musk asking for Starlink stations. Within hours, Elon Musk tweeted back: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.” Less than 48 hours later, the Starlinks arrived.
- Patreon removes page: Colin Sullivan (Head of Legal at Patreon) shared how they had to make the decision to remove a Patreon page for the Ukrainian organisation, Come Back Alive, because Patreon was being used to raise funds to finance and train military personnel. They published a blog post to explain why here.
- How CNN is verifying its information
- Jack Sweeney, who hit global headlines for tracking Elon Musk’s plane, is now tracking the movements of Russian Oligarchs – on Twitter!
- Racist reporting on the war: “This is a relatively civilised, relatively European…city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”
- International Space Station: The ISS is contingent upon the cooperation between the US and Russia. What does this spell for space?
Vincent Wei is the Head of Growth (Product & growth) at VEED.IO, one of the fastest growing startups by revenue in the world.
He was first introduced to the world of startups when he began CodeCreate, one of Australia’s first coding school for kids, while still at university. The school generated 6-figure revenue but his next startup unfortunately didn’t do so well.
Burnt out, Vincent decided to take a break and travel the world before returning as Employee #3 on the growth team at AirTasker – which later became one of Australia’s largest marketplace for services. That was no mean feat, given that the startup was burning $35 million annually and on the verge on collapse then!
Together with the team, they managed to turn the startup around but Vincent left before AirTasker IPOed in 2021 to join VEED.io – the Canva of video editing – as Head of Growth.
VEED recently raised $35M from Sequoia and is currently going through an exciting growth phase, so this is definitely a startup to keep an eye on!
P/S: “Dropkick” is an Australian slang that refers to someone who isn’t very smart & hasn’t made it very far in life.
- 3:32 How Harry Potter helped Vincent learn English
- 8:41 Not wanting to be a dropkick
- 13:51 Founding CodeCreate to teach kids how to build Minecraft
- 18:48 How CodeCreate’s cohort went from 3 to 86 kids
- 29:29 Founding his 2nd startup
- 32:37 How Lambda School inspired them
- 35:48 Why Cody failed
- 38:16 Travelling the world
- 42:35 The power of LinkedIn outreach & chatting with James Clear
- 47:26 Joining AirTasker when it was burning $30 million annually
- 49:27 How they turned AirTasker around
- 56:25 How Vincent’s role at VEED has evolved over time
- 59:09 What Vincent looks for when he hires
- 1:01:08 Influencing others virtually
Other places to listen to: Website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes
Looking for past STIMY guests? Check out:
- Kendrick Nguyen: Co-Founder, Repulic – one of the top equity crowdfunding platforms in the US
- Austen Allred: Founder, Lambda School (now rebranded as Bloom Institute of Technology) – on building a FREE coding educational platform for all
- DJ Didonna: Entrepreneur & holder of Harvard MBA, turned founder of The Sabbatical Project
- Karl Mak: Co-Founder, Hepmil Media Group – building Southeast Asia’s largest meme-based company
Favourite Finds of the Week
If you’ve ever wondered what people really earn in Malaysia, this IG page spills the tea.
Giving gender, age, race, years of professional experience, salary and commission where applicable.
20VC Podcast: ED baker on 5 Key Functions of a Growth Team
In line with Vincent’s episode, here’s an interview with Ed Baker, who was VP of Product and Growth at Uber (2013-2017). Prior to that, he was Head of International Growth at Facebook, after founding a startup called Friend.ly, which had grown to over 25M users.
Some growth tactics Ed & his team executed:
- Sometimes, simple adjustments produce big results. While at Uber, the company struggled to find sufficient drivers to fulfill the demand. They decided to add a button in their app asking if the rider also wanted to be a driver. Result: Uber’s signups for drivers skyrocketed.
- Uber (read: Travis) was adamant that payments would be contactless, which didn’t work in India where most locals didn’t have access to credit cards. The growth team secretly (i.e. without Travis’ approval) ran an experiement where they allowed riders to take their first Uber ride without putting in their credit card number. It doubled their conversion rate instantly!
You have 80,000 hours in your career: 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year, for 40 years. So how can you create a career that has positive impact?
That’s precisely the problem that the founders behind 80,000 hours want to tackle.
They’ve taken 10 years worth of research to help people think about the problems they should/want to be working on, the best solutions to such problems and also the career best suited to make it happen. It also has a really extensive job board.
The world has many pressing problems. How can you use your career to solve them?
Gosh, the crypto scams are getting more sophisticated! Luckily for this person, he didn’t lose all of his ETH (though it was a close call!).
Upcoming STIMY Guests
- Nicole (8SIAN)
- Nicole Quinn, General Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners – she is an investor in Girlboss (Sophia Amoruso), HAUS (Lady Gaga), The Honest Company (Jessica Alba), Cameo and so much more.
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.