Digerati50: Bridging the language gap

Digital News Asia (DNA) continues a weekly series that profiles the top 50 influencers, movers and shakers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy. These articles are from Digerati50, a special print publication released in January 2014. For information on customised reprints of Digertai50, email [email protected].
  • Amanz.my has become the No 1 destination for Malay-language readers interested in technology
  • Founder Aman and his team now ready to explore other niches, including science and innovation
Digerati50: Bridging the language gap
AMAN Firdaus (pic above), founder of Malaysia’s leading Malay-language tech portal Amanz.my, is only 27 years old, but he’s already been contributing to the nation’s Digital Economy for almost a decade.
 
The University of Selangor graduate, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, started Amanz in 2004 as a way of sharing knowledge on technology with other Malay-speaking users.
 
“Back then, there was very little information or tutorials available in the Malay language. I found it hard when I was searching for tutorials on how to start hosting on your own and transferring stuff from Geocities,” he says.
 
So he created his own blog and shared his own experiences of doing so via trial and error, registering with a .net domain in 2005 as .my was not yet opened to individuals by domain registrar MyNIC.
 
The site was migrated to a .my domain in 2008 and Aman notes that his was among the first blogs to do so.
 
As more people came across Aman’s tutorials, he received requests for tutorials on specific topics. He complied, publishing them on the site. From there, he and his team of fellow writers and tech enthusiasts began to expand their editorial focus to other interesting tech news and the rest, as they say, is history.
 
Today, Amanz.my has become the main destination for Malay-language readers in the country to get updated and share knowledge about technology, an achievement its founder is understandably most proud of.
 
“We have also helped many people choose the right gadgets, and solve their tech problems. There was one time, when a reader asked about what would be the right apps for his grandmother, and ended up buying an iPad for her several hours after we shared that information with him,” says Aman.
 
The website has also been featured in other media publications and the Amanz team has been invited to cover several major tech events, such as the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
 
Another way Amanz has made an impact has been via its coverage of local startups, with Aman reporting that after being featured, all received a significant boost in terms of users and visits, especially those focusing on the consumer market.
 
Amanz was also a partner for the 2013 Pikom PC Fair, organised by national ICT association Pikom, and has played an advisory role for MyNIC for the domain registrar’s events.
 
Today, Aman spends most of his time as a writer and editor for the Amanz website, and is also involved in making future plans for the company, now known as Amanz Media, exploring other verticals and projects.
 
He admits that his biggest weakness lies in public speaking and handling discussions with interested companies.
 
To compensate for that, and allow room for him to focus on editorial work, in 2011 the team welcomed Ikhwan Nazri Asran as chief executive officer.
 
Ikhwan was previously involved with Flavert Media Lab, Weddingkami (WK Wedding Solutions), and previously a community project named Officekami.com, which profiled co-working locations in the Klang Valley.
 
When asked why he decided to take up a role with Amanz, Ikhwan says that it was the passion and dedication he saw from Aman himself which convinced him.
 
“He has deep understanding of new media and technologies, and I was motivated by his passion to grow Amanz to be on par with big names like The Verge, Engadget and Mashable,” Ikhwan adds.
 
Since joining the team, Ikhwan has been focused on helping accelerate the company’s growth trajectory.
 
With Amanz having established itself as one of the de facto destinations for Malay-language technology content, the team is now looking at expanding to other niches.
 
“For 2014, we have several things planned, and will start out by launching a dedicated site which will focus on science and innovation in Malay,” shares Aman.
 
We have no doubt that the new portal would be a fitting addition to the Amanz brand.

 
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