Spotlight turned on 50 players whom DNA feels will help shape Malaysia's Digital Economy
First run of special booklet available in your copy of business weekly Focus Malaysia tomorrow
YES, you’ve read that right. Having made our presence felt in the digital media space, Digital News Asia (DNA) is now ready to explore the print platform.
We’re doing it with Focus Malaysia, the year-old business weekly that has been making its presence felt. On Friday, Jan 24, each issue of the weekly will come with a copy of DNA’s inaugural Digerati50 booklet.
There is no glitzy awards night with VIP guests, no media spotlight and no fancy plaques to commemorate the 50 individuals we are profiling. In fact, being on the list puts pressure on the 50 people we have identified as being those who will help shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy over the next two years.
We will only produce our Digerati50 every two years, with the next one scheduled to be out in January, 2016.
Overnight success takes a long time, they say. And in fact, a fair number of our Digerati50 have been entrepreneurs for over 10 years, and yet the fire in the belly still burns fiercely.
But we also want our Digerati50 to be meaningful. Producing a yearly list would just see many of the same names appear and that will be boring, I think.
How did we pick them? They are mostly those who we have covered before in the 20 months that DNA has been live. Since we currently focus mainly on Malaysian tech entrepreneurs and policy, this gives us a good view of what is happening in the ecosystem and who is working on interesting stuff.
However, by no means will we claim that this is the definitive list of Malaysians, and a few non-Malaysians, doing impactful stuff. I am sure we have missed out a few good men and women. So please start your own list on Facebook or any online platform you wish, and let us know why you would have included them in our Digerati50.
If you do manage to grab a copy (and why wouldn’t you?) and do a count, you will notice we have actually listed 53 individuals, and that is because some of them are so much part of a team that we really could not break them apart!
To most Malaysians, many of the names in our Digerati50 will not be familiar. Well, we want Malaysians to get to know them, especially the entrepreneurs, and follow their progress, and be inspired by them. Because I certainly am.
These are our potential champions in the emerging Digital Economy, and almost all of them are trying to build regional if not global companies. Meanwhile, others may not even be in Malaysia, but are Malaysians whom we believe will inspire their countrymen.
The scope of their ambition is inspiring and I hope Malaysians realise that we too have some cool and gutsy entrepreneurs trying to make it in the Internet space, and that there are those who already have. We also have those who are doing well in the enterprise space, as well as the policy-makers whose influence and insight will be felt across the ecosystem.
We are putting our Digerati50 under the spotlight to both challenge them and inspire them to achieve their goals. Not all of them will, but we think many of them can. Our nation, and in particular the tech ecosystem, will be the stronger for it.
Some may not be soaring successes yet, and a few have failed in their previous ventures, but they haven’t given up trying to get there … and that in itself is one of the anchor traits all entrepreneurs must have. Never give up, don’t take ‘No’ for an answer. Keep trying until you have nothing left to give.
One of our Digerati50 says it best: “If you want the business to achieve its fullest potential, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything else. There is no balance in this.”
I can connect with this as the team and I are driven by our vision to build DNA into the most credible tech media in South-East Asia. Digerati50 is one step on that journey, and I’d like to thank the people at Focus Malaysia; Joan Lau and Choo Choy May of The Malay Mail Online; S.K. Liong and John Joseph for their help and support.
Let us know who you find inspiring by emailing us at [email protected]. Companies or organisations that want to order customised reprints can reach me at [email protected].
The above article is a slightly revised version of the Founder’s Note in our inaugural Digerati50.