Week in Review: Get in on the conversations!

  • Dynamic nature of online media offers rich learning opportunity, provided one shares
  • No space for those who think they are better than the rest and only share selectively

Week in Review: Get in on the conversations!ONE of my motivations for leaving my 19-year career in print media was the static nature of the medium. Seldom would I get feedback from my articles, and rarer was the good old ‘Letter to the Editor.’
That itself is a misnomer as the letters were all sent via email anyway, as this was post-2000 when I started covering technology for The Edge. I probably got 30 ‘letters’ in the 12 years I covered tech for that publication.
An ex-colleague then joined The Malaysian Insider and I remember one of his articles receiving 18 reader comments. I was full of envy.
But no more!
Now that I have joined the dynamic world of online media, I am totally loving the conversations that Digital News Asia (DNA) articles trigger, via social media and also through the comments section.
In fact, some of the comments posted by readers have, in my opinion, been better than the articles that triggered them! And, that’s great.
My recent article on TaxiMonger is one example. DNA’s most prolific commentator – we should give him the title ‘Super Commentator’ – Dr Gabriel Walter posted a short comment that triggered an excellent Insights piece from A. Asohan about the nature of fund-raising by entrepreneurs.
That itself got some really cool comments from readers,  including a former venture capitalist and a current one, who was none other than Jamaludin Bujang, chief executive officer (CEO) of Malaysia Venture Capital Management.
The founder of TaxiMonger Nizran Noordin then shared his thoughts too on the comment Walter posted, which was really insightful and which I should have captured in my original article.
But, no matter. The dynamic nature of online journalism means that each and every article we at DNA write can evolve and get better. But for that to happen, you, our preciousssss (yes, I am a LOTR fan) readers have to get involved in the conversations around our articles.
This culture of sharing is the bedrock of the environment we witness in Silicon Valley. We must create it here too. And this must not happen selectively.
I just had a conversation with a young man who was covering the tech scene in Singapore for a while and he told me that the more successful tech entrepreneurs there do not mingle with the start-ups, nor do they think highly of them. This group apparently tends to network among themselves selectively. They also eschew the media and prefer not to be featured.
The last point is fine. There are many here who don’t want to be featured too. But don’t think you are better than anyone else just because your venture has more traction and is successful. I think that is not just selfish, it is ugly too. Our ecosystem is still forming and firming up. There is no space for such ugly behavior here.
In this sense, the sharing attitude of Gabriel, who is the CEO of Quantum Electro Opto Systems, sets the tone for all of us to emulate. DNA readers will be familiar with Gabriel through the frequent comments he posts on our articles.
He has raised around RM20 million (US$6.6 million) for his venture and I can tell you, he does not think he is better than the first- year start-up that is struggling to keep its dream alive. He thinks he can learn from any entrepreneur out there.
So, don’t think you are better than them either. Help them in any way you can. Even through the comments you post on any article you read, and not just on DNA.
Share your thoughts, even if you disagree – especially if you disagree! It will be great to hear different sides on the various issues and trust me, in sharing, we will all learn and grow and get better.
And, that is what it is all about. We all want to be richer from the experience.
Previous Installments:
Week in Review: Stupid gets stupider?
Week in Review: It's all about the money
Week in Review: Mat Rakyat to be the ultimate winner in spectrum race
Related Stories:
Angels with pitchforks, VCs who don't venture
Focused on TaxiMonger
QEOS targets US$100m valuation by end 2013

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