Week in Review: Applications open, Personal Data Broker anyone?

  • Malaysian education gears up to prep students for future jobs
  • Indonesian unicorn, Bukalapak, shares same SME mission as MDEC


THE future of work and the nature of jobs is one of the hot button topics of today and that is understandable as it strikes a fear in many of us over our ability to remain relevant and earn a living for ourselves and our families.

DNA readers are already well familiar with the forces of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Data and Analytics, Machine Learning and Robotics that are fuelling the rapid change in the work force today. How rapid? Try five years.  

And adding to the tons of literature on the issue is a report by US software and services company Cognizant where they attempt to predict some of the cool jobs that will appear in the near future and the types of skills and qualifications you need. I like the Personal Data Broker role among the 21 new jobs they predict. I hope you find something you like and can start preparing your transition for.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is trying to prepare its people for the brave new future by ensuring they all have a certain level of technology skills after their first 11 years of schooling through the introduction of computational thinking and higher order thinking in the national educational curriculum.

At the same time a new initiative will be introduced next year that will see the creation of two new, highly specialized, digital innovators schools, one by Mara and one by Asia Pacific University (APU) which will see a unique curriculum that trains talented kids to be super tech savvy and innovators. It is still early days but the thought of the schools starting next year and the kind of change they will bring is exciting.

And in keeping with the open and borderless nature of the internet, the school Mara will run will be open to all Malaysians. I can already see how competition to get into the schools will be fierce but I also hope they don’t become elitist centres where kids from families with wealth and connections get in at the expense of talented and deserving kids who come from average hard working Malaysian families.

Meanwhile, over in Indonesia, Bukalapak, an e-commerce marketplace for SMEs has become Indonesia’s fourth unicorn and just in time for its 8th anniversary as well. It joins ride-hailing app Go-Jek, online booking platform Traveloka and e-commerce platform Tokopedia.

Founder and CEO Achmad Zaky shares that the biggest challenge for him and his company is not to think about the competition, but to focus on being a customer-centric company. In helping it achieve this, it will open an R&D centre this year in Bandung with over 200 engineers.

With Indonesia being quite protective of its market and its leading startups, it will be interesting to see if Alibaba, another formidable marketplace for SMEs tried to come into Indonesia.

They are already here in Malaysia and have been instrumental in getting Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone up and running with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) hailing them as “one heck of a catalytic partner”. MDEC feels Alibaba has brought great value to the vision it wants to achieve through the DFTZ.

That vision is not much different from Bukalapak’s with both aiming to help homegrown SMEs reach a global market through eCommerce.

And finally, a question for you. Are governments that don’t want to use blockchain akin to countries not using the Internet in the 90s? That is the scathing opinion of one executive whose company is not a blockchain company but rather a digital content platform.

The executive, though not a blockchain expert seemed convince that Indonesia’s move to not use blockchain stems from a fear that the decentralized nature of blockchain will take control away from them. I am not sure that is the case, with Singapore already conducting a blockchain pilot involving some banks and with the results shared here.

You can make that your weekend reading if you are interested in use cases for blockchain applications. As for me, I am going to take it easy. Here’s wishing you a restful weekend and a productive week after.


Editor’s Picks:

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VR Labs dreams big on property scene

Just in the gift of time

Indonesia’s Bukalapak turns eight

Countries that shy away from blockchain likened to ‘not using the Internet in the 90s’

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