Week in Review: A classic headline that now rings true

  • Digital disruption is truly here and it’s affecting even digital companies
  • Indonesia’s Michael Widjaja executes strategy to seize the digital opportunity


IT'S almost a classic, that headline which screams “Do or Die” in reference to companies needing to urgently adapt to digital disruption. Not surprisingly, cynical corporate chieftiens used to take such warnings, especially when they come from tech vendors, with liberal doses of salt. Key word here being “used to”.

Not anymore. And not in an age where some of the most valuable companies in the world by market cap are tech companies and not in the age where every Brick & Mortar CEO is aware of the impact of cloud, mobile, big data and now, artificial intelligence. And definitely not in the age where a once pesky startup selling books online, almost 20 years ago, has started buying food chains at US$14 billion and change.

And, where I can order five units of a particular VR headset from my living room and Amazon will ship it to me at 45% cheaper than what I will get if buying it from any Malaysian based site. That’s scary, for those Malaysian based merchants. Digital disruption is truly here and it’s affecting even digital companies.

While DNA readers are well aware of this disruption, the corporate leaders among you you will still find our interview with Dimension Data’s CTO useful.

Meanwhile, over in Indonesia, Michael Widjaja, the grandson of one of the scions of corporate Indonesia, Eka Tjipta Widjaja, just broke ground on his ambitious Digital Hub, which the media has quickly dubbed as Indonesia’s answer to the Silicon Valley.

I interviewed Michael at the city that he is building called Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) at South Tangerang, which is part of greater Jakarta. Michael had a glint in his eye as he spoke about how he aims to turn his Digital Hub into the home base for Indonesia’s digital disruptors.

A millennial himself, at 33, you won’t find Michael calling himself innovative or a disruptor. He simply, thanks to an intense conversation he had with a VC friend in Dec 2014, has come to see digital disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat and his Digital Hub is his attempt to seize this opportunity. Will it succeed? Well, the components of a digital ecosystem are already in place in his BSD, can he fit the other pieces in to create the exciting digital ecosystem he envisions?

Back to Malaysia you then have a company, VR Lab Sdn Bhd, making a big bet that virtual reality is about to take off. It has already invested in a few VR centres where the public can come in and experience VR games. To fast track the rollout of such centres it has adopted a franchise model and is targeting 30 centres by end 2017. It is also creating its own VR content and next week in fact will be announcing a new product that it feels property developers will embrace. It has also hired the leading academic of the VR program at a Kuala Lumpur based university to join it. The academic (sorry, ex-) told me he wanted to move to a more active role in the growth of VR in Malaysia.

VR Labs is a company I will be keeping my eyes on as its development will be a proxy for how well VR takes off in Malaysia. And you can experience the VR world for yourself if you attend DNA’s inaugural HotShotz eGames festival from July 22-23 as VR Labs is our VR Partner and will be setting up a large VR experiential space for participants to try out, including organizing some mini-competitions.

Watch out for HotShotz and get your tickets here.

I hope you had a restful weekend. Have a productive week ahead.

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Editor’s Picks:

Michael Widjaja wants to nourish talent pool to power Indonesia’s digital ambitions

Sportsfix wants to take Southeast Asia by storm

Biznet helps to build Indonesian telco infrastructure

Supahands pivots into the gig economy

Dimension Data's take on digital disruption: Do or Die.

Sony steals E3 2017’s opening day

VR Lab aspires to be a VR hub for all


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