What’s Next 2016: Focus on SEA’s basic needs, forget Silicon Valley
By Goh Thean Eu August 1, 2016
- There’s enough money to be made if you just focus on the basic needs
- Public cloud can be more expensive than having your own infrastructure
ENTREPRENEURS in South-East Asia should stop looking at Silicon Valley trends and instead focus on fulfilling the basic needs of people in this region, said one of the panellists at Digital News Asia’s What’s Next 2016 conference last week.
“You don't have to replicate what is happening in the United States,” said Matryzel Consulting Inc chairman and chief executive officer Bobby Varanasi (pic above).
“First, you don’t have the ecosystem – [our] ecosystem is not geared towards the quick-start-quick-fail type of model.
“Second, we are in a region where many people are still [lacking] the basic needs. The issues and problems are still very much fundamental here.
“You look at most of the over 600 million population in South-East Asia, they are not talking about apps or big data – they are talking about healthcare, food, education and the other basic needs.
“I think many startups here are really barking up the wrong tree,” he added.
Speaking at a session titled Disruptive Technology: What’s Going to Hit/ Boost Your Business, Varanasi argued that there is enough money to be made if entrepreneurs would simply fulfil the needs of the bottom pyramid.
He used Unilever Hindustan as an example – the company had realised that villagers in India were not buying its 1-litre shampoo packets as they were too costly.
“So what it did was to come up with shampoo in sachet form so that more villagers could buy it. [The company] made US$300 million in three months. The opportunity was just sitting there,” Varanasi said.
“Everyone could afford to buy a one-rupee sachet, but not a 25-rupee 1-litre pack because if they did, the entire family would have been without food for one whole day,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (Malaysia) country general manager Anita Lim (pic above) said she believed that cloud technology would increasingly play a bigger role in business, but it would mostly be via the hybrid cloud model.
“Today, a lot of companies [tell me] that the public cloud is not really saving their costs – it is more expensive than owning something in their organisation, especially if you do a five-year calculation,” she argued.
Lim said that most chief information officers (CIOs) are not putting production data on the cloud because the data line is the most expensive part of using the public cloud, and its costs money every time a request is made.
“With the hybrid cloud, enterprises can still retain control of their most valuable asset, which is their data,” she added.
Pictures courtesy of The Malay Mail Online.
Other What’s Next 2016 stories:
Tycoon Vincent Tan on his costly failures
A digital strategy? You’re behind the times
If it ain’t broke … well, fix it anyway
How to make corporate-startup collaboration work
Digital disruption not a key concern for Valiram Group
The third digital disruption wave is here
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