Inside Asia Podcast
Titans of Tech (w/ Rebecca Fannin)

Titans of Tech (w/ Rebecca Fannin)

September 13, 2019

My guest this episode is Rebecca Fannin, founder of Silicon Dragon Ventures and author of the new book, Tech Titans of China. She’s been on the program once before. Exactly one year ago we spoke about the rise of China’s tech giants, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, known collectively as the BAT. Four years earlier, Alibaba became the largest initial public offering in US history and true to investor expectations, the company under Jack Ma grew from strength to strength.

Rebecca points out how few Westerners had heard of Toyota, Honda or Mitsubishi before the 1980s. It was on the back of the global oil crises that Japan offered drivers in the US and Europe a cheaper, more fuel-efficient solution. The rest is history. We may be looking at something similar this time around. Electronic Vehicles, or EVs are the next big thing in transportation and no effort or expense is being spared in China to become a world leader in EV design and manufacturing.

In this episode we delve into the shocking growth of China tech and how in just the past year, US and other Western markets have thrown up a defense against the Chinese onslaught.

 

Family Impact (w/ Rob Garrett)

Family Impact (w/ Rob Garrett)

September 6, 2019

My guest this week is Rob Garrett, Innovation and Impact Investment specialist and Managing Partner at Hezar Ventures.

We hear a lot these days about the escalating global wealth gap. How the richer are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Much of that wealth is acquired and accrued by family dynasties. Globally, something in the range of US$ 6 trillion is thought to be controlled by private family interests, with Asian families accounting for nearly a third of that.

For historical and political reasons, Asian families are quiet about their money. How or where they invest is a private affair. But as my conversation with Rob reveals, opportunity, necessity and generational influence are converging. Profits are still important, but so is the positive impact of investments that generate environmental or social good.

In this week's episode, we discuss the rise of the family office in Asia, the breadth and depth of family money influence in the region, and what now moves some of these organizations to contemplate a shift in investment strategy.

The Science of Sleep (w/ Tony Estrella)

The Science of Sleep (w/ Tony Estrella)

August 30, 2019

My guest this week is healthtech advisor, novelist, and lucid dreamer, Tony Estrella. We live in stressful times. Maybe not more stressful than times of yore when our ancestors lived in fear of war, famine, or plague. But a particular form of stress brought on by always-on technology, chaotic schedules, and data overload.

Our brains and our bodies can only withstand so much. And to manage that edge, the modern-day worker employs alcohol, exercise, or pills to calm the nerves and relax the body. It’s problematic and if you haven’t figured it out already, what the body really needs is a mental holiday. Short of throwing away your personal technology and escaping to a remote island, there is a more practical solution, and it’s available to you every day at no cost. What am I talking about? Sleep.

So it is in this episode of Inside Asia that I turned to health industry expert and investment advisor, Tony Estrella.

Asia’s Future is Now (w/ Oliver Tonby)

Asia’s Future is Now (w/ Oliver Tonby)

August 22, 2019

My guest this episode is Oliver Tonby, Chairman of McKinsey & Company in Asia Pacific. As the firm’s top representative in the region, Oliver has developed a unique perspective on Asia, informed by access to the region’s presiding corporate and government leaders. In a newly released report entitled “Asia’s Future is Now,” he and his colleagues point to an unprecedented rise in Asia’s commercial, trade and infrastructure development. Nothing, so it appears, can keep Asia down.

For decades, the region - largely powered by China - served as a low-cost manufacturing base, feeding the world’s insatiable appetite for consumer, luxury and electronic goods. From advanced clean-tech solutions to the latest in digital media applications, the region teams with innovation at all levels. Throngs of engineers and entrepreneurs are emerging from Indian, Southeast Asia and Chinese universities with a license to design and build. Western markets and corporations are witnessing the technicolor change and in Board rooms from New York to London the question is being asked: What will it take to compete, now and in the future?

Re-imagining Health (w/ Anne Hockett)

Re-imagining Health (w/ Anne Hockett)

August 15, 2019

I have a very special guest this episode, our hundredth episode of Inside Asia! Anne Hockett is a healthcare professional and wellness advisor. She’s lived and operated across Asia for more than three decades and through her medical insight and devotion to the art of wellness, she offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western healing.

In this week's conversation we discuss some of the apparent limitations of Western medicine and how the world is increasingly open to alternative methods. And we delve into the mind-body pattern and explore ways that story and metaphor help us detect and embrace our personal patterns of unwellness.

Thousands have benefitted from her synthesis of knowledge, expertise and empathy. If I’m long-winded in my description and admiration for Anne, it’s due in part to the fact that she’s also my wife. I’ve had the benefit of watching her evolve as a practitioner and a human. Best of all, I’ve been on the receiving end of her love and support. 

Asia’s Impact Investing Landscape (w/ Paul Meyers)

Asia’s Impact Investing Landscape (w/ Paul Meyers)

August 1, 2019

My guest this episode is serial entrepreneur, tech optimist, venture capitalist, and long time friend, Paul Meyers. WI first met Paul in 1997. He sat behind a custom-built desk-top terminal with plans to deliver cable-TV news across high-speed networks. Real-time news at your fingertips. Can you imagine? It was a revolutionary idea at the time. Today, its yesterday’s news. 

Paul has spent nearly 30 years operating in Asia, first as a film-maker then as a pioneer in the interactive and mobile space. He’s a serial entrepreneur who in recent years has turned his attention to vetting, advising and funding start-ups from Indonesia to Bangladesh. Paul’s CV reads like an Alice in Wonderland journey through the early years of what we then called the interactive movement. It’s a mind-bending experience to explore all that Paul has witnessed.

 

Education ROI (w/ Brian Rogove)

Education ROI (w/ Brian Rogove)

July 25, 2019

Brian Rogove, Founder and CEO of Singapore-based A-Star Education is in the for-profit education business. And when you consider the premium that Asian families place on education, it’s easy to see how profits might follow. Brian doesn’t beat around the bush when talking about education’s return-on-investment. He says that while “for-profit” education feels like a dirty phrase to those in the West, Asians see the private sector as critical in shoring up public education short-falls throughout the region. Dissecting the relative strengths and weaknesses of education in Asia is as complex and diverse as the region itself. When it comes to public education, quality is oftentimes directly proportional to the level of government spending. Building schools and staffing them with well-versed teachers takes time and money. It’s for that very reason that large-scale private equity firms are entering the space. Baring, Blackstone and KKR are just a few of the many major investors increasing their holdings in education companies worldwide. And Asia is a key focus.

The Portfolio Life (w/Curtis Chin)

The Portfolio Life (w/Curtis Chin)

July 18, 2019

In this weeks episode we meet politico, public relations specialist, former ambassador, private equity advisor, digital nomad, and public commentator, Curtis Chin. Curtis is many things to many people. And while he likes to think of himself as a kind of modern-day Renaissance man, his parents say that’s code for “unemployed.” We’re talking about what it means to have what Curtis calls, “a portfolio” life.” We also move the conversation in the direction of Asia in transition and take from Curtis his view on the emerging and potentially disruptive influence of China. His comments come at a critical time when the world is debating how best to engage with this emerging Superpower in order to secure political détente, new prosperity, and greater integration of our global economy.

The Great China Divide (w/ Jim McGregor)

The Great China Divide (w/ Jim McGregor)

July 11, 2019

China is not the nation it once was. It’s grown up, become stronger; more resilient and self-assured. Its influence in matters of global geopolitics is absolute and bending the knee to the US is most assuredly not in the script.

Jim McGregor, long-time China resident, corporate advisor and respected insider, shares his unfiltered opinion on the evolution of US-China relations and how and why things have gone so off kilter.

In this week’s Asia Insider Minute, we take a cut at thinking past the blame and towards the solution - and imagine a future where policy-makers on both sides see a future fashioned from collaboration versus competition.

The importance of story-telling (w/ Neil Bearden)

The importance of story-telling (w/ Neil Bearden)

July 4, 2019

Neil Bearden is an INSEAD Professor, investor, decision scientist, and children’s book author. Neil is many things, but above all others, he’s a story-teller. On this week’s episode he shares his views on the art of story-telling and why it is so essential to lean into story in this age of science. And why we, as humans, have found such meaning and utility in the telling and receiving of stories.