Inside Asia Podcast
Education Overhaul (w/ Crystal Lim-Lange)

Education Overhaul (w/ Crystal Lim-Lange)

May 19, 2019

This week we turn to the subject of Education. It ranks alongside food, shelter, and job opportunity as a foundation requirement for any progressive society, yet, the very tenants of traditional education and the perceived importance of a formal degree are increasingly the subject of scrutiny, and in some cases, derision.

The universal question being asked is this: Do high schools and universities effectively prepare students for a world rife with change, disruption, and the unpredictable impact of artificial intelligence and the likely displacement of hundreds of millions of jobs?

To help me answer these questions, I spoke with Crystal Lim-Lange, a self-described “future-readiness expert,” who in partnership with her husband, Dr. Gregor Lim-Lange, have created a business to help students cope with the growing pressures of growing up and entering the workforce.

Why Sustainability Trumps Consumption

Why Sustainability Trumps Consumption

May 9, 2019

Anurag Banerjee is the Founder and CEO of Quilt.ai, an artificial intelligence, or AI-enabled consulting firm that mines data for the greater good.

Anurag’s group recently released its “Beyond the Bottom Line: Sustainability Report” with two stated objectives: The first: To uncover six so-called Cultural Codes of Sustainability, representing what matters to people with regards to being ‘Sustainable’, ‘Ethical’ and ‘Responsible.’ And the second: To measure and rank the Sustainability Performance of 50 Organizations across 10 Industries.

In our conversation with Anurag we explore the insights of Quilt.AI`s sustainability report, discussing the evolving willingness of consumers to make sustainability-driven choices, as well as what brands might do in order to become more sustainable.

Indonesia: The Dreaming Giant

Indonesia: The Dreaming Giant

May 2, 2019

Richard Borsuk is a veteran journalist, long-time resident of Southeast Asia, and a leading expert in Indonesian political economy. When I first met Richard in the early 1990s, Indonesia felt like a sleepy backwater, better known for its plantations and fishing villages. Back then, from my high-rise and fast-paced outpost in Hong Kong, Indonesia felt like a sleepy backwater, better known for its plantations and fishing villages. Still, it was a nation on the rise.

In my conversation with Richard, we explore how Indonesia’s rising religious and sectarian divides could put a damper on the country’s economic prospects. In a country where 50% of the population remains under the age of 40, youth holds the key – both as a powerful voting block and also as the custodians of a more forward-looking, economically vibrant Indonesia. Of course, youth can go both ways. With better job prospects and improved economic output, Indonesia could begin to take its rightful place as one of the most important economies in Asia, if not the world. On the other hand, should the country fall on hard economic times, the youth might not be so forgiving.

Lebanon: Asia’s Wild, Wild West

Lebanon: Asia’s Wild, Wild West

April 25, 2019

This week’s episode brings us to Lebanon, a country of six million people precariously situated between arch rivals - Israel to the south and Syria to the north. It’s also a part of what some say is a re-emergent region of Western Asia.

Lebanon sits at the heart of the Mediterranean basin. And that very fact poses both promise and peril. Promise, because of its rich and diverse culture that when combined with expertise in trade and finance, could earn for Lebanon its rightful place. Peril, because Lebanon is – as it has always been – subjugated by unwanted meddling from foreign interests. Its recent history is pockmarked by the devastating effects of war, sabotage and assassination. Still, there’s hope, and that - perhaps more than any other feature - characterizes the people of Lebanon.

Join me in my conversation with my Ronnie Chatah - the son of Mohammad Chatah, who served both as Lebanon’s Ambassador to the US and a former Minister of Finance - who shares the story of modern-day Lebanon by drawing on his own experiences of hope and loss in this city.

The Komodo Islands and EcoTourism

The Komodo Islands and EcoTourism

April 13, 2019

This week we take a break from the big themes of tech, trade, environment, and other topics driving Asia’s transformation, in order to explore a small group of islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago.

The Komodo Islands are unique in so many ways. It’s a world-class diving spot where you can swim up-close and personal with giant manta rays, drink sun-downers and watch fox bats fly overhead by the thousands, and of course, take a peek into the world of the legendary Komodo Dragons.

However, not all is well in the land that time forgot. Komodo National Park is home to 5,000 dragons but increasingly, the giant reptiles are under siege from a trifecta of tourism, food shortages and smuggling. Join me on this trip to the Komodo Islands to learn more.

John Stanton: co-founder of Chosen

John Stanton: co-founder of Chosen

April 5, 2019

John Stanton is a venture capitalist and co-founder of Chosen, a leadership experience company that seeks to re-shape the way high impact entrepreneurs and executives think, live and engage with the world around them.

If the name Chosen strikes you as Old Testament or even elitist, think again. The term comes from the Japanese word 挑戦 (chō-sen), meaning ‘to challenge’. And that’s what the seven-day curated experience is all about; bringing ambitious men and women face-to-face with an array of physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences that challenge without threatening.

With Chosen, John is looking to deliver back to the market a healthier, re-invigorated and more self-aware professional armed with an ability to traverse life in the fast lane.

Aaron Fishman: East Bali Cashews

Aaron Fishman: East Bali Cashews

March 28, 2019

This week’s guest is Aaron Fishman, Founder and CEO of East Bali Cashews. In our conversation, we explore what it takes to make a labor and capital intensive cashew processing business fly and what it means to be a social enterprise.

Aaron’s point of view will surprise you. Although East Bali Cashews has been touted as a best-in-class example of a model social enterprise, Aaron thinks the term has become overplayed. “It’s the quality of our product that sets us apart,” he says, nothing more.

Steve Leonard: Founding CEO, SGInnovate

Steve Leonard: Founding CEO, SGInnovate

March 21, 2019

Increasingly, technology defines our future. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, robotics, machine-learning, blockchain, 3D printing, and much munch more. It all speaks to a world preparing to unlock and accelerate the way we live.

As this new wave of innovation further empowers the individual and diminishes the role of traditional institutions, governments need to have some say in what happens and what doesn’t. What will it mean, for instance, when blockchain empowers a crypto-currency revolution that undermines a nation’s principal medium of exchange? One choice is to intervene and intercept. Another choice is to get involved and invest.

Having a vantage point on the world of bleeding-edge technology is the privilege of my guest this episode, Steve Leonard. Steve is the Founding CEO of SGInnovate – a technology incubator and early-stage investment firm with direct backing from the Singapore government. Listen to today’s conversation to learn more about Singapore’s approach to innovation, and how Steve Leonard and his colleagues at SGInnovate are driving an agenda to prioritize deep-tech solutions geared for the public good.

Diana Wu - The Future of Work (clip)
Diana Wu : The Future of Work

Diana Wu : The Future of Work

March 14, 2019

My guest this week had an euphonious moment when a close friend and work colleague unexpectedly took her own life. That set in motion a series of questions about life and the world of work that resulted in a book, called Futureproof: Reinventing Work in an Age of Acceleration.

Diana Wu's book is a tour de force in understanding and addressing the changing world of work facing white-collar workers and professionals. Diana addresses some of the many ways people tackle workplace demands and how others opt out for more dynamic less myopic professional paths. She also notes how the gig economy is throwing up new possibilities allowing smart, risk-ready individuals to create livelihoods with a new twist.

The workplace is a central part of living. More than income, corporate professions have the power and potential to add meaning and purpose. Looking back over the long-arc of your professional career, where do you stand? Has it delivered all that it promised? Could it be time for that hard conversation, that existentialist debate with yourself that starts with…What does it all mean?

Find out more by listening to this week's episode.